Donegal school records 1,000th seismic record on schools programme

first_imgA Donegal school has recored the 1000th seismic record in the Seismology in Schools programme.St Columba’s College (station DL02) is an event from 3rd October in the Dodecanese islands.It struck at 04:44 UTC and registered a magnitude of 5.1Station DL02 began recording data in April 2010; the seismometer is in the school physics lab, from where it has detected earthquakes, North Korean nuclear tests, and quarry blasts.St Columba’s College records and submits more data than any other school or university on the global SiS network.Donegal school records 1,000th seismic record on schools programme was last modified: October 7th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Laudrup plays down Graham exit reports

first_imgSwansea City manager Michael Laudrup has played down reports the club could sell Danny Graham.QPR have made enquiries about the striker and are reported to be considering tabling a bid, while Norwich and Sunderland have also been linked with him.Laudrup recently suggested he would hold talks with Graham, which prompted speculation the player could be on his way out of the Liberty Stadium.But, speaking after his side’s Capital One Cup triumph at Chelsea, Laudrup explained: “I talk to all players who are not playing regularly.“I did the same in August. I want to show them that respect and it doesn’t mean I want them to leave.”Graham’s injury-goal sealed a first-leg victory for the Swans at Stamford Bridge, giving them a great chance of winning the semi-final and reaching Wembley.“We’ve had some great wins this season but to beat the European champions is obviously something very special,” said 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more


Half-time: Fulham 0 Middlesbrough 2

first_imgMiddlesbrough raced into a two-goal lead inside 20 minutes thanks to Albert Adomah’s header and a penalty by Grant Leadbitter.Adomah put Boro ahead after just three minutes when he connected with Stewart Downing’s cross to the back post.Leadbitter converted from the spot after David Nugent was brought down inside the box by Chris Baird.Fulham lost Ryan Fredericks to injury after 22 minutes and he was replaced by Moussa Dembele, who forced Boro keeper Dimitrios Konstantopolous to save a bicycle-kick from close range.And Michael Madl saw a goal-bound header cleared off the line by Ritchie De Laet just before half-time.Fulham Lonergan; Fredericks (Dembele 22), Stearman, Madl, Burn, Garbutt; Parker, Baird; Tunnicliffe, Cairney; McCormackSubs: Lewis, Richards, Kacaniklic, Labyad, O’Hara, HyndmanFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more


Fatty Acid Synthesis: A Machine with “High Degree ofArchitectural Complexity”

first_imgAs Bruce Alberts said in 1998, the biology of the future was going to be the study of molecular machines: “the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”1  One of those machines is like a mini-factory in itself.  It’s called fatty acid synthase (FAS).  Three Yale researchers just published the most detailed description of this machine in the journal Cell.2  (cf. last year’s headline, 03/06/2006).  They remarked that its most striking feature is the “high degree of architectural complexity” – some 48 active sites, complete with moving parts, in a particle 27 billionths of a meter high and 23 billionths of a meter wide.    Despite our aversion to fat, fatty acids are essential to life.  It’s when fat production goes awry that you can become fat.  The authors explain:Fatty acids are key components of the cell, and their synthesis is essential for all organisms except archaea.  They are major constituents of cellular membranes and are used for posttranslational protein modifications that are functionally important.  Saturated fatty acids are the main stores of chemical energy in organisms.  Deregulation of fatty acid synthesis affects many cellular functions and may result in aberrant mitosis, cancer, and obesity.The chemical steps for building fatty acids appear in the simplest cells and remain essentially unchanged up to the most complex organisms, although the machinery differs widely between plants, animals and bacteria.  In plants, for instance, the steps are performed by separate enzymes.  In animals, a two-part machine does the work.  Which organism has one of the most elaborate fatty-acid machines of all?  The surprising answer: fungi.  The researchers imaged the fatty acid synthase enzymes of yeast and, despite their academic restraint, were clearly excited as the details came into focus:Perhaps the most striking feature of fungal FAS is its high degree of architectural complexity, in which 48 functional centers exist in a single … particle.  Detailed structural information is essential for delineating how this complex particle coordinates the reactions involved in many steps of synthesis of fatty acids…. The six alpha subunits form a central wheel in the assembly, and the beta subunits form domes on the top and bottom of the wheel, creating six reaction chambers within which each ACP can reach the six active sites through surprisingly modest movements.  This structure now provides a complete framework for understanding the structural basis of this macromolecular machine’s important function.Calling it an “elegant mechanism,” they proudly unveiled a new model that tells the secret inside: a swinging arm delivers parts to eight different reaction centers in a precise sequence.    Their dazzling color diagrams are, unfortunately, copyrighted inside a technical journal, but a Google image search shows one reasonable facsimile of the overall shape at a Swiss website: click here.  Some of the protein parts provide structural support for the delicate moving parts inside.  Taking the structure apart, it looks something like a wagon wheel with tetrahedron-shaped hubcaps above and below.  Picture a horizontal wagon wheel with three spokes, bisecting the equator of the structure.  Now put the hubcaps over the top and bottom axles.  The interior gets divided up into six compartments (“reaction chambers”) where the magic takes place.    In each reaction chamber, eight active sites are positioned on the walls at widely separated angles from the center.  Spaced nearly equidistant between them all is a pivot point, and attached to it by a hinge is a lever arm.  This lever arm, called ACP, is just the right length to reach all of the reaction sites.  From a tunnel on the exterior, the first component arrives and is fastened to the ACP arm (priming).  The arm then swings over to another active site to pick up the next part, then cycles through the next six reaction sites that each do their part to add ingredients to the growing fatty acid chain (elongation).  The machine cycles through the elongation step multiple times, adding carbons to the growing fatty acid.  When the chain reaches its proper length (16-18 carbons, depending on the fatty acid needed), it is sent to a final active site that stops the cycle (termination) and delivers the product through an exit channel to the cytoplasm.    The ACP hinged arm, then, is the key to the system.  Imagine a life-size automated factory with a roughly spherical interior.  Its task is to build a chain of parts in a precise order.  The first ingredient comes through a shaft and is attached to the robotic arm in the center.  The arm then follows a pre-programmed sequence that holds out the product to eight different machines on the walls that add their part to the product.  The final operation of the arm delivers the product to an exit channel.  In a cell, though, how does this arm actually move?  The answer: electricity.    Yes, folks, yeast cells contain actual electrical machines.  Don’t visualize wires of flowing current; instead, picture active sites with concentrations of positive and negative charges in precise amounts.  How does the lever arm use this electrical system?  Owing to the specific kinds of amino acids used, each active site has a net positive charge, while the ACP lever arm has a negative charge.  Each time a part is added to the product, it changes the overall charge distribution and makes the arm swing over to the next position.  Thus, a blind structure made out of amino acids follows a cyclic pattern that builds up a specific product molecule one carbon at a time, and automatically delivers it when complete.  After delivery, the system is automatically reset for the next round.  Clearly, the precision of charge on each active site is critical to the function of the machine.3, 4    Now that we have described one reaction chamber, step back and see that the yeast FAS machine has six such chambers working independently and simultaneously.  Another surprise is that the lever arm inside must be activated from the outside during assembly of the machine by a structure (PPT) on the exterior wall before it can work.  There’s a reason for this, too:The crystal structure of yeast FAS reveals that this large, macromolecular assembly functions as a six-chambered reactor for fatty acid synthesis.  Each of the six chambers functions independently and has in its chamber wall all of the catalytic units required for fatty acid priming, elongation, and termination, while one substrate-shuttling component, ACP, is located inside each chamber and functions like a swinging arm.  Surprisingly, however, the step at which the reactor is activated must occur before the complete assembly of the particle since the PPT domain that attaches the pantetheine arm to ACP lies outside the assembly, inaccessible to ACP that lies inside.  Remarkably, the architectural complexity of the FAS particle results in the simplicity of the reaction mechanisms for fatty acid synthesis in fungi.Maybe the activation step is a quality-control step, to ensure the system doesn’t cause trouble in the cytoplasm before the machinery is completely assembled.    The authors did not mention how fast the synthesis takes place.  But if it’s anything like the other machinery in the cell, you can bet the FAS machine cranks out its products swiftly and efficiently, and life goes on, one molecule at a time.  Baking a cake with yeast will never seem the same again.1See 01/09/2002 for citation.2Lomakin, Xiong and Steitz, “The Crystal Structure of Yeast Fatty Acid Synthase, a Cellular Machine with Eight Active Sites Working Together,” Cell, Volume 129, Issue 2, 20 April 2007, Pages 319-332.3In addition to electrical charges, some amino acids have side chains that attract or repel water.  These hydrophilic and hydrophobic side chains also contribute to the force fields that cause the conformational changes in the enzyme.4The diagrams in the paper show the details of each active site.  To the uninitiated, enzyme models appear like random balls of putty stuck together, but humans should not impose their propensity for straight lines and angles on the world of molecules.  The shape and folds of the structure are critical to the function because they control the charge distribution in the vicinity.  The active sites are recessed within tunnels.  The ACP lever arm tip is guided by charge into these tunnels where ingredients are “snapped on” to the molecule through precise chemical reactions.  Each reaction changes the charge distribution, leading to the next stage of the cycle.Reading this paper was almost a transcendent experience.  To imagine this level of precision and master-controlled processing on a level this small, cannot help but induce a profound sense of wonder and awe.  Here, all this time, this machine has been helping to keep living things functioning and we didn’t even know the details till now.  How would such revelations have affected the history of ideas?    The authors did not say a peep about evolution except to note five times that certain parts are “conserved” (unevolved).  They also assumed evolution (without evidence) in one astonishing reaction to the fact that certain folds in the protein parts of this machine are unique in nature: listen – “They consequentially represent new folds and may have evolved independently to tether and orient the multiple active centers of fungal FAS for efficient catalysis.”  OK, everyone, a collective rotten-tomato toss for that enlightened suggestion.    Remember that origin-of-life researchers are stumbling and fumbling trying to get even single amino acids to form (04/04/2007), let alone get them to join up in useful, functioning chains (see online book).    The fatty acids are useless without the amino acids, and vice versa (09/03/2004).  Even if some kind of metabolic cycle were to be envisioned under semi-realistic conditions, how did this elaborate machine, composed of amino acids with precise charge distributions, arise?  It’s not just the machine, it’s the blueprints and construction process that must be explained.  What blind process led to the precise placement of active sites that process their inputs in a programmed sequence?  What put them into a structure with shared walls where six reaction chambers can work independently?  All this complexity, involving thousands of precision amino acids in FAS (2.6 million atomic mass units) has to be coded in DNA, then built by the formidably complex translation process, then assembled together in the right order, or FAS won’t work.  But the storage, retrieval, translation and construction systems all need the fatty acids, too, or they won’t work.    We are witnessing an interdependent system of mind-boggling complexity that defies any explanation besides intelligent design.  Yes, Bruce Alberts, “as it turns out, we can walk and we can talk because the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered.”  We have tended to “vastly underestimate the sophistication of many of these remarkable devices.”    Yeast.  Who could have ever imagined this simple little blob possessed a high degree of architectural complexity and robotic technology.  Many questions remain.  Why do plants and animals have different mechanisms, but the same chemical steps?  Why do fungi, of all things, have the most elaborate architectures?  Are the other architectures equally complex in their own ways?  What other factories regulate this one, and how does this factory regulate other downstream systems?  We have much more to learn about fatty acid synthesis, but the “biology of the future” – design biology – is shedding far more light than Darwin’s myths ever did.  The fact that life functions so well, from yeast to human, should spur us on to uncover the design principles that make it all come together as a finely tuned system, in a finely tuned world, in a finely tuned universe.(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


Pig head sniffed out by beagle in airport to help maintain biosecurity

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest When Hardy, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trained detector dog, sniffed out a roasted pig head in traveler baggage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport early this month, it underscored the efforts USDA and its partners are undertaking to keep African Swine Fever (ASF), a swine disease that could devastate the U.S. pork producers, from entering the country.USDA continues to train dogs at its National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. The center is designed and equipped to train detector dog teams (canines and handlers), like Hardy’s, to safeguard American agriculture. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Protection and Quarantine program and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) use detector dog teams, known as the Beagle Brigade, to search for prohibited agricultural products at major U.S. ports of entry (airports and land border crossings), mail and cargo facilities. The teams detect prohibited agricultural products that can carry foreign pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture and forests.“African Swine Fever is a devastating, deadly disease affecting all kinds of pigs, both domestic and wild – and keeping our pork industry safe is a top priority,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Recently, our collaboration with CBP proved successful when a USDA trained detector dog intercepted a roasted pig head in traveler baggage from Ecuador. The quick work of a beagle and the CBP staff prevented a potential animal health issue and further highlighted the need to be vigilant in safeguarding the U.S. against foreign animal diseases.”Concern over ASF is not new. It is a long-standing disease found in countries around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. However, confirmation of cases in China and the European Union over the past several months prompted USDA to review and strengthen its protections. This involves partnering with the swine industry, producers, CBP, and the travelling public to help ensure we protect American agriculture.To prevent ASF from entering the country, USDA has in place a series of interlocking safeguards. They include:Collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure everyone follows on-farm biosecurity and best practices (including for garbage feeding in states where that is allowed);Restricting imports pork and pork products from affected countries; andWorking with CBP staff at ports of entry to train their inspection dogs, as well as to increasing screening vigilance to pay particular attention to passengers and products arriving from affected countries.USDA is committed to working closely with the swine industry and producers to ensure strict biosecurity procedures are in place and being followed on all swine farms.“Because there’s no treatment or vaccine available for this disease, we must work together to prevent this disease from entering the United States in order to best protect our farmers, our consumers and our natural resources,” Perdue said. “Good biosecurity is key to protecting pigs from any disease. We know the swine industry has many biosecurity resources available for their producers, so it’s just a matter of making sure everyone follows the guidance, every day, every time. Our goal is to never have to respond to African Swine Fever.”USDA is actively readying and planning its response, should the disease ever be found in the U.S. by working with states and industry to test response mechanisms on a regular basis and planning to increase the testing capacity of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network labs for ASF.USDA is also asking all veterinarians and producers to be aware of the signs of illness: high fever; decreased appetite; weakness; red, blotchy or lesions on the skin; diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and difficulty breathing. Quick detection is key to preventing disease spread, so USDA is stressing the importance of reporting sick pigs to state or federal animal health officials immediately so that a disease investigation and appropriate testing can occur.International travelers also need to be aware of this disease, as they could unknowingly carry the virus into the U.S. Anyone who has contact with pigs or swine farms on travel must ensure they carefully clean and disinfect their shoes, wash their clothes and shower prior to having contact with pigs here in the U.S. Report the visit on the CBP form (question 12). Travelers looking to bring back agricultural items or souvenirs should check USDA’s travelers web .last_img read more