Revealed: every Londoner breathing dangerous levels of toxic air particle

Exclusive: Every area of the capital breaches global standards for PM2.5 pollution particles, with most areas exceeding levels by at least 50%

The scale of Londons air pollution crisis was laid bare on Wednesday, with new figures showing that every person in the capital is breathing air that exceeds global guidelines for one of the most dangerous toxic particles.

The research, based on the latest updated London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, shows that every area in the capital exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) limits for a damaging type of particle known as PM2.5.

It also found that 7.9 million Londoners nearly 95% of the capitals population live in areas that exceed the limit by 50% or more. In central London the average annual levels are almost double the WHO limit of 10 g/m3.

The findings, described as sickening by Londons mayor, Sadiq Khan, have serious health implications especially for children with both short- and long-term exposure to these particulates increasing the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Health experts say that young people exposed to these toxic pollutants are more likely to grow up with reduced lung function and develop asthma.

Khan said: Its sickening to know that not a single area of London meets World Health Organisation health standards, but even worse than that, nearly 95% of the capital is exceeding these guidelines by at least 50%.

London is widely recognised as the worst area for air pollution in the UK, although there is growing evidence that dangerously polluted air is damaging peoples health in towns and cities across the country.

Khan added: We should be ashamed that our young people the next generation of Londoners are being exposed to these tiny particles of toxic dust that are seriously damaging their lungs and shortening their life expectancy. I understand this is really difficult for Londoners, but thats why I felt it was so important that I made this information public so people really understand the scale of the challenge we face in London.

Levels of PM2.5 across London

The mayors office said approximately half of PM2.5 in London is from sources outside the city. However, the main sources of PM2.5 emissions in London are from tyre and brake wear, construction and wood burning.

Last week Khan unveiled plans to limit the use of wood-burning stoves in the capital from 2025 and tighten up regulations to make sure all new stoves from 2022 are as clean as possible.

He has also set out a range of plans to tackle pollution from diesel cars in the capital. The first stage, the new T-Charge, which will charge older, more polluting vehicles entering central London, starts later this month.

The figures were revealed as it emerged that the government has failed to bring down the number of regions across the UK with illegal levels of air pollution despite being ordered to by the courts.

According to figures submitted by ministers to the European Commission, 37 out of 43 zones across the UK are still in breach of pollution limits the same number as in 2015 despite the government being under a supreme court order to bring pollution down as soon as possible.

Clean air campaigners criticised the governments inaction and welcomed Khans plans, which include the introduction of an ultra low emission zone in 2019.

But they called on the mayor to take more urgent, immediate action in light of the scale of the crisis.

Paul Morozzo, a clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: London air isnt safe to breathe. Every person in London is affected by this crisis old or young, healthy or ill. The air you breathe in London is putting your health at risk now and in the future, whether you realise it or not.

Restricting diesel will make a big difference to both PM and nitrogen oxide air pollution in London, which is why the mayor has no choice but to get tough on cleaning up our roads.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: Quite frankly, this research beggars belief and is deeply concerning for every Londoner. Toxic air is poisoning our children, making existing lung conditions worse, such as asthma. The mayor cannot solve this public health crisis without government support. We urgently need changes to taxation for new diesel vehicles and a diesel scrappage scheme.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green party, said: The mayor needs to decide whether he is going to commit to take the air pollution epidemic seriously or not. And that means making the right choices over the big polluting decisions. Creating pollution with one hand and then trying to waft it away with the other is no solution.

The mayor cant credibly claim to be tackling Londons dirty air when he is actively contributing to it by building the Silvertown tunnel, backing City airport expansion and failing to bring in a moratorium on waste incineration.

The mayor released the latest findings on Wednesday morning as he signed London up to the Breathe Life coalition organised by the WHO, the body UN Environment and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition, at the Child Health Initiative conference at City Hall.

The initiative aims to connect similar world cities, combine expertise, share best practice and work together to improve air quality.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, welcomed Londons support and Khans measures aimed at tackling air pollution.

To ensure good health, every person must be able to breathe clean air no matter where they live. Londons plan to clean up their air means millions of people will be able to walk to work and walk their children to school without worrying about whether the air is going to make them sick. More cities around the world must also follow suit.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/revealed-every-londoner-breathing-dangerous-levels-of-toxic-air-particle

Why did no one speak out about Harvey Weinstein?

As the allegations swirl around the disgraced film mogul, we must ask whose fault it is that his behaviour continued unchallenged for so long and how we stop the harassers we encounter in our own lives

This happens once in a while: a tide of disapproval should crash on the head of the man who has been serially sexually harassing women for his entire career. But it never does. Almost as the story breaks, his part in it becomes a trigger event at best the Franz Ferdinand moment in the first world war or a footnote at worst. Instead, the pressing question becomes: whose fault was it that a culture of silence built up around the person whose fault it actually was? It is almost as if the extravagance of the offence expiates the offender: Harvey Weinstein has so many allegations against him of harassment and assault, of rape, forced oral sex, the systematic silencing of his victims. He has unequivocally denied any allegations of non-consensual sex. However, of the harassment, he has admitted enough that we know he is a bad man. We know about bad men the way we know about hurricanes. They simply exist, and when they land, they leave a lot of clearing up to do.

Is the fault institutional? The Weinstein Company fired Weinstein when everyone found out he was a sexual predator; it would have been better if they had fired him when it found out. According to the testimonies of 16 separate former and current executives, his behaviour was widely known, both at Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Are the real culprits the very powerful allies of the predator? It has been alleged that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe worked actively to suppress one story in 2004, much to the rage of Sharon Waxman, the journalist whose story went under the wheels of that celebrity juggernaut. (It would be saddening and surprising to discover that Damon is a jerk; less so Crowe.)

Is the problem more generally from male bystanders even if we accept that not everybody knew what was going on, there are enough people directly implicated the lawyers, the fixers, the friends to infer that many more had a fair idea. Since men can raise their objections to sexual harassment without the risks that women face of being branded hysterics or fantasists, or driven by envy shouldnt they use that freedom to better purpose? The worst that they would be called is humourless. Or should female bystanders, particularly the powerful ones, take the lead, in defence of the sisterhood? Is it good enough to say, as Meryl Streep has: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. Shouldnt everybody make it their business to know? It seems inconceivable that a man with such a range of behaviour should have passed as a regular Joe to anyone.

Or does all the responsibility lie with the women Weinstein harassed, who should have worked to make their experience public for the sake of the other women who would inevitably follow? Or one crowning victim-blaming intervention from the surprisingly unglued Donna Karan were those women at fault because they were asking for it in the first place? (Here, wear this thing for an awards ceremony. Oh, you got sexually harassed? You shouldnt have worn that thing, maybe? is a summary of Karans position, but its worth watching in full, if you want to really get angry.) She has subsequently apologised.

Theres a relatively simple two-grid matrix we could use when it comes to ascertaining the ethics of all this: how much power do you have yourself, and how easily can you be discredited by exactly the same cultural contempt for women that spurred the harassment in the first place? As the writer, feminist and human rights activist Joan Smith reminds us: The men who do this, do it because they have the power and wealth to get away with it. They deliberately pick on women who are less powerful than themselves. If you had a lot of professional or cultural capital yourself, it is less likely that you would be sexually harassed; when you chastise victims for not speaking out sooner, youre asking women to suffer the double punishment of being harassed in the first place, and then having to kill the green shoots of a nascent career for some higher altruistic purpose. Practically if not explicitly, its not much different from saying its their fault.

Laura Bates, whose Everyday Sexism project did a huge amount to change the way sexual harassment is talked about, has some stark detail on this, having done a joint research project with the TUC: When women do report sexual harassment, the outcomes are terrible. Over two-thirds of young women are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace now, today. Eighty per cent of them felt unable to report it, but three-quarters of the ones who did said that nothing changed afterwards, and 16% said that the situation got worse.

Prof Liz Kelly, director of the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University, says: I feel really uncomfortable hearing some of the statements [saying], If only women had spoken out about this earlier, they might have stopped it. Women did speak about it. He used his position of authority to mute their voices. It is unrealistic and inaccurate to expect this to be stopped by the people its happening to.

In terms of both ethics and effectiveness, it would be better if bystanders spoke out. Jackson Katz, a leading social activist on gender and race, is one of the architects of the bystander approach, and is pretty clear that harassment should be challenged by men. The conversation about bystanders has to be a gendered conversation: its like with racism. Is the responsibility of people of colour to white people to challenge white racism? No, it isnt. Pragmatically, its not always obvious what challenge looks like. Its very easy, once someones fallen from grace, to say how obvious it was, Smith points out. But before that, its often just rumour, and who do you take those rumours to?

Bates says: There are ways of reaching out to and supporting victims, which would be hugely important to women who have to put up with everybody looking the other way. One woman described this situation: she was in a circle of colleagues at a work Christmas party, and her boss reached across the circle and grabbed her breast. The thing that she focused on the most was not that, but the fact that everyone in the circle laughed. And the impact that had on her, of realising: These are my colleagues, that was their response, how could I possibly report it? was greater than [that of] the act itself.

Smith remembers being sexually abused as a young journalist by a senior editor on a newspaper, and people did hear about it because I did talk about it, and people joked about it. A bystander doesnt have to make a report to make an impact: to say what youve seen, to register your shock, to ask the victim what she wants to do about it, all these things are better than not doing them, and much better than laughing. This fact is so strikingly obvious that it takes you aback to have to write it down. Yet Katz is critical of intervention as enough in itself, what he calls the nightclub bouncer model. If we dont talk about gender dynamics, about masculinity, if we only talk about specific moments of intervention, its like if you were to talk about incidents of racism without talking about race.

When one of these scandals breaks, there is always something a bit tinny about the outrage. It doesnt have deep roots into the ground soil, where we all find this behaviour abhorrent. Its more like an explosion of confected shock, a flash riot of dismay at the thing we all knew happened a lot, a short-lived if intense conversation that purports to be about womens rights but is just as much about lurid detail. Obviously, Smith says, there are people who work in womens organisations and are genuinely horrified, and its thanks to their work that we have equalities legislation. But you have a president in the US who was able to boast on [tape] about assaulting women, and it didnt stop him from being elected. That tells you about the society we live in and its tolerance, and whether or not there is an atmosphere of genuine horror.

Kelly refers to the conducive context, which can be localised within an organisation, or general. A conducive context is, clearly, created by complicity; men and women stay silent on this for different reasons, women feeling above all that the ostracism that follows a victim who speaks up can just as easily attach to any woman. The history professor Joanna Bourke, who wrote the brilliant book Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present, has just started a five-year project for the Wellcome Foundation entitled Sexual Violence, Medicine and Psychiatry, the aim of which is to take sexual violence out of the little box called crime and into the huge field of public health.

There is something preventing our acknowledgment of sexual predation as a broad-based phenomenon that affects all of us, all of our workplaces, our productivity, our relationships, men as well as women. There is something that insists upon it as an event between two individuals, and not something that could ever be broached at the level of the institution or the culture. And I dont know the answer yet, Bourke says, but it has something, I think, to do with the nature of the sex body, the fears that we have of the sex body, and the dirtiness of sexual violence, that makes people want to ignore it, pay no attention to it. It is a bit of a tangent, but Im reminded of the fact that, this week, Radio 4 chose to mark 50 years since the passing of the Abortion Act the most important extension of womens rights since we got the vote not with a celebration of the women and men who made that happen, but with an episode of The Moral Maze debating whether abortion was right or wrong.

The female body remains a source of social risk and cultural shame. A young woman doesnt want to talk about harassment because to do so would mark her out as mentally unreliable. An old woman doesnt want to talk about it because she doesnt want to remind everybody that shes female. There are probably about six months, between 44 and 44 and a half, when, in the no mans land between desirable and obsolete, you can say whatever the hell you like.

Male complicity has different sources, as Kelly describes: It may come from a position of envy, wanting to be that powerful person and get away with it; it may be not wanting the focus to be turned on them whats wrong with them that they would object, are they gay? It becomes a masculinity challenge to say anything. And I think there are some men who have a vulnerability themselves, they may be from a minority and they feel like their hold on their position is quite tenuous. There are different ways in which men can become complicit, and not all of it is about thinking the behaviour is OK.

Men say things to one another that women never hear, things that are sexually aggressive, things that are contemptuous of women. Thats a difficult thing to say without sounding paranoid, but it is also true, and surely if theres one overarching lesson from this, it is that sometimes you have to risk sounding paranoid in order to say true things. One of the nice things about growing older, Bourke says, is that men just dont notice you any more. So its really interesting to sit in a bar and listen to them talk. Its quite shocking at times. You realise there must be a lot of guilt in their silence on sexual aggression.

The cultural shift away from accepting sexual harassment as a joke lies, Bates suggests, partly in seeing its wider effect. In many cases, it stops victims from putting ideas forward in the workplace, and to avoid certain situations; in some cases, to leave work altogether. Not to mention the morale of an organisation in which sexual harassment is allowed to continue.

The American writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was on the Today programme on Tuesday, musing on whether a black politician could have spoken about women the way Trump did and got away with it. He wouldnt have made governor, Coates said, with a tone of redolent understatement. There is a racial component white men can harass, black men cant; women of colour, when harassed, are less likely to be believed and more likely to be written off that underscores the element of contempt in sexual harassment, that its about one person having scorn for another, rather than unmanageable desire. If it were seen for what it was, a show of power that is impersonal and structural, it would make it both more natural and more urgent for everyone to take responsibility for it. Katz makes another, telling comparison with racism: Do we think that incidents of racism, like burning a cross on a front lawn, are isolated, that an individual pathology is at play? Public institutions have a huge amount of work to do in establishing a zero-tolerance to harassment, and in having safeguards, transparent policies and processes.

Ultimately, sexual harassment should be treated like a gas leak: if you smell it, you report it; if it turns out to be nothing, brilliant, no gas leak; if you think you smell it but arent sure, you ask everyone around you, in an unabashed fashion; you neither ascribe nor internalise any shame related to the leak, even if you turn out to be wrong; you consider the ramifications of being seen as the person who always smells gas, and decide that risk is acceptable; you take responsibility for noticing it, not for altruistic purposes but because, if it explodes, it explodes upon you all. Kellys conducive context is created by the shame of the act and the ease with which the powerless are overlooked, but takes millions upon millions of blind eyes to perpetuate.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/oct/10/why-did-no-one-speak-out-about-harvey-weinstein

Trump: ‘We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values’

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump dove into America’s culture wars on Friday, touting his administration for “returning moral clarity to our view of the world” and ending “attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”

Trump, nine months into his presidency, has found it harder to get things done than the ease with which he made promises on the campaign trail, making speeches to adoring audiences like Friday’s in Washington key to boosting the President’s morale. And the audience at the Values Voter Summit, an annual socially conservative conference, didn’t fail to deliver.
“We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values,” Trump said to applause, before slamming people who don’t say “Merry Christmas.”
    “They don’t use the word Christmas because it is not politically correct,” Trump said, complaining that department stores will use red and Christmas decorations but say “Happy New Year.” “We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”
    The comment drew thunderous applause.
    Heated debates over the “War On Christmas” have raged for years, with many on the right complaining that political correctness has made it less acceptable to say Merry Christmas. Trump has seized on these feelings, regularly telling primarily religious audiences that his presidency has made it acceptable to “start saying Merry Christmas again.”
    “You go into a department store. When was the last time you saw ‘Merry Christmas?’ You don’t see it anymore,” Trump said on the campaign trail. “They want to be politically correct. If I’m president, you will see ‘Merry Christmas’ in department stores, believe me, believe me.”
    “America is a nation of believers and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer,” Trump said.

      Trump ends insurance subsidies for poor people

    This is not the first time Trump has addressed the group and initially he was not universally well received. Speaking before the group in 2015, Trump got booed when he referred to Sen. Marco Rubio, then a 2016 presidential candidate, a “clown.”
    Trump, facing difficultly in getting Congress to work with him on a host of issues, has focused more on his political base lately, catering to the conservative voters for vaulted him from reality TV star to President.
    The President needled Congress on Friday.
    “Congress forgot what their pledges are,” he said about health care, faulting them for requiring the Trump administration to take a “different route” on repealing Obamacare.
    Most recently, Trump rolled back an Obamacare rule that required employers to provide birth control coverage as part of their health insurances packages. Trump scraped that plan with a new rule that would exempt employers whose religious or moral beliefs conflict with providing contraceptive coverage.
    Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, heralded that decision, arguing that it showed Trump is committed to “undoing the anti-faith policies of the previous administration and restoring true religious freedom.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/13/politics/trump-values-voters-summit/index.html

    Trump warns McCain: ‘Be careful because at some point I fight back’

    Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump, hours after Sen. John McCain delivered a speech that repudiated the President, warned the Arizona Republican to “be careful” because at some point he will “fight back.”

    McCain, while accepting the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia on Monday night, warned the United States against turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
    The speech was a repudiation of Trump, who the Arizona Republican has long feuded with, and the worldview that catapulted him to office.
      Trump told Chris Plante of “The Chris Plante Show” on Tuesday that he heard the criticism and warned McCain to be careful.
      “He was taking shots at you again yesterday,” Plante said. “You heard what he said yesterday, Sen. McCain?”
      “Yeah, well I hear it. And people have to be careful because at some point I fight back,” Trump said. “I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point I fight back, and it won’t be pretty.”
      Responding to Trump’s threat, McCain bluntly told reporters Tuesday: “I’ve faced far greater challenges than this.”
      McCain and Trump’s feud has dated back years, ever since the then-2016 candidate said the senator wasn’t a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam.
      “He is not a war hero,” Trump told pollster Frank Luntz in 2015.
      “He is a war hero,” Luntz interjected.
      “He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said, cutting him off. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured.”

        Donald Trump questions if McCain is a war hero

      The feud continued throughout the 2016 campaign, with McCain regularly faulting the Republican standard bearer for comments he made on the campaign trail. McCain withdrew his support for Trump when the “Access Hollywood” video was made public, showing the 2016 Republican nominee bragging about sexually assaulting women.
      Both Trump and McCain won re-election, but their feud continued, with the Arizona senator casting a deciding vote against the Republican health care plan.
      The act of defiance stung Trump.
      “Sen. McCain, you mean the one who voted against Obamacare?” Trump asked, rhetorically, during a sweeping August news conference. “You mean Sen. McCain who voted against us getting good health care?”
      This public back-and-forth contributed to McCain’s speech Monday, where he was honored by Democrats and Republicans alike for a lifetime of service. McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year.
      The Arizona senator and his party’s 2008 presidential nominee described that “half-baked, spurious nationalism” as “unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/17/politics/trump-john-mccain-feud/index.html

      This 11-year-old Scout became a hero after grilling a senator on her policies.

      The Boy Scouts of America have been all over the news lately, but in a recent video, it’s one of the group’s youngest members who’s making waves.

      The video was taken earlier this month and features a Colorado state senator, Vicki Marble, holding a question-and-answer session at a Cub Scout den meeting. The senator likely had no idea just how tough the questions were going to be.

      One of the scouts, 11-year-old Ames Mayfield, had come prepared to ask his elected official some serious policy questions.

      Mayfield, respectfully armed with plenty of research, demanded the senator explain her stances on gun control and health care.

      Referencing an earlier scandal in which Marble suggested a connection between cultural diets and disease — aptly named “chicken-gate” — Mayfield drilled the senator for her claims: “I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”

      Marble deflected and blamed the media for fabricating the story and 11-year-old Mayfield for believing it.

      According to the Cub Scouts’ own website, a true scout is “brave” and “helpful,” which makes what happened next even stranger.

      Mayfield was kicked out of his Cub Scout den.

      Mayfield and his mother, Lori, who posted the Q&A footage online, say they were stunned by the decision. For Lori’s part, she insists she didn’t put her son up to it.

      “The only coaching I gave him was to be respectful,” she told the Denver Post. “Don’t be argumentative, preface things ‘with all due respect.’ I felt my son followed directions. He asked hard questions, but he was not disrespectful.”

      Mayfield has received an outpouring of support from people on social media. Meanwhile, the Scouts say they’re looking for another den he can join.

      Whether or not he rejoins remains to be seen.

      Whether you agree with Senator Marble’s positions on these issues or not, it’s important to encourage young kids like Mayfield to take on an active role in challenging leadership, holding them accountable, and asking tough questions. That’s how a healthy democracy functions.

      We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our country was built on just this sort of debate, and we should teach kids to ask smart, respectful questions — not blind obedience.

      Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-11-year-old-scout-became-a-hero-after-grilling-a-senator-on-her-policies

      Nobel prize for medicine awarded for insights into internal biological clock

      825,000 prize shared between American scientists Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young for work on the internal clock of living organismsLive reaction to medicine Nobel prize announcement

      The Nobel prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to a trio of American scientists for their discoveries on the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms in other words, the 24-hour body clock.

      According to the Nobel committees citation, Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young were recognised for their discoveries explaining how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earths revolutions.

      The team identified a gene within fruit flies that controls the creatures daily rhythm, known as the period gene. This gene encodes a protein within the cell during the night which then degrades during the day.

      The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize)

      Our biological clock helps to regulate sleep patterns, feeding behavior, hormone release and blood pressure #NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/NgL7761AFE

      October 2, 2017

      When there is a mismatch between this internal clock and the external surroundings, it can affect the organisms wellbeing for example, in humans, when we experience jet lag.

      The announcement was met by disbelief by the winners. You are kidding me, Rosbash replied when he got the call. Halls reaction was similar: I said, is this a prank? he told the Guardian.

      All three winners are from the US. Hall, 72, has retired but spent the majority of his career at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachussetts, where fellow laureate Rosbash, 73, is still a faculty member. Young, 68, works at Rockefeller University in New York.

      While all three laboured to isolate the period gene, publishing was something of a race. While Hall and Rosbash collaborated, Young was working on the puzzle independently. Both teams reported their findings in 1984.

      It was very unpleasant competition in the early 80s, although we settled down. I think its possible we just started to act more like grown-ups because we got older, said Hall.

      Hall and Rosbash then went on to unpick how the body clock actually works, revealing that the levels of protein encoded by the period gene rise and fall throughout the day in a negative feedback loop. Young, meanwhile, discovered a second gene involved in the system, dubbed timeless, that was critical to this process. Only when the proteins produced from the period gene combined with those from the timeless gene could they enter the cells nucleus and halt further activity of the period gene. Young also discovered the gene that controlled the frequency of this cycle.

      The teams discoveries also helped to explain the mechanism by which light can synchronise the clock.

      Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, who shared the Nobel prize in 2001 for research on the cell cycle, said the work was important for the basic understanding of life.

      Every living organism on this planet responds to the sun, he said. All plant and animal behaviour is determined by the light-dark cycle. We on this planet are slaves to the sun. The circadian clock is embedded in our mechanisms of working, our metabolism, its embedded everywhere, its a real core feature for understanding life.

      We are increasingly becoming aware that there are implications for human disease, Nurse added. There is some evidence that treatment of disease can be influenced by circadian rhythms too. People have reported that when you have surgery or when you have a drug can actually influence things. Its still not clear, but there will almost certainly be some implications for the treatment of disease too.

      The impact of the teams work on medicine is becoming ever more apparent, said Ralf Stanewsky, a professor of molecular behavioural biology at the University of Mnster and a former colleague of Hall. You can see that more and more health issues, human health issues, are boiled down to either genetic defects in the circadian clock or self-imposed problems, by work and jet lag for example, he said. This [internal] timer is constantly struggling to reset to what environment people are exposed to. If you shift your clock every week by six hours or three hours, that puts an enormous pressure on your body.

      The win was welcomed by other experts in the field. I think it is a fantastic development, said professor Hugh Piggins, who works on circadian rhythms at the University of Manchester. But, he added, it was not unexpected, pointing out the work had been tipped for the win for several years.

      Stanewsky agreed: They were winning the prizes that people usually win before they win the Nobel prize, he said.

      Hall and Rosbash struck up their fruitful collaboration after becoming friends on a basketball court, Stanewsky added. The pair were also such fans of the Boston Red Sox baseball team that they once sneaked a portable TV into a conference to keep up with a crucial game.

      Bambos Kyriacou, professor of behavioural genetics at the University of Leicester, who is friends with all three winners and a former colleague of two, said the trio were very different people. Jeff [Hall] is eccentric brilliant but eccentric, he said. Michael [Rosbash], there is no stopping him he is just going 100%, he will die with his boots on in the lab, and Michael Young is the most charming, nicest one of them because he is polite and pleasant, whereas the other two arent like that, they are just crazy, Kyriacou added.

      The winners will share a prize of 9m Swedish kronor (825,000), and each receive a medal engraved with their name.

      Hall told the Guardian he was planning to make large donations, including to the Humane Society of the United States and a Texas-based charity involved in rescuing pets caught in the floods that followed Hurricane Harvey. I have always loved and cared about animals, he said. I didnt even intend to last this long so I still have some [money] left over and Ill have bloated coffers now, he added.

      Last year the prize was won by Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist who unpicked the mechanisms by which the body break downs and recycles components of cells a process that guards against various diseases, including cancer and diabetes.

      In total, 107 Nobel prizes for physiology or medicine have been won by 211 scientists since 1901, with just 12 awarded to women. Nonetheless, it remains the science award with the highest such tally so far the physics prize has only been awarded to two women: Marie Curie and Maria Goeppert Mayer.

      This years winners of the physics, chemistry, literature and peace prizes will be announced over the rest of the week, with the economics prize to follow on Monday 9 October.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/02/nobel-prize-for-medicine-awarded-for-insights-into-internal-biological-clock

      Trump Jr. called silencers a great way to get kids into guns

      Donald Trump Jr. appeared in a promotional video for gun silencers in the run-up to the 2016 election, arguing that the devices make it easier for kids to use guns.

      In the video, Trump Jr. fires a gun with a silencer, also known as supressors, on it in rapid succession as gentle music plays in the background.

      When his clip empties, Trump Jr.–an avid hunter–turns around to someone and says “that thing is awesome.”

      “It’s about safety, it’s about hearing protection–it’s a health issue frankly,” Trump Jr. says during an interview portion of the video. “Getting little kids into the game, you know, it greatly reduces recoil. It’s just a great instrument, there’s nothing bad about it at all. It makes total sense, it’s where we should be going.”

      In the video, posted on Sept. 26, 2016, Trump Jr. also calls the Second Amendment a “basic right” of every American. You can see Trump Jr.’s remarks about children at 33:25. 

      The video was made for Silencerco, a Utah-based firearm suppressor manufacturer. After the video was released, Josh Waldron, the interviewer and CEO of SilencerCo, and his wife donated a combined $50,000 to the Trump Victory fund–a political fund–and each gave $2,700 to Trump’s campaign directly, according to the Daily Beast

      The video comes as Democrats continue to push for gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, which left nearly 60 people dead and more than 500 people injured.

      A silencer decision from Trump may be on the horizon. The Hearing Protection Act, which is part of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, would make it easier for people to buy gun silencers by removing them from the list of regulated items under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

      A hearing on the Hearing Protection Act was rescheduled due to the Las Vegas shooting. President Donald Trump‘s administration has said it is not the “time or place” to discuss gun control in the wake of the shooting.

      Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/trump-jr-silencers-promo-video/

      Tom Prices wifewho’s also a doctorwonders if HIV patients should be quarantined

      A Georgia state representative who’s also the wife of the former Health and Human Services secretary said this week that she wonders if HIV patients should be quarantined.

      Betty Price—the wife of Tom Price, who was fired from his job last month after a scandal involving the use of private planes—asked the head of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV Epidemiology Section what could be done to stop the spread of the disease.

      “What are we legally able to do? I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it,” Price asked this week, via the Washington Post. “Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. Are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

      More from Price, who is also an anesthesiologist, via CNN: “It just seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers —well, they are carriers—but, potential to spread. Whereas, in the past, they died more readily, and then at that point, they are not posing a risk. So, we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they’re not in treatment.”

      According to the CDC, about 1.1 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV as of the end of 2014. Stat News reports that nearly 50,000 Georgia residents were diagnosed with HIV in 2014.

      The executive director of Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, said Price’s comments were “incredibly disturbing.”

      “It’s very troubling to hear comments like that,” he told Stat News. “It shows the amount of work that still needs to happen to educate elected officials on the reality of the lives of people living with HIV. I’m hoping Rep. Price would be open to sitting down, meeting with folks, hearing how those comments sound, and recognizing that’s not the direction we need to go in.”

      Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/betty-price-hiv-quarantined/

      Roivant receives bad news and so does SoftBank

      Last month, SoftBank, through its massive Vision Fund, led the single biggest private financing round for a healthcare company ever — funneling $1.1 billion into the drug holding outfit Roivant Sciences.

      Today, the Japanese conglomerate might be regretting that decision. The reason: despite hundreds of millions of dollars poured into one of Roivant’s publicly traded subsidiaries — Axovant Sciences — the company just received news that its much-hyped, experimental Alzheimer’s drug, interperdine, doesn’t work.

      It’s a devastating outcome for Axovant, which was taken public in 2015 in what was then the biggest biotech IPO ever in the U.S., and whose shares have plummeted nearly 75 percent today on the news.

      The outcome is also a black mark against Roivant, which focuses on developing and commercializing a wide range of therapies and has numerous other subsidiaries, all of which involve the word “vant.”

      In addition to Axovant, which is focused on neurology, Roivant has spun out Myovant Sciences, which is focused on women’s health and endocrine diseases; Dermavant Sciences, which is focused on dermatology; Enzyvant Sciences, which is focused on rare diseases; Urovant Sciences, focused on urology; and, most newly, Datavant, an AI-driven initiative that’s aiming to improve the design of clinical trials.

      SoftBank’s investment is in Roivant only — not its subsidiaries. Founders Fund had also participated in that $1.1 billion round.

      Roivant still has plenty up its sleeve, notes founder and CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, a biology major at Harvard who worked a hedge fund analyst while earning a law degree from Yale — a job that served as the inspiration for Roivant.

      To wit, Ramaswamy has said he noticed pharmaceutical firms abandoning promising drugs for various reasons having nothing to do with their efficacy. Seeing an opportunity to complete the development of some of these overlooked drug candidates and get them to market quickly, and backed by the hedge fund where he’d been working, he struck out on his own in 2014.

      One of his first moves was to acquire an Alzheimer’s pill from GlaxoSmithKline as it was dialing down its neuroscience research, forming Axovant around it and naming it interperdine. Based on promising early results, Roivant took the company public. With those tests ongoing, Roivant also took public Myovant Sciences. It, too, was the biggest biotech IPO of the year. The drug candidate around which Myovant is centered is called relugolix; it aims to treat endometriosis and uterine fibroids and reportedly aced a mid-stage trial that ended in the spring.

      Altogether, says Ramaswamy, Roivant’s companies are working on 16 different drug candidates in varying stages of development. That includes Axovant, which apart from interperdine has a drug in Phase II trials right now for a progressive brain disorder called Lewy body dementia. Actor Robin Williams struggled with the disease, which impacts roughly 1.3 million Americans. (By way of comparison, an estimated 5.5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease.)

      Ramaswamy has always acknowledged that the odds of coming up with an Alzheimer’s cure remain dauntingly low. At a small event hosted by this editor back in February, he described it as among the “riskiest areas of drug development,” but said it was worth the gamble, calling Alzheimer’s “probably the single greatest health threat to the economic security of our country over the next 40 years.” Left unchecked, he’d continued, “It’s probably the one disease area that we can definitely say has the potential to bankrupt our system.”

      Today, Ramaswamy called Axovant’s results “disappointing for our company but also for a therapeutics area that really needed a win. We were hopeful we could take a shot at bucking that trend and I’m sorry for the millions of people and their caregivers who need new options. I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver that.”

      He observed that David Hung, whom Ramaswamy recruited to lead Axovant, joined the company as CEO from Medivation, a biopharmaceutical company that saw its own hopes to cure Alzheimer’s dashed in 2010 when a drug it had concocted failed in its first late-stage clinical trial.

      It’s worth noting that with its back against the wall, Medivation went on to create a blockbuster prostate cancer drug, and last year, Pfizer acquired the company for $14 billion.

      The same could prove true for Roivant, but the company has a much taller wall to climb now, particularly given its splashy debut and the attention paid to Axovant in particular as its first spin-out. As Harvard business professor and Axovant board member Gary Pisano told the outlet STAT last year, “In biotech, your first impression is your first drug.”

      SoftBank declined comment for this story, though a person familiar with the team’s thinking says that SoftBank’s interest in Roivant was never “premised on Axovant’s success” and that it is instead a “broader and longer-term thesis” based on Roivant’s ability to leverage data sets and artificial intelligence to ultimately create FDA-approved drugs.

      Certainly, Softbank’s team couldn’t have anticipated today’s outcome when it invested in Roivant last month. Trials are completely “blinded” until they are ended.

      In fact, as some readers might recall, billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen bet a quarter of a billion dollars on what seemed like another promising Alzheimer’s drug in 2008 and was charged with insider trading when it was learned that one of his portfolio managers was secretly obtaining details about the progress of its clinical trials.

      Cohen’s hedge fund had dumped all of its shares by the time the disappointing results were made public. He later paid out a $1.8 billion fine to the SEC to settle the case.

      Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/26/roivant-receives-bad-news-and-so-does-softbank/

      Chelsea Clinton understandably can’t take Trump’s crude ‘joke’

      What a pair.
      Image: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

      It would be that in an exposé of Vice President Mike Pence, it’s a reported comment from President Donald Trump about his veep’s views that’s putting the president right back in the hot seat.

      A new New Yorker story, “The Danger of President Pence,” dug out incredible details about Pence’s history, his rise to the vice presidency, and his relationship to Trump. Toward the end of the lengthy piece, author Jane Mayer reported on what Trump thinks about his political partner. 

      “Trump thinks Pence is great,” Bannon told me. But, according to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

      The last part about gay rights was picked up as especially cruel, and not at all funny. Chelsea Clinton, who has called out Trump before (and before that), was quick to reprimand the president about having a little basic decency.

      Others chimed in to share how upsetting it is to hear the president speak about the gay community in such a violent and flippant manner.

      As this is one of countless inappropriate, cruel, and inhuman comments Trump has uttered, the fear is that the revelation isn’t likely to change anything — or even get noticed much beyond today’s tweets. 

      Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/16/pence-new-yorker-trump-gay-chelsea-clinton/