It’s taken almost 100 years to come to fruition, but the new subway stations on the Upper East side are beautiful. Impressive, open spaces with modern mosaics by artists like Chuck Close define the three new stations Continue reading...
I write this on the eve of the electoral college vote, which is tomorrow; I already know the results. I have known the results since November 9th at 2am. There will be no Hail Mary moment. Red states will not go blue. Your phone calls, letters, mass emails, and pleas have done nothing more than annoy the electors. All of that energy, the money spent on a recount, the false hope fed to us by our "progressive leadership", all it did was succeed in us taking our eye off of what really matters: fights that could actually still be won. The truth is: Donald Trump is our president. Please, my dear liberal friends: take a deep breath...and sit with that. Let it sink in. Cry your last tear, throw something, scream, and then save it for another day. We have four years of screaming and fights ahead...we need you to get back up and on your feet...now. I am officially turning the lights on and the music off at your pity party. Time to come home and organize. We as democrats have managed to point fingers at everyone but ourselves. The people closest to the campaign being the most arrogant. THIS is what scares me more than Trump. If we as a party, can not realistically understand that we lost, and look hard at where we lost this, then we are sure to just double down on the same failed strategy and lose again. Same old people, playing out of the same old dog eared playbook that Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, all used..and you know what that sounded like? The same words that the people have been hearing for the last fifty years. "apple pie" "freedom" "bald eagle" "hope" "a new tomorrow" same tired strategy, optics and words. Do you know how that registered in the minds of voters? They weren't quite sure where they had heard those same old phrases before, but they had, and they felt lied to, because we have been lied to so many times before by every politician. Everything Hillary did and said, felt "inauthentic" sounded like a "lie" even when it wasn't; because it was all out of the tired old playbook we had been manipulated with before. Trump threw the playbook out the window. He could have said "unicorns are crapping donuts out of the sky and it is the fault of Isis and the Muslims" and people would think, what the hell is this guy saying? I don't know, but he "sounds like a straight shooter to me". This guy "calls it like he sees it, whether I agree or not". AND THAT my friends, is how this election was won and lost. Messaging. We have pointed fingers everywhere: The FBI, the Russians, hackers, misogyny, racism, ignorance, the media, the electoral college, voter fraud, and today...we get a teeny bit closer to the truth: the scapegoat who is poor Huma Abadein, Hillary's closest advisor gets the blame du jour. Well, at least were getting warmer. The truth isn't trending well with Democrats these days, but here it is. We lost the election for two reasons: Hillary Clinton ran a terrible campaign. People didn't vote. Period. Misogyny didn't win. The FBI didn't win. The Russians didn't lose us the election. Racism didn't win. Voter fraud didn't win. Hubris lost. We were so sure of ourselves, high fiving each other because Trump was such a "moron", meanwhile her communications team was a complete disaster. I had voiced my opinion to many people working on her campaign, and they were blindly out of touch. They simply did not care to hear anyone's opinion, any fresh ideas, and they did it their way, sticking to the old playbook that had been handed down for the last hundred years. Never daring stray from the script. I'll give you just a couple of examples of where we epically dropped the ball on a gold mine. Before I start, this is NOT an "I told you so"..it is simply a way to see, and learn from our mistakes, which we MUST do--once you read this, I think you'll get it. When Hillary fainted on 9/11 at the memorial because she had pneumonia. The Trump campaign ran with that. They immediately attacked her health, said she didn't have stamina, that she was not well enough to be president, and that she lied to the American people by not disclosing her "mystery illness". Clinton's camp sat quietly, and then they sent out the big guns. Bill Clinton came on tv and I thought, well thank goodness...Bill's got this. Do you remember what his response to her fainting was? "Hillary has been working like a demon...she gets dehydrated" I almost screamed at the tv. Why not tell the truth, and turn this moment into pure gold? A lovely alternative might have sounded something like this: "Hillary has pneumonia. I had pneumonia when I was 6. It's like an intense flu. Not cancer. She will get well soon. We didn't feel the need to announce every headache or cold she gets to the media. It is not life threatening. Mrs. Clinton would not have missed standing with those families on such an important day for anything in the world. So, with a hundred and three degree fever, she got up, and got dressed; to show up for the American people, to show up for those families, and to go to work. And while we're on the topic, how about we discuss how she, like millions of other Americans do the same thing Hillary did--everyday. They get up sick, they get dressed, and they go to work. Because we don't have paid family leave, or sick days; and you know, we probably should." The end. Now, was that hard? It wasn't. The mistresses? Again, Trump paraded them, blamed her, I saw women on social media saying that she was "so nasty" to the women her husband had cheated on her with. They spun it so it was somehow Hillary's fault that she was cheated on! Genius. Why on earth, did this woman not stand up, especially during the debates, and say "You know what? Thank you for bringing that up. I've been married to Bill for over forty years. Not all of them were easy. Many women in this audience, and men have experienced tough times in marriages and some have experienced infidelity. It is painful. It is usually private. I chose to forgive my husband to keep my marriage and family together. While I respect women who leave, I chose to stay. I chose to honor my vows said before God and family, and do what was the most difficult thing I had ever done, forgive and rebuild. I stayed when things got rough because I made that commitment. And as your president, I promise to do the same for you. I will stay and fight to make us stronger when things get rough. And you know what? I'm glad that I did, because now my marriage is stronger than ever and my daughter is doing great and I am happy." Good Lord, she would have sent it over the fences. Instead, when the mistresses were brought up, she would give a smug smile, and lean into the podium, half perched on her seat, and not address it. It was inauthentic. It was smug. It didn't read well. And whoever came up with that zippy slogan "Love Trumps Hate" clearly didn't understand optics. When I turned on the DNC Convention, and saw an ocean of people holding signs with the name Trump on them...I thought, this guy must be home laughing right now. Why on earth did we shake signs in the air with this man's name on them? He couldn't pray for better press...all hand delivered by...us. An auditorium of Democrats, enthusiastically shaking Trump's name. Sure, the word "hate" was on there, but so was "love". Bad messaging. Terrible optics. These are just a few very simple ways that she could have done better. From pant suit flash mob videos that looked like Gap ads, to completely uninspiring television spots (with the exception of the Gold Star Khan family, which was the only powerful piece of media I had seen the campaign run) to mosaic mashups of celebrities all montaging the same tired old message. It all just flopped. Add to that an ineffective speaker, whose speeches were canned, rehearsed and stiff, and she was an easy target. If you think that they don't "sell us our presidents the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars", you are mistaken. Hillary should have been as exciting as Obama in 2008. Our first female president, and even I, a devoted liberal had to rev up my own engine to muster any level of enthusiasm for her. I knocked on doors in Pennsylvania. I made a short video urging people to vote for her. I helped raise money. I wrote favorable pieces about her. The saddest part is that I have met her in person...she is not only graceful and kind, she is affable and lovely, brilliant, generous, and open. That is what upsets me most. She has it in her, and she would have been a terrific president. It just didn't read and she was surrounded by weak people advising her. I sincerely hope that they no longer work in politics. The polls were not "off" the people taking them were. Leaving out a percentage of folks who weren't racists or misogynists, they just didn't want to vote for Hillary, and kept their mouths shut, because they didn't want to be ostracized or called names. All of it, was a disaster, and I have lost more liberal friends than conservative, because the one thing liberals can't do right now, is hear that they failed. We failed. But ultimately the buck stops at Hillary. She didn't even come out on the night of the election to address the people who had worked so hard for her at the Javitz Center. They were given false hope and sent home crying, then given the news by Donald Trump who said that she had called him. Need I say more? We were still "With Her"...but she was no longer with us. My views have made me terribly unpopular. But I'm not going to lie to you. You have been lied to enough lately. Democrats right now want to hear what a jerk and scumbag Trump is, how we got robbed, and how there's still a chance. They don't want to hear the truth. But until we make peace with the truth and channel that anger towards fighting the real fights ahead, they are going to finish us off. Ohio and North Carolina are showing us that already. We were so busy talking about who really won and by how many and how we actually weren't to blame; while they have been hard at work stealing more from us. Please focus, everyone. We have lost so much, but we ain't seen nothing yet. So, I urge you, after the electoral vote count is in...pull yourselves off the ground, clean yourself up, and start fighting like hell. Fight the real fights we have in front of us. The victim look isn't a good look on any of us, and I, for one, am not going to be any part of that. I will be the one fighting rough, going as low as they go, and punching harder...because I am not going to die, and I won't let you or this country die either. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
BOUNDARY ENLARGEMENT OF THE CASCADE-SISKIYOU NATIONAL MONUMENT - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Through Proclamation 7318 of June 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton established the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (monument) to protect the ecological wonders and biological diversity at the interface of the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou ecoregions. The area, home to an incredible variety of species and habitats, represents a rich mosaic of forests, grasslands, shrublands, and wet meadows. The many rare and endemic plant and animal species found here are a testament to Cascade-Siskiyou's unique ecosystems and biotic communities. As President Clinton noted in Proclamation 7318, the ecological integrity of the ecosystems that harbor this diverse array of species is vital to their continued existence. Since 2000, scientific studies of the area have reinforced that the environmental processes supporting the biodiversity of the monument require habitat connectivity corridors for species migration and dispersal. Additionally, they require a range of habitats that can be resistant and resilient to large-scale disturbance such as fire, insects and disease, invasive species, drought, or floods, events likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Expanding the monument to include Horseshoe Ranch, the Jenny Creek watershed, the Grizzly Peak area, Lost Lake, the Rogue Valley foothills, the Southern Cascades area, and the area surrounding Surveyor Mountain will create a Cascade-Siskiyou landscape that provides vital habitat connectivity, watershed protection, and landscape-scale resilience for the area's critically important natural resources. Such an expansion will bolster protection of the resources within the original boundaries of the monument and will also protect the important biological and historic resources within the expansion area. The ancient Siskiyou and Klamath Mountains meet the volcanic Cascade Mountains near the border of California and Oregon, creating an intersection of three ecoregions in Jackson and Klamath Counties in Oregon and Siskiyou County in California. Towering rock peaks covered in alpine forests rise above mixed woodlands, open glades, dense chaparral, meadows filled with stunning wildflowers, and swiftly-flowing streams. Native American occupancy of this remarkably diverse landscape dates back thousands of years, and Euro-American settlers also passed through the expansion area. The Applegate Trail, a branch of the California National Historic Trail, passes through both the existing monument and the expansion area following old routes used by trappers and miners, who themselves made use of trails developed by Native Americans. Today, visitors to the Applegate Trail can walk paths worn by wagon trains of settlers seeking a new life in the west. The trail, a less hazardous alternative to the Oregon Trail, began to see regular wagon traffic in 1846 and helped thousands of settlers traverse the area more safely on their way north to the Willamette Valley or south to California in search of gold -- one of the largest mass migrations in American history. Soon thereafter, early ranchers, loggers, and homesteaders began to occupy the area, leaving traces of their presence, which provide potential for future research into the era of westward expansion in southwestern Oregon. A historic ranch can be seen in the Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area, in the northernmost reaches of California. The Cascade-Siskiyou landscape is formed by the convergence of the Klamath, the Siskiyou, and the Cascade mountain ranges. The Siskiyou Mountains, which contain Oregon's oldest rocks dating to 425 million years, have an east-west orientation that connects the newer Cascade Mountains with the ancient Klamath Mountains. The tectonic action that formed the Klamath and Siskiyou Mountains occurred over 130 million years ago, while the Cascades were formed by more recent volcanism. The Rogue Valley foothills contain Eocene and Miocene formations of black andesite lava along with younger High Cascade olivine basalt. In the Grizzly Peak area, the 25 million-year geologic history includes basaltic lava flows known as the Roxy Formation, along with the formation of a large strato-volcano, Mount Grizzly. Old Baldy, another extinct volcanic cone, rises above the surrounding forest in the far northeast of the expansion area. Cascade-Siskiyou's biodiversity, which provides habitat for a dazzling array of species, is internationally recognized and has been studied extensively by ecologists, evolutionary biologists, botanists, entomologists, and wildlife biologists. Ranging from high slopes of Shasta red fir to lower elevations with Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, incense cedar, and oak savannas, the topography and elevation gradient of the area has helped create stunningly diverse ecosystems. From ancient and mixed-aged conifer and hardwood forests to chaparral, oak woodlands, wet meadows, shrublands, fens, and open native perennial grasslands, the landscape harbors extraordinarily varied and diverse plant communities. Among these are threatened and endangered plant species and habitat for numerous other rare and endemic species. Grizzly Peak and the surrounding Rogue Valley foothills in the northwest part of the expansion area are home to rare populations of plant species such as rock buckwheat, Baker's globemallow, and tall bugbane. More than 275 species of flowering plants, including Siberian spring beauty, bluehead gilia, Detling's silverpuffs, bushy blazingstar, southern Oregon buttercup, Oregon geranium, mountain lady slipper, Egg Lake monkeyflower, green-flowered ginger, and Coronis fritillary can be found here. Ferns such as the fragile fern, lace fern, and western sword fern contribute to the lush green landscape. Ancient sugar pine and ponderosa pine thrive in the Lost Lake Research Natural Area in the north, along with white fir and Douglas fir, with patches of Oregon white oak and California black oak. Occasional giant chinquapin, Pacific yew, and bigleaf maple contribute to the diversity of tree species here. Shrubs such as western serviceberry, oceanspray, Cascade barberry, and birchleaf mountain mahogany grow throughout the area, along with herbaceous species including pale bellflower, broadleaf starflower, pipsissewa, and Alaska oniongrass. Creamy stonecrop, a flowering succulent, thrives on rocky hillsides. Patches of abundant ferns include coffee cliffbrake and arrowleaf sword fern. Moon Prairie contains a late successional stand of Douglas fir and white fir with Pacific yew, ponderosa pine, and sugar pine. Old Baldy's high-elevation forests in the northeast include Shasta red fir, mountain hemlock, Pacific silver fir, and western white pine along with Southern Oregon Cascades chaparral. Nearby, Tunnel Creek is a high-altitude lodgepole pine swamp with bog blueberry and numerous sensitive sedge species such as capitate sedge, lesser bladderwort, slender sedge, tomentypnum moss, and Newberry's gentian. The eastern portion of the expansion, in the area surrounding Surveyor Mountain, is home to high desert species such as bitterbrush and sagebrush, along with late successional dry coniferous forests containing lodgepole pine, dry currant, and western white pine. The Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area in Siskiyou County, California, offers particularly significant ecological connectivity and integrity. The area contains a broad meadow ecosystem punctuated by Oregon white oak and western juniper woodlands alongside high desert species such as gray rabbitbrush and antelope bitterbrush. The area is also home to the scarlet fritillary, Greene's mariposa lily, Bellinger's meadowfoam, and California's only population of the endangered Gentner's fritillary. The incredible biodiversity of plant communities in the expansion is mirrored by equally stunning animal diversity, supported by the wide variety of intact habitats and undisturbed corridors allowing animal migration and movement. Perhaps most notably, the Cascade-Siskiyou landscape, including the Upper Jenny Creek Watershed and the Southern Cascades, provides vitally important habitat connectivity for the threatened northern spotted owl. Other raptors, including the bald eagle, golden eagle, white-tailed kite, peregrine falcon, merlin, great gray owl, sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's hawk, osprey, American kestrel, northern goshawk, flammulated owl, and prairie falcon, soar above the meadows, mountains, and forests as they seek their prey. Ornithologists and birdwatchers alike come to the Cascade-Siskiyou landscape for the variety of birds found here. Tricolored blackbird, grasshopper sparrow, bufflehead, black swift, Lewis's woodpecker, purple martin, blue grouse, common nighthawk, dusky flycatcher, lazuli bunting, mountain quail, olive-sided flycatcher, Pacific-slope flycatcher, pileated woodpecker, ruffed grouse, rufous hummingbird, varied thrush, Vaux's swift, western meadowlark, western tanager, white-headed woodpecker, and Wilson's warbler are among the many species of terrestrial birds that make their homes in the expansion area. The Oregon vesper sparrow, among the most imperiled bird species in the region, has been documented in the meadows of the upper Jenny Creek Watershed. Shore and marsh birds, including the Tule goose, yellow rail, snowy egret, harlequin duck, Franklin's gull, red-necked grebe, sandhill crane, pintail, common goldeneye, bufflehead, greater yellowlegs, and least sandpiper, also inhabit the expansion area's lakes, ponds, and streams. Diverse species of mammals, including the black-tailed deer, elk, pygmy rabbit, American pika, and northern flying squirrel, depend upon the extraordinary ecosystems found in the area. Beavers and river otters inhabit the landscape's streams and rivers, while Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area has been identified as a critical big game winter range. Bat species including the pallid bat, Townsend's big-eared bat, and fringed myotis hunt insects beginning at dusk. The expansion area encompasses known habitat for endangered gray wolves, including a portion of the area of known activity for the Keno wolves. Other carnivores such as the Pacific fisher, cougar, American badger, black bear, coyote, and American marten can be seen and studied in the expansion area. The landscape also contains many hydrologic features that capture the interest of visitors. Rivers and streams cascade through the mountains, and waterfalls such as Jenny Creek Falls provide aquatic habitat along with scenic beauty. The upper headwaters of the Jenny Creek watershed are vital to the ecological integrity of the watershed as a whole, creating clear cold water that provides essential habitat for fish living at the margin of their environmental tolerances. Fens and wetlands, along with riparian wetlands and wet montane meadows, can be found in the eastern portion of the expansion area. Lost Lake, in the northernmost portion of the expansion area, contains a large lake that serves as Western pond turtle habitat, along with another upstream waterfall. The expansion area includes habitat for populations of the endemic Jenny Creek sucker and Jenny Creek redband trout, as well as habitat for the Klamath largescale sucker, the endangered shortnose sucker, and the endangered Lost River sucker. The watershed also contains potential habitat for the threatened coho salmon. Numerous species of aquatic plants grow in the area's streams, lakes, and ponds. Amphibians such as black salamander, Pacific giant salamander, foothill yellow-legged frog, Cascade frog, the threatened Oregon spotted frog, and the endemic Siskiyou Mountains salamander thrive here thanks to the connectivity between terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Reptiles found in the expansion area include the western pond turtle, northern alligator lizard, desert striped whipsnake, and northern Pacific rattlesnake. The Cascade-Siskiyou landscape's remarkable biodiversity includes the astounding diversity of invertebrates found in the expansion, including freshwater mollusks like the Oregon shoulderband, travelling sideband, modoc rim sideband, Klamath taildropper, chase sideband, Fall Creek pebblesnail, Keene Creek pebblesnail, and Siskiyou hesperian. The area has been identified by evolutionary biologists as a center of endemism and diversity for springsnails, and researchers have discovered four new species of mygalomorph spiders in the expansion. Pollinators such as Franklin's bumblebee, western bumblebee, and butterflies including Johnson's hairstreak, gray blue butterfly, mardon skipper, and Oregon branded skipper are critical to the ecosystems' success. Other insects found here include the Siskiyou short-horned grasshopper and numerous species of caddisfly. The Cascade-Siskiyou landscape has long been a focus for scientific studies of ecology, evolutionary biology, wildlife biology, entomology, and botany. The expansion area provides an invaluable resource to scientists and conservationists wishing to research and sustain the functioning of the landscape's ecosystems into the future. The expansion area includes numerous objects of scientific or historic interest. This enlargement of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument will maintain its diverse array of natural and scientific resources and preserve its cultural and historic legacy, ensuring that the scientific and historic values of this area remain for the benefit of all Americans. WHEREAS, section 320301 of title 54, United States Code (known as the "Antiquities Act"), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected; WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to preserve the objects of scientific and historic interest on these public lands as an enlargement of the boundary of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument; NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, hereby proclaim the objects identified above that are situated upon lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be part of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument and, for the purpose of protecting those objects, reserve as part thereof all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, which is attached hereto and forms a part of this proclamation. These reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 48,000 acres. The boundaries described on the accompanying map are confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected. Nothing in this proclamation shall change the management of the areas protected under Proclamation 7318. Terms used in this proclamation shall have the same meaning as those defined in Proclamation 7318. All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries described on the accompanying map are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, or other disposition under the public land laws, from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing, other than by exchange that furthers the protective purposes of the monument. The enlargement of the boundary is subject to valid existing rights. If the Federal Government subsequently acquires any lands or interests in lands not owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, such lands and interests in lands shall be reserved as a part of the monument, and objects identified above that are situated upon those lands and interests in lands shall be part of the monument, upon acquisition of ownership or control by the Federal Government. The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) shall manage the area being added to the monument through the Bureau of Land Management as a unit of the National Landscape Conservation System, under the same laws and regulations that apply to the rest of the monument, except that the Secretary may issue a travel management plan that authorizes snowmobile and non-motorized mechanized use off of roads in the area being added by this proclamation, so long as such use is consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. Nothing in this proclamation shall preclude low-level overflights of military aircraft, the designation of new units of special use airspace, or the use or establishment of military flight training routes over the lands reserved by this proclamation consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the jurisdiction of the State of Oregon or the State of California with respect to fish and wildlife management. Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the monument shall be the dominant reservation. Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first. BARACK OBAMA
Mosaic expression of claudins in thick ascending limbs of Henle results in spatial separation of paracellular Na+ and Mg2+ transport [Physiology]
The thick ascending limb (TAL) of Henle’s loop drives paracellular Na+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ reabsorption via the tight junction (TJ). The TJ is composed of claudins that consist of four transmembrane segments, two extracellular segments (ECS1 and -2), and one intracellular loop. Claudins interact within the same (cis) and opposing...
The Italian firm restoring one of Christianity’s holiest sites — the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem — says it’s more than halfway finished with the 14 million-euro project, which has already uncovered a Crusades-era mosaic angel hidden under plaster.
From the New Internationalist: Stair-climbing wheelchairs and electric tuk-tuks are among local engineers’ answers to the many challenges facing their communities. Laurence Ivil reports.‘When you call 999, it doesn’t go through to anyone,’ laments Edwin Inganji. The 22-year-old Kenyan survived an assault by armed robbers in Nairobi on his way home from school, in late 2014. ‘People just accept this – but it is not acceptable.’ I am a human being with a brain. I live in an environment where there are real problems, therefore it falls on me to really step up and push a solution’ - Alex MakalliwaEdwin is one of 16 engineer technologists in contention for The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. He and other shortlisted entrepreneurs assembled in Shoreditch, London in November, eager to share their stories and discuss the complex mosaic of challenges they face.More here
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOLD BUTTE NATIONAL MONUMENT - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION In southeast Nevada lies a landscape of contrast and transition, where dramatically chiseled red sandstone, twisting canyons, and tree-clad mountains punctuate flat stretches of the Mojave Desert. This remote and rugged desert landscape is known as Gold Butte. The Gold Butte area contains an extraordinary variety of diverse and irreplaceable scientific, historic, and prehistoric resources, including vital plant and wildlife habitat, significant geological formations, rare fossils, important sites from the history of Native Americans, and remnants of our Western mining and ranching heritage. The landscape reveals a story of thousands of years of human interaction with this harsh environment and provides a rare glimpse into the lives of Nevada's first inhabitants, the rich and varied indigenous cultures that followed, and the eventual arrival of Euro-American settlers. Canyons and intricate rock formations are a stunning backdrop to the area's famously beautiful rock art, and the desert provides critical habitat for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise. Gold Butte's dynamic environment has provided food and shelter to humans for at least 12,000 years. Remnants of massive agave roasting pits, charred remains of goosefoot and pinyon pine nuts, bone fragments, and projectile points used to hunt big horn sheep and smaller game serve as evidence of the remarkable abilities of indigenous communities to eke out sustenance from this unforgiving landscape. Visitors to Gold Butte can still see ancient rock shelters and hearth remnants concealed in the area's dramatic Aztec Sandstone formations. This brightly hued sandstone is the canvas for the area's spectacular array of rock art, depicting human figures, animals, and swirling abstract designs at locations like the famed Falling Man petroglyph site and Kohta Circus. Pottery sherds and other archaeological artifacts scattered throughout the landscape reveal the area's role as a corridor for the interregional trade of pottery, salt, and rare minerals. These world-renowned archaeological sites and objects are helping scientists to better understand interactions between ancient cultural groups. By the time Spanish explorers arrived in the region in the late eighteenth century, the Gold Butte area was home to the Southern Paiute people, who to this day, retain a spiritual and cultural connection with the land and use it for traditional purposes such as ceremonies and plant harvesting. Hunters and settlers of European descent followed the explorers, and, by 1865, Mormon pioneers had built settlements in the region. These newcomers grazed livestock and explored Gold Butte's unique geology in pursuit of mining riches. Their activities left behind historic sites and objects that tell the story of the American West, including the Gold Butte townsite, a mining boomtown established in the early 1900s, but mostly abandoned by 1910. Several building foundations and arrastas -- large flat rocks used for crushing ore -- remain at the townsite today. Settlers built corrals out of wood or stone, some of which are still standing in the Gold Butte area, including one near the Gold Butte townsite and one at Horse Springs, along the Gold Butte Scenic Byway. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps was put to work in the area, leaving behind a variety of historic features including a dam and remnants of a camp in the Whitney Pockets area, in the northeastern region of Gold Butte. The Gold Butte landscape that visitors experience today is the product of millions of years of heat and pressure as well as the eroding forces of water and wind that molded this vast and surreal desert terrain. Rising up from the Virgin River to an elevation of almost 8,000 feet, the Virgin Mountains delineate the area's northeast corner and provide a stunning backdrop for the rugged gray and red desert of the lower elevations. Faulted carbonate and silicate rock form the ridges and peaks of this range, which are regularly snow-covered in winter and spring, while the southern region of Gold Butte is laced with a series of wide granitic ridges and narrow canyons. These broad landscape features are dotted with fantastical geologic formations, including vividly hued Aztec Sandstone twisted into otherworldly shapes by wind and water, as well as pale, desolate granitic domes. An actively-expanding 1,200 square-meter sinkhole known as the Devil's Throat has been the subject of multiple scientific studies that have enhanced our understanding of sinkhole formation. The Gold Butte landscape is a mosaic of braided and shallow washes that flow into the Virgin River to the north and directly into Lake Mead on the south and west. Several natural springs provide important water sources for the plants and animals living here. The arid eastern Mojave Desert landscape that dominates the area is characterized by the creosote bush and white bursage vegetative community that covers large, open expanses scattered with low shrubs. Blackbrush scrub, a slow-growing species that can live up to 400 years, is abundant in middle elevations. Both creosote-bursage and blackbrush scrub vegetation communities can take decades or even centuries to recover from disturbances due to the long-lived nature of the plant species in these vegetative communities and the area's low rainfall. These vegetation communities are impacted by human uses, invasive species, wildfires, and changing climates. Gypsum deposits are a distinctive aspect of the Mojave Desert ecosystem and result in soil that contains physical and chemical properties that stress many plants, but also support endemic and rare species. For example, the sticky ringstem, Las Vegas buckwheat, and Las Vegas bearpoppy are unique plants that rely on gypsum soil; the populations in Gold Butte are some of only a handful of isolated populations of these species left in the world. Other rare plants in Gold Butte include the threecorner milkvetch and sticky wild buckwheat, which are sand-dependent species, as well as the Rosy two-tone beardtongue and the Mokiak milkvetch. Scattered stands of Joshua trees, an emblem of the Mojave Desert, dot the landscape along with Mojave yucca, cacti species, and chaparral species, among others. The often snowcapped peaks of the Virgin Mountains in the northeastern corner of Gold Butte stand in stark contrast to the desolate desert landscapes found elsewhere in the area. Due to their elevation of almost 8,000 feet, these mountains exhibit a transition between ecosystems in the southwest. At the highest points of the Virgin Mountains, visitors can hike through Ponderosa pine and white fir forests, and visit the southernmost stand of Douglas fir in Nevada. In this area, visitors are also treated to a rare sight: the Silver State's only stand of the Arizona cypress. The lower to middle elevations of the area are home to stands of pinyon pine, Utah juniper, sagebrush, and acacia woodlands, along with occasional mesquite stands. By adding structural complexity to a shrub-dominated landscape, these woodlands provide important breeding, foraging, and resting places for a variety of creatures, including birds and insects, and support a number of plant species. Gold Butte also provides habitat for a number of wildlife species. It has been designated as critical habitat for the Mojave desert tortoise, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. These slow-footed symbols of the American Southwest rely on the creosote-bursage ecosystem that is widespread here. A generally reclusive reptile, the Mojave desert tortoise uses the protective cover of underground burrows to escape extreme desert conditions and as shelter from predators. Other amphibians and reptiles also make their homes in Gold Butte. For example, once considered extinct and now a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, the relict leopard frog has been released into spring sites in the area in a collaborative effort by local, State, and Federal entities to help revive this still very small population. The banded Gila monster, the only venomous lizard in the United States, has also been recorded in Gold Butte. Many other reptile species -- including the banded gecko, California kingsnake, desert iguana, desert night lizard, glossy snake, Great Basin collared lizard, Mojave green rattlesnake, sidewinder, Sonoran lyre snake, southern desert horned lizard, speckled rattlesnake, western leaf-nosed snake, western long-nosed snake, and western red-tailed skink -- also have populations or potential habitats in the area. The Gold Butte area serves as an effective corridor between Lake Mead and the Virgin Mountains for large mammals, including desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions. Smaller mammals in Gold Butte include white-tailed antelope squirrel, desert kangaroo rat, and the desert pocket mouse. Several species of bat, including the Pallid bat, Allen's big-eared bat, western pipistrelle bat, and the Brazilian free-tailed bat, are also found here, as well as the northern Mojave blue butterfly. Bald and golden eagles, red-tailed and Cooper's hawks, peregrine falcons, and white-throated swifts soar above Gold Butte. Closer to the ground, one can spot a variety of birds, including the western burrowing owl, common poorwill, Costa's hummingbird, pinyon jay, Bendire's thrasher, Virginia's warbler, Lucy's warbler, black-chinned sparrow, and gray vireo. Migratory birds, including the Calliope hummingbird, gray flycatcher, sage sparrow, lesser nighthawk, ash-throated flycatcher, and the Brewer's sparrow, also make stop-overs in the area. These birds, and a variety of other avian species, use the diversity of habitats in the area to meet many of their seasonal, migratory, or year-round life cycle needs. In addition to providing homes to modern species of plants and wildlife, the area shows great potential for continued paleontological research, with resources such as recently discovered dinosaur tracks dating back to the Jurassic Period. These fossil trackways were found in Gold Butte's distinctive Aztec Sandstone and also include prints from squirrel-sized reptilian ancestors of mammals. The protection of the Gold Butte area will preserve its cultural, prehistoric, and historic legacy and maintain its diverse array of natural and scientific resources, ensuring that the historic and scientific values of this area, and its many objects of historic and of scientific interest, remain for the benefit of all Americans. WHEREAS, section 320301 of title 54, United States Code (known as the "Antiquities Act"), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected; WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to preserve the objects of scientific and historic interest on the Gold Butte lands; NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 320301 of title 54, United States Code, hereby proclaim the objects identified above that are situated upon lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government to be the Gold Butte National Monument (monument) and, for the purpose of protecting those objects, reserve as part thereof all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, which is attached to and forms a part of this proclamation. These reserved Federal lands and interests in lands encompass approximately 296,937 acres. The boundaries described on the accompanying map are confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected. All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of the monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, or other disposition under the public land laws, from location, entry,and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing. The establishment of the monument is subject to valid existing rights, including valid existing water rights. If the Federal Government subsequently acquires any lands or interests in lands not owned or controlled by the Federal Government within the boundaries described on the accompanying map, such lands and interests in lands shall be reserved as a part of the monument, and objects identified above that are situated upon those lands and interests in lands shall be part of the monument, upon acquisition of ownership or control by the Federal Government. The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) shall manage the monument pursuant to applicable legal authorities, which may include the provisions of section 603 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1782) governing the management of wilderness study areas, to protect the objects identified above. Of the approximately 296,937 acres of Federal lands and interests in lands reserved by this proclamation, approximately 285,158 acres are currently managed by the Secretary through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and approximately 11,779 are currently managed by the Secretary through the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). After issuance of this proclamation, the Secretary shall, consistent with applicable legal authorities, transfer administrative jurisdiction of the BOR lands within the boundaries of the monument to the BLM. The Secretary, through the BLM, shall manage lands within the monument that are subject to the administrative jurisdiction of the BLM as a unit of the National Landscape Conservation System. For purposes of protecting and restoring the objects identified above, the Secretary, through the BLM, shall prepare and maintain a management plan for the monument and shall provide for maximum public involvement in the development of that plan including, but not limited to, consultation with State, tribal, and local governments. The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., to provide information and advice regarding development of the land use plan and management of the monument. Except for emergency or authorized administrative purposes, motorized vehicle use in the monument shall be permitted only on roads designated as open to such use as of the date of this proclamation, unless the Secretary decides to reroute roads for public safety purposes or to enhance protection of the objects identified above. Non-motorized mechanized vehicle use shall be permitted only on roads and trails, consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. Consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above, nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to preclude the renewal or assignment of, or interfere with the operation, maintenance, replacement, modification, or upgrade within the physical authorization boundary of existing flood control, pipeline, and telecommunications facilities, or other water infrastructure, including wildlife water catchments or water district facilities, that are located within the monument. Except as necessary for the care and management of the objects identified above, no new rights-of-way shall be authorized within the monument. Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the rights or jurisdiction of any Indian tribe. The Secretary shall, to the maximum extent permitted by law and in consultation with Indian tribes, ensure the protection of Indian sacred sites and traditional cultural properties in the monument and provide for access by members of Indian tribes for traditional cultural and customary uses, consistent with the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 U.S.C. 1996) and Executive Order 13007 of May 24, 1996 (Indian Sacred Sites). Livestock grazing has not been permitted in the monument area since 1998 and the Secretary shall not issue any new grazing permits or leases on lands within the monument. Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the jurisdiction of the State of Nevada, including its jurisdiction and authority with respect to fish and wildlife management, including hunting and fishing. Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to preclude the traditional tribal collection of seeds, natural materials, salt, or materials for stone tools in the monument for personal noncommercial use consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. Nothing in this proclamation shall preclude low-level overflights of military aircraft, the designation of new units of special use airspace, or the use or establishment of military flight training routes over the lands reserved by this proclamation consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. Nothing in this proclamation shall preclude air or ground access to existing or new electronic tracking communications sites associated with the special use airspace and military training routes, consistent with the care and management of such objects. Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the monument shall be the dominant reservation. Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of the monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first. BARACK OBAMA
The bottom right quadrant of my iPhone screen looks like a mosaic of broken glass. Let’s just say previous so called shock-proof cases didn’t live up to the hype or promise. But I have renewed hope. A British startup company, Mous, is offering a line of "Limitless" cases that are [...]
Recent developments in synthetic biology enable one-step implementation of entire metabolic pathways in industrial microorganisms. A similarly radical remodelling of central metabolism could greatly accelerate fundamental and applied research, but is impeded by the mosaic organization of microbial genomes. To eliminate this limitation, we propose and explore the concept of...
Главные тенденции мирового венчурного рынка — в галерее Forbes
With somewhere around 4,000 artists and staff, the Mansudae Art Studio, a huge complex of nondescript concrete buildings on a sprawling, walled-off campus with armed guards in the heart of Pyongyang, churns out everything from watercolor tigers to mosaics so large they seem to depict a race from another, taller planet.
This article was originally published on Dec. 9, 2015. This year, Hanukkah begins Saturday, Dec. 24, and ends Sunday, Jan. 1. Americans who know anything about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah may have heard that it celebrates the victory of good over evil ― the triumph of light over darkness. But the real history of Hanukkah’s origins is more complicated. It is as much the tale of a Jewish civil war as it is about successful resistance against foreign interlopers. What’s more, the miracle of oil ― the inspiration for most of the contemporary holiday’s key rituals ― did not even become a part of Hanukkah’s mythos until centuries after the military win of the Maccabees rebel army. Here’s the real story. Cultural Coexistence In Ancient Judea In 200 B.C., the powerful Seleucid empire took over Judea, an area encompassing parts of what is now known as Israel and the Palestinian territories. The Greek-centric kingdom was founded by Seleucus, one of Alexander the Great’s top military officers, and had steadily expanded outward from its capital of Antioch in modern-day Syria. Some Jews embraced aspects of the Seleucids’ Hellenic culture. But when Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended to the Seleucid throne in 175 B.C., he initiated an explicit program of Hellenization in the Jewish territory, promoting the values of worldly knowledge, physical beauty, hedonistic indulgence and polytheistic spirituality. Antiochus’ measures were welcomed by some local Jews. “The initiative and impetus for this often came from the locals themselves,” said Shaye J.D. Cohen, professor of Hebrew literature and philosophy at Harvard and author of From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. “They were eager to join the general, global community.” For a basic explanation of Hanukkah, head over here. For example, the Jewish high priest, who served as religious leader and political ruler of the semi-autonomous Judea, welcomed the construction of a gymnasium in Jerusalem, where Seleucid military officials practiced traditional Greek exercise in the nude alongside local Jews, including priests. Antiochus also encouraged the development of the Greek educational system in Jewish society. A growing number of Jews began worshiping Greek gods, too. The rising influence of Hellenism was not immediately a source of open conflict within the Jewish community. In fact, Hellenism permeated even the most traditional circles of Jewish society to one degree or another. A typical Judean would have worn Greek robes and been proficient in the Greek language, whether he was urban or rural, rich or poor, a pious practitioner of the Mosaic faith or a dabbler in polytheism. “Becoming more Hellenized didn’t mean they were less Jewish as a result,” said Erich Gruen, an emeritus history professor at University of California, Berkeley, and author of Diaspora: Jews Amidst Greeks and Romans. “Most Jews didn’t see Hellenism as the enemy or any way compromising their sense of themselves as Jews.” So, What Went Wrong? Eventually, Antiochus and his Jewish allies, including the high priest Menelaus, pushed the more pious Jews too far. Menelaus embarked on a campaign of radical Hellenization in 167 B.C., prohibiting fundamental Jewish practices, such as circumcision, on pain of death. He also introduced foreign rites into the Jewish Temple, forcing Jewish pilgrims to sacrifice pigs, which are profane in Judaism. He built an altar to Zeus on top of the sacred altar to the Jewish god, Yahweh. Prostitutes were allowed to solicit their services freely on the Temple grounds. It’s unclear whether Menelaus acted of his own volition with the Seleucids’ backing, on Antiochus’ orders, or some combination. Some scholars believe Antiochus’ efforts in Judea were part of an empire-wide attempt to consolidate his power by uniting the disparate territories under a common Hellenist banner. Others argue that the king’s courtiers, most likely including Jewish officials such as Menelaus, put him up to it. Those officials may have sought to “reform their religion in the name of the king,” Cohen said. But one way or another, the tyrannical measures were too much for traditional Jews, prompting them to fight rather than acquiesce to the authorities’ demands. “They actually rebel only when the religious persecution reached a level they could no longer tolerate,” said Cohen, who also chairs Harvard’s department of Near Eastern languages and civilizations. “The line in the sand seems to have been the Torah and the [commandments], and the profaning of the ritual of the Temple.” Cohen characterized these Jews not as zealots, but as “realists.” Until then, they had embraced many Hellenistic norms in their own lives and accommodated the spread of practices to which they objected ― such as foreign worship ― among their co-religionists. The Maccabees And The Jewish Civil War Broadly speaking, the Jews of Judea can be divided into two camps based on their reaction to the prohibition of ancient Jewish rituals and the desecration of the Temple. The first camp, the pietists, were unwilling to comply with the radical measures and supported armed resistance against the high priest Menelaus. The second camp, the Hellenists, either welcomed the changes or did not care enough to fight them. Pietist Jewish militants coalesced under the leadership of the Hasmoneans, a clan of Jewish priests that fled Jerusalem for the Judean town of Modi’in. Starting in 167 B.C., Judah, the third son of the Hasmonean patriarch Mattathias, led a guerrilla war against the Seleucids and their Hellenist Jewish sympathizers, along with his four brothers. The Hasmonean brothers’ military successes earned them the nickname “Maccabees,” likely derived from the ancient Hebrew word for hammer. It is not clear how many Hellenist Jews fought alongside the Seleucid forces in opposition to the Hasmonean-led militias, but the pietists certainly did not enjoy the support of all Judeans. Though the civil war did not break down along purely geographic lines, the Hasmoneans had a base of support in the countryside. There were even some observant Jews who did not side with the Hasmoneans. Years into the war, the Seleucids appointed a new high priest in an attempt to calm tensions. A group of pious Jews accepted his leadership, prompting the Maccabees to malign them in their account of events. Thanks to a series of cunning Hasmonean military maneuvers and setbacks for the Seleucids elsewhere in their empire, the pietist militias conquered the city of Jerusalem in 164 B.C. They restored the ancient Jewish rites of the Temple, tearing down the altar to Zeus and other pagan gods. The word “Hanukkah” means dedication in Hebrew, referring to the Maccabees’ re-dedication of the Jewish Temple, which is believed to have taken place around this time on the Jewish calendar. Judah the Maccabee chose to celebrate the re-dedication of the Temple for eight days, the same length of time that King Solomon celebrated the consecration of the First Temple. The eight-day festival was an attempt to “refurbish [Judah’s] image in the light of the heroes of the past,” Berkeley’s Gruen said. “Putting himself in the mold of Solomon at the time of the building of the First Temple is part of the image that Judah Maccabee wanted to deliver.” What About The Miracle Of Oil? The traditional Hanukkah story is that when the Maccabees arrived to re-consecrate the Temple, it was in such disarray that there was only enough olive oil to keep the sacred seven-branch candelabrum (or menorah) lit for one day. Instead, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days. Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days to commemorate this miracle, lighting an additional candle on a special Hanukkah menorah ― or Hannukiah ― each night of the holiday. That is also why it is customary on Hanukkah to eat foods fried in oil, like potato latkes and doughnuts. In reality, the rabbis likely developed the miracle-of-oil narrative several centuries after the events of Hanukkah took place. The first mention of the miracle is in a passage of the Babylonian Talmud dating to some time between the third and fifth centuries A.D. Harvard’s Cohen said he believes that the rabbis of the Talmud came up with the miracle of oil in order to “demilitarize” Hanukkah. “It gave the rabbis, who were uncomfortable with the Maccabees, a way to say they respected Hanukkah,” Cohen said. “Military victory and upheaval was not a good lesson for Jews to have living under the Roman empire. They didn’t want little Jewish boys to grow up and try to be Judah the Maccabee and try to attack the Romans.” The use of oil lamps, however, was a component of the holiday almost from the start. Jews celebrated the holiday with the lighting of lamps, according to Maccabees II, a pro-Hasmonean, second-century account of events included in some versions of the Christian Bible. Josephus Flavius, a Roman-Jewish historian in the first century A.D., also refers to “festival lights” in his description of the holiday’s observance. Contemporary Hanukkah Hanukkah remains a relatively minor holiday for Jews. It is far less important than Rosh Hashanah and Passover, for example. But it has an outsize status in diaspora Jewish communities, the largest of which is in the United States, where Jewish religious devotion often takes a back seat to a sense of cultural pride. That Hanukkah typically falls around the same time as Christmas has also raised its profile. For many Jewish Americans, it is the quintessential example of that old adage said to summarize many Jewish holidays: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.” Now you know it’s more complicated than that. Let’s eat. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Alternative stable states and the sustainability of forests, grasslands, and agriculture [Sustainability Science]
Endangered forest–grassland mosaics interspersed with expanding agriculture and silviculture occur across many parts of the world, including the southern Brazilian highlands. This natural mosaic ecosystem is thought to reflect alternative stable states driven by threshold responses of recruitment to fire and moisture regimes. The role of adaptive human behavior in...
Бразильская горнодобывающая компания Vale договорилась о продаже части своего бизнеса по производству удобрений американской фирме Mosaic. Сообщается, что сумма сделки составит примерно $2,5 млрд, при этом $1,25 млрд будут выплачены наличными, а оставшиеся новыми акциями. Закрытие сделки, в рамках которой Vale получит около 11% акций Mosaic, ожидается в конце 2017 года. Кроме того, после ее завершения Vale получит право назначить двух членов в совет директоров американской компании.
Бразильская горнодобывающая компания Vale договорилась о продаже части своего бизнеса по производству удобрений американской фирме Mosaic. Сообщается, что сумма сделки составит примерно $2,5 млрд, при этом $1,25 млрд будут выплачены наличными, а оставшиеся новыми акциями. Закрытие сделки, в рамках которой Vale получит около 11% акций Mosaic, ожидается в конце 2017 года. Кроме того, после ее завершения Vale получит право назначить двух членов в совет директоров американской компании.
Ohio just became the 18th state to pass an arbitrary ban on abortions after 20 weeks. The new law, which Gov. John Kasich (R) signed Tuesday, outlaws an extremely rare procedure. Only about 1 percent of all abortions take place after 20 weeks, and most are the result of doctors finding birth defects that were undetectable in earlier screenings. The ban will push women to travel out of state if they discover a serious defect during a second trimester ultrasound, adding another layer of logistical and financial difficulty to an already complicated termination procedure, says Dr. Jennifer K. Hsia, a clinical fellow in family planning at the University of California, Davis. The 20-week abortion ban is also medically arbitrary, as fetuses this young cannot survive outside the womb. The new law, which does not make exceptions for rape, incest, or irreversible fetal anomalies, will especially burden poor women who must come up with funds for both the procedure and the trip. While these restrictive laws affect a relatively small number of women in the U.S., those who have gone through the gut-wrenching decision to have a late-term abortion say legislators are taking advantage of the electorate’s ignorance about the procedure in order to weaken abortion rights overall. And for at least one woman in Ohio, who terminated for medical reasons, the new law makes her doubt she’ll ever try to have another child again. Sarah B., a children’s librarian in Cleveland, was ecstatic when she found out in 2014 that she was pregnant. She had just gotten married that year, and while she and her husband had always planned to have children, they didn’t expect to conceive in their first year of marriage. Because she would be 35 by the time the baby was due, Sarah was anxious to see the results of the nuchal translucency scan, an ultrasound made at 12 weeks to assess a fetus’ risk of chromosomal abnormalities and heart problems. She also paid for a non-invasive prenatal blood test that screens for specific chromosomal abnormalities. When both of those tests came back with normal results, Sarah thought she was in the clear. But an anomaly ultrasound, which can take place any time between 18 and 22 weeks, came with bad news: Sarah and her husband learned the baby they planned to name Craig would be born with hydrocephalus, an abnormal amount of fluid in the brain. It was so severe that his head was measuring three weeks ahead of schedule. The fetus also had agenesis of the corpus callosum, a condition in which the connecting link between the brain’s left and right hemispheres is either partially or fully absent. Finally, his limbs weren’t the proper size for his developmental age. I couldn’t bear the thought of having a child that would either die later in the pregnancy, die after birth or die in infancy. Sarah B., who terminated her pregnancy at 20 weeks Doctors suspected the fetus had a chromosomal condition, but couldn’t be sure. They also told Sarah that if she chose to continue the pregnancy, she would have to have a C-section operation at 28 weeks because beyond that, his head would be too big to pass through her birth canal or a surgical incision. She and her husband decided immediately to terminate the pregnancy. “I knew that this wasn’t a pregnancy I wanted to carry to term,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to bring a child into the world that would have very poor health, and I couldn’t bear the thought of having a child that would either die later in the pregnancy, die after birth or die in infancy, which is frequently what happens in these types of pregnancies.” From initial diagnosis to the termination, Sarah waited just three days as she met with specialists and planned for the procedure, which took place at 20 weeks and five days gestation. Technically, her timeline would not have run afoul of Ohio’s new law because it bans abortions on fetuses older than 20 weeks post-fertilization, or at 22 weeks gestation. (The normal method of measuring pregnancy length includes the two weeks before sperm meets egg). But Sarah feels that the added time pressure of the new law would have only increased her and her husband’s grief, and it certainly doesn’t take into account the added diagnostic tests, second opinions and other procedures that other parents go through in order to confirm diagnoses and make a decision. Perhaps if people knew why most expecting parents opt to have late-term abortions, she said, there wouldn’t be such widespread support for restrictive laws. “So many people don’t even know that the majority of abortions performed 20 weeks or later are because there’s either a serious condition with the fetus that wasn’t diagnosed until that time, or the mothers have found out that [their lives are] in danger,” said Sarah. “People are just ignorant of that fact, and they’re taking advantage of that ignorance.” OB/GYNS are worried about their patients Second trimester anomaly scans can take place any time between 18 to 22 weeks gestation, but Ohio patients will probably have to start setting up these appointments on the earlier side to give themselves time in the event of a serious fetal diagnosis, said Dr. Kristyn Brandi of Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. For women who get ambiguous results on these scans, there may be little time for the additional blood and scan testing typically used to confirm findings. These additional procedures could extend the decision to terminate by days or even weeks, depending on how long test results take to come back. Finding and confirming evidence that a fetus is unviable before Ohio’s new 22 week gestation cut-off assumes that a woman can get an appointment for a scan right at the beginning of 18 weeks, that the ultrasound tech will be able to see all that they need to (sometimes a fetus’ position prevents a thorough examination), that the doctor supports a woman’s right to choose and won’t impede the process, and finally, that the woman herself will be able to make the termination decision quickly. Deciding on a late-term abortion requires as much time as possible Depending on the diagnosis they get, some women like Sarah immediately know they want to end a pregnancy. But others, like nonprofit worker Alexandra W., a 29-year-old in San Francisco, want as much time as possible before having to make a final decision. Alexandra and her husband conceived quickly, and the pregnancy, their first, was smooth and easy until a 19-week anomaly scan. That’s when they received the news she was carrying a fetus with Potter’s Sequence, a rare and usually fatal condition in which fetuses develop without functioning kidneys or a bladder. Because fetuses with Potter’s Sequence can’t urinate in the womb, the gestational sac doesn’t have enough amniotic fluid for the fetus to practice breathing. After birth, the baby dies because it can’t take a first breath on its own. Buoyed by a rare case in which a baby with Potter’s Sequence had gone on to breathe after birth (and required a lifetime of dialysis until a future kidney transplant), Alexandra and her husband remained hopeful that their baby would make it, too. She went on bedrest for a week and drank as much water as she could to see if her gestational sac would fill with fluid. But when she returned for a follow-up ultrasound, her amniotic fluid levels were even lower. That’s when the couple decided to end the pregnancy. Her third and final ultrasound, a formality before the procedure, showed that amniotic fluid levels had gotten so low that the fetus was being crushed in the womb, and his heartbeat was slowing down. At almost 21 weeks pregnant, Alexandra had the dilation and evacuation procedure to end the pregnancy. We absolutely wanted to make sure that it was necessary, because it was heartbreaking. Alexander W., who terminated her pregnancy at 21 weeks Alexandra, who is Catholic, knew that others like her with strong religious convictions might choose to continue the pregnancy for as long as the fetus survived. But as a parent, she couldn’t make the same choice. “Seeing what was already happening to him, it didn’t seem like something we wanted to do,” she said. “We were trying to be compassionate and preserve human dignity.” California does not have term limits on abortion. But Alexandra said that if she lived in a state that had them, it would have made her choice all the more agonizing, because she wouldn’t have known for sure if her baby’s condition could have changed. She and her husband waited as long as they could, Alexandra explained, because “we absolutely wanted to make sure that it was necessary, because it was heartbreaking.” The couple named the baby Theodore, and packed up all the gifts they received at a baby shower. They hope that one day a sibling will be able to use them. The new law may lead high-risk women to decide against pregnancy altogether Doctors found after her termination that Sarah B.’s baby had an extremely rare chromosomal condition, a mosaic partial trisomy of chromosome 1, which means there were three copies of the chromosome in some of the fetus’ cells. The only way Sarah’s doctor could have caught the condition before the second trimester anomaly scan would be through a diagnostic test like amniocentesis or the chorionic villus sampling in the first trimester. Both tests carry a small risk of miscarriage. Sarah gave birth to a son in 2016. Because of her experience with her first pregnancy, she chose to have diagnostic testing as early as possible ― at 10 weeks, despite the slight risk of miscarriage ― and was on edge throughout the entire pregnancy. She’s unsure if she’ll try for another child in the future, but Ohio’s new abortion ban makes her think she’s better off with just one child. “I was scared when I was pregnant again after my loss. I was scared of going through it again,” Sarah said. “I’m even more scared now that these restrictive laws are in effect. It’s kind of weighing on me to go toward ‘No,’ that we might say we’ll be happy with our one child.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Hofburg Palace, Vienna (Austria) - Speakers at the opening of the 5th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations all emphasized conflict resolution using Syria as an example. Under the sparkling chandeliers of the Hofsburg Palace in Vienna, world leaders and other participants are meeting to discuss ways to further the goals of the UNAOC while encouraging more responsible leadership. The foreign minister of Austria Michael Spindelegger opened the session by stressing how his country's tradition of wanting a dialogue matches the goals of the UNAOC. That theme was later elaborated on by the country's Federal President Heinz Fischer. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke about conflict resolution, job creation and specific troubles going on around the globe. "In too many places, anti-Muslim sentiment has become commonplace," Ban Ki-moon said. "Migrants from all backgrounds are vilified instead of embraced. When such attitudes are left unchallenged, racists feel empowered." He spoke at length about Syria, describing it as a 'mosaic of tribes, religion, culture and traditions. Later, during a press conference, he blamed the language of hatred for creating a divide in the world.