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HUD: Housing Improves; Still Needs Further Recovery

first_img Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago  Print This Post Colin Robins is the online editor for He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Arts from the University of Texas, Dallas. Additionally, he contributes to the MReport, DS News’ sister site. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its April 2014 Housing Scorecard, noting that home prices remained stable, foreclosure completions continued to their lowest levels since mid-2007, existing home sales stabilized, new home sales slowed, and the administration’s foreclosure mitigation efforts continued to provide relief for troubled homeowners.The agency found that as of February 2014, the FHFA purchase-only house price index rose 6.9 percent year-over-year, and ticked up .6 percent from January, seasonally-adjusted. The seasonally adjusted purchase-only index for the U.S. found that home values are on par with prices from mid-2005.Foreclosure completions totaled approximately 29,000 in March, down 5 percent from February and down 34 percent from March 2013. The drop in foreclosures represented the lowest level seen since July 2007. Newly initiated foreclosures were roughly 55,700, up 7 percent from February.Regardless, foreclosure starts were still down 24 percent from last year.HUD found that existing-home sales stabilized in March, remaining virtually unchanged. Existing-home sales were below year-ago levels for the fifth consecutive month. The report from HUD cites a National Association of Realtors report that attributed the stagnation in sales to low inventory, fewer distressed properties, strict banking lending standards, less favorable affordability, and the unusually harsh winter.New home sales also experienced a slump, dropping 14.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 in March—an eight month low. “New home sales were down 13.3 percent from a year earlier, the first annual decline since the third quarter of 2011,” HUD found.The government’s loss mitigation programs provided a bright spot in HUD’s report. The government agency found that 2 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, which included nearly 1.4 million permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).HUD found that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered nearly 2.3 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions through March. Additionally, mortgage aid was extended 7.7 million times, outpacing foreclosures. Housing counselors also continued to provide assistance, counseling 10.3 million households since April 1, 2009.In total, more than 8.3 million mortgage modifications and other assistance arrangements were completed between April 2009 and the end of March 2014.HUD tempered its good news with a word of caution:”Encouraging news notwithstanding, there is a need to continue with recovery efforts as home sales have slowed, too many homeowners remain underwater, and mortgage delinquencies rates remain elevated. There is also considerable geographic variation in market conditions not captured in the national statistics, which suggests some markets are improving at different rates than others.” The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / HUD: Housing Improves; Still Needs Further Recovery Tagged with: April Housing Scorecard Existing Home Sales Foreclosures HAMP HUD New Home Sales Previous: Fannie/Freddie Reform Bill Stalls in Senate Next: GSE Quarterly Report Card Positive Share Save Sign up for DS News Daily The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News Subscribe April Housing Scorecard Existing Home Sales Foreclosures HAMP HUD New Home Sales 2014-05-09 Colin Robins Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago May 9, 2014 794 Views HUD: Housing Improves; Still Needs Further Recovery Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago About Author: Colin Robins Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Related Articleslast_img read more

Wolf Administration Announces Redevelopment of Mine Project in Columbia County

first_imgWolf Administration Announces Redevelopment of Mine Project in Columbia County August 28, 2018 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Energy,  Infrastructure,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced funding for a mine development project that will reengineer, reopen, and redevelop a large reserve of Mammoth coal in the Mount Carmel region of Columbia County.“I will continue to partner with industry and our local communities to ensure that the commonwealth reaps the greatest possible benefit from our resources, so that our communities, our industries, and our workforce can thrive and Pennsylvania will remain competitive in the manufacturing economy,” said Governor Wolf.Blaschak Coal Corporation was approved for a $1 million grant to develop a large reserve of Mammoth coal in the Mount Carmel region. The development will employ 25 to 30 UMWA miners and is the largest new mine development project in the region. Once the development is complete, it will provide a considerable production of high quality anthracite coal for more than 20 years. As mining progresses, the land will be reclaimed and made available for alternative uses in the community. Wages for the created jobs more than double the median household income in the region.Supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), funding will support critical expansion projects, some of which will provide opportunities for additional economic development.last_img read more

USC resumes select on-campus activities

first_imgUSC will continue to update the community on decisions regarding the status of Fall 2020, including plans for housing, testing, contact tracing and instruction.  Project Restart task forces are working to identify potential contingency plans, including decreasing the number of people in residence halls and increasing the number of online classes. As faculty and staff return to campus, they will be required to complete a TrojanLearn online module that comprises protocols regarding proper handwashing, physical distancing, mandatory face coverings and sanitation. It will become more widely available once the University enters the next stages of reopening. Community members are also asked to continue following state, local and Universitywide health guidelines, including wearing a face covering in all public areas of campus.  The University acknowledged that cases in Southern California are continuing to rise and that rapidly changing circumstances may affect USC’s current hybrid plan. L.A. County reported a record-high more than 2,000 new cases Wednesday, although the number included 600 delayed cases from one testing lab. The county recorded about 1,400 new cases Friday. “We are a high-density campus in the middle of a city where community spread is rising,” the email read. “The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our paramount concern and will drive our decision making about the fall semester.” University administrators are working with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials to implement safety protocols as USC transitions from primarily online to hybrid learning and operations. Departments and schools will prepare individual plans for gradual reopening based on their facilities and the risk factors associated with the programs they offer.  Testing facilities will also be available on campus for those who display coronavirus symptoms or have been exposed to an infected individual, and the University will offer quarantine housing for students who test positive or report exposure. Surveillance testing and contact tracing will also be conducted throughout the fall semester to mitigate an on-campus outbreak. Community members returning to campus from overseas will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Students, staff and faculty who return to campus in the fall will also verify daily on the Trojan Check wellness checker that they do not have symptoms of a coronavirus infection and use a pass generated by the system to access campus and select buildings. center_img Students, faculty and staff considered to be at higher risk for severe disease in case of coronavirus infection, or who have high-risk household members, can access reasonable accommodations through Disability Services and Programs. University facilities are currently being altered in accordance with physical distancing guidelines, such as maintaining six feet of spacing between individuals and affixing barriers where people are unable to sustain the recommended distance. The ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems have also been modified to reduce contaminant levels. In-person workspaces will be limited in attendance to comply with L.A. County guidelines, which restrict gatherings to a 10-person maximum. Shaylee Navarro and Natalie Oganesyan contributed to this report. “Every person who returns to campus is responsible not only for their own health, but in caring for the health and well-being of everyone around them,” the email read. “The training and attestation underscore the need for a commitment by all to adhere to USC’s physical distancing, personal hygiene, and facial covering requirements.” The University has entered the second stage of its four-phase reopening plan, Provost Charles Zukoski announced in a Universitywide email Friday. Phase 2 entails the resumption of select on-campus functions — including clinical education, Keck Medicine of USC activities and select research programs — that are contingent on appropriate social distancing measures, while most operations continue to be remote.  “It is imperative that we share the responsibility for keeping our entire community safe,” Zukoski wrote. “We all must do our part to protect ourselves and those populations on our campus and in our neighborhoods who are at a higher risk. Anyone who is unable to follow these rules can request accommodation; all others are required to comply.”last_img read more

On track for slight improvement, Ottawa Senators have decisions to make ahead of trade deadline

first_imgCrucial decisions have to be made.Local favorites Pageau and Mark Borowiecki may be on the trade block. Like Pageau, blueliner Borowiecki is having a career year with five goals and 16 points in only 42 games.As for Pageau, he expressed his desire to remain a Senator in an August Q&A with Sporting News but there’s no doubt teams are lining up to make offers on a proven playoff commodity. Additionally, the likes of DeMelo and Tyler Ennis are also having impactful years in Ottawa. DeMelo has arguably solidified the Senators’ back end with a plus-53.2 Corsi rating to lead all lineup regulars, while Ennis is one goal (11) shy of last season’s total with the Maple Leafs and his 24 points are the most since he compiled 46 in 2014-15 with Buffalo.The likeliest trade candidates are veterans Craig Anderson and Ron Hainsey. It’ll be tough to see Anderson leave after his 10th year with the club, but the Senators’ career goalie leader in games played (421) and wins (197) is open to a move.The futureSenators’ fans have seen glimpses of the future this season, viewing the likes of blue chip defenseman Erik Brannstrom, center Logan Brown, and, currently, forward Drake Batherson and netminder Marcus Hogberg.More are on the way, especially if players are swapped as expected at the deadline.Forwards Josh Norris and Alex Formenton will assuredly see a handful of NHL games this season. Norris leads all AHL rookies in goals (19) and points (32), while the speedy Formenton ranks second with 15.After suffering a torn shoulder labrum skating with teammates prior to training camp in August, defenseman Christian Wolanin is on track to return to the ice at some point in February, as well.SN’s NHL MOCK DRAFT v1.0: Senators select phenoms Lafreniere, Rossi; Kings get goalie of future MORE: Social media reacts to unexpected World Juniors heroWhile Dorion’s vision appears to be a year behind schedule, his expectations may not be far off.On the iceJust past this season’s halfway mark, the Senators are only two points (37) ahead of their 2018-19 total (35) at the same juncture. However, the club dropped off a cliff in the final 40 games last season and will need to avoid the same fate.They went 14-25-1 under coaches Guy Boucher and Marc Crawford to end the last campaign, dealing away their three top scorers in Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel.This season, freshman head coach D.J. Smith has his club forging a hard-working identity, and after a few early bumps the Senators are playing at a .500 clip (15-15-4) since opening the campaign with a dismal 1-6-1 run.“There’s very few days that I go home disappointed with the group’s effort. We work hard every night,” Smith said Dec. 23 after his team’s 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres prior to the holiday break.Offensively, forward Anthony Duclair is having a breakout season with a career-high 21 goals in only 41 games played. Already on his fifth team in his sixth pro campaign, the 24-year old was recently named the Senators’ All-Star representative.In addition, pending unrestricted free agent center Jean-Gabriel Pageau matched his career high of 19 goals in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Lightning.At the back end, hiring a former defenseman in Smith as head coach and adding Jack Capuano as his right hand has done wonders for the club.The Senators are on pace to trim their goals-against by 25 from last season’s league-worst 301 allowed. Their team .898 save percentage is tied with the Canadiens and Flyers for 22nd in the NHL.However, their biggest accomplishment may be the differential in even-strength shot attempts against (shots on goal + shots missed + shots blocked). The Senators’ current minus-188 differential while playing at even-strength has the squad in a position to have a deficit of below 400.How significant is this?The Senators posted an abysmal minus-818 even-strength differential in 2018-19. The New York Rangers were next at minus-577, showing just how terrible the Sens’ mark was. Only two other clubs held a minus-differential greater than 400: the New Jersey Devils (minus-451) and Detroit Red Wings (minus-430).These numbers are more astounding given Smith’s team has been without the services of injured d-men Dylan DeMelo (10 games), Nikita Zaitsev (nine games) and Ron Hainsey (six games) since mid-December.The good news is that DeMelo is slated to return Tuesday, while Zaitsev and Hainsey are hopeful for the weekend.Off the iceDorion and his hockey ops staff will be busy right up to the final seconds of the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 24.Including injured regulars, the Senators have 10 pending unrestricted and seven restricted free agents.The list as follows:UFARFACraig AndersonRudolfs BalcersMikkel BoedkerConnor BrownMark BorowieckiAnthony DuclairDylan DeMeloAndreas EnglundTyler EnnisChristian JarosCody GolubefNick PaulRon HainseyChris TierneyVladislav Namestnikov Fans are also anticipating the annual draft lottery in early-April. It’s extremely unlikely the Red Wings will lose hold of the 31st position and the best odds (18.5%) of drafting first, so the Senators need to have the lottery balls drop in their favor. Thanks to the inconsistency of the San Jose Sharks, the Senators may have an opportunity to earn a pair of top ten picks, if not top five.With the likelihood of Finnish defender Lassi Thomson heading to Belleville next season and the possibility of University of North Dakota teammates Jacob Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto joining him, the Senators’ future is in good hands.Adding two high picks in what’s considered an elite draft bodes well for making Dorion’s expectations ring true. Jean-Gabriel Pageaucenter_img At Pierre Dorion’s 2019 end-of-season media availability in April, the Ottawa Senators’ general manager stated the team was in “Phase Two” of its rebuild. “The worst is behind us,” Dorion said. “Next year, we need to start contending for the playoffs. Two years from now, we need to be a playoff team. Three years from now we need to be a team that contends in the playoffs.” Scott Sabourinlast_img read more

Port Schedules Interviews for District #3 Commissioner

first_imgSubmitted by The Port of OlympiaThe Port Commission invites the Thurston County Community to attend the interviews for the District #3 Commissioner position. Commissioners George L. Barner, Jr. and Bill McGregor will interview all applicants on June 1 and 2, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Tumwater Town Center, 7241 Cleanwater Drive SW. No public comment will be taken at the meetings.District #3 Commissioner Interview ScheduleJune 1, 20151:00 pm – E.J. Zita1:40 pm – Dick Pust2:20 pm – Break (10 min.)2:30 pm – Bob Jones3:10 pm – Michelle MorrisJune 2, 20151:00 pm – Larry Goodman1:40 pm – Fred Finn2:20 pm – Break (10 min.)2:30 pm – Jerry Farmer3:10 pm – George SharpFor more information, please contact Jeri Sevier, [email protected], 360-528-8003. Facebook0Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

Canucks Ground Ducks In Shootout To Win Seventh Straight

first_img Chris Higgins continued his solid play on the third line and tallied a goal, his fifth in the last four games.  He’s playing extremely well the last 20 games or so.  Since a great third line is often the difference in the playoffs, having to play responsibly defensively and chip in with the odd goal here and there, his good play (along with Sammy Pahlsson and the reinvigorated Jannik Hansen) is imperative for the team’s success. Leigh Ramsden lives in Vancouver and is an avid Canucks fan, having been a partial season ticket holder for over 10 years. He’s old enough to have witnessed all three Stanley Cup losses, as such, his prime goal is to remove those scars by seeing a Cup brought to Vancouver. Leigh is Fighting For Stanley’s ( west coast correspondent, and will also blog after all Canuck games for The Nelson Daily.The Vancouver Canucks completed a late-season five game homestand by winning their seventh consecutive game with a 5-4 shootout win over the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.  The Canucks remain in first place in the Western Conference, extending their lead over second-place St. Louis to three points, with the Blues holding a game in hand.  It was the Canucks’ 50th win of the season.Alex Burrows led the Canucks offensively with two goals, while linemate Henrik Sedin continued his recent torrid pace with another two assists.  Dan Hamhuis also added a couple of helpers.  Bobby Ryan led the Ducks with a three assist night, with rookie Devante Smith-Pelly also adding two assists.The Canucks spent most of the first two periods chasing the Ducks, as they fell behind 1-0, 2-1, and 4-2, before coming back to tie the game on each occasion.  Max Lapierre scored with 1:27 left in the second period to bring the Canucks level for the final time. Vancouver starter Roberto Luongo was pulled after the Ducks scored their fourth goal at 7:03 of the second period, with backup Cory Schneider entering the game to hold the fort while the Canucks pressed Anaheim.  The Canucks outshot the Ducks 24-9 after the goalie switch.Although they held a marked edge in shots in the third period and in overtime, the Canucks were not able to solve Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller to earn the victory before the skills competition. The Canucks scored on all three opportunities in the shootout, with Burrows, Alex Edler, and Lapierre all scoring.  Teemu Selanne, playing for perhaps the last time in Vancouver, scored the Ducks’ only shootout goal.Overall, this was a sloppy, poorly played affair.  There were numerous mistakes in the defensive zone by both teams, which led to many of the goals scored.  In the first two periods, it seemed that every mistake wound up in the back of the offending team’s net. The Canucks were especially poor in their own end.  Marc-Andre Gragnani, who had been playing better defensively of late, was horrid, as he was on the ice for three of the four Anaheim goals.  He was blatantly caught out of position on two of the goals and was just standing around, watching, on the third. GOALTENDING “CONTROVERSY”Most of the chatter as a result of this game surrounded the goaltending change by coach Alain Vigneault and the crowd’s resulting reaction, as they cheered the move and booed Luongo.  Luongo was beaten five-hole on three of the goals, and went down early and left his post on a power play goal by Corey Perry. As noted above, the defense was very bad and these breakdowns left the Ducks with point-blank chances – Luongo didn’t whiff on any of these and realistically they were all difficult, in-close shots to stop.  That said, he really didn’t look very good tonight, and the bottom line is that he needs to make a save on one or two of them. He ended up allowing his four goals in 27 minutes on only 15 shots.  The numbers don’t lie – he just wasn’t very good tonight. Andrew Ebbett played again tonight on the fourth line with Manny Malhotra and Kassian.  I don’t expect he’ll be in the lineup come playoff time either, but clearly these games right now are for Vigneault to get guys into games so they have some legs under them if they are called upon in the playoffs. Gragnani needs only one more game played in order for the Canucks to avoid him becoming a Group 6 (unrestricted) free agent.  They have been playing him a lot more than he deserves to achieve this goal.  Based on his play, I’d be surprised if we see much of him in the playoffs. Lapierre has played so well on the Sedin line that I’d like to see AV try him on the second line with Kesler and Booth when Daniel comes back.  He may be able to provide them some spark. Conversely, the second line continues to struggle and was a combined minus-7 tonight with only one assist.  After showing some promise a week ago, Mason Raymond has reverted back to his previous malaise. The forwards had a slightly more unbalanced workload tonight as a result of the 10 minutes of power play time. That said, it’s not really appropriate for the fans to boo him.  He’s been on an absolute tear lately and has been standing on his head, and the fans should keep this in mind. When at his best, Luongo is close to unbeatable and is truly an elite NHL goaltender – and lately, for the most part, he’s been at his best.The fan base is punchy primarily as a result of his gaffes in last year’s Stanley Cup Final – and that is understandable.  I’ve long contended that you can usually tell, very early, whether or not Luongo’s on his game. After the second goal tonight, I thought it looked like he was a bit off, but didn’t call for him to be pulled because of the fact this game was relatively meaningless.  After the fourth goal went in, however, I fully applauded Vigneault’s decision.As it turned out, it was the right decision – the team started to play much better and they were able to tie it before the second intermission.  In addition, Luongo was spared falling on his sword even more than he already had.  The team generally has the utmost trust in Luongo, and I’m sure he’ll bounce back in his next start.Is there a goaltending controversy?  I don’t think so, as I think Luongo has earned the right to get the nod when the playoffs start.  That said, when the games really start to matter, I fully believe that Luongo should be kept on a very short leash. As I noted, when he’s good, he’s great – but when he’s bad, he’s really bad.  The Canucks can’t afford to have “really bad” Luongo in net in the playoffs, especially when their #2 option is near the top of the league in save percentage and is generally regarded as the best non-starter NHL goaltender. Watch for AV to get a read on Luongo very quickly if he lets in a couple of goals early or in quick succession in the postseason. GAME OBSERVATIONS While the Canucks showed a lot of jam in climbing back into the game tonight, their power play had numerous chances to help out or put them ahead in the third and it was again unable to get the job done, going 0 for 5.  The Canucks’ power play has absolutely deserted them.  Since the Boston game in early January, the Canucks have played 31 games and are 12 for 82 on the power play, for 14.6%.  Those numbers are horrible. Rookie winger Zack Kassian left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return.  Vigneault said after the game that he was “in playoff mode” and only said that he was day to day.  The Canucks may have to consider calling someone like Byron Bitz up from Chicago as the playoffs start. The PP is not getting a lot of production out of the first unit, especially lately as Daniel Sedin is out and Ryan Kesler is struggling.  The second unit, which consisted tonight of Burrows, Raymond, and either Booth or Higgins looks lost as it doesn’t have a true playmaker.  Both units seriously need to start just standing in front of the net and working the puck there, hoping for rebounds and greasy goals. The Ducks have a lot of talent for an 11th place team, and it’s somewhat unbelievable that they are in the predicament they are in.  I know that Hiller wasn’t himself (or was out altogether) until after Christmas, but one would think a team with the names this one has would be able to put something together.  It’s astounding that Ryan Getzlaf has only 10 goals and 45 assists – he’s a world class player. IF THIS WERE A PLAYOFF GAMEA lazy win, in a shootout, where the team overcame a weaker opponent and needed a shootout to secure the two points.  Also, the goaltending was substandard.  Unfortunately, if this game were a playoff game, it would have been a loss.  Canucks are now 7-4 in the past 11 games since I began assessing them this way. PARTING SHOTSBroadcast Observation of the Night:  TSN did the broadcast and I was surprised at how protective they were of Luongo.  In my opinion, it’s very important for the media to present an unbiased view, especially on a national broadcaster.Therefore, I was disappointed when respected studio analyst Bob McKenzie defended Luongo in the second intermission and chided the fans for giving him a bad time. Even though the goals Luongo allowed to get past him were prime scoring chances, and it’s arguable as to how much he could have done about them, when you are beaten through the legs three times, you just aren’t at the top of your game. In the post-game scrum, Luongo even admitted as such. For McKenzie to go on about how the fans should cut him slack and not express their displeasure, all the while defending his play on the night, is just wrong.I would have had no problem with McKenzie defending him for his recent play, or what he’s brought to the franchise, or for his pedigree, etc.  However, it’s incorrect to turn around and say the goals were completely not his fault.  The influence of the broadcaster on the fan base is quite large, if the action on twitter is any indication.Looking ahead: The Canucks play Edmonton and Calgary to finish out the season.  They control their own destiny as pertains to finishing first in the conference, as two wins will get them the first seeding and home ice advantage.last_img read more

Mighty Mite and Spider Gymnast: Arachnids Inspire Scientists

first_img(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 We have a new land speed record.  You’d have to run 1300 mph to keep up with this critter at its scale.Mite Racing GoldA tiny mite has just whizzed past the previous record-holder for fastest land animal.  In terms of body lengths per second, Paratarsotomus macropalpis (a tiny desert mite found in Southern California deserts), “runs 20 times faster than a cheetah and the equivalent of a person running 1300 miles per hour,” according to Science Daily based on a press release from the Federation for the American Societies for Experimental Biology.  At 322 body lengths per second, this mite easily outpaced the Australian tiger beetle, previously called the fastest land animal on earth, which tops out at at only 177 body lengths per second.  A cheetah, by contrast, only hits 16 body lengths per second, and the fastest human, currently Usain Bolt, tops out at 6.2 bl/sec according to a blog.  The mite, about the size of a sesame seed, can average 192 bl/sec, still faster than the tiger beetle’s top speed.The new world record was discovered by Samuel Rubin, a college student at Pitzer College in California, who also noticed that the mite can withstand “temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), a temperature significantly higher than the upper lethal temperature of most animals.”  According to the press release, “The mites also are adept at stopping and changing directions extremely quickly, attributes the researchers are investigating further for potential insights that may be relevant to bioengineering applications.”  Rubin sees gold ahead: “looking deeper into the physics of how they accomplish these speeds could help inspire revolutionary new designs for things like robots or biomimetic devices.”Science Magazine agrees, adding another amazing tidbit: “Future studies of these mites (which pick up and put down each foot about 135 times a second) could help engineers develop superfast, superagile robots.”Spider Gymnastic GoldSpeaking of arachnids, a larger one—a spider—displays gymnastic prowess.  A press release from the Senckenberg Research Institute tells about Cebrennus rechenbergi, a nocturnal spider found in Morocco, that can catapult itself along with a series of flic-flac jumps (also called flipflops by gymnasts).  This gives it a speed boost when escaping predators or descending hills: “At almost 2 meters per second, the flic-flac jumps allow the spider to move twice as fast as in simple walking mode.”  This spider’s coordinated movements are also leading to engineering advances:Prof. Dr. Rechenberg was so inspired by the flic-flac spider’s ingenious mode of locomotion that he developed a 25cm long model of a spider robot. The Tabbot, named after “Tabacha” (the word for spider in the Berber language), can move by walking as well as by turning somersaults. “This robot may be employed in agriculture, on the ocean floor or even on Mars,” according to its inventor.Beetle Hunting Gold, and Darwinist DrossWhile not an arachnid, the tiger beetle, having lost to the mite in the speed category, may still win gold in the floor exercise or steeplechase.  A press release from Cornell University describes how its high-speed seemingly-random trajectories while chasing prey actually give it the optimum strategy for reaching its target.  A Cornell biologist, Jane Wang, found that the beetle’s turns follow a mechanical law, which she attributed to evolution:From an evolutionary point of view, the sensing and moving are intimately connected, Wang continued. Some of the hundreds of thousands of neurons that function for sight are directly connected to the machinery for locomotion, which is directly related to the animal’s instinct to survive – that is, eat. Thus, studying how animals move can provide insight into how they sense their environment, and vice versa, she said.But what would a professor of mechanical engineering and physics know about blind, unguided processes?  The two clauses of that opening sentence above do not seem to bear an intimate connection.Evolutionary speculations in design articles are like wood alcohol poured into your tea.last_img read more

Aortic stenosis

first_imgDefinitionThe aorta is the main artery that carries blood out of the heart to the rest of the body. Blood flows out of the heart and into the aorta through the aortic valve. In aortic stenosis, the aortic valve does not open fully. This decreases blood flow from the heart.Alternative NamesAortic valve stenosis; Rheumatic aortic stenosis; Calcific aortic stenosisCausesAs the aortic valve narrows, the left ventricle has to work harder to create more pressure to pump blood out through the valve. To do this extra work, the muscles in the ventricle walls become thicker. This can lead to chest pain.As the pressure continues to rise, blood may back up into the lungs. Severe aortic stenosis can limit the amount of blood that reaches the brain and rest of the body.Aortic stenosis may be present from birth (congenital), but most often it develops later in life. Children with aortic stenosis may have other conditions present from birth.Aortic stenosis mainly occurs due to the buildup of calcium deposits that narrow the valve. This is called calcific aortic stenosis. The problem generally affects older people.Calcification of the valve happens sooner in patients who are born with abnormal aortic or bicuspid valves. In rare cases, calcification can develop more quickly when a person has received chest radiation (such as for cancer treatment).Another cause is rheumatic fever. This condition can develop after strep throat or scarlet fever. Valve problems do not develop for 5 – 10 years or longer after rheumatic fever occurs. Rheumatic fever is becoming rarer in the United States.advertisementAortic stenosis occurs in about 2% of people over 65 years of age. It occurs more often in men than in women.SymptomsMost people with aortic stenosis do not develop symptoms until the disease is advanced. The diagnosis may have been made when the health care provider heard a heart murmur and performed tests.Symptoms of aortic stenosis include:Chest discomfort: The chest pain may get worse with activity and reach into the arm, neck, or jaw. The chest may also feel tight or squeezed.Cough, possibly bloodyBreathing problems when exercisingBecoming easily tiredFeeling the heart beat (palpitations)Fainting, weakness, or dizziness with activityIn infants and children, symptoms include:Becoming easily tired with exertion (in mild cases)Failure to gain weightPoor feedingSerious breathing problems that develop within days or weeks of birth (in severe cases)Children with mild or moderate aortic stenosis may get worse as they get older. They are also at risk for a heart infection called bacterial endocarditis.Exams and TestsA heart murmur, click, or other abnormal sound is almost always heard through a stethoscope. The health care provider may be able to feel a vibration or movement when placing a hand over the heart. There may be a faint pulse or changes in the quality of the pulse in the neck.Blood pressure may be low.Aortic stenosis is most often detected and then followed using a test called an echocardiogram.The following tests may also be performed:ECGExercise stress testingLeft cardiac catheterizationMRI of the heartTransesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)TreatmentRegular checkups by a health provider may be all that is needed if you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. The health care provider should ask about your health history, do a physical exam, and perform an echocardiogram.People with severe aortic stenosis may be told not to play competitive sports, even if they have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, strenuous activity must often be limited.Medicines are used to treat symptoms of heart failure(link) or abnormal heart rhythms (most commonly atrial fibrillation). These include diuretics (water pills), nitrates, and beta-blockers. High blood pressure should also be treated. If aortic stenosis is severe, this treatment must be done carefully so blood pressure does not drop to dangerously low levels.In the past, most patients with heart valve problems were given antibiotics before dental work or an invasive procedure such as colonoscopy. The antibiotics were given to prevent an infection of the damaged heart. However, antibiotics are now used much less often before dental work and other procedures. Check with your health care provider to find out whether you need antibiotics.People with this condition should stop smoking and be treated for high cholesterol.Surgery to repair or replace the valveis often done for adults or children who develop symptoms. Even if symptoms are not very bad, the doctor may recommend surgery based on some test results.A less invasive procedure called balloon valvuloplasty may be done instead of surgery.advertisementA balloon is placed into an artery in the groin, threaded to the heart, placed across the valve, and inflated. However, narrowing often occurs again after this procedure.A newer procedure done at the same time as valvuloplasty can implant an artificial valve. This procedure is most often done in patients who cannot have surgery, but is becoming more common.Some children may need aortic valve repair or replacement. Children with mild aortic stenosis may be able to take part in most activities.Outlook (Prognosis)The outcome varies. The disorder may be mild and not produce symptoms. Over time, the aortic valve may become more narrow, and as a result, more severe heart problems may develop, such as.Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutterBlood clots to the brain (stroke), intestines, kidneys, or other areasFainting spells, called syncopeHeart failureHigh blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)The results of aortic valve repair are often excellent. To get the best treatment, go to a center that regularly performs this type of surgery.When to Contact a Medical ProfessionalCall your health care provider if you or your child has symptoms of aortic stenosis.Also contact your doctor right away if you have been diagnosed with this condition and your symptoms get worse or new symptoms develop.ReferencesBonow RO, Carabello BA, Chatterjee K, de Leon AC Jr., Faxon DP, Freed MD, et al; 2006 Writing Committee Members; American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force. 2008 Focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with valvular heart disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the 1998 Guidelines for the Management of Patients with Valvular Heart Disease): endorsed by the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Circulation. 2008;118:e523-e661.Carabello BA. Valvular heart disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 75.Nishimura RA, Carabello BA, Faxon DP, et al. ACC/AHA 2008 guideline update on valvular heart disease: focused update on infective endocarditis: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines endorsed by the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008;52(8):676-685.Otto CM, Bonow RO. Valvular heart disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes Dp, Libby P, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwalds Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2011:chap 66.Review Date:5/1/2013Reviewed By:Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.last_img read more

SA Use Power To Turn Up The Heat

first_imgHeat team members will gain exclusive access into the Power’s inner sanctum, with an exclusive once in a lifetime opportunity as part of the TFSA High Performance program – the Heat Elite.Players will be treated as if it’s their first day of pre-season at the Club, with Touch Football South Australia’s State Operations Manager, Tim Wyld, saying that the players are looking forward to the experience. “We’re just trying to offer something different to our players as part of their High Performance program, to give them an understanding of what it’s like to be in an elite training environment. I’m really pleased that the Power has come to the party and given them the full exclusive session that they would do for their players, so they are not really changing too much of it,” Wyld said. “They’re basically getting treated as if it is the first day of an AFL pre-season, so they are going to report to the headquarters and get tested.  Everything they’ll do is tested and comparisons made to where they need to be, so for them to have access to that is a huge advantage we think.”Players will report to training and undergo a hydration test before heading to the Club’s lecture room for a welcome and introduction conducted by PAFC fitness coaches. Players will then receive the results of their hydration tests and tips in maintaining appropriate levels of hydration.From there it’s out on to the oval for a yo-yo test (physical fitness) before an AFL pre-season conditioning session, complete with GPS player tracking and results data analysis.This will then be followed by recovery involving ice baths and stretching, utilising the latest trends in sports science. Finally players will assemble in the clubs lecture theatre for a de-brief and question and answer session.This is the second week in a row that the Heat Elite have had the opportunity to learn from leaders of other sports, following a session with Australian Beach Volleyball coach, Mick Nelson, last weekend. The players had the opportunity to hear about preparation, team dynamics and delivering in big games from Nelson, with Wyld saying that the players received great benefit from hearing him speak. “He basically made some comparisons to our sport and his, being an Olympic Beach Volleyball coach, saying that the Australians on an international stage are a small competitor and there is obviously Brazil and the USA which are the two dominant bodies. He talked about what they can do, and what we can do as a small state to gain a competitive advantage over some of the more dominant rivals that we have, what we can do differently to those that gives us a chance. We might not be able to beat them, but it gives us a chance and an opportunity to compete with them, so that was really good.”“They sat down after and did some goal setting and working out what their competitive advantage was based on the feedback and insights that he provided so that was really good, and I guess that we’re expecting similar sort of motivation to stem from this weekend,” Wyld said. Stay tuned to the Touch Football South Australia website, to hear how the Heat players fare on their day as ‘Power players’ – read more

HP CM asks Cabinet colleague who will he campaign for son or

first_imgShimla: Himachal Pradesh power minister Anil Sharma seems to be on his way out from the state cabinet.Sharma is the son of former telecom minister Sukh Ram, who had joined the Congress along with grandson Ashray Sharma, Anil Sharma’s elder son recently. In a quick move, the Congress has also fielded Ashray from Mandi Parliamentary constituency for which he had earlier been asking for a ticket from the BJP. Put in a piquant situation over Anil Sharma’s status as a cabinet minister—whose son is fighting the BJP, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday served a clear ultimatum to Anil Sharma to make his position clear on campaigning for the son. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Sharma last week had announced that he will not campaign against his son in Mandi parliamentary constituency though being a sitting MLA from Mandi assembly seat. “Well, if you can’t campaign against your son, the BJP can’t sit back. We have fielded sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma from Mandi. It’s the duty of every BJP leader to work for the victory of the BJP candidate. Defiance of the party discipline can attract action. Better Anil Sharma quit the BJP, and the cabinet and opt to go with the son,” Chief Minister said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOnly some days back, the Chief Minister had held a meeting with senior BJP leaders in Delhi and updated them on Anil Sharma’s position. “It’s very clear that Sukh Ram had dented his own credibility by joining the Congress with grandson. He has also created a serious problem for Anil Sharma – who was brought to the BJP by Sukh Ram in 2017. We gave him a ticket and made a cabinet minister. What else Sukh Ram wanted more than this? he asked. Thakur accused Sukh Ram of changing the parties for his son’s political career but now he has chosen to defect for the grandson. “Next, Sukh Ram will take a jump somewhere else to get a ticket for daughter-in-law or grand-daughter-in-law. This is very serious,” he warned. Meanwhile, the Congress has cleared the name of five-time MLA Ram Lal Thakur for Hamirpur to fight the poll against three-time MP Anurag Thakur.last_img read more