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Something doesn’t smell right

first_imgFor most animals, the scent of rotting meat is powerfully repulsive. But for others, such as carrion-feeding vultures and insects, it’s a scent that can be just as powerfully attractive.The question of why some animals are repelled and others attracted to a particular scent, scientists say, gets at one of the most basic and poorly understood mysteries in neuroscience: How does the brain encode likes and dislikes?Harvard scientists say they’re closer to unraveling that question with the discovery of the first receptors in any species evolved to detect cadaverine and, two of the chemical byproducts responsible for the distinctive — and to most creatures repulsive — smell of rotting flesh. The study is described in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“This is the first time we’ve identified a receptor for these chemicals,” said Associate Professor of Cell Biology Stephen Liberles, a senior author of the paper. “The larger question we’re interested in is: What does it mean that something is an aversive or attractive odor? How are likes and dislikes encoded in the brain? Understanding the receptors that respond to those cues could give us a powerful inroad to understanding that.”Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Zecai Liang with Liberles in his lab. Liberles is trying to unravel the scent question: How are likes and dislikes encoded in the brain?Though researchers have long understood that olfaction involves receptors, which detect odors and in turn activate brain neurons, Liberles, together with Nobel laureate Linda Buck, recently discovered a second family of receptors, dubbed trace amine-associated receptors, or TAARs.Though fewer in number than other odorant receptors — mice, for example, have 15, versus more than 1,000 odorant receptors, while humans have 350 receptors and just six TAARs — Liberles said the functions of the TAARs remained largely unknown.“We knew they were olfactory receptors, but we didn’t know what ligands might activate them,” Liberles said of the TAARs. “We know in the taste system there are different families of receptors for bitter and sweet, so we thought the TAARs might be doing something specific in olfaction.”To understand how the TAARs function, researchers sought to identify scents that would activate them, hoping they might offer clues into why a second olfactory system evolved. In recent years, scientists working in Liberles’ lab identified odors that activated six TAARs in mice and seven in rats, nearly all of which were highly aversive.To check TAARs in fish, Liberles’ team worked with colleagues in Germany to implant olfactory receptors in cell cultures and test them against hundreds of possible odorants, hoping to identify which ones activated the receptor.What the researchers discovered, Liberles said, was that one particular receptor appeared to act as a sensor for diamines — a class of chemicals that include cadaverine and putrescine — nearly all of which are notoriously foul-smelling. Later tests using live zebrafish showed that when researchers marked part of a fish tank with the scent of rotting fish, the fish were highly likely to avoid the area.“What’s also interesting is that this odor — like the predator odor we identified in mice — was aversive the very first time the animal encountered it,” Liberles said. “That suggests the aversion is innate — it’s not learned — and that it involves genetic circuits that are genetically predetermined, that exist, dormant, in the animal waiting for it to encounter the odor.“You might like the smell of baking cookies, but it’s only because you’ve learned to associate it with their taste, or the sugar rush you get from eating them,” he continued. “But this aversion is there from birth. That suggests there is some developmental mechanism underlying these circuits. The question is, what is that?”Though researchers have thus far only shown that the TAARs are activated by amines, Liberles said it’s unlikely that is their only role in olfaction.“We’ve been hunting for a unified theme for what the TAARs might be doing,” he said. “One model is that they’re amine receptors, and another is that they’re all encoding for aversion. I don’t think either is quite correct. I think they may have started as amine receptors, but they have since evolved to do other things.”Understanding how odorants like cadaverine and putrescine work in the olfactory system could also shed light on why some scents — such as rotting meat — repel some creatures, but attract others.“Species-specific behavioral responses suggest that somehow the neural circuits are changing from species to species,” Liberles said. “For instance, tests in our lab have shown that trimethylamine is attractive to mice, but highly aversive to rats. Something similar might be happening with cadaverine.“How does that happen? It’s not known,” he continued. “We don’t understand, as a field, how aversive and attractive odors are differentially processed … but identifying the receptor gives us a handle on the neural circuits that are involved. Now that we have the receptor, we can ask basic questions about aversion and attraction circuitry in general. From there, we can begin to understand how attractive and aversive stimuli are differentially encoded, and cadaverine is about as aversive as you can get.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaC2P7IU8dU” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/oaC2P7IU8dU/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

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Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick Reprise Producers Roles to Send Up Trump

first_img View Comments Star Files Nathan Lane Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane Bialystock and Bloom are at it again! Tony winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reunited on Jimmy Kimmel Live to give The Producers a 2016 election season makeover. Take a look at their sendup of a certain presidential campaign, complete with musical numbers, “checkies” from Cloris Leachman and a whole lot of Trump masks. You can catch Lane on stage on March 7 in White Rabbit Red Rabbit and on screen in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.last_img read more

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Saratoga to expand investment portfolio amid stock market losses

first_imgThe figure was similar to last year’s investment allocation of $100 million, according to a previous report by Kontan.The investment firm, backed by former Jakarta deputy governor and 2019 vice presidential contender Sandiaga Uno, currently has 15 companies in its portfolio.They including publicly listed companies like coal miner PT Adaro Energy, telecommunication tower firm PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure and automotive firm PT Mitra Pinashtika Mustika (MPM), stocks of which also took a severe hit in the pandemic.Since the beginning of this year, Adaro lost 33.76 percent of its value as of Thursday, while Tower Bersama and MPM share prices declined by 4.88 percent and 24.06 percent, respectively.Saratoga’s portfolio also includes several privately-owned companies like hospital firm PT Famon Awal Bros Sedaya and pharmaceutical firm PT Deltomed Laboratories.The firm’s finance director, Lany D. Wong, stated that the company remained confident on its investees’ stock performance this year, as some of those share prices had regained strength amid the gradual market recovery in April and May.“We are also confident about our investees’ financial performance, as they have good underlying,” said Lany.Meanwhile, Saratoga received approval from its shareholders to disburse Rp 149.2 billion in dividends this year, equal to Rp 55 per share, from its 2019 profit, she continued.The company pocketed Rp 7.37 trillion in net profit in 2019 as it booked Rp 6.23 trillion in net gains on investments. It also booked Rp 2.84 billion on dividends, interest and investment income last year.  Saratoga Investama recorded investment losses at Rp 5.9 trillion (US$418.8 million) in this year’s first quarter, a turnaround from Rp 1.39 trillion in profit it booked in the same period last year, as mark-to-market share prices plunged. The Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), the main gauge of Indonesian share prices, has dropped more than 21 percent since the beginning of the year, fuelled by investors’ fear over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.The company’s natural resources stocks portfolio recorded the steepest fall in the first quarter this year with Rp 3 trillion in losses against Rp 509.8 billion in the same period in 2019. In general, it focuses its investment on infrastructure, natural resources and consumer sectors.The company would continue investing in the three sectors, while it expected to score the new investment deals in the next six to 12 months, as it was currently conducting due diligence, Devin said.“We are allocating around $50 million to $100 million for this year’s investments,” said Devin. Publicly listed investment firm PT Saratoga Investama Sedaya plans to expand its investment portfolio after losses sustained in the stock market crash induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.The company’s investment director, Devin Wirawan, said on Wednesday that Saratoga had been assessing several companies and was determining the timing to purchase the stocks.“As an active investment company, we will actively buy new stocks when share prices fall as many of them become more affordable for us,” he told the press during a virtual press briefing, adding that the company would also remain cautious in expanding its portfolio.center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Cricket News Kohli is greatest ODI batsman to have played the game: Clarke

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: That Virat Kohli is destined to be among the pantheons of all-time greats is an oft-repeated assertion but for former Australia captain Michael Clarke, the India skipper is already the “greatest ODI batsman to have ever played the game”. Kohli, the world’s no.1 Test and ODI batsman, led India through a historic tour of Australia, during which the team won the Test and ODI rubbers and drew the T20 International series. Kohli’s India was the first team ever not to lose any series Down Under and along the way, he continued to add to his rapidly-rising count of international hundreds.“To me, Virat Kohli is the greatest batsman to have ever played one-day cricket. I have no doubts after seeing what he has achieved for India,” Clarke, himself a former World Cup-winning captain, told PTI in an interview. Kohli has already scored 10,385 runs in 219 ODIs with an astounding average of 59 plus, including 39 hundreds.An unabashed Kohli fan, Clarke said that the 30-year-old Indian’s passion is unmatchable. “You have to respect Virat’s passion to win games for his country. Yes, he has aggression but no one can question his commitment, how much he has achieved. He is the greatest in ODIs,” Clarke said.Also Read | Virat Kohli’s India in Australia: Five memorable moments from historic tourWhile Kohli’s craft continues to evoke awe, his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s current form has the cricketing world divided.  Dhoni’s style of batsmanship in ODIs, no longer as aggressive as it used to be, has been a matter of concern but for Clarke, the 37-year-old former India captain should be left alone to play his game.“MS knows how to react to any given situation. He has played 300 plus ODIs so he knows how to go about his job,” Clarke said.But would Dhoni have been as effective as he was in the third ODI against Australia if the target would have been 330 instead of 230?“I think he would have played differently. It was 230 and he had a particular strategy and it would have been different if the target would have been bigger,” he said.“Look at his approach in the second game in Adelaide and the third game in Melbourne. It was different,” Clarke said.Asked what should be Dhoni’s batting position in the World Cup, Clarke said, “Any position 4, 5 or 6. He is good enough to bat at any position and I believe Virat will use him accordingly.”Clarke, however, made it clear that the currently suspended Hardik Pandya would play an important role for India going into the World Cup in England. Pandya faces, as of now, an uncertain future owing to his much-condemned sexist remarks on a TV show.“A talented player like Hardik is very necessary for the balance of the side. He can win games alone with his batting and I am confident he will be in that World Cup squad,” Clarke sounded confident. While he didn’t speak about the Pandya-KL Rahul controversy but Clarke looked at the bigger picture about professional sportspersons being role models.  He stressed on the aspect of “respect”.Asked if a lot of money is making youngsters go haywire in their conduct, Clarke gave his insight. “How much money you have earned is irrelevant because most important thing is to earn and give respect. I think it all starts with how you have been brought up.Also Read | Let Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul play while inquiry is on: BCCI president CK Khanna“Respecting every individual is very important. It starts with respecting elders regardless of profession,” Clarke, who has been a chip of the old bloc when it comes to traditions, said. But former batting mainstay also spoke about the need to not make one “mistake” the focus of somebody’s career.“Professional sportspersons are role models, recognized and they have a responsibility. Having said that, everyone makes mistakes and one needs to move on and learn from them,” said Clarke, who played 115 Tests and 245 ODIs for Australia.Asked if India are favourites to win the World Cup, Clarke said, “Certainly one of the favourites with the kind of bowling talent India have at the moment. The batting was always strong and they also have wonderful young spinners. What has impressed Clarke is the fact that India doesn’t have any “apparent weakness in the bowling department”.“Jasprit Bumrah is a skillful bowler who is improving every day. He continues to get better with his seam, swing, and pace. He is the best death bowler in ODI cricket at the moment,” said Clarke.However, the cricket analyst in him also feels that England will be a very difficult team to beat at home. “England is a very good ODI side and will be hard to beat at home. Also, I would like Australia to be in the mix. Australia will get better when the frontline pacers including Nathan Coulter Nile come back,” explained Clarke.Talking about Australian cricket, Clarke is hopeful that things will change for the better very soon if there is good leadership (not captaincy). “There is plenty of talent in Australian cricket. We have good young players playing Sheffield Shield. They still believe Test cricket is the pinnacle,” he said.  But he offered a word of caution too. A lot of hard work is needed and good leadership, which can select the right guys, back them and give them time to perform,” he said. last_img read more

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