Chemical communication underpins virtually all aspects of vertebrate social life, yet remains poorly understood because of its highly complex mechanistic basis. We therefore used chemical fingerprinting of skin swabs and genetic analysis to explore the chemical cues that may underlie mother–offspring recognition in colonially breeding Antarctic fur seals. By sampling mother–offspring pairs from two different colonies, using a variety of statistical approaches and genotyping a large panel of microsatellite loci, we show that colony membership, mother–offspring similarity, heterozygosity, and genetic relatedness are all chemically encoded. Moreover, chemical similarity between mothers and offspring reflects a combination of genetic and environmental influences, the former partly encoded by substances resembling known pheromones. Our findings reveal the diversity of information contained within chemical fingerprints and have implications for understanding mother–offspring communication, kin recognition, and mate choice.
Oxford has beaten Cambridge to the top spot in the Times Good University Guide for the sixth year running, reports The Times Online.Cambridge came in second place, but the gap between the two universities is the smallest it has been since 1993. According to John O’Leary, editor of the guide, Oxford were able to edge ahead because of bigger budgets for library and computing facilities, and a greater number of students graduating with at least a 2:1 degree.There was good news across the town as well as Oxford Brookes University broke into the top 50, ranking 49th. For graduate employment rates, it ranks 26th overall, placing it ahead of many top university competitors such as Exeter, Manchester, Reading and York.The annually published Times Good University Guide was released today, giving prospective students the opportunity to see where their universities strengths and weaknesses lie.
Monday was the annual OCIS tradition provided by the OCPTA for the graduating 8th grade class at the end of the school year. There was an inflatable obstacle course, laser tag, a dunk tank, face painting, a DJ, ice cream truck giving out frozen treats, food, drinks, snacks and more. Every 8th grader was given a free t-shirt with the names of all the students in the class of 2017 on the back. Thank you to the kids for all of your hard work & thank you to the volunteers that made this day so memorable!
Scottish-firm Tunnocks has invested £4 million in new machinery to improve efficiency at its Uddingston site, which produces its Caramel Wafers and Teacakes.The firm spent £2m on new machinery earlier this year, including two foiling machines, two flow packs and a robotic case packer earlier this year. MD Boyd Tunnock told British Baker, the firm then spent another £2m on a state-of-the-art robotics system from Schubert to pack its teacakes, which it is “just bedding in” at the moment. It will be used to pack either six or 10 teacakes to a box, or 12 to a tray.“We already had four wrapping machines, but Schubert supplied the feeding systems to these wrapping machines as well as the robotic packer,” explained Boyd. He said that the bakery’s previous line had been running for 10 years and was inefficient. “Efficiency has now gone up by 20-25%. We’re using less labour and also getting a bigger throughput,” he added.Boyd told us that main change has been to teacake production, with five less people needed on the floor per shift. However he said the firm has not made any redundancies and is looking to move from a double shift per day, to three shifts, five days a week. He said the new machinery is about “long term payback”. “But as a family business we can afford to do that, and we’re willing to do that as we’ll be getting a better end product.” He added that the new machinery gives the firm the ability to increase production, but importantly it will allow it to maintain its current prices. The firm employs 550 staff, and turned over approximately £35m last year. It exports to over 30 countries worldwide, including Canada, the Canary Isles and Japan.
Greencore’s purchase of chilled prepared food group Uniq looks likely to go ahead at the end of September.It means Uniq Marks & Spencer’s largest sandwich supplier will be taken over by Irish rival Greencore, the world’s largest sandwich manufacturer, after the Uniq board unanimously recommended it should accept the offer. This has been declared ’unconditional as to acceptances’ after more than 90% of shareholders indicated they would accept the deal.The boards of both firms agreed to Greencore’s cash offer in mid-July when the Greencore board said it represented an excellent fit for its growth strategy in the UK. The Irish firm said that, subject to the satisfaction of the other conditions, it expected to complete the acquisition around the end of September.Uniq, which employs 1,900 people, was recently restructured to negate the effects of its significant pension deficit.
Easily one of the highlights of any Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is the SuperJam. Each year, the festival brings together a group of talented and eclectic musicians, united under a common musical theme, and gives them total sonic freedom. This year’s SuperJam has just been announced, and it’s looking like a fun one!The theme will be “Heart, Soul & Spirit: A Tribute To Tennessee,” the state that has housed Bonnaroo for its 15 year reign as one of the premier music North American music festivals. Leading the charge will be Kamasi Washington, and a number of great players will be involved, including Miguel, GRiZ, Devonte Hynes, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Eric Krasno & The Shady Horns, Allen Stone, Vulfpeck, The Internet, Chicano Batman, and Lizzo. The festival also promises that more names will added soon!Taking place on Saturday, June 11th, this is one set you won’t want to miss. Catch the full festival schedule here, and you can see the SuperJam announcement below:
Heat waves are becoming more common, but the number of hospital admissions for heat stroke has declined significantly in the United States in recent years, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published in the journal Environmental Health. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers examined data from more than 23 million Medicare beneficiaries in 1,916 U.S. counties between 1999 and 2010.Heat stroke is a serious and life-threatening illness that often occurs when patients have a core body temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. In the study, researchers calculated the relative risk of heat stroke among older adults during heat wave days (defined as at least two consecutive days with daily mean temperature greater than the 97th percentile of temperatures in that county) compared to non-heat wave days.Researchers found that over time, the risk of heat stroke declined, with notable geographic differences. The risk was highest in the Northeast, while it was lower in the South and Southwest. They also found that heat waves early in the summer were more likely to result in heat stroke admissions than those later in the season.According to Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics and senior associate dean for information technology at Harvard Chan School, and senior author of the study, there could be several reasons for the decline, including greater awareness of the risk of heat stroke, expanded use of air conditioning, and the potential that climate change is making people acclimate more easily to higher temperatures. Read Full Story
Unlike the students involved in the recent nationwide college admissions scandal, the first-generation, low-income and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students of Holy Cross said they received little to no assistance when it was time for them to begin applying to colleges and universities.The official Holy Cross website states 32% of the College’s student body consists of first-generation college students.Anna Mason | The Observer First year and first-generation student Cody Rieckhoff said he remembers not being able to go to his parents for help during his college search.”I had the guidance counselors and teachers who would help with my process, but when it came to my parents, I had no insight on how to apply,” he said. “I had no insight on where to look. So, I just started exploring. I just started to look, I applied to, I think, nine different colleges and all of them were off of free applications.”Rieckhoff said he remembered the exact moment when he realized his parents could no longer give him advice about his future. “I had this opposition from my parents about where they wanted me to go, and for me, I was like, ‘Well, what do you know about college?’” Rieckhoff said. ”Because they didn’t go, I felt it hard to look to them for advice about what to expect.”First-year students Patricia Vasquez and Erick Maciel Diaz also faced challenges during the college application process — both are first-generation, low-income students as well as DACA recipients. Diaz said his college search became complicated in September of 2017 when his DACA status was in danger of being taken away. “I did most of the research on my own, and I did my applications thinking that I was going to receive financial aid,” he said. ”Once the whole DACA program got rescinded in September, that stopped me from wanting to search for federal aid, because I knew that then I couldn’t get it, and I didn’t really know at the time what was going to happen to DACA or me.”Vasquez said she looked for additional assistance during her college search from the Nicholas Academic Centers, a tutoring and mentor program for high school students, as her options for college felt limited at the time. The Nicholas Academic Centers negotiated on Vasquez’s behalf so she could receive the resources necessary for her to attend Holy Cross. “Most of my peers were born here, and I wasn’t,” she said. “I was beginning to apply for my DACA [status], and once I started applying to my DACA [program], I realized that me not being born here was going to affect my financial aid package for college. … [The Nicholas Academic Center] constantly told me, ‘Yeah, you have this [state] of being different, of being low-income and being a DACA recipient, but you also have opportunities if you have the right system advocating for you.‘”Diaz said he was not surprised to hear of the admissions scandal.“I think everyone somehow knew in the back of their minds that this has always happened,“ he said. “I don’t think it’s institutionalized, but I do think money has something to play in getting students accepted into colleges anywhere. So, really, I think this is only part of a bigger picture that shows how skewed the system is and how we’re not playing fairly.” Rieckhoff, on the other hand, said he was shocked to hear how far people were willing to go to get into elite schools.“I feel like it takes away from the prestige of making it anywhere for people to be basically bribing their way into college or bribing their kids into college or extorting money from somebody,” he said. “It just seems very, very unfair for a lot of the people who work really hard to get where they are. … It blows my mind that people put so much prestige behind a college that they’re willing to pay four-college-tuitions-worth of money just to get their kid to go.”Vasquez said she would like to see more Holy Cross faculty become empathetic toward low-income and first-generation students.“I would like to see more of workshops for [College] staff and faculty, just to give them a perspective of what it means to have a student that is first-generation or low-income,“ Vasquez said. “Because I’m pretty sure they’re aware that they have some students that are low-income and first-generation or DACA recipients, but they’re not well aware of what they go through.” Tags: Admissions, admissions scandal series, DACA, DACA Students, first generation, Holy Cross College
Weary electric crews trudge onHydro One breaths second wind into restoration effortMore than three days after the first customer lost power in Friday’s ice storm, weary crews continue this morning to trudge through heavily forested areas, cutting away trees, replacing broken poles and putting up power lines, oftentimes feeling like they are rebuilding CV’s system, rather than making repairs.Eleven crews from Hydro One in Ontario, Canada today joined a historical restoration effort that has included collaboration with state and local government officials, and dozens of crews from other Vermont utilities and outside contractors. Crews have restored service to 32,200 of the 35,000 CVPS customers who lost power.”We are indebted to all the Vermont utilities, contract tree companies, and the crews from Pennsylvania, Michigan and Canada that have come to our aid throughout this storm,” said Joe Kraus, CVPSs vice president for engineering, operations and customer service. “State and local government officials have been instrumental in working with us to clear roads, set up shelters for affected customers and get crews from Canada into the state.”Most customers in Windsor County will be back on by late this evening, but single customer outages and areas with extreme damage – especially the Wilmington, Readsboro, Wardsboro, Dover, Guilford area – will carry later into the week. Ice unloading and wind caused some additional outages Monday. Recovery in Windsor County was also hampered late Monday afternoon by a car-motorcycle accident that broke a pole in Londonderry.”This is a very long, but extremely aggressive restoration effort,” said Director of Engineering and System Operations Greg White, a 23-year veteran. “Everyone is pretty tired at this point, but each and every one of us, from the support staff to the dispatchers to the customer care staff to line and tree workers, will keep working until the last customer is restored.”More than 75 contract line crews and 50 tree crews from around Vermont, Michigan and Ontario, Canada are assisting CVPS. As other CVPS districts were cleaned up around the state, more crews converged on Windsor and Windham counties. More than 70 outside businesses, food establishments and municipal groups have also assisted CVPS.President Bob Young thanked every CVPS customers who has extended a hand in thanks, spoken a kind word to crews, or offered other support.”Orange, Windsor and Windham counties took an awful thrashing from this storm, but the people of these areas have demonstrated a resiliency unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Young said. “We appreciate folks continued patience as we do our best to return things to a sense of normalcy.”Check with an electricianCVPS reminded customers that while service lines or overhead wires that run from a pole to a house or business are the utilitys responsibility, the service cable that runs along the side of the house is the customer’s responsibility.If those service cables are damaged, customers should contact an electrician. The service bracket that attaches the service line to the house is generally maintained by CVPS. However, the weather head, attached to the service cable, which prevents water damage to the wiring, is maintained by the customer’s electrician.SAFETY FIRSTCVPS urges customers to take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety in the wake of the storm. The company offered the following tips for safely coping with the outages:Treat any downed line as if it is live. Report the line to your local utility and fire department, stay at least 30 feet away from the line, and keep children and pets away as well.If you waiting out the storm at your home without power, stay in contact with your neighbors. If you live alone, are HOMEBOUND, have LIFE-SUPPORT equipment, or live in a secluded area, stay in contact with a friend, relative or close neighbor.If using a generator, read and follow the owner’s manual before starting the generator. Never operate a generator inside any structure or near a structure. Use a transfer switch to ensure electricity is not accidentally fed onto a line where line crews must work.Keep freezers and refrigerators closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.Turn off all electrical appliances except one light so youll know when service returns. Then, turn equipment back on slowly.
Across a range of genres, there’s been a noticeable surge in recent studio albums dedicated to cover songs. Most notably, Ryan Adams tackled Taylor Swift’s 1989 in its entirety, Bob Dylan sang Sinatra as part of his take on old pop standards, Shadows in the Night, and metal icon Danzig offered interpretations of ZZ Top, Aerosmith and the Everly Brothers on the all-covers set Skeletons.Another emerging trend last year was the surprise LP: bands dropping fresh releases with little or no warning. Coldplay’s new A Head Full of Dreams was released less than a month after being announced, and Wilco’s latest, Star Wars, suddenly appeared on the band’s website as a free download last summer. Let’s also not forget U2 slipping Songs of Innocence into all iTunes accounts, only to apologize for it later.It’s all part of the music industry’s evolving playbook, as record sales become even more negligible but studio output becomes even more plentiful. With advanced technology, albums are relatively easy to crank out and don’t require access to a fancy studio. In addition to being artistic statements, they’ve also become, which sounds somewhat sad to say, necessary marketing tools for bands that live on the road and mostly depend on ticket sales to pay the bills.This all comes to mind when listening to Busted Jukebox, Volume 1, the latest release from South Carolina duo Shovels & Rope. The album was announced four days before its release in late November and posted for a free streaming preview on NPR with no warning. Like the title suggests, it’s a collection of random covers done in the group’s raw acoustic style. While it would have been cool enough to just hear the hard-touring country-punk outfit’s hair-raising harmonies anchor twangy takes on tunes by Neil Young, Guns N’ Roses, Nine Inch Nails, and Lou Reed, the group, comprised of married couple Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, took it a step further by enlisting a talented cast of friends to join them on all but one of the new effort’s 10 tracks.Shovels & Rope emerged from Charleston five years ago and quickly became Americana darlings, touring relentlessly in a Winnebago, quickly packing clubs, and opening for the likes of Jack White and Jason Isbell. The band’s sound is unhinged and infectious, characterized by ragged minimalist delivery that’s propelled by powerful emotion and gutbucket tenacity. Hearst and Trent often trade off between an acoustic guitar and a bare-bones drum kit, stomping and hollering through fist-pumping anthems. There’s some of that vintage country male-female vocal chemistry—think Johnny and June or Graham and Emmylou—that can only come from genuine under-the-sheets passion.Prior to its latest, the band released three albums, including 2012 breakout O’ Be Joyful. That album was made with some true independent grit, pieced together during lengthy tours with parts of some tracks cut in dive motels and even the back of a van. The same spirit, and at times method, prevails on Busted Jukebox. The album serves as both an experiential tour log and a snapshot of the vastness of the widely encompassing Americana scene, all while paying tribute to a diverse lot of influential predecessors.Hearst and Trent recorded some of the covers that often rile up crowds during their raucous live shows, and the guest musicians—mostly contemporaries met on the road through shared bills and festival appearances—add the spontaneity of a front-porch sing-along to many of the songs. It took some diligence to coordinate schedules with the musicians they wanted to help. They pulled Shakey Graves into a hotel room to knock out a dusty barroom take on Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend,” and recorded a reverent version of Reed’s dirge “Perfect Day” with help from the venerable Preservation Hall Jazz Band during an on-stage rehearsal in New Orleans.The album moves between the familiar and somewhat obscure—both in songs and cast—and runs through a wide range of roots music styles. JD McPherson leads the garage soul revamp of Toussaint McCall’s “Nothing Takes the Place of You,” while upstart singer-songwriter Caroline Rose helps out on Nine Inch Nails’ “Last,” an interpretation perfectly described by the band as “a psychobilly hoedown from hell.” Richmond rocker J. Roddy Walston also adds some husky wails to a vintage pop version of his own “Boys Can Never Tell.”The most surprising resurrection is a retro folk reading of Guns N’ Roses’ acoustic ballad “Patience,” which juxtaposes Hearst and Trent’s edgy vocal frays with the smooth Simon & Garfunkel-style revivalist singing of the Grammy-nominated Milk Carton Kids. It turns the song into a gentle lullaby until it peaks with an impressive imitation of Axl Rose’s infamous original vocal crescendo—fun preservation of power-ballad fireworks.The album closes with Hearst and Trent going guest free on a gospel-swamp version of Emmylou Harris’ “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” adding a little extra vigor to the line “that old highway goes on forever,” and proving they can do just fine when they’re not getting by with a little help from their friends.