Nanotechnology : ATS

Considered futuristic a just a few years ago, nanotechnology where scientists utilize nano-sized objects measuring less than 1/100,000 the width of a human hair today is showing great promise in areas such as medicine, materials science and defense technology.

The Technions Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute is a world-leader in nanotechnology research having made seminal discoveries in the field.

Prof. Ester Segal and a team of Israeli and American researchers find that silicon nanomaterials used for the localized delivery of chemotherapy drugs behave differently in cancerous tumors than they do in healthy tissues. The findings could help scientists better design such materials to facilitate the controlled and targeted release of the chemotherapy drugs to tumors.

Associate Professor Alex Leshansky of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering is part of an international team that has created a tiny screw-shaped propeller that can move in a gel-like fluid, mimicking the environment in a living organism. The breakthrough brings closer the day robots that are only nanometers billionths of a meter in length, can maneuver and perform medicine inside the human body and possibly inside human cells.

Prof. Amit Miller and a team of researchers at the Technion and Boston University have discovered a simple way to control the passage of DNA molecules through nanopore sensors. The breakthrough could lead to low-cost, ultra-fast DNA sequencing that would revolutionize healthcare and biomedical research, and spark major advances in drug development, preventative medicine and personalized medicine.

To read more Technion breakthroughs in nanotechnology, please click here.

For more information, please contact breakthroughs@ats.org.

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Nanotechnology : ATS

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Gregg on Tour View all Events Featured Post Remembering the Gifts From Our Ancestors Gregg Braden Ancient Civilizations | 26 Comments The last thing I expected to see on a late October afternoon hiking in a remote canyon of the Four Corners area in northwestern New Mexico was a Native American wisdom keeper walking toward me on the same trail. Yet there he was, standing at the top of the small incline that separated us as our paths converged that day. Im not sure how long hed been there. By the time I saw him, he was just waiting, watching me as I stepped carefully among the loose stones on the path. The low sun created a glow that cast a deep shadow across the mans body. As I held my hand up to block the light from my eyes, I could see Continue Reading Ancient Civilizations, Healing Gregg Braden

Why does the maximum human age seem to hover around the 100-year mark? Why not 200 or even 500 years? If were to believe accounts in the Torah and Old Testament texts, many ancient people measured their lives in terms of centuries, rather than the decades that we use today. Adam, for example, is documented []

I remember a conversation I had a few years ago that beautifully illustrates what I mean by waiting for life to get back to normal. I was talking to a gas-station attendant in a small mountain town about the weak economy and how people in the area were coping. How are things in this part []

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Simply stellar! Stunning photos show what you can see in the night sky above Greater Manchester

These stunning photos reveal just how much you can see in the night sky above Greater Manchester.

The pictures, taken by members of Stretford Facebook Astronomy Group and Heaton Park Astronomy Group, include Mars and Jupiter plus galaxies 23 million light years away.

Other more familiar sights include detailed pictures of the moon and the Orion galaxy – recognisable for its belt of three parallel stars.

All the photos have been taken using telescopes with camera attachments in Manchester, Stretford, Bolton and Middleton.

Pete Collins, a member of Heaton Park Astronomy Group for the last eight years, said: From Manchester you can see around 300 stars, if youre lucky – in the countryside its more like 3,000.

Having said that, this does make it easier for beginners to identify some of the most well-known constellations like The Plough.

I think part of the attraction of it for me is standing out under the night sky feeling a very small part of things.

Terry Roberts, 52, who started the Stretford Facebook Astronomy Group for people to share photos, said: Ive been into astronomy my whole life but was only able to afford a telescope and then the filters and cameras a few years ago.

I tried to get funding to set up a group but couldnt so I thought a Facebook group would still let people share photos.

The next major event visible from Greater Manchester in the night sky will be the Lyrid Meteor shower, on April 23.

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Simply stellar! Stunning photos show what you can see in the night sky above Greater Manchester

What atheists want you to know

Story highlights Atheists point to Internet as one reason some Americans are losing their faith For many atheists, the scariest thing about coming out is the loss of community, Greg Epstein says Biggest misconception about atheists is that they are a threat, says pastor

CNN’s documentary, “Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers,” tells the story of a number of people who put themselves in that group — and the stigma they’ve faced.

“Stan Bennett” is a minister in a small town, but he no longer believes in God. He’s actively searching for other employment so he can leave behind the job he’s known for more than 30 years. He knows he’s going to come out as an atheist one day, but he’s not ready yet. (He is a closeted atheist, so CNN concealed his identity).

Jerry DeWitt knows how Stan feels. DeWitt spent 25 years as a Pentecostal preacher in the evangelical South, but a few years ago he lost his faith. He still preaches, but he now speaks before a congregation of atheists.

David Silverman is the firebrand head of American Atheists, a group formed in the early 1960s that now has more than 5,000 members. He wears his atheist badge with pride, and his “in your face” tactics have made him a legend in the atheist world.

Greg Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of the best-selling book, “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.” He’s also the executive director of The Humanist Hub, which connects nonreligious community programs in the Boston area and beyond.

After the documentary aired, CNN asked this group some of the tough follow-up questions about atheism. Their answers have been edited for brevity and clarity. The opinions expressed below are solely those of each speaker.

Bennett: Little by little, we are growing up. It’s more difficult for people to stay in their religious cocoons away from the rest of the world. Higher education, travel and the Internet all contribute to our awareness of a bigger world with bigger concepts than the cultural superstitions in which we were raised.

DeWitt: One word: Google. The questions have always been at hand, but now the answers are within our grasp.

Silverman: Religion is factually wrong. As a result, religion lives on ignorance of facts. The reason people are giving up on mythology is the Internet, and the access to information it represents. When religion can exist in a bubble, the lies it pushes cannot be challenged. But when there is a wealth of information at the fingertips of every believer, those lies can be refuted easily, from multiple sources and multiple perspectives. This is why religion is waning, this is why it will continue to wane and this is why it is waning primarily in millennials who are most likely to spend lots of time on the Internet.

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What atheists want you to know

Atheists open up: What they want you to know

Story highlights Atheists point to Internet as one reason some Americans are losing their faith For many atheists, the scariest thing about coming out is the loss of community, Greg Epstein says Biggest misconception about atheists is that they are a threat, says pastor

CNN’s documentary, “Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers,” tells the story of a number of people who put themselves in that group — and the stigma they’ve faced.

“Stan Bennett” is a minister in a small town, but he no longer believes in God. He’s actively searching for other employment so he can leave behind the job he’s known for more than 30 years. He knows he’s going to come out as an atheist one day, but he’s not ready yet. (He is a closeted atheist, so CNN concealed his identity).

Jerry DeWitt knows how Stan feels. DeWitt spent 25 years as a Pentecostal preacher in the evangelical South, but a few years ago he lost his faith. He still preaches, but he now speaks before a congregation of atheists.

David Silverman is the firebrand head of American Atheists, a group formed in the early 1960s that now has more than 5,000 members. He wears his atheist badge with pride, and his “in your face” tactics have made him a legend in the atheist world.

Greg Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of the best-selling book, “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.” He’s also the executive director of The Humanist Hub, which connects nonreligious community programs in the Boston area and beyond.

After the documentary aired, CNN asked this group some of the tough follow-up questions about atheism. Their answers have been edited for brevity and clarity. The opinions expressed below are solely those of each speaker.

Bennett: Little by little, we are growing up. It’s more difficult for people to stay in their religious cocoons away from the rest of the world. Higher education, travel and the Internet all contribute to our awareness of a bigger world with bigger concepts than the cultural superstitions in which we were raised.

DeWitt: One word: Google. The questions have always been at hand, but now the answers are within our grasp.

Silverman: Religion is factually wrong. As a result, religion lives on ignorance of facts. The reason people are giving up on mythology is the Internet, and the access to information it represents. When religion can exist in a bubble, the lies it pushes cannot be challenged. But when there is a wealth of information at the fingertips of every believer, those lies can be refuted easily, from multiple sources and multiple perspectives. This is why religion is waning, this is why it will continue to wane and this is why it is waning primarily in millennials who are most likely to spend lots of time on the Internet.

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Atheists open up: What they want you to know

US astronaut flying 'superhero utility belt' on 1-year mission; Russian packing megavitamins

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. What’s one thing astronaut Scott Kelly can’t do without when he moves into space this week for a year? A belt.

Kelly went beltless during his five-month mission at the International Space Station a few years back, and he hated how his shirttails kept floating out of his pants. So this time, the 51-year-old retired Navy captain packed “a military, tactical-style thing” that can hold a tool pouch.

Actually, scratch “pouch.” He prefers “superhero utility belt.”

Kelly’s partner on the yearlong stay at the space station Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko can’t do without his vitamins. When their Soyuz rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan on Saturday (Friday afternoon in the U.S.), three bottles of over-age-50 vitamins will be on board.

After more than two years of training, Kelly and Kornienko are eager to get going. It will be the longest space mission ever for NASA, and the longest in almost two decades for the Russian Space Agency, which holds the record at 14 months.

Medicine and technology have made huge leaps since then, and the world’s space agencies need to know how the body adapts to an entire year of weightlessness before committing to even longer Mars expeditions. More yearlong missions are planned, with an ultimate goal of 12 test subjects. The typical station stint is six months.

“We know a lot about six months. But we know almost nothing about what happens between six and 12 months in space,” said NASA’s space station program scientist, Julie Robinson.

Among the more common space afflictions: weakened bones and muscles, and impaired vision and immune system. Then there is the psychological toll.

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, a frequent flier who will accompany Kelly and Kornienko into orbit, predicts it will be the psychological not physical effects that will be toughest on the one-year crew.

“Being far away from Earth, being sort of crammed, having few people to interact with,” Padalka said. He’ll break the record for most time spent in space during his six-month stay, closing in on a grand total of 900 days by the time he returns to Earth in September.

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US astronaut flying 'superhero utility belt' on 1-year mission; Russian packing megavitamins

What Do Gene Sequencing, Radio Astronomy And Particle Physics Have In Common?

Modern scientific discovery is driven by one thing, without which breakthroughs like gene sequencing, the search for the Higgs boson and dark matter and huge telescope arrays wouldnt be possible High Performance Computing (HPC).

With the computational might to blitz through millions of bytes of data, calculations and statistical possibilities, scientists were able to posit the existence of particles like the Higgs boson and campaign for expensive projects like the Large Hadron Collider because they could show what they were looking for.

The same kind of processing power is whats allowing the UKs version of the Genome Project, attempting to sequence whole genomes rather than just excerpts known as exons, to go ahead.

Cambridge University has had HPC in one form or another for 18 years, from the old 80s supercomputer sitting in the middle of a room, to its modern new server facility, which is based on a large Dell Dell server cluster made up of 9.600 cores and four petabytes of storage running on a Hadoop platform and is currently getting its finishing touches after a 20m investment.

Cambridge Universitys new HPC system, used for particle physics, radio astronomy, gene sequencing and other big data, big science projects. (Credit: Cambridge University)

The university has one of the largest research and development budgets in the UK education sector, devoting 40 per cent of its 1438m annual revenue to funding advances in the fields of astronomy, genomics, medicine, physics and many more.

But its HPC time is also hired out to businesses in the nearby science and technology park, helping the university to pay for top IT support, while providing a valuable niche service to firms.

Just a few years ago, that kind of commoditisation of HPC wouldnt have been possible, Dr Paul Calleja, director of HPC Service at Cambridge, told visitors in a talk attended by Forbes.

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What Do Gene Sequencing, Radio Astronomy And Particle Physics Have In Common?

'Chappie' Director Optimistic About AI

Artificial intelligence might be smarter than us but it’s not as scary.

Peering into the vast unknown before us can be terrifying, and we look to technology and science to light the way. But when Elon Musk says AI is “summoning the demon,” Bill Gates says people should be concerned about AI, and Stephen Hawking feels the whole thing “could spell the end of the human race,” it’s hard not to fear the rise of the machines.

The latest big-budget depiction of AI, Chappie, takes place just a few years in the future in a lawless Johannesburg, where robot police officers are armed with artificial intelligence and heavy firepower. Their creator, Deon Wilson (Dev Patel), has populated his home with smaller, friendlier bots that run on the same level of limited AI as their law-enforcing brethren. But Deon seeks to create true AI via Chappie, a decommissioned police robot that is kidnapped by down-on-their-luck criminals (played outstandingly by two members of South African rap-rave band Die Antwoord, Yolandi Visser and Ninja).

Co-writing and directing Chappie gave Neill Blomkamp a reverence for the spark of life itself. In an interview with PCMag, he said he no longer believes that it’s “as simple as running a bunch of electrical currents through a really complex CPU and just having the results of that be consciousness and sentience.”

Blomkamp’s interest in AI precedes his involvement in Chappie. He spent the past few years going through a rabbit hole of blog posts about AI and emerged from it wanting to do more than just read.

“I’m not classically religious in any sense but I almost would describe how I feel now in a slightly more religious sense because I don’t know how else to describe it,” he said.

Despite the reverence he developed for the unknowable source of life, he’s very critical of what humans actually do with itin Chappie and his other films, District 9 and Elysium. The societies onscreen may be dystopias, but they are nevertheless an accurate depiction of the petty indignities and grotesque brutalities that mankind has perpetrated upon itself. When asked why he went so Mad Max with the city of his birth in Chappie, Blomkamp took a beat and then said, “That literally is just current-day Joburg.”

It’s humanity that you take a dim view of when you watch the flesh-and-blood characters project onto Chappie their greed, egos, and lust for power. Chappie himself adheres to the rule placed upon him by his creator: “no crimes.” If artificial intelligence is programmed to follow our law and not our example, we might be all the better off for it.

There is one scene in the movie in which the character of Chappie plays false and, without giving too much away, seeks revenge. The moment is very much the violent catharsis the audience wants, but does not seem to be something that a machine, even an artificially intelligent one, would find meaningful.

“That’s a very interesting thing that was really difficult to balance in the movie because the human audience member wants the revenge and the artificial intelligence may want none of the revenge,” Blomkamp said. “On an artificial intelligence basis, things like revenge and violence and anger are biological. Those aren’t rational things, they’re a hormonal, biological response to something. A non-biological organism that isn’t governed by those factors doesn’t need to behave that way.”

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'Chappie' Director Optimistic About AI

Area mans home observatory indulges his longtime fascination with space

Charlie Stetz came of age at the height of the Space Race. Like so many other kids of his generation, the possibilities of the Apollo missions of the 1960s transfixed him.

Often, at night, he would lie in the yard of his home in the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre, staring at the craters of the moon through the lens of his 40-milimeter sporting goods-store telescope.

It made him wonder about our place in the universe, the infinite possibilities.

All these years later, he still wonders, still searches. Only now, Stetzs toys are a bit more advanced.

Last year, the 69-year-old fulfilled a longtime goal of building an enclosed observatory on his Waverly Township, Lackawanna County, property, replacing an open-air deck Stetz constantly schlepped his equipment to and from.

It was a dream to have this. Its nice to finely get it, Stetz said as he gave a tour of the observatory on a recent day. My wife is the one who gave me the kick in the pants to do it. She was like, What are you waiting for?

Built for about $8,000, the 12-by-12-foot wood and siding structure has a metal roof that manually slides on wheels until it reveals the heavens above. The walls are high enough to keep out nearby light.

A 19-year-old Astro-Physics 6-inch refractor telescope takes up permanent space in the observatory theres no heat, but there is electricity and allows Stetz to see countless amazing things, from the red spot on Jupiter to the rings of Saturn to the Andromeda Galaxy millions of light years away. The telescope, which also cost about $8,000, connects to a computer that helps Stetz with coordinates and positioning, and to a Canon T2i camera that allows him to indulge his love of astrophotography.

Childhood fascination

Stetz was in his mid-teens when he bought his first telescope from a sporting goods store in Wilkes-Barre. It was still a few years from Neil Armstrongs walk on the moon, but the vast potential of space travel lit up his young mind.

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Area mans home observatory indulges his longtime fascination with space

In final week, health care enrollment push is on

Published: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5:11 p.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5:11 p.m.

But after his retirement 10 years ago, Batts, now 64, and his wife, Wanda, eventually found themselves in a coverage gap. He paid out of pocket for insurance for a while but saw a steep rise in the cost for the plan and had to cancel it when he was still a few years away from turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare.

So they turned to the Affordable Care Act, an option Wanda Batts said they gave up a little bit on last year because of the difficulties signing up when the HealthCare.gov website first rolled out.

During a Jan. 24 enrollment event at The Wooly in downtown Gainesville, they were among the more than 40 people who enrolled in an ACA health care plan for 2015.

Its a great relief, Telia Batts said as he walked out of the venue onto North Main Street.

Local enrollment is up this year, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in January.

At least nine local ZIP code areas had higher enrollment numbers for the first two months of this years sign-up period, which began in mid-November, than for the full six-month enrollment period last year.

By contrast, the 32641 ZIP code in east Gainesville saw 612 people sign up during last years enrollment period and 570 during the first two months of this period.

People who signed up for coverage last year and re-enrolled this year count in each years figures.

In both years, the highest local enrollment numbers were in three densely populated ZIP codes: 32608 and 32607 in southwest Gainesville and 32605 in northwest Gainesville. In 2014, 32608 had 1,328 people enrolled in 2014 and 1,721 through Jan. 16. There were 1,075 in 32607 in 2014 and 1,248 through Jan. 16. Last year, 32605 had 886 and it had 1,178 through Jan. 16.

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In final week, health care enrollment push is on

Sequencing genetic duplications could aid clinical interpretation

Copy number variations (deletions or duplications of large chunks of the genome) are a major cause of birth defects, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders. Still, geneticists can definitively say how a CNV, once discovered in someone’s DNA, leads to one of these conditions in just a fraction of cases.

To aid in the interpretation of CNVs, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have completed detailed maps of 184 duplications found in the genomes of individuals referred for genetic testing. The findings are scheduled for publication in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

“Ours is the first study to investigate a large cohort of clinically relevant duplications throughout the genome,” says senior author Katie Rudd, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. “These new data could help geneticists explain CNV test results to referring doctors and parents, and also reveal mechanisms of how duplications form in the first place.”

Despite advances in “next generation” DNA sequencing, the first step for patients who are referred to a clinical geneticist is currently a microarray. This is a scan using many probes across the genome, testing if someone’s DNA has one, two, three or more copies of the DNA corresponding to the probe. (Two is the baseline.) From this scan, geneticists will have a ballpark estimate of where a deletion or duplication starts and ends, but won’t know the breakpoints exactly.

“In a few years, advances in sequencing will make it possible to routinely capture data on copy number variation and breakpoints at the same time,” Rudd says. “But for now, we have to do this extra step.”

In addition, in comparison with deletions, duplications are more complicated. The extra DNA has to land somewhere, sometimes resulting in the disruption or warped regulation of nearby genes, which make it more difficult to pinpoint particular genes responsible for the individual’s medical condition.

Most healthy people have a deletion or duplication of at least 100 kilobases in size. The individuals in the study were referred for clinical microarray testing with indications including intellectual disability, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorders, congenital anomalies, and dysmorphic features. Their CNVs were larger, with an average size of more than 500 kilobases. For reference, the entire haploid human genome, with about 19,000 genes, is about 3.3 million kilobases in size.

Rudd’s team examined 184 duplications, and found that most are in tandem orientation and adjacent to the duplicated area. Most of the CNVs in the study were inherited from a parent. The researchers also found examples where a duplicated gene inserted into and disrupted another gene on a different chromosome.

In a few cases, a duplicated gene was fused together with another gene. This is a phenomenon often seen in cancer cells, where a DNA rearrangement leads to an abnormal activation of a growth- or survival-promoting gene. In these cases, the fusions were present in all cells in the body and not related to cancer, but could be responsible for the patient’s condition.

“These fusion genes are intriguing but we don’t know, just from looking at the DNA, if the gene is expressed,” Rudd says. “These findings could be the starting point for follow-up investigation.”

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Sequencing genetic duplications could aid clinical interpretation

The Faces of Health Care: Connie W. | The White House

January 22, 2015 11:00 AM EST

Connie W., who has hypertension and suffered a heart attack a few years ago, has to take several medications. Before the Affordable Care Act, her health insurance premium was $1,587 per month.

Working at a small nonprofit organization, she couldn’t afford to pay those premiums, and her insurance company canceled her coverage at the end of 2013.

But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she was able to get the same insurance — from the very same carrier — for only $521 per month.

Need to get covered? Find a health plan that best fits your needs at HealthCare.gov.

Already covered? Commit to help someone you know get covered here.

And if you want to share your own story, contact us here.

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The Faces of Health Care: Connie W. | The White House

APOD: 2015 January 4 – Crescent Rhea Occults Crescent Saturn

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2015 January 4

Explanation: Soft hues, partially lit orbs, a thin trace of the ring, and slight shadows highlight this understated view of the majestic surroundings of the giant planet Saturn. Looking nearly back toward the Sun, the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn captured crescent phases of Saturn and its moon Rhea in color a few years ago. As striking as the above image is, it is but a single frame from a 60-frame silent movie where Rhea can be seen gliding in front of its parent world. Since Cassini was nearly in the plane of Saturn’s rings, the normally impressive rings are visible here only as a thin line across the image center.

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP) NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply. NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC & Michigan Tech. U.

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APOD: 2015 January 4 – Crescent Rhea Occults Crescent Saturn

Diverse field in sprint for Texas House seat

Tuesdays special election in Texas House District 123 offers an array of eager candidates vying to replace 14-year state Rep. Mike Villarreal.

Hopefuls include Green and Libertarian contenders, three Democrats and one Republican, all faced with an abbreviated campaign schedule during the holidays, no less to seek support in a potentially low-turnout election.

Villarreal, D-San Antonio, was re-elected Nov. 4, but with lawmakers set to convene Jan. 13, he doesnt intend to serve. Instead, hes giving up the seat to run for mayor.

His departure set up the special election scramble, which could result in a runoff if no candidate captures a majority. Early voting concludes today at 14 polling sites.

Also on the short ballot is a five-candidate race to replace state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, whos also exiting the Legislature to run for mayor in May.

Candidates for the House seat are relying largely on social media to win voters attention, but some have extensive door-to-door campaigns underway and a few have issued numerous direct-mail pieces.

The Libertarian candidate is salesman Roger V. Gary, 68. He served six years on the board of the San Antonio River Authority before running for the Texas Railroad Commission in 2010 and for president of the United States in 2012. He said hes been a watchdog of local water-management policies and opposes current plans for a new water pipeline, as well as toll roads.

Representing the Green Party is clinical psychologist and sleep disorder specialist Paul Ingmundson, 62. He was Villarreals only opponent in November, garnering 14 percent of the vote. Responding to a League of Women Voters questionnaire for that race, he said he was active in progressive politics and an advocate for clean energy, Medicaid expansion, better regulation of water and protection of voter rights.

Republican Nunzio Previtera, 61, an insurance agent and small-business owner, is making his first run for office. A member of the State Republican Executive Committee, Previtera said he wasnt politically active until a few years ago when he decided the country was going in the wrong direction.

Rather than gripe about it you can get involved, he said.

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Diverse field in sprint for Texas House seat

HP Stream 13 Notebook Review: A Super-Affordable Windows Laptop

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Is the world ready for another round of inexpensive Windows laptops? Remember those cheap, slow, under-powered “netbooks” from a few years ago? Can such devices compete with increasingly popular Chromebook devices? Hewlett Packard (HPQ) thinks so.

HP released two colorful, Stream notebooks that run Microsoft (MSFT) Windows 8.1. There is one version with an 11.6-inch screenand the larger one we’ve been testing the Stream 13. Both are priced at less than $230.

We’ve been living with a Stream 13 for a few weeks now and are impressed with what we’ve seen. No, this inexpensive portable is not nearly the equivalent of a Microsoft Surface Pro 3or Lenovo’s slick Yoga 3 Pro. But we’ve found the HP to be a good, reasonably priced device that can give Google (GOOG) Chromebooks some stiff competition.

Read More: 5 Semiconductor Stocks Delivering Big Shareholder Profits Now

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HP Stream 13 Notebook Review: A Super-Affordable Windows Laptop

ISRO's Big Launch: Testing a Monster Rocket and an Astronaut Capsule

New Delhi: India’s space agency is all set for one of its most ambitious tests. The countdown has begun for the unique maiden flight of Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO’s heaviest rocket till date – the 630-tonne three-stage rocket Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. (Watch: India’s Monster Rocket Ready for Test Flight)

This experimental flight marks a quantum shift in the rocket technology that India has mastered. This new rocket is capable of doubling the capacity of payloads India can carry into space. The rocket can deposit up to four tonne class of communication satellites into space. ISRO hopes this will become the main stay rocket in the future, which later will be suitably equipped for ferrying Indian astronauts into space.

On this flight, the rocket will be tested on how it performs during its travel in the atmosphere. The rocket will have the first two stages as active rocket engines, while the third stage that consists of the cryogenic engine is a passive stage. The heavy-duty cryogenic engine necessary for this rocket is still under development by ISRO. A full-fledged launch of the rocket can be expected in a few years.

The GSLV Mk III is an altogether new design of a rocket by Indian engineers. Incidentally its first stage consists of twin solid-state rocket engines that carry as much as 200 tonnes of propellant each. ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan says “These are the world’s third largest rocket boosters.”

Once ISRO masters this rocket, there may not be any need for India to send its heavy-duty communications satellites to space using expensive foreign launchers. It can also hope to make a dent in the multimillion-dollar commercial launch market of the world.

Astronaut Programme

This flight is really a two-in-one mission being undertaking by ISRO. The main passenger in the rocket is an Indian-made crew module. This marks the beginning of what could be India’s initiation into the ambitious human space flight programme. While this crew module will be unmanned but this small room-sized cupcake shaped satellite is indeed capable of carrying two or three Indian astronauts into space. (Watch: India Gets Set for Flying Astronauts)

In this flight the crew module will be hoisted up to an altitude of about 127 kilometres above earth. The crew module is also powered by its own engine and will be navigated and made to re-enter the atmosphere at a massive velocity. It will then be slowed down using massive parachutes. Incidentally the parachutes being used are the largest ever to be deployed by India.

The crew module will then make a splash down near the Andaman Islands in the waters of the Bay of Bengal. In its flight several parameters will be tested on the crew module, crucially ISRO is very keen to understand how the crew module and it’s outer lining made of special heat resistant tiles withstands the over four thousand degree centigrade temperature it experiences as it comes hurtling back to Earth.

ISRO has proposed that it can fly Indian Astronauts into space using Indian rocket from Indian soil within seven to eight years of getting a government nod for its astronaut programme. ISRO has sought funding of about Rs 12,500 crores for its humans space flight endeavour. When this happens, India will become the fourth country in the world to have indigenous capability of sending humans into space; the only other countries that have the necessary technology for this complex mission include Russia, USA and China.

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ISRO's Big Launch: Testing a Monster Rocket and an Astronaut Capsule

Red Button: Celebrity-packed wedding headed by Posh and Becks could be in line for Leamington

A celebrity-packed wedding party headed by Posh and Becks could make it to the starting grid in the rural backwaters of Leamington when a Formula One boss marries a Spice Girl.

Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell and Warwick School old boy Christian Horner who heads Red Bull racing ended speculation by announcing their engagement in The Times last week.

The focus has now switched to where the wedding will be staged, with a setting near Bishops Itchington near pole position.

Its where Horner grew up as an ambitious karter who ignored his parents advice and spurned university to strike out as a pro racing driver.

He was reportedly told by his well-heeled father that he would have to finance himself if he wanted to make it in what is the most expensive of sports

Although he retired as a driver at 25, his success heading one of the biggest names in F1 has brought him an estimated 4.5million fortune and an OBE.

This week Horner celebrated his 41st birthday making him a year younger than Geri who famously was labelled Old Spice when caught out shaving off a few years from her 25 at the height of the groups fame.

If the couple opts for a hotel wedding, there are a number of contenders in the area, including Mallory Court where Coventry-born England cricketer Ian Bell tied the knot.

Just down the road, at Bishops Tachbrook, is Mr Karting, a racing track that while not comparing to the Monte Carlo circuit, has the benefit of Christian knowing all the bends and curves.

He booked it out for a youngsters birthday party some years ago and might fancy it for light-relief after the formalities of the ceremony.

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Red Button: Celebrity-packed wedding headed by Posh and Becks could be in line for Leamington