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Category Archives: Post Human

A Speedier Way to Catalog Human Cells (All 37 Trillion of Them) – New York Times

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 4:42 am

Its a really important piece of work, said David M. Miller, a cell biologist at Vanderbilt University, who was not involved in the study. With this approach, you can do more for a whole lot less work, and a whole lot less money.

In the laboratory, scientists easily discern the difference between, say, a muscle and a nerve cell. But these broad categories encompass many different types of cells.

A muscle cell might be a skeletal muscle cell, the kind you use to walk or lift a cup. Or it might be a smooth muscle cell lining your small intestines, making it ripple with contractions. Our hearts are built of special muscle cells all their own, known as cardiomyocytes.

Even these come in different types. Some contract the chambers to pump blood, for example, while others conduct electric impulses around the heart.

Genetically speaking, all cells in the body are identical. They all carry the same 20,000 or so protein-coding genes. What distinguishes each type is the particular combination of genes the cell uses to make proteins.

The first step in this process is making a copy of the gene in the form of a molecule called RNA. The cell uses the RNA molecule as a template to build a protein.

Dr. Shendure and his colleagues reasoned that the distinctive collection of RNA molecules floating around inside a cell could provide clues about the cells type. To measure that RNA, they developed a kind of molecular bar coding.

In the first step, the researchers pour thousands of cells into hundreds of miniature wells. Each well contains molecular tags that attach themselves to every RNA molecule inside the cells.

The process is repeated two or more times until each cell ends up with a unique combination of tags attached to its RNA molecules. Dr. Shendure and his colleagues then break open the cells and read the sequences of tags at once.

The bar codes allow the scientists to see which genes are active in each cell. Cells of the same type should share many of those genes in common.

We came up with this scheme that allows us to look at very large numbers of cells at the same time, without ever isolating a single cell, said Dr. Shendure.

He and his colleagues call their method sci-RNA-seq (short for single-cell combinatorial indexing RNA sequencing). To test it, they set out to classify every cell in a tiny worm, Caenorhabditis elegans.

Scientists know more about C. eleganss cells than any other animals. In the 1960s, the biologist Sydney Brenner made it a model for investigating biological development.

Dr. Brenner and later generations of scientists tracked the worms growth from a single cell to about 1,000 cells at maturity, classifying them into types with a microscope. Eventually, scientists plucked individual cells from the worms body and painstakingly measured their DNA activity.

Dr. Shendure and his colleagues decided to see how results from sci-RNA-seq compared to those from decades of research.

They raised 150,000 C. elegans larvae and then doused them with chemicals that broke them apart into individual cells. (Each larva has 762 cells, not counting the cells that will become eggs or sperm.) They then tagged all the RNA in the cells.

With the new method, the researchers were able to identify 27 cell types that had been identified in previous studies. But the team also was able to break them down into smaller groups, each with a slightly different pattern of gene activity.

They identified 40 different kinds of neurons, for example, including very rare types. In few cases, only a single such neuron develops in each worm.

I was excited because it worked extremely well they uncovered results that will be valuable for me and for the whole field, said Cori Bargmann, an expert on C. elegans at the Rockefeller University.

Yet for now, sci-RNA-seq falls far short of capturing the full complexity of cell types, even in such a simple animal.

Dr. Shendure and his colleagues could not match some of their clusters of neurons to a known type of cell, and they did not find most of the 118 different types of neurons that earlier studies have documented.

We dont consider this a finished project, said Dr. Shendure.

Dr. Bargmann and her colleagues are already trying to match Dr. Shendures results to neurons in the worm. Of course, there is more to do, but I am pretty optimistic that this can be solved, she said.

Sarah A. Teichmann, a cell biologist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who was not involved in the new study, said the report illustrated how fast the field of cell-typing has moved.

In a review posted on the pre-publication service Arxiv, Dr. Teichmann and her colleagues noted that it was only in 2009 that scientists managed to measure gene activity this way in a single cell. They broke the thousand-cell barrier just three years ago.

This exponential increase will be crucial to the success of the Human Cell Atlas, an international initiative of which Dr. Teichmann is a joint leader. The researchers plan to create a complete catalog of every cell type in the human body.

Dr. Teichmanns fellow atlas leader, Aviv Regev, a computational biologist at the Broad Institute and MIT, said that differences between the human body and that of C. elegans would require some different strategies.

For one thing, humans are huge compared to C. elegans. The researchers certainly will not try to dissolve human bodies into 37 trillion loose cells and analyze them all at once.

The human cell atlas initiative will work through organs, tissues and systems, Dr. Regev said.

And C. elegans follows a tightly controlled genetic program to build its body. Its cells always end up in the same place, in the same numbers. Humans are a lot more flexible in how they develop: the locations of cells vary from one persons body to the next.

The trick is to relate cells to the place they came from, Dr. Regev said.

Nevertheless, sci-RNA-seq may well become a useful tool for work in humans. The major benefit is that it could scale to capture many more cells in one experiment, Dr. Teichmann said. Its an elegant and potentially very powerful approach.

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Human rights commission ‘reset’ – Bangkok Post

Posted: at 4:42 am

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has voted to set zero on the incumbent National Human Rights Commission, whose members will remain acting commissioners until new members are chosen.

The NLA voted 199-0 on Thursday to pass the organic law on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Thailands NHRC has been ranked low internationally because the members were selected mainly by judges, a process viewed not diversified enough under the Paris Principles.

After being approved, the bill will be sent back to constitutional writers, who drafted it, and to the NHRC. If the two bodies view some points in the NLA-approved version are unconstitutional, a three-way joint panel will be set up to sort out the differences before it is enacted.

Before casting the vote on Thursday, the NLA members debated three options.

First, all existing NHRC members should be removed but remain acting commissioners to pave the way for a more internationally accepted screening process.

Second, they should continue to serve their terms because they were selected in line with the law at the time and a National Council for Peace and Order order.

Third, they should complete their three-year term and a new screening method could be used after they leave office.

After a break, the NLA voted to choose the first option — all existing NHRC commissioners will be removed from office when the law takes effect but will serve as acting commissioners until the new ones are screened within 320 days.

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AirAsia trains crew to spot human traffickers – Bangkok Post

Posted: August 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm

An AirAsia counter staff attends to a customer at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on Aug 28, 2016. (Reuters photo)

KUALA LUMPUR – AirAsia, the biggest budget carrier in Asia, is training thousands of its staff to fight human trafficking, becoming one of the first airlines in the continent to crack down on the global crime.

Companies have come under increased pressure to tackle human trafficking, with an estimated 46 million people living in slavery and profits thought to be about US$150 billion.

Planes are a key part of the illegal business, as criminal gangs transport thousands of children and vulnerable people by air each year for redeployment as sex workers, domestic helpers or in forced labour.

The United Nations has urged airlines to step in and look out for the tell-tale signs of trafficking.

Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia, which flies millions of passengers annually to more than 110 destinations, said it was planning to train between 5,000 and 10,000 frontline staff, including cabin crew.

“We like to be able to have our staff know what to do if somebody comes up to them and says ‘I need help’,” said Yap Mun Ching, the executive director of AirAsia Foundation, the airline’s philanthropic arm, which is driving the initiative.

“Sometimes (the victims) don’t know they have been trafficked. They realise it only when they are on their way and they want to be able to get help. Most of the time they don’t know who to turn to,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

AirAsia has teamed up with US-based Airline Ambassadors International, a group that trains airline staff on trafficking, for the initiative, which kicked off this week at the airline’s four main hubs – Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila.

All are hotspots for trafficking.

The group said signs of trafficking include young women or children who appeared to be under the control of others, show indications of mistreatment or who seem frightened, ashamed or nervous.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime urged airline bosses at a summit in June to train flight crews to help combat human trafficking, the first time the aviation industry has held global discussion on the issue.

While some training of airline staff to spot and report potential trafficking is mandatory in the United States, it is not widespread across the industry.

So far, more than 70,000 US airline staff have been trained under a programme that began in 2013.

Asia has some of the worst offenders of human trafficking.

Countries such as Thailand, Myanmar and Laos are listed by the United States on a trafficking watch list for not meeting the minimum standards needed to end the crime.

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Portage gets first look at human rights proposal – Chicago Tribune

Posted: at 5:41 pm

City officials got their first look at a detailed human rights ordinance Monday that supporters said will show Portage can be home to all kinds of residents.

The City Council’s three-member ordinance committee John Cannon, R-4th, Sue Lynch, D-At large, and committee chair Pat Clem, D-2nd had plenty of questions and concerns about the lengthy and tabled the measure, but all agreed the spirit of the ordinance was important.

“We totally support the rights for our city for all human beings who live in our city,” Lynch said.

Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham, who drafted the ordinance with Portage resident Beto Barerra, a retired civil rights organizer, and the Rev. Michael Cooper, who pastors Metropolitan Community Church Illiana, a church open to LGBTQ members, said the ordinance would send “the right message.”

“This ordinance says we’re an open for business city, that we’re an open and welcoming city,” Stidham said.

The committee members said they had not had enough time to read the seven-and-a-half page ordinance, which, as written, is meant to ensure “equal rights” and “equal treatment without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.”

The ordinance calls on the city to appoint a nine-member Human Rights Committee, made up of members selected by each of the city’s nine elected officials, to ensure equal access to public accommodations, even extending fairness to private interactions, such as banks granting loans or landlords treating tenants and potential tenants fairly and handling a wide range of potential complaints.

The ordinance committee spent considerable time wrestling with the ordinance’s appointment of a Human Rights Coordinator to do extensive community education and outreach and to serve as the point person for any civil rights complaints.

Cannon had the most questions on the coordinator position, peppering ordinance supporters with questions on how a coordinator would be selected and paid and suggesting many of the alleged wrongs the ordinance would address already are covered by state and federal law.

Another sticking point was how deeply the human rights committee and coordinator can go into addressing complaints of alleged discrimination, especially if those complaints are aimed at local businesses. Everyone from landlords to bankers to colleges and private employers and labor unions could face an investigation and mediation if the committee and coordinator find they discriminated against any of the protected groups in the legislation, the plan says.

As long as the council members agree with “the spirit of the ordinance,” there’s room for dialog and explanations that could make the ordinance more palatable, Barrera said.

“If they’re against some of the content, then we can deal with that,” Barrera said. “At least all three said they’re not against the ordinance itself. I think if they, in good faith, would sit down and read the ordinance and try to understand it better, then we can eliminate some of the language, no problem.”

Portage would not be alone locally or statewide in adopting a human rights ordinance, Cooper said. Statewide, 17 other municipalities have such local legislation and, with Portage, he ordinances would cover about two million Hoosiers, he said.

Munster and Valparaiso adopted similar ordinances last year, and Portage supporters used Valparaiso’s model, Stidham said.

Heath Carter, a Valparaiso University assistant history professor and chair of the mayor’s Advisory Human Relations council, said his city still is working on how to educate the public on its ordinance and on hiring a citywide community relations director to serve as the point person on discrimination issues.

“It’s just a process, and we’re still at the beginning of the process of helping the residents of Valpo understand what I think is a pretty extraordinary law,” Carter said. “It offers you a local, accessible, free recourse should you experience some discrimination in a protected status.

“It’s our word and deed,” he said. “It’s our commitment to being a place that can be a home for anybody and everybody. It’s a way of living into the values this community has expressed, no matter who you are, you can feel right at home here.”

Michael Gonzalez is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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A mob of beachgoers wanted to play with a baby dolphin and wound up killing it – Washington Post

Posted: at 5:41 pm

A baby dolphin died last week after hundreds of beachgoers in southern Spain surrounded the animal to touch and take pictures with it, sparking condemnation from a local animal rescue group.

The incident took place last Friday in Mojcar, on the countrys southeastern coast, according to Equinac, a Spanish nonprofit organization that advocates for marine wildlife.

According to several posts on the groups Facebook page, a baby dolphin that was stranded on the beach was quickly surrounded by numerouscurious people, including children,who wanted totouch and photograph it. Some accidentally covered the dolphins spiracle, the blowhole the animals use to breath, the group said.

One concerned person reported the stranded animal to 112, the countrys emergency services number, but by the time Equinac rescuers arrived at the beach, the dolphin was dead, the group said.

Once again we note that the human being is the most irrational species that exists, Equinac wrote on Facebook Aug. 11, the day of the incident, blasting the selfishness of those that had swarmed the animal. There are many [who are] incapable of empathy for a living being that is alone, scared, starved, without his mother and terrified. All you want to do is to photograph and poke, even if the animal suffers from stress.

The group later clarified that the baby dolphin may have been isolated because it was sick or somehow separated from its mother. However, even though the beachgoers had not been responsible for the dolphins stranding, merely touching and photographing the animals can cause them to enter a very high stress state and, at worst, to experience fatal shock, the group said.

Those who see a stranded dolphin should call emergency rescue services rather than try to handle the animal, it added.

Equinac did not immediately respond to a request for further comment Wednesday. In a subsequent Facebook post, the group said it had turned down media interview requests because we are not interested in circuses.

The incident was reminiscent of a similar one last year in Argentina, when beachgoers picked up an endangered baby dolphin and passed it around for selfies. The animal later died. Its death triggered a round of public shaming against those who had mobbed the animal, as well as a strongly worded statement by the Argentine Wildlife Foundation.

Equinac, the Spanish group, regularly posts pictures of its attempts to rescue marine life and of dead dolphins periodically found washed ashore.

In an angry follow-up postSaturday, Equinac lamented how many times it had previously tried to educate the public on what to do in the case of a stranded animal to seemingly no avail.

Do we have to continue to justify our anger? Does it have to be us, Equinac, the police, the lifeguards, the ones that teach many of you common sense? the post read. Ignorance has absolutely nothing to do with respect, empathy and logic.


Posted by Equinac onFriday, August 11, 2017

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Endangered baby dolphin dies after swimmers pass it around for selfies

Canadian fisherman killed after freeing trapped whale

Flesh-eating sea bugs attacked an Australian teens legs: There was no stopping the bleeding.

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Cuomo proposes new hate crimes provisions post-Charlottesville – Albany Times Union

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:41 am

FILE — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks about improvement plans for Penn Station and the subway system at the City University of New York, in New York, May 23, 2017. Cuomo will make a rare trip to Washington on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, to meet with Democratic members of the New York congressional delegation and the transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, as New York City suffers through an ongoing transit crisis. (Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times) ORG XMIT: XNYT182 less FILE — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks about improvement plans for Penn Station and the subway system at the City University of New York, in New York, May 23, 2017. Cuomo will make a rare trip to Washington … more Photo: HIROKO MASUIKE Torch-bearing white nationalists rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, near the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Aug. 11, 2017. Following violent confrontations on Saturday, a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring at least 19. (Edu Bayer/The New York Times) ORG XMIT: XNYT98 less Torch-bearing white nationalists rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general, near the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Aug. 11, 2017. Following violent confrontations on … more Photo: EDU BAYER People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP) ORG XMIT: VACHA301 less People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally … more Photo: Ryan M. Kelly Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler is escorted by police after his press conference was disrupted by protestors Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, outside City Hall in Charlottesville, Va. The previous day, a woman was killed and several others injured after the Unite the Right rally. (Andrew Shurtleff /The Daily Progress via AP) ORG XMIT: VACHA101 less Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler is escorted by police after his press conference was disrupted by protestors Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, outside City Hall in Charlottesville, Va. The previous day, a … more Photo: Andrew Shurtleff

Cuomo proposes new hate crimes provisions post-Charlottesville

ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he will push to add inciting to riot and rioting that targets a protected class of people to the state hate crimes statute, a response to violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Dubbed the Charlottesville Provisions, penalties for rioting and inciting to riot would be increased. Rioting under the hate crimes law would come with stiffer felony penalties, while inciting to riot under the hate crimes law would become a felony (up from a misdemeanor).

Hate crimes statute protects those who are targeted because ofa perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.

Cuomo also called on legislators to extend human rights law protections to public school students so that the state Division of Human Rights would be able to investigate bullying, harassment or other discrimination by public school students.

A 2012 state Court of Appeals decision found that public schools are not covered under the definitions in human rights law that gives the state the ability to investigate such incidents.

“The ugly events that took place in Charlottesville must never be repeated, and in New York we’re going to stand united against hate in all of its forms,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Our diversity is our strength and this legislation will help protect New Yorkers and send a clear signal that violence and discrimination have no place in our society. New York is one community and one family, and we will never stop fighting to ensure the safety and equal treatment of all New Yorkers.”

Lawmakers are not set to return to the Capitol to act on legislation until January.

Since the weekend, Cuomo has been responding to the events in Charlottesville through different methods.

On Monday, he signed legislation that adds community centers to the list of public places where people who commit certain crimes, including making a false bomb threat, can face stiffer penalties. Originally crafted in response to bomb threats made to Jewish Community Centers in New York and elsewhere in the country, Cuomo said the Charlottesville violence demonstrated a need to stand against bias and hate.

On Sunday,he circulated a petition calling on President Donald Trump to “clearly and unequivocally condemn and denounce the violent protest organized by the white supremacists and neo-Nazis, including Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, with support from David Duke.”

“President Trump must immediately call this for what it is no cover, no euphemisms,” the petition states. “This was a terror attack by white supremacists.”

Trump said Monday that those who acted criminally “in this weekend’s racist violence” will be held accountable. In remarks at the White House, he singled out the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and others who “are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” 518-454-5449 @matt_hamilton10

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‘Brains linked to computers will kill our inner freedom’ – Zizek to RT on biohacking & identity loss – RT

Posted: at 11:41 am

Humans are losing their freedoms, self-identity and free will, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek has told RT, noting that a recent biohacking experiment by a team from the University of Washington is just another sign of the dawn of a post human era.

A team of scientists from the University of Washington successfully managed to hack into a computer using custom synthesized strands of DNA.

In their study, which is to be presented at 2017 USENIX Security Symposium Thursday, researchers said that it is potentially possible for a molecular code to take over machinery by exploiting weaknesses of gene sequencing software.

We designed and created a synthetic DNA strand that contained malicious computer code encoded in the bases of the DNA strand, researchers from the Paul G Allen school of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington said ahead of their presentation.

When this physical strand was sequenced and processed by the vulnerable program it gave remote control of the computer doing the processing. That is, we were able to remotely exploit and gain full control over a computer using adversarial synthetic DNA.

While the researchers led by Tadayoshi Kohno and Luis Ceze admit that at this point, the threat is only theoretical, Zizek noted the sinister side of this experiment.

The fact that is what possible to break into, to hack a computer through a DNA, means that our identity, determined by DNA is nothing more than just another computer formula, Zizek said.

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Our life, human life, our identity is reduced to a series of formulas. So we are effectively entering some kind of post human universe where everything, our inner most identity can be reduced to a formula.

I would not be afraid of this [particular experiment], thats not necessarily a bad thing, Zizek said, emphasizing that there are a lot of much more disturbing scientific achievements

What I’m afraid of is a possibility of a direct contact-link between our brain, what we are thinking, and a computer network, because there we lose our autonomy.

He warned that soon computers will be able to control the human mind, misleading the individual to believe they are still in control of their thoughts and reality. Under this arrangement, Zizek argues, humans will lose their autonomy and will become indistinguishable from the machines.

What is much more dangerous is… if our brains will be directly linked to computers so we will lose our inner freedom. Even in the worst of Nazism those in power could not control what you are thinking. You can have your inner thoughts… Now with a direct link between our brain and the digital network, we lose our inner freedom, the philosopher said.

In order to avoid machines potentially taking over the human identity, Zizek argues that all research into artificial intelligence has to be made public so that people can decide on the discourse of machine learning.

Make all these procedures, and what is going on, these results as public as possible. No agency which is not transpiring to the public, neither state nor a public corporation should do this outside public knowledge and public control, Zizek told RT.

Corbyns paradoxical victory over Mays politics of scaremongering gives hope Slavoj Zizek to RT

Overall, the philosopher argues that humankind has entered an era of technological domination.

Biology as science is totally integrated into a project of technological domination, manipulation and so on. And this technological use is inscribed into how biology functions today… life itself becomes just a technological process, Zizek said.

But there is still a deeper philosophic problem, which nowadays has growing practical implications, Zizek said. Is our identity fully determined by DNA? Or are we are not just biological automats? Do we have some spiritual freedom and so on?

I think if we are just our DNA. If the interaction of our DNA with environment determines us completely, then yes we should worry. But in a way, we just discovered that we never were free. We were automats [machines] also now but we did not know it. Our freedom was an illusion So are we automats which just can be controlled or is there hope for our freedom?

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Cristiano Ronaldo shows he’s human; Matic key for Man Utd; Neymar’s start – ESPN FC (blog)

Posted: at 11:41 am

The FC crew talk the length of suspension that would be suitable for Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions in the Spanish Super Cup.

It was all set up so nicely. Other than an eight-minute cameo against Manchester United in the European Super Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo hadn’t played at all since June. Against Barcelona, in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday, he came in just before the hour mark with his team one-nil up. After Lionel Messi converted a dubious penalty, Ronaldo scored an absolutely stunning long-range goal to put Madrid ahead.

So far, so good. He then decided to take off his shirt (OK, he has the body to do it) and take the booking as a result. And he held up the jersey to the Camp Nou, mimicking Messi’s celebration at the Bernabeu last season. (Fine. A healthy rivalry; nothing wrong with that.)

Except the booking meant that when he collided with Samuel Umtiti a few minutes later and referee Ricardo Bengoechea concluded it was a dive, Ronaldo was shown a second yellow and sent off. And, as if that wasn’t enough, his instinctive shove of Bengoechea after the decision meant he is now facing a five-gamesuspension.

Bengoechea was way behind the play and got the decision wrong. It should have been a non-call: There’s no rule that says that you have to give a penalty or a yellow for diving. Had it not been for the goal celebration, Ronaldo would not have been sent off. And obviously, the shove (while understandable) is inexcusable. With his experience — and with the number of bad calls he has had in his career — you don’t expect that. It just shows he’s human too.

The incident overshadowed a stellar performance from Real Madrid, who took a while to take the lead but already looked in midseason form. And that was without Ronaldo but also without Luka Modric, for whom Mateo Kovacic was a more than capable deputy. Marco Asensio’s own gorgeous strike to make it 3-1 was simply a cherry on top.

Again, you have to give Zinedine Zidane credit here. Sometimes coaching Real Madrid is about managing the egos and letting the XI get on with it. And sometimes it’s about finding the right balance. That’s what he did on Sunday.

As for Barcelona, Gerard Pique had a nightmare and Gerard Deulofeu got a rough ride, which is what you’d expect when you’re trying to fill Neymar’s shoes. There’s a ton of work for Ernesto Valverde to do. He’ll likely get help from the transfer market, but perhaps the bigger issue is whoever comes in can’t be expected to do what Neymar did. The synchronicity of movement in the “MSN” isn’t going to be easily replicated, not in a short time.

Maybe the best thing for Valverde isn’t to try and mimic the past, but rather work out his own scheme for how to do things.

You can only beat what’s in front of you, and on a day when West Ham were awful, Manchester United were devastating. Some have called it the most exhilarating United performance since the Sir Alex Ferguson era. That may be overstating it a little, but it sure as heck was fun to watch.

To me, the most interesting aspect of the 4-0 win was the 4-2-3-1 formation. Last year, conventional wisdom had it that Paul Pogba wouldn’t perform at his best in a two-man midfield. That’s why United eventually switched to a three-man midfield. He was certainly outstanding alongside Nemanja Matic on Sunday. Maybe the point was that he wouldn’t perform his best in a two-man midfield when the other midfielder is Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick or Marouane Fellaini.

Then again, when Matic plays like this, just about anyone would thrive alongside him. Compare this performance with his stint in the FA Cup final and it seems like they are two different players. We’re only a game in and judgments are inevitably premature, but if Jose Mourinho can get this level production from him, then it’s a game-changer. It allows Mourinho to play a 4-2-3-1 formation that in turn allows him squeeze three attacking midfielders on to the pitch, plus Pogba driving from deep. And all of this comes without United losing their defensive shape.

With so much creativity behind him, Romelu Lukaku — willing, eager and intelligent on Sunday — can’t help but score goals. It’s early yet and United still have a lot to prove. But if this is the Matic who shows up to work this year, midfield and attack won’t be a problem.

Kylian Mbappe stayed rooted to the bench during Monaco’s 4-1 win away to Dijon, which only further prompted speculation that he’s one step away from leaving, whether for Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain. Whatever the destination, we’ll be talking about a fee in the Neymar range for a guy who, lest we forget, has started all of 20 top-flight league matches in his career.

We’ll cross the bridge of where Mbappe fits at PSG (or how they’ll pay for him) another day. In the meantime, Neymar made his debut away to Guingamp in a straightforward victory, even though all the goals came in the second half.

Guingamp aren’t a terrible side — indeed, they’re managed by Antoine Kombouare, the first PSG boss in the Qatari era and finished midtable last year — but in some ways are typical of what Neymar face in Ligue 1: a substantially less-talented opponent who will congest their own half and look to hit on set-pieces or the counterattack.

Neymar was given (or took?) licence to roam and find his own space wherever he wanted; even on TV, you could see the likes of Angel Di Maria and Adrien Rabiot deferring to him. Will this continue or will Unai Emery try to fit him in a more traditional scheme? My guess is the latter, partly because Emery is, above all, a tactical manager; partly because Neymar is more than capable of fitting in an orthodox scheme; and partly because the “free role” schtick won’t work quite as well when they face better teams.

Anybody who flipped on the TV to see Chelsea 3-0 down at half-time at home to Burnley would have been shocked. Immediately, comparisons to what happened in Chelsea’s last post-title campaign (under Mourinho) sprang up. Throw in Antonio Conte’s grumbles about the summer transfer campaign and Diego Costa sniping his club from deepest Brazil, and it was a weekend to forget.

Chelsea were pretty dire in the first half, but it’s also worth reminding ourselves of the circumstances. Eden Hazard, Pedro, Victor Moses and Tiemoue Bakayoko were all sidelined. Alvaro Morata started on the bench. Somebody named Jeremie Boga, who couldn’t hold down a starting place at a team that finished bottom of La Liga last season, was starting up front.

You can’t blame Boga, though, because he only lasted 17 minutes until Gary Cahill got himself sent off. Playing 73 minutes in August down a man is obviously going to be tough, especially when you then go two men down in the second half following Cesc Fabregas’ second yellow.

Two things are pretty obvious. One is that Chelsea are unlikely to go through the sort of injury-free campaign they had last year, and the other is that, with Champions League football, they need to find more depth. The question is whether that depth comes from the transfer market or whether Chelsea can find it in-house.

Boga, Charly Musonda, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter are exactly the kind of Academy products that Chelsea get criticized for not playing regularly. Yet at the same time, the folks who chastise the club for not giving their youngsters “a chance” (how many other clubs in Europe’s top 10 or 15 are stacked with academy products?) are the same ones who say Conte needs to spend money.

The guess here is that Chelsea will bring in somebody else to add some depth, but at the same time, the club will do what they can to ensure that Conte actually gives his kids a shot. If he does, he might actually be pleasantly surprised.

Serie A hasn’t even started yet and some are already raking Max Allegri — he of the three titles and two Champions League finals in three season — over hot coals. Some Juventus fans are so used to winning that they can’t stomach what happened on Sunday, when a dramatic injury-time winner from substitute Alessandro Murgia gave Lazio a 3-2 victory over the bianconeri in the Italian Super Cup.

Juventus did look disjointed, especially in the first half. And if you’re going to play Andrea Barzagli at right-back, then you really need at least one ball-playing centre-half, something Juve don’t have now that Leo Bonucci is gone. Meanwhile, Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira were swallowed whole by the immense Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Gonzalo Higuain was seeing little of the ball; when that happens, he’s little more than a passenger.

Is there reason for Juventus fans to panic? I don’t think so. The fact is, this will be a different team to last season. The additions of Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa pretty much mandate this. Bonucci’s long-term replacement — whether it be Daniele Rugani or Medhi Benatia — will be adequate (maybe more), but again, whoever it is won’t play the game the way he does. My impression is that Juve will start slowly and won’t really come together until winter … which is a little bit like what happened last season.

Consider also that Lazio played exceptionally well. Ciro Immobile continues on his free-scoring tear — he has 19 goals in the last 24 games — and Lazio were well-organised and aggressive. You get the sense that some folks are underestimating Simone Inzaghi … again. If they play like this, they have a legitimate shot at a top-four finish.

Christian Eriksen was in fine form as Tottenham (with a man advantage, thanks to Jonjo Shelvey’s silly red card) broke through in the second half to win away to Newcastle. Danny Rose didn’t play; in fact, he hasn’t played since January. Still, he thought it would be a good day to grant an interview with a tabloid newspaper in which he said he felt he was underpaid (like many of his teammates) and wished the club signed guys he “didn’t have to Google.”

Mauricio Pochettino laughed off the latter, joking that Rose probably had to Google him when he was appointed. The club evidently found the former less funny: Despite his apology, they fined Rose two weeks wages or 130,000.

We live in a free market. There’s nothing wrong with a guy thinking he’s underpaid and looking for a better deal. The problem with Rose is there’s a clever way to do it and a foolish one; he did not choose the clever option.

Rose signed a contract, the one that gave him a raise to his current wages, which apparently are now inadequate, back in September 2016. He got injured four months later, so it’s really pretty simple: Either he improved so sharply in those 132 days that the contract he willingly signed earlier in that same season is now an insult to his supreme footballing ability, or he was a fool to put pen to paper last year.

Indeed, had he not extended his deal, he’d be entering the final two seasons of his contract just about now and would enjoy plenty of leverage to get a move elsewhere — much like his former teammate Kyle Walker, in fact.

This is a case of bad judgment (extending his contract) made worse by bad choices (giving that interview). Rose chose to go for the security of a $20m-plus contract rather than betting on himself to outperform his salary.

Whatever sympathy there is in this tale goes entirely to Tottenham for having to deal with a guy acting like a child.

It’s been one headache after another for Borussia Dortmund.

Last week, Ousmane Dembele, who is strongly linked with a move to Barcelona, skipped training and was later suspended “indefinitely.” On Saturday, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat trick in the first round of the German Cup and then followed it up with an Instagram live stream in which he answered a question about a return to Milan by saying, “I want to go back, but they are sleeping. … What am I supposed to do?” He even did a little impression of the stadium announcer at the San Siro, giving himself the No. 7 shirt.

It’s not just the fact that between them, Dembele and Aubameyang scored more than half of Dortmund’s league goals last season. It’s that it’s happening at this stage of the season. Both players have been linked with moves all summer long. Stuff like that happens. But the mark of a well-run club isn’t so much hanging on to them; it’s having a Plan B if you get an offer you can’t refuse.

We may soon learn whether Dortmund and Michael Zorc are prepared.

Liverpool’s 3-3 draw at Watford was in some ways a rerun of last season: electrifying attacks, highly dubious defending. The latter prompts the age-old issue: Is it personnel or is it Jurgen Klopp’s approach?

Former Liverpool stars Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher argued this very point. Personally, I think it’s system rather than personnel. You can get better center-backs than Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, but if they’re exposed, they’ll still struggle.

The odd thing is that I don’t remember Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund struggling like this on the defensive end. And while that was a good back four — Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic in the middle, Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer at full-back — it wasn’t exactly Baresi and Maldini either.

Gabriele Marcotti is a Senior Writer for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @Marcotti.

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Cristiano Ronaldo shows he’s human; Matic key for Man Utd; Neymar’s start – ESPN FC (blog)

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Human remains discovered in Fayette County – Tribune-Review

Posted: at 11:41 am

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Human remains discovered in Fayette County – Tribune-Review

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India @ 70: A floating post office, a human calculator and 8 other amazing facts – Hindustan Times

Posted: August 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

On August 15, 2017, India shall celebrate its 70th Independence Day. The seventh largest country in the world and the second-most populated country, India is a land of incredible diversity. Whether it is the soaring icy peaks of the northern mountains or the beaches on the southern coast, Indias topography is truly spectacular.

On the special occasion of Indias Independence Day, we tell you about some of the most amazing facts about the country:

1. India not only has the maximum number of post offices in the world but it also has a floating post office. The post office is located on the beautiful Dal Lake, Srinagar and was inaugurated in August 2011 by the then chief minister Omar Abdullah.

The floating post office on a wooden boat at Dal Lake, Srinagar. (Shutterstock)

2. The length of steel wires used to construct the Bandra-Worli Sealink, Mumbai, is equal to the earths circumference. It cost Rs 1,600 crore to build and its weight is equal to 50,000 African elephants.

Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai. (Shutterstock)

3. As far as cricket goes, not only do we have Sachin Tendulkar, but also the worlds highest cricket ground in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. It is 2,144 m above sea level.

Chail, Himachal Pradesh. (Shutterstock)

4. Using data collected by Indias Chandrayaan mission which used its Moon Mineralogy Mapper, we discovered magmatic water on the Moon.

5. Science Day in Switzerland is dedicated to the late Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam. It is celebrated on May 26 every year since 2005.

6. The human calculator is what Indian Shakuntla Devi was named after she calculated the product of two 13-digit numbers- 7,686,369,774,870 2,465,099,745,779. She gave the correct answer in 28 seconds.

7. Major Dhyan Chand, the wizard of hockey, was offered German citizenship by Adolf Hitler after India defeated Germany 8-1 in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was also offered a senior post in the German military and a place in the German national team. Dhyan Chand declined the offer.

An Indian stamp showing Dhyan Chand. (Shutterstock)

8. Previously known as Moksha Patamu, the game snakes and ladders originated in India. It was intended to teach children about the law of karma.

Snake and Ladders boardgame. (Shutterstock)

9. The worlds largest family is from India. Ziona Chana from Mizoram has 39 wives, 94 children, and 33 grandchildren- they all stay together in the same house!

Ziona Chana and his family. (Shutterstock)

10. The worlds highest motorable pass is Khardung La, in Ladakh, which is situated at a height of 5600 metres.

Khardung La pass. (Shutterstock)

Khardung La pass. (Shutterstock)

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India @ 70: A floating post office, a human calculator and 8 other amazing facts – Hindustan Times

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