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Category Archives: Life Extension

Merck-partnered biotech hands Roche its half-life extension tech as it pivots to immuno-oncology – Endpoints News

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:26 am

SAN FRANCISCO Few CEOs tell a story better than bluebirds Nick Leschly.

He cuts a Jeff Bezos figure on stage at the Colonial Room, the JP Morgan presentation hall for A-list biotechs: lean and bald, fast-talking and vest-wearing. He explains in simple language, apologizing when he has to brush on the data. It helps that he has a good story to tell.

We treated them one time, Leschly tells a packed crowd, gesturing to the slide behind him. Look what happened.

The slide shows 9 horizontal bars studded with diamonds. Each bar, he explained, represented a sickle cell patient, and each diamond represented a severe medical event, such as a pain crisis. The diamonds stud one side before the therapy and vanish on the other, afterward.

A 99% reduction in these events this is a functional cure for sickle cell disease, Leschly says. This is unprecedented data.

Upstairs and an hour later, Ted Love stands before a narrow conference room in his suit and polka-dot tie. Love, the CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics, is a 60-year-old physician. His voice trails off at the end of sentences, and the story he tells is less compelling. There are no cured patients.

This is the first drug that addresses the root cause of sickle cell disease, Love says, speaking in front of a slide showing a white pill bottle for GBTs new drug Oxbryta. Right in the label, it says that this drug inhibits polymerization.

In the 60 years after scientists discovered the cause of sickle cell, almost no treatments emerged, even as the condition debilitated hundreds of thousands of Americans, most of them black or Hispanic. But the last few years have seen a resurgence of interest as new technologies have made the disease seem newly beatable.

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Merck-partnered biotech hands Roche its half-life extension tech as it pivots to immuno-oncology - Endpoints News

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Free Iowa Concern Hotline available to help deal with stress of life – Radio Iowa

Posted: at 10:26 am

As the holiday bills are coming in and stress levels begin to rise, January and February are typically the busiest months of the year for counselors at the Iowa Concern Hotline.

Tammy Jacobs, the hotlines coordinator with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, says the free service is available to all Iowans, every day and at any time of day or night. We offer stress counseling. We have counselors who are trained to talk to people about whats going on, help walk them though the steps and develop skills in order to work through those, Jacobs says. We have legal staff available to help out with any legal questions that they might have. We also work with Extension and Outreach finance specialists, if people are having a financial issue going on.

While the counselors work to address any issue callers may bring up, at this time of year, Jacobs says money matters are often front and center. With the holidays being over, people are starting to get together with their tax consultants, going over some of their bills, Jacobs says. People are starting to meet with their bankers and farm financial providers in order to get operating loans for the next season.

With last years heavy rains and widespread flooding, many calls to the hotline focused on worries about spring planting and the fall harvest. With 2020 being an election year, Jacobs couldnt predict how the call volume may fluctuate. Generally, we see between 400 and 600 calls a month just on the Iowa Concern Hotline, Jacobs says. Sometimes, we may see 700 or 800 calls a month. It just depends on whats happening in the world, and if its flooding and there are disasters, then those calls may be a little bit higher.

To reach the Iowa Concern Hotline, call 800-447-1985, or some people might be more comfortable using a computer. Weve got the live chat. We also have Email an Expert, so if people just want to email a question in, then we can respond back to them, Jacobs says. Were looking at probably within the next month, adding a text option to the Iowa Concern Hotline as well.

The service was launched in 1985 during the Farm Crisis and was then known as the Rural Concern Hotline. The name was changed in 1993 to the Iowa Concern Hotline to reflect a broader reach and availability to anyone, farmers and non-farmers, rural and urban Iowans.

(ISU photo)

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Free Iowa Concern Hotline available to help deal with stress of life - Radio Iowa

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Subsea Robots in the Splash Zone – Offshore Engineer

Posted: at 10:26 am

From their base deep within a former World War II U-boat pen, Norwegian outfit, OceanTech, is developing a set of robot tools that cling to offshore structures in order to effect inspection, maintenance and repair, or IMR. Old submarine anchorages are now subsea testing and training sites, but the North Sea is still the target. Hundreds of aging platforms and subsea structures require IMR thats too costly, complex or hazardous for divers or remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs.

As he walks us through Dora II, the original name of the U-boat pen, OceanTech CEO, Berndt Schjetne, points to corners of the building stashed with rental tools custom-built for a range of past clients: a lift palette for the serpentine ROV, Eelume; a large splash-zone tool with its own crane for immersing probes into a platform jackets wave-lashed splashzone. We use it as a kind of subsea workshop, Schjetne says among the mostly dank recesses.

The former anchorages, from four to eight meters deep, are crammed with training platforms and testing equipment. IMR tools are in increasing demand, as offshore operators and their contractors look to extend field life and increase oil recovery. This is where OceanTechs prototype, all-electric iCon inspection robot was tested for its ability to lower itself and its probes below the splashzone to effect subsea inspections of you name it: pipe, riser, concrete or jacket. The iCon is the latest in a series of about five OceanTech access tools that are either joystick controlled or semi-autonomous.

Crucially, OceanTechs splash zone tools may be key, for some operators, to securing inspections and then certifications of platform integrity.

Subsea test center (Then): In WWII as a U-boat pen, and now as OceanTechs subsea training, test and fabrication center.CREDIT: The author/OceanTech

Subsea test center (Now): in WWII as a U-boat pen, and now as OceanTechs subsea training, test and fabrication center.CREDIT: The author/OceanTech

Splash zone climberJudging by a DNV GL study, the surf is a neglected area of safety: In areas with harsh environments, such as in the North Sea, it is common to assume that structural details located below or in the splash zone are not accessible for inspection and repair. The splash zone is defined in DNVGL standard, ST-0126.

Inspection of structures in the splash zone and below water focuses in addition on the corrosion protection systems (steel wall thickness, anodes, coating, etc.), marine growth and scour protection. Yet, OceanTechs tools do that hazardous work. The iCon robot addresses these and subsea structures as well, starting with risers that could lose buoyancy if fouled by marine life: they can also develop tiny leaks, as can infield pipelines accessible via an iCon-equipped ROV.

Climbing down a platform and into those difficult areas is sort of natural for OceanTech. The companys origins lie in putting up the transmission lines that crisscross Norways fjords. In 2009, they began bringing the tech and techniques offshore. Masts and platforms are structurally similar.We made climbing our trade, Schjetne says. We saw that there was a need for working just below the surface. Divers couldnt work there. No one could work in the splash zone. Work between 2007 to 2019 created a line of ready-to-go access tools, with five or six concepts sent recently on missions to Azerbaijan, the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

The VAT, or vertical access tool, is at the core of the robotized line. This climber can travel all the way from the splash zone to the bottom along risers and production lines using its robotic arm or arms. Tools attached at its back are accessed by a second robotic arm. Operators in a control cabin topside uses screens and joysticks to manipulate and gain all-round awareness. When developed in 2012, the system quickly won work in the Dutch sector and now forms the basis for future deployments of the iCon.IMR Range: OceanTechs own range of access tools. CREDIT: the iConNo support

Development hasnt been all straightforward. Perfection, OceanTech learned, can be a setback. An access tolo that was 20 meters long and cost EUR 2 million to develop epitomized the companys early eagerness to create the perfect IMR Swiss Army Knife. Weve never used it. It was too good. Too big. Too perfect. Too heavy to install. We learned a lot. We made smaller tools.

So, a two-meter-long arm for inspection and cleaning was devised. It can inspect grout work on wind installations or clear marine fouling on aquaculture pens. We believe it can be transferred to other industries, but right now its done 99 percent (of its work) for oil and gas. Industry pilots paid for its development, and now it does expert cutting, inspection, cleaning, Whatever you need to do underwater. We do everything from the platform on down. We dont need any support vessels that use a lot of fuel. The important thing is we dont need any divers in the water. Thats the HSE aspect and the cost aspect.

The smaller robot splashzone tool won work from the start. Jobs were unusual for being in areas that looked easily accessible but were, in fact, death traps. After the bends and being dragged around on the ocean floor in their habitat, North Sea saturation divers No. 1 fear was getting tangled up around jacket legs or zapping themselves by touching their electric wands to a structure before they were ready, something could help ensure happened.

A recent Australian work order to place giant clamps in 16 m of water illustrated how a robot clinging to a structure was superior to exposing a diver to pummeling waves. We were supposed to work in behind (a massive structure). So, we made an access tool for the subsea clamp installation that went down to 23 m with these robotic arms to install subsea clamps on (a stretch of pipe), Schjetne recalls.The Aussie customer had planned to do the work with divers but called a stop after seeing the risks. They didnt do the work. Work in those zones was difficult but needed to be done.More IMROceanTech was able to engineer an automated solution and redesigned the repair clamps for robotic arms rather than for divers. It was a minor cost in the overall picture, he recalls, adding, We also rigged up pipe behind hard-to-access (I and J tubes). It would have been an extremely dangerous place for divers to operate, Schjetne says. At most, divers have a day or two in which to work. The robot arms weather windows can last 30 days or a whole season.

The industry seems to agree. As platforms age, Schjetne is getting more calls. While North Sea jobs have always been at-hand, OceanTech is also active in the Gulf of Mexico and has been lined-up for jobs in the sprawling UKCS decommissioning market. In contrast, much decommissioning in Norway has been put on hold by a wave of life-extension projects, where platforms and subsea structures are given new life another niche market for the robot arms. The equipment and the techniques can be used in many different ways, says Schjetne. Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips, BP, Aker BP have all called in to inquire ahead of necessary inspections.VAT vs ROV

It isnt just steel these splash zone robots can repair. They can lock on by magnet or suction. They can bolt on to concrete, as in Russian and Norway. We havent had any projects where we have had to say, We cannot do this.

Watching the VAT lowered into place with the platforms own crane before lowering the robot into the sea is like imagining a gremlin grip onto a structure.

Thats what its all about. We attach to the structures. Theyre fixed. They dont flail around. Thats the main difference between our system and ROV operations (of this type). The subsea unit with its tools launches from the VAT down into the water on a vertical access beam that can be 23 m long. An affixed robotic arm with lights and cameras and tools needed for the work seems a most efficient worker. The tools are hung around like a tool belt. We dont have to go back up for a new tool.IMR range: OceanTechs own range of access tools. CREDIT: the iConSubsea robot

The robotic arms can also install subsea assemblies in waves 6 m high while doing very detailed work.

We can start in April and continue until September, says OceanTech CFO, Geir Ingar Bjornsen. Schjetnes adds that with the normal diver window of a few days, 30 days of work would take seven years. So, major splash zone IMR has simply not been done. Now, inspecting nodes or changing out anodes can be part of a service package that includes yearly inspections or pre-project surveys.

We do the planning. We can take care of all the installation planning and modifications and then do the installation.

Classs DNV GL says there is in fact much to do at or just below the splash zone: apart from clearing marine growth and checking for leakage or corrosion, there are the effects of collisions and even earthquakes that warrant a closer look or, sometimes, a surface wrap.

iCon inspections

The new iCon, with its sensor package, could be decisive in an operators bid to get a life-extension project approved. With new tools just out of development, it can inspect for fatigue cracks using alternating current field measurement, or ACFM.

A year ago, for the first time, a degree of autonomous movement turned the iCon Deepwater Inspection Tool into a splash zone tool able to effect repairs below the waterline. Its crack-finding sensor originally a handheld tool for divers is affixed a probe carried by the robot and allowing it to trace subsea structures. Its delivered by VAT. Using machine vision and automated thrusts in six directions, the tool follows a weld right around a structure, staying just millimeters form item being studied.

When a crack is detected, its length and the depth are seen topsides and another splash zone tool can be deployed. For deeper water, an ROV will be able to deploy the robot probe in the future: so, from 5 m to 12 m into the splashzone. Below that, you might prefer an ROV for the iCon.OceanTechs strength is an ability to create a unique access tool from which to deploy inspection robots in days or weeks. If the tool fits, then we can go right out to the job. The right clamp size for the pipe is all thats needed to get an inspection robot fixed in place ahead of monitoring, reinforcing, grinding down or drilling the crack to an end point.

The iCon tool also creates a digital twin, and that has raised eyebrows among operators, including tech-savvy Equinor. The Norwegian operator is understood to be already piloting its use, precursor to coming contracts.IMR range: OceanTechs own range of access tools. CREDIT: the iCon

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Behind the scenes of the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Office – Valencia County News Bulletin

Posted: at 10:26 am

The mission of the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service is to provide the people of New Mexico with practical, research-based knowledge and programs to improve their quality of life.

There is an Extension office in each of the 33 counties across the state, and during the months of October through December, I had the opportunity to intern at the Valencia County Extension Office in Los Lunas.

I am a Valencia County native, having lived in Belen my entire life. While in high school, I was actively involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America). I am now a student at NMSU, where I am studying agricultural education. One of my college classes required I complete an internship, so I chose to intern at the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service.

During my childhood, I was involved in the 4-H/Youth Development Inc. program and I thought I had some understanding of what happens at the Extension office. My internship taught me I had only a vague idea of the responsibilities and skills required of an Extension agent.

My internship provided me a behind-the-scenes view of the work of an Extension agent. This is what I learned.

Extension agents must be flexible. Every program, workshop or activity provided to the community seemed to always run longer than we anticipated. This required that we constantly readjust our schedules to be prepared for the next event.

Extension agents must be well rounded in subject knowledge. During my internship, I attended six different activities, including a forage growers workshop, beef quality assurance training, a cooking class and two after-school activities for kids.

I also know the Extension office provides a number of other programs and outreach in the community, including the 4-H/Youth Development program, Ideas for Cooking and Nutrition (ICAN), Master Gardeners, diabetes education, Strong Womens exercise program, job sills/workplace re-entry education and much more.

While teaching these activities, I noted the Extension agents are skilled at working with and relating to different audiences. Students or participants in the programs and activities ranged in age from 3 years old to 92 years young.

Teamwork is also a necessary skill. In order to accomplish what they do, Extension agents communicate with each other, making sure everyone is on the same page. This communication also occurs with the many volunteers who support the Extension agents and help to extend the reach of education in our county.

There is a lot of planning that goes into everything Extension agents do. When we, as the public, normally attend events, everything is always set up and ready to go. We often do not think about all the work that went into organizing and providing an event, such as figuring out the logistics of hauling equipment, supplies and materials to the actual site. Extension agents have amazing packing skills and move and set up a lot of tables and chairs. Set up and preparation has to start sometimes weeks before the actual event.

Extension agents are also very comfortable public speakers. At each event, they have to speak in front of a group of people. They seem to do it without any problems or fear. They spend a lot of time answering questions to the best of their ability and if they do not know the answer, they are willing to find it, always making sure that everyone is satisfied.

The most important quality of an Extension agent is true dedication to their community. During my time at the Valencia County Extension office, I observed a team committed to serving our county while working to make it a better place.

I never truly knew how much they do, and I only saw a small portion of their efforts during my short internship. I gained a deeper respect for everything they do for our community.

If you have yet to meet our county Extension agents, I encourage you to stop by the office, email or give them a call. They are committed to serving and providing the citizens of New Mexico with knowledge, though their hard work and dedication.

Program Announcements

To register for an upcoming program, call the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service at 565-3002. For more information, visit

Gardening Survival Series, Garden Planning: 10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Bosque Farms Public Library, 1455 W. Bosque Loop.

Beef Heifer Feeding and Nutrition: 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, Jan. 20, at the Valencia County Extension Office, 404 Courthouse Road, Los Lunas.

StrongWomen Exercise Program, 12-Week Strength Training Program: 10:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 27, at Belen Eagle Park Community Center, $10. Doctors release needed.

Nurturing Parenting Program, Building Self-Worth: 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30, at San Clemente Church in Los Lunas.

Pruning Workshop: 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Feb. 8, at NMSUs Agricultural Science Center, 1036 Miller Road in Los Lunas.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of auxiliary aid or service to participate in a program, please contact the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service office at 565-3002 two weeks in advance of event.

(Jolene Wulf, a student intern from NMSU, is studying agricultural education. She is from Belen, and graduated from Belen High School.)

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Using "nature’s tools" to fight the global food waste crisis – Packaging Europe

Posted: at 10:26 am

Last month, this publication was introduced to Apeel Sciences a Gates Foundation-backed company responsible foran innovative plant-derived solution that reportedly slows down the rate of water loss and oxidation in perishable foods. Fin Slater caught up with Michelle Masek,Communications Advisor atApeel Sciencesto discuss scalability, single-use plastics, and the future of food packaging.

Could you give us an introduction to the Apeel product?

Apeel is a plant-derived solution that doubles to triples the shelf life of many types of fresh produce reducing reliance on refrigeration, plastic packaging, and controlled atmosphere throughout the supply chain. Made of materials found in every bite of fruit, Apeel creates an exceptionally thin, edible peel on the outside of produce, creating an optimal microclimate inside fruits and vegetables that slows the rate of water loss and oxidation the primary causes of spoilage. Apeel Sciences is fighting the global food waste crisis by using natures tools to extend the freshness of produce, prevent waste and promote more sustainable practices. Apeel is FDA GRAS, approved for USDA Certified Organic and conventional produce, and in 2019 gained regulatory approval by the European Commission.

For suppliers and retailers, Apeel is the only postharvest solution that creates an optimal microclimate inside every fruit or vegetable, maintaining quality, extending shelf life, and transportability with reduced reliance on refrigeration and controlled atmosphere.

What was the R&D process that lead up to the creation of the product?

While working on his Ph.D. in Materials, Apeel Sciences founder and CEO, James Rogers, will tell you he spent a few years watching paint dry in an effort to develop an energy-harvesting solar paint that would help democratize clean energy.

One day, while driving through lush farmland on his way home to Santa Barbara from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, he heard a story on the radio about global hunger and wondered how can so many people be hungry if were able to grow such an abundance of food?

It turns out that there isnt an issue with growing the food we needthe culprit is spoilage. James wondered if a barrier could be created for food that would slow down the rate of spoilage and discovered that the materials needed already exist in every bite of food we eat. The result was a breakthrough application of materials science to food preservation, and Apeel Sciences was born.

Apeel Sciences was founded in 2012 with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a product to reduce post-harvest food loss in developing countries. Today, Apeel Sciences has developed products for multiple USDA Organic Certified and conventional produce categories, and the company works with partners ranging from smallholder farmers and local organic growers to the worlds largest food brands to make better quality fruits and vegetables available for all.

Apeel is made of plant-derived materials lipids and glycerolipids that exist in the peels, seeds, and pulp of all the fruits and vegetables we already eat. When creating Apeel, we specifically target these materials.

Key factors that determine the shelf life of produce, such as water loss and ripening rates, are governed by their surface properties, including native wax composition, wax crystal density and size, roughness, and porosity. We consider all of these factors when we optimize a formulation for a particular category of produce, where molecularly, we adjust the combination of lipids in the formulation to be best suited to a given produce surface to maintain shelf-life.

What applications/demand does the product seek to meet?

Food waste in Europe has reached a staggering 88 million tonnes annually, with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros. By using Apeel as a solution for extending produce shelf life and helping reduce food waste, U.S. retailers have been able to sell Apeel-treated avocados at no additional charge to the shopper or member.

In trials, weve seen a doubling to tripling of shelf-life across many dozens of types of fruits and vegetables. The length of shelf life extension depends on the type of produce, its age, and the conditions it is subject to along the supply chain, among other factors.

What makes Apeel technologically innovative/interesting?

Nature is our greatest teacher, and we have successfully proven that we can use these learnings to improve and prolong the quality of produce while reducing waste. From strawberries to peppers, every fruit and vegetable has a protective peel or skin that nature uses to keep it fresh. By enhancing this with a little extra peel, Apeel can double to triple the shelf life of many types of fresh produce, which promotes more sustainable growing practices and less food waste from farm to retail shelf to home.

In addition to food waste reduction, Apeels technology has the ability to reduce single-use plastic waste in the produce industry. In fall 2019, Apeel announced a partnership with world-renowned supplier Houwelings Group, providing them access to Apeels plant-derived technology to replace the single-use plastic wraps on its English cucumbers while still maintaining the vegetables shelf life. This partnership is expected to reduce plastic waste from reaching our landfills by over 60,000 pounds per year.

How does this product fit into the sustainable future of the packaging industry?

Apeel's technology is enabling the shift to more sustainable solutions a priority for everyone across the food supply chain. Fruits and vegetables already have packaging in the form of skins and peels, and Apeel is drawing on what nature already creates in order to help the industry increase the sustainability of its offerings. By extending the shelf life of produce, transformations and savings at every stage of the supply chain can occur. One recent example of this is Apeel Asparagus a vegetable which currently depends heavily on air freight for transport. Apeel reduces reliance on air freight by maintaining quality for longer, opening up the possibilities of arrivals by sea resulting in approximately 1/10 of the cost of transport and 1/8 the GHG emissions when compared to air.

What are your expectations for the future of the product?

Coming off of the heels of our European expansion, we hope to be a global company, servicing many more countries around the world. In the U.S., Apeel avocado retail programs have demonstrated a 50% reduction in retail waste on average and were eager to make these food waste reduction benefits a reality for suppliers and retailers around the world. We are excited about continuing to unlock the potential of plant-derived technology to help solve some of the biggest challenges we are facing right now in the area of food waste and its impact on climate change.

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Science on Screen film event features science and art of ranching and the cowboy life – Scottsbluff Star Herald

Posted: at 10:26 am

The Jan. 30 Science on Screen Lives of Cows and Cowboys event at the Midwest Theater will feature a documentary film about modern working cowboys on big outfit western ranches, alongside a panel discussion with a beef genetics specialist, a range and forage specialist, and a cowboy poet.

At 7:30 p.m., UNL Animal Science Professor and Extension Beef Genetics Specialist Matt Spangler, UNL Assistant Professor and Range and Forage Management Specialist Mitch Stephenson, and cowboy poet Tim Nolting will take the stage for a discussion of the science, art, and life of rangeland cattle ranching. Following the discussion and audience Q&A, the film Cowboys A Documentary Portrait will screen.

This event is open to the public, and admission is FREE, thanks to event sponsors and partners, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center, B&W, Inc., Attitudez Salon, Murdochs Ranch and Home Supply, Nebraska Arts Council, and Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Every audience member will get a free ticket for a chance at winning a raffle prize. Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

WHAT: FREE Science on Screen discussion and screening of Cowboys A Documentary Portrait

WHEN: Thurs., Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Midwest Theater, 1707 Broadway, Scottsbluff

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!


Science on Screen film event features science and art of ranching and the cowboy life - Scottsbluff Star Herald

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Boss Bajwa got extension, I didnt. But dont worry Pakistani dears, I will be Gen Twitter – ThePrint

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Energy Express: A creative way to learn | News, Sports, Jobs – The Review

Posted: at 10:26 am

Carole Scheerbaum, Hancock County WVU Extension Agent, with an Energy Express project students made her about five years ago. Scheerbaum read a book about what was in a lunchbox and the students crafted a lunchbox, complete with food items for Scheerbaum as that days art project. (Photo by Julie Riedel)

NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. Getting children excited about reading is what Energy Express is all about. The six-week summer reading program encourages kids to express their creativity while instilling a love for reading.

I think that our youth when they come, they find it fun because the books are fun, the mentors are fun, the activities are fun and they end up reading and learning in a way that doesnt feel like Im learning. I just feel like Im having fun. But they are learning, said Carole Scheerbaum, WVU Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development Extension Service Hancock County.

Energy Express is run by West Virginia Extension Service. The program was introduced by the state in 1994 to help children, between grades one and six, maintain reading levels in rural and low-income communities.

It really helps reduce what we call the summer slide. And that means, unfortunately a lot of kiddos when they leave for the summer and dont have the everyday academic routine, their academic skills can slide back a month, or even up to three months over the summer, said Erica Sauer, director of special programs for the Hancock County School District. So, by attending Energy Express were helping to prevent that slide, and not only prevent it, but actually help to gain skills for the next grade level.

Hancock County got involved with Energy Express in 2009. Scheerbaum specializes in youth development extension programs and was hired for the job in July 2008. A community member told her about Energy Express and encouraged her to bring it to the county for the following summer.

The state allows 80 Energy Express sites each year. To qualify for the program, the county must have more than 50 percent of the children in a school community eligible for free or reduced-price meals and be able to supply 30 percent of the funding needed for the program.

Each of the six weeks is a theme picked by the state, which usually relates to family, community or making the world better. The students also receive a book for their own library related to the weeks theme.

The children come in the morning, they are greeted by their mentor and they have breakfast as a group and then they go into their classrooms and they are engaged in activities on reading, writing, art, and drama, said Scheerbaum. We also get them outside every day for 20 to 30 minutes of what we call noncompetitive recreation. I call it good old-fashioned rip and tear time. We play a lot of tag and so the children are engaged all day long with a lot of activities and its all about motivating them to want to read.

Energy Express is set up to be a half day, with the program starting with breakfast and ending with lunch. The children are placed into groups of eight with one mentor. Each group has about three ages within it, and they spend the summer together reading and working on writing, art and acting projects to help bring the books they read to life. At the end of the day, students sit down with another person to read for about 20 minutes in a one-on-one setting. They also have celebrity readers come in to read to the whole group.

Scheerbaum applies for two sites in Hancock County. She is currently working on the 2020 paperwork to maintain sites at Allison Elementary and Weirton Elementary. This year she is planning on 88 spots. Scheerbaum would like to see that number grow to as many children as the sites can handle.

To function as an Energy Express site there needs to be space for each group to split off, a cafeteria, and at least one area for large group functions. In Hancock County, Scheerbaum looks for locations with multiple classrooms so each group has a home room, a cafeteria and multiple community spaces. Those requirements are how Allison and Weirton Elementary Schools were selected.

Even though were a small county, it is bigger than what you think. I mean when you live in Weirton and you have to drive to Chester or live in Chester and have to drive to Weirton its a little bit of a hike, and its hard, it makes it hard on the families. So, its nice to have the two locations.

In the 2019 season the Hancock County Energy Express sites managed a three-month reading level gain.

This gain was measured through a standardized process, that involved a test and a random sample of children from each site across the state. The children were tested at the beginning and end of the summer program, and then their results were measured. This year also included additional research based evaluation for the program where five counties participated. The state asked those five counties to select students who werent participating in Energy Express and to give them a pre and post study to determine broad reading achievement. The students who didnt participate in Energy Express on average achieved one half month reading gains, but the students in the Hancock County program achieved reading gains of 3.1 months.

So, we were very elated with those results and seeing the benefits that the children receive in working within small groups with an AmeriCorps mentor, said Scheerbaum.

Scheerbaum shared the accomplishment during presentations during the Nov. 14, Hancock County Commission meeting and Dec. 16, Hancock County Board of Education meeting. During the Hancock County Board of Education presentation, Scheerbaum asked if the school would like to continue its partnership with Energy Express and extension.

Since 2012, Hancock County Schools have partnered with Energy Express to benefit Hancock County youth. The school district helps the program by providing the locations, custodial services, and two buses to help transport students.

Hancock County Schools partners with Scheerbaum on a number of other programs, including the Storybook Cafe. The Storybook Cafe is an interactive and mobile learning center, that travels throughout the county. It is another way the county encourages educational growth over the summer. Storybook Cafe runs for three months during the summer. Its schedule overlaps with Energy Express, providing another opportunity to engage students academically. Sauer leads Storybook Cafe with Scheerbaum providing Extension Service volunteers, usually college students, who help lead activities. For 2019 the Extension Service volunteers ran Stem themed activities. Scheerbaum and Sauer also work to bring various seminars to students including a personal finance class, and Scheerbaum helps to engage students at the school districts alternative learning center.

What excites me about energy express is that it, while its very academically focused, its also very creative. Each room has a theme and they spend a lot of time with hands on activities. And I think especially for summer, thats so enticing to kids. When I come to visit throughout the summer, theyre always happy and engaged and having a good time, said Sauer. I dont see any kids whose parents are having to coerce and bribe and drag them to Energy Express. Theyre excited to come and its very summer camp feeling theyre with the same kids every day, in the same classroom and their classroom has its theme and its very active. The day goes by very fast and the kids are very interested and engaged in what theyre doing.

The state outlines the expectations for Energy Express and provides program directors with guidelines to run their sites. The state also partners with a number of organizations to make the program possible. Those partners include the Department of education, AmericCorps and the Library Commission among others. With the help of partners the program receives funding, staffing, books and the ability to provide students with two meals a day.

They do train us. They do provide us with, with an extensive amount of technical assistance, and the model that the program uses in order to ensure that we are making our goals for this summer. I liken the model to a box. You can play in a box in a number of different ways, but you stay within the box. And, the box is very creative, which is what is probably the most wonderful about it, said Scheerbaum.

The 2020 program will run from June 22 to July 31. It is the twelfth year for Energy Express in Hancock County. Every year Scheerbaum hires mentors, location directors, and community coordinators to help run the sites. Scheerbaum relies on college students to function as mentors, she said education students gravitate to the summer program, but she has worked with students from all fields of study. Energy Express also relies on community volunteers to read one-on-one with students. Community members can also be celebrity readers or can donate books for the program to use.

It really does take an incredible team and its not just the team thats on site, but my office staff as well as the community, said Scheerbaum. All of us are a part of that team, to bring Energy Express to the county every summer and we really enjoy it. We have a great love for the program here in the office. We see the benefit that it has and it is truly a joy to bring this to the county each summer.

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Energy Express: A creative way to learn | News, Sports, Jobs - The Review

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Ero Copper announces updated high-grade mineral reserve with average production of 40500 ounces over initial three-year mine life extension at the NX…

Posted: December 24, 2019 at 10:48 am

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ero Copper Corp. (Ero or the Company) (TSX: ERO)is pleased to announce its 2019 updated National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101) compliant mineral reserve and resource estimate along with updated life of mine (LOM) production, capital and operating cost projections for its 97.6% owned NX Gold Mine, located in Mato Grosso State, Brazil. The update incorporates the results of the first systematic drill exploration effort undertaken since the mine commenced operations in 2012, and includes the Santo Antonio Vein discovery. Highlights of the update include:

Commenting on the update, David Strang, President & CEO stated, Our strategy for the NX Gold Mine at the outset of 2019 was to secure an initial mine life extension of three to five years at low-cost production for the Company. We are pleased with the result of this effort as we now see a strong foundation of gold production on which to build longer-term growth. The fact that this was achieved over only eight months of drilling in what amounts to the first real exploration effort undertaken at the property since 2012, speaks to the opportunity we see at NX Gold to continue to organically grow the mineral reserves and resources, extend mine life and ultimately significantly increase production volumes from the mine.

Over the next year, we will continue to expand upon the success of the Santo Antonio Vein discovery adding incremental mine life through resource conversion of our significant inferred mineral resource base, drill testing new extensions of the Santo Antonio, Bras and Matinha veins as well as undertaking the first regional exploration program ever conducted on the extensive land package controlled by NX Gold.

The NX Gold mineral reserve and resource estimate is shown in the following table:

Mineral Reserve & Resource Notes:1. Mineral Resource effective date of August 31, 2019.2. Mineral Reserve effective date of September 30, 2019.3. Presented mineral resources inclusive of mineral reserves. All figures have been rounded to the relative accuracy of the estimates. Summed amounts may not add due to rounding.4. Mineral resource gold cut-off grade of 1.90 grams per tonne (gpt) gold. Mineral resources have been estimated using ordinary kriging inside 2.5m x 2.5m x 0.5m block sizes and minimum stope dimensions of 1.25m x 1.25m x 1.50m. The mineral resource estimates were prepared in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Definition Standards for Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, adopted by the CIM Council on May 10, 2014 (the CIM Standards), and the CIM Estimation of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Best Practice Guidelines, adopted by CIM Council on November 23, 2003 (the CIM Guidelines), using geostatistical and/or classical methods, plus economic and mining parameters appropriate to the deposit.5. Mineral reserve estimates were prepared in accordance with the CIM Standards and the CIM Guidelines, using geostatistical and/or classical methods, plus economic and mining parameters appropriate for the deposit. Mineral reserves are based on a long-term gold price of US$1,350 per ounce (oz), and a USD:BRL foreign exchange rate of 3.80. Mineral reserves are the economic portion of the Indicated mineral resources. Mineral reserve estimates include operational dilution of 10% plus planned dilution of approximately 10% within each stope. Assumes mining recovery of 90% and pillar recovery of 60%. Practical mining shapes (wireframes) were designed using geological wireframes / mineral resource block models as a guide.

Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.


The Companys updated LOM production plan, prepared in conjunction with the updated mineral resource and mineral reserve estimate, provides a pathway for average annual production of approximately 40,000 ounces of gold over the next three years.

(*) 2019 production outlines the mineral reserve schedule for the three months from the effective date of September 30, 2019 to December 31, 2019.


The updated production plan has resulted in changes to the forecast operating and capital cost estimates. The tables below show the operating and capital costs for the updated LOM production schedule.

C1 Cash Cost Notes:1. 2019 cash costs presented for the three months of the mineral reserve schedule from the effective date of September 30, 2019 to December 31, 2019. 2. Assumes USD:BRL FX rate of 3.80.3. Assumes gold price of US$1,400 per ounce and silver price of US$17.00 per ounce.4. C1 cash costs per ounce of gold produced is a non-IFRS measure, as more particularly discussed under the Technical and Scientific Information section of this press release.

Capital Expenditure Notes:1. 2019 capital expenditure presented for the three months of the mineral reserve schedule from the effective date of September 30, 2019 to December 31, 2019.2. Capital expenditures presented in Brazilian real (BRL)3. Amounts shown do not include discretionary greenfield or brownfield exploration in years 2020 through 2022.


Mineral Resources

Block model tonnage and grade estimates for the NX Gold Mine were classified according to the CIM Standards and the CIM Guidelines by Sr. Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodriguez of GE21 Consultoria Mineral Ltda. (GE21) who is an independent qualified person as such term is defined under NI 43-101.

Cut-off grades of 1.90 gpt gold were used for the mineral resource estimate based on gold price of US$1,900 per ounce of gold, underground mining and processing costs of US$115.30 per tonne of ore mined and processed. Mineral resources were estimated using ordinary kriging within 2.5 meter by 2.5 meter by 0.5 meter block sizes and were constrained using a minimum stope dimension of 1.25 meters by 1.25 meters by 1.50 meters. Mineral resources are shown inclusive of mineral reserves.

Mineral Resource effective date of August 31, 2019.

Mineral Reserves

The mineral reserves for the NX Gold Mine are derived from the Indicated mineral resource as defined within the resource block model following the application of economic and other modifying factors further described below. Inferred mineral resources, where unavoidably mined within a defined mining shape have been assigned zero grade. Dilution occurring from Indicated resource blocks was assigned grade based upon the current mineral resource grade of the blocks included in the dilution envelope. Mineral reserves were classified according to the CIM Standards and the CIM Guidelines by Sr. Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodriguez of GE21, an independent qualified person as such term is defined under NI 43-101.

Mineral reserve cost assumptions are based on actual operating cost data during the 8-month period from January 1, 2019 to August 30, 2019. The USD:BRL rate of 3.80 was selected.

Mineral reserve cut-off grades and parameters applied to the mineral reserve estimate are summarized below:

Mineral reserve cut-off cost parameters are expressed as per tonne of ore mined and processed (run of mine ROM):

Other modifying factors considered in the determination of the mineral reserve estimate include:

Non-IFRS Measures

The Company utilizes certain non-IFRS measures, including C1 cash cost of gold produced, which are not measures recognized under IFRS. The Company believes that these measures, together with measures determined in accordance with IFRS, provide investors with an improved ability to evaluate the underlying performance of the Company. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS, and therefore they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

C1 cash cost of gold produced (per ounce) is the sum of production costs, net of capital expenditure development costs and silver by-product credits, divided by the gold ounces produced. By-product credits are calculated based on actual precious metal sales during the period divided by the total ounces of gold produced during the period. C1 cash cost of gold produced per pound is a non-IFRS measure used by the Company to manage and evaluate operating performance of the Companys operating mining unit and is widely reported in the mining industry as benchmarks for performance but does not have a standardized meaning and is disclosed in addition to IFRS measures.


Database QA/QC Validation

In order to validate the current mineral resource estimate, GE21 selected a series of quality assurance, quality control (QA/QC) samples, including blanks, duplicate and standard control samples from those performed by NX Gold. The set of samples was taken from the current mineral resource estimate zone as well as adjacent areas. In the opinion of GE21, blank, standard and duplicate sample analysis was found to be within the acceptance limits for the classification of mineral resources. No sample or database biases were detected. This work was supplemented by drill hole database validation performed using the Geovia Surpac software database tool which looks to validate final depth, overlapping results and drill hole collar information. No inconsistencies or errors were found in the drill database review.

QA/QC Program

Drill core is logged, photographed and split in half using a diamond core saw at NX Golds secure core logging and storage facilities. Half of the drill core is retained on site and the other half-core is used for analysis, with samples collected on a minimum of 0.2 meters and a maximum of 2.0 meters with an average length of 0.5 meters. Sampling commences at least 1.0 meter before the start of the mineralized zone and continues at least 1.0 meters beyond the limit of the mineralized zone. All sample preparation is performed in NX Golds secure on-site laboratory. Gold content is determined using fire assay. All sample results used in the preparation of the 2019 updated mineral resource and reserve estimate have been monitored through a QA/QC program that includes the insertion of certified standards, blanks, and pulp and reject duplicate samples at a rate of one standard, one blank, and one duplicate pulp sample per every 20 samples for a blended rate of approximately 5%.

Qualified Persons and the NI 43-101 Technical Report

Sr. Porfirio Cabaleiro Rodriguez, MAIG, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this press release. Mr. Rodriguez is independent of the Company and is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101.

The Company will file the associated NI 43-101 compliant report on SEDAR ( and on the Companys website ( within 45 days of this press release, which will serve as an update to the technical report entitled Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Estimate of the NX Gold Mine, Nova Xavantina prepared by Porfrio Cabaleiro Rodriguez, MAIG, Leonardo Apparicio da Silva, MAIG and Leonardo de Moraes Soares, MAIG all of GE21, who are independent qualified persons under NI 43-101 (the 2018 Technical Report)


Ero Copper Corp, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., is focused on copper production growth from the Vale do Cura Property, located in Bahia, Brazil. The Companys primary asset is a 99.6% interest in the Brazilian copper mining company, Minerao Caraba S.A. (MCSA), 100% owner of the Vale do Cura Property with over 40 years of operating history in the region.The Company currently mines copper ore from the Pilar and Vermelhos underground mines. In addition to the Vale do Cura Property, MCSA owns 100% of the Boa Esperana development project, an IOCG-type copper project located in Par, Brazil and the Company, directly and indirectly, owns 97.6% of the NX Gold Mine, an operating gold and silver mine located in Mato Grosso, Brazil.Additional information on the Company and its operations, including technical reports on the Vale do Cura, Boa Esperana and NX Gold properties, can be found on the Companys website ( and on SEDAR (

CAUTION REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING INFORMATION AND STATEMENTS This press release contains forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking information includes statements that use forward-looking terminology such as may, could, would, will, should, intend, target, plan, expect, budget, estimate, forecast, schedule, anticipate, believe, continue, potential, view or the negative or grammatical variation thereof or other variations thereof or comparable terminology. Such forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral reserves and mineral resources, updated LOM production plan, updated operating and capital cost estimates including for the LOM plan detailed herein including expected costs and timing of future exploration efforts, the nature of any mineralization which has yet to be defined, mine life extension, and future exploration including specific target areas and regional drilling.

Forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and is based upon a number of estimates and assumptions of management in light of managements experience and perception of trends, current conditions and expected developments, as well as other factors that management believes to be relevant and reasonable in the circumstances, as of the date of this press release including, without limitation, assumptions about: favourable equity and debt capital markets; the ability to raise any necessary additional capital on reasonable terms to advance the production, development and exploration of the Companys properties and assets; future prices of copper, gold, silver and other metal prices; the timing and results of exploration and drilling programs; the accuracy of any mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates; the geology of the Vale do Cura Property being as described in the technical report for the property; production costs; the accuracy of budgeted exploration and development costs and expenditures; the price of other commodities such as fuel; future currency exchange rates and interest rates; operating conditions being favourable such that the Company is able to operate in a safe, efficient and effective manner; political and regulatory stability; the receipt of governmental, regulatory and third party approvals, licenses and permits on favourable terms; obtaining required renewals for existing approvals, licenses and permits on favourable terms; requirements under applicable laws; sustained labour stability; stability in financial and capital goods markets; availability of equipment; positive relations with local groups and the Companys ability to meet its obligations under its agreements with such groups; and satisfying the terms and conditions of the Companys current loan arrangements. While the Company considers these assumptions to be reasonable, the assumptions are inherently subject to significant business, social, economic, political, regulatory, competitive and other risks and uncertainties, contingencies and other factors that could cause actual actions, events, conditions, results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those projected in the forward-looking information. Many assumptions are based on factors and events that are not within the control of the Company and there is no assurance they will prove to be correct.

Furthermore, such forward-looking information involves a variety of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual plans, intentions, activities, results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future plans, intentions, activities, results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such risks include, without limitation the risk factors listed under the heading Risk Factors in the Annual Information Form of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2018, dated March 14, 2019.

Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events, conditions, results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events, conditions, results, performance or achievements to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended.

The Company cautions that the foregoing lists of important assumptions and factors are not exhaustive. Other events or circumstances could cause actual results to differ materially from those estimated or projected and expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking information contained herein. There can be no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information.

Forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this press release and the Company disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, except as and to the extent required by applicable securities laws.

CAUTIONARY NOTES REGARDING MINERAL RESOURCE AND RESERVE ESTIMATES In accordance with applicable Canadian securities regulatory requirements, all mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates of the Company disclosed or incorporated by reference in this press release have been prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 and are classified in accordance with the CIM Standards.

Mineral resources which are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Pursuant to the CIM Standards, mineral resources have a higher degree of uncertainty than mineral reserves as to their existence as well as their economic and legal feasibility. Inferred mineral resources, when compared with Measured or Indicated mineral resources, have the least certainty as to their existence, and it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an Inferred mineral resource will be upgraded to an Indicated or Measured mineral resource as a result of continued exploration. Pursuant to NI 43-101, Inferred mineral resources may not form the basis of any economic analysis. Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of a mineral resource exists, will ever be converted into a mineral reserve, or is or will ever be economically or legally mineable or recovered.

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Ero Copper announces updated high-grade mineral reserve with average production of 40500 ounces over initial three-year mine life extension at the NX...

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Did the F-16 Just Go Stealth? – The National Interest Online

Posted: at 10:48 am

A Texas Air National Guard fighter squadron flying F-16s is one of the first units to paint its planes in a new, radar-absorbing paint scheme. The paint signals the Air Forces reluctant decision to keep old F-16s flying through the 2020s, at least.

The Air National Guards paint facility in Sioux City, Iowa in mid-December 2019 rolled out a Block 30 F-16C with the new version the Have Glass paint jobs. The F-16C, a Block 30 model, belongs to the 149th Fighter Wing flying out of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The new, single-color paint scheme is a recent departure from the older two-tone gray paint scheme normally associated with F-16s that belong to the United States Air Force, the Pentagon stated.

Most American F-16s for decades have worn a mostly light-gray paint scheme. Since around 2012, however, the Air Force under the Have Glass V initiative slowly has been applying a new, single-tone, dark-gray livery to some F-16s

The new ferromagnetic paint, which can absorb radar energy, first appeared on some of the roughly 200 F-16s the Air Force assigns to the dangerous suppression-of-enemy-air-defenses, or SEAD, mission. SEAD squadrons reside in Minnesota, South Carolina, Germany and Japan.

The Texas Air National Guard F-16 apparently is the first Block 30 F-16 to receive a variant of the Have Glass V paint. Where previous Have Glass V paint jobs included a lighter-tone radar radome, the current scheme covers both the radome and the rest of the plane in the same, dark tone.

No paint can compensate for a plane's shape. In particular, the shapes of its wings, engine inlet and engine nozzle. Square shapes, right angles and perpendicular planes such as engine turbines strongly reflect radar waves.

Even with Have Glass, the F-16 on average has a 1.2-square-meter radar cross-section, according to Globalsecurity, while the F-22 and F-35 boast RCSs smaller than .005 square meters.

So the Have Glass V F-16s arent stealth fighters. But they are stealthier than are F-16s with older paint schemes. Since Have Glass V undoubtedly is expensive, the Air Force logically prioritized repainting planes in units flying the dangerous SEAD mission.

Its noteworthy that Block 30 F-16s, which first appeared in 1986, also are getting Have Glass V treatment. The roughly 300 Block 30s are some of the oldest fighters in the Air Force inventory, and strictly fly with Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units.

The Air Force for years struggled to define a replacement plan for the Block 30 F-16s, which on average have accumulated more than 7,000 flight hours. The F-35 eventually could replace the Block 30s. But with F-35 production rates fall far below projections, even under the best of circumstances it could take a decade or more to replace all the Block 30s.

The 149th Fighter Wing is one of several Air National Guard units that for years has lobbied the Air Force to bump it higher in the list for new F-35s. But the flying branch so far has tapped Guard wings in Vermont, Wisconsin and Alabama to get F-35s, leaving a couple dozen other units in limbo for the time being.

Conceding that it cannot acquire F-35s fast enough, the Air Force now plans to conduct a service-life extension on more than 800 of its roughly 900 F-16s, apparently skipping over only the oldest Block 25 models that entered service in the early 1980s.

The life-extension could help the Block 30s fly for a few years longer. Some Block 30s also are receiving new electronically-scanned-array radars to replace their old analogue units. Stealther paint also helps the aging F-16s stay relevant.

The U.S. Air Force isnt the only air arm to apply radar-absorbing paint to otherwise non-stealthy fighters. The Chinese air force in early 2019 also began applying ferromagnetic paint to its roughly 50 J-16s fighters.

The J-16 is an upgraded version of the older J-11 fighter that China copied from the Russian Su-27.

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is theauthor of the graphic novelsWar Fix,War Is BoringandMachete Squad.

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Did the F-16 Just Go Stealth? - The National Interest Online

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