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Athletics’ Piscotty undergoes MRI for sprained right ankle

first_imgOAKLAND — A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty received an MRI on his sprained right ankle Sunday morning and manager Bob Melvin said the team was awaiting results.Piscotty injured the ankle while sliding back into second base on a pickoff try against the Astros a week ago Saturday.“Got a little better, a little worse,” Melvin said. “Then last night he took a swing where it really bothered him. That’s why I took him out of the game.”Melvin sent Robbie Grossman in to pinch-hit for Piscotty in …last_img read more

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Does Gene Expression Evolve?

first_img(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 “Mutation is the ultimate source of biological diversity because it generates the variation that fuels evolution,” wrote four scientists in Nature November 10.1  Conventionally, theorists have focused on gene mutations for that fuel; what about mutations to gene expression?  That’s what they set out to discover.    One would think that positive natural selection would drive gene expression.  If nothing else, neutral mutations would be expected to accumulate over time.  Looking at fruit flies and worms, however, they found less than anticipated.  This was a surprise to them, “suggesting that stabilizing selection has a larger role than drift in shaping the evolution of gene expression.”  Stabilizing selection is a conservative effect.  A perturbation in one part of the gene expression network might be counterbalanced by another, such that the overall developmental pattern is unchanged.  This leads to phenotypic stability called canalization.  Though their title and conclusion hyped plasticity, they discovered stability:In summary, D. melanogaster has a broad mutational capacity for changes in gene expression, in both magnitude and genomic extent, that could potentially provide ample raw material for evolutionary diversification.  However, although they vary among closely related species, gene expression patterns are relatively stable.  In Caenorhabditis elegans, genetic variances of gene expression are likewise much less than the neutral expectation.  The convergence of this observation in two groups of organisms that diverged in the Precambrian and have different reproductive and life-history strategies indicates that stabilizing selection and structural processes, including canalization, physical and developmental constraints, and correlated responses, govern gene expression evolution. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)1Scott A. Rifkin, David Houle, Junhyong Kim and Kevin P. White, “A mutation accumulation assay reveals a broad capacity for rapid evolution of gene expression,” Nature 438, 220-223 (10 November 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04114Anyone see evolution here?  Stabilizing selection is not the kind Darwin wanted.  It’s like those displays in appliance stores where a beach ball is suspended above a blower.  The ball spins and gyrates, but the higher pressure around the flowing air holds the ball in place.  The evidence suggests that organisms are robust against perturbations in gene expression.  Two similar species of fruitflies and worms maintained very stable patterns of gene expression despite these evolutionists’ claim the creatures diverged in the Precambrian.  That’s a lot of un-evolution for 200 million years.  The rest of the bluff about “mutational capacity” providing “raw material” for evolution was just verbal turbulence flowing past a Darwinian beach ball suspended in mid-air. last_img read more

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Microsoft Ad Says IE Is Privacy Leader: What’s The Real Story?

first_imgRelated Posts On Monday, Microsoft premiered a television ad that portrays its Internet Explorer as the defender of user privacy among modern browsers.The ad highlights IE’s use of Do Not Track and its Tracking Protection Lists as effective tools in preserving online privacy, implying that Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Opera fail to keep up with Microsoft’s principled stand on privacy.Six months ago, Microsoft might have had a point. Now, however, many privacy advocates say that IE is the browser now falling behind in the privacy wars – because it doesn’t block third-party tracking cookies by default.(Many websites store a small snippet of code called a cookie on your hard drive when you visit the site. Typically, these cookies contain login information or other preferences. Since many websites serve up content or ads from third-parties, those third-party sources may also place tracking cookies in your browser – even though you never visited their site.)Microsoft does allow users to manually exclude third-party cookies, as does Chrome. But Safari and soon Firefox will do this by default, stealing the wind from Microsoft’s sails. And given Microsoft’s history in terms of privacy and competition, it’s easy to see the new ad – and Microsoft’s whole privacy strategy – as a cynical ploy to acquire new IE users while denigrating its competitors. Even if that’s true, privacy advocates said, Microsoft is at least doing something to address privacy issues.  IE Trumpets Do Not Track, Tracking ProtectionAs a piece of advertising, Microsoft’s spot does a fine job highlighting what users don’t mind sharing, and what users would rather keep private. Microsoft focuses on two features in the 30-second ad: Do Not Track, which is turned on by default; and its Tracking Protection Lists. “Your privacy is our priority,” is the tag line.Do Not Track (DNT) merely asks a site not to track the user visiting it. At this point, Do Not Track is completely voluntary, and privacy advocates note that the vast majority of online advertising agencies decline to honor it. Microsoft’s implementation of Do Not Track is little more than a symbolic gesture unless and until the online ad agencies agree to play ball. “Microsoft’s DNT setting is fine, although it will likely be ignored until the W3C finishes the DNT standard, if ever,” said David Jacobs, the Consumer Protection Counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), in an email.Consumer watchdogs can still rattle their sabers, as Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez did last week (PDF) in a speech to the American Advertising Federation. Ramirez warned that now was the time for industry stakeholders to nail down a Do Not Track agreement once and for all:One can forgive stakeholders for thinking that it will always be so – for believing that ‘not all the water in the rough rude sea can wash’ the shine off this cyber-economy. But an online advertising system that breeds consumer discomfort is not a foundation for sustained growth. More likely, it is an invitation to Congress and other policymakers in the U.S. and abroad to intervene with legislation or regulation and for technical measures by browsers or others to limit tracking.Tracking Protection lists are far more effective – they prevent websites from capturing information that the user doesn’t wish to be shared. Right now, they’re probably the most effective weapon that Microsoft has in protecting user privacy – but they rarely get used, according to Dan Auerbauch, a staff technologist with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).Which Browser Leads In Privacy Protection?“Firefox and Safari I would say are in first place right now in terms of protecting user privacy,” because of third-party cookie blocking by default, Auerbach said.Safari blocks third-party cookies by default; Mozilla has begun blocking third-party cookies by default in its alpha or Aurora build, with the expectation that the standard build will block them by summer. Chrome users must turn on the feature themselves by following a few simple instructions. Microsoft IE users can do this as well – but again, not by default.“I would hope that Microsoft would follow soon, and I think that they’re well-positioned to be the leader [in privacy],” Auerbach added. “We’re encouraged by this campaign from Microsoft, and we think that they have the ability to do really good things here.”What’s Microsoft Really Up To Here?Is Microsoft genuinely interested in user privacy, or is it simply raising the specter of intrusive advertising to win new converts to IE? If Microsoft hadn’t run its Scroogled campaign, which has highlighted all the ways that Google allegedly misuses user data to its own commercial ends, the answer might be yes. As it is, it’s difficult to see Microsoft’s efforts as truly altruistic, given its past history.“Ultimately, I’m not sure how successful the campaign will be, but I think it’s generally good when companies compete on privacy,” said EPIC’s Jacobs. “I don’t know what Microsoft’s underlying motivation is, but regardless of whether it’s altruistic concern for user privacy or self-interested profit maximization, consumers can still benefit.”Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t said when or whether it will block third-party cookies by default, and company representatives weren’t able to comment. Microsoft does seem to be making strides in protecting user privacy, but its competitors are poised to pass it by, if they haven’t already.Image: Flickr/Scubadive67 Tags:#Chrome#Do Not Track#Firefox#Internet Explorer#Microsoft#privacy#Safari markhachman Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Höegh LNG Partners Takes Remaining Stake in Höegh Grace

first_imgzoom Norwegian-based Höegh LNG has reached a deal to transfer the remaining 49% interest in the entities that own and operate the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Höegh Grace to Höegh LNG Partners.The share in Höegh LNG Colombia Holding, the sole owner of the entities that own and operate the vessel, would be sold for a price of USD 172.5 million, less USD 86.6 million in pro-rata indebtedness related to Höegh Grace expected to be outstanding at the closing date of the transaction.HMLP intends to settle the purchase price with a combination of cash at hand and a drawing under its revolving credit facility granted by Höegh LNG. The purchase price will be subject to certain post-closing adjustments for net working capital.The transaction is expected to be completed by the beginning of January 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with HMLP for the third drop-down to the MLP. Funded by a well-received offering of HMLP’s perpetual preferred equity earlier this autumn, the transaction demonstrates Höegh LNG’s diversified capital markets access,” Sveinung J.S. Støhle, President and CEO of Höegh LNG, said.“With a leading position in the FSRU market, Höegh LNG remains committed to provide HMLP with further growth opportunities through accretive drop-downs of FSRUs on long-term contracts,” Støhle added.HMLP purchased the initial 51% ownership interest in Grace Holding in January 2017 for a price of USD 188.7 million, less USD 96.9 million, the pro rata amount of indebtedness related to the Höegh Grace.In a separate announcement, Höegh LNG informed that its profit for the three months ended September 30 was at USD 1.1 million, down from USD 8.5 million in the preceding quarter. The company reported EBITDA of USD 31.6 million for the third quarter, compared with USD 37.7 million for the previous quarter.The decrease follows a provision made in relation to performance claims on Neptune and GDF Suez Cape Ann relating to the initial years when they were operated as LNG carriers. This had a negative impact of USD 11.9 million on Höegh LNG’s accounts, which was partly offset by the reversal of certain sales-tax-related accruals of USD 2.9 million.last_img read more

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