Auditory cortex nearly identical in hearing and deaf people Artificial intelligence reveals what neurons in the visual cortex prefer to look at Related Easy on the eyes Study shows architecture of audition likely based on innate factors Finding may shed light on changes in motivation, focus, and behavior Furthermore, the scientists pointed out some limitations in their findings. For instance, they only measured the movement of the head, and did not measure eye movement. The study is also based on rodents, which are nocturnal. Their visual systems share similarities with humans and primates, but differ in complexity. Still, the paper adds to new lines of research and the findings could potentially be applied to neural networks that control machine vision, like those in autonomous vehicles.“It’s all to better understand how vision actually works,” Guitchounts said. “Neuroscience is entering into a new era where we understand that perception and action are intertwined loops. … There’s no action without perception and no perception without action. We have the technology now to measure this.”This work was supported by the Harvard Center for Nanoscale Systems and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. “It was really surprising to see this type of [movement-related] information in the visual cortex because traditionally people have thought of the visual cortex as something that only processes images,” said Grigori Guitchounts, a postdoctoral researcher in the Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author. “It was mysterious, at first, why this sensory region would have this representation of the specific types of movements the animal was making.”While the scientists weren’t able to definitively say why this happens, they believe it has to do with how the brain perceives what’s around it.“The model explanation for this is that the brain somehow needs to coordinate perception and action,” Guitchounts said. “You need to know when a sensory input is caused by your own action as opposed to when it’s caused by something out there in the world.”For the study, Guitchounts teamed up with former Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology Professor David Cox, alumnus Javier Masis, M.A. ’15, Ph.D. ’18, and postdoctoral researcher Steffen B.E. Wolff. The work started in 2017 and wrapped up in 2019 while Guitchounts was a graduate researcher in Cox’s lab. A preprint version of the paper published in January.The typical setup of past experiments on vision worked like this: Animals, like mice or monkeys, were sedated, restrained so their heads were in fixed positions, and then given visual stimuli, like photographs, so researchers could see which neurons in the brain reacted. The approach was pioneered by Harvard scientists David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel in the 1960s, and in 1981 they won a Nobel Prize in medicine for their efforts. Many experiments since then have followed their model, but it did not illuminate how movement affects the neurons that analyze.Researchers in this latest experiment wanted to explore that, so they watched 10 rats going about their days and nights. The scientists placed each rat in an enclosure, which doubled as its home, and continuously recorded their head movements. Using implanted electrodes, they measured the brain activity in the primary visual cortex as the rats moved.Half of the recordings were taken with the lights on. The other half were recorded in total darkness. The researchers wanted to compare what the visual cortex was doing when there was visual input versus when there wasn’t. To be sure the room was pitch black, they taped shut any crevice that could let in light, since rats have notoriously good vision at night.The data showed that on average, neurons in the rats’ visual cortices were more active when the animals moved than when they rested, even in the dark. That caught the researchers off guard: In a pitch-black room, there is no visual data to process. This meant that the activity was coming from the motor cortex, not an external image.,The team also noticed that the neural patterns in the visual cortex that were firing during movement differed in the dark and light, meaning they weren’t directly connected. Some neurons that were ready to activate in the dark were in a kind of sleep mode in the light.Using a machine-learning algorithm, the researchers encoded both patterns. That let them not only tell which way a rat was moving its head by just looking at the neural activity in its visual cortex, but also predict the movement several hundred milliseconds before the rat made it.The researchers confirmed that the movement signals came from the motor area of the brain by focusing on the secondary motor cortex. They surgically destroyed it in several rats, then ran the experiments again. The rats in which this area of the brain was lesioned no longer gave off signals in the visual cortex. However, the researchers were not able to determine if the signal originates in the secondary motor cortex. It could be only where it passes through, they said. To get a better look at the world around them, animals constantly are in motion. Primates and people use complex eye movements to focus their vision (as humans do when reading, for instance); birds, insects, and rodents do the same by moving their heads, and can even estimate distances that way. Yet how these movements play out in the elaborate circuitry of neurons that the brain uses to “see” is largely unknown. And it could be a potential problem area as scientists create artificial neural networks that mimic how vision works in self-driving cars.To better understand the relationship between movement and vision, a team of Harvard researchers looked at what happens in one of the brain’s primary regions for analyzing imagery when animals are free to roam naturally. The results of the study, published Tuesday in the journal Neuron, suggest that image-processing circuits in the primary visual cortex not only are more active when animals move, but that they receive signals from a movement-controlling region of the brain that is independent from the region that processes what the animal is looking at. In fact, the researchers describe two sets of movement-related patterns in the visual cortex that are based on head motion and whether an animal is in the light or the dark.The movement-related findings were unexpected, since vision tends to be thought of as a feed-forward computation system in which visual information enters through the retina and travels on neural circuits that operate on a one-way path, processing the information piece by piece. What the researchers saw here is more evidence that the visual system has many more feedback components where information can travel in opposite directions than had been thought.These results offer a nuanced glimpse into how neural activity works in a sensory region of the brain, and add to a growing body of research that is rewriting the textbook model of vision in the brain. “Neuroscience is entering into a new era where we understand that perception and action are intertwined loops. … There’s no action without perception and no perception without action.” — Grigori Guitchounts Helping to uncover the mechanism controlling brain states The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.
By Dialogo October 26, 2009 After years spent growing coca leaf, the raw material of cocaine, a hundred families have become promoters of rural tourism along the Colombian Caribbean. Celso Lopez, 53, is one of those benefiting from this new source of income, but he shows no shame in admitting that in the past he was deeply into illicit coca growing. He, like dozens of families, is part of a promising project to substitute livelihoods from illegal crops on the edge of the Tayrona Natural Park on the Caribbean by instead taking advantage of the great touristic potential of its spectacular scenery. A few years ago, after a government eradication campaign against illicit crops, these families welcomed a plan to change their way of life. They began to promote rural tourism by joining a government program called Forest Ranger Families for Social Action. This Colombian organization offers assistance to millions of displaced persons and to those hurt by the armed conflict that has devastated the country for more than four decades, as well as to those left homeless by natural disasters. With a sincere smile, businessman Lopez told Efe how after years of economic ups and downs, in a period of crisis he “interspersed” among his coffee plantations 2 hectares (nearly 5 acres) of coca. “Today I can say that I contribute more to peace in Colombia and to the tranquillity of my family” by managing country cabins for tourists in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, Lopez said. The 118 Forest Ranger Families began eradicating their own coca plantations, and since then have cared for the environment while saving half of the funds the government pays them in order to buy a piece of land. In that way the former coca growers acquired the San Rafael farm covering 354 hectares (874 acres), on which they built ecotouristic inns. These are cabins in the jungle near plantations of coffee, plantain, cacao and fruit trees. They have also installed ponds for fish farming. “We’re in the buffer zone for the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to protect the water and oxygen for future generations,” Lopez said, adding that his new job lets him live “happier and more peacefully,” even though he only earns enough to survive. The Forest Ranger Families project has helped create a “new social fabric” and a “changed life” for hundreds of people, said Lopez, who alternates his main activity with that of a tourist guide. The Colombian’s five cabins are nestled amid lush natural scenery, with a crystal-clear river running along stone paths and routes that lead to dream-like prospects, to tropical rain forests, to birdwatching, all just a short distance from the Caribbean Sea. Others among these one-time coca families, also hurt in the past by the conflict and forced displacement, are now dedicated beekeepers. One of them is Oscar Naranjo, owner of 20 beehives on a family farm near the town of Bonda, close to Santa Marta and the Sierra Nevada. Naranjo sometimes prays that it doesn’t rain too much, but also that the summer doesn’t last too long. “Any extreme leaves the trees without flowers, and without flowers there’s no honey,” the beekeeper, who supports his family to a great extent on what the bees produce, told Efe. He, like Lopez, talks of the “happiness and tranquillity” that his work on the farm gives him, now that all his activities are legal.
Panamanian authorities have declared war on drug trafficking and organized crime. Officials carried out the largest narcotics seizure of the year earlier this month when the National Naval Air Service of Panama (SENAN) captured a speed boat that crashed into a seafront house in the city of Colón, on the Caribbean Sea. SENAN officials found more than 2,400 kilos (5,280 pounds) of cocaine on the vessel. A Colombian national was arrested, but the other three crew members on the boat managed to escape. “It doesn’t seem coincidental to me that north of Veraguas [155 miles west of Panama City] there are 15 people in custody for having links to drug trafficking,” Minister of Public Safety José Raúl Mulino told reporters, according to EFE. “This shipment [contained] ski masks, knives and military ammunition apparently for these people.” Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said the region needs a strategic counter-narcotics policy, during a summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA) earlier this month in El Salvador. “Many people die unnecessarily due to drugs, the same drugs that prompt corruption and discourage investment,” said Ricardo Martinelli, as reported by the Panamanian daily La Prensa. In 2009, Panamanian law enforcement agencies confiscated 52.1 tons of cocaine and 1.7 tons of marijuana, according to the Public Ministry. Officials also said US$11 million in cash was seized, US$3.2 million more than the previous year. Javier Caraballo, the country’s drug prosecutor, said authorities have identified Mexican criminal organizations in Panama that are working with Mexico-based drug cartels. But he added the seizures by Panamanian officials have decreased the illegal activities of national and international criminal organizations. “We have seen cases in which almost all the people apprehended, linked to these shipments, are Mexicans that don’t have a permanent residence in the country,” said Caraballo, as reported by EFE. “However, they arrived [in the country] to organize drug trafficking.” An undercover agent from the Judicial Investigations Directorate (DIJ) of the National Police told Infosurhoy.com that criminals from Latin American countries are also in Panama to supervise their illegal businesses. But local law enforcement agencies are trying to prevent them from establishing a presence. “Guatemalans, Hondurans and Colombians are coming [here] to control and oversee their operations on Panamanian territory,” said the narcotics agent, who only spoke on condition of anonymity because her life could be in jeopardy if her identity were revealed. “Now it has become more difficult for them [drug traffickers] to infiltrate ‘agents,’ but they continue to look for new strategies.” The source said that drug seizures in 2009 reflect increased efforts by counter-narcotic agencies and the naval air bases monitoring the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. “The new strategies and operational exercises and coordination with international organizations make drug traffickers find new ways and routes to traffic narcotics,” she said. By Dialogo July 29, 2010
By Leigh Hartman/ ShareAmerica, edited by Diálogo Staff January 02, 2020 The Chinese government insists its detention and re-education of Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities are part of legitimate counterterrorism operations.Chinese authorities have interned more than 1 million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other Muslims in camps where prisoners are forced to renounce their religious and ethnic identities and swear allegiance to the Communist Party. Prisoners are often tortured and forced to work in labor camps. The main targets of oppression are Uighur intellectuals whose writings and teaching promotes Uighur culture.The Chinese government has also bulldozed Uighur cemeteries to prevent families from observing Uighur tradition and Islamic burial rites, banned parents from giving their children Islamic names, and forced Muslims to eat pork or drink alcohol — both forbidden in Islam — thereby preventing Muslim families from practicing their faith.“China’s repressive campaign in Xinjiang is not about terrorism,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a meeting of Central Asian states during the United Nations General Assembly in September. It’s “about China’s attempt to erase its own citizens’ Muslim faith and culture.”That same week, the Chinese ambassador claimed that the camps constitute useful experiments in preventive counterterrorism.U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan flatly rejected China’s claims, saying the idea that the Chinese government is carrying out counterterrorism is a “false narrative.” Uighur Muslims “can be detained for simply possessing books on religion and Uighur culture, reciting the Quran at a funeral, or even wearing clothing with the Muslim crescent,” he said.“What China is doing is not counterterrorism,” Sam Brownback, ambassador at large for international religious freedom at the U.S. State Department, and U.S. State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales said in an essay in May. “It is ugly repression, on a mass scale.”
by: Roy UrricoDes Moines, Iowa-based The Members Group announced its fraud detection and prevention strategies saved financial institution clients, which includes $6.9 billion San Diego County Credit Union, $28 million in potential losses in 2014.TMG said this represents a nearly 40% year over year increase from the $20 million TMG saved its clients in 2013. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are asking for the public’s help in finding a suspect wanted for stealing a life-sized cardboard cutout of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from a Holbrook home last week.Have you seen this thief?The thief stole the Trump cutout from the yard of a home on Broadway at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 21, Fifth Precinct Crime Section officers said.Investigators released images of the thief that were captured on surveillance video in the hopes that a member of the public will recognize the suspect and turn him in.Suffolk County Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case.Police ask anyone with information about this crime is asked to call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
“This is one of our main sources of income,” said Jonathan Soto of Norwich Meadows Farm. “In general for the community, it’s really important to support your local farms because these are the people who are living with you and providing you with high quality produce from your area.” VESTAL (WBNG) — This week was Give Back NY Farmers Market Week, an opportunity to thank those who have supported local farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Vestal Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer and fall. “There are low contact options here,” said market manager Lisa Bloodnick. “You get access to the fresh locally grown produce, keep local dollars circulating in the community.” At the Vestal Farmers Market, vendors were out in full force where organizers teamed up with Binghamton Food Rescue to encourage everyone to mark the occasion by buying farm fresh produce and donating it to local food pantries. Organizers said it’s a continuation of how farmers markets have been providing for their communities, and how their communities have been supporting them throughout the pandemic. For many farmers the pandemic has only made the importance of farmers markets and those who shop at them more clear.
Governments around the world on Thursday pledged $8.8 billion for global vaccines alliance Gavi to help immunization programs disrupted by coronavirus, prompting calls for global cooperation to ensure a potential COVID-19 vaccine is available to all.The online meeting beat a target to raise $7.4 million to provide vaccines at a much reduced cost to 300 million children worldwide over the next five years.More than 50 countries took part as well as individuals such as billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation pledged $1.6 billion. Doesn’t discriminate The United States pledged $1.16 billion to Gavi’s fundraising drive, and Trump sent a recorded message to the conference.”As the coronavirus has shown, there are no borders. It doesn’t discriminate,” he said.”It’s mean, it’s nasty. But we can all take care of it together… we will work hard. We will work strong.”The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 6.5 million and killed over 385,000 people since emerging in China last December, according to an AFP tally of official sources.If a vaccine is developed, Microsoft founder Gates said Gavi hoped to be able to buy it for the poorest countries.He said pharmaceutical companies had been working together to try to secure the required production capacity. “It’s been amazing, the pharmaceutical companies stepping up to say ‘yes, even if our vaccine is not the best, we will make our factories available’,” he told BBC radio. Immunizations disrupted Stay-at-home orders have been imposed across the world to stem the spread of coronavirus, causing huge economic disruption and the suspension of routine immunization programs for preventable diseases such as measles and polio.The WHO, UN children’s agency UNICEF and Gavi warned last month that vaccine services were disrupted in nearly 70 countries, affecting some 80 million children under the age of one.Polio eradication drives were suspended in dozens of countries, while measles vaccination campaigns were also put on hold in 27 countries, UNICEF said. Recent modeling from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that for every coronavirus death prevented by halting vaccination campaigns in Africa, up to 140 people could die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Since it was formed in 2000, Gavi says it has helped to immunize more than 760 million children.But Berkley warned: “These historic advances in global health are now at risk of unraveling as COVID-19 causes unprecedented disruption to vaccine programs worldwide.”Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde told the meeting that her nation had seen “how the life of a helpless child is transformed to a better future through immunizations”.She added: “As much as a coordinated and cooperative global response is needed to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, we should not lose sight of the fact that the vaccine’s success is strongly linked to maintaining routine immunization.”Which means the need to maintain the supply chain and the immunization infrastructure as well.” “A vaccine must be seen as a global public good — a people’s vaccine, which a growing number of world leaders are calling for,” he said in a video message.There needs to be “global solidarity to ensure that every person, everywhere, has access”.The pandemic has exposed new ruptures in international cooperation, notably with US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the World Health Organization (WHO).But Gavi chief executive Seth Berkley insisted there must be a “global perspective”.”At the end of the day, if you have large outbreaks of COIVD anywhere in the world, it threatens the world,” he said. Gavi also launched a new initiative to purchase potential COVID-19 vaccines, scale-up production and support delivery to developing nations, which raised $567 million in seed money.”Together, we rise to fulfill the greatest shared endeavor of our lifetimes — the triumph of humanity over disease,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the summit.”Today we make the choice to unite, to forge a path of global cooperation.”Scientists around the world are racing to develop and test a coronavirus vaccine and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it must be available to everyone. Topics :
Barcelona set Samuel Umtiti asking price with Man Utd, Arsenal, PSG and Juventus interested Comment Umtiti is wanted by teams across Europe (Picture: Getty Images)The France international has made 97 appearances for Barca since arriving from Lyon in 2016, but fell down the pecking order last season.The commanding defender made just 14 appearances last campaign due to inconsistent form, a knee injury and Clement Lenglet taking his place in the centre of defence.However, despite this, Spanish publication Marca report that Umtiti does not want to leave the Nou Camp and will reject offers to move away, even if the club are keen to end his stay at the Nou Camp.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityManchester United began initial talks with Umtiti last month as they sounded out a deal for the Frenchman, but they have continued to chase the Maguire deal.Paris Saint-Germain has become an option for the defender as Barcelona try to bring Neymar back from PSG to Catalonia and Umtiti could be used as part of the deal.Juventus prefer a move for Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, but if that deal falls through then they will switch their attention to Umtiti.MORE: Tottenham set to beat Liverpool and Arsenal in race to sign Dani Ceballos from Real MadridMORE: Frank Lampard tells Chelsea to not let Mason Mount leave on loan Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterFriday 5 Jul 2019 11:44 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link Advertisement Samuel Umtiti is up for sale this summer (Picture: Getty Images)Barcelona have reportedly set an asking price of €60m (£53.8m) for Samuel Umtiti as some of Europe’s biggest clubs monitor the situation.Manchester United and Arsenal are both interested in the centre-back’s services, while the likes of Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are also keen on him, but it will take over £50m to bring him in, according to the Mirror.With Arsenal’s transfer budget heavily restricted this summer, thought to be around £45m, this asking price appears to have ruled the Gunners out of the race, however, they are keeping an eye on the situation and will try to pounce if they offload some players.AdvertisementAdvertisementUnited are pursuing Harry Maguire as their primary centre-back target, but after a £70m bid was rejected, they may well turn to Umtiti as a cheaper option.ADVERTISEMENT