News Round Up [June 22, 2017] - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, June 22, 2017

News Round Up [June 22, 2017]

Soldiers at an Indian Military Parade

Update: Wrangell prepares for municipal workers’ strike

Posted by KSTK Wrangell

Wrangell’s municipal government is preparing for a strike. That’s after borough officials and union members rejected each other’s wage proposals.

Twenty-four municipal employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have been without a contract for three years.

Management and labor made final wage offers earlier this month.

The union proposed an across-the-board, $2.50-an-hour raise. Wrangell responded with a much-lower amount, though it wasn’t made public.

Union shop steward Mark Armstrong said members are waiting for a new offer from the borough. He said strike plans will only be discussed if there’s no acceptable response. He also said the borough’s last offer was a 75-cents-an-hour raise, which would not cover workers’ increased health insurance costs.

The Borough Assembly scheduled a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to consider the situation.

Rushmore said Wrangell has about 35 managers and non-union staffers. And it’s looking for more in case of a strike. [Source]
It appears that the Borough Assembly met and rejected the $2.50 raise, so the strike will most likely occur unless further negotiations happen.

3 Alaskans medal at Judo Junior Olympics

Alaska Dispatch News by Alaska Dispatch News

Three Alaska judo competitors took home four medals over the weekend at the Junior Olympic National and International Championships in Spokane, Washington.

Landon Shooshanian won gold in the male international 53 kilogram intermediate class, Dorian Mellon took silvers in the male international 90 cadet and national 81 cadet classes and Rachel LaForest garnered gold in the female nationals 63 cadet class.

Shooshanian and Mellon, from Mountain View Judo, and LaForest, from Mat-Su Judo, were among five Alaska competitors at the event. [Source]

Ancient oak's youthful genome surprises biologists

The towering 234-year-old 'Napoleon' oak on the campus of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland has weathered storms both meteorological and political. The tree was young when Napoleon’s troops passed through town in 1800, and has grown into a majestic city landmark. But through it all, its genome has remained largely — and surprisingly — unchanged.

Researchers at the university discovered this unexpected stability after sequencing the genome in different branches of the tree. Their work — posted on 13 June as a bioRxiv preprint, which has not been peer reviewed — meshes with a growing body of evidence that plants are able to shield their stem cells from mutations1. The practice may be valuable for sustaining their health over a lifespan that can reach hundreds of years.

Each time a cell divides, mutations can arise because of errors made while copying the genome. Animals shield their reproductive cells from these mutations by isolating them early in development. These cells, called the germline, then follow a different developmental path, and typically have a low rate of cell division.

But plants do not have a dedicated germline: the cluster of stem cells that gives rise to the reproductive parts of flowers also generates plant stems and leaves. Because of this, scientists thought that the stem cells would accumulate many mutations, and that newer branches at the top of a long-lived tree would be remarkably different from the lower branches. [Read the Rest]

Medal of Honor recipient was stoned when he single-handedly fought off two rounds of Vietcong forces

Emily Gray Brosious

Peter Charles Lemon is a former United States Army soldier and recipient of the U.S. military’s highest award, the Medal of Honor.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on April 1, 1970, while serving in the Tây Ninh Province during the Vietnam War, according to War History Online.

Lemon is the only Canadian-born U.S. citizen to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the Vietnam War, and he’s the eighth-youngest living recipient of the award. He also is one of the few people that have copped to being stoned during battlefield engagement.

Per MedicinTheGreenTime:

“We were all partying the night before. We weren’t expecting any action because we were in a support unit,” Lemon said. “It was the only time I ever went into combat stoned. You get really alert when you are stoned because you have to be.” [Source]

Are You a Magnet for Mosquitoes?

When it comes to attraction, the allure can begin even before she sets eyes on you. There seems to be something about the way you—her dinner—smells from afar that makes you a desired target. While you are chatting with friends or overseeing the barbecue, that mosquito will go on the hunt and make you her next blood meal. But what makes you so attractive to tiny ankle biters?

This month a group of British researchers is launching a new investigation into the role of human genetics in this process. They are planning to collect smelly socks from 200 sets of identical and nonidentical twins, place the footwear in a wind tunnel with the bugs and see what happens next. The owners of the socks, the scientists hope, may naturally produce attractive or repellant chemicals that could become the basis for future mosquito control efforts. The researchers expect that studying the popularity of the garments the skeeters hone in on—and analyzing both the odor compounds in them and the genetics of their owners—could help. The study, which will include 100 twins each from the U.K. and from the Gambia, will start recruiting volunteers in the coming weeks.

Already scientists know there are differences among us that contribute to why some of us get bitten more. Those of us who exhale more carbon dioxide seem to be a natural beacon for mosquitoes, in particular. Researchers have also found a correlation with body size, with taller or larger people tending to attract more bites—perhaps because of their carbon dioxide output or body surface area. There is also some evidence women who are pregnant or at certain phases of the menstrual cycle are more attractive to mosquitoes. Other work has found that people infected with malaria are more attractive to malaria-carrying mosquitoes during their transmissible stage of infection.

Exactly what genes contribute to producing compounds that could possibly interest mosquitoes remains a vast unknown. Scientists that study human odors and genetics have previously suggested scent cues associated with genetics are likely controlled via the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. [Story]

How to Make 2,000 year old Bread:

Read More: News Round Up [June 21, 2017]

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