UN nuke watchdog: Iran pressing on with uranium enrichment

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Iran has continued to increase its stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons in contravention of a 2015 accord with world powers that was meant to contain Tehran’s nuclear program, the U.N. atomic watchdog said Tuesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also told member states in its confidential quarterly report that its verification monitoring activities have been “seriously undermined” since February by Iran’s refusal to let inspectors access IAEA monitoring equipment.

The Vienna-based agency told members that its confidence in properly assessing Iran’s activities — what it called the “continuity of knowledge” — was declining over time that would continue “unless the situation is immediately rectified by Iran.”

In this Monday, June 7, 2021 file photo, the flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) waves at the entrance of the Vienna International Center in Vienna.
(AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, file)

UN NUCLEAR WATCHDOG: IRAN PRODUCING MORE URANIUM METAL

The IAEA said certain monitoring surveillance equipment cannot be left for more than three months without being serviced. It was provided with access this month to four surveillance cameras installed at one site, but one of the cameras had been destroyed a second had been severely damaged, the agency said.

Its director-general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said he was willing to travel to Iran to meet the recently elected government for talks on the issue.

The agency said it estimates Iran’s stock of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity at 10 kilograms, an increase of 7.6 kilograms since May, while the country’s stockpile of uranium enriched to up to 20% fissile purity is now estimated at 84.3 kilograms, up from 62.8 kilograms three months earlier.

Iran’s total stock of uranium is estimated at 2,441.3 kilograms as of Aug. 30, down from 3241 kilograms on May 22, the agency said.

JOHN RATCLIFFE: ADVERSARIES ARE GOING TO USE BIDEN’S FAILURE AS PROPAGANDA

Tehran is only permitted to stockpile 202.8 kilograms of uranium under the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, which promises Iran economic incentives in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, is meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

The U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, but Britain, France, Germany, China Russia have tried to preserve the accord.

Tehran’s strategy of deliberately violating the deal is seen as an attempt to pressure Europe to give Iran incentives to offset the crippling American sanctions re-imposed after the U.S. pullout.

President Joe Biden has said he is open to rejoining the pact. The last round of talks in Vienna ended in June without a clear result.

In Tehran, Iranian news agencies quoted Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, as saying in Vienna that all Iran’s nuclear activities had been “carried out in the framework of Iran’s nuclear rights under nonproliferation treaty.”

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He claimed the agency was under pressure by some members urged it to remain “independent, impartial professional.”

In a separate confidential report seen by The Associated Press, the agency expressed its deep concern at the presence of nuclear material at undeclared locations in Iran. “Even after some two years, the safeguards issues (…) in relation to the four locations in Iran not declared to the agency remain unresolved,” the report stated.

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Ex-Trump aide Jason Miller detained in Brazil following CPAC

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Jason Miller, a former adviser of President Donald Trump, was detained by authorities in Brazil as part of an investigation of “anti-democratic acts” in the South American country, according to local reports. 

Miller, founder of the conservative social media site Gettr, was reportedly held back by Federal Police on Tuesday morning as he was about to board a private plane for a flight back to the US at Brasília Airport.

The former Trump adviser was in Brazil to participate in the country’s Conservative Political Action Conference that ran from Sept. 3 to 4. While in the country, Miller reportedly met with President Jair Bolsonaro, Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (a son of the president) former Chancellor Ernesto Araujo.

Jason Miller, left, reportedly met with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, right, while in Brazil for a CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) that ran from Sept. 3 to 4, along with Eduardo Bolsonaro (a son of the president), former chancellor Ernesto Araujo.
(Andrew Harnik/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images — Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

TRUMP ADVISER JASON MILLER LAUNCHES ‘CANCEL-FREE’ SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM

Miller put out a statement saying: “This Afternoon my traveling party was questioned for three hours at the airport in Brasilia, after having attended this weekend’s CPAC Brazil Conference. We were not accused of any wrongdoing, told only that they ‘wanted to talk.’ We informed them that we had nothing to say were eventually released to fly back to the United States. Our goal of sharing free speech around the world continues!” 

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According to Brazilian news site Metropoles, the detention was ordered by Minister Alexandre de Moraes, who is leading an investigation at the country’s Supreme Federal Court. 

READ MORE AT NYPOST.COM

The authorities reportedly wanted Miller to testify in their investigation 4874, which is probing anti-democratic acts in Brazil, the outlet reported.

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Watch a one-legged robot hop about as researchers try to knock it over

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A one-legged robot that can stand, hop keep its balance on sloping or unsteady surfaces could offer a cheaper route to bipedal bots self-balancing exoskeletons. Researchers at the Toyota Technological Institute (TTI) in Nagoya, Japan, built their robot, dubbed TTI Hopper, using simple motors gears for less than $1000, then created an algorithm that compensates for the limited capabilities of these components.

“In robotics, we sometimes use hydraulics, because they can be actuated fast,” says Barkan Uğurlu, who is now at Özyeğin University in Istanbul, Turkey. “Or electric actuators that have a special spring arrangement or a strain gauge to measure forces inside. Instead, we used DC motors with gears. We only measure the joint angle, we only used one very low-cost force sensor at the foot.”

The algorithm makes the joints give way when shocks need to be absorbed, stiffens them up when the robot has to right itself or push off while running, allowing it to stay upright even under challenging circumstances, such as an inclined surface that suddenly goes to horizontal.

The resulting “terrain adaptation ability” isn’t new, says Uğurlu, but he his colleagues have managed to prove mathematically that their algorithm guaranteed the robot’s stability, given the slope movement of the surface during their experiments. They did this by calculating the vertical horizontal forces from the motors from gravity that the algorithm would generate on the leg.  For example, they found the robot should remain stable up to a 9 degree slope.

“If you make the leg too weak, for instance, it starts vibrating, even if there is no disturbance,” says Uğurlu. ” We know from the beginning what the safe settings are.”

Uğurlu is now working on using the algorithm in a bipedal exoskeleton for people who have lost the use of their legs. “Commercially available exoskeletons don’t have self-balancing capabilities,” he says. “They move your legs, but for balance the patient has to engage their upper body, with crutches. My idea is to use the terrain adaptation ability to get rid of the crutches.”

Journal reference: Autonomous Robots, DOI: 10.1007/s10514-021-10010-z

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Gene responsible for cat fur patterns could lead to designer pets

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Domestic cats have a variety of fur patterns

Nils Jacobi/Getty Images

How do tabby cats get their stripes? We know that domestic cats have different colours of fur because hair follicles produce different types of the pigment melanin, but until now the genetic basis for these patterns has been unclear. The discovery could potentially allow for designer pets.

“It’s this really amazing natural phenomenon we don’t know, or we didn’t know, much about how it came about or how evolution had changed it over time,” says Gregory Barsh at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama. “Why does the tiger have stripes the cheetah have spots? How does evolution act on those on a common mechanism to give rise to different patterns?”

To learn more, Barsh his colleagues examined fetal cat skin from embryos at different stages of development obtained from feral cat spay-neuter clinics.

They noticed that embryonic skin was divided into alternating thick thin regions, which they later discovered corresponded to hair follicles that produce different types of melanin.

Through analysing the gene expression of individual fetal cat skin cells at different levels of development, the team determined that embryonic differences in the expression of the gene Dkk4 give rise to variations in the shape of cat fur colour patterns. These findings may also apply to other mammals with patterned fur, says Barsh.

“Most of the coat colour discoveries in mammals are performed in mice, mice don’t have spots stripes. So, for several years now, we’ve been saying that domestic cats could be a good model,” says Eduardo Eizirik at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. “Just finding the gene by itself is a major contribution because we can now look at the gene in other species.”

“Domesticated cats have undergone selective breeding throughout many generations, so it remains to be seen whether the molecular processes uncovered here also explain natural variation in wild felid species,” says Ricardo Mallarino at Princeton University in New Jersey.

While it would theoretically be possible to use this gene to design cats with specific patterns, Barsh says he would discourage any efforts to do so, given the number of unwanted feral cats already in existence. “I’m not very excited about promoting a mechanism to allow people to make designer cats if it comes at the expense of animal health,” he says.

Journal reference: Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25348-2

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Gene responsible for cat fur patterns could lead to designer pets

[ad_1]

Domestic cats have a variety of fur patterns

Nils Jacobi/Getty Images

How do tabby cats get their stripes? We know that domestic cats have different colours of fur because their hair follicles produce different types of the pigment melanin, but until now the genetic basis for these patterns has been unclear. The discovery could potentially allow for designer pets, but researchers have warned against this.

“It’s this really amazing natural phenomenon we don’t know – or we didn’t know – much about how it came about or how evolution had changed it over time,” says Gregory Barsh at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama. “Why does the tiger have stripes the cheetah have spots? How does evolution act on those on a common mechanism to give rise to different patterns?”

To learn more, Barsh his colleagues examined fetal cat skin from embryos at different stages of development obtained from feral cat spay-and-neuter clinics.

They noticed that the embryonic skin was divided into alternating thick thin regions, which they later discovered corresponded to hair follicles that produce different types of melanin.

Through analysing the gene expression of individual fetal cat skin cells at different levels of development, the team determined that embryonic differences in the expression of the gene DKK4 give rise to variations in the shape colour of cat fur patterns. These findings may also apply to other mammals with patterned fur, says Barsh.

“Most of the coat colour discoveries in mammals are performed in mice, mice don’t have spots stripes. So, for several years now, we’ve been saying that domestic cats could be a good model,” says Eduardo Eizirik at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. “Just finding the gene by itself is a major contribution because we can now look at the gene in other species.”

“Domesticated cats have undergone selective breeding throughout many generations, so it remains to be seen whether the molecular processes uncovered here also explain natural variation in wild felid species,” says Ricardo Mallarino at Princeton University in New Jersey.

While it would theoretically be possible to use this gene to design cats with specific patterns, Barsh says he would discourage any efforts to do so, given the number of unwanted feral cats already in existence. “I’m not very excited about promoting a mechanism to allow people to make designer cats if it comes at the expense of animal health,” he says.

Journal reference: Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25348-2

Sign up to Wild Wild Life, a free monthly newsletter celebrating the diversity science of animals, plants Earth’s other weird wonderful inhabitants

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