Posts tagged target
A new startup company that sprang from the University of Colorado Boulder this year is a Grand Challenges Exploration winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Psychology and neurosciences department Associate Professor Don Cooper, co-founder and chief science officer of Mobile Assay Inc. of Boulder who developed the technology in his laboratory at CU’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project titled “A Lab on Mobile Device Platform for Seed Testing.”
Grand Challenges Explorations, or GCE, funds individuals worldwide who are taking innovative approaches to some of the world’s toughest and most persistent global health and development challenges. GCE invests in the early stages of bold ideas that have real potential to solve problems people in the developing world face every day. Cooper and Mobile Assay Inc. are one of more than 80 Grand Challenges Exploration Round 9 grants for $100,000 each announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Cooper’s Mobile Assay Inc. team has developed new technology — which includes using mobile devices, test strips (similar to pregnancy test strips), geographical tagging and “cloud computing” — to rapidly detect, quantify and track common seed-borne pathogens in real time to address the economic impact of seed-borne diseases in developing countries. “This will ultimately allow farmers in developing countries to identify and track pathogens infecting seeds and share their data, which could improve crop yields and prevent crop losses,” he said.
“Investments in innovative global health research are already paying off,” said Chris Wilson, director of the Global Health Discovery and Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We continue to be impressed by the novelty and innovative spirit of Grand Challenges Explorations projects and are enthusiastic about this exciting research. These investments hold real potential to yield new solutions to improve the health of millions of people in the developing world, and ensure that everyone has the chance to live a healthy productive life.”
To receive funding, Grand Challenge Exploration Round 9 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a creative idea in one of five critical global health and development topic areas that included agricultural development, immunization and communications. Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Exploration round 10, will be accepted through Nov. 7, 2012.
Test strips are typically plastic with chemically impregnated pads designed to react with specific antibodies to produce a specific visual signal. Once the reaction takes place, the strip is developed in less than 10 minutes and the visual signal is quantified using the camera on a smartphone or mobile tablet device and proprietary software. There are now Lab on Mobile Device-compatible tests strips that are used to identify more than 1,000 different pathogens and pollutants.
A crucial part of the LMD project developed by Cooper and his team is Mobile Image Ratiometry, or MIR, which is a unique software algorithm that analyzes images and can precisely quantify the level of infection of crop pathogens, which are then mapped and shared via cloud computing that uses both software and hardware over the Internet. The LMD technology will allow for the creation of electronic “push-pin” maps where data will be made available on an openly shared website, enabling anyone to upload results and track outbreaks and infestations of seed-borne pathogens, ultimately helping people better regulate the informal exchanges of seeds, he said.
Cooper said the team will initially target the fungus Botrytis — which can devastate crops like yams, potatoes, wheat, soybeans, onions and sorghum around the world — as well as aflotoxins, which can contaminate seeds during storage and which are among the most carcinogenic substances known. Cooper said the MIR imaging technology can be used to increase the sensitivity of test strips — including those for Botrytis and for aflotoxins produced by Aspergillis fungi — by a factor of 100.
Experts estimate seed-borne diseases cause a loss of 50 million tons of food annually and that losses in developing countries are 60 to 80 percent higher than in industrialized countries. Estimates show 90 to 95 percent of seed used by small-scale and subsistence farmers is acquired through informal sources at the farm and community level.
It is estimated that by 2015 there will be more than 2 billion people in the world using smartphones, including more than 40 percent of the people in Africa. The Mobile Assay Inc. team also is developing a web application capable of performing test image analysis for those without smartphones but who have cell phones with cameras. Such an application would be extremely useful in Africa, said Cooper, where there are now an estimated 700 million cell phone subscribers — nearly 70 percent of the continent’s population. The vast majority of cell phones today are equipped with cameras.
CU owns exclusive license to the technology developed by Cooper and his team and has an equity share in Mobile Assay Inc. Cooper and Lee Burnett, the CEO of Mobile Assay Inc., worked closely with CU’s Technology Transfer Office, CU’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic and the Innovation Center of the Rockies to develop a corporate structure and commercialization plans for the CU spinoff company.
Cooper said Mobile Assay Inc. will seek matching funds for the first phase of the project from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. In addition to the Gates Foundation grant for seed testing, Mobile Assay Inc. is in the process of applying the company’s new technology to detect water pollutants, drugs, contaminants in dairy products and other biological and chemical pathogens across the globe.
The LMD platform, which can target multiple pathogens like fungi, bacteria and parasites, also could conceivably be used to help monitor chronic diseases in humans, Cooper said. While ill people often go to doctors for diagnoses and additional tests that can take days or weeks, a number of health tests ranging from high cholesterol to abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone levels could be conducted at home using specific test strips, with the data made available immediately to their health care providers over the Internet.
Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Launched in 2008, over 700 people in 45 countries have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants. The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization. The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required. Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.
In a new paper released today in Nature, BioFrontiers Institute scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, Tom Cech and Leslie Leinwand, detailed a new target for anti-cancer drug development that is sitting at the ends of our DNA.
Researchers in the two scientists’ laboratories collaborated to find a patch of amino acids that, if blocked by a drug docked onto the chromosome end at this location, may prevent cancerous cells from reproducing. The amino acids at this site are called the “TEL patch” and once modified, the end of the chromosome is unable to recruit the telomerase enzyme, which is necessary for growth of many cancerous cells.
“This is an exciting scientific discovery that gives us a new way of looking at the problem of cancer,” Cech said. “What is amazing is that changing a single amino acid in the TEL patch stops the growth of telomeres. We are a long way from a drug solution for cancer, but this discovery gives us a different, and hopefully more effective, target.”
Cech is the director of the BioFrontiers Institute, a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Co-authors on the study include postdoctoral fellows Jayakrishnan Nandakumar and Ina Weidenfeld; University of Colorado undergraduate student Caitlin Bell; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Senior Scientist Arthur Zaug.
Telomeres have been studied since the 1970s for their role in cancer. They are constructed of repetitive nucleotide sequences that sit at the ends of our chromosomes like the ribbon tails on a bow. This extra material protects the ends of the chromosomes from deteriorating, or fusing with neighboring chromosome ends. Telomeres are consumed during cell division and, over time, will become shorter and provide less cover for the chromosomes they are protecting. An enzyme called telomerase replenishes telomeres throughout their lifecycles.
Telomerase is the enzyme that keeps cells young. From stem cells to germ cells, telomerase helps cells continue to live and multiply. Too little telomerase produces diseases of bone marrow, lungs and skin. Too much telomerase results in cells that over proliferate and may become “immortal.” As these immortal cells continue to divide and replenish, they build cancerous tumors. Scientists estimate that telomerase activation is a contributor in up to 90 percent of human cancers.
To date, development of cancer therapies has focused on limiting the enzymatic action of telomerase to slow the growth of cancerous cells. With their latest discovery, Cech and Leinwand envision a cancer drug that would lock into the TEL patch at chromosome ends to keep telomerase from binding there. This approach of inhibiting the docking of telomerase may be the elegant solution to the complex problem of cancerous cells. Cech, a biochemist, and Leinwand, a biologist, joined forces to work on their latest solution.
“This work was really made possible by the fact that our labs are so close,” Leinwand said. “My lab was able to provide the cell biology and understanding of genetics, and Tom’s lab allowed us to explore the biochemistry. We have a unique situation at BioFrontiers where labs and people comingle to make discoveries just like this.”
Leinwand is the chief scientific officer of the BioFrontiers Institute and a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology.
Researchers at the University of Colorado have a significant history in developing marketable biotechnologies. Cech founded Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc. Leinwand co-founded Myogen with CU professor Michael Bristow, Hiberna and recently launched MyoKardia (http://www.myokardia.com/about.php).
The BioFrontiers Institute is an interdisciplinary institute housed at the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building at CU-Boulder. The institute is dedicated to training the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists through its IQ Biology Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Ph.D. program. For more information about BioFrontiers visithttp://biofrontiers.colorado.edu
Police officers and students exhibit an apparent “hierarchy of bias” in making a split-second decision whether to shoot suspects who appear to be wielding a gun or, alternatively, a benign object like a cell phone, research conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder and San Diego State University has found.
Both the police and student subjects were most likely to shoot at blacks, then Hispanics, then whites and finally, in a case of what might be called a positive bias, Asians, researchers found.
In the first study of its kind, Joshua Correll, Bernadette Park and Charles M. Judd of CU-Boulder’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Melody Sadler of San Diego State University examined how police and a group of undergraduate subjects decide whether to shoot or not to shoot “suspects” in a multi-ethnic environment.
“Most studies on the subject of stereotyping and prejudice look at two (ethnic) groups, usually in isolation. It’s always one group against another group,” said Correll, a CU graduate who joined the faculty in August after a stint at the University of Chicago.
“But as the country becomes more ethnically diverse, it’s more and more important to start thinking about how we process racial and ethnic cues in a multicultural environment,” he said.
As with previous studies into the question, data were gathered from subjects playing a “first person shooter” video game, in which figures of varying ethnicity — Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic and African-American — pop up, either “armed” with a weapon or another benign object, such as a cell phone.
Participants — 69 CU-Boulder undergraduates and 254 police officers — had to make quick decisions as to which figures posed a “threat” and shoot them. The police officers were recruited from two-day training seminars in Florida, New Mexico and Washington and represented numerous jurisdictions from 11 states.
The research demonstrates how persistent cultural stereotypes are, Correll said. Even students who displayed little bias when interviewed demonstrated otherwise when faced with a split-second decision.
“I may not believe it personally, but I am exposed to stereotypes constantly through media or social networks … (such as) the idea that young black men are dangerous,” he said. “Those associations can have an influence on my behavior even if I don’t believe them.”
The study found that police were considerably more accurate than students at correctly identifying a genuinely threatening suspect, as opposed to those brandishing a cell phone or wallet, perhaps a reflection of training. But officers were still influenced by the target’s race — an influence that may derive from the officers’ “contacts, attitudes and stereotypes,” Correll said.
For example, police who endorsed more violent stereotypes about Hispanics and those who overestimated the prevalence of violent crime in their districts demonstrated more bias to shoot Hispanic targets. That raises the question of whether police are responding to real-world threats — and whether that means some ethnic groups really are more likely to be armed and dangerous than others.
“That is a very sensitive question, whether or not (police officers’) reactions are based on some kind of truth. Is this police officers responding to reality on the ground? The short answer is, we don’t know,” Correll said. “But this research almost demands that we ask that question.”
The researchers’ recent findings were published in the Journal of Social Issues. The work was funded by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation.
In 2007, Correll (then at the University of Chicago), Sadler (then at CU-Boulder), Park and Judd collaborated with the Denver Police Department on a widely cited study that found police officers were less influenced than the general public by racial bias and less likely than the general population to make a decision to shoot at African-American suspects wielding a benign object.
Consumers differ in desire for explanation,
says new CU-Brown University study
The depth of explanation about novel products influences consumer preferences and willingness to pay, according to a study led by the University of Colorado Boulder and Brown University.
When it comes to descriptions about the functions of new and unusual goods — such as a self-watering plant system, special gloves for touchscreens or an eraser for wall scratches — some people prefer minimal details. Dubbed “explanation foes” in the study, they gain a strong sense of understanding and desire for products through shallow explanations.
In contrast, other people — dubbed “explanation fiends” in the study — derive desire for products from deep and detailed explanations.
“There are these two different types of consumers,” said lead author Phil Fernbach, assistant professor of marketing at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. “On these two sides, consumers differ in the amount of detail that makes them feel like they understand and — because of that feeling of understanding — the amount of detail that will make them prefer a product.”
A paper on the subject was published online today in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Researchers say the study results can help consumers make better decisions.
“We’re not making a value judgment on whether it’s better to be an ‘explanation foe’ or ‘fiend,’ ” said Fernbach. “You don’t have to want to know how stuff works, but make sure that your intuition about whether you understand a product is based on objective information and not just a feeling.”
In one part of the study, participants were given varying explanations of a new tinted food wrapper product. “Explanation foes” highly rated their understanding and preference for the item when they read a simple description of how its “white coloring protects food from light that causes it to spoil, thereby keeping food fresh for longer.”
“Explanation fiends” highly rated their understanding and preference for the food wrapper when they read a more detailed description of how “atoms in the tinting agent oscillate when hit by light waves causing them to absorb the energy and reflect it back rather than reaching food, where it would break the bonds holding amino acids together, thereby keeping food fresh for longer.”
The study also found that “explanation foes,” who are more common, tend to have an inflated sense of understanding about novel products. Their heightened perception disappears and their willingness to pay decreases when they attempt to explain how a product works.
Conversely, “explanation fiends” tend to have a more conservative sense of understanding about novel products. For them, attempting to explain how a product works does not have a negative effect on their sense of understanding and their opinion of the product stays the same or increases, according to the study.
Attitudes toward explanation were predicted by a cognitive reflection test that measures how much people naturally engage in deliberative thinking. Each test question elicits an intuitive but incorrect answer and participants who impulsively respond tend to err. These participants are the “explanation foes” who prefer less explanation.
In contrast, those who inhibit their initial responses to the cognitive reflection test and think more deeply tend to correctly answer. These participants are the “explanation fiends” who prefer more in-depth descriptions.
While the study can help consumers with better decision-making, it also yields advice for marketers.
“Marketers should target these different consumer groups with different types of explanations,” said Steven Sloman, a study co-author and professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University.
Robert St. Louis and Julia Shube also were co-authors of the study. They were undergraduate students at Brown during the research. Unilever, a consumer goods company, supported the study.
Increase in metal concentrations
in Rocky Mountain watershed
tied to warming temperatures
Warmer air temperatures since the 1980s may explain significant increases in zinc and other metal concentrations of ecological concern in a Rocky Mountain watershed, reports a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Colorado Boulder.
Rising concentrations of zinc and other metals in the upper Snake River just west of the Continental Divide near Keystone, Colo., may be the result of falling water tables, melting permafrost and accelerating mineral weathering rates, all driven by warmer air temperatures in the watershed. Researchers observed a fourfold increase in dissolved zinc over the last 30 years during the month of September.
Increases in metals were seen in other months as well, with lesser increases seen during the high-flow snowmelt period. During the study period, local mean annual and mean summer air temperatures increased at a rate of 0.5 to 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.
Generally, high concentrations of dissolved metals in the Snake River watershed are primarily the result of acid rock drainage, or ARD, formed by natural weathering of pyrite and other metal-rich sulfide minerals in the bedrock. Weathering of pyrite forms sulfuric acid through a series of chemical reactions, and pulls metals like zinc from minerals in the rock and carries these metals into streams.
Increased sulfate and calcium concentrations observed over the study period lend weight to the hypothesis that the increased zinc concentrations are due to acceleration of pyrite weathering. The potential for comparable increases in metals in similar Western watersheds is a concern because of impacts on water resources, fisheries and stream ecosystems. Trout populations in the lower Snake River, for example, appear to be limited by the metal concentrations in the water, said USGS research biologist Andrew Todd, lead researcher on the project.
“Acid rock drainage is a significant water quality problem facing much of the Western United States,” Todd said. “It is now clear that we need to better understand the relationship between climate and ARD as we consider the management of these watersheds moving forward.”
Warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt runoff have been observed throughout mountainous areas of the western United States where ARD is common, but it is not known if these changes have triggered rising acidity and metal concentrations in other “mineralized” watersheds because of lack of comparable monitoring data, according to the research team.
CU-Boulder Professor Diane McKnight, a collaborator on the project, has generated much of the upper Snake River data through research projects conducted with her students since the mid-1990s. McKnight said students in her environmental engineering and environmental studies class like Caitlin Crouch — a study co-author who received her master’s degree under McKnight — are highly motivated to understand ARD problems.
“Student can see that their research will have direct applications to addressing a critical issue for Colorado,” said McKnight, professor in the civil, environmental and architectural engineering department and a fellow in CU’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.
In cases where ARD is linked directly with past and present mining activities it is called acid mine drainage, or AMD. Another Snake River tributary, Peru Creek, is largely devoid of life due to AMD generated from the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine and smaller mines upstream and has become a target for potential remediation efforts.
The Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety, in conjunction with other local, state and federal partners, is conducting underground exploration work at the mine to investigate the sources of heavy metals-laden water draining from the mine entrance. The new study by Todd and colleagues has important implications in such mine cleanup efforts because it suggests that establishing attainable cleanup objectives could be difficult if natural background metal concentrations are a “moving target.”
A study on the subject was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Other collaborators include Andrew Manning and Philip Verplanck of USGS. The data analyzed for the study came from INSTAAR, the USGS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
City of Boulder’s water supply expected to meet community needs for 2012
The City of Boulder’s water supply is expected to meet community water use needs throughout 2012, despite below-average mountain snowpack levels. However, given this year’s dry weather pattern and low snowpack, the city will continue to monitor for drought conditions through 2012 and beyond to assure that water demand projections are on target. In addition, Boulder’s water customers are asked to continue to use water wisely.
Snowpack measurements on May 1, 2012, in the city’s Silver Lake Watershed averaged about 50 percent of what is typical for this time of year. As a result, peak spring streamflow levels will be lower than average.
However, last spring’s exceptionally high snowmelt runoff completely filled the city’s reservoirs on upper Boulder Creek, and the reservoirs stayed full longer, leaving storage levels above average at the beginning of this year. Current measurements indicate that the city’s reservoirs are still projected to fill as the snowpack melts. Additionally, Boulder will have access to an above average amount of water from its western slope supplies, through the Colorado-Big Thompson (CBT) system.
The city compared the evaluation of the current water supply conditions with its Drought Response Plan, which factors in water reserve needs in the event of a multi-year drought. While it was determined that a drought declaration and water use restrictions are not necessary at this time, water customers are still encouraged to continue using water wisely as they have for the past decade. The community’s water conservation efforts have kept water use at least 15 percent below 2000-2001 levels, since the 2002 drought.
The city recommends water-wise practices by sticking to the following outdoor watering guidelines:
- Water your lawn in the evenings or early mornings, after 6 p.m. or before 10 a.m., and water your lawn every three days.
- Do not over water. Do not water when it is raining or when the soil is already wet.
- Trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens can be watered more effectively with a hand-held hose or low-volume non-spray irrigation, after 6 p.m. or before 10 a.m.
- Check your sprinkler system and make sure it is working properly and that you are only watering landscaping and not the surrounding areas like streets or sidewalks.
For information about the city’s water conservations program, including rebates, strategies and tips, visit www.bouldersaveswater.net.
Police seek suspect in cell phone thefts
Boulder police are looking for a suspect who allegedly walked into the Best Buy store at 1740 30th St. in the middle of the day, and walked out with three, brand-new cell phones, still in their boxes. The suspect did not pay for the phones.
It happened on Friday, March 30 around 11:25 a.m. Although an employee attempted to stop the suspect and demand that he show receipts for the phones, the suspect continued to walk out of the store. Police are looking for:
- A while male
- Very thin build; described as “gaunt” by a store employee
- Between 30-and-40 years old
- Average height
- Short brown hair (almost shaved)
- Wearing a short-sleeve gray t-shirt, blue jeans and black-and-white athletic shoes
The case number is 12-4273. Photos of the suspect are attached; he has a very distinctive tattoo of a spider on his elbow.
Anyone with information about this suspect or the cell phone thefts from Best Buy is asked to contact Detective Rob Bustrum at 303-441-3484. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.
Boulder County’s Focus on early intervention and outreach helps state secure additional Medicaid dollars
Boulder County Healthy Kids initiative helps families secure preventative healthcare, leading to healthier families and fewer intensive, costly services
Boulder County, Colo. - Colorado’s Medicaid Performance Bonus has nearly doubled for 2011, reflecting the crucial work being done by entities like Boulder County in getting children enrolled in the federal program.
In 2009, President Obama signed into law a reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) that included a Performance Bonus incentive for states that succeed in enrolling Medicaid-eligible children above target levels. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius announced on Wednesday that Colorado will receive over $26 million in bonus Medicaid funding. The state received $13.7 million in 2010.
Colorado’s award was the third largest in the U.S., behind only Maryland and Virginia. This year, the state achieved a “Tier 2” bonus payment by exceeding target enrollment by more than 10%, an accomplishment which is rewarded at a higher rate.
States that qualify for bonuses have used strategies like cutting red tape and streamlining procedures to make enrollment easier. Boulder County’s recent focus on getting adults and children enrolled in Medicaid and CHP+, Colorado’s low-cost health plan for children, has contributed significantly to the state’s overall increase. Over the past four years, Boulder County’s Medicaid enrollment has increased 73%. In comparison, during this same period the ten largest Colorado counties have seen a 51% rise in enrollment numbers and Maximus (the state’s Medicaid and CHP+ contractor) has had a 42% increase.
One of the reasons for this difference is Boulder County Healthy Kids (BCHK), an outreach initiative which was launched in July 2008. BCHK works to improve child health by linking all eligible children, families, and pregnant women in Boulder County to available benefits and health coverage options. BCHK has created partnerships with both the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain School Districts, Salud Family Health Centers in Longmont, and Clinica Family Health Services in Boulder.
The program has stationed eligibility technicians in these locations to help identify need and enroll children and families. It is part of an early intervention model that Boulder County’s Housing and Human Services Department has implemented along with community partners and non-profits. The belief is that the earlier those in need access services, the better it is for them and for the community, as more intensive services down the line become more difficult and more expensive. Since 2008, BCHK has helped nearly 6,500 clients enroll in Medicaid and CHP+.
Boulder County Health Kids Manager Mae Hsu notes BCHK’s success rate. “We know that 98% of families who apply for medical benefits through Healthy Kids secure Medicaid or CHP+ coverage,” she says. “A big reason for that is our staff, who aim to make the enrollment process smooth and easy by helping families obtain all the documentation and information necessary for their applications.” In addition, she adds, through funding from the Colorado Health Foundation and The Colorado Trust, BCHK is able to assist families who are unable to pay the CHP+ enrollment fee.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that since the Medicaid Performance Bonus was enacted, an additional 1.2 million children have been added to health insurance rolls around the U.S. At the same time, the Colorado Health Foundation’s 2010 Health Report Card indicated that while the trend is also positive for the Centennial State, in terms of getting its children insured, Colorado still ranks 44th in the U.S., with 105,000 of its children without health insurance.
Boulder County Housing and Human Services Director Frank Alexander stresses that while he is happy to see the federal recognition of Colorado’s and Boulder County’s efforts to turn this around, much work remains to be done. “It’s heartening to know that our proactive, preventive approach to connecting those in need in our community with services is working,” Alexander says. “But we still have large numbers of uninsured children and families who need to know where to go now for help, so we will continue to reach out to them in new and innovative ways.”
“Hotshots” looks at a movie!
What’s Your Number? follows the recent Hollywood trend of movies about women who are assertive, raunchy, bawdy, and, yes, even foul mouthed.
In other words, the target audience is young men, who Hollywood believes don’t want to see movies about women unless the women are assertive, raunchy, bawdy, and, yes, even foul mouthed.
Get the women to strip and show off their bodies, and, heck, Hollywood has expanded the audience to include teenage boys, too.
Anna Faris, she of the Scary Movie spoofs of the, well, scary movies and the surprisingly good 2008 The House Bunny, stars as Ally Darling, a young woman in Boston who creates a dilemma for herself.
Ally’s sister is getting married, and Ally starts feeling sorry for herself. Then she learns that the average number of lovers a woman has in her lifetime is 10.5.
Ally counts up all her past lovers and determines that she has had 19, but then when she also learns that if a woman hasn’t gotten married after having had 20 lovers, the odds are she will never get married, Ally decides that she will never sleep with a man again unless he is the one she is going to marry.
Well, when that plan doesn’t work, Ally decides to track down all her past lovers to make sure that she hadn’t overlooked one and that he just might have been the one for her.
Of course, that is going to be difficult, and so Ally enlists the help of Colin, the guy who lives across the hallway from her in her apartment building.
Colin is played by Chris Evans, and he agrees to help Ally in exchange for being allowed to hide out in Ally’s apartment every morning so that he can avoid the latest woman whom he brought home the night before.
So, you can see where this is going, can’t you, and if you have seen the trailer for the movie, you have already seen most of the movie.
Now, there is one sidetrack that you won’t anticipate, and for a while you might believe that you were fooled.
We also see Ally’s parents, played by Blythe Danner and Ed Begley Jr., who are divorced because they have two entirely different personalities.
What’s Your Number? is a one-sidetrack movie that you can surely avoid.
I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”
“Our Hill, Our Home:” Pilot project planned for high-density residential services district
The City of Boulder and a group of engaged University Hill community members are launching a pilot program this fall that will test-drive the creation of a new services district concept in the Hill neighborhood to support ongoing revitalization efforts. The idea of the district is to share costs and create economies of scale for basic maintenance services, such as litter, graffiti and snow removal. The target area is the neighborhood zoned as high-density residential, adjacent to the Hill commercial district.
This concept is one of two “big ideas” presented to City Council in April 2010 by the Hill Ownership Group, an ad-hoc group of University Hill property managers, residents, business owners, CU employees and students, and city staff working together to support neighborhood improvements. The other “big idea” is the creation of an innovative/creative/arts district in the Hill commercial area.
The high-density residential services district is conceptual at this point, with boundaries, services and governance structure still to be determined. The Hill Ownership Group is continuing to explore the concept of a taxing district that could potentially address the following services:
· Litter pickup in the public right of way and potentially, with appropriate waivers, in specific areas on private property, such as front yards;
· Graffiti removal in the public right of way and potentially, with appropriate waivers, on specific types of private property;
· Weed removal in the public right of way;
· Sidewalk snow removal;
· Notification procedures for more serious quality of life offenses;
· A coordinated approach to recycling; and
· Additional trash service pickups at specific times, such as during move in and move out periods.
“Most of the property owners and managers on the Hill are already paying individually for these services. By pooling funds to purchase the same services, the district could create economies of scale,” said Ron Mitchell, Hill property owner and committee member.
The pilot project, which will run from Sept. 30 through Nov. 7, 2011, is designed to gather information and determine whether there are positive effects of coordinated maintenance in a limited area. The area covered by the pilot program will generally be between 10th and 13th streets, and between College and Pleasant avenues. The services provided during the pilot project include litter pick-up, graffiti removal, limited landscaping clean-up, and limited snow removal, depending on weather.
A subcommittee of the Hill Ownership Group is in the process of contacting property owners and managers in the pilot area to inform them of the project and obtain permission to remove litter and graffiti from portions of their properties.
The city will provide supervisory staff, and donated funds will pay for temporary labor and supplies (paint, garbage bags and tools). Sponsors of the pilot project include University of Colorado administration and student government, Roche Colorado, the University Hill Neighborhood Association, Boulder International Youth Hostel, Four Star Realty, Michael Boyers and Western Disposal Services. The pilot will include students from the restorative justice program for a few larger clean-ups. An important component of the pilot project will be documentation of before and after conditions and accounting for budgeting and planning purposes.
If, after the completion of the pilot program, there is support from property owners and residents to create a taxing district, the city will put the concept to a vote. The election, likely to occur in November 2012, would be limited to voters and property owners within the proposed district boundaries.
“This is an idea created by a cross-section of the Hill community, the very people who make the Hill the vibrant and innovative community it is. The city is excited to see what types of impact a residential services district can have,” said Molly Winter, director of Boulder’s Downtown and University Hill Management Division. “We are hopeful that if the Hill is a cleaner and well-kept community, those who live, work and play there will want to become partners in upholding a more desirable quality of life for everyone.”
For more information about the pilot program, the work of the Hill Ownership Group or the possibility of a taxing district, please contact Jennifer Korbelik,
FULL-TIME JOB POSTING GRADS JUMPED 23 PERCENT IN 2010-11
The number of interviews companies conducted on campus also saw an uptick, increasing 9.6 percent during the same period, a testament to the quality of a CU degree even in a weak job market, according to Lisa Severy, director of CU-Boulder’s Career Services office.
“Our recent graduates are having a lot of success in the job search, especially people who are prepared and engaged in their job search,” Severy said. “The best ways to be engaged while you are a student is to take advantage of campus career fairs and information sessions, use the campus job posting tools and network outside of school.”
“This is a niche many graduates can fill, because companies don’t have this expertise yet,” Severy said. “Graduates of any major who are knowledgeable about social media and enjoy working with it should have a lot of opportunities right now.”With so many applicants for every job, one would think it would make recruiters’ jobs easier, but that is not necessarily the case, according to Severy.
Since 2009, CU-Boulder has offered job search assistance to alumni, free of charge. Services such as the university’s online job-posting tool can be a real benefit because only alumni can access the system, she said.
The increase in recruiting activities also is impacting the upcoming fall career and internship fair on campus. While the event usually is held in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom, this year more space was required, Severy said.
“We’re sticking employers everywhere we can find space to provide as many opportunities to our students and graduates as possible,” she said.
The fall career and internship fair for CU-Boulder students and alumni will be held Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UMC. The fair is open only to CU-Boulder students and alumni.
For more information about Career Services and the fall career and internship fair visit http://careerservices.
City of Boulder part of coalition receiving $500,000 grant from U.S. Department of Energy to advance electric vehicles and charging locations
The City of Boulder is part of the Colorado Clean Cities Coalition that was awarded $500,000 in grant funds under the Clean Cities Community Readiness and Planning for Plug-in Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure Funding Opportunity. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Sept. 8, 2011.
The grant funds will be shared by multiple public and private agencies to help fund Project FEVER (Funding Electric Vehicle Expansion in the Rockies), a year-long endeavor that will overcome barriers that are impeding penetration of electric vehicles in the marketplace. FEVER is a statewide plan that will target five core areas to prepare Colorado for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure: regulatory; permitting; planning; policy; and marketing, education and outreach.
In Boulder, the grant will provide funds to:
Help establish guidelines to determine the best locations for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations;
Standardize permitting operations; and,
Create a plan for linking Boulder to other communities in a statewide EV charging network.
“By developing the next generation of automotive engineers and preparing communities for plug-in electric vehicles, these projects will help reduce our nation’s dependence on oil imports, create jobs, and help America capture the growing global market for advance vehicles,” said U.S. DOE Secretary Steven Chu.
Sixty partners have come together to support this project, and include the City of Boulder, the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Xcel Energy, the Regional Air Quality Council, the City and County of Denver and several other private and public partners.
Sponsored by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program and administered by the American Lung Association in Colorado, the Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition is a government-industry partnership designed to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector.
For more information, contact Joe Castro, City of Boulder Facilities and Fleet manager, at email@example.com or 303-441-3163.
Samples of icy spray shooting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus collected during Cassini spacecraft flybys show the strongest evidence yet for the existence of a large-scale, subterranean saltwater ocean, says a new international study led by the University of Heidelberg and involving the University of Colorado Boulder.
The new discovery was made during the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn, a collaboration of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. Launched in 1997, the mission spacecraft arrived at the Saturn system in 2004 and has been touring the giant ringed planet and its vast moon system ever since.
The plumes shooting water vapor and tiny grains of ice into space were originally discovered emanating from Enceladus — one of 19 known moons of Saturn — by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005. The plumes were originating from the so-called “tiger stripe” surface fractures at the moon’s south pole and apparently have created the material for the faint E Ring that traces the orbit of Enceladus around Saturn.
During three of Cassini’s passes through the plume in 2008 and 2009, the Cosmic Dust Analyser, or CDA, on board measured the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. The icy particles hit the detector’s target at speeds of up to 11 miles per second, instantly vaporizing them. The CDA separated the constituents of the resulting vapor clouds, allowing scientists to analyze them.
The study shows the ice grains found further out from Enceladus are relatively small and mostly ice-poor, closely matching the composition of the E Ring. Closer to the moon, however, the Cassini observations indicate that relatively large, salt-rich grains dominate.
“There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than the salt water under Enceladus’ icy surface,” said Frank Postberg of the University of Germany, lead author of a study being published in Nature on June 23. Other co-authors include Jürgen Schmidt from the University of Potsdam, Jonathan Hillier from Open University headquartered in Milton Keynes, England, and Ralf Srama from the University of Stuttgart.
“The study indicates that ‘salt-poor’ particles are being ejected from the underground ocean through cracks in the moon at a much higher speed than the larger, salt-rich particles,” said CU-Boulder faculty member and study co-author Sascha Kempf of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
“The E Ring is made up predominately of such salt-poor grains, although we discovered that 99 percent of the mass of the particles ejected by the plumes was made up of salt-rich grains, which was an unexpected finding,” said Kempf. “Since the salt-rich particles were ejected at a lower speed than the salt-poor particles, they fell back onto the moon’s icy surface rather than making it to the E Ring.”
According to the researchers, the salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition that indicates most, if not all, of the expelled ice comes from the evaporation of liquid salt water rather than from the icy surface of the moon. When salt water freezes slowly the salt is “squeezed out,” leaving pure water ice behind. If the plumes were coming from the surface ice, there should be very little salt in them, which was not the case, according to the research team.
The researchers believe that perhaps 50 miles beneath the surface crust of Enceladus a layer of water exists between the rocky core and the icy mantle that is kept in a liquid state by gravitationally driven tidal forces created by Saturn and several neighboring moons, as well as by heat generated by radioactive decay.
According to the scientists, roughly 440 pounds of water vapor is lost every second from the plumes, along with smaller amounts of ice grains. Calculations show the liquid ocean must have a sizable evaporating surface or it would easily freeze over, halting the formation of the plumes. “This study implies that nearly all of the matter in the Enceladus plumes originates from a saltwater ocean that has a very large evaporating surface,” said Kempf.
Salt in the rock dissolves into the water, which accumulates in a liquid ocean beneath the icy crust, according to the Nature authors. When the outermost layer of the Enceladus crust cracks open, the reservoir is exposed to space. The drop in pressure causes the liquid to evaporate into a vapor, with some of it “flash-freezing” into salty ice grains, which subsequently creates the plumes, the science team believes.
“Enceladus is a tiny, icy moon located in a region of the outer Solar System where no liquid water was expected to exist because of its large distance from the sun,” said Nicolas Altobelli, ESA’s project scientist for the Cassini-Huygens mission. “This finding is therefore a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life may be sustainable on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets.”
The Huygens probe was released from the main spacecraft and parachuted through the atmosphere to the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in 2005.
The Cassini spacecraft is carrying 12 science instruments, including a $12.5 million CU-Boulder ultraviolet imaging spectrograph designed and built by a LASP team led by Professor Larry Esposito.
The University of Colorado Boulder will host the 2011 Linguistics Institute from July 7 to Aug. 2, a prestigious gathering of faculty and students from around the world that also will feature free films, workshops and lectures open to the public.
The biennial event has never been held in Colorado and is expected to attract about 500 people to CU-Boulder. The previous three institutes were held at the University of California, Berkeley (2009), Stanford (2007) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2005).
In addition to the free and public events, the institute will offer 80 courses taught by distinguished faculty, with enrollment available to the public through CU-Boulder’s Continuing Education and Professional Studies.
For one class, Field Methods in Linguistics, a speaker of the Idi language of Papua New Guinea will travel to Boulder. The Idi language is spoken by only about 1,600 people and is barely documented. Students in the class led by Professor Nicholas Evans of Australian National University will work intensively for one month to provide the first extensive documentation of this language.
On July 13 at 7 p.m. in Muenzinger Psychology and Biopsychology room E050 will be a free showing of “We Are Still Here,” a film examining language and culture revitalization efforts of the Wampanoag Native Americans in Massachusetts.
And on July 20 at 7 p.m. in Muenzinger Psychology and Biopsychology room E050 there will be a free showing of “Speaking in Tongues,” a film following four children through the world of bilingualism and bilingual education in the United States.
“Language is fundamental to virtually everything we do in life, and it is perhaps the single most important thing that separates humans from all other life forms,” said Andrew Cowell, associate director of the institute and a CU-Boulder professor of linguistics. “We take it for granted so much of the time until someone makes the smallest misstatement, a machine translation produces something goofy or we pick up on a subtle accent we recognize — and then political careers can be compromised, corporate initiatives can become the target of worldwide mockery or lifelong friendships can be initiated.
“The institute will focus specifically on ‘Language in the World’ and the interdisciplinary connections between linguistics and other fields such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, law, computer science and the media,” he said.
The institute is sponsored by the Linguistic Society of America, which is the main professional body for linguists in the United States, with major support from CU-Boulder.
Students enrolled in a Colorado university, college or community college are eligible to register for the institute at about half the usual price, as are Colorado faculty. Information about this offer is posted at https://verbs.colorado.edu/LSA2011/registration-cofund.html.
For more information and a complete schedule of events visit
Boulder County, Colo. – With increased potential for flooding, debris flows and weed invasion in the Fourmile Canyon Fire area due to loss of vegetation and bare slopes, the Boulder County Fire Rehabilitation Implementation Team is conducting a series of treatments aimed at reducing erosion and weeds in the areas hardest hit by the fire that burned more than 6,000 acres and destroyed 169 homes last September.
Aerial mulching treatments will consist of certified weed-free straw and WoodStrawÓ being dropped in pre-determined areas from helicopters. Target areas were determined by a set of criteria that includes slope, burn severity, flood/debris flow risk, and values downstream (including human life, safety and property). In total, approximately 1,960 acres will be aerially mulched inside the fire boundary.
Aerial operations will begin on April 7 (weather permitting) in the vicinity of Sugarloaf Road and Fourmile Canyon Drive and move to areas within Sunshine Canyon on or after April 12. Flights will operate for about two weeks (up until April 23) depending on weather conditions throughout the mulching period.
Helicopters will be flying during daylight hours only beginning as early as 7 a.m., and residents can expect temporary road closures as helicopters fly overhead. Additionally, heavy truck equipment will be used in the vicinity of Sugarloaf Road and Sunshine Canyon to deliver straw and support equipment for the aerial flights.
Hand seeding is taking place along roads and driveways in areas that were moderately to severely burned, and with less than 60 percent slope. Roads and driveways are targeted because vehicles are a common way that weed seeds are transported. In total, approximately 500 acres will be seeded utilizing the help of volunteers.
Call the Fourmile Rehabilitation Hotline at 303-413-7010 for the latest updates on seeding and aerial mulching activities. Message boards or flaggers will be located in the vicinity of work being performed to alert residents of any delays or modifications to traffic patterns.
Due to safety regulations and FAA requirements, no one can be in the immediate areas where mulch is being dropped.
Residents and workers in the mulching areas for Gold Hill, Four Mile Canyon, Sugar Loaf and Sunshine Canyon will be asked to leave the area for the day, and bring in pets/livestock while their specific block or neighborhood is being mulched.
Boulder County Sheriff’s patrols will be active in the area to maintain public safety for the duration of the treatments. The Sheriff’s Office asks everyone to be mindful of the following privacy and public safety rules:
- Motorists must not block traffic on any public right of way.
- Everyone must stay at least 200 feet outside of the perimeter of active aerial mulching treatment areas at all times so as not to impede operations.
- No trespassing is allowed on private property including driveways, turn-offs, private roads or other private property.
- Cyclists are asked to avoid Sugarloaf Road, Fourmile Canyon Drive, and Sunshine Canyon Drive while helicopter flights are occurring (April 7-23).
For additional information and maps showing the treatment areas go to: www.bouldercounty.org/fourmilefire.