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  • Apollo astronauts celebrate 50 years since first moon landing

    Apollo astronauts celebrate 50 years since first moon landingThree astronauts instrumental in the groundbreaking U.S. space program of the 1960s and 70s gathered at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the mission that first put a man on the moon. Walter Cunningham, 87, who was part of the Apollo 7 mission, Al Worden, 87, who flew with Apollo 15, and Charlie Duke, 83, who walked on the moon with Apollo 16, recounted their extra-terrestrial experiences before a captive airshow audience. Worden, who orbited the moon alone for days in 1971, holds the feat of having been the world's most isolated human, while Cunningham is notable for being part of a team that talked back to Mission Control in 1968, getting them blacklisted from future flights.


  • Indian family branches out with novel tree house

    Indian family branches out with novel tree houseWhen the Kesharwanis decided to branch out and expand their family home, they came up with a novel way of dealing with an ancient giant fig tree in their garden -- they built the house around it. "We are nature lovers and my father insisted that we keep the tree," said Yogesh Kesharwani, whose parent built the house in 1994 with the help of an engineer friend. The fig tree, known as peepal in Hindi, is considered sacred by many in India and cutting one down is considered inauspicious.


  • Apollo astronauts celebrate 50 years since first moon landing

    Apollo astronauts celebrate 50 years since first moon landingThree astronauts instrumental in the groundbreaking U.S. space programme of the 1960s and 70s gathered at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the mission that first put a man on the moon. Walter Cunningham, 87, who was part of the Apollo 7 mission, Al Worden, 87, who flew with Apollo 15, and Charlie Duke, 83, who walked on the moon with Apollo 16, recounted their extra-terrestrial experiences before a captive airshow audience. Worden, who orbited the moon alone for days in 1971, holds the feat of having been the world's most isolated human, while Cunningham is notable for being part of a team that talked back to Mission Control in 1968, getting them blacklisted from future flights.


  • Eight EU countries to phase out coal by 2030

    Eight EU countries to phase out coal by 2030Eight of the EU's 28 countries have pledged to phase out coal for electricity production by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, officials said Tuesday. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, received the pledges as contributions to the bloc's efforts to deliver on the 2015 Paris climate agreement. "More and more member states are making the political commitment to phase out coal in the next decade," EU climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said.


  • Pick the Best Fruit for Your Health

    Pick the Best Fruit for Your HealthWith everything fruit has going for it—natural sweetness, beautiful colors, tons of nutrients—you’d think people would be eating loads of it. But only 12 percent of Americans get the 1½ to 2 cups...


  • Pick the Best Fruit for Your Health

    Pick the Best Fruit for Your HealthWith everything fruit has going for it—natural sweetness, beautiful colors, tons of nutrients—you’d think people would be eating loads of it. But only 12 percent of Americans get the 1½ to 2 cups...


  • Heat Stroke Vs. Heat Exhaustion—A Doctor Explains the Difference

    Heat Stroke Vs. Heat Exhaustion—A Doctor Explains the DifferenceWhat does a heat stroke feel like? Here are the warning signs of a heat stroke and heat exhaustion.


  • Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Project: Who’s In and Who’s Out

    Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Project: Who’s In and Who’s Out(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. made a renewed push into payments on Tuesday, announcing plans for a cryptocurrency called Libra.Read More: Facebook Wants Its Cryptocurrency to One Day Rival the GreenbackIt will be governed by the Libra Association, a group of companies that will have an equal say in how the cryptocurrency is managed. Almost 30 firms have joined and Facebook hopes another 70 or more will enter the fold in the future.Read Facebook’s Project Libra white paper hereWho’s In:Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., the world’s largest payments networks, as well as PayPal Holdings Inc. are on board. For Visa and Mastercard, it’s a chance to offer the world of cryptocurrencies the same services they provide in card payments. All three companies know the challenges of building a network and can offer expertise in encouraging consumers to use the instrument and cajoling merchants into accepting it.Companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., and Spotify Technology SA keep millions of credit cards on file, and they risk losing customers when people get a new card or number. E-commerce firms also pay higher “card not present” rates when processing payments, so anything that can reduce these expenses is welcome.“Libra has the potential to bridge the gap between traditional financial networks and new digital currency technology, while reducing the costs for everyone,” said Peter Hazlehurst, head of payments at Uber.International companies, including e-commerce firm MercadoLibre Inc. and telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc, signed onto Libra, too. Blockchain technology and stablecoins are potential solutions for the messy world of cross-border payments, which suffers from delays and high costs.Who’s Out:Large banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., already have their own payments businesses that reap billions of dollars in fees. With regulators still deciding how to treat cryptocurrencies, banks and investment firms are treading cautiously.So far, no large brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Target Corp. and Walmart Inc., are taking part. The industry is always interested in lowering the cost of accepting payments, but traditional merchants have historically been hesitant to accept cryptocurrencies due to volatility and lack of consumer adoption.The largest U.S. technology companies, Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc., are noticeably absent. Many of these firms have their own digital payments businesses and some are experimenting with blockchain technology. Apple has poured scorn on Facebook for repeated privacy missteps and other big tech firms are trying to avoid being associated with the social-media giant.“This is very early -- 27 organizations right now, 100 by the time we launch,” David Marcus, head of the Facebook blockchain team that’s spearheading the project, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “And by that time, I definitely expect to see banks in there, I definitely expect to see other large technology companies and I definitely expect to see more diversity of organizations in terms of geographical distribution.”Square Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is a cryptocurrency fan, but even his firm isn’t part of Libra at launch. Square’s cryptocurrency team made its first hire last week and it’s Cash App is a popular way for consumers to buy and sell Bitcoin.Here’s the full list of founding members and partners:Andreessen Horowitz Anchorage Bison Trails Booking Holdings Inc.Breakthrough Initiatives Facebook’s CalibraCoinbase Inc.EBay Inc. Farfetch Ltd.Iliad SA’s Free Lyft Inc.Mastercard MercadoLibre Inc.’s Mercado Pago PayPal Naspers Ltd.’s PayURibbit Capital Spotify Technology SAStripe Inc.Thrive Capital Union Square Ventures Uber Visa Vodafone Group Xapo Creative Destruction Lab Kiva Mercy Corps Women’s World Banking (Updates with comment from Facebook’s David Marcus in 10th paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected Creative Destruction’s name.)To contact the reporters on this story: Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net;Julie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.net;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Biggest Naspers Investor Mulls Cutting $16.5 Billion Stake

    Biggest Naspers Investor Mulls Cutting $16.5 Billion Stake(Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd.’s biggest shareholder is considering whether to reduce its 245 billion rand ($16.5 billion) stake in Africa’s biggest company because of concern it’s overexposed to a single stock, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund is being encouraged by its manager, the Public Investment Corp., to reduce its Naspers shareholding of about 16%, said three of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. Any decision is ultimately up to the GEPF.Naspers’s value has grown 72-fold since 2004 on the back of the success of an early-stage investment in Chinese games developer Tencent Holdings Ltd., which listed in Hong Kong that year. That’s turned Naspers, a Cape Town-based internet technology investor once focused on South African newspapers, into a 1.53 trillion rand ($101 billion) global entity. But it’s also made the company dependent on China, where it has little influence. The shares gained 2% in Johannesburg as Tencent gained in Hong Kong.“Naspers success is dependent on the Chinese government,” said Tahir Maepa, deputy general manager for members affairs of the Public Servants Association, whose 240,000-members make it the biggest labor union representing contributors to the GEPF. “It’s a huge risk, not only for the PIC, it’s a risk for the South African economy and the JSE,” he said, adding that the GEPF should “definitely” cut its stake.The rapid growth also means Naspers accounts for almost 25% of a shareholder-weighted index on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. While that will be reduced when the company spins off its Tencent stake and other internet-focused assets into a new vehicle listed in Amsterdam next month, its 73% holding in that entity, known as NewCo, will only cut its weighting in Johannesburg by about a quarter, according to Naspers. Furthermore, Naspers and NewCo are both reliant on the Tencent investment, which is worth more than the company as a whole.Tencent has been struggling with a Chinese government crackdown on addiction to computer games, and regulators are currently working on an overhaul to the approval process for new titles.Read More: China Outlines New Approval Process for World’s Top Games MarketNaspers currently makes up almost 21% of the value of the GEPF’s listed equity holdings, the fund said in an emailed response to questions. “The GEPF does review its benchmarks from time to time,” although “not all reviews lead to changes.” The pension fund didn’t answer a query about whether it has held talks with the PIC about the Naspers stake.Naspers declined to comment on discussions with specific investors. “The formation and listing of NewCo is in response to shareholder requests,” spokeswoman Shamiela Letsoalo said in an emailed response to questions. The move will allow investors to move “some of their weight off the JSE onto (Amsterdam’s) AEX index while at the same time continuing to lock in continued high returns,” she said. “This will likely result in shareholders having more balanced weightings and will help to reduce any overhang.”Read More: Naspers CEO Bets on Dutch Listing to Fix Tencent DiscountWhile Naspers acknowledges that the company’s assets and management will overlap with NewCo “there are also important differences,” Letsoalo said. The parent group will separately own news business Media24, online marketplace Takealot and “continue to invest in South Africa’s fast-growing ecommerce and internet segment,” she said. “These differences will cause many investors to view them separately within their portfolio.”NewCo will hold various internet businesses around the world, including Russian social-media network Mail.ru Group Ltd. and Indian food-delivery service Swiggy as well as Tencent.The debate over the stake in Naspers has been going on for months. One element being discussed is whether the GEPF should change its holding from an arrangement known as a full SWIX, or shareholder-weighted index, to one called a capped SWIX, where a single stock can make up a maximum of 10% of the funds, three of the people said. Any sell down would be done in phases, one of the people said.Phased SelldownLast October, another of the PIC’s clients, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, sold Naspers shares to switch from a full SWIX position to a capped one, the fund said in an emailed response to questions. Prior to this it had used derivatives to hedge the risk but found this too costly, it said.What to do with the GEPF’s Naspers stake is being considered by the fund’s board of trustees, one of the people said. Pierre Snyman, a member of the board and chairman of the Public Servants Association, declined to comment.Some senior members of the GEPF are opposing cutting the shareholding, said one of the people.“The PIC does not publicly discuss its strategy on specific investee companies,” Deon Botha, its head of Corporate Affairs, said in a response to queries.(Adds closing shares in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net;Loni Prinsloo in Johannesburg at lprinsloo3@bloomberg.net;Janice Kew in Johannesburg at jkew4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: John McCorry at jmccorry@bloomberg.net, ;Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, John BowkerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Doctors Share What the Future of Skin Cancer Treatment Looks Like

    Doctors Share What the Future of Skin Cancer Treatment Looks LikeThis article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of NewBeauty. Click here to subscribe.From 3-D printing to matrix magic, the treatment for skin cancer keeps improving. And, while New York plastic surgeon Stafford Broumand, MD is wary of calling attention to anything “new” regarding skin cancer treatment, he has seen a recent shift in the field, in one particularly crucial area. “The ‘new’ isn’t so important—what’s important is that more people are getting checked and then getting the skin cancer removed.” Invisible ...


  • The Next Frontier for Skin Cancer

    The Next Frontier for Skin CancerThis article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of NewBeauty. Click here to subscribe.Brittany Arthur tries not to be “the crazy person who scolds people about their sunscreen use.” But the 35-year-old can’t help it. “I was 27 when I was diagnosed with melanoma. I was always the one in the sun and the tanning bed—all throughout high school, extra visits before the prom, all during the summer, and then all throughout college. Even the apartments I lived in had free ...


  • Visa, Mastercard, PayPal Join Facebook to Form Crypto Effort

    Visa, Mastercard, PayPal Join Facebook to Form Crypto Effort(Bloomberg) -- If Facebook Inc.’s new digital currency goes according to plan, it could one day compete with payment giants Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. But for now, all three are set to work with the social-media company on the venture.The currency, called Libra, will launch as soon as next year. It’s what’s known as a stablecoin, one that can avoid massive fluctuations in value so it can be used for everyday transactions. Industry experts and insiders say the payments companies want a seat at the table to help shape the new currency.Read Facebook’s Project Libra white paper here“It’s not unusual for the incumbents -- Visa, Mastercard, PayPal -- to partner with a disruptor,” Harshita Rawat, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in an interview. “They would at least want to participate in how this product is being developed.”New payment methods such as Apple Pay and other mobile wallets are often slow to take off, so any competition is likely to be years away. Still, the earlier payments companies come to the project, the more time they have to ensure their businesses don’t suffer.None of these companies has been shy about pursuing collaboration or other strategic opportunities. PayPal alone has spent billions of dollars buying or investing in potential partnerships as well as competitors. While PayPal hasn’t ventured into cryptocurrencies before, it was a proponent of the blockchain technology that will be used to build Libra.Visa and Mastercard are always looking to embed themselves in emerging payment forms. Both have developed partnerships with cryptocurrency and blockchain firms. They’ve said that Libra can help more people gain access to financial products.“We think cryptocurrencies can address use cases that are not really well served today,” such as areas where cash-based payments remain prominent, said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president of digital solutions at Mastercard. “As such we think it will be incremental to what we do and not a replacement of it.”The payment companies are part of the Libra Association, giving them a say in how the cryptocurrency is managed. There’s currently no time commitment, so members can leave at any time. Once the group’s charter is finalized, there will be a minimum time commitment, according to some members of the group who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.“My sense is that they will try their best to partner and engage with Facebook,” Rawat said. “If Facebook takes the angle that they want to disintermediate card payments, then I think they may not want to participate.”Facebook shares rose 1.4% to $191.61 as of 11:12 a.m. in New York after announcing the cryptocurrency venture.(Updates with shares in final paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.net;Jenny Surane in New York at jsurane4@bloomberg.net;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Dan Reichl, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • US preschoolers less pudgy in latest sign of falling obesity

    US preschoolers less pudgy in latest sign of falling obesityPreschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found, offering fresh evidence that previous signs of declining obesity rates weren't a fluke. Obesity rates dropped steadily to about 14% in 2016 — the latest data available — from 16% in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. "It gives us more hope that this is a real change," said Heidi Blanck, who heads obesity prevention at the CDC.


  • Scientists just filmed a deep sea creature spew a glowing substance

    Scientists just filmed a deep sea creature spew a glowing substanceAt some 4,700 feet beneath the sea, marine scientists filmed a shrimp spew glowing matter, or bioluminescence, from its mouth.  This natural event, which might seem fictional, happened as researchers looked for the elusive giant squid in the Gulf of Mexico. They have yet to spot the massive cephalopods — first caught on film in 2012 — but recorded, for likely the first time ever, a deep sea shrimp belching a radiant substance into its lightless world. The collaborative exploration mission, called "Journey into Midnight," seeks to sleuth out both the giant squid and other little-seen animal life in the ocean's sprawling pelagic zone — the great realm between the surface and the sea floor.  "It's one of the least studied habitats on the planet," explained marine biologist Nathan Robinson, director of the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas. The trick to studying life of deep-sea animals is to observe unobtrusively, which is what @TeamORCA's Medusa deep-sea camera does. During Journey into Midnight expedition, Medusa recorded this first-known in situ video of shrimp spewing bioluminescence: https://t.co/6xsV12bgoW pic.twitter.com/eOOZavtWCG — NOAA Ocean Explorer (@oceanexplorer) June 17, 2019 Robinson and his team captured footage of the shrimp, seen darting through the frame before belching a puff of bioluminescence, using a flashing lure to attract the animal to the camera.  But the shrimp quickly discovered there was nothing to eat, and reacted defensively after colliding with the lure's case, or housing.  "It actually bumps into the housing and gets startled," said Robinson, from the research vessel R/V Point Sur in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. "The spew is used as a defensive mechanism."  In the dark oceans, sea creatures will naturally create their own radiant light, or bioluminescence, to fend off predators. The puff of light could be a distraction, allowing the shrimp time to escape, explained Robinson. Or, it could be a "burglar alarm," alerting even bigger predators to come near, and then startling the initial predator away. In the case of the shrimp, marine ecologists know that these critters have specialized glands in their mouth that excrete glow-inducing enzymes (a substance that sparks a chemical reaction). Ultimately, though the chemical mechanism is still under investigation, these enzymes facilitate a reaction that creates light.  Though Robinson has observed deep sea shrimp secrete the glowing stuff after they've been brought to the surface, "this is the first time that we've been able to see the shrimp spew in its natural habitat." SEE ALSO: Who is this see-through alien? To spy more unprecedented behavior — and perhaps the elusive giant squids — the research team uses a deep sea camera called Medusa, developed with the help of bioluminescence expert Edie Widder, who is also aboard the expedition. The camera only emits a faint red light — light that's invisible to sea life — so they aren't scared off by the radiant intrusion.  For "bait," Widder employs a ring of LED lights, designed to mimic a bioluminescent jellyfish. "The shrimp sees the lure and it comes in to investigate," explained Robinson.  Widder, who captured the first-ever footage of the giant squids (which she said can grow some 40-feet in length) is also eager to understand why the deep sea glows as night, as radiant, decomposing particles of "marine snow" drift through the black water.  Deploying the Medusa instrument into the water. Image: NOAA / Journey into Midnight "I believe a significant portion of the marine snow is bioluminescent," Widder told Mashable last year. "I certainly want to know the answer before I die." "It's my Moby Dick," she added. But right now, the mission at hand is giant squids. And whatever else might visit her deep sea camera — like spewing shrimp. "We're really starting to get a glimpse of these unique behaviors that we've never seen before in their natural habitat," said Robinson, before getting off the phone to search for giant squids.  WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


  • New study finds poor oral health may increase the risk of liver cancer by 75 percent

    New study finds poor oral health may increase the risk of liver cancer by 75 percentA new large-scale UK study has found that poor oral health may be linked to an increased risk of liver cancer, building on previous research which has also linked oral health to a range of diseases. Carried out by researchers at Queen's University Belfast, the new study looked at data on 475,766 people taken from UK Biobank -- a large long-term study which includes genomic data on more than half a million UK residents as well as data on brain imaging, their general health and medical information.


  • We’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate Change

    We’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate ChangeWe’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate Change


  • 'Invisible pandemic': WHO offers global plan to fight superbugs

    'Invisible pandemic': WHO offers global plan to fight superbugsThe World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global campaign Tuesday to curb the spread of antibiotic resistant germs through safer and more effective use of the life-saving drugs. The UN health agency said it had developed a classification system listing which antibiotics to use for the most common infections and which for the most serious ones, which drugs should be available at all times, and which should be used as a last resort only. The aim is to prevent antibiotic resistance, which happens when bugs become immune to existing drugs, rendering minor injuries and common infections potentially deadly.


  • This 1963 AMC Rambler Wagon 770 Cross Country LS Is A Goldmine

    This 1963 AMC Rambler Wagon 770 Cross Country LS Is A GoldmineLet’s get one thing straight, the Rambler Classic is called a classic for a reason. It was the name given to an intermediate-sized automobile that was built and sold by AMC (American Motors Corporation) from 1961 through 1966. Upon its initial introduction, the Rambler featured six-passenger four-door sedan and station wagon versions.


  • Pfizer to Buy Array BioPharma, Broaden Cancer Portfolio

    Pfizer to Buy Array BioPharma, Broaden Cancer PortfolioPfizer (PFE) offers $48 per share to buy Array BioPharma and strengthen its cancer portfolio.


  • MoneyGram Surges 155% as Crypto Hype Feels a Bit Like 2017

    MoneyGram Surges 155% as Crypto Hype Feels a Bit Like 2017(Bloomberg) -- MoneyGram International Inc. soared as much as 155% in early trading after a tie-up with blockchain-technology company Ripple. The rally is reminiscent of late 2017, when a wave of small-cap stocks saw valuations multiply as they re-branded as blockchain companies.The difference is that MoneyGram is an established company with about 2,400 staff and $1.4 billion in annual revenue, not a re-branded unprofitable iced tea-maker or a three-man I.T. firm based out of a business park in Essex, England. Not to mention that Ripple’s deal comes with real money: it invested $30 million in shares and warrants and has an option to invest a further $20 million.Ripple’s investment will see it become MoneyGram’s main partner for cross-border transactions using digital assets, reducing operating costs and working capital requirements, the company said in a statement on Monday. MoneyGram shares gained with almost fourteen times the three-month daily average volume of shares traded in the first ten minutes after the market open.“The tie-up with MoneyGram and Ripple underscores two key points -- first, investment into and from the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector is coming off the sidelines,” said Nigel Green, chief executive of independent financial consultancy Devere Group. “Second, the impact of this flow is being welcomed by investors in a broader sense.”Facebook Inc.’s plans for a new currency that it hopes will one day trade on a global scale, much like the U.S. dollar, are further propelling blockchain and cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. Shares of the social-media giant are up 1.4% after it unveiled details of Libra, which will launch as soon as next year.Bitcoin climbed past $9,000 to its highest since May 2018 on Monday, and traded at about $9,200 as of 11:45 a.m. in London on Tuesday. At the same time, prominent Bitcoin bull Thomas Lee said that the digital currency is primed for a “Fear Of Missing Out” rally that could see it hit as high as $40,000 within a few months.(Updates with current trading.)To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Easton in London at jeaston7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Beth Mellor at bmellor@bloomberg.net, Felice MaranzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Slashing plane emissions a lofty goal, but progress elusive

    Slashing plane emissions a lofty goal, but progress elusiveThe aircraft industry is facing growing criticism over greenhouse gas emissions that are set to soar as more people take to the skies, but experts say game-changing technology for cleaner planes is still decades away. Dozens of firms at the Paris Air Show this week are touting their green credentials, with the industry pledging to halve its carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. From electric quadcopters to new engines powered by natural gas or hydrogen, the projects on display in Paris promise to revolutionise how people will eventually get across town or across the world.


  • A New Energy Paradigm Must Confront the Old

    A New Energy Paradigm Must Confront the Old(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nothing blocks a pathway quite like a giant power plant. Or a coal mine. Or a gas field.Two tomes released in the past week, one looking back and the other ahead, show the enduring importance of facts on the ground (or under it) when it comes to the transition toward lower-carbon energy. BP Plc’s latest Statistical Review of World Energy set the tone with its headline, “An unsustainable path”. The report showed carbon emissions rose at their fastest pace last year since 2011, hitting a new record. Worse, this came on the back of unexpectedly strong growth in primary energy demand, much of which BP attributed to weather effects – people turning on air conditioners in unusual heat or heating in bitter cold, hinting at pernicious feedback loops generated by climate change.On Tuesday, BloombergNEF released its latest New Energy Outlook, forecasting the shape of the global electricity sector out to 2050. In certain respects, this sounds a more optimistic note, describing a scenario whereby power generated without fossil fuels rises to about 70% of the global mix from just over a third today. Wind and solar power become the biggest sources, together comprising around half the mix. Last year, BloombergNEF expected power-sector emissions to peak in 2027; now it estimates they peaked last year and should fall 36% by 2050.Yet even this isn’t necessarily compatible with limiting the average global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 Fahrenheit), let alone the 1.5 degrees-level that could make a big difference in mitigating potentially catastrophic effects. As BloombergNEF’s analysts write:The outlook for global emissions and keeping temperature increases to 2 degrees or less is mixed, according to this year’s NEO. On the one hand, the build-out of solar, wind and batteries will put the world on a path that is compatible with these objectives at least until 2030. On the other hand, a lot more will need to be done beyond that date to keep the world on that 2 degree path.Part of the problem is sheer incumbency. Reviewing 2018, BP found renewable energy led the growth in global power generation. Yet coal came in at a close second, and fossil fuels overall accounted for almost half the growth.Some of that increase in coal-fired power was cyclical. But it also reflects the simple fact that once a power plant – or any other manufacturing facility – has been built, owners want to keep them running as much as possible, and changing that requires a big shift in economics or policy. Capacity utilization for China’s coal fleet jumped back above 50% last year for the first time since 2014, according to BloombergNEF’s data, and the entire fleet has expanded by 39% in that period. As Gregor MacDonald, author of “Oil Fall”, tweeted after BP’s report was published: “although wind+solar move fast, they need to move even faster to smother marginal growth from [fossil fuels]”.The great advantage of wind and solar power is that they are manufactured types of energy, rather than extracted forms such as coal. Hence, their cost has fallen rapidly and should continue doing so. BloombergNEF calculates the all-in costs of electricity from wind and utility-scale solar power have dropped by 49% and 85%, respectively, since 2010. They’re now cheaper than power from a new coal or gas-fired plant across two-thirds of the world, up from less than 1% only five years ago, and that includes China.However, existing coal or gas-fired plants are a different story; they get switched on provided they can cover just their running costs. For example, BloombergNEF doesn’t expect solar power to undercut existing coal plants in China before 2027.This isn’t just an issue in China. New solar projects in India don’t undercut existing coal-fired generation economics until 2039, under BloombergNEF’s projections – and not until 2049 under its low-price scenario.Nor is this confined merely to Asia’s powerhouses. The White House’s black-lungs-matter campaign may not be making much headway, given coal-fired plants are expected in 2020 to burn roughly half the amount they did in 2010, according to government projections. Natural gas from fracking is a different story. Last year’s surge in U.S. production was the biggest for any country ever, according to BP; producers in the Permian basin flare (burn off) more excess gas every day than is used by the entire residential market in Texas. Hence, despite U.S. gas demand having risen by almost a third over the past decade, prices have crashed. In America, the stubborn incumbent against which renewables must compete is invisible.Little wonder, then, that fossil fuels keep a grip on the power sectors of China, India and the U.S.; while Europe – without either a fleet of new coal plants or access to cheap gas – decarbonizes much more, in BloombergNEF’s view:Shale gas has played a central role in cutting U.S. carbon emissions thus far by helping to displace coal-fired power. Ultimately, however, it will also block progress toward a sub-2 degrees scenario for limiting climate change, unless zero-emission forms of energy can somehow out-compete it. That’s especially so when considering adjacent aspects of decarbonization, such as electrifying transportation and heating.It’s possible the costs of renewable energy, and batteries, fall even faster than BloombergNEF anticipates, or that other technologies such as carbon-capture eventually prove useful and cost-competitive at scale. Then again, maybe not.What BloombergNEF’s report shows is that, under reasonable assumptions built around existing technologies and market design, the global power sector can get us so far along the path to limiting climate change but not the whole way. Unblocking that way requires further redesign of our energy markets, most obviously by pricing the outcome we want – fewer emissions – via carbon taxes or something similar.Here, however, the blockage is less economic and largely political. China’s role in financing new coal-fired power plants across Asia is one big challenge. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the most interesting recent development on this front is moves by some Congressional Republicans to recast themselves as concerned about climate change but oddly in favor of picking winners among technologies – nuclear power and carbon-capture, especially – and spouting buzzwords like “innovation” rather than putting a price on carbon and letting capitalism do its thing.That they feel the need to move at all is telling, however, and points to a risk embedded within BloombergNEF’s analysis and the unsustainability mentioned in the title of BP’s report. Given the scale of the changes required to our energy systems and the incumbent power of fossil fuels, relying on technology to simply solve it all, in the absence of market reforms to encourage that, is magical thinking.And as the clock ticks, and political fortunes swing this way and that, the moment for market-based measures to clear out the old could well give way to something more drastic.To contact the author of this story: Liam Denning at ldenning1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Liam Denning is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy, mining and commodities. He previously was editor of the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column and wrote for the Financial Times' Lex column. He was also an investment banker.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Facebook Wants Its Cryptocurrency to One Day Rival the Greenback

    Facebook Wants Its Cryptocurrency to One Day Rival the Greenback(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. unveiled plans for a new, global financial system with a broad group of partners from Visa Inc. to Uber Technologies Inc. on board to create a cryptocurrency it expects will one day trade much like the U.S. dollar and inject a new source of revenue.Called Libra, the new currency will launch as soon as next year and be what's known as a stablecoin–a digital currency that's supported by established government-backed currencies and securities. The goal is to avoid massive fluctuations in value so Libra can be used for everyday transactions across Facebook in a way that more volatile cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, haven’t been. The project is the culmination of a year-long effort as Facebook seeks to spur growth on its various platforms that already count more than 2 billion users. But it will also likely face skepticism–from regulators who already think Facebook has too much power and plays loose with digital privacy, and from those that are dubious of cryptocurrencies, which are known more for speculative investments and blackmarket commerce than for legitimate financial transactions.Read Facebook's white paper on Project Libra here.If successful, Libra could make Facebook a much bigger player in financial services.  Cryptocurrency firms have been trying to build cross-border, digital currencies on the blockchain to disrupt traditional banking and payments for a decade, but nothing has caught on at the scale of traditional money yet.Facebook, which announced the project with 27 partners, is already under wide-ranging regulatory scrutiny over how it handles users’ private data. Growth of its main platform has plateaued in some major markets and crypto payments would be a way to turn messaging – across WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram -- into a business that complements its advertising operation, which generates almost all of its revenue. Facebook shares gained early Tuesday as analysts saw the move as a potentially major new profit stream. “We view Facebook’s introduction of the Libra currency as a potential watershed moment for the company and global adoption of crypto,” wrote Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets who has an outperform rating and $250 price target on Facebook shares. “In terms of scale and importance, we believe this new financial infrastructure could be viewed similar to Apple’s introduction of iOS to developers over a decade ago.”Still, the announcement was met immediately with political opposition in Europe, with calls for tighter regulation of the company. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Libra shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for traditional currencies and called on the Group of Seven central bank governors to prepare a report on the project for their July meeting.“It is out of question’’ that Libra “become a sovereign currency,’’ LeMaire said in an interview on Europe 1 radio. “It can’t and it must not happen.”Read More: Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Project: Who’s In and Who’s OutFacebook Could Be for Crypto What AOL Was for Internet Adoption Crypto Chiefs Novogratz, Allaire Say Facebook Coin Bullish SignFacebook Rallies as Analysts Praise 'Watershed' Crypto Move France Calls for Central Bank Review of Facebook CryptocurrencyTo come anywhere close to matching the U.S. dollar for utility and acceptance, Libra will need to be widely trusted. So Facebook and its partners are mimicking how other currencies have been introduced in the past.“To help instill trust in a new currency and gain widespread adoption during its infancy, it was guaranteed that a country’s notes could be traded in for real assets, such as gold,” the companies wrote in a white paper. “Instead of backing Libra with gold, though, it will be backed by a collection of low-volatility assets, such as bank deposits and short-term government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks."The total number of Libra can change, and new digital coins can be issued whenever someone wants to exchange their Libra for an existing fiat currency, so the price shouldn’t fluctuate any more than other stable currencies, according to David Marcus, head of the Facebook blockchain team that’s spearheading the project.“It would make a scenario where there’s a run on the bank completely impossible, because we are backed one-for-one,” he said. Libra will also be audited, he added, an important step in an industry with limited transparency.Facebook has closely guarded its crypto plans for more than a year, though many of the details have already been reported by Bloomberg News and other outlets.Read about how Marcus tapped PayPal talent to build Facebook’s blockchain team.Marcus, who used to run Facebook Messenger, said Facebook plans to build a new digital wallet that will exist inside Messenger and its other standalone messaging service, WhatsApp. Once Libra is up and running, the currency and the digital wallet should make it easier for people to send money to friends, family and businesses through the apps. Libra will run on the so-called blockchain, a database that can use millions of computers to verify transactions, eliminating risks that come with information being held centrally by a single entity. Facebook created a new subsidiary, called Calibra, to build the new wallet and focus on the company’s blockchain efforts.Facebook's track record in payments and commerce has been spotty. A few years ago, it began letting people buy flowers or hail an Uber through its Messenger service. Those features have not been huge hits. In 2010, it began offering Facebook Credits, a way to buy virtual goods inside Facebook games. But in 2012 it scrapped Credits, and in 2013 it started working with third-party services like PayPal process some payments. Facebook's revenue from "payments and other service" was less than 2% of total sales in 2018. When it finally arrives, Libra will be late to a party that’s been going on so long, many of the party-goers have either left or collapsed. Some past attempts to make coins usable for commerce, such as Bitcoin, haven’t widely caught on yet because price volatility mainly attracted traders and speculators. Predecessor stablecoins, like Tether, have been used by some traders to park funds in during times of high volatility, but have not been broadly adopted for commerce.Read more about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s early plans for cryptocurrency. U.S. regulations may represent another hurdle for Facebook. Creating a digital currency doesn’t just require buy-in from financial institutions who need to accept it, and consumers who need to trust it, but it requires approval from regulators, too. The Securities and Exchange Commission has shut down about a dozen businesses issuing their own tokens for violations of securities law. Marcus said Facebook has been in contact with regulators and central banks, but added that the company hasn’t received a “no-action” letter from the SEC yet. That would have safeguarded the project from regulatory action by the agency.One way Facebook hopes to appease regulators is through the Libra Association, a governing body tasked with making decisions about Libra. Firms including Visa and PayPal Holdings Inc. are part of the group. Marcus described these members as “co-founders,” and said they will have an equal say in how the cryptocurrency is managed.“Facebook will not have any special privilege or special voting rights at the association level,” said Marcus, the former president of PayPal. “We will have competitors and other players on top of this platform that will build competing wallets and services.”All Libra Association members are putting a minimum of $10 million into a reserve to help support the cryptocurrency’s value. This buy-in comes with voting privileges. However, the association’s governance structure is still in flux, and most of the group’s crucial decisions, including the creation of its charter, have not yet been decided, according to several members of the group. They asked not to be identified discussing private details.“Facebook will not have any special privilege”Libra’s timing could also pose challenges. Facebook is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission over the company’s privacy practices. Some have called for the company to be broken up, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. Asking consumers to put more trust in the social media giant, and giving Facebook a strong entry into the world of digital payments and banking, will likely draw further criticism.Opinion: Crypto-evangelists hoped digital currencies would challenge Big Tech’s data control. Zuckerberg has other plans.The company plans to keep financial data gathered from Libra users separate from Facebook user data. That’s why Facebook’s digital wallet will exist under the Calibra subsidiary, which will house user transaction data on separate servers, Marcus said. If a WhatsApp user uses her Calibra wallet to send money to a friend or pay a retailer, those interactions won’t be stored alongside her social-media profile.“There’s a clear distinction between Calibra and what Calibra has access to, and what Facebook Inc. has access to,” Marcus said. “It’s very clear that people don’t want their financial data from an account to be comingled with social data or to be used for other purposes.”(Updates with analyst comment, French finance minister, and shares.)\--With assistance from Jennifer Surane.To contact the authors of this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netOlga Kharif in Portland at okharif@bloomberg.netJulie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Why Global Population Growth Will Grind to a Halt by 2100

    Why Global Population Growth Will Grind to a Halt by 2100Global population growth will nearly grind to a stop by the end of the century, a new analysis by the Pew Research Center suggests.Right now, the world's population is over 7.7 billion people, and it has been growing between 1% and 2% every year since 1950, according to the Pew Research Center. By 2100, the center projects the population will reach around 10.9 billion people and grow by less than 0.1% a year, the center wrote.This is mostly due to a decreasing number of children born worldwide, the analysis said, based on data from the United Nation's report "World Population Prospects 2019."The U.N.'s report found that global fertility rates will be less than the "replacement fertility rate," or the number of births per woman that would keep the population the same size, replacing people as they die. The current replacement fertility rate is 2.1 births per woman, which is less than the current global fertility rate of 2.5 births per woman. By 2100, the global fertility rate is expected to dip to 1.9 births per woman. [5 Ways the World Will Change Radically This Century]What's more, the U.N. report found that the global average age to which people live will increase from 31 to 42 by 2100. Between 2020 and 2100, people 80 and over will increase from the current 146 million to 881 million. Latin America and the Caribbean will have the oldest people in the world by 2100.Only Africa is expected to have a strong population growth by the end of the century, increasing from 1.3 billion people in 2020 to 4.3 billion people in 2100. Meanwhile, Europe's population is expected to peak in 2021, and both Europe and Latin America will be declining in population by 2100. Asia will increase in population by 2055, then decline and North America's population will continue to increase, mostly because of migration to the area, according to the U.N. report. * 10 Species Our Population Explosion Will Likely Kill Off * 7 Population Milestones for 7 Billion People * Countdown to 7 Billion: Should World Adopt 'One-Child' Policy?Originally published on Live Science.


  • The Plastic We 'Recycle' Is Actually Horrible for the Environment

    The Plastic We 'Recycle' Is Actually Horrible for the EnvironmentWhen you drop your plastic waste into the recycling bin, it most likely makes its way around the world, where it can pose a health and security risk to developing countries, according to a new Guardian report.The planet is getting buried under plastic: beaches are littered with it, sea life is choking on it, and a new report finds that we're even drinking a credit-card-size amount of plastic every week from our drinking water. Needless to say, recycling is a good idea.Until it's done wrong. That plastic bottle that you drop into a recycling bin on the streets of New York isn't always broken down and crafted into a brand-new product. Sometimes, it ends up across the world in someone's backyard, taking its place among scores of supermarket bags and snack pouches. [In Photos: The World's 10 Most Polluted Places]The U.S. ships about 1 million tons of plastic waste overseas every year. Much of that plastic used to end up in China, where it was recycled -- that is, until the country abruptly stopped most of the plastic waste imports in 2017. Now, a good part of U.S. plastic waste is shipped to the world's poorest countries for recycling, including Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal, the Guardian reported.Last year, about 68,000 shipping containers' worth of plastic recycling waste from the U.S. were shipped to developing countries, which mismanage over 70% of their own plastic waste, they wrote. For example, Malaysia dumps or improperly disposes 55% of its own plastic waste, yet it receives more U.S. recyclables than any other country, they wrote. What's more, an estimated 20% to 70% of plastic waste that goes to recycling facilities worldwide is unusable and discarded as trash, according to the report.Beyond just having to live among the trash that litters their beaches and streets, the increasing number of plastic processing facilities that are popping up in these countries is posing health risks to citizens who live among contaminated water supplies and the smell of plastic fumes, they wrote.This report is part of the Guardian's six-month-long Toxic America series. * 7 Everyday Toxic Things You Shouldn't Toss in the Trash * In Photos: Litter Transforms Into Sea Creatures in Stunning Shots * In Images: The Great Pacific Garbage PatchOriginally published on Live Science.


  • Hungry polar bear found wandering in Russia industrial city

    Hungry polar bear found wandering in Russia industrial cityA hungry polar bear has been spotted on the outskirts of the Russian industrial city of Norilsk, hundreds of miles from its natural habitat, authorities said Tuesday. Images of the visibly exhausted animal roaming the roads of the Arctic city in search of food have been widely shared on social media in Russia. "He is still moving around a factory, under observation by police and the emergency services, who are ensuring his safety and those of residents," environmental services official Alexander Korobkin told AFP.


  • Neolithic People Made Fake Islands More Than 5,600 Years Ago

    Neolithic People Made Fake Islands More Than 5,600 Years AgoHundreds of tiny islands around Scotland didn't arise naturally. They're fakes that were constructed out of boulders, clay and timbers by Neolithic people about 5,600 years ago, a new study finds.Researchers have known about these artificial islands, known as crannogs, for decades. But many archaeologists thought that the crannogs were made more recently, in the Iron Age about 2,800 years ago.The new finding not only shows that these crannogs are much older than previously thought but also that they were likely "special locations" for Neolithic people, according to nearby pottery fragments found by modern divers, the researchers wrote in the study. [In Photos: Anglo-Saxon Island Settlement Discovered]Initially, many researchers thought that Scotland's crannogs were built around 800 B.C. and reused until post-medieval times in A.D. 1700. But in the 1980s, hints began to emerge that some of these islands were made much earlier. In addition, in 2012, Chris Murray, a former Royal Navy diver, found well-preserved Neolithic pots on the lake floor near some of these islands, and he alerted a local museum about the discovery.To investigate, two U.K archaeologists, Duncan Garrow from the University of Reading and Fraser Sturt from the University of Southampton, teamed up in 2016 and 2017 to take a comprehensive look at several crannogs in the Outer Hebrides, an artificial island hotspot off the coast of northern Scotland. In particular, they looked at islets in three lakes: Loch Arnish, Loch Bhorgastail and Loch Langabhat.Aerial images of six of the Neolithic islet sites, all shown at the same scale. These include 1) Arnish; 2) Bhorgastail; 3) Eilean Domhnuill; 4) Lochan Duna (Ranish); 5) Loch an Dunain; and 6) Langabhat. Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd; Copyright Getmapping PLC; Duncan Garrow and Fraser Sturt, Antiquity 2019.According to radiocarbon dating, four of the crannogs were created between 3640 B.C. and 3360 B.C., the researchers found. Other evidence, including ground and underwater surveys, palaeoenvironmental coring and excavation, supported the idea that these particular islets dated to the Neolithic.Archaeologists have yet to find any Neolithic structures on the islands, and they said more excavations were needed. But divers found dozens of Neolithic pottery fragments, some of them burnt, around the islets at Bhorgastail and Langabhat, the researchers said.These pots were likely dropped into the water intentionally, possibly for a ritual, the researchers said.Divers find a piece of a 'Hebridean Neolithic' vessel from Loch Langabhat, one of the artificial islands made during the Neolithic. Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd; Photograph by D. Garrow; Duncan Garrow and Fraser Sturt, Antiquity 2019.Each of the islets is fairly small, measuring approximately 33 feet (10 meters) across. One islet in Loch Bhorgastail even had a stone causeway connecting it to the mainland. And though it undoubtedly took a lot of work to make these crannogs, these structures were clearly important to ancient people, as there are 570 known in Scotland alone. (There are more in Ireland, the researchers noted.)So far, just 10% of the crannogs in Scotland have been radiocarbon dated, meaning that there may be more ancient crannogs than these newfound Neolithic ones, the researchers said.The study was published online June 12 in the journal Antiquity. * In Photos: The Vanishing Ice of Baffin Island * In Photos: Impossible Rocks on a Remote Island * Photos: Beautiful & Ever-Changing Barrier IslandsOriginally published on Live Science.


  • Novo Nordisk's Victoza Gets FDA Nod for Pediatric Patients

    Novo Nordisk's Victoza Gets FDA Nod for Pediatric PatientsNovo Nordisk's (NVO) Victoza gets FDA approval for the treatment of pediatric patients aged 10 years or older with type II diabetes.


  • Astronomers searching for alien life release biggest set of data in history

    Astronomers searching for alien life release biggest set of data in historyAstronomers say they are releasing the biggest set of data ever made public in the search for alien life.Researchers from Breakthrough Listen – a $100 million alien-hunting project launched by luminaries including Stephen Hawking – says it has completed the "most comprehensive and sensitive" search for signatures of alien technology ever performed.And it will release the data from its search for alien life in the hope that others might be able to find information inside of it, its researchers say. The dump comprises one petabyte of radio and optical telescope data.The Breakthrough Listen team working at the University of California, Berkeley’s SETI Research Center say they have been working on a number of techniques that are designed to spot "technosignatures" elsewhere in the universe. Those signals might indicate the use of technology such as transmitters or propulsion devices on other worlds beyond Earth, perhaps built by alien civilisations.Such technosignatures might be powerful signals that are sent over only a limited range of radio frequencies, or bright lasers shooting through the universe. Researchers have also developed new algorithms that will allow them to better understanding unexplained astrophysical phenomena, they said.The astronomers are yet to find anything in that data, despite the intense work. But its release could lead to further breakthroughs, they hope, and will help inform future work as they continue to refine their work.“This data release is a tremendous milestone for the Breakthrough Listen team,” said Danny Price, the Breakthrough Listen Project Scientist for the Parkes observatory in Australia, in a statement.“We scoured thousands of hours of observations of nearby stars, across billions of frequency channels. We found no evidence of artificial signals from beyond Earth, but this doesn't mean there isn't intelligent life out there: we may just not have looked in the right place yet, or peered deep enough to detect faint signals.”The data is being released through a devoted page on the University of California, Berkeley’s website. Papers describing the methods for harvesting it have also been uploaded to that page as well as being submitted to astrophysics journals.


  • Who is this see-through alien?

    Who is this see-through alien?"Who is this alien?" is Mashable's enduring series about the exceptionally peculiar critters that inhabit a relatively small, ocean-dominated world in the outer realms of the Milky Way galaxy, called Earth. Many of these lifeforms, you'll find, are quite alien. * * *California's Monterey Bay teems with whales and vivacious seals. But, over 1,000 feet beneath the surface, swim the little-seen "glass squids." They are transparent, except for their guts, arms, and bulbous eyes. "They're very alien looking," said Stephanie Bush, a marine ecologist who closely studied these creatures while working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). "They have different body structures than what we're used to." Two particularly curious types of see-through squids residing in the crescent-shaped bay are the genuses Taonius and Galiteuthis -- both from the same squid family.A  squid videotaped at 600 meters beneath the surface.Image: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)In the dingy, almost lightless (or even completely dark) ocean depths, the squids' translucence is crucial. "It's one of the common ways to hide yourself from predators in the deep, open ocean," noted Bush, who is now an invertebrate researcher at the Smithsonian Institution.Deep sea predators are extremely sensitive to any light that penetrates through 1,000 or 2,000 feet of water. So, if something (like a squid) swims above a predator and alters the lighting or creates a silhouette -- however faint -- that something will likely soon be gulped up. "The idea is you have a very limited silhouette," said Bush. That's also why the glass squids often hold their pair of tentacles and eight arms up in the water, as if they're reaching for the sky -- to limit their silhouette or shadow."They hold their arms and tentacles together in a bunch -- like a cockatoo," said Bush.  It's not easy to catch a glimpse of these see-through creatures. MBARI spots them using underwater robots, known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), that dive down to the inhospitable ocean depths to observe the alien life therein. SEE ALSO: Who is this alien? Why, it's the psychedelic frogfish.While there's still much to grasp about these elusive deep sea lifeforms, Bush and other marine ecologists have observed a decent amount from these transparent squids. The Taonius, for example, is often found between some 1,300 and 2,620 feet beneath the surface (400 to 800 meters) in Monterey Bay, though they've been spotted in other oceans around the globe, too. They're about as long as the width of a sheet of paper (8.5 or so inches). It's unknown, however, what exactly they eat. But it's probably "whatever they can get their tentacles and arms on," said Bush.An orange Galiteuthis spotted in 2001.Image: MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM RESEARCH INSTITUTE (MBARI) The Taonius' relative, the Galiteuthis, is especially unique in that the organism can inject ink into its transparent body, making it appear even darker -- likely to better disguise itself from nearby predators. "They puff their body up and turn themselves into an opaque animal for a short amount of time," explained Bush.   In the deep, dark, eerie sea, both Taonius and Galiteuthis rely on big eyes to see through their blackened world. It's absolutely vital for finding a meal. And a mate."Their eyes are huge," said Bush. "They have to find a mate, too, or bye-bye to the species." WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?


  • This One Thing Could Make China An Aircraft Carrier Superpower

    This One Thing Could Make China An Aircraft Carrier SuperpowerChina currently has two aircraft carriers and is widely believed to be building at least one more.Beijing appears to be eyeing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), a state-owned firm and the largest naval manufacturer in the country, recently expressed interest in accelerating its research into nuclear-powered carriers, among other military technologies. In a statement issued at the end of last month, CSIC said that it plans to “speed up the process of making technological breakthroughs in nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, new-type nuclear submarines, quiet submarines, maritime unmanned intelligent confrontation systems, maritime three-dimensional offensive and defensive systems, and naval warfare comprehensive electronic information systems.”Defense News, which translated a copy of the statement, also quoted CSIC as saying “that these breakthroughs are required for China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, to enhance its capability to globally operate in line with the service’s aim to become a networked, blue-water navy by 2025.”Recommended: Why North Korea's Air Force is Total Junk


  • AstraZeneca/Merck's Lynparza Wins EU Nod for First-Line Use

    AstraZeneca/Merck's Lynparza Wins EU Nod for First-Line UseAstraZeneca (AZN) and Merck's PARP inhibitor, Lynparza, gets approval in EU as a front-line therapy for BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer.


  • More than 100 children die in India in encephalitis outbreak

    More than 100 children die in India in encephalitis outbreakMore than 100 children have died in an encephalitis outbreak in India's eastern state of Bihar, authorities said Tuesday. Bihar health secretary Sanjay Kumar said 106 children had died and more than 430 others between the ages of 4 and 10 were being treated at hospitals in Muzaffarpur district, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Patna, the state capital. Despite the deaths, Kumar said the mortality rate among children from encephalitis, which can cause swelling of the brain, a burning fever and vomiting, had dropped to 26.5% from 34% a year ago.


  • Facebook Warns It Can’t Fully Solve Toxic Content Problem

    Facebook Warns It Can’t Fully Solve Toxic Content Problem(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is under pressure to rid its site of hate speech and fake news but warned it can’t build a platform impervious to human nature.“This is not a fully solvable problem,” Carolyn Everson, a vice president responsible for marketing at the social media giant, said on a panel Tuesday at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in the south of France. “There are some bad parts of humanity, and the platforms are a reflection of that.”Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google’s YouTube have come under fire for not doing enough to curb the spread of hate speech, terrorist propaganda and disinformation on their platforms.Facebook hasn’t been sitting idle on the issue, though: It said it removed 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter alone. Everson said Facebook has 30,000 people working on the issue of the safety of the platform, up from less than 3,000 people two years ago. Facebook now takes down 99.8% of terrorist content before it’s seen by a human, and 65% of hate speech content, she said.“It’s a cat and mouse game,” Everson said. “This work is never going to be done. It’s ongoing.”To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Mayes in London at jmayes9@bloomberg.net;Stefan Nicola in Berlin at snicola2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at rpenty@bloomberg.net, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • EU issues 'green' investment guide to help combat climate change

    EU issues 'green' investment guide to help combat climate changeThe European Commission sought to boost the flow of private money to tackle climate change on Tuesday by publishing guidelines on what qualifies as environmentally friendly investment, in a move welcomed by the financial industry. The European Union has agreed to substantial reductions of carbon emissions by 2030 and its executive, the Commission, wants the bloc to reduce them to zero by 2050 to help stop global warming, the rise of average worldwide temperatures. To cut emissions by 2030, many sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, agriculture and energy, require an extra annual investment of between 180 and 290 billion euros and even more is needed to achieve zero emissions by 2050.


  • Banks With $100 Billion in Shipping Loans Get Strict on Climate

    Banks With $100 Billion in Shipping Loans Get Strict on Climate(Bloomberg) -- A group of financiers with $100 billion of loans to shipowners are about to get stricter on the kinds of vessels they’ll finance as part of a drive to improve the maritime industry’s environmental performance.Eleven major financiers including Citigroup Inc. and Societe Generale SA are for the first time adopting a set of principles requiring them to maintain their lending books in a way that matches goals in the Paris climate agreement, as well as related targets adopted by global regulator the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.It means banks will favor financing of cleaner vessels while shying away from those carriers that are more polluting. The shift will potentially help to tighten a well-supplied freight market that’s depressed rates, said Michael Parker, global head of shipping & logistics at Citigroup.“Shipowners will think more carefully about the economic life of the asset,” he said. “Climate is a new consideration they haven’t really had in the past.”A lack of bank finance today is already keeping new ordering low and the impact of the principles will become evident in the next two-to-three years as shipowners consider new IMO targets and limit orders to cleaner vessels, which might reduce supply of new ships, Parker said. There’s already a pick up in scrapping of older ships after the IMO imposed clean-fuel rules for ships starting in 2020, he said.The financial institutions’ so-called Poseidon Principles will establish a baseline to assess and disclose whether the lenders’ portfolios are in line with the climate goals. They’ll also serve as a tool to manage investment risks such as those posed by new fuels standards or carbon pricing. Under the plan, a loan book that’s ready for new climate policies would be more valuable than one that isn’t.Banks and pension funds are increasingly pushing for companies in many industries to cut emissions in an effort to reduce the risk of wild stock-market fluctuations caused by climate change and new policies. The Climate Action 100+ group says its goal is to drive change at companies contributing the most greenhouse gas emissions.“The Poseidon Principles rewrite the role that the financial sector can play in helping achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said James Mitchell, a manager in the climate finance and industry programs at environmental group the Rocky Mountain Institute, which helped develop the measures.The principles for shipping, being adopted by banks that also include DNB ASA, are intended to evolve over time as the IMO tightens its policies. Shipping companies including A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S are also behind the initiative.The rules initially mean lending would dovetail with a goal that greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping will peak as soon as possible and fall by at least 50% of their 2008 levels by 2050.“We know that the portfolio that’s aligned with the target today may not be aligned in 2023, when the targets will probably be tightened,” said Parker, who is the chair of the principles’ drafting committee.The shift should encourage shipbuilders to innovate with designs so vessels can, in future, switch to cleaner fuels such as biofuels, hydrogen or ammonia from the heavy fuel they use today, said Tristan Smith, a reader in energy and shipping at University College London who helped develop the principles. Vessels that don’t have the flexibility to switch fuels may limit their useful life.It’s possible some shipowners will continue ordering dirty ships, betting rules that damage their profitability won’t come anytime soon, Smith said.If a carrier isn’t able to attract good rates, its owner will “either have to accept a much lower second-hand value or have to scrap it prematurely,” he said. “It’s a chain of events that isn’t yet in the regulation, but it’s highly foreseeable.”Bloomberg Philanthropies, which along with Bloomberg LP is owned by Michael Bloomberg, helps fund the Rocky Mountain Institute. The nonprofit helped develop the principles.(Updates with analyst comment in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London at m.carr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Alaric Nightingale, Rachel GrahamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Banks With $100 Billion in Shipping Loans Get Strict on Climate

    Banks With $100 Billion in Shipping Loans Get Strict on Climate(Bloomberg) -- A group of financiers with $100 billion of loans to shipowners are about to get stricter on the kinds of vessels they’ll finance as part of a drive to improve the maritime industry’s environmental performance.Eleven major financiers including Citigroup Inc. and Societe Generale SA are for the first time adopting a set of principles requiring them to maintain their lending books in a way that matches goals in the Paris climate agreement, as well as related targets adopted by global regulator the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.It means banks will favor financing of cleaner vessels while shying away from those carriers that are more polluting. The shift will potentially help to tighten a well-supplied freight market that’s depressed rates, said Michael Parker, global head of shipping & logistics at Citigroup.“Shipowners will think more carefully about the economic life of the asset,” he said. “Climate is a new consideration they haven’t really had in the past.”A lack of bank finance today is already keeping new ordering low and the impact of the principles will become evident in the next two-to-three years as shipowners consider new IMO targets and limit orders to cleaner vessels, which might reduce supply of new ships, Parker said. There’s already a pick up in scrapping of older ships after the IMO imposed clean-fuel rules for ships starting in 2020, he said.The financial institutions’ so-called Poseidon Principles will establish a baseline to assess and disclose whether the lenders’ portfolios are in line with the climate goals. They’ll also serve as a tool to manage investment risks such as those posed by new fuels standards or carbon pricing. Under the plan, a loan book that’s ready for new climate policies would be more valuable than one that isn’t.Banks and pension funds are increasingly pushing for companies in many industries to cut emissions in an effort to reduce the risk of wild stock-market fluctuations caused by climate change and new policies. The Climate Action 100+ group says its goal is to drive change at companies contributing the most greenhouse gas emissions.“The Poseidon Principles rewrite the role that the financial sector can play in helping achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said James Mitchell, a manager in the climate finance and industry programs at environmental group the Rocky Mountain Institute, which helped develop the measures.The principles for shipping, being adopted by banks that also include DNB ASA, are intended to evolve over time as the IMO tightens its policies. Shipping companies including A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S are also behind the initiative.The rules initially mean lending would dovetail with a goal that greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping will peak as soon as possible and fall by at least 50% of their 2008 levels by 2050.“We know that the portfolio that’s aligned with the target today may not be aligned in 2023, when the targets will probably be tightened,” said Parker, who is the chair of the principles’ drafting committee.The shift should encourage shipbuilders to innovate with designs so vessels can, in future, switch to cleaner fuels such as biofuels, hydrogen or ammonia from the heavy fuel they use today, said Tristan Smith, a reader in energy and shipping at University College London who helped develop the principles. Vessels that don’t have the flexibility to switch fuels may limit their useful life.It’s possible some shipowners will continue ordering dirty ships, betting rules that damage their profitability won’t come anytime soon, Smith said.If a carrier isn’t able to attract good rates, its owner will “either have to accept a much lower second-hand value or have to scrap it prematurely,” he said. “It’s a chain of events that isn’t yet in the regulation, but it’s highly foreseeable.”Bloomberg Philanthropies, which along with Bloomberg LP is owned by Michael Bloomberg, helps fund the Rocky Mountain Institute. The nonprofit helped develop the principles.(Updates with analyst comment in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London at m.carr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Alaric Nightingale, Rachel GrahamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • EU nations receive mixed scorecard on climate goals

    EU nations receive mixed scorecard on climate goalsThe European Union urged its member states on Tuesday to accelerate efforts to meet their 2030 climate goals after a review showed them falling short in some areas as the bloc's leaders prepare to debate going carbon-neutral by 2050. With the mid-century target on the agenda at an EU summit this week, the European Commission's audit showed the 28-nation bloc on track to meet its headline pledge of cutting emissions by 40% by 2030.


  • Slashing plane emissions a lofty goal, but progress elusive

    Slashing plane emissions a lofty goal, but progress elusiveThe aircraft industry is facing growing criticism over greenhouse gas emissions that are set to soar as more people take to the skies, but experts say game-changing technology for cleaner planes is still decades away. Dozens of firms at the Paris Air Show this week are touting their green credentials, with the industry pledging to halve its carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. From electric quadcopters to new engines powered by natural gas or hydrogen, the projects on display in Paris promise to revolutionise how people will eventually get across town or across the world.


  • Indonesian teen wakeboards waterlogged streets to protest floods

    Indonesian teen wakeboards waterlogged streets to protest floodsA group of teenagers in Indonesia are wakeboarding the submerged streets of their hometown to protest against the urban flooding that regularly plagues much of the tropical archipelago. After several days of heavy rains in Samarinda city, on Borneo island, the fed-up group launched their waterlogged demonstration in a now-viral Instagram video. Curious onlookers gaped as Muhammad Fahri Ramadhan, 19, showed off a few tricks as he carved-up the dirty, waist-high water -- pulled by a car instead of a boat.


  • Ireland to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030

    Ireland to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030Ireland has announced it will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 as part of its new climate change plan. The government hopes to have 950,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by then, supported by a network of charging stations. The measure is one of 180 proposals covering business, construction, transport, agriculture and waste management intended to put Ireland on a path to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


  • Environment Is Everything at This Williamsburg Café by Day, Restaurant by Night

    Environment Is Everything at This Williamsburg Café by Day, Restaurant by NightApollonia owners Danny Minch and Dylan Dodd wanted to break the mold of how traditional restaurants in New York City work, with an all-day food experience and an adjacent artists' room.


  • Ireland to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030

    Ireland to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030Ireland has announced it will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 as part of its new climate change plan. The government hopes to have 950,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by then, supported by a network of charging stations. The measure is one of 180 proposals covering business, construction, transport, agriculture and waste management intended to put Ireland on a path to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


  • Bone-Crushing Hyenas Lived in Canada's Arctic During the Last Ice Age

    Bone-Crushing Hyenas Lived in Canada's Arctic During the Last Ice AgeDuring the last ice age, bone-crushing hyenas stalked the snowy Canadian Arctic, likely satisfying their meat cravings by hunting herds of caribou and horses, while also scavenging mammoth carcasses on the tundra, a new study finds.The big finding -- that ancient hyenas lived in the North American Arctic -- is based on two tiny teeth, which archaeologists found in Canada's northern Yukon Territory.The two teeth fill a gaping hole in the fossil record. Researchers already had evidence that the wolf-size hyena known as Chasmaporthetes lived in Mongolia and -- after crossing the Bering Strait land bridge -- Kansas and central Mexico. The newfound teeth show where the Chasmaporthetes lived between these two places: about 4,000 miles (6,500 kilometers) away from the Old World in Mongolia and 2,500 miles (4,000 km) northward of Kansas, the researchers said. [Image Gallery: Hyenas at the Kill]In other words, Chasmaporthetes was able to adapt to all kinds of environments, study lead researcher Jack Tseng, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University at Buffalo in New York, told Live Science.Archaeologists originally found the two fossil teeth in the 1970s, in a fossil hotspot known as Old Crow Basin. But nobody ever published studies on the teeth, which languished for decades in the collections of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottowa, Ontario.In the 1970s, researchers found the two ancient hyenas teeth in the Old Crow River region (known as Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation) in Canada's Yukon Territory. Duane Froese/University of AlbertaTseng learned about the teeth only through word of mouth. Intrigued, he hopped in his car and drove the 6 hours from Buffalo to Ottawa in February, the dead of winter. The teeth, a molar and premolar, were so distinct, that "within the first 5 minutes, I was pretty sure this was Chasmaporthetes," he told Live Science.When most people think of hyenas, they picture the carnivores roaming Africa today. But hyenas actually arose in Europe or Asia about 20 million years ago. Only later did hyenas make their way into Africa, and an even smaller number trekked across the Bering Strait land bridge to North America, at least according to the preexisting fossil record.The teeth are challenging to date because they were found in the inner bend of a river -- meaning that the current washed them away from their original resting place. But based on the geology of the basin, the teeth are likely between 1.4 million and 850,000 years old, Tseng said.These teeth aren't from the oldest hyenas in North America, however. That prize goes to the 4.7-million-year-old hyena fossils found in Kansas, Tseng said.This fossil tooth belonged to an ancient hyena during the last ice age. This tooth has sat in a collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature since it was found in 1977. Grant Zazula/Government of Yukon He added that these ancient hyenas never ran into a human. The beasts went extinct in North America between 1 million and 500,000 years ago, long before humans arrived in the Americas. (One of the oldest human traces in the Americas is a 15,600-year-old footprint in Chile.) It's unclear why these hyenas disappeared, but it's possible that other voracious ice age carnivores, such as the bone-cracking dog (Borophagus), giant short-faced bear (Arctodus) or hunting-dog-like canid (Xenocyon) took over their habitats and outcompeted them for prey, Tseng said.Today, there are only four living species of hyena -- three bone-crushing species and the ant-eating aardwolf. Given that Chasmaporthetes was a bone crusher too, it likely played a large role in disposing of carcasses in ancient North America, much like vultures do today, Tseng said.The new study takes a much-needed dive into carnivore evolution and diversity in North America, said Blaine Schubert, executive director of the Center of Excellence in Paleontology and professor of geosciences at East Tennessee State University, who was not involved with the study."It has long been hypothesized that hyenas crossed the Beringian land bridge to enter North America, but evidence was lacking," Schubert told Live Science in an email. "These new fossils support the Beringian dispersal hypothesis and dramatically increase the range of Chasmaporthetes."The study was published online today (June 18) in the journal Open Quaternary. * My, What Sharp Teeth! 12 Living and Extinct Saber-Toothed Animals * 10 Extinct Giants That Once Roamed North America * Ice Age Animal Bones Uncovered During LA Subway ExcavationOriginally published on Live Science.


  • New study finds dogs are 97% accurate when sniffing out lung cancer

    New study finds dogs are 97% accurate when sniffing out lung cancerA small US study has found that beagles may be able to sniff out lung cancer with nearly 100 percent accuracy, suggesting that using dogs to detect the disease could be an effective way for mass cancer screening. Carried out by researchers at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, the team chose three beagles for the study, a breed of dog known for its excellent sense of smell. The team spent eight weeks training the dogs before carrying out the tests, which involved the dogs sniffing blood serum samples from both healthy patients and those with non-small cell lung cancer at nose level.


  • EU urged to halt trade talks with S. America over Brazil abuses

    EU urged to halt trade talks with S. America over Brazil abusesHundreds of activist groups on Tuesday urged the EU to "immediately halt negotiations" for a trade deal with Mercosur countries over Brazil's alleged harm of its indigenous people and rainforests. The appeal from more than 340 groups could further complicate the European Union's bid to conclude 20 years of talks for a free trade agreement with Brazil and its Mercosur partners Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. In an open letter, Greenpeace as well as an array of NGOs across Europe and Latin America reminded the EU it had previously suspended trade preferences with Myanmar and the Philippines over alleged human rights abuses.


  • Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spread

    Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spreadHealth workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said on Tuesday. Two people who had travelled from Congo died in Uganda last week, the World Health Organization said. A three-year-old boy who was sent back to Congo after testing positive for the disease died at the weekend, Congo's health ministry said.


  • Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spread

    Uganda clears three experimental Ebola treatments, watches for spreadHealth workers have got the all-clear to use three experimental Ebola treatments in Uganda, a week after the deadly disease spread over the border from Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said on Tuesday. Two people who had travelled from Congo died in Uganda last week, the World Health Organization said. A three-year-old boy who was sent back to Congo after testing positive for the disease died at the weekend, Congo's health ministry said.


  • NASA boss says 'no doubt' SpaceX explosion delays flight program

    NASA boss says 'no doubt' SpaceX explosion delays flight programThe explosion that destroyed a SpaceX astronaut taxi in April "no doubt" delays NASA's drive to return Americans to the International Space Station from U.S. soil later this year, the U.S. space agency's chief said on Tuesday. "There is no doubt the schedule will change," Bridenstine told reporters at the Paris Airshow. Bridenstine's comments cast fresh doubt on billionaire Elon Musk's goal of returning astronauts to the orbiting research lab from U.S. soil this year, though a person familiar with the matter said SpaceX has privately expressed confidence that it can rebound.


  • Trump to Swap Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ for Modest Upgrades

    Trump to Swap Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ for Modest Upgrades(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is on track to obliterate former President Barack Obama’s signature plan for combating climate change by replacing sweeping curbs on power plant emissions with requirements for modest upgrades at the sites.The Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil its rewrite of the Clean Power Plan as soon as Wednesday, finalizing a replacement rule that would establish pollution guidelines based on potential gains from efficiency upgrades at individual facilities.Like a proposal released last October, the EPA’s final rule gives U.S. states wide latitude to design their own plans for paring carbon dioxide emissions at power plants, according to people familiar with the measure who asked not to be named before it was released.The effort fulfills President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to rip up the Clean Power Plan and dovetails with his administration’s retreat from a global fight against climate change. Trump announced in June 2017 that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate accord, a global carbon-cutting agreement reached in 2015, and the EPA is now unwinding Obama-era regulations targeting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, automobiles and oil wells.Yet the latest decision -- which faces an inevitable legal challenge -- prolongs uncertainty for electric utilities and power generators that are already eschewing coal-fired power and embracing cleaner natural gas and renewables.Less AmbitiousTrump’s approach is significantly less ambitious than the Obama administration’s rule by relying on a narrow view of the “best system of emission reduction” at coal-fired power plants, said Janet McCabe, the EPA’s former acting administrator for air quality.“It constrains it only to the things that power plants can do within their fence line,” McCabe said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday.EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has said the agency’s planned power plant changes empower states to pare emissions while ensuring Americans have access to reliable and affordable energy.Environmentalists have already vowed to battle the replacement rule in federal court -- setting up potential legal wrangling that could last years. Already, court action prevented Obama’s Clean Power Plan from going into effect. The Supreme Court put off the initiative in February 2016, amid legal challenges from opponents who said the EPA had overstepped its authority.At the time it was imposed, the Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 32% from 2005 levels by 2030.In a change from its earlier proposal, the EPA will not simultaneously finalize provisions authorizing companies to upgrade old power plants without triggering requirements for costly pollution control systems, said the people. That change is expected to come later, as the EPA works to overhaul its so-called New Source Review program governing pollution controls at power plants and industrial facilities.A ShiftThose permitting changes were needed to drive more aggressive efficiency improvements at individual power plants, the EPA argued in its proposal. Stripping those provisions out could help justify weaker requirements for bolstering efficiency.The EPA’s power plant rule is set to mark a shift in how the agency credits potential health gains tied to cleaning up air pollution -- specifically fine particulate matter, or soot.Last year, the EPA predicted its initial proposal would mean an uptick in particulate matter pollution -- and the asthma attacks, respiratory diseases and premature deaths tied to it. There could be a range of 470 to 1,400 additional premature deaths in 2030 under even the most stringent proposed power plant improvements, the EPA predicted. Hospital admissions and emergency room visits for asthma would also climb.But the EPA is expected to discount the potential effects of its final rule by comparing its impacts against a baseline scenario without the Clean Power Plan in place.The agency also is set to highlight questions about the health benefits tied to low levels of soot. Administration officials debated the merits of that approach in 2017, as they moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan.In an October 2017 email exchange released as part of a federal rulemaking docket, an EPA official said the agency could choose to discount some health benefits of paring soot by asserting it was the administration’s policy to acknowledge uncertainties about the impacts. That would have the benefit of being a “policy” and not “a purely scientific call” that would require addressing recent scientific studies, EPA lead economist Al McGartland said in a September 2017 message. To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.