Catch Up, Public Sector
The federal government has a special role. It is a facilitator; it is in some sense a cheerleader saying here’s where we need to be going. It needs to set the tone in terms of issues like safety and advanced technology. It needs to do research that can allow different kinds of technologies to roll out and it has to do that in a way that is consistent with the research being done in the private sector as well as the public sector at the state level.
Question: How much should stakeholders be considered?
Joseph Sussman: There are a variety of people with interests in the transportation systems. Obviously we have travelers; we have people who want their freight shipped from one point on the network to another. We have people who are interested in using public transportation. We have people that live adjacent to major transportation facilities like Logan International Airport here in Boston, the Boston metropolitan area. So, a variety of folks are interested in the transportation enterprise, but the way in which they measure its performance may well be very, very different. And we need to take that into account when we make transportation decision.
Let’s suppose we are talking about adding physical capacity to Logan International Airport. We want to add runway capacity, let us say. For somebody living out in the suburbs of Boston, like me for example. We’re all for it. We think adding to the capacity of Logan is terrific, so we don’t get delayed when we are leaving for Chicago, we don’t get delayed when we are flying in from Los Angeles, the system will operate more effectively, more smoothly if we have additional capacity on those runways. But everybody isn’t necessarily feeling that way. If you live adjacent to the Logan property and you’ve got planes flying over your house all day long. Your view of additional capacity at Logan is not a very positive one. They feel people living in that environment and the Mayor of the City of Boston is included in that class, feel that maybe somebody else should take some of the environmental pain of having an airport. Everybody understands the need for the airport, but the question of whether it’s being spread out among the stakeholder community maybe less clear.
So if we are able to develop a mathematical model to say, here’s what will happen at Logan if we add a runway. Here will be the improved throughput of Logan as an airport. Here are the effects on other airports around the region and around the country of Logan being a better node and the airlines are of course very interested in that. How often have you sat in an airport and your flight is delayed and you look out and the sun is shining beautifully, but you’re waiting for an airplane to come in from Chicago where it’s snowing. And so, the notion of the transportation network comes into play.
When it comes to adopting transportation issues, the federal government has a special role as a cheerleader.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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