If I have poor health I will be rejected for life insurance benefits or my premiums will be much higher: In today’s competitive financial landscape insurance companies are catering to every sector of the market including high risk individuals. Whereas high risk life insurance is likely to have higher premiums and more restrictions than a traditional life insurance policy, the benefits of having life insurance far outweigh the costs. This is especially true of veterans and servicemembers who have access to a wide range of life insurance products and packages offered by the VA at a very reasonable cost.Life insurance is sure to benefit individuals in all stages of life regardless of their medical history and is a critical part of becoming financially responsible and independent. Don’t let misconceptions or discomfort deter you from making arrangements for your loved ones to be taken care of after you pass. For more information about life insurance visit www.lifehappens.org.Join us to learn more about life insurance with Dr. Barbara O’Neill and Ruth Berkheimer. This webinar will focus on basic insurance principles and terminology, who needs life insurance, reasons for buying life insurance, life insurance policy features, the life insurance needs analysis process, tips for buying life insurance, and life insurance needs and policy options for service members and military families, including SGLI, Family SGLI, SGLI disability extension, VGLI and TSGLI. To register visit the event page. By Ayesha Haider, BA, MBA, AFC CandidateVisit the event page to join this webinar or view recordingLife insurance is probably the most dreaded financial product for people to start a conversation about since it forces us to acknowledge our own mortality.A 2013 study by State Farm Insurance found that parents would rather talk to their kids about drugs, alcohol, religion or politics than life insurance. But delaying or foregoing a conversation about life insurance exposes your family members and loved ones to a significant amount of financial risk.According to a 2015 study, cost is the reason most Americans give for not owning life insurance. However 80% of consumers misjudge the price for term life insurance.In addition to cost, the following are three common misperceptions that people have about life insurance:Life insurance is for people who have dependents: This is a mistaken belief among people who are single or who do not have dependents that are reliant on them for their financial well-being. However, even an unmarried individual’s death is likely to impact those around them both emotionally and financially. There are funeral and other “end-of-life” expenses to cover and, in some cases, your death may result in a loved one being responsible for your debt and other financial obligations. Investing in life insurance as a single adult helps shield relatives and friends from any financial burdens your death may cause. It is also a good way to leave a legacy by donating to a charitable organization that you care about or a relative that you’d like to provide for. If I live past a certain age my life insurance will go to waste anyway: While this is true of term life insurance – which provides coverage up to a certain age – it is not true of whole or permanent life insurance. This alternate type of life insurance has a longer validity than term life insurance and will provide coverage until the policyholder reaches the age of 100. Permanent life insurance usually has a higher premium than term life insurance, but that is because it combines a traditional death benefit with a savings plan that allows you to build up cash value that grows tax deferred.
By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, firstname.lastname@example.orgOn May 28, 2019, the Military Families Learning Network Personal Finance team is presenting a webinar called Gender and Finances. The webinar will describe research about how women handle money and fare economically versus men with respect to saving, investing, the use of credit, and retirement planning.Why a webinar about women and personal finance? Very simply, women have unique financial challenges:Women live longer than men on averageWomen earn less than men on averageMore women than men have employment gaps that impact future retirement benefits (e.g., Social Security)More women than men are impacted negatively by life events such as widowhood and divorceSome women lack financial knowledge and/or experience or depend on others to provide financial supportAn estimated 85% to 90% of American women will be on their own financially at some point in their lives. Some will never marry. Some will see their marriages end in divorce, and some will outlive their husbands. Perhaps nobody better stated the need for women to become financially independent and financially capable than American suffragist and women’s rights leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1892:No matter how much women prefer to lean, to be protected and supported, nor how much men desire to have them do so, they must make the voyage of life alone, and for safety in an emergency they must know something of the laws of navigation.There are many things that people can learn about personal finance. A good habit to develop is to learn one new thing a day from print, electronic, or social media, family and friends, or other sources. Listed below are 8 key action steps that women (and men) need to take:Set Financial Goals- Include a specific date (e.g., 2023), a specific cost (e.g., $8,000), and an action plan (e.g., I will save $X monthly). Measure your progress periodically.Pay Yourself First- Set up automatic savings plans so part of your income gets saved before you can spend it. Examples include employer retirement plan payroll deductions and checking to savings account transfers.Develop and Maintain Human Capital– Learn new career skills and information on a regular basis and never consider your education finished. In addition, practice good health habits to remain productive.Maintain a Good Credit Rating- Pay credit bills on time, avoid charging more than 50% of your available credit limit, and check your credit report regularly for errors and evidence of identity theft.Manage Credit Wisely– Seek a low interest rate (APR) credit card, seek credit counseling if needed, and (ideally) make credit card bill payments in full or at least pay twice the minimum payment.Practice Tax Avoidance- Take advantage of legal tax-reduction strategies including tax-deferred retirement savings plans, tax deductions and credits, and long-term capital gains tax rates.Calculate Your Net Worth– Total the value of everything you own (assets) and everything you owe (debts). Subtract debts from assets to determine your net worth and update this figure annually.Know Your (Cash) Flow– Track and total monthly income and monthly expenses. Compare the numbers and identify expenses that can be reduced to avoid negative cash flow and free up money to save.
Many filmmakers have called Rokinon’s recently announced Xeen lenses overpriced. Here’s why they just might be worth their high price tag.For several years now, shooters have been enjoying Rokinon’s set of reasonably high-quality/low-cost cinema-style primes. I personally own the 24, 35, 50, and 85 and I’ve have had some great results with them across the board. That said, while these lenses certainly offer a more cinema-driven experience than their still lens counterparts, they’re a far cry from more robust and professional cinema lenses.Simply put, de-clicking the aperture ring, and adding focus/iris gears doesn’t make a stills lens a cinema lens; it makes for a modified stills lens that’s adaptable to a filmmaking environment. So for anyone out there that doesn’t quite understand why Rokinon’s Xeen lenses cost about $2500 a pop when they’re likely using the same glass as their much cheaper versions, here’s why:1. Better Build QualityProfessional DPs and Directors understand the value of build quality and are willing to pay for it. If you’re using a lens kit day in and day out, the last thing you want is to have a lens malfunction or break mid-shoot – which is quite common with cheaper glass. In fact, my Rokinon 35mm cine lens has had several issues in the past, including an iris ring that wouldn’t close all the way. The bottom line is that a large-scale production would gladly pay the extra money to buy or rent a better-built lens for greater peace of mind on set, and to potentially save a ton of money over the long run.2. Longer Focus ThrowWhile it’s nice to have the geared focus ring on the original Rokinon Cinema Lenses, the Xeen lenses have a 200 degree throw, which is far longer and more conducive to a film shoot. One of the complaints I’ve had over and over again from 1st ACs that I’ve worked with (using the original Rokinons) was that the focus throw was too short. They weren’t able to pull focus nearly as smoothly as they would have wanted to. The Xeen lenses will definitely help matters in this department and should offer an experience closer to what you might get with a Zeiss Cp.2 or similar.3. Universal Front DiameterUnlike the original Rokinon Cinema Lenses, the Xeens all boast a universal 114mm front diameter. This means that when swapping lenses, your matte box, rig, filters, and other components won’t have to be tweaked. One of the more annoying things about working with mismatched lenses is the added time in between setups (adjusting the rig/filters), so having the ability to work with a universal set like this is a huge bonus for many filmmakers.Other ConsiderationsThe three points above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other great features and benefits to these lenses, including the wide variety of mounts they’re available in (everything from PL down to MFT) and an 11 blade iris, just to name some examples. But ultimately, they’re not for everyone.Many professionals who are willing to spend $2500 per lens are willing to spend the extra money to jump up to a Zeiss Cp.2 or Canon cinema primes. And for other shooters it’ll simply be out of their price range. But I do believe there’s a sweet spot for these lenses and some DPs, producers, directors, and rental houses will benefit from having them in their kits.Here’s a clip from NewsShooter.com that takes a hands-on look at the Xeen line and looks at how they stack up against comparable glass from Sony and Zeiss.What’s your opinion on Rokinon glass? Is the Xeen line something you’re interested in exploring? Let us know in the comments below!
Learning how to edit comedy takes a very specific and unique set of skills. It’s arguably one of the hardest genres to cut. These tips will help you maximize your laughs every time.Top Image: Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the set of Veep via SkyNo matter what genre they’re working in, an editor’s job is undoubtably a difficult one. That said, editing comedy comes with its own set of principles and challenges that can often make it that much harder to tackle. Unlike many other genres that have a lot of leeway in terms of pacing and timing, comedic edits need to be extremely tight and specific in order to land well with an audience.For those of you out there cutting comedy, whether it’s in a commercial or feature-film format — these tips on how to edit comedy scenes are for you!1. Go Multicam Whenever PossibleImage: Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor on the set of How I Met Your Mother via How I Met My OtherComedy scenes are often shot with a two or three camera setup in order to catch spontaneous moments and have proper coverage on improvised dialogue. If you’re fortunate enough to be given source footage for more than one camera on the scene you’re editing — always take advantage of that.In other words, don’t simply edit your scene as you would have if it were shot with a single camera… you won’t be taking advantage of the material you’re given. Great comedic actors will most often have near-perfect comedic timing. When working in a multi-cam session, you’ll be able to maintain the beats in the scene much more organically and effectively.2. Know When the Beats Aren’t LandingImage: the cast of Seinfeld and Larry David on the set of Curb Your Enthusiasm via Los Angeles TimesWhether you’re cutting a multicam project or not, there will be times when the comedic timing of a scene simply doesn’t work. Perhaps it takes too long to get to a punchline, or there isn’t a long enough awkward pause after a joke has been dropped.As a comedy editor, it’s your job above all else to be the authority on what’s working and what’s not. When things just aren’t landing, you need to know when to cut or when to pad the scene. It’s amazing how just a few extra frames added or trimmed can be the difference between a joke landing or not, so always stay sharp with regards to timing.3. Test Your FootageImage from Chris JonesThere are pros and cons to testing (or running a focus group) on any type of film. More often than not, it’s incredibly helpful for comedies. As we’ve already touched on, comedy is all about timing – there’s no better way to know if your timing is working than by watching others respond to the material.After weeks or months in the editing room, certain jokes will feel funny to you just because you know they’re coming, and others will have lost their novelty entirely, which may tempt you to cut them unnecessarily. Before you go too crazy in the editing room, be sure to test the film — even if it’s just for a group of friends to gauge their reaction. Seeing when and where people laugh, which jokes go over their heads, and which moments people respond to most will be very telling.Here are a few more resources from around the web, each focused on different aspects of getting more laughs through editing:How to Edit an Improv-Heavy Comedy, As Told by The Heat’s Paul Feig from VultureEditing is key to the drama and comedy of The World’s End from A.V. ClubThe Man Who Makes the World’s Funniest People Funnier from the New York TimesFinally, here’s a great video from Every Frame a Painting about the cinematic comedy of Edgar Wright.Got any comedy tips, tricks, techniques, or theories that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!
You don’t have to believe in gravity if you don’t want to, but it is law whether you believe in it or not.If you step off a tall structure, the law of gravity is not at all concerned with what you believe. It’s in full effect all the way down, however far that may be, and gravity will punish you for your disobedience.The laws of success are equally strict in their demand for obedience.You don’t have to have a positive, optimistic attitude and a strong belief in yourself if you don’t want to. But you will be punished for a negative, cynical attitude with a life that is poorer in every way for violating the law that allows only people who believe and behave in a certain way to attract success.You don’t have to follow the law that commands that you must first sow before you can reap. But you will be punished for your laziness, sloth, and procrastination with an absence of something that you could only have by paying for it in advance. If you are in sales, or if you are an entrepreneur, this law will break you.There is a law that requires that you are grateful for what you have. You might be jealous and wish you had something that someone else has now. You might be envious and wish that someone else would have what you want taken from them. But only people who are grateful receive abundance. Ingrates only perceive scarcity.Success isn’t only financial success. But financial success is one area where success can be measured, and it’s important. The law about financial success requires that you create value to obtain money. If you want more money, you create more value, or you create value for more people. The law punishes get-rich-quick schemes, and it punishes thieves and con artists, even if they seem successful for some period.If you feel like you are being punished, it isn’t life, the universe, or someone else who is punishing you. There are iron laws that demand your obedience if you want success.
You can’t allow the things that happen in the normal course of business to change your mindset. You need to be positive, optimistic, future-oriented, and empowered.
Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat, deputy chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team (SIT) on black money, on Thursday disclosed that so far around ₹70,000 crore had been detected in black money, including over ₹16,000 crore by Indians stashing funds abroad.After a meeting with officers of several government agencies dealing with economic and financial affairs here, Justice Pasayat said the SIT would submit its sixth interim report to the Supreme Court in the first week of April.He said the SIT during the past two years had made several recommendations through its interim reports to the apex court to check the generation and tap the black money at source. “While most of our recommendations have been accepted by the government, some are under active consideration”, he said.Cash holding“One of our proposals, on cash holding of ₹15 lakh or above to be presumed as undisclosed, is under serious consideration of the Central government”, Justice Pasayat said, adding that on our recommendation, the government has already declared that cash transaction beyond ₹3 lakh to be treated as illegal and punishable under law.On Odisha-specific economic offences and unearthing of black money, Justice Pasayat said the meeting was specifically convened to ensure a smooth coordination between all investigating agencies for easy detection of ill-gotten money.He said he has asked the State crime branch, investigating into various wrongdoings of private educational institutions, jewellery shops, real estate companies, self-styled godmen, mafia dons, to share their findings with income tax (IT) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths for a thorough probe.
Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda on Wednesday assured Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of releasing the balance Central share of ₹397 crore at the earliest for the five new medical colleges at Baripada, Koraput, Balasore, Bolangir and Puri. Mr. Nadda’s assurance came when Mr. Patnaik met him in New Delhi.Mr. Patnaik informed Mr. Nadda that works relating to five medical colleges are continuing in full swing and two medical colleges at Baripada and Koraput were ready to start their first batch admission from the ensuing 2017-18 session.The State had already received ₹170 crore as against the committed Central share of ₹567 crore for these colleges.Permission soughtThe Chief Minister further urged the Union Health Minister to give letters of permission to the two medical colleges at Baripada and Koraput to enable them to start their admissions from 2017-18.Highlighting the initiatives being taken by the State government for strengthening cancer care, Mr. Patnaik urged the Union Health Minister to approve the four tertiary cancer care centres at Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar; VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla; MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur and District Headquarter Hospital, Kalahandi.Mr. Nadda said that financial assistance of ₹45 crore each will be provided for three tertiary cancer centres at Burla, Berhampur and Kalahandi. As regards the fourth at Bhubaneswar, he assured to consider it favourably.Cancer-care centreThe Union Minister mentioned that the Central government has already approved a State-level cancer care centre at Cuttack at an estimated cost of ₹120 crore.Mr. Nadda also agreed to look into the proposal for establishment of Regional Institute of Paramedical Sciences at Bhubaneswar, and doing away with the restriction on number of attempts for students appearing in the NEET-UG.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale on Saturday demanded 25% reservation for Dalits and Adivasis in the cricket team and other sports.Mr. Athawale said, “I have been repeatedly saying that Dalits and Adivasis don’t get proper representation in sports. Recently, the Indian cricket team lost to Pakistan in final [of Champions Trophy]. Kohli, Yuvraj play fantastic cricket but they failed miserably on that day. Was there a match fixing? There should be an inquiry into it.” On the lynching incidents, he said the ‘Gorakshakas’ were “Manav Bakhshaks [human murderers]”.
The Dhalli-Shoghi bypass, which was blocked on Saturday due to a massive landslide near the Dhalli tunnel, was reopened to traffic on Sunday. The eight vehicles, which were buried under mounds of earth, were dug up. “The road has been opened but as a precaution, the vehicular movement would not be allowed from 7 pm to 7am,” Shimla Deputy Commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur said. As many as 11 people, who were affected by the landslip, have been shifted to the newly constructed houses for the homeless by the municipal corporation. Meanwhile, officials said Himachal Pradesh has so far reported 74 rain—related deaths during the monsoon this year. Mandi accounted for 47 deaths, Shimla 7, Bilaspur 3 and Chamba and Kinnaur 2 each. The state has suffered a loss of Rs 664 crore to public and private property, they said.
A Panchkula court extended by three days the police remand of Honeypreet Insan, the adopted daughter of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.Honeypreet, accused of inciting violence that left 41 dead after Ram Rahim was convicted on two counts of rape on August 25, was produced in the court after her six days in police custody. The court also extend for three days the remanded of Sukhdeep Kaur, who was arrested along with Honeypreet.Honeypreet has been charged under various Sections of the IPC.The allegations levelled against her are in connection with violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in the rape cases by the special CBI court on August 25.
A shocking video has revealed that a village panchayat in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh ordered the public flogging of a married woman because she had eloped with another man. She was subject to the assault after her husband forcibly brought her back from another village.The incident took place on March 10 but police took action only on Thursday, 12 days later when the video of her beating went viral on social media. In the video, the woman is seen tied to a tree as her husband whips her with a belt, with a crowd of around 100 people looking on. After the video clip was widely circulated on social media, the Bulandshahr police booked the woman’s husband, a former panchayat pradhan (head) and his son for ordering the beating. “We arrested former pradhan Shersingh, his son Shravan and the woman’s husband Shaudan Singh under relevant IPC Sections,” said Praveen Ranjan Singh, SP, Bulandshahr. He added that after the video surfaced, police contacted the woman to file a complaint.
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Pune: The Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, along with other left-leaning, Ambedkarite and ‘progressive’ parties will fight the 2019 Parliamentary and Assembly elections under the common banner the ‘Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’, BBM chief Prakash Ambedkar announced on Wednesday.“I welcome all liberal, progressive parties under this banner. The doors of this front are open to a party which agrees to put up candidates from the Vimukta Jati (nomadic tribes), the minority community, OBC community and other politically backward communities,” said Mr. Ambedkar.The BBM president said he planned to field candidates under the newly-floated banner from 48 Lok Sabha constituencies to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).Charting a broad strategy his party would adopt in the Parliamentary and Assembly polls due next year, Mr. Ambedkar, however, remained ambivalent about a possible alliance with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).“While I do not regard [NCP supremo] Sharad Pawar as ‘regressive’, some of his stand on certain issues certainly are … However, I appreciate his gesture of presenting the Phule pagdi (turban) [to OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal] instead of the traditional Puneri pagdi,” he said.During the 2009 general and Maharashtra Assembly elections, Mr. Ambedkar’s party had contested in a similarly patched-up coalition which featured a ragtag of parties bound together by broadly compatible ideologies.The mega-coalition, which was named the ‘Republican Davi Lokshahi Samiti’ (Ridalos), included the Republican Party of India faction led by Ramdas Athawale and several Left and socialist parties. However, as an alternative to the grand alliances of the Congress-NCP and the Sena-BJP, this ambitious ‘third front’ came a cropper, managing to win barely three State Assembly seats.Mr. Ambedkar said there were signs that the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition in Maharashtra would go go the Kashmir way. “If the Sena boycotts the upcoming monsoon session, we may see a replay of the political situation in Kashmir, where the alliance has crumbled,” he said.‘Politically motivated’ Accusing the police of framing him in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence, Mr. Ambedkar said the investigation was “clearly politically motivated”.“The police are falsely linking my name with Naxalism…they cannot touch the organisers of the ‘Elgaar Parishad’, retired judges P.B. Sawant and B.G. Kolse-Patil owing to their past positions in the judiciary, hence they [investigating authorities] are after me,” he alleged.
Gujarat’s groundnut purchase scam appears to be escalating, with the alleged involvement of local BJP leaders and officials of cooperative institutions. The State government has asserted that those involved in the scam will not be spared. Police have arrested 22 persons, including officials of two agencies involved in the purchase of groundnut ₹4000 crore. On Monday, Rajkot police carried out raids at several police following reports that scamsters had stolen groundnut and replaced sacks with mud, sand and pebbles. According to sources, more than 10 kg of mud and sand was mixed in each sack of 35 kg. “There may be more arrests as the investigation progresses,” said a police official from Rajkot.In 2017-18, the State government purchased 10.46 lakh metric tonne of groundnut worth ₹4000 crore through 139 purchase centres across the Saurashtra region. The purchase price was ₹4500 a quintal against the then prevailing market price of approximately ₹3700. The Centre had appointed National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) to procure groundnut from farmers of Gujarat at an MSP of ₹4,450 a quintal and the State government had announced ₹50 bonus over and above the MSP.“Around 4.39 lakh metric tonnes of the adulterated stock had already been sold in the market,” Gujarat’s Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Sanjay Prasad told The Hindu. “The authorities will not spare anyone involved in the fraud,” he said.Stock worth ₹50.64 crore was gutted in fire at four private warehouses. After each incident, the government had ordered a probe to ascertain whether the fire was deliberate to destroy the stock.“We want an independent probe by a sitting High Court judge. Only lower level officials and cooperative society members have been arrested so far, while the fish are allowed to escape,” said leader of the Opposition Paresh Dhanani.Mr. Dhanani has been on a fast for several days demanding a judicial probe.Gujarat police had earlier arrested 19 people, including Magan Zalavadiya, warehousing manager of Gujarat State Co-Operative Cotton Federation Limited (GUJCOT), for allegedly colluding with members of the cooperative society of Junagadh in adulterating the groundnut stock.NAFED had assigned the task of procuring groundnut stock to five cooperative bodies of Gujarat — GUJCOT, GUJCOMASOL, GUJPRO, Banas Dairy and Sabar Dairy — and they had subsequently engaged taluka and village-level cooperative societies in the process.
After a spate of suicides over the Maratha quota issue, a youth from the Dhangar (shepherd) community in Parbhani district allegedly took his life on Sunday afternoon over the State government’s delay in granting reservation to the community.Yogesh Karke (20) had sent a text message to someone that he was committing suicide over the Dhangar reservation question, but the message could not be sent, probably because of unavailability of mobile network in the area, a police official said.The Dhangar community, under the banner of the Dhangar Sangharsh Samiti Maharashtra Rajya will be staging a State-wide agitation from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, demanding inclusion into the scheduled tribes (ST). The protest has been timed to coincide with the death anniversary of Punyashlok Ahilyabai Holkar, the 18th century Maratha queen who ruled Malwa and is revered by members of the Dhangar community.The community has demanded that the ruling government fulfill its poll promise to include them in the ST category.
A woman was beaten up, disrobed and made to run naked in her village in the Gopiganj area of the district for resisting eve-teasers, the police said on Sunday. One arrestedThe police have registered a case against four miscreants involved in the incident and arrested one of them, said Circle Officer Yadavendra Yadav on Sunday, adding that they are trying to apprehend the others. “The incident took place in a village in the Gopiganj area on Saturday when a woman from the weavers’ community objected to being teased by one Lal Chandra Yadav. Later, in the evening, Yadav along with his three accomplices forcibly entered her house and badly beat her up.” “They stripped off her clothes and made her run in the village. Some villagers shot the incident and its video subsequently went viral,” he added The Circle Officer said the woman was undergoing treatment at a hospital and a case has been registered against all the four accused.
The most abundant photosynthetic organism in the world sheds countless little sacs into the oceans, which could be having a dramatic impact on marine ecosystems, according to a new study. These microbial buds contain proteins and genetic material, which may influence the growth of other marine microbes and even protect them against viruses.The oceans comprise the world’s largest ecosystem, and cyanobacteria—single-celled organisms that get their energy through photosynthesis—are the keystone group. One type of cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus, is the most abundant photosynthetic organism on the planet, numbering in the billion billion billions. These tiny organisms account for about 10% of all photosynthesis on Earth, which forms the base of the food chain and provides the atmosphere with oxygen. Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) led by biological oceanographer Sallie Chisholm have found that cyanobacteria may play an even bigger role in the ecosystem than previously thought.In a paper published online today in Science, Chisholm’s team reports that cyanobacteria secrete vesicles—small, membrane-enclosed sacs—into the surrounding ocean. Chisholm first observed the vesicles in 2008 when one of her graduate students, Anne Thompson, spotted tiny buds on the surface of Prochlorococcus under an electron microscope. “Blebs, we called them,” Chisholm recalls, “like little bubbles.” A couple of years later, MIT postdoctoral fellow Steven Biller proposed that these blebs might be vesicles, based on their resemblance to vesicles from other species. He confirmed this by isolating the blebs and examining them more thoroughly under the electron microscope. The vesicles were at least as abundant as the bacteria themselves.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)These initial observations were made on bacteria cultured in the lab and might not necessarily apply to wild microbes. Therefore, Biller went out into the field, collecting hundreds of liters of seawater from the coast of Massachusetts and from the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. He found vesicles in these samples just like the ones in the laboratory cultures. Analysis of the blebs’ contents revealed a variety of biological molecules: proteins, DNA, and RNA. Sequencing the DNA revealed that it came from a variety of microbes, not just Prochlorococcus. Thus, these vesicles seem to be a general feature of marine microorganisms.Because they are so abundant, and because they contain various biomolecules, these vesicles constitute a significant source of organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus on which other organisms might feed. Indeed, Chisholm and her colleagues showed that other, nonphotosynthetic bacteria can grow using the cyanobacterial vesicles as their only source of carbon. “That’s kind of neat,” says Marvin Whiteley, a microbiologist at the University of Texas, Austin, who wasn’t involved in the study. “It really changes how we think about marine ecosystems and how they’re set up and how nutrients are provided.”Another major consequence of this finding is that, in Biller’s words, “it’s sort of asking a lot more questions than it’s answering.” Perhaps the biggest new question is why the bacteria produce these vesicles in the first place. The authors offer a few hypotheses. First, cyanobacteria benefit from living among other types of bacteria. Providing vesicles as food for the other bacteria would encourage this living arrangement. Alternatively, because the vesicles contain DNA, they may facilitate the exchange of genetic material between individual bacteria, a process known as horizontal gene transfer. Last and perhaps most interesting, the vesicles may help defend against viruses. Chisholm’s group showed that when viruses known to attack cyanobacteria are mixed with the vesicles, the viruses attach to the vesicles and appear to infect them as if the vesicles were living cells. The authors therefore speculate that these vesicles may function as cellular decoys, distracting the viruses so they don’t infect the cyanobacteria.Whatever their purpose, these vesicles show that we still have much to learn about life in the oceans. “We didn’t set out to study this,” Chisholm says, “but Prochlorococcus is always putting things in front of us to study.
Ibuprofen can banish headaches and soothe throbbing joints, but the drug may have another benefit. A new study shows that it increases longevity in lab organisms, raising the possibility it does the same thing in people.Researchers used to scoff at the idea of extending life span, but it turns out to be surprisingly easy—at least in organisms such as mice and worms. Drugs that prolong survival of these creatures—aspirin and the antidiabetes compound metformin, for example—are already in many of our medicine cabinets. Several studies suggest that ibuprofen is also worth a look. Ibuprofen suppresses inflammation, which underlies many age-related diseases and might contribute to aging itself. In addition, people who take ibuprofen for a long time have a lower risk of developing two age-related illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, several analyses found.To put ibuprofen through its paces, biochemist Michael Polymenis of Texas A&M University, College Station, and colleagues gave yeast, nematode worms, and fruit flies doses of the drug that are comparable to what humans would take. The life spans of all three types of organisms increased if they received ibuprofen, the researchers report today in PLOS Genetics. In yeast, for instance, ibuprofen stretched life span by 17%, half of what researchers can produce by cutting the cells’ food supply (another approach to increasing longevity). Worms survived about 10% longer on the drug, and flies gained about the same amount.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But it’s not obvious why ibuprofen would benefit these organisms. The drug stems inflammation in people by blocking cyclooxygenase enzymes, which help synthesize inflammation-promoting molecules. Yeast and nematodes don’t have these enzymes, however, and they don’t suffer from inflammation.A clue may come from a previous study that showed the drug poisons yeast that can’t make the amino acid tryptophan, which cells need to manufacture proteins. Polymenis and colleagues found that tryptophan levels declined in yeast cells exposed to ibuprofen. They also showed that the drug spurs destruction of a protein that enables cells to absorb tryptophan.Ibuprofen doesn’t have a huge impact on tryptophan levels, though, decreasing them by about 15% to 20% in the yeast. To explain how this modest drop in tryptophan concentration promotes longevity, the researchers invoked a counterintuitive mechanism. Numerous studies have found that instead of killing organisms, moderate amounts of stress—such as intermediate doses of radiation or toxic chemicals—actually increase life span. A mild tryptophan deficiency triggered by ibuprofen might work in the same way, the researchers speculate. “We figure it’s one more type of stress that seems to be conducive to life span,” Polymenis says.“They convincingly show that ibuprofen prolongs life span in these model organisms,” says molecular biologist Ellen Nollen of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She doesn’t find the evidence of tryptophan’s involvement as persuasive, noting that the drug changed levels of several amino acids in yeast cells. Ibuprofen could also promote longevity through its effects on these molecules, she says.“There are two new good ideas here,” says gerontologist Richard Miller of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who is one of the participants in the U.S. National Institute on Aging’s Interventions Testing Program (ITP), in which researchers at three institutions are gauging whether a variety of compounds alter the life spans of mice. One is the revelation that “some anti-inflammatory drugs that people are taking may have beneficial effects that are unrelated to inflammation,” he says. The other is the possible involvement in the aging of proteins that transport amino acids into cells, which could lead researchers to new ways to tweak life span.Nollen and Miller say the study supports testing ibuprofen in mice. The ITP did assess a related drug, nitroflurbiprofen, and found no change in longevity. However, Miller notes, those results don’t rule out studies on ibuprofen because the two drugs are slightly different.So far, researchers haven’t shown that any drug extends human life span. To folks who are impatient, Miller cautions against extrapolating the study’s results, especially because the side effects of long-term ibuprofen use can include fatal stomach bleeding. “I think any person who says, ‘Anything that works in yeast is something I want to take,’ is asking for trouble.”