Refinance applications hit 7-month low

first_img Email Address* Tags Message* Homebuyers get ready to “spring” into actionHome sales, prices rose in January as inventory hit new lowTexas storm, increasing rates freeze home mortgage market (Pexels)Mortgage applications to buy homes continued to rise last week as refinance applications hit the lowest level in seven months.An index tracking applications to purchase homes increased 2 percent week-over-week, seasonally adjusted, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The uptick comes despite historically low levels of housing inventory and skyrocketing home prices.Read more “Activity was up 5 percent from a year ago, as the recovering job market and demographic factors drive demand,” Joel Kan, head of industry forecasting, said in a statement.MBA’s index tracking refinance applications dropped 4 percent last week — the lowest level since September. Kan attributed that to increasing rates.“Rates have jumped 36 basis points since the end of January,” he said.The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.28 percent, up 2 basis points from 3.26 percent. The average rate for jumbo loans was flat at 3.34 percent.The average purchase loan size last week was $406,200, down from $409,900 the week before.MBA’s indices cover 75 percent of the residential mortgage market on a weekly basis. The report has been running since 1990.Contact Erin Hudsoncenter_img Full Name* Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Housing MarketMortgagesResidential Real Estatelast_img read more


Taxonomy and palaeoecology of Early Cretaceous (Late Albian) angiosperm leaves from Alexander Island, Antarctica

first_imgSeven species of angiospermous leaves from the mid to Late Albian of Alexander Island, Antarctica provide further evidence of angiosperm radiation into high southern palaeolatitudes. The leaves have both palmate (three species) and pinnate (four species) venation. Entire margined leaves with brochidodromus venation are interpreted as belonging to the Magnoliidae, and possibly include members of the Laurales. Palmately veined forms representing the Laurales occur as do palaeoherbs. Other taxa have marginal teeth comparable to those found in the Rosidae. Palaeoecological analysis indicates that Hydrocotylophyllum alexandri sp. nov. was a herbaceous streamside coloniser; Gnafalea jeffersonii gen. et sp. nov. was a small shrubby plant growing adjacent to levee banks. The other angiosperms, Araliaephyllum quinquelobatus sp. nov., Timothyia trinervis gen. et sp. nov., Gnafalea binatus sp. nov., Ficophyllum palustris sp. nov., Dicotylophyllum lobatus sp. nov., occur infrequently in swamp deposits and probably represent a scattered understorey of trees and shrubs amongst a conifer and pentoxylalean overstorey.last_img read more


Feather mercury levels in seabirds at South Georgia: influence of trophic position, sex and age

first_imgWe studied the mercury contamination of 13 species of seabirds breeding on Bird Island, South Georgia, in 1998. Total mercury concentrations in body feather samples of birds caught at their breeding colonies were determined. Among the species, grey-headed albatross (8933 ng g(-1)) and southern giant petrel (7774 ng g(-1)) showed the highest, and gentoo penguin (948 ng g(-1)) the lowest body feather mercury concentrations. Mercury levels were negatively correlated with the proportion of crustaceans (mainly krill) in the species’ diets, suggesting that the trophic level is the most important factor in explaining the variation of mercury concentrations in Antarctic seabirds. In 4 species studied for age effects among adult birds (grey-headed and black-browed albatross, northern and southern giant petrel), no age-dependent variation in mercury levels was found. Sex differences were also assessed: female gentoo penguins had lower mercury levels than males, which may be related to the elimination of part of the mercury body burden by females into eggs. In contrast, northern giant petrel males had lower levels than females, which may be related to a higher consumption by males of carrion from Antarctic fur seals. In grey-headed albatrosses, mercury levels were 113 % higher than in 1989, when this species was investigated at the same site, indicating a possible increase in mercury pollution of the Southern Ocean during the last decade.last_img read more


HMCS Charlottetown returns from six-month NATO mission

first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today HMCS Charlottetown returns from six-month NATO mission January 16, 2017 View post tag: HMCS Charlottetown View post tag: NATO HMCS Charlottetown returns from six-month NATO mission View post tag: Royal Canadian Navycenter_img View post tag: SNMG2 Share this article Authorities Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Charlottetown returned to her home port of Halifax on January 13, concluding a six-month deployment to Eastern and Central Europe.The frigate deployed within operation Reassurance which is Canada’s contribution to NATO efforts in the region.HMCS Charlottetown acted as command ship for Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2) Task Unit 2. It led a detachment of NATO ships while on operations in the Black and North seas while participating in a series of multinational training events in the North Atlantic.Charlottetown departed Halifax on June 27, 2016 as the fifth Royal Canadian Navy ship and third modernized Halifax-class frigate to support NATO missions in Central and Eastern Europe since April 2014. Charlottetown arrived in the Mediterranean and replaced HMCS Fredericton on June 29, 2016.During her deployment, the ship and crew made defence diplomacy visits to a number of ports of call including Egypt, Barcelona, Spain, and Chania, Greece.“I would like to welcome home the crew of HMCS Charlottetown following their success on operation Reassurance,” Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy said. “The ship and crew seamlessly conducted operations with our NATO partners and allies promoting security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe. The RCN is proud to be able to act globally on behalf of Canadians and the Government of Canada.”last_img read more


Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, & De La Soul Announce Joint U.K. Tour

first_imgHip-hop heavyweights Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, and De La Soul have announced three joint shows in the United Kingdom this upcoming spring.Billed as the “Gods of Rap“ UK tour, the brief run of shows will take the iconic rap groups to London’s SSE Arena, Wembley on May 10th, Manchester’s Manchester Arena on May 11th, and Scotland’s SSE Hydro on May 12th. The three shows will be hosted and presented by DJ Premier, and will see each hip-hop group celebrate their respective groundbreaking albums; Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising.Tickets for the upcoming shows go on sale this Friday, January 25th.Head to Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, or De La Soul’s websites for more information.“Gods Of Rap” U.K. Tour 2019:05-10 London, England – The SSE Arena, Wembley05-11 Manchester, England – Manchester Arena05-12 Glasgow, Scotland – The SSE HydroView All Tour Dateslast_img read more


Billy Joel Welcomes Jason Bonham For Led Zeppelin Covers In Philadelphia [Watch]

first_imgOn Friday evening, Billy Joel headed to Philadelphia for a one-off performance at Citizens Bank Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies.Midway through Joel’s set, he welcomed drummer Jason Bonham—son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham—to the stage for a pair of Zeppelin covers, “Whole Lotta Love” and “Good Times, Bad Times”. Joel’s guitarist (and sometimes-impersonator) Mike DelGuidice impressively tackled Robert Plant‘s howling vocals on “Whole Lotta Love”, while Joel took the lead on “Good Times, Bad Times”. The collaboration was impressive considering its off-the-cuff nature. As Joel told the audience ahead of the two-song segment, this was the “first time we’ve ever tried this.” You can watch a crowd-shot video of the Billy Joel/Jason Bonham collaboration below:Billy Joel w/ Jason Bonham – “Whole Lotta Love”, “Good Times, Bad Times”[Video: Jack Hurst]The show continued from there with a number of Joel favorites (and an Italian selection sung by DelGuidice) before wrapping up with a 5-song encore. The Piano Man wasn’t content with just two Zeppelin tunes, however, and surprised the crowd one more time by inserting a verse of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” into the show-closing “You May Be Right”.Billy Joel’s next gig will see him return to Madison Square Garden to continue his record-setting monthly residency on June 2nd. For a full list of Joel’s upcoming dates, head here.Next up for Jason Bonham is his highly-anticipated appearance with Umphrey’s McGee at Red Rocks on Sunday, June 23rd, where he’ll assist the band on a set of Zeppelin jams during their three-night run at the iconic outdoor venue. For a full list of Bonham’s upcoming performances, head here.Setlist: Billy Joel | Citizens Bank Park | Philadelphia, PA | 5/24/19Set: A Matter of Trust, Pressure, Vienna, The Entertainer, Don’t Ask Me Why, Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), Goodnight Saigon, Allentown, New York State of Mind, Happy Birthday to You, My Life, She’s Always A Woman, Whole Lotta Love*, Good Times, Bad Times*, I Go To Extremes, Captain Jack^, Only The Good Die Young, The River of Dreams&, Nessun Dorma, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, Piano ManEncore: We Didn’t Start The Fire, Uptown Girl, It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me, Big Shot, You May Be Right#*with Jason Bonham, Led Zeppelin cover^First time played since 2017&Included elements of “Dancing In The Street”#Included a verse of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”[H/T JamBase]last_img read more


Gut microbiome influences ALS outcomes

first_img Discovery may open door to probiotics that enhance results from exercise and athletics Harvard University scientists have identified a new gut-brain connection in the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. The researchers found that in mice with a common ALS genetic mutation, changing the gut microbiome using antibiotics or fecal transplants could prevent or improve disease symptoms.Published in the journal Nature, the findings provide a potential explanation for why only some individuals carrying the mutation develop ALS. They also point to a possible therapeutic approach based on the microbiome.“Our study focused on the most commonly mutated gene in patients with ALS. We made the remarkable discovery that the same mouse model — with identical genetics — had substantially different health outcomes at our different lab facilities,” said Kevin Eggan, Harvard professor of stem cell and regenerative biology. “We traced the different outcomes to distinct gut microbial communities in these mice, and now have an intriguing hypothesis for why some individuals carrying this mutation develop ALS while others do not.”Different facilities, different outcomesThe researchers initially studied the ALS genetic mutation by developing a mouse model at their Harvard lab facility. The mice had an overactive immune response, including inflammation in the nervous system and the rest of the body, which led to a shortened lifespan.In order to run more detailed experiments, the researchers also developed the mouse model in their lab facility at the Broad Institute, where Eggan is the director of stem cell biology at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. Unexpectedly, although the mice had the same genetic mutation, their health outcomes were dramatically different.“Many of the inflammatory characteristics that we observed consistently and repeatedly in our Harvard facility mice weren’t present in the Broad facility mice. Even more strikingly, the Broad facility mice survived into old age,” said Aaron Burberry, postdoctoral fellow in the Eggan lab and lead author of the study. “These observations sparked our endeavor to understand what about the two different environments could be contributing to these different outcomes.”Searching the gut microbiomeLooking for environmental differences between the mice, the researchers honed in on the gut microbiome. By using DNA sequencing to identify gut bacteria, the researchers found specific microbes that were present in the Harvard facility mice but absent in the Broad facility mice, even though the lab conditions were standardized between facilities.“At this point, we reached out to the broader scientific community, because many different groups have studied the same genetic mouse model and observed different outcomes,” Burberry said. “We collected microbiome samples from different labs and sequenced them. At institutions hundreds of miles apart, very similar gut microbes correlated with the extent of disease in these mice.”The researchers then tested ways to change the microbiome and improve outcomes for the Harvard facility mice. By treating the Harvard facility mice with antibiotics or fecal transplants from the Broad facility mice, the researchers successfully decreased inflammation.Gut-brain connectionBy investigating the connection between genetic and environmental factors in ALS, the researchers identified an important gut-brain connection. The gut microbiome could influence the severity of disease — whether individuals with the genetic mutation develop ALS, the releated condition frontotemporal dementia, or no symptoms at all — and could be a potential target for therapy.“Our study provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying ALS, including how the most common ALS genetic mutation contributes to neural inflammation,” Eggan said. “The gut-brain axis has been implicated in a range of neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Our results add weight to the importance of this connection.”This study was supported by the Merkin Fund at Broad Institute, Target ALS, the National Institutes of Health, UCB, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Related Clearer picture of gut-brain connection may provide therapy options Study finds performance-enhancing bacteria in human microbiomecenter_img New research finds key players in MS progression You are what you eat — and how you cook it Research suggests gut microbes adapt quickly to changes in diet and preparation, particularly in starchy vegetables last_img read more


122-year-old snow record may be broken: Just short of 3 feet

first_imgMOUNT ARLINGTON, N.J. (AP) — This week’s winter storm appears to have broken a 122-year-old record for the most snow in a New Jersey community from one storm. The National Weather Service made a preliminary report Tuesday that Mount Arlington in the northern part of the state got 35.5 inches of snow in the three-day storm. It could take months to confirm the total and the new record. But officials note there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the total reported by a trained weather observer. If confirmed, it would top the record of 34 inches that fell during a blizzard in Cape May County in 1899.last_img read more


SGA sustainability committee partners with composting crew, encourages student involvement

first_imgSaint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) works to help the school, and it does its part to help the earth through the sustainability committee. The committee is one of the many that makes up SGA. These committees allow for the allocation of each committee’s passions, planning and budgets.Senior Kassidy Jungles, co-chair of the sustainability committee, worked with SGA for four years and the committee for three. As a co-chair, Jungles said she helps oversee the committee as well as event planning, fundraising and student outreach.“Our main goal is to continue working toward ways to make the campus of Saint Mary’s College more sustainable,” Jungles said in an email. “Additionally, we also find ways to educate the students of Saint Mary’s about sustainability and ways that they can be more environmentally conscious — such as knowing what can and cannot be recycled, understanding one’s carbon footprint and even learning about sustainable companies.”The sustainability committee is responsible for raising a majority of the funds that provide the recycling bins students see around campus. While the committee is run by two of the co-chairs from last year, Jungles said students can expect more events and increased student involvement this year.“For this year, we hope to connect more with the Saint Mary’s students by hosting more events to raise awareness about sustainability,” Jungles said. “For example, we will be having a yoga event on [Thursday].”Junior, co-chair Rebecca Cesario also helps run this committee.“There are many people involved, not only on student government,” Cesario said in an email. “Every student, faculty member and the workers have a part to play on how we are a campus are sustainable. It’s little things, like turning off the water when you are brushing your teeth, taking the extra steps to put something in the recycling bin, turning off lights when you leave a room. The list goes on.”The sustainability committee also collaborates with the Office for Civic and Social Engagement’s composting crew in their project to compost paper towels used in campus bathrooms.“We hope to continue with our mission of last year to compost paper towels,” Jungles said. “Currently, with the help of another Saint Mary’s College club, we are just composting paper towels in the bathrooms of the Student Center; however, we hope to expand this to other academic buildings.”Senior Chiara Smorada, co-commissioner of the composting crew, said she met with the sustainability committee many times last year to build this collaboration.“Last year the sustainability committee came to the compost crew expressing interest in composting paper towels from the Student Center bathrooms,” Smorada said. “After several meetings to figure out the logistics of composting, Student Government purchased bins for the bathrooms along with compostable bags.”Cesario said she encourages students to get involved in sustainability efforts on campus, whether on a personal level or by joining the SGA committee.“If you want to be a student leader, join SGA sustainability, and we will work closely with you in achieving your goals as a person on this campus in making it a better place,” Cesario said.Tags: compost crew, OCSE, paper towels, sustainabilitylast_img read more


First Operations Security Course Taught in Colombia

first_img“The OPSEC course essentially helped me to distinguish and differentiate between the procedures and protocols regarding classified information and sensitive/unclassified information that is still relevant to the mission, and also to protect our families’ information,” said Sergeant Jairo Florez, from the Special Operations Joint Command (CCOES per its Spanish acronym), who participated in the course. By Dialogo October 05, 2015 It’s important to prepare our armed forces for their military and personal future. The course was held August 10-15 at the Army Intelligence and Counterintelligence School in Bogotá with the assistance of two experts in Operations Security from SOUTHCOM and representatives from Information Operations at the U.S. Embassy Military Group in Colombia working in coordination with the Counterintelligence Office and the office of the Chief of Joint Integrated Actions at the General Command for the Armed Forces of Colombia. This first course, which was attended by 40 participants, including officers and NCOs from the Navy, Air Force and Army, was taught primarily by Counterintelligence and Integrated Actions experts at the joint actions level, because the Colombian Military needs to grow its capabilities in OPSEC that do not fall solely under intelligence, but that also creates a synergy that allows counterparts to work together at the operational and strategic levels (J2, J3 y J5). As part of the support plan the United States Southern Command maintains with Colombia on Integrated Actions, Bogotá hosted its first basic and intermediate course in Operations Security (OPSEC) with the support of the SOUTHCOM Information Operations Office (J39). Their goal, during the six day course, was to establish mechanisms to raise organizational awareness about information security — not only information that is classified or secret, but information considered to be mission critical for the Military’s operational missions — in addition to protecting the personal and family information of military and civilian personnel. Its importance lies in the fact that the students were specially selected so that they would spread their knowledge about OPSEC within their respective branches and offices, and so they might possibly become program directors within their units and contribute significantly to the creation, design and implementation of doctrine in this subject. In addition, the knowledge the students have in operations and tactical subjects serves as an example of battlefield experience and allows them to provide guidance in the process of establishing an OPSEC culture. The military units are already using the lessons learned at the Colombian course to hold internal training sessions. CCOES and the International Missions and Integrated Actions School (ESMAI per its Spanish acronyms) are the two units providing general knowledge, introductory courses on OPSEC. Those same offices hope to expand implementation of a formal awareness campaign through informational material that would be delivered to members of different military units and the Colombian Ministry of National Defense beginning in February 2016.last_img read more