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New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury makes changes to hockey operations

new york rangers
NEW YORK — Longtime coach Benoit Allaire was hired Thursday as the New York Rangers’ director of goaltending, one of several moves by new general manager Chris Drury to reshape the hockey operations department.
Drury also promoted Jeff Malcolm to Hartford Wolf Pack goaltending coach, named Jean-Ian Filiatrault as the goaltending consultant in the player development department and hired Matt Hunwick to work in the hockey operations’ player development department.
Allaire will oversee the development of goaltenders throughout the organization. He will continue to be based in New York and will remain the Rangers’ head goaltending coach. He has spent the past 17 seasons on the coaching staff after being named assistant coach and goaltending coach in 2004.
Malcolm joins the Wolf Pack AHL coaching staff after serving as the team’s goaltending consultant the past three seasons.
Filiatrault will work with Allaire and assist in the development of goaltending prospects throughout the organization, including in Europe and at the junior and collegiate levels. Before joining the Rangers, he worked with the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Hunwick will work with director of player development Jed Ortmeyer, focusing on defensemen. He joins the organization after serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan the past two seasons.

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Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah unlikely to play for Egypt at Tokyo Olympics

mohd salah on the pitch
Mohamed Salah is unlikely to travel to the Tokyo Olympics to represent Egypt next month, sources have told ESPN, with the Liverpool forward expected to play a full part in the club’s preseason preparations for the upcoming Premier League campaign.
The president of the Egyptian Football Association, Ahmed Megahed, has claimed this week that Salah, 29, will contact Liverpool to request permission to represent his country in Tokyo as an overage player in the squad. The age limit is 24, with three players over that age allowed to be selected.
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With the Olympics due go ahead next month despite strict COVID-19 regulations in Japan that have led to severely-restricted crowd numbers at events, Salah could be away until the week before Liverpool’s Premier League opening game at Norwich City if he travels to the games, which run from July 22 to Aug. 7.
But sources have told ESPN that while Liverpool do not have a strict policy on players not participating in the Olympics, there is no expectation at Anfield that Salah will be involved in the competition.
Liverpool have already rejected France’s request for summer signing Ibrahima Konate to be involved in their Olympics squad, with the former RB Leipzig defender due to be available at the start of preseason training on Jul 12.
And Japan forward Takumi Minamino will not be involved for the hosts after he wasn’t selected as one of their overage players.
Sources have said that Egypt are determined to have Salah, the country’s star player, involved at the Olympics, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is planning to have all of those players not at Euro 2020 or the Copa America involved in the club’s preseason training programme.
Salah’s prospects of travelling to Japan have also been impacted by the Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to be staged in Cameroon in January and February 2022 after being delayed for a year by the pandemic.
While FIFA rules do not oblige clubs to release players for the Olympics, they are required to do so for competitive international fixtures and Liverpool are already planning to be without Salah for up to six weeks for the Cup of Nations.
Senegal forward Sadio Mane and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita could also be absent from Klopp’s team for the tournament.

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Oakland Athletics’ Mike Fiers likely not throwing another month after injection

mike fiers throwing ball
ARLINGTON, Texas — Oakland Athletics right-hander Mike Fiers likely won’t throw for at least another four weeks after an injection for his sprained right elbow.
Manager Bob Melvin said Thursday that Fiers, who last pitched May 6, won’t need surgery after he felt discomfort when trying to resume throwing this week. Fiers, who has made only two starts this season and hasn’t pitched since May 6, visited with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday.
“Nothing structural as far as needing surgery at this point, but he will get a PRP injection and then probably no-throw for up to four weeks,” Melvin said before the A’s finished a four-game series in Texas. “So it’s going to be a while before he even starts playing catch again.”
Fiers missed the first 22 games of the season because of a lumbar strain before his debut April 30 and made his only other start May 6. He went on the 10-day IL on May 8 because of the elbow injury, and was later moved to the 60-day IL.
Melvin said the A’s still believe there is a possibility for the 36-year-old Fiers to pitch again this season.
“We wouldn’t continue to go down this path if we didn’t think there was some time left with it,” Melvin said. “That’s probably on the conservative side, four weeks. I don’t know that it can happen sooner than that, but that’s just kind of the timetable the doctors put on it right now.”
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Capitol, symbol of democracy, off-limits on Independence Day

independence day
As it has been for nearly 16 months, longer than any time in the nation’s history, the U.S. Capitol is closed to most public visitors.
The one-two punch of the coronavirus pandemic that shuttered the Capitol’s doors in the spring of 2020 and the deadly insurrection by then-President Donald Trump’s supporters on Jan. 6 has left the icon of American democracy unopen to all but a select few.
As the rest of the nation emerges this July Fourth holiday from the pandemic for cookouts and fireworks that President Joe Biden is encouraging from the White House, the people’s house faces new threats of violence, virus variants and a more difficult moment.
“What is heartbreaking about it is that the Capitol has been forever our symbol of democracy — enduring through the Civil War, through world wars, through strife of all kinds,” said Jane L. Campbell, president and CEO of the United States Capitol Historical Society.
Congressional leaders are working intensely to try to resume public tours at the Capitol in some form, but any reopening probably will come with new protocols for health and safety for the millions of annual visitors, 535 lawmakers and thousands of staff and crew that work under the dome and its surrounding campus.
In the House, lawmakers have been operating under a proxy voting system that has allowed them to avoid travel to Washington, though most now vote in person. The smaller Senate is mostly back to in-person business. Both chambers conduct some committee operations remotely.
The security fencing surrounding the Capitol is about to come down, a gesture toward normalcy. A $1.9 billion emergency spending package to bolster security for the complex was approved by the House, but the Senate is objecting to the increased money.
The conversations in public and private over how to safely reopen are shifting as dangerous coronavirus strains emerge and federal law enforcement officials issue new warnings about about the potential for violence from right-wing extremist groups and those who believe in conspiracies.
White nationalists and other far-right groups loyal to Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, and were among those trying to overturn Biden’s victory. Authorities has been tracking chatter online about groups of people potentially returning to Washington as part of an unfounded and baseless conspiracy theory that Trump would be reinstated in August, according to two officials familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive law enforcement information.
“I want people to feel proud that they can come to the Capitol, and they can talk about its rich history,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and now chairman of a new select panel that will investigate the riot.
“We shouldn’t ever think about visiting the Capitol and wondering if it’s safe,” he said.
Lawmakers have struggled over the past year with their own mixed emotions over the shuttered doors, wary of returning to the Capitol when a segment of their colleagues, mainly Republicans, refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Two elected officials have died of COVID-19 complications.
While many lawmakers say they are saddened by the black-metal security fencing, and all it represents, some also view it as a necessary deterrent after having fled to safety from the pro-Trump rioters.
But the quieted hallways now create their own unease, representing all that is being lost. A lawmaker’s children played in the empty Rotunda one recent evening, a reminder of the absence of school groups, tourists and other visitors who typically crowd the summer season to see democracy in action or petition their government.
Congress provides the most direct link between Americans, and their federal government, the representative democracy the founders envisioned. Some 2.5 million people used to visit the Capitol each year and 12 million to the surrounding grounds, according to a House aide. Public tours of the White House tours also remain closed.
“I miss the visitors,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who said she had escorted some people to the House gallery last week only to find that it closed to onlookers who used to be able to watch some of the day’s legislative session.
“I always find it inspiring that so many people want to come here,” she said.
The Capitol has endured crises before. The public galleries were shut down for about a month during the 1918 pandemic. The grounds were closed for a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The public was also unable to visit in 1968 during unrest after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Security was reconsidered at different points, including after shootings on lawmakers and bombings at the building.
But not since the end of the War of 1812, when the British invaded in 1814, has the seat of American democracy seen an attack like the one this year.
Trump’s supporters fought the police, broke through barricades and stormed the halls, threatening to harm former Then-Vice President Mike Pence and other leaders and lawmakers as the mob tried to stop Congress from certifying the states’ election results for Biden.
All told, five people died stemming from the events, including a Trump supporter shot by police, three people who suffered medical emergencies and a police officer who died later. Two police officers later took their own lives. Hundreds of people have been arrested.
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a letter signed by some 135 other Republican lawmakers calling for a plan to fully reopen.
“There is no reason for the Capitol to be closed,” Davis said in an interview.
He said those involved in the siege should be prosecuted, but it’s time for the House to end proxy voting and resume regular operations. “We’ve got to get back to doing what the people sent us here to do,” he said.
A senior Democratic aide, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said tours have not resumed for both pandemic and security reasons. The House and Senate Sergeants-at-Arms are continually reviewing the situation in consultation with Office of Attending Physician, the aide said.
The Capitol complex is open to official business visitors with limits on the numbers allowed. Most are asked to sign in and provide background information.
“The Capitol has now being closed for the longest stretch in its 228 years history,” said Campbell of the historical society.
“What I would say to all of us is that it’s important for Congress to come together around safety,” she said. “People ought to be able to work together around that.”
Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

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Snowed in: Research team finds Arctic was dinosaur nursery

Long-standing images of dinosaurs as cold-blooded creatures needing tropical temperatures could be a relic of the past. 
The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Florida State University palaeontologists have found that nearly all types of dinosaurs — from small bird-like forms to the giant tyrannosaurus — not only reproduced in the region but also remained there year-round. 
Their findings are detailed in a new paper published in the journal Current Biology.  
“It wasn’t long ago that people were pretty shocked to find out that dinosaurs lived up in the Arctic 70 million years ago,” said Pat Druckenmiller, the paper’s lead author and director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North. “We now have unequivocal evidence they were nesting up there as well, like nurseries of the north. This is the first time that anyone has ever demonstrated that dinosaurs could reproduce at such high latitudes.” 
The findings counter previous hypotheses that dinosaurs migrated to lower latitudes for the winter and also provides some of the most compelling evidence thus far that these prehistoric creatures were warm-blooded.  
Druckenmiller and Florida State University Professor of Biological Science and study co-author Gregory Erickson have been conducting fieldwork in the Prince Creek Formation in northern Alaska for more than a decade, unearthing a diversity of dinosaur species, most, if not all of which are new to science. Their latest discovery shows evidence of dinosaurs in the earliest stages of life living close to the ancient Arctic Ocean.  
The researchers found tiny teeth —some less than 2 millimeters in length — and bones from seven species of perinatal dinosaurs, a term that describes baby dinosaurs that are either embryonic (just about to hatch) or have just hatched. 
“One of the biggest mysteries about Arctic dinosaurs was whether they seasonally migrated up to the North or were year-round denizens,” Erickson said. “We unexpectedly found remains of perinates representing almost every kind of dinosaur in the formation. It was like a prehistoric maternity ward”.  
The process of recovering the bones and teeth, some no larger than the head of a pin, is an exercise in perseverance and a sharp eye. In the field, the scientists haul buckets of sediment from the face of the bluffs down to the river’s edge, where they wash the material through smaller and smaller screens until they have removed any large rocks and soil.  
Once back at the lab, they run the material through more screens to remove all the clay, until all that’s left is sandy particles. Then, teaspoon by teaspoon, the team, including graduate and undergraduate students examine the sand under microscopes to find the bones and teeth.  
“Recovering these tiny fossils is like panning for gold,” Druckenmiller said. “It requires a great amount of time and effort to sort through tons of sediment grain-by-grain under a microscope. The fossils we found are rare but are scientifically rich in information.”  
The next step in the process involved identifying and comparing the fossils to those from other sites at lower latitudes, such as Alberta and Montana. Co-authors Caleb Brown and Don Brinkman of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology provided valuable information from the extensive collections at their museum.  
Once they knew the dinosaurs were nesting in the Arctic, it was a relatively straight line to the realization that the animals must have lived their entire lives in the region.  
Erickson’s previous research had found that the incubation period for these types of dinosaurs is anywhere between about three to six months, depending on species. Because Arctic summers are short, even if the dinosaurs laid their eggs as soon as it warmed up in the spring, their offspring would be too young to migrate in the fall.   
Global temperatures were much warmer during the Cretaceous, but the angle of the Earth’s axis was much the same as it is today. That means dinosaurs encountered about four months of darkness per year, with temperatures dropping below freezing and periods of snow. There also would have been little to no fresh vegetation for food.  
“Year-round residency in the Arctic provides a natural test of dinosaurian physiology,” Erickson said. “We solved several long-standing mysteries about the dinosaur reign, but opened up a new can of worms — how did they survive Arctic winters?” 
Researchers can only guess for now at how these mysterious creatures lived. Perhaps the smaller ones hibernated through the winter, Druckenmiller said. Perhaps others lived off poor-quality forage, much like today’s moose, until the spring.  
Scientists have found other warm-blooded animal fossils in the region, such as small mammals and birds, but not lizards, snakes, crocodiles, amphibians or turtles. That suggests these cold-blooded animals could not survive the frigid temperatures of the region. 
“This study goes to the heart of one of the longest-standing questions among palaeontologists: Were dinosaurs warm-blooded?” Druckenmiller said. “We think that endothermy was probably an important part of their survival.” 
Source: Florida State University
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Knight Campus scientist is creating molecules for medicine

picture of scientific molecules
In her lab at the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, computational biochemist Parisa Hosseinzadeh is using computer modelling to design synthetic peptides as potential drugs to treat challenging diseases.
Hundreds of synthetic peptides are either in use or in clinical trials, but producing them is time-consuming and costly. Vaccines against COVID-19 have peptides that target the spike protein of the virus, tricking it and thwarting infection.
Peptides are tiny molecules that contain two or more amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. They emerged as a therapeutic in 1922, when a natural, hormone-produced version in pigs was used to regulate insulin in a child with diabetes. The first lab-produced peptide came in 1953 and is commonly used to induce labour.
Hosseinzadeh, an assistant professor, is deploying computational methods to help drug designers move more swiftly in their screening of possible peptides that will bind precisely to targets so they initiate the desired response without causing unintended consequences.
“Researchers have been generating huge libraries of random peptides and then screening them to see if they bind to a target or not. It is a random, trial-and-error process,” she said. “The problem with this method is that the overall space in which you can screen for candidate peptides is vast, like 10 to the 30th (power). In a best-case scenario, we can screen 10 to the 14th. It is impossible to screen everything.”
Her research at the Knight Campus aims to narrow that testing space of more than a hundred trillion possibilities to a smaller and more manageable pool of possible candidates. It builds on work she began before arriving at the UO last September.
Hosseinzadeh has emerged as a leader in her field. While a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, she led a study published in 2017 in the journal Science that led to highly structured, rigid peptides with high accuracy. That work was done with UW colleagues, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators and scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
“Accurate design of structured peptides in this scale had never been done before, and many people thought it couldn’t be done,” she said. “If you have something that is rigid you can better predict its behavior with computational analyses. This rigidity allows for tighter binding.”
This year has brought two new published studies from work done prior to her arrival in Eugene.
In a paper published online in Nature Communications, Hosseinzadeh, in her postdoctoral role at the UW, and colleagues from the UW, University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University unveiled a proof-of-concept for a computational approach that reduces the screening time for peptides that will bind.
Her team detailed how their approach used computational modeling to screen hundreds of thousands of peptides, generating 50 candidate peptides for testing. The computations considered all possible combinations of the human body’s 20 amino acids and associated compounds.
Each tested peptide was designed with a non-protein-generating amino acid as an anchor to provide a weak initial binding around which peptides can be designed to enhance the binding.
“Using this method,” Hosseinzadeh said, “we obtained peptides that can inhibit a class of enzymes with low nanomolar affinity without any downstream optimization.”
Low affinity at nanometer scale is important in drug design; it means that a peptide can bind only at a targeted site without affecting other proteins that lead to undesired effects.
“Our method involves fewer experiments and is faster,” she said. “We can weed out candidate peptides in the experimental libraries that will never bind. At this stage, our work is about creating a platform that scientists can use to generalize to meet their specific needs.”
In a paper published March 25 in ACS Catalysis, a journal of the American Chemical Society, Hosseinzadeh and colleagues addressed the applications of peptide design, particularly in probing the mechanism of enzymatic reactions. Their computational modeling and experimental techniques enabled an investigation of the activity of multiple conformations of a peptide catalyst in isolation.
“We determined that the dynamic movement of the lead catalyst plays a crucial role in achieving a site-specific reaction,” Hosseinzadeh said. “This approach may also serve as a valuable method for investigating the mechanism of other peptide-catalyzed transformations.”
Researchers in Hosseinzadeh’s Knight Campus lab are focusing on the fundamentals of synthetic peptide design. They are using computational modeling and analyses to study peptide behavior. She also is seeking to develop peptide- and protein-based biosensors for disease diagnostics.
Peptide-based vaccines are in play or under development by numerous researchers to treat diseases such as influenza, cancers, hepatitis C, HIV and brain disorders.
Synthetic peptides, she said, hold promise as a treatment for disease targets currently out of range of current drugs.
“At this point, my main focus is developing robust and accurate computational methods, but, as this work develops, I look forward to working with anyone who is pursuing specific targets,” Hosseinzadeh said.
She is already collaborating with Knight Campus colleagues who are interested in specific binding capabilities.
“The collaboration with colleagues at the Knight Campus is a huge motivation for me to move this research forward,” she said. “It’s nice to be around people who are more applied in their focus. I can talk with them and ask questions about next steps I might take. It often leads to questions that bring about new challenges that I have not thought about before.”
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molecules connection

Paul George ‘moves on’ from Game 2 heartbreak, leads LA Clippers to big win

paul george dribbling on the court
LOS ANGELES — Not long after the LA Clippers touched down from Phoenix at Los Angeles International Airport at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, head coach Ty Lue got in his car and immediately called Paul George.
Lue wanted to touch base with his players, starting with George, his All-Star guard who missed two costly free throws late in the Clippers’ heartbreaking loss in Game 2 in Phoenix. Lue let George know the crushing defeat was behind them and that the Clippers would not be where they are without him.
On Thursday, George bounced back by delivering a near triple-double with 27 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists in 43 minutes to lift the Clippers to a season-saving 106-92 win over the Phoenix Suns.
2 Related
The victory was not only the Clippers’ first-ever in the Western Conference finals but their third straight Game 3 win this postseason after falling behind 2-0. The Clippers will attempt to do what they did in the previous two rounds by evening this best-of-seven series in Game 4 on Saturday.
“I just told him, ‘We wouldn’t be in this position without you. That game’s over,’” Lue said of his conversation with George. “It happens. Doesn’t mean anything.”
Lue then called Patrick Beverley and a few other players to relay the message that the Clippers have moved on. That set the tone for Game 3. With an injured Kawhi Leonard watching from a suite in Staples Center with his family, the Clippers defended, scrapped and fought like their season was at stake.
“We were on the plane, we talked about it,” George said of the Clippers players all putting Game 2 behind them. “We hashed it out. And immediately we got ready for Game 3. Simple as that. We had to move on. I thought we did a great job of moving on.
“I moved on,” he said of his missed free throws with 8.2 seconds left with the Clippers up one before the Suns escaped with a 104-103 Game 2 win. “I know I have to be better. So everything was just put in going into Game 3. All my energy was directed towards a better game in Game 3.”
While George led the way once again with Leonard out for the fifth straight game, the Clippers received a total team effort on Thursday night. Reggie Jackson again hit momentum-seizing shots, scoring 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter when the Clippers absolutely needed a bucket.
Center Ivica Zubac, who was a non-factor for much of the first two rounds due to matchups, had his biggest playoff game with 15 points and 16 rebounds. He had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first half alone.
Beverley only had eight points and six rebounds but his defense on Devin Booker (15 points, 5 for 21 shooting) and energy and hustle were vital.
The Clippers blew an eight-point lead before going into the half down 48-46. Veterans, in particular Beverley, implored the Clippers to fight in the second half.
“Pat Bev was energized,” Jackson said. “Fired up about us not letting go, not letting our foot off the gas and figuring out how to be better.”
Terance Mann, the Clippers’ unsung hero from the Utah series, started for a hobbled Marcus Morris Sr. and once again had an impactful third quarter like he did in that series-clinching Game 6 against the Jazz. Mann scored 10 of his 12 points in the quarter to help the Clippers open a 15-point lead.
And when the Suns cut it to seven, George found Luke Kennard for a 3 before he banked in a buzzer-beating heave from just past half court to send the Clippers into the fourth up 80-69.
George practices that shot before every game in his warm-ups.
“Didn’t make many tonight,” George said of his 9-for-26 shooting. “But that was one that we needed, and I thought it gave us great momentum.”
Phoenix cut the lead to six in the fourth, but Beverley blocked Booker and Jackson scored on a driving layup before burying a 3 to push it back to 11. The Clippers’ defensive effort was one of their best of the postseason as they smothered Booker and Chris Paul, who returned from health and safety protocols, into a combined 3-for-12 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Now Lue will once again try to position this team for yet another comeback after being the first team in NBA history to overcome multiple 2-0 deficits and win in the same postseason.
“Whatever it takes, doesn’t matter to me,” Lue said of his late-night calls to his players after landing from Phoenix on Wednesday. “But those guys came out and responded.”
Lue marveled at his team’s resiliency, highlighting Morris scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench while playing with an injured left knee. And of course, there was George’s bounce-back night.
“We have to match their physicality, I thought we did that,” George said of the Clippers’ effort. “We have to match their scrappiness, I thought we did that. That’s really the key. We can’t allow this team to play harder than us, and I thought that was just the way we approached tonight.”

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Quantum dots keep atoms spaced to boost catalysis

Hold on there, graphene. Seriously, your grip could help make better catalysts.

Rice University engineers have assembled what they say may transform chemical catalysis by greatly increasing the number of transition-metal single atoms that can be placed into a carbon carrier.

The technique uses graphene quantum dots (GQD), 3-5-nanometer particles of the super-strong 2D carbon material, as anchoring supports. These facilitate high-density transition-metal single atoms with enough space between the atoms to avoid clumping.

chemical reactions of molecules

Rice University engineers have led the development of a process that uses functionalized graphene quantum dots to trap transition metals for higher metal loading single-atom catalysis. Illustration by Wang Group

An international team led by chemical and biomolecular engineer Haotian Wang of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and Yongfeng Hu of Canadian Light Source at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, detailed the work in Nature Chemistry.

They proved the value of their general synthesis of high-metal-loading, single-atom catalysts by making a GQD-enhanced catalyst that, in a reaction test, showed a significant improvement in the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide as compared to a lower nickel loading catalyst.

Wang said expensive noble metals like platinum and iridium are widely studied by the single-atom catalyst community with the goal of reducing the mass needed for catalytic reactions. But the metals are hard to handle and typically make up a small portion, 5 to 10% by weight or less, of the overall catalyst, including supporting materials.

By contrast, the Wang lab achieved transition-metal loads in an iridium single-atom catalyst of up to 40% by weight, or 3 to 4 spaced-out single metal atoms per every hundred carbon substrate atoms. (That’s because iridium is much heavier than carbon.)

“This work is focused on a fundamental but very interesting question we always ask ourselves: How many more single atoms can we load onto a carbon support and not end up with aggregation?” said Wang, whose lab focuses on energy-efficient catalysis of valuable chemicals.

“When you shrink the size of bulk materials to nanomaterials, the surface area increases and the catalytic activity improves,” he said. “In recent years, people have started to work on shrinking catalysts to single atoms to present better activity and better selectivity. The higher loading you reach, the better performance you could achieve.”

“Single atoms present the maximum surface area for catalysis, and their physical and electronic properties are very different compared to bulk or nanoscale systems,” he said. “In this study, we wanted to push the limit of how many atoms we can load onto a carbon substrate.”

He noted that the synthesis of single-atom catalysts has to now been a “top-down” or “bottom-up” process. The first requires making vacancies in carbon sheets or nanotubes for metal atoms, but because the vacancies are often too large or not uniform, the metals can still aggregate. The second involves annealing metal and other organic precursors to “carbonize” them, but the metals still tend to cluster.

The new process takes a middle approach by synthesizing GQDs functionalized with amine linkers and then pyrolyzing them with the metal atoms. The amines crosslink with the metal ions and keep them spread out, maximizing their availability to catalyze reactions.

“The maximum appears to be about 3-4 atomic per cent using this approach,” Wang said. “Future challenges include how to further increase the density of single atoms, ensure high stability for real applications and scale up their synthesis processes.”

Source: Rice University

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Rewrite of Delaware gun magazine bill focuses on criminals

delaware gun

DOVER, Del. (AP) – The state House on Thursday approved an amendment overhauling a Senate gun-control measure that would have outlawed virtually all magazines sold with modern semiautomatic firearms.

The amendment was prompted by concerns raised about the constitutionality and feasibility of the Senate bill, which banned magazines capable of holding more than 17 rounds and required existing owners of such magazines to surrender them to the state.

The amendment guts the entire Senate bill, allowing the sale and possession of magazines that are commonly included as accessories with new firearms while taking aim at after-market magazines.

The House measure, approved on a 24-16 vote and sent to the Senate, criminalizes the possession while committing a felony of an after-market magazine that increases the designed capacity of a firearm’s standard magazine. A person accused of possessing a prohibited after-market magazine while committing a felony would be subject to a separate felony charge punishable by two to 25 years in prison.

The legislation also outlaws, except in certain circumstances, the sale or transfer of a handgun magazine that exceeds 20 rounds or a rifle magazine holding more than 30 rounds. It does not, however, prohibit the possession of after-market magazines exceeding those capacities by people who already own them.

“They will be grandfathered…. You’re still allowed to use it lawfully,” said Rep. Nmnandi Chukwuocha, author of the House amendment and chief House sponsor of the original Senate bill.

Describing the crafting of the legislation as a “learning experience,” Chukwuocha, a Wilmington Democrat, noted that the Senate bill’s definition of a “large capacity magazine” would have outlawed basically every magazine for semiautomatic firearms.

“That wasn’t the intention,” he said, also acknowledging that he believed the original bill affected the constitutional rights of gun owners.

“We’re targeting individuals who are committing crimes with these magazines, not lawful individuals,” explained Chukwuocha who described the revised legislation as “a solid bill.”

“It’s one that respects the Second Amendment rights, as well as the Delaware constitutional rights, of gun owners,” he said.

Despite the revisions, most House Republicans voted against the measure, as did a handful of Democrats.

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Afghan pullout has US spies reorienting in the terrorism fight

csgo terrorist
WASHINGTON (AP) — The two-decade war in Afghanistan has given U.S. spies a perch for keeping tabs on terrorist groups that might once again use the beleaguered nation to plan attacks against the U.S. homeland. But that will end soon.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is leaving intelligence agencies scrambling for other ways to monitor and stop terrorists. They’ll have to depend more on technology and their allies in the Afghan government — even as it faces an increasingly uncertain future once U.S. and NATO forces depart.
“You may not be blind, but you’re going to be legally blind,” said Rep. Mike Waltz, a Florida Republican and Green Beret who served in Afghanistan. Waltz said in an interview that while he believed American forces would still be able to detect threats, they would have to respond with lesser intelligence and more complex operations from bases outside the country.
The Afghanistan withdrawal was ordered by President Joe Biden. He has said it’s time to end America’s longest war after two decades of a conflict that killed 2,200 U.S. troops and 38,000 Afghan civilians, with a cost as much as $1 trillion.
But that withdrawal comes with many uncertainties as a resurgent Taliban captures ground and fears mount that the country could soon fall into civil war. The U.S. is still working on agreements to base counterterrorism forces in the region and evacuate thousands of interpreters and other Afghans who helped the American war effort.
CIA Director William Burns testified in April that fighters from al-Qaida and the Islamic State group are still operating in Afghanistan and “remain intent on recovering the ability to attack U.S. targets.”
“When the time comes for the U.S. military to withdraw, the U.S. government’s ability to collect and act on threats will diminish. That’s simply a fact,” Burns said. He added that the CIA and other U.S. agencies “retain a suite of capabilities” to monitor and stop threats.
Burns made a secret visit to Afghanistan in April and reassured Afghan officials that the U.S. would remain engaged in counterterrorism efforts, according to two officials familiar with the visit.
The CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment for this story.
The CIA has had a role in Afghanistan for more than 30 years, dating back to aiding rebels fighting the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989. During the U.S. war, it is said to have carried out strikes against terror targets and trained Afghan fighters in groups known as Counter Terrorism Pursuit Teams. Those teams are feared by many Afghans and have been implicated in extrajudicial killings of civilians.
The Associated Press reported in April that the CIA was preparing to turn over control of those teams in six provinces to the Afghan intelligence service, known as the National Directorate of Security. The closure of posts near Afghanistan’s borders with Iran and Pakistan will make it harder to monitor hostile groups operating in those areas, and the withdrawal of Americans from Afghan agencies could worsen already troubling problems with corruption, experts said.
Washington has long struggled to gather intelligence even from its allies in Afghanistan. In the early years of the conflict, the U.S. was drawn into rivalries that resulted in targets that were driven by score-settling among factions in the country.
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, who led the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2017 to 2020, said U.S. authorities may be able to replace some of their lost footprint with intercepted communications as well as publicly available information posted online, particularly with the growth of cellphone networks compared with the 1990s. And while Afghan forces have faltered against the Taliban, they can also provide valuable information, Ashley said.
“We shouldn’t discount their ability to understand their ground truth,” said Ashley, now an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “It’s their nature, it’s their culture, it’s their language.”
Former intelligence officials and experts noted that the CIA and other agencies already have to work without a military presence in other countries where militant groups threaten Americans.
Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat and former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, said human sources in Afghanistan were already limited and the U.S. has monitoring capabilities today that it didn’t have two decades ago.
“It’s still going to be very robust,” Crow said. “When you don’t have boots on the ground, it’s certainly more challenging, but we have capabilities and things that allow us to meet that challenge. It just becomes a little more difficult.”
Crow and Waltz are among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have pushed the White House to quickly process visas for thousands of interpreters and other Afghans who helped American forces. More than 18,000 applications are pending. Senior U.S. officials have said the administration plans to carry out an evacuation later this summer but has not settled on a country or countries for what would likely be a temporary relocation.
Failing to protect Afghans waiting for visas could have “a huge chilling effect on people working with us going forward,” Waltz said.
Analysts differ on what to expect from the Taliban if it were to consolidate control over the country. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported in May that the Taliban’s “desires for foreign aid and legitimacy might marginally moderate its conduct over time,” driven in part by international attention and the proliferation of phones.
But Colin Clarke, director of policy and research at the Soufan Group, said he expected the Taliban to continue harboring al-Qaida and worried of a possible insurgency that could embolden extremists and become a regional conflict similar to what happened in Iraq after the American withdrawal there.
“I want us to pull out of Afghanistan in theory and be safe,” he said. “That’s just not from my analysis what’s going to happen.”
Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Kabul contributed to this report.

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