OSU coach Urban Meyer and members of the football team look on as senior cornerback Doran Grant and senior wide reciever Evan Spencer (6) go head-to-head in the circle drill during fall camp at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Aug. 6 in Columbus.Credit: Tim Moody / Lantern sports editorWith just days until the Ohio State football team is scheduled to kick off its season against Navy, several starting positions remain up for grabs.Among the open spots are the starting center and left guard positions along the offensive line, the cornerback position opposite senior Doran Grant and playing time in the logjam that is the running back and wide receiver positions.The offensive line has three established starters in junior Taylor Decker at left tackle, redshirt-sophomore Pat Elflein at right guard and redshirt-senior Darryl Baldwin at right tackle. Coach Urban Meyer said the open left guard position has three players who could fill the spot.“Left guard is not named yet, and it’s not because of ability,” Meyer said Monday. “It’s just, one, the guy hasn’t separated himself, so in the hunt are (senior) Joel Hale, (redshirt-freshman) Billy Price, (redshirt-junior Antonio) Underwood.”The open center spot is a bit closer, Meyer said, as he named two players who are candidates to fill the void left by Corey Linsley, now with the Green Bay Packers.“Center is going to be, probably be (junior Jacoby Boren) and (redshirt-senior) Chad Lindsay. We haven’t named the starter on that either,” Meyer said. “But once again, its still because the battles are going on.”The cornerback position opposite Grant is also a two-man race, Meyer said, as redshirt-freshmen Eli Apple and Gareon Conley battle for a spot on the Buckeye defense.“They haven’t separated themselves yet either, which is a good sign. They’ll both play,” Meyer said.Junior cornerback Armani Reeves said he believes both players bring a special skill set to the table for OSU.“They both bring a different type of style to their game but that’s what makes them special,” Reeves said Monday. “Gareon has really fluid hips, and he reads routes really well, and Eli is a really strong and physical guy so they both play a little bit different.”The battle to replace former Buckeye star running back Carlos Hyde was originally led by sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, however, Meyer said, multiple running backs proved they are worthy of touches during fall camp.When Elliott missed multiple practices because of a minor wrist surgery during fall camp, it opened the door for redshirt-sophomore Bri’onte Dunn and redshirt-senior Rod Smith to earn reps, something Meyer said they accomplished.“Both Bri’onte and Rod Smith have made every practice and done really well,” he said. “I give credit to (Dunn) and Rod Smith, every day they have shown up and they have worked their tails off so they are in the mix.”Meyer also mentioned freshman Curtis Samuel as a player who could see touches at running back this season.At wide receiver, Meyer mentioned six players who are in the mix, only three of whom played last season.The three who played last season — senior Devin Smith, senior Evan Spencer and sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson — combined for 88 catches for 1,086 yards and 13 touchdowns.Meyer also named redshirt-sophomore Mike Thomas, redshirt-junior Corey Smith and redshirt-freshman Jalin Marshall as players who will likely see the field for the OSU offense.“All of them could march in, and they all deserve playing time,” Meyer said. So it’s just a matter of who breaks the huddle first.”Spencer, who has scored four touchdowns in his OSU career, said he is looking forward to seeing how the skill-position players will play during Saturday’s game.“We have so much depth this year. We have so many playmakers at so many positions, from A to Z,” Spencer said. “It’ll be really cool and exciting to see everybody get out there and be able to make plays because we’ve got the depth to keep everybody fresh in order to do it.”Despite senior quarterback Braxton Miller missing the season because of a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, Spencer said he is not worried about the conversion to a new starting quarterback.“It’s definitely a change. But I mean, at the same time, all throughout camp (redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett) and (redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones) have been getting so many reps with the ones,” Spencer said. “They’ve been throwing the ball so much all throughout camp, and really all throughout the offseason that it’s not that much of a transition for us, just because that’s what we’ve been going through.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Navy Saturday at noon at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
OSU sophomore forward Marc Loving (2) goes up to the rim during a Nov. 18 game against Marquette at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 74-63.Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographerWhile the competition might not be as strong for the Ohio State men’s basketball team early on, the Buckeyes are looking to work on the changes that have come with a new season.The Buckeyes are working four freshmen into a lineup that has just three regular season basketball games under its belt.With a game against Campbell looming Wednesday night, OSU coach Thad Matta said he wants to see his team improve on one particular thing.“Movement defensively, the reads of where we are supposed to go. I think that is probably the biggest thing we took out of Sunday night’s game,” Matta said Tuesday. “We did a lot of good things but we are trying to get our guys to understand that when we do what we are supposed to do we are a lot better than when we try to shortcut stuff.”One of the things that the Buckeyes are still getting used to on the defensive side of the ball is a newly implemented zone scheme. In the past, OSU had primarily run a man-to-man defense, and picking up the zone system was something that senior center Trey McDonald said was tough to understand at first.“It was an adjustment at first for a lot of us,” McDonald said Tuesday. “But I think we just all fell in love with it and we just bought in to owning our spots and learning our spots to the best of our abilities.”The Buckeyes seem to have figured the defense out quickly as they are holding their opponents to just 55.3 points per game while averaging 90.7 themselves, good for 11th best in the country.With the competition not being as stiff in the first three games, the Buckeyes have been able to start implementing their new defense and working out the kinks.McDonald said that the new zone defense specifically puts a new stress on the big men in the paint, something he added he is taking in stride.“He (Matta) made a point to all the bigs to go out there, protect the middle in our zone,” McDonald said. “For me those are the things that, playing this position, things that you should do. It is just something that comes natural.”McDonald’s counterpart at the center position, senior Amir Williams, is set to return to the floor Wednesday night against Campbell, Matta said. Williams sat out Sunday’s 106-48 win over Sacred Heart with soreness in his knee.“He is doing good. He is going to practice today,” Matta said Tuesday. “We were off yesterday. He has been running, doing skill instruction, those type of things. Planning on playing him tomorrow night.”With Williams coming back from the injury, and freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate and redshirt-senior Anthony Lee added to the mix this season, McDonald said the competition for minutes has made things more exciting around the Schottenstein Center.“It does make for a lot more fun in practice than just, me and him (Amir) going at it every day,” McDonald said. “It is a lot more different looks, sizes to play against. That really helped a lot of us, all of us actually.”With the mix of young and old players like Tate and McDonald, Matta said he can’t quite gauge how good the 2014-15 Buckeyes can be this early in the season.“I have asked myself that question. Where I think this team is, where I think this team can be, I don’t have that sense yet. I go back to the Marquette game, we had opportunities in the first half to really extend and we didn’t do it and we go up seven at halftime,” Matta said. “Guys are still kind of feeling their way through. I think once we get a level of consistency I will probably be able to be able to answer that question better.”The Buckeyes are set to take on the Campbell Camels on Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Explore further Journal information: Science The poison dart frog has been known to scientists (and locals who have used its skin chemicals as a poison applied to the tips of blow-darts, which led to the name of the frog) for many years and several researchers have attempted to synthesize the batrachotoxin molecule in the toxin responsible for causing heart attacks in its victims. Until now, all have failed, and the task has been complicated in recent years due to the diminishing numbers of the frogs in their native northern Colombian rain forests. In this new effort, the researchers used data from other studies to understand the makeup of the molecules, then used what they found to create an artificial version. The team says the process involved 24 steps and also led to the synthesis of the toxin’s chemical mirror image.The toxin causes problems for victims by forcing sodium ion channels to remain open. When this occurs in heart muscle, the inflow of sodium causes constriction. But because the channels are stuck open, it cannot be released., and the result is cardiac arrest. The toxin also causes problems in other body parts such as the nervous system. Interestingly, after testing, the researchers found that the mirror image molecule was also deadly, but for the opposite reason—it forced sodium ion channels to remain closed, preventing the outflow of sodium necessary for relaxation.The newly synthesized molecule has a variety of possible applications. Because the effort also resulted in a chiral twin, the work is expected to help researchers better understand the way ion channels function in general. And now that the molecule can be synthesized in a lab, it will be readily available to anyone wishing to study how it works—perhaps even those wishing to create a bio-weapon. And finally, it could play a role in medical science due to its unique impact on sodium ion channels—by serving as a prototype for creating local anesthetics. More information: M. M. Logan et al. Asymmetric synthesis of batrachotoxin: Enantiomeric toxins show functional divergence against NaV, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aag2981AbstractThe steroidal neurotoxin (−)-batrachotoxin functions as a potent agonist of voltage-gated sodium ion channels (NaVs). Here we report concise asymmetric syntheses of the natural (−) and non-natural (+) antipodes of batrachotoxin, as well both enantiomers of a C-20 benzoate–modified derivative. Electrophysiological characterization of these molecules against NaV subtypes establishes the non-natural toxin enantiomer as a reversible antagonist of channel function, markedly different in activity from (−)-batrachotoxin. Protein mutagenesis experiments implicate a shared binding side for the enantiomers in the inner pore cavity of NaV. These findings motivate and enable subsequent studies aimed at revealing how small molecules that target the channel inner pore modulate NaV dynamics. © 2016 Phys.org The first gene-encoded amphibian toxin isolated Phyllobates terribilis. Credit: Wilfried Berns/Wikipedia This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Poison dart frog neurotoxin synthesized (2016, November 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-poison-dart-frog-neurotoxin.html (Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from Stanford University has synthesized the neurotoxin present in the skin of the poison dart frog. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they accomplished this feat, the steps involved and what they found when they also synthesized a mirror image of it.
Dear Reader,I planned to explore the investment landscape of the burgeoning marijuana industry in today’s missive, but it looks like the party’s already over.Appearing before the Maryland Legislature, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop testified that 37 people died in Colorado on the first day of legalization from overdosing on marijuana.What a damn shame. With morbid stats like that, the government can’t possibly allow the legalization trend to proceed any further. People’s lives are at stake!Except they’re not. Chief Pristoop got those stats from a tongue-in-cheek story in The Daily Currant, a satirical newspaper à la The Onion. He believed it to be legitimate, so he cited it during testimony. Despite the fact that exactly zero people in history have died from overdosing on marijuana.As you surely know, Colorado and Washington recently became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, joining 18 other states that have legalized it for medical use only. Legalization is gaining steam across the US, and that’s unlikely to change—if only because, other than citing fake facts, opponents of legalization have no argument.Opposition to legalizing marijuana is dwindling for the same reason that opposition to gay marriage is dwindling: there’s no intelligent reason to oppose either one. Unless, in the case of marijuana, you’re concerned with its potential to cause more car accidents. But if those are your standards, we should criminalize beer, cellphones, and makeup, too.One thing’s for sure: the investment world is enamored with the idea of a brand-new green industry. As an illustration of exactly how hot this infant sector has become, take a look at this screen shot of an email received by a senior Casey Researcher this week. It’s a news release from a mining company, announcing its intent to “diversify” into the legal marijuana business:An interesting business decision. I’m not sure what synergies exist between mining and marijuana, nor do I have any particular insight into how Next Gen’s management plans to enter the green business. But I applaud its forward thinking.Apparently, so does the market. Here’s how Next Gen’s share price reacted to the announcement:It soared over 300%, transforming from a penny stock into a dime stock in one day. Again, Next Gen didn’t grow earnings, discover a new gold deposit, or accomplish anything tangible. It tripled its valuation simply by announcing its entry into the marijuana business. That’s what I call a scorching industry.So, should you put some speculative money into the hottest cannabis stock? Let’s take a quick tour around the burgeoning industry to get a picture of its investment prospects, focusing on five factors…1) Profits Will PlummetHad Al Capone been born in any other era, he would not have amassed a $100 million fortune. It was Prohibition that allowed him to earn extraordinary returns in the otherwise standard business of providing alcohol to people.Likewise, legal purveyors aren’t going to earn anywhere near the spectacular returns that criminals enjoyed when marijuana was illegal. Drug distributors can become filthy rich because dealing drugs requires taking extraordinary risks. One misstep and you go to jail. Or worse, the rival Mexican cartel mows you down. That risk premium is why illegal drugs are so expensive, and why marijuana costs $300-400/oz in the US. But it won’t for long.How can I be so sure? Because we already have a glimpse into the future. Uruguay legalized marijuana in December, and an ounce of the stuff costs $28 there, less than 10% of what it costs to obtain it the US.It’s true that the Uruguayan government controls the marijuana industry tightly and set that $28/oz price. But the cost to produce marijuana there averages just $14/oz. So $28/oz is a reasonable guess as to where the price of marijuana would settle if the market were allowed to clear.Going forward, profit margins won’t be nearly as fat as they were in the past.2) The Government Will Be Heavily InvolvedAt least one guy will unquestionably make a killing from marijuana’s legalization. His initials are “U. S.,” and he wears a star-spangled hat.We’re just two months into legalization, and taxes are already hefty. In Colorado, marijuana is subject to a 2.9% sales tax, plus a 10% tax on retail marijuana sales, plus a 15% excise tax based on the average wholesale price. Washington is no better—it plans to exact a 25% excise tax, plus an 8.75% sales tax.All told, taxes in these early-adopting states will be in the neighborhood of 30%. And that’s before the feds get their cut (more on that momentarily). Further, taxes are the one exception to the rule, “What goes up must come down.” Someday, tokers might look back longingly at that 30%. After all, the average tax on a pack of cigarettes in the US is 42%.Last, the marijuana industry isn’t going to be the Wild West. Colorado is working to control pretty much every aspect of the market, as evidenced by its 144-page marijuana Rule Book. You can be sure that other states will follow suit.3) It’s Still IllegalThough marijuana is now legal in two states, it’s still illegal under federal law. The Obama administration has said it won’t enforce marijuana prohibition in states that legalize it, as long as those states keep it under control. The federal government maintains the same position on medical marijuana, which, somewhat surprisingly, is also still illegal under federal law.The feds are moving in the right direction, albeit slowly. Two weeks ago, the Treasury Department issued new rules that open the door for banks to do business with legal and licensed marijuana dispensaries.Of course, once the feds do get on board, they’ll want a piece of the action. So be ready for even higher taxes.4) Unsavory First MoversIt’s an unfortunate fact that, because the industry was just decriminalized recently, those best positioned to jump quickly into the marijuana business are those who were already in the marijuana business. In other words: people who were classified as criminals just two months ago.Not that they were necessarily doing anything wrong by growing and distributing marijuana before it was legal. I’m sure plenty of growers and sellers are good people trying to earn a buck, just like those who grow and sell any other crop.But as with any emerging industry, the first movers will be those who already possess an intimate knowledge of said industry. And in the case of marijuana, that means people who were running illegal businesses. So if you invest in their companies, you’re entrusting your capital to someone who’s willing to break the law.As an investor, that should give you pause. Tread carefully, and dial your skepticism up to maximum.5) Weak CandidatesThe investment options in this infant industry are, understandably, limited. We’re a ways off from being able to buy a bushel of hemp on the futures exchange. If you want to invest, you’ll have to go with one of a handful of public companies. And unfortunately, none of them looks compelling.The six companies in the chart below are the purest plays in the marijuana space. Their performance in 2014 is the stuff of legends—the worst performer gained 243% in the last three months:But dig into their businesses and you’ll soon find that their value comes from their scientific-sounding names, and not from actually making money.First, the companies are tiny and only trade on the illiquid over-the-counter markets. Before the share price run-up, only one, CannaVEST, had a market cap above $60 million.What’s worse, most of them don’t have any revenue. And the ones that do generate revenue spend much more than they earn. Not that this is surprising—hardly any business could become profitable in just two months, so we won’t hold that against them. The problem is their valuations: CannaVEST is worth a staggering $1.8 billion today, and most of the others are all in the hundred-million range.Let’s put it this way: if an entrepreneur walked into the Shark Tank seeking a $1.8 billion valuation for a company that doesn’t make money, Mark Cuban would laugh him out of the room. Speculative money already took these stocks to the moon. By buying one now, your only hope of profiting is for a greater fool to come along and buy it from you at a higher price.As I see it, because of sky-high valuations, the risks in this blossoming industry far outweigh the potential reward, at least for a retail investor. I’m sure there are some fantastic private deals out there, and if you’re willing to press the flesh and meet some marijuan-trepreneurs yourself, you could make money.But for non-full-time investors, you’ll want to watch this trend unfold from the sidelines, waiting for either (1) the speculative bubble to pop, so you can pick up some shares for fractions of a penny; or (2) a leader to emerge and demonstrate it can turn a profit.Here’s a tip, though: If you’re looking for an investment with potentially spectacular gains, I would like to point you to another drug, this one perfectly legal once it’s FDA-approved. What I’m talking about is an impressive biotech startup my colleague Alex Daley, Casey’s chief technology investment strategist, has dug up.The company is well on its way to launching a breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment—which, if successful, is sure to be a game-changer for the medical industry. Clinical trial results are due out in early March, and should they be positive, the stock could easily double on the news… so right now is a great time to get in. Find out more about the company and its revolutionary product in this report.With that, I’ll now pass the reins over to our resident real estate expert Doug French for some analysis on the housing recovery. Then you’ll find some of David Galland’s classic musings in Casey Gems, and of course, the Friday Funnies.
Imagine logging into your brokerage account tomorrow and finding out that it’s frozen.Not just your account… every customer account at your brokerage is frozen.You can’t buy stocks. You can’t sell stocks. You can’t move money out of the account.Your account rep insists the money is still there. It’s just not available now. He doesn’t know when it will be.When you demand to transfer $25,000 cash out of the account, he says, “I’m sorry… the system won’t let me.”You ask to speak to his boss. She can’t help, either.This situation sounds absurd to most Americans. There’s no way a major broker could freeze your accounts, right?Wrong. It happened in 2011 to 38,000 people…And this wasn’t some no-name broker. It was a highly respected, 228-year-old firm. And Jon Corzine ran it. At one point or another, Corzine was a US senator, the governor of New Jersey, and the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Then he became the CEO of MF Global.MF Global handled stock and bond trading for some of Wall Street’s wealthiest clients.It was also one of only 18 “primary dealers” at the time. Primary dealers are a select group of brokers allowed to participate in the US Treasury auction. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs are also primary dealers.Like all US brokers, MF Global was required to keep customer cash and stock separate from its own corporate accounts. This rule is supposed to keep brokers from playing with customers’ money. But the rule only works if brokers follow it.In October 2011, account holders at MF Global started having problems withdrawing cash and transferring stocks. Turns out that their money wasn’t there. MF Global had made a series of bad bets in European bonds and illegally transferred $891 million in customer funds to cover its trading losses.Their cash was gone…Customers had to hire and pay for their own attorneys. For a while, it looked like they’d never get their money back. But in December 2014, MF Global finally agreed to return $1.212 billion to its former clients. It also paid a $100 million fine.You might be wondering how this sort of thing could happen…First off, you are not the legal or registered owner of the stocks in your brokerage account. You’re just the “beneficial owner.”Sure, you put the cash in your account. You logged in and “bought” Apple, GE, Verizon, and other stocks issued by sound companies. You did your homework because you worked hard for your money. Those investments are a key part of your retirement plans. You don’t make risky moves.And you work with a reputable broker. But your broker or a clearinghouse called Cede & Co. is likely the registered owner of “your” stocks.Here’s how it works…There are three basic ways to hold stocks: street name registration, direct registration, or physical certificate. Street name is the default. Unless you make special arrangements, this is how stocks are registered.Cede & Co., a subsidiary of The Depository Trust Company (DTC), is likely the registered owner of your stocks. You are not the registered owner. When you buy a stock, DTC holds those shares for your broker. Your broker, in turn, holds those shares for you.That means Apple, GE, Verizon, and the other companies whose stocks you hold have no record of you.If your broker mishandles your account, you can sue to get your money back. But, as MF Global customers discovered, it’s not easy. And there’s no guarantee you’ll win…If your broker makes a bad bet on Greece and uses your cash to settle the bill, you’re out of luck. Sure, it’s illegal… but laws didn’t stop MF Global. Customers had to take action, hire lawyers, and sue to get their cash back.Stable markets hide problems. In 2008, we saw how big problems can go unnoticed for years. A crisis reveals who’s stable and who’s just pretending to be. Some brokers and financial institutions are heavily leveraged. They’re especially vulnerable in a crisis. Some will not survive the next one.The MF Global fiasco is one of the most important financial stories of the past decade. It showed that the financial system isn’t as safe as you think it is. Even big, brand-name banks and brokerages with years of success can instantly go broke.The next financial crisis will bring many more shams like MF Global’s to light. You can protect yourself by keeping plenty of cash and gold in a safe place… but not in a safety deposit box.And make sure to diversify across financial institutions. You don’t want to get stuck in a situation like MF Global customers did… waiting years for your money because some executive gambled away the company.P.S. Because this risk and others have made our financial system a house of cards, we’ve published a groundbreaking step-by-step manual on how to survive – and even prosper – during the next financial crisis. In this book, New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team describe the three ESSENTIAL steps every American should take right now to protect themselves and their family.These steps are easy and straightforward to implement. You can do all of these from home, with very little effort. Normally, this book retails for $99. But I believe this book is so important, especially right now, that I’ve arranged a way for US residents to get a free copy. Click here to secure your copy.