NBA: Durant offered kind words to Paul George on what to expect with ThunderSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Malacañang open to creating Taal Commission Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Missile-capable frigate BRP Jose Rizal inches closer to entering PH Navy’s fleet LIVE: Sinulog 2020 Grand Parade LATEST STORIES READ: Paul George heading to Thunder, Griffin stays with Clippers – reportsBut according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, George could have ended up with another Western powerhouse—the reigning NBA Champions Golden State Warriors.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’Indy reportedly offered their former prized superstar in exchange for the services of the Warriors’ sweet-stroking guard, Klay Thompson. The Dubs, however, decided to decline the offer.George confirmed that the proposed trade was in fact true and shared his two cents if the deal went through. Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Ex Indiana Pacers’ forward Paul George (24) is fouled by Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson (11). (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)NBA fans were certainly taken aback when former Indiana Pacers forward Paul George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.The four-time All-Star was heavily pursued by multiple franchises, but eventually landed at the Russell Westbrook-led squad, which was an unlikely destination at the time.ADVERTISEMENT Mayweather, McGregor take trash-talk tour to New York Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping’s name mistranslation MOST READ “I would’ve looked forward to it, of just being in a good situation and a chance to compete for a championship,” he told the veteran sports journalist.The lanky 27-year-old forward, however, joked that such a deal might have been nixed by the league.“Yeah, I think that would’ve been the Chris Paul-to-LA situation where they denied that trade,” he added.In a subsequent tweet, Wojnarowski clarified that it was Indiana that offered the deal and that Golden State never put Thompson in the trading block. Khristian Ibarrola /raRELATED STORY:ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Two years after the Los Angeles Police Department loosened its “zero tolerance” drug policy as it struggled to boost its ranks, city officials say they’ve hired six officers who have used hard drugs such as cocaine. Personnel officials are quick to note that’s less than 1 percent of the 818 officers who have been hired, and although the officers experimented with hard drugs as teenagers they later showed the good judgment and strong character required in a police officer. But the issue still has raised questions among some City Council members and police union leaders who worry the LAPD is on a slippery slope that could damage the caliber of the police force. “This is a massive, major change in the way we assess a candidate,” said Councilman Bernard Parks, who was an LAPD officer for 38 years and chief from 1997 to 2002. “Hard drugs in the background indicate integrity and character issues that, in my judgment, shouldn’t be allowed. If you don’t protect the standards you won’t have any.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe LAPD defends its standards, citing its campaign to add 1,000 officers amid competition from sheriff’s and police departments around the country all vying for the same pool of candidates willing to work long hours in dangerous conditions for a starting salary of roughly $50,000. In that climate, the department must be willing to consider individuals who have experimented with drugs, said Los Angeles Police Commission President John Mack. “The reality is young people who would be a candidate in their twenties and thirties, there’s a high probability that they have had some drug use,” he said. While the Personnel Department, citing privacy concerns, declined to reveal the names of the six officers who have hard-drug use in their past, it said one took an amphetamine while in ninth grade, eight years ago. Another thought he might have been given cocaine but wasn’t really sure because he didn’t feel anything after taking it. One officer was 15 when he tried cocaine, but said he was so scared by the experience he never tried it again. Another was 15 when he tried cocaine, 23 years ago. “Someone 23 years ago tried cocaine. That’s a lot of time. That doesn’t condemn a person for the rest of his life from doing good things,” said Margaret Whalen, general manager of the city’s Personnel Department. “It’s very evident we’re not talking about people who are risky.” While the LAPD and the city’s Personnel Department long had maintained a strict policy that barred candidates who had used cocaine, heroin, amphetamines and hallucinogens – even once – times have changed. Drugs are more easily available and young adults more likely to have experimented. About 40 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 reported using illicit drugs other than marijuana at least once, according to a 2004 survey by U.S. Health and Human Services. The City Civil Service Commission adjusted its police officer hiring policies in 2003 to reflect that reality, and to give the Personnel Department more freedom to weigh such experimental drug use against an applicant’s other accomplishments such as community leadership, college or military service. The “whole person” analysis, as it’s known, is “more modern because this generation you have more people who have tried drugs versus the old ways where we’d throw you out if you tried hard drugs,” said LAPD Commander Kenneth O. Garner, who oversees hiring. “We’d have bare academy classes if we did that.” Garner said the screening and standards still are tough. Since 2001, the city has required polygraph tests for all candidates and those who admit to drug use are extensively questioned about the details. The department has no exact limit on what constitutes acceptable previous drug use; there is no rule that says you can use cocaine twice, for example. Rather, screeners consider the applicant’s age when they sampled drugs and how long or how many times drugs were used. Accelerated hiring drives in the late 1960s and early 1970s were blamed for some of the department’s most egregious examples of police corruption and brutality, including a 1983 case in which two officers were convicted of being contract killers. Later, the Christopher Commission – formed after the 1991 videotaped police beating of Rodney King – recommended more rigorous background checks to screen out problem recruits. In the mid-1990s the city’s Personnel Department and LAPD considered allowing candidates to have some past, experimental use of hard drugs in order to expand the applicant pool, but political leaders balked. But personnel and police screeners complained they couldn’t fill new academy classes and said strong candidates were being sidelined for trying a hard drug back in their early teens, even as they certified mediocre candidates who had minor problems all over their applications that weren’t technically significant enough to disqualify them. That led to the “whole person” analysis adopted by the Civil Service Commission in 2003. “We’d rather have someone with one big flaw that has gotten beyond that flaw, corrected it and had an exemplary life since then. Those are the kind of people we want to hire. The mediocre candidates we don’t want to hire,” Whalen said. Los Angeles is not alone. An increasing number of police departments have changed their “zero tolerance” policies on hard drug use, said Elaine Deck, program manager with the International Association of Police Chiefs. “The more we look at the people who are applying for these positions the more we recognize that a higher number of them have experimented with drugs, so we have to adjust our selection criteria to make reasonable choices.” Nevertheless, Parks and Councilmen Dennis Zine and Greig Smith – both reserve police officers – want the Civil Service Commission to reconsider the hiring policy. And Police Protective League President Bob Baker said rank-and-file officers are very concerned because drug use – even if it’s limited – can be a sign of poor coping skills and bad judgment. “When you go out on the streets you want to make sure you’ve got the best of the best that’s riding alongside you. That’s an obligation we have to the officers and the community,” he said. firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
A sign advertising the Impossible Burger. (Credit: NTL Photography)This is a guest post from Mark R. O’Brien, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. This piece reflects the views of the author.People eat animals that eat plants. If we just eliminate that middle step and eat plants directly, we would diminish our carbon footprint, decrease agricultural land usage, eliminate health risks associated with red meat and alleviate ethical concerns over animal welfare. For many of us, the major hurdle to executing this plan is that meat tastes good. Really good. By contrast, a veggie burger tastes like, well, a veggie burger. It does not satisfy the craving because it does not look, smell or taste like beef. It does not bleed like beef.Impossible Foods, a California-based company, seeks to change this by adding a plant product to their veggie burger with properties people normally associate with animals and give it the desired qualities of beef. The Impossible Burger has been sold in local restaurants since 2016 and is now expanding its market nationwide by teaming up with Burger King to create the Impossible Whopper. The Impossible Whopper is currently being test marketed in St. Louis, with plans to expand nationally if things go well there.But what exactly is being added to this veggie burger? Does it make the burger less vegan? Is the additive from a GMO? Does it prevent the burger from being labeled organic?I am a molecular biologist and biochemist interested in understanding how plants and bacteria interact with each other and with the environment, and how that relates to human health. This knowledge has been applied in a way that I did not anticipate to develop the Impossible Burger.What On Earth Is Leghemoglobin?The Impossible Burger includes an ingredient from soybeans called leghemoglobin, which is a protein that is chemically bound to a non-protein molecule called heme that gives leghemoglobin its blood-red color. In fact, a heme – an iron-containing molecule – is what gives blood and red meat their color. Leghemoglobin is evolutionarily related to animal myoglobin found in muscle and hemoglobin in blood, and serves to regulate oxygen supply to cells.Heme gives the Impossible Burger the appearance, cooking aroma and taste of beef. I recruited a scientific colleague in St. Louis to try out the Impossible Whopper, and he could not distinguish it from its meaty counterpart. Although he was quick to qualify this by noting all of the other stuff on the Whopper may mask any differences.A cross section of a soybean root nodule. The red color is due to leghemoglobin. (Credit: CSIRO, CC BY)So, why aren’t soybean plants red? Leghemoglobin is found in many legumes, hence its name, and is highly abundant within specialized structures on the roots called nodules. If you cut open a nodule with your thumbnail, you will see that it is very red due to leghemoglobin. The soybean nodule forms as a response to its interaction with the symbiotic bacterium Bradyrhizobium japonicum.I suspect that Impossible Foods depicts a soybean without nodules on their website because people tend to be creeped out by bacteria even though Bradyrhizobium is beneficial.My research group’s interest in the symbiotic relationship between the soybean and its bacterial sidekick Bradyrhizobium japonicum is motivated by the goal of reducing humanity’s carbon footprint, but not by creating palatable veggie burgers.The bacteria within root nodules take nitrogen from the air and convert it to a nutrient form that the plant can use for growth and sustenance – a process called nitrogen fixation. The symbiosis lessens the reliance on chemical nitrogen fertilizers, which consume a lot of fossil fuel energy to manufacture, and which also pollute the water supply.Some research groups are interested in extending the symbiosis by genetically engineering crops such as corn and wheat so that they can reap the benefits of nitrogen fixation, which only some plants, including legumes, can do now.I am pleasantly surprised and a little amused that esoteric terms of my vocation such as heme and leghemoglobin have found their way into the public lexicon and on the wrapper of a fast-food sandwich.Root nodules occur on the roots of legumes associated with symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Within legume nodules, nitrogen gas in the air is converted into ammonia. (Credit: Kelly Marken/Shutterstock)Is Leghemoglobin Vegan? A Non-GMO? Organic?Leghemoglobin is the ingredient that defines the Impossible Burger, but it is also the additive most closely scrutinized by those seeking assurances of it being organic, non-GMO or vegan.The leghemoglobin used in the burgers comes from a genetically engineered yeast that harbors the DNA instructions from the soybean plant to manufacture the protein. Adding the soybean gene into the yeast then makes it a GMO. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees with the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designation of soybean leghemoglobin. Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits the “organic” label for foods derived from genetically modified organisms. It is ironic that an innovation that may be eco-friendly and sustainable must be readily dismissed by groups that claim to share those goals.Not all vegans are delighted by this new burger. Some insist that a GMO product cannot be vegan for various reasons, including animal testing of products such as leghemoglobin. In my view, the moral certitude of that position can be challenged because it does not take into account the cattle that are spared. Other vegans view GMOs as a solution to problems that are important to them.Judging from its website, Impossible Foods is keenly aware of the constituencies that weigh in on their product. It includes a link describing how GMOs are saving civilization. But they also make the misleading claim that “Here at Impossible Foods, heme is made directly from plants.” In reality, it comes directly from yeast.The commercialization of leghemoglobin represents an unanticipated consequence of inquiry into an interesting biological phenomenon. The benefits of scientific research are often unforeseen at the time of their discovery. Whether or not the Impossible Burger venture succeeds on a large scale remains to be seen, but surely food technology will continue to evolve to accommodate human needs as it has since the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago.Mark R. O’Brian, Professor and Chair of Biochemistry, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Mark R. O’Brian receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.