Top stories: Martian canyons, a giant sea creature, and foreign DNA in our genome

first_imgIn a turnabout, key congressional critic backs NSF peer reviewA political dispute involving the National Science Foundation (NSF) that has taken on near-biblical importance within the scientific community may be inching closer to resolution. A new statement from Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), the chair of the science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives that oversees NSF, appears to be a significant softening of his long-standing criticism of NSF’s grantsmaking process. And although a different congressional panel is expected to register the same complaint against the agency at a hearing next week, the shift in the political landscape is good news for U.S. scientists.Warming Arctic may be causing heat waves elsewhere in worldSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Global warming is increasing temperatures twice as fast in the Arctic as elsewhere on the planet. Some scientists have suggested that this so-called Arctic amplification can alter circulation patterns that affect weather in the United States, Europe, and Asia, potentially helping cause the powerful winter storms and deep freezes that have blasted the midlatitudes over the past decade. A new study suggests Arctic warming could ultimately pack a summertime punch, too, possibly contributing to extreme events such as the deadly 2010 Russian heat wave.Humans may harbor more than 100 genes from other organismsYou’re not completely human, at least when it comes to the genetic material inside your cells. You—and everyone else—may harbor as many as 145 genes that have jumped from bacteria, other single-celled organisms, and viruses and made themselves at home in the human genome. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which provides some of the broadest evidence yet that, throughout evolutionary history, genes from other branches of life have become part of animal cells.Newly discovered sea creature was once the largest animal on EarthAlmost half a billion years ago, the largest animal on Earth was a 2-meter-long, helmet-headed sea creature that fed on some of the ocean’s tiniest prey. The newly described species is one of the largest arthropods yet discovered, a class of animals that includes spiders and crabs. The well-preserved remains of the multisegmented creature are providing clues about how subsequent arthropods’ legs may have evolved from the dozens of stubby flaps used to propel this beast through the water.Researchers nearly double the size of worker antsResearchers have changed the size of a handful of Florida ants by chemically modifying their DNA, rather than by changing its encoded information. The work is the latest advance from a field known as epigenetics and may help explain how the insects—despite their high degree of genetic similarity—grow into the different varieties of workers needed in a colony.Sugar industry shaped NIH agenda on dental researchThe sugar industry convinced the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that studies that might persuade people to cut back on sugary foods should not be part of a national plan to fight childhood tooth decay, a new study of historical documents argues. The authors say the industry’s activities, which occurred more than 40 years ago, are reminiscent of the tobacco companies’ efforts to minimize the risks of smoking.Martian canyons may have been carved by windAncient canyons scar the surface of Mars, a relic from a time billions of years ago when rivers flowed on its surface. But water may not be the only factor that shaped these canyons—the wind whipping through them could be just as important, according to a new study of river canyons on Earth. Scientists studying chasms in the Andes mountains in northeast Chile have found that wind carves some canyons 10 times faster than water. The discovery may be significant for understanding how much water flowed on the surface of ancient Mars.last_img read more

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Digital Lending Easing the Mortgage Process

first_img Share February 20, 2019 1,231 Views Bank of America digital lending Down Payment HELOC Home Homeownership HOUSING Millennials mortgage platform technology 2019-02-20 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Originationcenter_img Digital Lending: Easing the Mortgage Process Digital mortgage technology is the way forward as more homebuyers look to completing their mortgage process online and lenders are looking to ease this process for these buyers. According to a recent tech study by the STRATMOR Group on how lenders use technology in the mortgage process, the primary driver of lenders’ technology investment has shifted from regulatory concerns to a focus on improving customer service, with providing a digital experience for borrowers increasingly becoming the new reality for them.Lenders today are also enhancing their customer service through apps with new features such as person-to-person payments, personal financing managing tools, and virtual assistance, according to a global consumer survey on digital banking by Deloitte. This survey also revealed that 23 percent of consumers surveyed in the U.S. used online banking to apply for home equity or mortgage top-up loans and another 23 percent used it for mortgage and mortgage refinance. Experts from Bank of America recently gave their insights into why the digital lending process was becoming so important and the trends that would define the housing market in 2019.Enhancing the Digital Experience”With mortgage rates still low and home prices steadying, it remains a great time to buy a home and in terms of easing the process, we’re seeing a growing number of clients embracing digital mortgage technology when it comes to getting pre-approved and applying for loans,” said John Schleck, SVP, Centralized and Online Sales, Bank of America. Additionally, he said that the bank’s Digital Mortgage Experience platform was helping borrowers to also estimate the amount they could borrow while helping them to apply for a new mortgage or refinance an existing one online.Online platforms are also providing first-time homebuyers with the right resources and information that can help them take that first step towards buying a home. According to A J Barkley, SVP, Consumer Lending at Bank of America, “Without the right resources homeownership can feel like a far-off dream, particularly for first-time and modest-income buyers. Keeping prospective buyers informed about money conscious ways to buy a home like the Affordable Loan Solution mortgage and assistance programs can help make this dream a reality.”Recently, fintech provider Blend introduced a digital platform to ease the lending process for borrowers applying for Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC),  a loan that can be used by borrowers looking at large renovation projects or even those who plan to tap into their home equity to fund a second home. “Another option is to tap the equity in a primary residence to buy a second home, either using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a cash-out refinance. Buyers can opt to take out a HELOC on their primary home and use those funds for a down payment to purchase a vacation home,” said Ann Thompson, SVP, Divisional Sales Executive Bank of America in a recent post on MReport.This is especially true before the spring buying season when more and more homeowners are looking to update and refresh their homes. “While DIY and smaller projects can often be covered by cash or a credit card, many homeowners are unaware that a HELOC can be a cost-effective way to fund the large-scale renovations homeowners are making today,” explained Andrew Leff, SVP, National Business Development, Bank of America.While TransUnion expects HELOC originations to double over the next five years, this isn’t the only housing trend that will define 2019. Millennials will continue to define the housing market this year too.Homebuying Trends”In 2018, millennials told us they equate homeownership with their personal and financial success. In 2019, we continue to see millennials, as well as the first Gen-Zers, taking steps toward homeownership as they weigh the important benefits of owning vs. renting,” said Hilani Kerr, Retail Sales Executive at Bank of America.For Kathy Cummings, SVP, Homeownership Solutions and Affordable Housing Programs Bank of America, her goal is to make sure that millennials are comfortable with their basics of homebuying. “As millennials reach their peak buying years, most rank homeownership high on their priority list,” she said. “My goal is to make sure that they are comfortable with the homebuying basics and how homeownership fits in their overall financial picture as they embark on this journey.”With the industry anticipating another strong spring homebuying season, Thompson said that purchase mortgage originations were expected to increase by more than 4 percent. “Prospective buyers should have their budget and plan in place so that they are ready to act,” she said.last_img read more

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