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Accounting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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Financial Instruments: Hedging

A new standard that improves and simplifies guidance around hedge accounting. Feature Pane - Financial Instruments—Hedging - More Link

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A standard that simplifies and improves how a not-for-profit organization presents information in its financial statements. Feature Pane - NFP Financial Reporting More Link

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From the President's Desk—Independence Day Special Issue [06/28/18]

FASB Issues Proposed Accounting Standards Update—Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958): Updating the Definition of Collections [06/26/18]

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By Tonya Garcia

Published: July 11, 2018 6:57 a.m. ET

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Plastic straws have become the target of environmental efforts to battle climate change, waste, and ocean debris

Reporter

Starbucks Corp.’s plan to do away with plastic straws by 2020 could not only benefit the environment, but also drive millennial customers through the doors.

The coffee company announced Monday that it will “phase out” plastic straws at its 28,000-plus global stores by 2020, a plan aimed at eliminating more than one billion straws a year. The need for an alternative to plastic straws grew as the sales of cold beverages has risen, up to more than 50% of sales from 37% of sales five years ago.

Straws will be replaced by a lid developed by Emily Alexander, an engineer in global research and development at the company.

The lids are being used for a few drinks including the Draft Nitro in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Starbucks SBUX, -0.56% says the lids will become standard for all iced drinks except for frappuccinos, which will be served with straws made from paper, compostable plastic, or another sustainable material. Customers can request a straw for other drinks.

Read: New research claims coffee isn’t bad for you but should you drink 8 cups a day?

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The lids are available first in Vancouver and Seattle, where single-use plastic straws and utensils were banned from the city’s 5,000 restaurants as of July 1.

“By nature, the straw isn’t recyclable and the lid is, so we feel this decision is more sustainable and more socially responsible,” said Chris Milne, director of packaging sourcing for Starbucks.

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to develop a cup that can be composted or recycled.

13 July 2018
Latest News

Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) Press Release

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At the beginning of this year, the astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, USA) announced that they had found evidence of the existence of a giant planet — with a mass ten times larger than Earth’s — in the confines of the solar system. Moving in an unusually elongated orbit, the mysterious planet will take between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete one revolution around the Sun.

In order to arrive at this conclusion, Batygin and Brown ran computer simulations with input data based on the orbits of six extreme trans-Neptunian objects (ETNOs). Specifically, these ETNOs are: Sedna, 2012VP, 2004VN, 2007TG, 2013RF and 2010GB.

Now, however, brothers Carlos and Raúl de la Fuente Marcos, two freelance Spanish astronomers, together with scientist Sverre J. Aarseth from the Institute of Astronomy of the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), have considered the question the other way around: How would the orbits of these six ETNOs evolve if a Planet Nine such as the one proposed by K. Batygin and M. Brown really did exist? The answer to this important question has been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society .

“With the orbit indicated by the Caltech astronomers for Planet Nine, our calculations show that the six ETNOs, which they consider to be the Rosetta Stone in the solution to this mystery, would move in lengthy, unstable orbits,” warns Carlos de la Fuente Marcos.

”These objects would escape from the solar system in less than 1.5billion years,” he adds, “and in the case of 2004VN, 2007TG and 2013RF they could abandon it in less than 300million years; what is more important, their orbits would become really unstable in just 10million years, a really short amount of time in astronomical terms.”

According to this new study, also based on numerical (N-body) simulations, the orbit of the new planet proposed by Batygin and Brown would have to be modified slightly so that the orbits of the six ETNOs analysed would be really stable for a long time.

These results also lead to a new question: Are the ETNOs a transient and unstable population or, on the contrary, are they permanent and stable? The fact that these objects behave in one way or another affects the evolution of their orbits and also the numerical modelling.

“If the ETNOs are transient, they are being continuously ejected and must have a stable source located beyond 1,000astronomical units (in the Oort cloud) where they come from,” notes Carlos de la Fuente Marcos. “But if they are stable in the long term, then there could be many in similar orbits although we have not observed them yet”.

In any case, the statistical and numerical evidence obtained by the authors, both through this and previous work, leads them to suggest that the most stable scenario is one in which there is not just one planet, but rather several more beyond Pluto, in mutual resonance, which best explains the results. “That is to say we believe that in addition to a Planet Nine, there could also be a Planet Ten and even more,” the Spanish astronomer points out.

International race to discover Planet Nine These studies are only a few of the countless international peer-reviewed articles published or in preparation about the search for Planet Nine with the help of N-body simulations and other techniques. Batygin and Brown are going to present soon new models of the orbit of the mysterious Planet Nine with up-to-date data. On the other side of the Atlantic, in France, Professor Jacques Laskar’s team from the Paris Observatory is also attempting to be the first to compute the position of the hypothetical Planet Nine in order to then observe it.

This situation is reminiscent of the discovery of Neptune, in which the French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier was the first to “discover” a new planet using laborious hand calculations based on the positions of Uranus; later, the German astronomer J. G Galle directly observed it.

“If Neptune was the first planet discovered using pen and paper, Planet Nine could be the first to be discovered using entirely computerised numerical calculations,” notes de la Fuente Marcos. He points out that the results of the French team are based on residuals in the tracking data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft in orbit around Saturn caused by the presence of the hypothetical planet, but NASA has denied it, suggesting that it could simply be statistical noise in the signal.

Could Planet Nine be an exoplanet? One of the most revolutionary studies from recent months, also with computational simulations and participation of French institutions, was led by the researcher Alexander Mustill from Lund University (Sweden), who raised the idea that Planet Nine may have come from outside the solar system , that is to say, that it could be an exoplanet.

Mustill’s hypothesis is that around 4.5billion years ago, our then young Sun “stole” this planet from a neighbouring star with the help of a series of favourable conditions (proximity of stars within a star cluster, a planet in a wide and elongated orbit, etc.). Other scientists, however, believe that this scenario is improbable.

The debate is on. What all astronomers do agree on is the importance of closely tracking the motions of the extreme trans-Neptunian objects to be able to adjust the calculations that should lead the way to the location of Planet Nine, without forgetting that the best evidence will be its direct observation, a race which several research teams are fighting to win.

News
21 February 2017 Stephen Clark

Concerns about the health of the Juno spacecraft’s main engine have compelled NASA managers to keep the research probe in its current arcing, high-altitude orbit around Jupiter, a decision that will delay the full science return from the $1.1 billion mission but should still allow it to meet all predetermined objectives.

News
18 April 2016 Astronomy Now

Scientists have determined that comets produce X-ray emission when particles in the solar wind strike the comet’s atmosphere. Recently, astronomers announced the results of a study using data collected with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory of two comets — C/2012 S1 ISON and C/2011 S4 PanSTARRS — when both were relatively close to Earth.

News
7 October 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile have discovered never-before-seen moving features within the dusty disc surrounding the young, nearby star AUMicroscopii. The fast-moving, wave-like structures are moving at 22,000 miles per hour — fast enough to escape the star’s gravitational pull.

Get the latest astronomical news and stargazing tips delivered to your inbox.

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