Turkey Will Not Return to the Western Fold – Foreign Affairs Magazine

Samuel Huntington’s 1993 Foreign Affairs essay “The Clash of Civilizations?” has been picked apart endlessly over the past three decades. But whatever one makes of his thesis that cultural identity would drive post–Cold War politics, Huntington had something right about Turkey. Huntington predicted that as the twentieth-century contest wound down, the pro-Western leanings of Turkey’s secular elite would be displaced by nationalist and Islamic elements. He was spot on. 
Over the last few years, Turkey’s relationships with the United States and Europe have been turbulent, to say the least. Former U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan established a bromance of sorts, personalizing bilateral relations to the detriment of nearly all policy issues. Turkey distrusts the United States for supporting Syrian Kurdish forces in Syria and for harboring the cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara has identified as the mastermind of a failed coup in 2016. Turkey’s relations with Europe have been no better. European leaders have grown weary of Turkey’s increasing illiberalism and eagerness to flex its military muscle in the eastern Mediterranean. 
Meanwhile, Ankara has turned to new partners. The government has purchased Russian weapons systems—against the wishes of its NATO allies—and has worked with Moscow on major infrastructure projects, including gas pipelines and Turkey’s first nuclear reactor. Turkey and Russia together have carved out spheres of influence in Libya and Syria. And lately, Turkey has courted China, chasing Chinese investment, procuring the COVID-19 vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinovac, and refusing to criticize Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghurs. 
This is not a temporary pivot but a deeper change in Turkey’s foreign policy orientation. In the nearly two decades of Erdogan’s rule, Turkey has grown less interested than it once was in belonging to the transatlantic club or pursuing European Union membership. Instead, the government has been keen to reposition the country as a regional hegemon. While the West is still gripped with nostalgia about Ankara’s historic role in the transatlantic alliance, Turkish leaders, deeply suspicious of NATO partners, talk of strategic autonomy. Once the poster child of a secular Muslim republic, a shining example of the transformative power of the liberal order, Turkey today is questioning the value of playing by Western rules. 
Turkey yearns, more than anything, to be a standalone power. Its new foreign policy is best understood not as a drift toward Russia or China but as expressive of a desire to keep a foot in each camp and to manage great-power rivalry. The Erdogan regime engineered this shift and a permissive international environment enabled it—but neither a new government in Ankara nor a reinvigorated Western alliance can reverse it. A network of politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, and scholars openly skeptical of alignment with the West now dominate the country’s security culture. An independent Turkish foreign policy is here to stay. 
The past few years have marked a break with the post–World War II status quo. But looking back further, Turkey’s balancing act has historical precedent. The Ottoman Empire in the late nineteenth century and the Turkish Republic in its early decades both sought to insulate the state from currents abroad and play more powerful nations off one another. In an attempt to stave off the decline of its empire, Ottoman leaders entered a game of ever-changing alliances, aligning at times with Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the United Kingdom before making the mistake of teaming up with Germany in World War I. In the 1920s and the 1930s, the young Turkish Republic received political and military support from the Bolshevik government in Moscow. Turkey remained neutral in World War II, its leaders shuttling back and forth between Nazi Germany and the United Kingdom to extract military aid, export credits, and other forms of financial support from both. Erdogan has the same goal today: to make deals with world powers without picking a side. 
Enacting that strategy has required some historical rehabilitation. The idea that Turkey is unique among its neighbors and destined to reclaim a regional leadership role—similar to the late-nineteenth-century German concept of Sonderweg, or “separate path,” as I have written elsewhere—is rooted in a conception of the country as the heir to the Ottoman Empire. The secular tradition that Turkey’s founder, Kemal Ataturk, established in the 1920s rested on a portrayal of the Ottomans as backward, inefficient, and unable to keep up with “contemporary civilizations” (muasır medeniyetler). Erdogan’s Turkey has adopted a very different tone. Today’s political speeches and television dramas don’t denigrate Ottoman leaders as unsophisticated conquerors but adulate them as pioneers of a new civilizational order—fair in governance and more compassionate toward their subjects than their Western contemporaries. Those subjects’ nationalist uprisings eventually helped bring down the empire—but the new discourse takes little note of this fact. Turkey’s revisionist historians describe the Ottoman era as a golden age of equanimity and justice, disturbed only by the prodding of the “imperialist” West.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) increasingly calls upon the Ottoman heritage in justifying its foreign policy. Pro-government media celebrate the expansion of Turkey’s military footprint to former Ottoman lands, such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and the Caucasus, as the rebirth of a sleeping giant. Erdogan, in turn, is the “leader of the century”—a modern-day version of the late-nineteenth-century sultan he reveres, Abdulhamid II, who resisted calls for constitutional reform, held the line against the West, and forestalled the decline of the empire. In making the comparison, Turkish media outlets applaud Erdogan for playing hardball with great powers—cheering on his negotiations with Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin—and for maintaining an assertive posture in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara’s military strength and Washington’s retrenchment from the Middle East have eased the way for Turkey’s forays into regional conflicts. The country’s burgeoning defense industry has supplied Turkish troops in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Turkish-produced armed drones helped secure Azerbaijan’s decisive battlefield victory against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh last fall. As the increasing self-reliance of Turkey’s military-industrial complex gave its leaders the confidence to project power in the region, Trump’s lack of interest in the Middle East and desire for a smooth personal relationship with Erdogan gave them the opportunity. Turkey expanded its naval operations in the eastern Mediterranean and built bases in Qatar and Somalia without having to worry much about opposition from the United States. Instead, Russia was the power that Erdogan had to watch out for. The Turkish president established a close relationship with Putin and acted with Moscow’s coordination and consent in every deployment abroad. But this cooperation went only so far. Russia imposed geographic limits on Turkey’s zone of influence in Libya, Syria, and the Caucasus—leaving Ankara frustrated as well as emboldened. 
Erdogan’s real skill is exploiting gaps in the international system and finding opportunities to play Russia and the United States against each other. In Syria, for example, Turkey’s presence has been a menace to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, but Washington has also understood it as a source of leverage against Russian encroachment. In Libya, Erdogan spotted an opening and moved in quickly. In 2019, the Libyan militia leader General Khalifa Haftar led an army that advanced on Libya’s government with the backing of Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The desperate government went door to door in Western capitals, seeking assistance. Most Western powers did not care or dare to intervene. But Turkey did: its forces helped turn back Haftar’s offensive with minimal military investment. By entering these conflicts, Turkey is carving out a space for itself in the age of great-power rivalry. Ankara’s objective, as Turkish commentators often put it, is “to have a seat at the table.”
In projecting power abroad, Erdogan has so far played his hand well. What is surprising is that he has managed to do so from a fragile position at home. Turkey is facing a severe economic crisis with double-digit inflation, a steep decline in the value of the lira, and high unemployment, all resulting in capital flight and impoverishment for ordinary Turks. For the first time in decades, economists fear a balance-of-payments crisis. This tumult is chipping away at Erdogan’s base—in an April poll, fewer than 30 percent of respondents said they would support the AKP if an election were to be held that week, well below the 49 percent who voted for the party in 2015. 
Erdogan’s foreign policy record may not redeem him, either. Like the citizens of many other nations, the Turks believe in their country’s exceptionalism. Polls indicate popular support for restoring Turkey to a place of grandeur on the world stage, and most voters share Erdogan’s suspicions of the West, particularly the United States. For all but the most strident nationalists, however, this is not enough. Most voters are pragmatic: they do not want Turkey to be estranged from its Western allies if that isolation takes a toll on their economic well-being and quality of life. Support for EU membership is still around 60 percent, not because Turks feel European but because many understand integration with Europe to mean a stronger economy and better governance. As the government boasts about establishing a military base in Libya and bombing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in Iraq, in Turkey businesses are going bankrupt, shops are closing, and pensions are shrinking. The country has so far failed to secure sufficient COVID-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers abroad; only around ten percent of Turks have been inoculated. 
In short, most citizens have yet to see Erdogan’s ambitious international agenda making Turkey great again. Despite the relentless nationalism of the pro-government media, there is a growing sense among the populace that Erdogan is pushing too hard on foreign policy. Turkey seems to have lost its sense of purpose and alienated too many of its friends—making some of the same strategic mistakes, perhaps, that cost the Ottomans their empire. 

Most Western analysts assume that Erdogan will remain in power indefinitely—that a democratic transition is no longer possible for Turkey. Most Turks disagree. Restrictions on free speech, the jailing of many Kurdish politicians, and other forms of government repression make political contests less fair, but they do not guarantee Erdogan and the AKP a victory in the next elections, scheduled for 2023. 
Erdogan’s challenger in that election will no doubt pledge to pursue a less combative foreign policy and more stable relations with world powers. A post-Erdogan government might take concrete steps to distance itself from its predecessor, too. It could mend ties with NATO, normalize relations with regional foes including Egypt and the UAE, or resuscitate Turkey’s membership talks with the EU—even if the effort is futile. Ever the pragmatist, Erdogan himself could try to pivot back to the West if he deems that U.S. President Joe Biden’s project to revive the U.S.-led order is promising enough to latch onto. But if U.S. power is seen to decline, Turkey will take that as an opportunity to expand its role in global politics. And it is hard to imagine any leading politician, whether in the AKP or the opposition, running against the country’s nationalist currents and taking an unreservedly pro-Western stance.
In the long run, Turkey’s independent foreign policy will persist with or without the current president. Ankara will likely continue to assert its sovereignty in the eastern Mediterranean, devote its resources to defense development, and expand its reach into regional affairs. Falling in line as a loyal, card-carrying member of the transatlantic community does not hold the appeal it once did, and it certainly cannot match the allure of projecting power on Ankara’s own terms. Turkey has claimed the role of heir to an empire, and it will pursue its separate path—its Sonderweg.
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The President’s Foreign Policy Doctrine Has Been Hiding in Plain Sight
Al Qaeda Changed the World—but Not in the Way It Expected
Washington and Ankara Still Need Each Other
The Rise and Rule of Turkey’s Islamist Shapeshifter
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2021 Arnold Sports Festival USA Delayed, Exact Dates Unconfirmed – BarBend

 
The 2021 Arnold Sports Festival USA has been postponed until later in 2021, according to an announcement made on the event’s official website. Exact dates have yet to be released by the ASF team, though they originally stated that the event would be held in May or June. Any mention of particular dates has since been removed from the site. A source close to Arnold Schwarzenegger told BarBend that a May or June date was news to them.
Arnold is committed to holding the event only when it is safe for everyone, and it is absurd to guess right now — during the biggest spike in coronavirus cases, when hospitals are filling up and almost 3,000 people died today — that May or June will be safe.
In the first week of March 2020, the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, announced that the expo was canceled and many of the competitive events were to be held without fans. The major contests did take place, but with limited people in attendance. Consequently, the remaining Arnold events throughout the world were canceled entirely. Many people were looking forward to the 2021 event with hopes that it would resemble what many fans remember “The Arnold” to be. That is, a major gathering of fans and athletes celebrating strength, fitness, and health. However, it will be historic for another reason.
 
 
A post shared by Arnold Sports Festival (@arnoldsports)

For the first time in 30 years, the Arnold Sports Festival won’t be held in late February or early March. The ASF is still expected to be held in Columbus, Ohio, where it has been held since its inception in 1989. The 2020 Arnold Sports Festival Europe is set for Dec. 11-13, 2020, and no announcement has been made about those dates changing on the website. 
The ASF is best known for the Arnold Classic bodybuilding contest as well as the Arnold Strongman Classic and the International Sports Hall of Fame ceremony. All-in-all, the ASF hosts over 22,000 athletes from 80 nations who compete in 80-plus events and competitions throughout the weekend — such as weightlifting, powerlifting, kettlebell sport, various martial arts, dance, and even body painting. There is also the expo, where fans gather to check out their favorite supplement and fitness brands and meet athletes and influencers. 
We will update this article with more details as they’re revealed. 
Featured image: @arnoldsports on Instagram / photo by Christopher Bailey

BarBend is an independent website. The views expressed on this site may come from individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the view of BarBend or any other organization. BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting.
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Bodybuilders Roelly Winklaar and Nick Walker Added to 2021 Arnold Classic Lineup – BarBend

 
On June 29, 2021, the Arnold Sports Festival announced on their social media platforms that pro bodybuilders Roelly Winklaar and Nick Walker have been added to the already star-studded lineup of the 2021 Arnold Classic. The contest, currently scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 25 in Columbus, OH, already includes 12 professional bodybuilders. The updated lineup of competitors is below.
Brent LaLonde, Communications Director of the Arnold Sports Festival, told BarBend that adding these two athletes to their lineup was something they knew the audience would appreciate.
“Both Nick and Roelly are competitors that the fans want to see on the Arnold Classic stage, and we’re excited that both of them are going to be coming to Columbus to compete this year,” LaLonde says. “This is going to be a great show, and having them in it will make it even better.” 
 
 
A post shared by Arnold Sports Festival (@arnoldsports)

[Related: What You Need to Know About How to Build Muscle]
Winklaar, a native of Curacao, brings a list of accomplishments to the Ohio contest. He placed third at the 2018 Mr. Olympia, was named the Olympia’s first “People’s Champion,” and he won the 2018 Arnold Classic Australia. He was considered a top contender for the 2020 Olympia, but he had to withdraw the week before the contest due to testing positive for COVID-19. 
Winklaar has never won an Arnold Classic Ohio contest, but he did win the 2009 NPC Arnold Amateur, which is how he earned pro status. His highest placing at the U.S.-based contest is fourth in 2018. His arms are considered by many to be among the best in bodybuilding. He has yet to qualify for the 2021 Olympia, but winning the Arnold would qualify him for the 2022 contest.
It’s been a long time since a bodybuilder created a buzz as Nick Walker has. The 2020 North American champion got a lot of attention as soon as he stepped onstage at that season’s Chicago Pro. Ultimately, he placed fourth in that contest, but his improvements during the following postseason led him to take the win at the 2021 New York Pro
 
 
A post shared by Nick “the Mutant” Walker (@nick_walker39)

[Related: How Bodybuilders Cut Weight While Still Holding Onto Muscle]
Walker has said that his focus recently has been on improving his upper chest and back. His hamstrings are definitely a strength, and he has improved his posing significantly since turning pro. He’s currently qualified for the 2021 Olympia, taking place Oct. 7-10, but winning the Arnold Classic as well as the 2022 Olympia qualification that comes with it could certainly give him a lot of momentum. 
This will mark Walker’s Arnold Classic debut and the biggest stage he has competed on so far. If his nerves don’t get the best of him, it will be intriguing to see where he stands against competition such as Winklaar, Steve Kuclo, William Bonac, and Cedric McMillan.
Featured Image: @arnoldsports on Instagram 

BarBend is an independent website. The views expressed on this site may come from individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the view of BarBend or any other organization. BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting.
Have a question or comment? Get in touch:
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OKC Thunder: ‘Kenny Hustle’ provides much needed muscle for bench unit – Thunderous Intentions

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
 
 
Kenrich Williams. OKC Thunder. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
‘Kenny Hustle’ is all the bustle in OKC… Before the OKC Thunder began the season, there could have been a poll taken around the OKC area asking about fan favorites, and it is highly possible that the name “Kenrich Williams” would not have come up one time in said conversation.
One of the all-time OKC Thunder fan favorites, Steven Adams, would have been at the top of the list undoubtedly. That is, until OKC General Manager, Sam Presti pulled the trigger on a four-team trade that sent Adams to New Orleans, bringing back a slew of players, including Williams, in on the deal.
At the time of the trade, Williams averaged under four points a game to go along with five rebounds in 21 minutes per contest over 39 appearances for the New Orleans Pelicans.
I understand that is a small sample size, but if we compare this to his 41 games with OKC, it is easy to see why ‘Kenny Hustle’ is making his name known across the league.
OKC hasn’t seen this type of intensity since the Andre Roberson days. This comparison may not do Williams justice because he is much more well-versed in all facets of his game, as Roberson was one-dimensional, to say the very least.
Williams has stepped it up a notch. In his short stint with OKC, he is averaging seven points per contest on 57 percent shooting to go along with his 41 percent three-point percentage. Not to mention he is red-hot from inside the perimeter, shooting around 63 percent from below the arc.
Williams has started six of the 41 contests for OKC, but as we fast-forward to recent weeks, TI will take a look at Williams production from the bench standpoint, as well as what this means for his trade value going forward before March 25th, coming up in just a short week.
Since the abysmal loss to the New York Knicks last Saturday, Williams is averaging 13.5 points per contest coming off the bench.
This development is noteworthy because OKC has entered the second half of its season looking to become “developmentally minded” in every sense of the word.
OKC Thunder: Kenrich Williams is proving to be a great “do it all” asset

This phrase is an excellent way of embracing the tank that Thunder fans want so desperately as OKC will look to obtain a lottery pick in this upcoming draft.
Being developmentally minded means, OKC will see more of Aleksej Pokusevski and Moses Brown in the starting lineup, especially if OKC is trying to shop  George Hill, Mike Muscala, Justin Jackson, and unfortunately, Kenrich Williams.
Williams has played lights out for the Thunder this year, and I hope he stays in Thunder Blue. Still, at two million a year, the defensive stalwart is undoubtedly trying to get paid, and that might not be OKC’s modus operandi this season.
The only issue, Williams is the Thunder bench production, especially as of late. It will be interesting to see who will pick up his slack if the Texas Christian standout is signed elsewhere this season.
There aren’t many teams across the league who couldn’t benefit from this production. Let’s take a look at some ‘Kenny Hustle’ highlights:
Always pressuring.
Kenrich Williams | #KennyHustle pic.twitter.com/c5AeLlQNON
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 14, 2021

This play is second-nature to Williams, and there is no doubt in my mind that sequences like this are garnering calls from General Managers across the league.
ALWAYS HOOPING
Witness the work of Kenrich Williams and Mike Muscala.
Teammate-approved. pic.twitter.com/3osAwTXKB8
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 26, 2021

Another play where Williams is just biding his time patiently to turn scrappy defense into easy offense.
I could keep uploading clips all day, but instead, I will say that the former NIT Most Outstanding Player, Kenrich Williams, is the heart and soul of the OKC Thunder bench.
In reviewing the bench play from the last week, he is the most outstanding bench player for this organization, but I genuinely think he is playing for a contract elsewhere. OKC Thunder fans may need to expect ‘Kenny Hustle’ to be on the move as the trade deadline inches closer and OKC is in the business of gaining assets for the future.
In short, Kenrich Williams may have hustled his way out of OKC.
 
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Robot Shows How Simple Swimming Can Be – IEEE Spectrum

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Undulatory swimming appears complex—though not to an eel robot
Lots of robots use bioinspiration in their design. Humanoids, quadrupeds, snake robots—if an animal has figured out a clever way of doing something, odds are there’s a robot that’s tried to duplicate it. But animals are often just a little too clever for the robots that we build that try to mimic them, which is why researchers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL) are using robots to learn about how animals themselves do what they do. In a paper published today in Science Robotics, roboticists from EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory introduce a robotic eel that leverages sensory feedback from the water it swims through to coordinate its motion without the need for central control, suggesting a path towards simpler, more robust mobile robots.
The robotic eel—called AgnathaX—is a descendant of AmphiBot, which has been swimming around at EPFL for something like two decades. AmphiBot’s elegant motion in the water has come from the equivalent what are called central pattern generators (CPGs), which are sequences of neural circuits (the biological kind) that generate the sort of rhythms that you see in eel-like animals that rely on oscillations to move. It’s possible to replicate these biological circuits using newfangled electronic circuits and software, leading to the same kind of smooth (albeit robotic) motion in AmphiBot.
Biological researchers had pretty much decided that CPGs explained the extent of wiggly animal motion, until it was discovered you can chop an eel’s spinal cord in half, and it’ll somehow maintain its coordinated undulatory swimming performance. Which is kinda nuts, right? Obviously, something else must be going on, but trying to futz with eels to figure out exactly what it was isn’t, I would guess, pleasant for either researchers or their test subjects, which is where the robots come in. We can’t make robotic eels that are exactly like the real thing, but we can duplicate some of their sensing and control systems well enough to understand how they do what they do.

AgnathaX exhibits the same smooth motions as the original version of AmphiBot, but it does so without having to rely on centralized programming that would be the equivalent of a biological CPG. Instead, it uses skin sensors that can detect pressure changes in the water around it, a feature also found on actual eels. By hooking these pressure sensors up to AgnathaX’s motorized segments, the robot can generate swimming motions even if its segments aren’t connected with each other—without a centralized nervous system, in other words. This spontaneous syncing up of disconnected moving elements is called entrainment, and the best demo of it that I’ve seen is this one, using metronomes:

UCLA Physics
The reason why this isn’t just neat but also useful is that it provides a secondary method of control for robots. If the centralized control system of your swimming robot gets busted, you can rely on this water pressure-mediated local control to generate a swimming motion. And there are applications for modular robots as well, since you can potentially create a swimming robot out of a bunch of different physically connected modules that don’t even have to talk to each other.

For more details, we spoke with Robin Thandiackal and Kamilo Melo at EPFL, first authors on the Science Robotics paper.
IEEE Spectrum: Why do you need a robot to do this kind of research?

Thandiackal and Melo: From a more general perspective, with this kind of research we learn and understand how a system works by building it. This then allows us to modify and investigate the different components and understand their contribution to the system as a whole.
In a more specific context, it is difficult to separate the different components of the nervous system with respect to locomotion within a live animal. The central components are especially difficult to remove, and this is where a robot or also a simulated model becomes useful. We used both in our study. The robot has the unique advantage of using it within the real physics of the water, whereas these dynamics are approximated in simulation. However, we are confident in our simulations too because we validated them against the robot.
How is the robot model likely to be different from real animals? What can’t you figure out using the robot, and how much could the robot be upgraded to fill that gap?
Thandiackal and Melo: The robot is by no means an exact copy of a real animal, only a first approximation. Instead, from observing and previous knowledge of real animals, we were able to create a mathematical representation of the neuromechanical control in real animals, and we implemented this mathematical representation of locomotion control on the robot to create a model. As the robot interacts with the real physics of undulatory swimming, we put a great effort in informing our design with the morphological and physiological characteristics of the real animal. This for example accounts for the scaling, the morphology and aspect ratio of the robot with respect to undulatory animals, and the muscle model that we used to approximately represent the viscoelastic characteristics of real muscles with a rotational joint.
Upgrading the robot is not going to be making it more “biological.” Again, the robot is part of the model, not a copy of the real biology. For the sake of this project, the robot was sufficient, and only a few things were missing in our design. You can even add other types of sensors and use the same robot base. However, if we would like to improve our robot for the future, it would be interesting to collect other fluid information like the surrounding fluid speed simultaneously with the force sensing, or to measure hydrodynamic pressure directly. Finally, we aim to test our model of undulatory swimming using a robot with three-dimensional capabilities, something which we are currently working on.
Upgrading the robot is not going to be making it more “biological.” The robot is part of the model, not a copy of the real biology.
What aspects of the function of a nervous system to generate undulatory motion in water aren’t redundant with the force feedback from motion that you describe?
Thandiackal and Melo: Apart from the generation of oscillations and intersegmental coupling, which we found can be redundantly generated by the force feedback, the central nervous system still provides unique higher level commands like steering to regulate swimming direction. These commands typically originate in the brain (supraspinal) and are at the same time influenced by sensory signals. In many fish the lateral line organ, which directly connects to the brain, helps to inform the brain, e.g., to maintain position (rheotaxis) under variable flow conditions.
How can this work lead to robots that are more resilient?
Thandiackal and Melo: Robots that have our complete control architecture, with both peripheral and central components, are remarkably fault-tolerant and robust against damage in their sensors, communication buses, and control circuits. In principle, the robot should have the same fault-tolerance as demonstrated in simulation, with the ability to swim despite missing sensors, broken communication bus, or broken local microcontroller. Our control architecture offers very graceful degradation of swimming ability (as opposed to catastrophic failure).
Why is this discovery potentially important for modular robots?
Thandiackal and Melo: We showed that undulatory swimming can emerge in a self-organized manner by incorporating local force feedback without explicit communication between modules. In principle, we could create swimming robots of different sizes by simply attaching independent modules in a chain (e.g., without a communication bus between them). This can be useful for the design of modular swimming units with a high degree of reconfigurability and robustness, e.g. for search and rescue missions or environmental monitoring. Furthermore, the custom-designed sensing units provide a new way of accurate force sensing in water along the entirety of the body. We therefore hope that such units can help swimming robots to navigate through flow perturbations and enable advanced maneuvers in unsteady flows.
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.
“Ship tracks” over the ocean reveal a new strategy to fight climate change
An effervescent nozzle sprays tiny droplets of saltwater inside the team’s testing tent.
As we confront the enormous challenge of climate change, we should take inspiration from even the most unlikely sources. Take, for example, the tens of thousands of fossil-fueled ships that chug across the ocean, spewing plumes of pollutants that contribute to acid rain, ozone depletion, respiratory ailments, and global warming.
The particles produced by these ship emissions can also create brighter clouds, which in turn can produce a cooling effect via processes that occur naturally in our atmosphere. What if we could achieve this cooling effect without simultaneously releasing the greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants that ships emit? That’s the question the Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) Project intends to answer.
Scientists have known for decades that the particulate emissions from ships can have a dramatic effect on low-lying stratocumulus clouds above the ocean. In satellite images, parts of the Earth’s oceans are streaked with bright white strips of clouds that correspond to shipping lanes. These artificially brightened clouds are a result of the tiny particles produced by the ships, and they reflect more sunlight back to space than unperturbed clouds do, and much more than the dark blue ocean underneath. Since these “ship tracks” block some of the sun’s energy from reaching Earth’s surface, they prevent some of the warming that would otherwise occur.
The formation of ship tracks is governed by the same basic principles behind all cloud formation. Clouds naturally appear when the relative humidity exceeds 100 percent, initiating condensation in the atmosphere. Individual cloud droplets form around microscopic particles called cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Generally speaking, an increase in CCN increases the number of cloud droplets while reducing their size. Through a phenomenon known as the Twomey effect, this high concentration of droplets boosts the clouds’ reflectivity (also called albedo). Sources of CCN include aerosols like dust, pollen, soot, and even bacteria, along with man-made pollution from factories and ships. Over remote parts of the ocean, most CCN are of natural origin and include sea salt from crashing ocean waves.
Satellite imagery. To the left is white clouds with tracks forming within. To the left is green and brown land mass. Satellite imagery shows “ship tracks” over the ocean: bright clouds that form because of particles spewed out by ships.Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Rapid Response Team/GSFC/NASA
The aim of the MCB Project is to consider whether deliberately adding more sea salt CCN to low marine clouds would cool the planet. The CCN would be generated by spraying seawater from ships. We expect that the sprayed seawater would instantly dry in the air and form tiny particles of salt, which would rise to the cloud layer via convection and act as seeds for cloud droplets. These generated particles would be much smaller than the particles from crashing waves, so there would be only a small relative increase in sea salt mass in the atmosphere. The goal would be to produce clouds that are slightly brighter (by 5 to 10 percent) and possibly longer lasting than typical clouds, resulting in more sunlight being reflected back to space.

Solar climate intervention is the umbrella term for projects such as ours that involve reflecting sunlight to reduce global warming and its most dangerous impacts. Other proposals include sprinkling reflective silicate beads over polar ice sheets and injecting materials with reflective properties, such as sulfates or calcium carbonate, into the stratosphere. None of the approaches in this young field are well understood, and they all carry potentially large unknown risks.
Solar climate intervention is not a replacement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is imperative. But such reductions won’t address warming from existing greenhouse gases that are already in the atmosphere. As the effects of climate change intensify and tipping points are reached, we may need options to prevent the most catastrophic consequences to ecosystems and human life. And we’ll need a clear understanding of both the efficacy and risks of solar climate intervention technologies so people can make informed decisions about whether to implement them.
Our team, based at the University of Washington, the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, comprises experts in climate modeling, aerosol-cloud interactions, fluid dynamics, and spray systems. We see several key advantages to marine cloud brightening over other proposed forms of solar climate intervention. Using seawater to generate the particles gives us a free, abundant source of environmentally benign material, most of which would be returned to the ocean through deposition. Also, MCB could be done from sea level and wouldn’t rely on aircraft, so costs and associated emissions would be relatively low.
The effects of particles on clouds are temporary and localized, so experiments on MCB could be carried out over small areas and brief time periods (maybe spraying for a few hours per day over several weeks or months) without seriously perturbing the environment or global climate. These small studies would still yield significant information on the impacts of brightening. What’s more, we can quickly halt the use of MCB, with very rapid cessation of its effects.
Solar climate intervention is the umbrella term for projects that involve reflecting sunlight to reduce global warming and its most dangerous impacts.
Our project encompasses three critical areas of research. First, we need to find out if we can reliably and predictably increase reflectivity. To this end, we’ll need to quantify how the addition of generated sea salt particles changes the number of droplets in these clouds, and study how clouds behave when they have more droplets. Depending on atmospheric conditions, MCB could affect things like cloud droplet evaporation rate, the likelihood of precipitation, and cloud lifetime. Quantifying such effects will require both simulations and field experiments.

Second, we need more modeling to understand how MCB would affect weather and climate both locally and globally. It will be crucial to study any negative unintended consequences using accurate simulations before anyone considers implementation. Our team is initially focusing on modeling how clouds respond to additional CCN. At some point we’ll have to check our work with small-scale field studies, which will in turn improve the regional and global simulations we’ll run to understand the potential impacts of MCB under different climate change scenarios.
The third critical area of research is the development of a spray system that can produce the size and concentration of particles needed for the first small-scale field experiments. We’ll explain below how we’re tackling that challenge.
One of the first steps in our project was to identify the clouds most amenable to brightening. Through modeling and observational studies, we determined that the best target is stratocumulus clouds, which are low altitude (around 1 to 2 km) and shallow; we’re particularly interested in “clean” stratocumulus, which have low numbers of CCN. The increase in cloud albedo with the addition of CCN is generally strong in these clouds, whereas in deeper and more highly convective clouds other processes determine their brightness. Clouds over the ocean tend to be clean stratocumulus clouds, which is fortunate, because brightening clouds over dark surfaces, such as the ocean, will yield the highest albedo change. They’re also conveniently close to the liquid we want to spray.
Two part diagram. Top is labelled Twomey Effect. Two cloud shapes with droplets, and the left says In the phenomenon called the Twomey effect, clouds with higher concentrations of small particles have a higher albedo, meaning they’re more reflective. Such clouds might be less likely to produce rain, and the retained cloud water would keep albedo high. On the other hand, if dry air from above the cloud mixes in (entrainment), the cloud may produce rain and have a lower albedo. The full impact of MCB will be the combination of the Twomey effect and these cloud adjustments. Rob Wood
Based on our cloud type, we can estimate the number of particles to generate to see a measurable change in albedo. Our calculation involves the typical aerosol concentrations in clean marine stratocumulus clouds and the increase in CCN concentration needed to optimize the cloud brightening effect, which we estimate at 300 to 400 per cubic centimeter. We also take into account the dynamics of this part of the atmosphere, called the marine boundary layer, considering both the layer’s depth and the roughly three-day lifespan of particles within it. Given all those factors, we estimate that a single spray system would need to continuously deliver approximately 3×10 15 particles per second to a cloud layer that covers about 2,000 square kilometers. Since it’s likely that not every particle will reach the clouds, we should aim for an order or two greater.
We can also determine the ideal particle size based on initial cloud modeling studies and efficiency considerations. These studies indicate that the spray system needs to generate seawater droplets that will dry to salt crystals of just 30–100 nanometers in diameter. Any smaller than that and the particles will not act as CCN. Particles larger than a couple hundred nanometers are still effective, but their larger mass means that energy is wasted in creating them. And particles that are significantly larger than several hundred nanometers can have a negative effect, since they can trigger rainfall that results in cloud loss.
We need a clear understanding of both the efficacy and risks of solar climate intervention technologies so people can make informed decisions about whether to implement them.
Creating dry salt crystals of the optimal size requires spraying seawater droplets of 120–400 nm in diameter, which is surprisingly difficult to do in an energy-efficient way. Conventional spray nozzles, where water is forced through a narrow orifice, produce mists with diameters from tens of micrometers to several millimeters. To decrease the droplet size by a factor of ten, the pressure through the nozzle must increase more than 2,000 times. Other atomizers, like the ultrasonic nebulizers found in home humidifiers, similarly cannot produce small enough droplets without extremely high frequencies and power requirements.
Solving this problem required both out-of-the-box thinking and expertise in the production of small particles. That’s where Armand Neukermans came in.
black and white photo of a woman with dark hair and a striped shirt Kate Murphy leads the engineering effort for the MCB project at PARC, the Xerox research lab in Silicon Valley. Christopher Michel
black and white photo of an older man with white hair wearing glasses and a striped shirt Armand Neukermans brought his expertise in ink jet printers to bear on the quest to make nozzles that could efficiently and reliably spray tiny droplets of seawater. Christopher Michel
After a distinguished career at HP and Xerox focused on production of toner particles and ink jet printers, in 2009 Neukermans was approached by several eminent climate scientists, who asked him to turn his expertise toward making seawater droplets. He quickly assembled a cadre of volunteers—mostly retired engineers and scientists. and over the next decade, these self-designated “Old Salts” tackled the challenge. They worked in a borrowed Silicon Valley laboratory, using equipment scrounged from their garages or purchased out of their own pockets. They explored several ways of producing the desired particle size distributions with various tradeoffs between particle size, energy efficiency, technical complexity, reliability, and cost. In 2019 they moved into a lab space at PARC, where they have access to equipment, materials, facilities, and more scientists with expertise in aerosols, fluid dynamics, microfabrication, and electronics.

The three most promising techniques identified by the team were effervescent spray nozzles, spraying salt water under supercritical conditions, and electrospraying to form Taylor cones (which we’ll explain later). The first option was deemed the easiest to scale up quickly, so the team moved forward with it. In an effervescent nozzle, pressurized air and salt water are pumped into a single channel, where the air flows through the center and the water swirls around the sides. When the mixture exits the nozzle, it produces droplets with sizes ranging from tens of nanometers to a few micrometers, with the overwhelming number of particles in our desired size range. Effervescent nozzles are used in a range of applications, including engines, gas turbines, and spray coatings.

The key to this technology lies in the compressibility of air. As a gas flows through a constricted space, its velocity increases as the ratio of the upstream to downstream pressures increases. This relationship holds until the gas velocity reaches the speed of sound. As the compressed air leaves the nozzle at sonic speeds and enters the environment, which is at much lower pressure, the air undergoes a rapid radial expansion that explodes the surrounding ring of water into tiny droplets.
A man and a woman wearing masks stand at a table in a white tent. In the foreground is silver and blue equipment including a nozzle from which white spray is emitting. Coauthor Gary Cooper and intern Jessica Medrado test the effervescent nozzle inside the tent. Kate Murphy
Neukermans and company found that the effervescent nozzle works well enough for small-scale testing, but the efficiency—the energy required per correctly sized droplet—still needs to be improved. The two biggest sources of waste in our system are the large amounts of compressed air needed and the large fraction of droplets that are too big. Our latest efforts have focused on redesigning the flow paths in the nozzle to require smaller volumes of air. We’re also working to filter out the large droplets that could trigger rainfall. And to improve the distribution of droplet size, we’re considering ways to add charge to the droplets; the repulsion between charged droplets would inhibit coalescence, decreasing the number of oversized droplets.

Though we’re making progress with the effervescent nozzle, it never hurts to have a backup plan. And so we’re also exploring electrospray technology, which could yield a spray in which almost 100 percent of the droplets are within the desired size range. In this technique, seawater is fed through an emitter—a narrow orifice or capillary—while an extractor creates a large electric field. If the electrical force is of similar magnitude to the surface tension of the water, the liquid deforms into a cone, typically referred to as a Taylor cone. Over some threshold voltage, the cone tip emits a jet that quickly breaks up into highly charged droplets. The droplets divide until they reach their Rayleigh limit, the point where charge repulsion balances the surface tension. Fortuitously, surface seawater’s typical conductivity (4 Siemens per meter) and surface tension (73 millinewtons per meter) yield droplets in our desired size range. The final droplet size can even be tuned via the electric field down to tens of nanometers, with a tighter size distribution than we get from mechanical nozzles.
Electrospray diagram with a row of black rectagular shapes, then blue cones over small dots, a blue line and gray boxes, labelled Extractor, Taylor cone, capillary array (ground), filter, housing and on the bottom, salt water This diagram (not to scale) depicts the electrospray system, which uses an electric field to create cones of water that break up into tiny droplets. Kate Murphy
Electrospray is relatively simple to demonstrate with a single emitter-extractor pair, but one emitter only produces 10 7–109 droplets per second, whereas we need 1016–1017 per second. Producing that amount requires an array of up to 100,000 by 100,000 capillaries. Building such an array is no small feat. We’re relying on techniques more commonly associated with cloud computing than actual clouds. Using the same lithography, etch, and deposition techniques used to make integrated circuits, we can fabricate large arrays of tiny capillaries with aligned extractors and precisely placed electrodes.

Two micrograph images. Left shows rows of circular nozzles with darker circular centers. Right is a close-up. Images taken by a scanning electron microscope show the capillary emitters used in the electrospray system. Kate Murphy
Testing our technologies presents yet another set of challenges. Ideally, we would like to know the initial size distribution of the saltwater droplets. In practice, that’s nearly impossible to measure. Most of our droplets are smaller than the wavelength of light, precluding non-contact measurements based on light scattering. Instead, we must measure particle sizes downstream, after the plume has evolved. Our primary tool, called a scanning electrical mobility spectrometer, measures the mobility of charged dry particles in an electrical field to determine their diameter. But that method is sensitive to factors like the room’s size and air currents and whether the particles collide with objects in the room.

To address these problems, we built a sealed 425 cubic meter tent, equipped with dehumidifiers, fans, filters, and an array of connected sensors. Working in the tent allows us to spray for longer periods of time and with multiple nozzles, without the particle concentration or humidity becoming higher than what we would see in the field. We can also study how the spray plumes from multiple nozzles interact and evolve over time. What’s more, we can more precisely mimic conditions over the ocean and tune parameters such as air speed and humidity.
4 people in a large white text looking at equipment on a table Part of the team inside the test tent; from left, “Old Salts” Lee Galbraith and Gary Cooper, Kate Murphy of PARC, and intern Jessica Medrado. Kate Murphy
We’ll eventually outgrow the tent and have to move to a large indoor space to continue our testing. The next step will be outdoor testing to study plume behavior in real conditions, though not at a high enough rate that we would measurably perturb the clouds. We’d like to measure particle size and concentrations far downstream of our sprayer, from hundreds of meters to several kilometers, to determine if the particles lift or sink and how far they spread. Such experiments will help us optimize our technology, answering such questions as whether we need to add heat to our system to encourage the particles to rise to the cloud layer.
The data obtained in these preliminary tests will also inform our models. And if the results of the model studies are promising, we can proceed to field experiments in which clouds are brightened sufficiently to study key processes. As discussed above, such experiments would be performed over a small and short time so that any effects on climate wouldn’t be significant. These experiments would provide a critical check of our simulations, and therefore of our ability to accurately predict the impacts of MCB.

It’s still unclear whether MCB could help society avoid the worst impacts of climate change, or whether it’s too risky, or not effective enough to be useful. At this point, we don’t know enough to advocate for its implementation, and we’re definitely not suggesting it as an alternative to reducing emissions. The intent of our research is to provide policymakers and society with the data needed to assess MCB as one approach to slow warming, providing information on both its potential and risks. To this end, we’ve submitted our experimental plans for review by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and for open publication as part of a U.S. National Academy of Sciences study of research in the field of solar climate intervention. We hope that we can shed light on the feasibility of MCB as a tool to make the planet safer.

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This Decades-Old Method Can Help Correct Your Muscle Imbalances – Yahoo Lifestyle

From Men's Health
Imagine walking along a sheet of ice, struggling to find your balance. Every muscle in your body tightens, bracing for each unknown, unstable step. “It’s an actual neurological response,” says strength coach and biomechanics specialist Greg Roskopf. “When the body senses instability, it tightens up as a protective mechanism.”
Understanding this mechanism and addressing underlying muscle weaknesses are key to soothing your tight, achy muscles. And this concept lies at the heart of Roskopf’s Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT for short), a training protocol that protects your joints, eases muscle pain, and forges strength and stability. MAT does this by identifying weak muscles and activating them with the isolation movements that are often shunned by the functional-fitness world.
In an era when every gym has ten foam rollers and mobility is the buzzword, MAT is a throwback, shifting away from multijoint movements to focus on one muscle at a time. Despite that, Roskopf’s decades-old template (yes, it’s been around that long) has recently drawn attention. Peyton Manning has visited Roskopf’s Denver clinic. Over the past three years, Roskopf has overseen the training for golfer Bryson DeChambeau, who has packed on 40 pounds and racked up six PGA Tour wins, including one this year. “MAT doesn’t reinvent training,”says Dan Giordano, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., “but it’s a smart reminder that we shouldn’t overfocus on mobility.”
Yes, overfocus. Your average trainer will tell you to stretch a tight muscle or foam-roll the tightness away. To Roskopf, that solves nothing. “That’s why people stretch day after day after day and they never get any more flexible,” he says. “Because they’re still walking on ice.”
According to Roskopf, muscle tightness is a protective mechanism against instability and a signal that other, weaker muscles are causing that instability. Whether you’re standing up from a chair, doing a squat, or balancing on ice, your muscles spend every moment of every day making thousands of microadjustments, tensing and relaxing in response to your environment. They’re also adjusting to one another. When they’re in balance, muscles on the front of your body and muscles on the back of your body essentially tug a joint into “neutral” position. Your pecs and your lats, for example, help properly position your shoulders. “Think of a tug-of-war with ten 250-pound guys on either side of the rope,” says Roskopf. That’s how muscles are supposed to work: equal strength on opposing sides of a joint.
But if your lats weaken—perhaps because you’re sitting constantly, perhaps because you’re not training them—that would allow your shoulders to shift forward, leading to imbalance. Stretching your chest wouldn’t solve weakness in your back, either, says Roskopf. Instead, you need to activate and build strength in your rhomboid and trapezius muscles, the muscles between your spine and shoulder blades.
Roskopf began exploring this philosophy when he was training the Utah Jazz in 1997. He regularly treated John Stockton for tight hips, taking the future Hall of Famer through a series of stretches. Stockton always returned for more work the next day. “Wherever I saw limitations in range of motion,” says Roskopf, “I saw a muscle weakness.”
So one day, Roskopf decided to try something else. He tested Stockton for muscle weaknesses, asking him to push his legs in various directions against Roskopf’s hand. He discovered that while Stockton’s glutes were strong, his hip rotator muscles not so much.
Roskopf spent the rest of the session activating and strengthening Stockton’s hip rotator muscles, and as the season continued, Stockton gradually made fewer trips to the trainer’s room. And his flexibility improved, even without Roskopf stretching him. “When you get the muscles activated, not only do they contract to a greater range of motion, but then they have strength and integrity in that great range of motion,” he says.
It’s a combination that can help you move better and feel better, erasing plenty of little muscle aches. And it certainly beats walking on ice.
Foam rolling is an excellent way to promote blood flow to a muscle, and stretching can help you understand your muscles’ full range of motion. But neither actually solves muscle tightness the way MAT can. Try it in these situations.
The Solution: Lie on the floor, raise your leg as shown, and turn your thigh inward as far as you can. Hold for 6 seconds, then relax. Repeat 6 times per side.
The Solution: Strengthen your hip flexors, pulling your pelvis into neutral position below your spine, with the hip-flexor squeeze. Lie on your back, legs straight. Actively lift your left leg until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Hold it high for 6 seconds. Lower. That’s 1 rep; do 6 on each side.
The Solution: Strengthen your mid-back muscles with prone scapular squeezes. Lie facedown on a firm surface, arms at your sides. Raise your arms and shoulders toward the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for 6 seconds. Return to the start. That’s 1 rep; do 3 sets of 6.
The Solution: Build those glutes with prone glute squeezes! Lie facedown on a firm surface and bend your left knee 90 degrees so your heel points toward the ceiling. Tighten your abs and squeeze your left glute, lifting your leg off the floor slightly. Hold and squeeze for 6 seconds. Lower, pause, then repeat for 6 reps. Do 2 sets per side.
This story originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Men's Health.
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Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Process, Conditions Treated – Verywell Health

Kristen Gasnick, PT, DPT, is a health writer and a physical therapist at Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey.
Laura Campedelli, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist with experience in hospital-based acute care and outpatient therapy with both children and adults.
Pelvic floor physical therapy involves pelvic floor muscle strengthening, relaxation, and coordination to help treat pelvic floor muscle tightness or weakness and the associated problems that result. When the pelvic floor muscles have normal strength and tone, the pelvic organs are adequately supported and control normal urination, bowel movements, and sexual function.
Pelvic floor muscle tone can become altered when the muscles become too stretched and loose, often from childbirth or weakening with aging, or too tight and restricted, often due to stress. Both decreased and increased muscle tone in the pelvic floor muscles can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Current clinical evidence supports pelvic floor physical therapy as a minimally invasive treatment option that should be used as a first-line method for treating various types of pelvic floor dysfunction, including issues such as pelvic organ prolapse, urinary or fecal incontinence, and painful intercourse.
Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
On the day of your pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation, you will be brought into a private treatment room where your physical therapist will go over your medical history, symptoms, and complaints. Your physical therapist will then perform a physical exam, which will consist of an external and internal component.
During the external exam, your physical therapist will assess your lumbar spine, sacroiliac joints, and muscles that surround or attach to the pelvis—including the rectus abdominis, iliopsoas, and piriformis—to check for pain, tightness, or tenderness.  
During the internal exam, your physical therapist will assess your pelvic floor muscles for tone, elasticity, and pain and tenderness. Your physical therapist will insert one or two gloved fingers into your vagina and/or rectum to palpate the pelvic floor muscles from the inside. A lubricant is often used to help ease the discomfort.
Your physical therapist will also examine your ability to perform voluntary contraction and relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles, as well as movement of your pelvic floor with your breathing patterns. 
After your physical therapist has completed the external and internal examinations and made a clinical assessment about the possible causes of your symptoms, you will be scheduled for follow-up sessions. Each session will take place in a private treatment room. 
Your treatment may consist of the following:
Pelvic floor physical therapy involves specialized treatment from a physical therapist who is specifically certified in treating pelvic floor disorders. A physical therapist will either obtain a Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP) or more extensive training and specialization as a Women’s Health Clinical Specialist (WCS) to evaluate and treat all diagnoses related to women’s health.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is used to treat all types of disorders classified as pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can be subdivided into hypotonic, or low tone, and hypertonic, or high tone, disorders.
Muscle tone refers to the amount of resting tension in a muscle when it is not contracted. Too little or too much tone in the pelvic floor muscles can cause different forms of pelvic floor dysfunction.
When a muscle has low tone, the muscle is more relaxed and looser than normal, making it difficult to actively contract. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak due to low tone and you have difficulty actively contracting them, your core cannot be adequately supported and your control over your bladder and bowel movements may be affected.
Low tone pelvic floor disorders include:
When a muscle has high tone, the muscle is tighter and more restricted than normal. This can often cause pain when you try to relax or stretch the muscle. When the pelvic floor muscles are excessively tight due to high tone, you may experience pelvic pain, muscle spasms, and pain and difficulty with insertion during intercourse or during a gynecological exam.
High tone pelvic floor disorders include:
To prepare for pelvic floor physical therapy, you should arrive dressed in comfortable clothes that allow you to move your legs freely without restricting your movement. Your exam includes an internal component, so make sure your groin and genital area is clean before your appointment.
It is helpful to come prepared with a list of questions or concerns you want to ask your physical therapist during your exam and evaluation. Give yourself extra time to arrive at the physical therapy facility to fill out initial paperwork before your first visit.
You should bring the following with you to your first appointment:
Pelvic floor physical therapy is appropriate for those with low tone or high tone forms of pelvic floor dysfunction and related pelvic floor muscle pain.
Pain in the pelvic region may not always be related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, however. The following symptoms may be signs of a more serious condition:
Make sure to contact your primary care physician or gynecologist if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms. You may have an infection or another condition related to your gastrointestinal, urinary, or reproductive organs that requires further medical treatment.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a treatment option for pelvic floor dysfunction, whether the pelvic muscles are too tight or too weak. It can help with problems with urination, sexual intercourse, and more. The initial assessment for this type of physical therapy includes an internal exam. Check with your healthcare provider to make sure this is an appropriate treatment for you.
Pelvic floor physical therapy involves physical methods of strengthening and/or relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor to help improve core stability and control over urination, bowel movements, and sexual function. Pelvic floor physical therapy uses a variety of different methods to increase pelvic floor muscle control, improve awareness of contraction and relaxation patterns, and decrease pain, disability, and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Pelvic floor physical therapy is completed in a private treatment room one on one with your physical therapist. Your physical therapist will instruct you in specific exercises targeted at either improving activation or relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles, and provide different techniques and therapeutic modalities to help address your symptoms. You will also be given a program of exercises and equipment to use at home to help with your progress with treatment.
When you are in extreme pain, always make sure to contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms and determine the next appropriate step in your treatment. If you are having severe pain, pelvic floor physical therapy may not be appropriate until you have further testing done to determine if there is a more serious problem present.
Pelvic floor physical therapy should be initiated as soon as you start to notice symptoms that interfere with your daily functioning, including control over your urge to urinate and comfort during sexual intercourse. The longer you wait to begin pelvic floor physical therapy, the longer it may take for your symptoms to improve, as they tend to get worse over time. Tightness or weakness in the pelvic floor muscles can cause problems with sexual intercourse and incontinence, which will tend to get worse without treatment. 
Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction tend to get worse over time and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Starting pelvic floor physical therapy as early as possible can help alleviate pain and other symptoms to help you regain control over your life. Pelvic floor physical therapy is effective for treating and managing low tone and high tone pelvic floor dysfunction and related pelvic floor muscle pain.
If you have been experiencing chronic pain for more than three months or problems with urination, bowel movements, or sexual intercourse, contact your doctor to see if additional testing is needed to determine if there is a more serious issue underlying your pelvic symptoms.
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Wallace SL, Miller LD, Mishra K. Pelvic floor physical therapy in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction in women. Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2019;31(6):485-493. doi:10.1097/GCO.0000000000000584

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No sporting justification – CONMEBOL shoots down Wenger-backed FIFA World Cup plans – myKhel

London, September 10: South American nations are firmly opposed to FIFA staging the World Cup every two years, CONMEBOL said on Friday, warning that such a change “could distort the most important football competition on the planet”.
The confederation indicated it had been wrong to advocate for a switch from the current format, after its president Alejandro Dominguez pushed in 2018 for the world governing body to consider holding the global tournament more frequently.
Arsene Wenger is the figurehead of a move to transform the game’s calendar, with FIFA’s chief of global football development seeking influential support but also encountering serious opposition to the project.
Una Copa del Mundo cada dos años?

🗒️ ➡️ 🔗 https://t.co/ZyZqC7abUz #FIFA #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/w7163V7GdR
Europe’s top leagues have said they are “firmly and unanimously” opposed to the plans, while UEFA has strongly expressed its opposition and warned of a possible World Cup boycott if the plans get the go-ahead, with its president Aleksander Ceferin saying European and South American national federations were “on the same page”.
That point has now been underlined by a CONMEBOL takedown of FIFA’s plans that concludes it would be “highly unviable” and that there was “no sporting justification” to change the World Cup from its current status as a tournament that is staged every four years.
CONMEBOL said it had consulted senior South American football officials before delivering its verdict.
It stated: “A World Cup every two years could distort the most important football competition on the planet, lowering its quality and undermining its exclusive character and its current demanding standards.
“The World Cup is an event that attracts the attention and expectations of billions of people because it represents the culmination of a process of elimination that lasts the entire four-year period and has its own dynamics and appeal.
“A World Cup every two years would represent an overload that is practically impossible to manage in the international competition calendar. In the current conditions, it is already complex to harmonise times, schedules, logistics, adequate preparation of equipment and commitments. The situation would be extremely difficult with the proposed change. It could even put the quality of other tournaments, both club and national, at risk.
“The idea of ​​the World Cup is to bring together the most talented footballers, the most outstanding coaches and the most trained referees to determine in a fair and fair competition which is the best team on the planet. This cannot be achieved without proper preparation, without teams developing their skills and technicians designing and implementing strategies. All of this translates into time, training sessions, planning, games.
“CONMEBOL defends the search for excellence in the field of play and is committed to increasingly competitive events of the highest quality. There is no sporting justification for shortening the period between World Cups.”
The South American confederation said for any major change to take place, there must be “a frank debate, in which all opinions and criteria are considered”.
FIFA’s proposal is for the men’s and women’s World Cups to each take place every two years, along with international breaks for qualifying games during domestic seasons being fewer in number but longer in duration.
World Cup heavyweights Brazil and Argentina may be among South American nations concerned about the financial muscle within European football, and CONMEBOL is not closing its door to discussions with FIFA about developing the game.
It added that it was always “open to dialogue that seeks the best for football”, but its opposition to the World Cup proposal appears inflexible, given the forthright terms in which it was delivered. Having performed one U-turn, a second would point to incompetence.
The upshot of Friday’s development is that FIFA is facing stiff opposition from the two continental federations that have provided every men’s World Cup winning team.
“Although at some point CONMEBOL supported the project in question, technical [analysis] showed that it is highly unviable,” CONMEBOL’s statement added.
“Therefore, under current conditions, it ratifies its support for the current World Cup model, with its terms and classification mechanisms, considering it consistent with the spirit that animated those who conceived and founded this competition.”

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Optogenetics gets the worm – Science

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