Dominicans reminded of their responsibility to prepare for the hurricane season

first_imgShareTweetSharePinSubtropical storm Andrea was the first storm to be formed for the 2019 hurricane seasonSenior Meteorological Officer (Ag)/ Weather Forecaster, Marshall Alexander is reminding all Dominicans that it is their responsibility to make early preparation for the hurricane season.The 2019 hurricane season began on June 1 and will run through to November 30.In a press release issued by the Dominica Meteorological Services, Alexander urged residents to make it their duty to take critical action when a watch or a warning is issued.“Preparation ahead of a disaster is the responsibility of all of us. So, don’t be caught off guard. It will only take one out of many to devastate our country as history has taught us with category 5 Hurricane Maria in September 2017. So, now is the time to prepare and make it your duty to respond when a watch or warning is issued,” he advised.Alexander said the Dominica Meteorological Service will continue to provide timely and credible weather information to the public so that people can take action before, during, and after a tropical cyclone in order to protect life and property.He said of the 9 to 15 storms predicted, four of them could be major hurricanes.“For 2019, the prediction is for 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes,” Alexander said.“Remember, this prediction is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast and do not tell you where a system will make landfall. With that said, Hurricane preparedness is critically important for the 2019 hurricane season, and it should be so every year,” he cautioned. He explained that this prediction is based on the ongoing El Nino which is expected to continue and expected to reduce the numbers and intensity of tropical cyclones, “however, warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and favorable winds over West Africa can be expected which would favor increased hurricane activity,”  NOAA will update the 2019 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August, just before the historical peak of the season, and according to Alexander, the Dominica Meteorological Service will continue to keep the public updated.The following names have been selected for the storms which are expected in 2019:AndreaBarryChantalDorianErinFernandGabrielleImeldaJerryKarenLorenzoMelissaNestorOlgaPabloRebekahSebastienTanyaVanWendylast_img read more

COMMENTARY The Identity of Places

first_imgShareTweetSharePin The quaint Southeastern village of San SauveurThe comments in response to DNO’s featured photograph of San Sauveur came as no surprise. This is the environment that Dominicans cherish and yearn to preserve for future generations.I predict that your grandchildren and great grandchildren will live to abhor the current spate of alien housing estates and apartment blocks that are disfiguring the landscape. I am all for housing, but housing in accord with Dominica rather than an alien concept of what our built environment and lifestyle should be like.But the so called housing revolution continues unabated. Recently the Prime Minister announced that very soon he will be unveiling a massive housing complex for young professionals on land owned by Dominica Social Security at Warner.This isn’t the first time that Warner has been considered ripe for development. In 2008 the Dominica Social Security Board invited Physical Planners and/or Environmental Planners to submit proposals for a Community Development Plan for its 209 acres of land at Warner. Importantly, the brief stated that the design must be in keeping with the existing Zoning and Land Use Policy developed by the Planning Division and should serve to enhance the Nature Island image of Dominica.Fifteen years ago my mail was being forwarded to the Warner village Post Office and I got to know and love the locality. As the Pre-Planning Brief cited knowledge of terrain and experience in doing similar projects, I felt qualified to make a submission.My development plan included residential, commercial and agricultural components together with conserved tracts of countryside to serve as a local amenity and visitor attraction. These four criteria can be headed:Means of LivelihoodCommunity FulfilmentEnvironmental CompatibilityPride of PlaceA means of livelihood is a fundamental requirement of life.  The plan must therefore investigate how this component can best serve the local community.  To have large numbers of workers living in outlying settlements and commuting back and forth to Roseau every day is not a viable option.  We now have the technology to stem this flow and the means to modify the way we work.Community fulfilment cannot be prescribed.  The bricks and mortar of houses, community centres, clinics, churches and schools are assets, but they do not in themselves create a sense of community.  Community fulfilment comes about when people have a vested interest in where and how they live.  The greater the self-sufficiency of a community, the greater the fulfilment of that community.The physical components of the plan must fit comfortably into the landscape. Dominica’s status as the Nature Island of the Caribbean is dependant not only on the natural environment, but equally on the sensitivity of the built environment.Pride of place is the hallmark of a happy, healthy and thriving community.  It is closely linked to the identity of place.  This identity can take many forms: historical, cultural, industrial, architectural and environmental.It comes as no surprise that my submission was not acknowledged or responded to. However, I hope that the young professionals that the Prime Minister has in mind will have a vision and a voice of their own. Perhaps they will understand that the identity of places reflects the identity of ourselves.Scottshead Sea Scape by Roger Burnettlast_img read more

UN launches plan to combat escalating hate speech

first_img HIV cases decline by 16 per cent since 2010: UNAIDS united nation, un chief antonio guterres, hate speech, xenophobia, cambodia, sri lanka, new zealand, world news, indian express The U.N. chief told diplomats at Tuesday’s launch that “over the past 75 years, hate speech has been a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Cambodia.” (Source: REUTERS)Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is launching a plan to combat hate speech and counter what he calls “a groundswell of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, violent misogyny, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred” around the world. Related News Post Comment(s) More Indians becoming obese, number of undernourished in India decline: UN report By AP |United Nations | Published: June 19, 2019 12:58:38 pm Advertising The U.N. chief told diplomats at Tuesday’s launch that “over the past 75 years, hate speech has been a precursor to atrocity crimes, including genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Cambodia.”But in the digital era, he said, “hate-filled content is reaching new audiences at lightning speed and has been linked with violence and killings from Sri Lanka to New Zealand and the United States.”Guterres said the plan aims to coordinate efforts across the U.N.’s far-flung system to confront hate speech and includes ways to engage governments, business, civil society and others to take action. UN officials express awe over India’s progress in achieving SDGs last_img read more

Sugarcane dues A MahaGlut problem

first_imgWritten by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: July 18, 2019 12:34:54 am Eye on polls, Uttar Pradesh makes mills in east crush cane though season long gone Advertising Maharashtra govt plans to use sugar mill’s model to fight infestation across state Millers attribute their faltering in cane payments to a supply glut in sugar and associated liquidity crunch. Maharashtra factories crushed 952.11 lakh tonnes (lt) of cane in 2018-19 and produced a record 107.21 lt sugar, over and above the previous year’s 107.10 lt. “Last season, we paid Rs 200 more than our FRP. This year, we could give just the FRP, that too, in installments and after availing the Centre’s soft loan scheme,” admits Balasaheb Patil, NCP legislator and chairman of the Sahyadri cooperative sugar factory at Karad in Satara district.The Narendra Modi government had, on February 28, approved a scheme of soft loans from banks of up to Rs 10,540 crore for mills to clear their FRP dues. The Centre would bear the interest cost to the extent of 10 per cent on these loans for one year. 172 mills in Maharashtra, which had discharged a minimum 25 per cent of their outstanding dues for 2018-19, were found eligible to borrow a total of Rs 3,382.06 crore. Banks have disbursed Rs 2,510.64 crore out of that to 119 mills.But the soft loan has provided only temporary respite to Patil’s mill that is now saddled with unsold sugar stocks of 2.5 lt, including from last year’s production. “I am yet to sell anything from this season’s output of 1.65 lt. Also, banks aren’t extending working capital, as we have already exhausted our credit limits. There’s no money to even carry out maintenance work of the plant or pre-book the harvesting labour for the coming season,” he notes.Patil’s predicament is shared by Madhavrao Ghatge, chairman of Shri Gurudatt Sugars Ltd. His factory at Kolhapur’s Shirol taluka, too, paid Rs 200 per tonne more than its FRP for 2017-18, but not in the current season. “We can only pay from sugar sales. How are we to do that today, when the Centre has fixed maximum monthly sale quotas for each mill, along with a minimum ex-factory price of Rs 31,000 per tonne?,” he asks. Ghatge claims many factories have defaulted on salary payments as well, while demanding that the government provide a Rs 500 per tonne subsidy for cane to be crushed in the 2019-20 season.The only saving grace, ironically, is that Maharashtra’s sugar production in 2019-20 is forecast to dip to 70 lt or so, thanks to drought-induced cane area and yield reductions. However, with the output in other states relatively unaffected, the Indian Sugar Mills Association sees the country’s overall production touching 282 lt, against the current year’s 329.5 lt. And with all-time-high opening stocks of 145 lt and domestic consumption of 260-270 lt, the industry’s problems aren’t going away even after the October state elections. Best Of Express That threat — of auctioning the properties of the defaulting mills and recovering their cane dues as arrears of land revenue — has seemingly worked. As on July 15, Maharashtra’s mills had paid Rs 22,367.53 crore out of the Rs 23,173.29 crore of dues to growers, based on the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of cane fixed by the Centre for the 2018-19 sugar year (October-September). It translates into arrears of Rs 805.76 crore or 3.5 per cent.These figures are much better compared with the other big sugar state, Uttar Pradesh. Mills there had, until July 12, made payments of Rs 23,819.98 crore, as against the Rs 33,036.54 crore value of cane at the state government’s “advised” price for 2018-19. The arrears, thus, worked out to a whopping Rs 9,216.56 crore or 27.9 per cent, with very little signs of their being discharged before the coming crushing season.While the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra can claim satisfaction for doing everything possible to ensure payment by mills — and before state polls, hardly three months away — that sentiment isn’t really echoed on the ground. “We were paid in three installments during 2017-18, which is also the case this season. But last year’s FRP was Rs 2,922.52 per tonne (net of harvesting and transport expenses from the field charged by the factory) and we got Rs 200 on top of that. This time, we only got the FRP of Rs 2,978.19 per tonne and even that has come in three installments,” points out Abhinandan Patil, who farms sugarcane on eight and vegetables in the rest of his 10-acre holding at Tambave village of Sangli district’s Walwa taluka. “There’s little we can do because the mill has technically paid what is due to us. It’s another thing that the price is lower than last year’s, despite our cost of fertiliser, diesel, labour and other inputs rising,” sighs the 26-year-old, who has supplied about 500 tonnes of cane to the Rajarambapu Patil cooperative sugar factory.This mill, controlled by former Maharashtra minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jayantrao Patil, has a history of paying its farmers at leastRs 150-200 per tonne more than the government’s statutory minimum rate. The normal practice by factories, especially the ones relatively well-managed, has been to give the FRP as first installment within 14 days of taking cane delivery, followed by another by around April (after the end of crushing operations) and a third one close to Diwali (just before the next season’s start). These additional installments are dependent on profits, including from sale of byproducts such as molasses/alcohol and bagasse/co-generated power.However, this time round, only 10 out of Maharashtra’s 195 mills have paid marginally higher than the FRP, which varies across factories and is linked to their individual sugar recovery from cane. Most have made even the FRP payments in installments, in violation of the mandatory 14-day rule. Major FRP defaulters include the Tatyasaheb Kore Warana cooperative in Kolhapur, the Vaidyanath cooperative in Beed (linked to the current BJP state rural development minister Pankaja Munde) and the Lokmangal group’s three mills in Solapur and Osmanabad (belonging to the minister for cooperation and textiles Subhash Deshmukh). Related News center_img Advertising sugarcane, sugarcane farmers, maharshtra sugarcane farmers, maharashtra sugarcane farmers crisis, sugarcane farmers crisis, maharashtra sugar mills While the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra can claim satisfaction for doing everything possible to ensure payment by mills — and before state polls, hardly three months away — that sentiment isn’t really echoed on the ground. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)Maharashtra’s Assembly elections are due in October, which is also when the next 2019-20 sugar season takes off. “The current unpaid dues to our cane growers will be cleared well before that,” says Shekhar Gaikwad, the state’s sugar commissioner, who has issued 74 recovery orders against 58 mills this year. Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Sugarcane farming: Maharashtra govt plans to replace flood irrigation with drip for cane Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Podcast studying a hot spot of intellectual disability and questioning green lawns

first_imgAdam Kerfoot-Roberts/Flickr A small isolated town in Colombia is home to a large cluster of people with fragile X syndrome—a genetic disorder that leads to intellectual disability, physical abnormalities, and sometimes autism. Spectrum staff reporter Hannah Furfaro joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss the history of fragile X in the town of Ricaurte and the future of the people who live there.Also this week, we talk about greening up grass. Lawns of green grass pervade urban areas all around the world, regardless of climate, but the cost of maintaining them may outweigh their benefits. Host Meagan Cantwell talks with Maria Ignatieva of The University of Western Australia in Perth and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala about how lawns can be transformed to contribute to a more sustainable future.This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.Download a transcript of this episode (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.About the Science Podcast[Image: Adam Kerfoot-Roberts/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]last_img read more

Pachora ready for Aaditya Thackerays maiden rally in Jalgaon

first_imgSources in the Sena said that Prashant Kishor, Janata Dal (U) vice president and election strategist, has suggested the statewide tour of Aaditya on the lines of tours undertaken by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy across the state to build his party. Kishor’s team of 12 people, who have been camping in Pachora since Tuesday, was seen involved in the management of the tour.“The waterproof stage is being erected keeping in mind the possibility of rains. We plan to showcase the local crops such as cotton and banana on the stage of the rally to connect with farmers,” said another functionary.The functionary further said that there have been clear instructions for not using plastic material at all since Aaditya was instrumental in getting the plastic ban implemented across the state.The tour, commencing from Pachora, will cover four districts — Jalgaon, Dhule, Nashik and Ahmednagar — in five days till July 22 in the first phase. Aaditya is likely to travel 4,000 km across the state. Sena functionaries said a chariot for the tour would be brought to Pachora from Mumbai that would be used by Aaditya. Post Comment(s) Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Jalgaon | Published: July 18, 2019 1:53:21 am NSUI protests MU’s move to invite Aaditya Thackeray for inauguration of Kalyan sub-centre Mumbai University function: ABVP activists object to Aaditya as chief guest, clash with Sena workers Pachora ready for Aaditya Thackeray’s maiden rally in Jalgaon This is Aaditya’s first rally in Jalgaon (File Photo)In Pachora in Jalgaon district, from where Shiv Sena leader and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray is set to commence his statewide ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ (tour to seek public blessings) on Thursday, the stage is set. In the evening, there was a short spell of rains in Pachora. Shiv Sena workers have erected a water-proof stage for the young leader on his maiden rally in Jalgaon, ahead of assembly polls in the state. Related News Aaditya Thackeray set to undertake statewide tour ahead of Maharashtra Assembly polls Advertising Advertising On Wednesday evening, local Shiv Sainiks scampered to make the preparations for the rally in Krishnaji Maidan. “We were informed about it on Monday afternoon,” said a Sena functionary, adding that approximately 25,000 people are expected to gather at the venue on Thursday for the rally.“This is Aaditya’s first rally in Jalgaon. A large number of youngsters and farmers will be present tomorrow to listen to his vision,” said Kishor Patil, local Shiv Sena legislator, adding that they are hoping that it won’t rain on Thursday.“Though the rally is in an open ground, we have asked the workers to be ready for rains,” Patil added.last_img read more

Most Companies Have No Idea Where They Are Going

first_imgEventually I am expecting personal computing to move to the cloud, primarily because the aggravation of upgrading, patching and staying ahead of cyberthreats is going up sharply, while the limitations surrounding computing in the cloud are dropping like a rock.Blade Shadow PC, a service out of France currently in limited release in California, promises a near-term view into that future. For around US$420 a year, you get access to what is basically a dedicated gaming class machine running Windows 10 (Intel Core i7 Xeon, 12GB of Ram, Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics) in the cloud to use as you want, with 4K resolution and some VR support.While I doubt the dedicated hardware model will be used long term, it provides a stronger performance solution than shared resources now do, thus better anticipating the performance of the future. Businesses Will Spend Billions to Put Themselves out of Business Half of Business Leaders Are Clueless The report covering the survey has some great advice on how to go fast, but it lacks advice on where to go. In short, it is strong on executing but weak on strategic direction. That is not unusual. Dell, like any vendor, is focused on what it does — and what it does isn’t what its customers do.Dell wouldn’t be a good place to go to for advice on the future of healthcare. It would, however, be good at helping a healthcare company get where it wanted to go.In a way, technology firms are like mechanics in a car race. They can help a good driver win a race, but if the driver doesn’t know which way to go, or sucks at driving, the mechanic likely will just help the driver get lost or dead faster.What I find interesting, however, is the embedded advice from Karen Quintos, the chief customer officer at Dell: “Stronger human-machine partnerships will result in stronger human-human relationships, as companies take a customer-first approach and lead with insights. By applying machine learning and AI to customer data, companies will be able to predict and understand customer behavior like never before.” This sounds like an excellent place to start to build an idea of where a company should be focusing to evolve into the future. Using machine learning and AI to begin to determine direction would be a powerful first step, but you’d still need to learn how to use those tools before you deployed them. Otherwise, you’d still end up pointed in the wrong direction. This is targeting people who want to play PC games, but folks can use the service for anything from running desktop apps to engineering programs.I expect platform companies like Apple and Microsoft, and major cloud providers like Amazon and Google to enter this space once the technology matures. You can run the service on an older (Windows 7) PC, Android, or its $140 thin client terminal.Accessories aren’t yet where they need to be, and there are some teething issues being reported. It will need 5G to ensure adequate remote (non-WiFi support) to work properly. Still, given that we were talking about the future and Dell, it seemed appropriate to highlight a service that anticipates one aspect of that future. Thus, Blade Shadow PC is my product of the week. One of the big takeaways from the survey is that business leaders collectively had no real clue about the future. Responses were so close to 50/50 on every major question as to be worthless. Business leaders have not been thinking about and discussing the future enough to get to consensus; thus they are inconsistently — and likely incorrectly — guessing about the future that will come.This does not bode well for the long-term strategic investments they are making. A question as simple as “Will automated systems free-up our time?” should have gotten a resoundingly positive response. Yet exactly 50 percent disagreed, suggesting that in their shops, this was not the case, and they doubted it ever would be.If automation hasn’t been freeing up time, then someone clearly has done something very wrong — and if 50 percent of firms have been deploying technology badly, as this survey suggests, then perhaps some focus should be placed on fixing that.One particularly frightening response came up in a query about artificial intelligence. When asked for their response to the statement, “We’ll learn on the job with AR,” 46 percent agreed, implying that they would deploy autonomous machines but only learn how to use them after they were deployed.If you do not know how to use a thing, how do you select the best thing in the first place? If you were going to create Skynet (the evil AI in the Terminator movie franchise) that’s probably how you’d do it. Gee, let’s deploy an AI over our weapons systems and then learn how to — oops, we’re dead…Another troubling response was that only 42 percent believed that offloading undesirable tasks to machines would result in a gain in job satisfaction. So, 58 percent believed that our future — the future those very folks will be helping to create — will suck. I’m not even sure how you get there without bad intent.Think about it: Create a scenario in which a machine does all the stuff you hate about your job, but as a result, your job satisfaction drops. What is implied is that the machine must also be affecting your work in ways you’d like even less. However, the implication is that fixing that just isn’t a priority for the majority of business leaders. On the contrary, they seem to expect that with their guidance, employee job satisfaction will degrade.The survey results also imply that 50 percent of the businesses surveyed not only would fail by 2030, but also that their leaders expected them to fail and weren’t prioritizing ways to avoid that outcome. More importantly, if an individual, group or company believes strongly enough that there is no chance of success, then failure likely will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. About half the business leaders appeared to need an attitude adjustment. Wrapping Up: Dell as an Example Blade’s Shadow PC A company like Dell isn’t a good place to go for advice on direction — only for advice on how to get there faster and more efficiently. However, one of the things that makes Dell unique is that it is private, and therefore has significant resistance to the excessive quarterly focus that plagues most other firms. This suggests it can be used as an example of how to determine that direction.Eliminate the excessive focus on quarterly results (go private if you have to), ensure that leadership is both competent and aligned with the goals of the firm’s strategic future (too many CEOs are excessively focused on their own short-term compensation), and create a relatively diverse organization focused like a laser on customer values. That’s Dell, and it makes a very nice example of a firm that has set a good direction and is executing against that vision.Michael Dell’s aspirational statement that “we’re entering the next era of human-machine partnership, a more integrated, personal relationship with technology that has the power to amplify exponentially the creativity, inspiration, intelligence and curiosity of the human spirit” needs one addition. My suggestion is this: “If you don’t set the right goals, all this seemingly wonderful stuff will just put you out of business faster.”Put a different way, putting a rocket on your car could guarantee that you win a race — unless you are facing a brick wall rather than the race course. So, pointing the car in the right direction first should be a major plan requirement. This study suggests that about 50 percent of the firms plan both to buy rockets and to face them in the wrong direction. If that isn’t fixed, it won’t end well.By the way, one final thought: Were I running a team to set strategic goals, Dell’s partner in this study would be one of the places I’d go to start. The Institute for the Future is one of the better resources to help you plan for the future you want to live in. Missing Advice Dell recently collaborated with the Institute for the Future — an interesting think tank largely driven by futurists, which focuses on helping firms ride future waves rather than being killed by them — on a survey that creates a frightening view of 2030. It could be far closer to Terminator than the utopia we once hoped for.I think more companies should go through a process like this. The reason is that it could help overcome what has become an overwhelming trend to ignore the future and instead focus excessively on quarterly results.That trend has proven to be a company killer, driving short-term decisions — like massive layoffs and cutbacks — that spike income but eventually kill the firm. Dell and the institute surveyed both futurists and thousands of business leaders to assess what the future likely will be and how well prepared we are for it. Their responses are fascinating, and I’ll summarize them here.I’ll close with my product of the week: Blade Shadow PC, a new PC in the Cloud service that may represent the future of personal computing. Where the survey shows clear intent is with respect to change. Recall that half the companies not only had no real clue about the coming technology but also believed it would make things worse. More than 85 percent indicated that in five years R&D would drive their organization forward, that they would convert to a software-defined business, that they would deliver their product as a service, and that their cybersecurity defense would become effective.This brings to mind a survey and task force I was part of right before Y2K. We discovered a bunch of companies that appeared underprepared but were reporting they were ready. It made no sense until someone came up with the idea to look at the retirement dates for the related CIOs.There was a high correlation between the CIOs in the firms that weren’t ready but were reporting they were ready and retirement dates prior to 2000. Fortunately, much of this was caught, and we didn’t end up in a Mad Max world, but it was a surprisingly close thing. This survey indicates that a lot of business leaders think they will be ready by 2030, but they aren’t doing what it will take to be ready. Might want to check their retirement dates.Here’s the thing: Anyone running a race intuitively knows that you have to know where you are going before you start running. Otherwise, there is a high probability that you’ll accelerate away from the finish line rather than toward it. This survey indicates that around half of the companies are going to spend a ton of money without knowing where they are going, making things worse. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.last_img read more

iPhone X Delivers on Apples Promises and Thats Plenty Say Reviewers

first_imgReviews of Apple’s next generation iPhone X have started appearing online, and for the most part, critics have showered praise on the product.”The iPhone X is clearly the best iPhone ever made,” wrote Nilay Patel for The Verge.”It’s thin, it’s powerful, it has ambitious ideas about what cameras on phones can be used for, and it pushes the design language of phones into a strange new place,” he added.The phone is so impressive, it almost seems unreal, Patel suggested. “At a glance, the iPhone X looks so good one of our video editors kept saying it looked fake.” A Better Way Notch Grousing Handholding Fumbles The X may require a period of adjustment for some owners, cautioned Geoffrey A. Fowler in his review for The Washington Post.”If you buy an X (pronounced “ten”) now, think of it as signing up for a blind date with your most important gadget,” he wrote.”Navigating it can be just as confusing as figuring out when to hold hands. Your thumb is going to keep ending up in the wrong place,” Fowler added. “I’m a columnist whose job is to live on the cutting edge, and even I’d describe my relationship (so far) with the iPhone X as ‘awkward.'”One area of anxiety for potential users is the X’s use of facial identification to unlock the phone.”The good news is that Face ID mostly works great,” The Verge’s Patel wrote. “The bad news is that sometimes it doesn’t, and you will definitely have to adjust the way you think about using your phone to get it to a place where it mostly works great.” An aspect of the X’s screen that raised mixed feelings in reviewers is the “notch” found on the top of the phone.”Call it what you like — a cutout or a notch — but the area around the new front-facing cameras and sensors is definitely a black mark on the iPhone X’s screen,” Heather Kelly wrote for CNN.On the other hand, some actually found the notch appealing.”In fact, I kind of like it, and I think it blends in nicely to the rest of the phone’s software interface,” observed Steve Kovach, writing for Business Insider.”You barely notice the notch in most cases, and it looks especially nice when scrolling through apps like Twitter and Facebook,” he added. Concerns about Face ID not working in low light conditions are misplaced, according to Patel.”Face ID works great in the dark, because the IR projector is basically a flashlight, and flashlights are easy to see in the dark,” he wrote. “But go outside in bright sunlight, which contains a lot of infrared light, or under crappy fluorescent lights, which interfere with IR, and Face ID starts to get a little inconsistent.”Users are going to have to adapt their behaviors to unlock their device, observed Jeff Orr, senior practice director for mobile devices at ABI Research.For example, the phone must be held at eye level at about 10-20 inches from the face.”If you’re used to pulling your phone out of your pocket and glancing it at hip level, that won’t work,” Orr told TechNewsWorld.”People who glance at their phone under the table at a business meeting won’t be able to do that, either,” he added. Not For Everyonecenter_img Because the X departs from other iPhones in a number of ways, some fans of the product line may balk at buying it. Those fans need not worry, advised Lance Ulanoff in his Mashable review.”The iPhone X changes the iPhone experience, but for the most part those changes are for the better,” he wrote.”I’m positive that those fearing the loss of the home button will forget about its absence 48 hours — tops — after buying the phone. Face ID and gestures are better, more convenient ways [to] unlock and do basic tasks on the phone,” Ulanoff continued.”That’s progress,” he added. “Even if you say, ‘No thanks,’ to the iPhone X, this is the future, so just get ready for it. ” The X isn’t for everyone, maintained Nicole Nguyen in her BuzzFeed review.The X “is really only for people who use the *heck* out of their phones. I’m talking about a ton of photo taking, video shooting, social-media performative exhibiting, gaming, web browsing, etc.,” she wrote.”This is a device for a power user, not a casual smartphoner who texts and uploads an Instagram every once in a while,” Nguyen continued. “The iPhone 7 or 8 (or, hell, even the iPhone SE) are totally sufficient for those folks.”The X’s edge-to-edge OLED screen received raves from many reviewers, not only for the quality of its resolution, but also for its size.”The iPhone X is a big screen in a compact form factor — Cinerama in a phone booth,” wrote Steven Levy for Wired.”Though the device itself is only slightly bigger than the standard iPhone 8, its screen is roughly the same size as that of the iPhone 8 Plus,” he explained. Performs Well in Low Light Start of Something Big Just by meeting consumer expectations, the X is likely to do well in the market, suggested Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.”I think Apple will be able to sell as many iPhone Xs as they can make,” he told TechNewsWorld.Although Apple fans had to wait longer to get their hands on a X than for the other iPhone models announced in September, many of them evidently thought the wait was worth it, noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.”Apple promised game-changing technologies with the iPhone X, and so far it looks like season ticket holders are sticking around for the whole thing, including extra innings,” he told TechNewsWorld.The X will be the beginning of another Apple boom, predicted Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.”I believe it will start a new super cycle of iPhone sales,” he told TechNewsWorld, “that will last at least 18 months, if not longer.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John.last_img read more

Stressinduced mental disturbances are directly linked to abnormal glucose metabolism

first_img Source:http://www.unimedizin-mainz.de/presse/press-releases/press-releases/newsdetail/article/individual-stress-susceptibility-and-glucose-metabolism-are-linked-to-brain-function.html Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 24 2018Chronic stress is a well-known risk factor for the development of psychiatric illnesses including depression disorders. The brain requires a great deal of glucose, and stress is known to alter glucose metabolism. However, if stress-associated mental impairments are linked to affected glucose metabolism remains to be seen. Researchers at the Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Mainz University Medical Center and the German Resilience Center (DRZ) in Mainz have now discovered that stress-induced mental disturbances in mice are directly linked to abnormal glucose metabolism. Normalizing the stress-induced alterations in glucose levels, using the anti-diabetic drug empagliflozin, restored spatial memory as well as long-term glucose metabolism. The results have been published recently in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The human brain needs a huge amount of energy to function, about ten times more than all other parts of the body. These energy demands make the brain very sensitive to changes in energy supply. Glucose uptake from the blood is very important in this process. Why does chronic stress lead to psychiatric disorders in some people (susceptible) while others, who experience similar life events, remain healthy (resilient)? Does chronic stress lead to stress-dependent changes in glucose metabolism? And are stress, glucose metabolism, and psychiatric alterations directly linked? These questions are being addressed by researchers in the Translational Psychiatry lab of Professor Marianne Müller at the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) together with collaboration partners.In the study presented here, researchers have investigated long-term changes in glucose metabolism in an animal model for chronic social stress. Stress disrupted glucose levels and its metabolism in the periphery as well as in the brain. These defects led to spatial memory impairments. Stressed animals displayed increased blood glucose levels that developed early after stress, and the brain was hyperglycemic while showing reduced glucose uptake. To investigate whether the high glucose levels after stress are harmful, researchers made use of the anti-diabetic medication empagliflozin. Addition of empagliflozin to the normal food stimulated glucose excretion through the urine, which normalized the stress-induced hyperglycemia.Related StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery results”However, not all animals responded the same,” said Tanja Jene, PhD student and co-first author on the work. “Within the stressed population clear subgroups could be distinguished, i.e., those that increased glucose levels after stress whereas others kept normal glucose levels.” Interestingly, only stressed individuals with high glucose levels after stress developed cognitive impairments (susceptible). High glucose stressed animals also benefited strongly from empagliflozin treatment as spatial memory was normalized as well as long-term glucose metabolism. However, for stressed animals that kept normal glucose levels (resilient), empagliflozin impaired their – otherwise intact – spatial memory.”Our results demonstrate that chronic stress can impair spatial memory through alterations in glucose levels and that intact glucose metabolism is pivotal for memory-related processes,” explained Dr. Michael van der Kooij, who designed the study in the Mainz-based Translational Psychiatry lab. “Furthermore, the findings highlight the importance of individuality since all subjects experienced the same stress, but only a proportion was susceptible as these developed disturbances at the levels of glucose metabolism and, hence, cognitive impairments. The fact that stress-susceptibility or resilience could be predicted early after stress by measuring blood glucose levels fuels the belief that perhaps in humans with stress-related disorders, such as depression, abnormal glucose metabolism may also play a major role and that the classification strategies as employed in the current study could enhance treatment efficacy.”last_img read more

Researchers develop new material that improves quality durability of knee cartilage implants

first_imgOct 31 2018Researchers of Valencia’s Polytechnic University (UPV), the University of Notre Dame (USA) and the Technological University of Auckland (New Zealand), along with multinational company Zimmer, have developed a new material that improves the quality and durability of the articular cartilage implants used in knee operations. According to the tests carried out, with this new material, the implants could last up to 80% longer than the ones currently used. This work has been published in the Materials Science and Engineering journal.Wear on cartilage is one of the injuries that most affects athletes such as runners, tennis and paddle players, and, generally, all those who practice a sport which entails high joint impact. The solution to this pathology commonly involves surgery, whereby the damaged cartilage is replaced with a 3D polymer with very similar mechanical features to natural tissue.Related StoriesPlant cellulose bone implants are “viable” option to support new bone growth, study findsNew technology to harvest energy from the human kneeTMJ disorders could be treated with tissue-engineered implants after successful animal studyThis tissue must be porous enough for the bone and capillaries to grow inside. However, different studies conducted on this type of materials show that their resistance becomes lacklustre with time.”Use of the material we have obtained will enable an increase of the lifespan of these implants, with the resulting benefit for the patient”, highlight professors Miguel ángel Sellés and Samuel Sánchez, from the Alcoy campus and researchers at the Material Technology Institute and the UPV’s Design and Production Institute, respectively.In order to obtain this new material – the first welded tissue used in this sector – researchers have developed a new technique based on the use of laser technology.”In our study we saw that in order to avoid cartilage wear, it is essential for the fibres to not skew sideways when submitted to normal loads – a perpendicular force to the implant’s exterior surface. To accomplish this, we propose a method based on selective laser welding of the superficial layers of the three-dimensional tissues,” Sellés explains.The technique used permeates the fibres of the polymeric layered tissue with a solution that enables the material to efficiently absorb the energy of the laser’s beam and for the fibres to weave among themselves in very localised points. This way, the fibres are stronger and the material is much more resistant.”The results of the studies both on the 3D tissue production methods as well as those related to the material itself have been excellent. The wear rates were reduced significantly and the lifespan of the implant increased noticeably thanks to the surface welding, which makes this a viable option for replacing cartilage in vivo,” adds Sánchez. Source:http://ruvid.org/ri-world/new-material-improves-the-quality-and-resistance-of-knee-cartilage-implants/last_img read more

Healthy diet can reduce depression symptoms

first_img Source:https://www.manchester.ac.uk/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 5 2019An analysis of data from almost 46,000 people has found that weight loss, nutrient boosting and fat reduction diets can all reduce the symptoms of depression.Dr Joseph Firth, an Honorary Research fellow at The University of Manchester and Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, says existing research has been unable to definitively establish if dietary improvement could benefit mental health.But in a new study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr Firth and colleagues brought together all existing data from clinical trials of diets for mental health conditions.And the study provides convincing evidence that dietary improvement significantly reduces symptoms of depression, even in people without diagnosed depressive disorders.Dr Firth said: “The overall evidence for the effects of diet on mood and mental well-being had up to now yet to be assessed.”But our recent meta-analysis has done just that; showing that adopting a healthier diet can boost peoples’ mood. However, it has no clear effects on anxiety.”The study combined data from 16 randomised controlled trials that examined the effects of dietary interventions on symptoms of depression and anxiety.Sixteen eligible trials with outcome data for 45,826 participants were included; the majority of which examined samples with non-clinical depression.The study found that all types of dietary improvement appeared to have equal effects on mental health, with weight-loss, fat reduction or nutrient-improving diets all having similar benefits for depressive symptoms.”This is actually good news” said Dr Firth; “The similar effects from any type of dietary improvement suggests that highly-specific or specialised diets are unnecessary for the average individual.Related StoriesCPAP treatment for sleep apnea can improve depression symptomsPerinatal depression screenings may overlook women having suicidal ideationSome children are at greater risk of ongoing depression long after being bullied”Instead, just making simple changes is equally beneficial for mental health. In particular, eating more nutrient-dense meals which are high in fibre and vegetables, while cutting back on fast-foods and refined sugars appears to be sufficient for avoiding the potentially negative psychological effects of a ‘junk food’ diet.Dr Brendon Stubbs, co-author of the study and Clinical Lecturer at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and King’s College London, added: “Our data add to the growing evidence to support lifestyle interventions as an important approach to tackle low mood and depression.”Specifically, our results within this study found that when dietary interventions were combined with exercise, a greater improvement in depressive symptoms was experienced by people. Taken together, our data really highlight the central role of eating a healthier diet and taking regular exercise to act as a viable treatment to help people with low mood.”Studies examined with female samples showed even greater benefits from dietary interventions for symptoms of both depression and anxiety.Dr Firth added: “We’re not yet sure why not know why some of our data showed significantly greater benefits from diets for women.”So more research is needed on this. And we also need to establish how the benefits of a healthy diet are related to improvements in physical health”It could be through reducing obesity, inflammation, or fatigue – all of which are linked to diet and impact upon mental health.”And further research is still required to examine the effects of dietary interventions in people with clinically-diagnosed psychiatric conditions.”last_img read more

Anyone can get hernias especially after abdominal surgery

first_imgAny factors that put increased pressure on those areas like obesity and pregnancy, as well as factors that weaken your tissues or decrease wound healing, such as diabetes and nicotine use, will increase your risk. And sometimes people form hernias and we just don’t know why.”Britney Corey, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, UAB Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 21 2019Anne Rhodes is back to doing what she loves after being treated for a hernia at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. Frankly, a hernia wasn’t even on her radar.”I had a lot of misconceptions about hernias,” Rhodes said. “I thought it was just something you got when you tried to lift something too heavy.”A hernia is a common medical condition that occurs when part of an internal organ or tissue pushes through a weak area of muscle, creating a bulge.After having colon resection surgery, Rhodes, a Montgomery native, develop a such a bulge on the left side of her stomach.”A friend of mine who works in the medical field told me that I had a hernia,” Rhodes said.Most hernias occur in the abdomen, between the chest and the hips, and they can develop in men, women and children, often from a combination of muscle weakness and straining, like lifting something heavy. Some people are born with weak abdominal muscles and therefore may be more likely to develop a hernia. The most common treatment for a hernia is surgery to repair the opening in the muscle wall. Untreated hernias tend to keep growing, often causing pain and health problems.Rhodes scheduled an appointment with Britney Corey, M.D., and Abhishek Parmer, M.D., both assistant professors in the Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, and had her hernia repaired on March 4, 2019.Corey says that people with a prior incision or operation in the abdominal area are at higher risk for developing a hernia. Related StoriesImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsRewiring of nerves gives movement to paralyzed arms and handsFight for Sight poll: Brits put their eyesight at risk through unsafe contact lens habitsCorey says that, if someone is pregnant and develops a hernia, individualized care is recommended, with surgery typically put on hold until after pregnancy.”Future pregnancies may put the hernia repair at risk,” she said.Parmar says treating patients with hernias is like having a chess match. It takes a thoughtful approach to think about the downstream effects.”The real art of hernia care at UAB is that we really try to keep the whole picture in mind and consider how hernia surgery might affect a patient, not just immediately, but for the rest of their life,” he said. “We consider the whole patient and, with the help of many other doctors, try to give patients the best chances of succeeding with surgery. That’s one of the benefits of being at an academic institution like UAB.”Once diagnosed with a hernia, patients are usually referred to a surgeon. Post-surgery, patients may stay in the hospital for a few days or go home the same day of the procedure.”Patients usually can resume normal activities quickly, with lifting restrictions for two to six weeks,” Corey said.Rhodes, a retired librarian, said her care at UAB was top-notch, and now she is able to do things that she loves again, like swim 40 laps at her local pool.”I thought my care was wonderful,” she said. “Dr. Corey and Parmar were very professional, informative and intentional.” Source:University of Alabama at Birminghamlast_img read more

Most nontraumatic fatalities among football players occur during conditioning sessions

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 15 2019Most non-traumatic fatalities among high school and college football athletes do not occur while playing the game of football, but rather during conditioning sessions which are often associated with overexertion or punishment drills required by coaches and team staff, according to research presented today at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. The research was presented by Dr. Barry P. Boden of The Orthopaedic Center, Rockville, Md.Football is associated with the highest number of fatalities of any high school or college sport, but the number of traumatic injuries incurred while playing football have declined significantly since the 1960s.However, the annual number of non-traumatic fatalities has stayed constant with current rates that are two to three times higher than traumatic fatalities.Related StoriesRetina can restructure itself following gene therapySlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthAlternate cell growth pathway could open door to new treatments for metastatic cancersHeat and sickle cell trait fatality rates were compared pre- and post-implementation of the NCAA football acclimatization model in 2003 and sickle cell screening policies implemented in 2010, respectively.Boden and his team reviewed 187 non-traumatic football fatalities that occurred between 1998 and 2018. The researchers obtained information from extensive internet searches, as well as depositions, investigations, autopsies, media and freedom of information reports.Of the 187 fatalities, more than half (52 percent) were due to cardiac issues; 24 percent were caused by heat; and five percent from asthma.”The majority of deaths occurred outside of the regular season months of September through December, with the most common month for fatalities being August,” Boden reported.Boden said many of the fatalities had three issues in common: the conditioning sessions were supervised by the football coach or strength and conditioning coach; irrationally intense workouts and/or punishment drills were scheduled; and an inadequate medical response was implemented.The average annual rate of heat-related fatalities remained unchanged at the collegiate level pre- and post-implementation of the NCAA football acclimatization model in 2003. The average annual number of sickle cell trait deaths in collegiate football declined 58 percent after the 2010 NCAA sickle cell screening policies were implemented. At the high school level, where there are no sickle cell guidelines, the number of sickle cell fatalities increased 400 percent since 2010.The football acclimatization model implemented by the NCAA in 2003 has failed at reducing exertional heat-related fatalities at the collegiate level. Sickle cell trait screening policies adopted by the NCAA in 2010 have been effective at reducing fatalities in college athletes and similar guidelines should be mandated at the high school level.”Conditioning-related fatalities are preventable by establishing standards in workout design, holding coaches and strength and conditioning coaches accountable, ensuring compliance with current policies, and allowing athletic health care providers complete authority over medical decisions,” Boden reported. Source:American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicinelast_img read more

Tumor tissuefreezing method may help more women with breast cancer in lower

first_imgInnovation in cancer care doesn’t always mean you have to create an entirely new treatment, sometimes it means radically innovating on proven therapies such that they’re redesigned to be accessible to the majority of the world’s population.”Bailey Surtees, Johns Hopkins University biomedical engineering graduate and the study’s first author “This project is a remarkable example of success from the Biomedical Engineering Design Program,” says Nicholas Durr, an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins and the study’s senior author. “This team of undergraduates has been so successful because they created a practical solution for the problem after really understanding the constraints that needed to be met to be impactful.”The largest cause of cancer-related mortality for women across the globe, breast cancer disproportionately affects women in lower-income countries due to lack of treatment. While the survival rate for women in the United States is greater than 90%, they are significantly lower at 64%, 46% and 12% in Saudi Arabia, Uganda and The Gambia, respectively.”Instead of saying ‘She has breast cancer,” the locals we met while conducting focus groups for our research said ‘She has death,’ because breast cancer is often considered an automatic death sentence in these communities,” adds Surtees.In lower-income countries, the main barriers to treating breast cancer are inadequate treatment options–with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation being impractical or too expensive–and long travel times to regional hospitals where efficient treatment is available. Even if a woman is able to travel to a hospital for treatment, she may not be seen and recovery times will keep her out of work for an additional few weeks.Killing cancerous tissue with cold, or cryoablation, is preferable to surgically removing tumors in these countries because it eliminates the need for a sterile operating room and anesthesia, thus making it possible to local clinics to perform the procedure. It’s also minimally invasive, thereby reducing complications such as pain, bleeding and extended recovery time.Related StoriesBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumorsStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskCurrent cryoablation technologies, however, are too expensive, with a single treatment costing upwards of $10,000, and are dependent on argon gas, which typically isn’t available in lower-income countries, to form the tissue-killing ice crystals.With these barriers in mind, the student-led research team, named Kubanda (which means “cold” in Zulu), wanted to create a tissue-freezing tool that uses carbon dioxide, which is already widely available in most rural areas thanks to the popularity of carbonated drinks.The research team tested their tool in three experiments to ensure it could remain cold enough in conditions similar to the human breast and successfully kill tumor tissue.In the first experiment, the team used the tool on jars of ultrasound gel, which thermodynamically mimics human breast tissue, to determine whether it could successfully reach standard freezing temperatures killing tissue and form consistent iceballs. In all trials, the device formed large enough iceballs and reached temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius, which meets standard freezing temperatures for tissue death for similar devices in the United States.For the second experiment, the team treated 9 rats with 10 mammary tumors. Afterwards, they looked at the tissue under a microscope and confirmed that the tool successfully killed 85% or more tissue for all tumors.Finally, the team tested the tool’s ability to reach temperatures cold enough for tissue destruction in the normal liver of a pig, which has a temperature similar to a human breast. The device was successfully able to stay cold enough during the entire experiment to kill the target tissue.”When we started the project, experts in the area told us it was impossible to ablate meaningful tissue volumes with carbon dioxide. This mindset may have come from both the momentum of the field and also from not thinking about the importance of driving down the cost of this treatment,” says Durr.While the results are promising, the device still requires additional experiments before it’s ready for commercial use. Mainly, the research team’s next steps are to ensure it can consistently kill cancer tissue under the same heat conditions as human breast tissue.In the near future, the team hopes to continue testing their device for human use, and expand its use to pets. Source:Johns Hopkins UniversityJournal reference:Surtees, B. et al. (2019) Validation of a low-cost, carbon dioxide-based cryoablation system for percutaneous tumor ablation. PLOS ONE. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207107. Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 15 2019A new reusable device created by the Johns Hopkins University can help women with breast cancer in lower income countries by using carbon dioxide, a widely available and affordable gas, to power a cancer tissue-freezing probe instead of industry-standard argon.A study detailing the tool’s success in animals was published this month in PLOS One.last_img read more

New study shows clear link between cannabis use and brain alterations

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 21 2019A once understudied topic now shows a clear link between cannabis use and brain alterations, whereby chronic use may lead to poor conflict resolution skillsThe development of neural circuits in youth, at a particularly important time in their lives, can be heavily influenced by external factors—specifically the frequent and regular use of cannabis. A new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports that alterations in cognitive control—an ensemble of processes by which the mind governs, regulates and guides behaviors, impulses, and decision-making based on goals are directly affected.The researchers found that these brain alterations were less intense in individuals who recently stopped using cannabis, which may suggest that the effects of cannabis are more robust in recent users. Additional findings from the study also suggest greater and more persistent alterations in individuals who initiated cannabis use earlier, while the brain is still developing. “As such, the adolescent brain may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of substance use, particularly cannabis—the most commonly used recreational drug by teenagers worldwide,” added the postdoctoral scientist in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York.The findings are based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data acquired from 28 adolescents and young adults (aged 14-23 years) with significant cannabis use and 32 age and sex-matched non-using healthy controls. Participants were scanned during their performance of a Simon Spatial Incompatibility Task, a cognitive control task that requires resolving cognitive conflict to respond accurately.Related StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaThe authors also examined the degree to which fluctuations in activity in relation to conflict resolution is synchronized across the different regions comprised in this frontostriatal circuit (that is, to what extent are regions functionally connected with each other). Although circuit connectivity did not differ between cannabis-using and non-using youth, the research team found an association between how early individuals began regularly using cannabis and the extent to which frontostriatal regions were disrupted, suggesting that earlier chronic use may have a larger impact on circuit development than use of later onset.”The present findings support the mission of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development study, a longitudinal study aimed at understanding the developmental trajectory of brain circuits in relation to cannabis use,” said Dr. Cyr. “In addition, these findings are a first step towards identifying brain-based targets for early interventions that reduce addiction behaviors by enhancing self-regulatory capacity.”Given that substance use and relapse rates are associated with control processes, interventions based on neural stimulation, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and behavioral interventions, such as cognitive training, that specifically target the brain circuits underlying these control processes may be helpful as adjunct intervention strategies to complement standard treatment programs for cannabis use disorder.” Source:ElsevierJournal reference:Cyr, M. et al. (2019) Deficient Functioning of Frontostriatal Circuits During the Resolution of Cognitive Conflict in Cannabis-Using Youth. JAACAP. doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2018.09.436 Most adults with problematic substance use now were most likely having problems with drugs and alcohol in adolescence, a developmental period during which the neural circuits underlying cognitive control processes continue to mature. “Marilyn Cyr, PhD, Lead Authorlast_img read more

Battery research to supercharge electric vehicle revolution

The University of Bath is part of a consortium of academic and industry partners awarded Government funding to conduct research aimed at overcoming battery challenges to accelerate the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. Provided by University of Bath Explore further The ambitious project is aiming to improve battery technology to extend battery lifetime and performance. Credit: University of Bath This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Plug-in hybrid vehicles are better than their reputation With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, there is an urgent need to increase the efficiency of energy storage.The work at Bath is part of a Multi-Scale Modelling project that aims to develop new computational tools to understand and predict battery performance by connecting understanding of battery materials at the atomic level all the way up to a battery pack.If successful, this research will put the UK on the map as being at the forefront of battery technology worldwide. It has the potential to radically increase the speed with which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles, as well as the speed with which we can decarbonize our energy supply, with obvious benefits to the environment.Imperial College London (ICL) will lead the consortium of six other university and 17 industry partners in the project funded by the Faraday Institution.The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent national battery research institute, and was established as part of the government’s £246 million investment in battery technology through the Industrial Strategy, announced last October.Enabling shift to electric vehiclesProfessor of Materials Chemistry Saiful Islam and Royal Society University Research Fellow Dr. Benjamin Morgan, both from the University of Bath’s Department of Chemistry and Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, are leading the research at Bath.Professor Islam said: “The lithium-ion battery has transformed portable electronics and now has a crucial role in electric vehicles to cut carbon emissions.”It’s very exciting to be part of this large multidisciplinary effort on lithium batteries encompassing the new Faraday Institution.”The ambitious goal of the multi-scale modelling project is to create accurate models that the automotive industry can use to extend battery lifetime and performance.”Peter B. Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, said: “To deliver the much needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly.”To be impactful on increasing energy density, lowering cost, extending lifetime, and improving battery safety requires a substantial and focused effort in fundamental research.”Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said: “There is an urgent imperative for us to increase the efficiency of energy storage as we move towards low carbon economies and attempt to switch to clean methods of energy production.”The Faraday Institution will bring leading academics in the field of battery development together with industry experts to explore novel application-inspired approaches that will address the challenges we face.” Citation: Battery research to super-charge electric vehicle revolution (2018, January 24) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-battery-super-charge-electric-vehicle-revolution.html read more

US charges Facebook with hightech housing discrimination

first_img The civil charges filed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development could cost the social network millions of dollars in penalties. But more than that, they strike at the heart of Facebook’s business model—its vaunted ability to deliver ads with surgical precision to certain groups of people and not others.”Facebook is discriminating against people based upon who they are and where they live,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face.”In a statement, Facebook expressed surprise over the charges, saying it has been working with HUD to address its concerns and has taken steps to prevent discrimination, including eliminating thousands of ad-targeting options last year that could be misused by advertisers.Just last week, Facebook agreed to overhaul its targeting system and abandon some of the practices singled out by HUD to prevent discrimination, not just in housing listings but in credit and employment ads as well. The move was part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union and other activists.”We’re disappointed by today’s developments, but we’ll continue working with civil rights experts on these issues,” the company said.The HUD charges were seen as a possible prelude to a wider regulatory crackdown on the digital advertising industry, which is dominated by Facebook and Google. And the case was yet another blow to Facebook, which has come under siege from lawmakers, regulators and activists and is under investigation in the U.S. and Europe over its data and privacy practices.HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan said the agency has reached out to Google and Twitter to “better understand their advertising practices.” But he said neither is currently under investigation. Twitter says it doesn’t allow discriminatory advertising, while Google says its policies prohibit targeting ads based on sensitive categories such as race, ethnicity and religious beliefs.Google, in particular, has ad-targeting options similar to Facebook’s.The technology at the center of the clash with HUD has helped make Facebook rich, with annual revenue of close to $56 billion. Facebook gathers enormous amounts of data on what users read and like and who their friends are, and it uses that information to help advertisers and others direct their messages to exactly the crowd they want to reach. Citation: US charges Facebook with high-tech housing discrimination (2019, March 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-accuses-facebook-discrimination-housing-ads.html In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square. Facebook is facing housing discrimination charges from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which says its targeted advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act. HUD claims Facebook’s ad platform was “encouraging, enabling, and causing housing discrimination.” (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook was charged with discrimination by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because of its ad-targeting system. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) HUD said Facebook is allowing advertisers to practice a sort of high-tech form of red-lining by excluding people in entire neighborhoods or ZIP codes from seeing their ads. The company was accused, too, of giving advertisers the option of showing ads only to men or only to women. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. US regulators target Facebook on discriminatory housing ads Explore further The federal government charged Facebook with high-tech housing discrimination Thursday for allegedly allowing landlords and real estate brokers to systematically exclude groups such as non-Christians, immigrants and minorities from seeing ads for houses and apartments. Facebook also allegedly allowed advertisers to exclude parents; those who are non-American-born; non-Christians; and those interested in Hispanic culture, “deaf culture,” accessibility for the disabled, countries like Honduras or Somalia, or a variety of other topics.The case will be heard by an administration law judge unless HUD or Facebook decides to move it to federal court.”The nature of their business model is advertising and targeted advertising, so that is a slippery slope. That is their business model,” said Dan Ives, an industry analyst with Wedbush Securities. “The government launched this missile and caught many in the industry by surprise.”Ives said the move may mean U.S. regulators are taking broader aim at the digital advertising market. “This is a clear shot across the bow for Facebook and others,” he said.Galen Sherwin of the ACLU likewise warned: “All the online platforms should be paying close attention to these lawsuits and taking a hard look at their own advertising platforms.”Facebook is already under fire for allowing fake Russian accounts to buy ads targeting U.S. users and sow political discord during the 2016 presidential election. The company has also been criticized for allowing organizations to target groups of people identified as “Jew-haters” and Nazi sympathizers.HUD brought an initial complaint against Facebook in August. Facebook said in its statement that it was “eager to find a solution” but that HUD “insisted on access to sensitive information—like user data—without adequate safeguards.”In its settlement with the ACLU and others, Facebook said it will no longer allow housing, employment or credit ads that target people by age, gender or ZIP code. It said it will also limit other targeting options so that these ads don’t exclude people on the basis of race, ethnicity and other legally protected categories, including sexual orientation.”Unless and until HUD can verify that there is an end of the discriminatory practices, we still have a responsibility to the American people,” said Raffi Williams, deputy assistant HUD secretary. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

House passes bill to restore net neutrality rules

first_imgIn this June 19, 2018, file photo a router and internet switch are displayed in East Derry, N.H. The House has passed a bill to restore Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, but the legislation may die in the Republican-controlled Senate. The Save the Internet Act passed the Democrat-controlled House 232-190, largely on party lines. But top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, April 10, 2019, that net neutrality is “dead on arrival in the Senate.” (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) The Save the Internet Act passed the Democrat-controlled House 232-190 Wednesday, with only one Republican vote in favor. But top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that net neutrality is “dead on arrival in the Senate.” The Trump administration also opposes the bill . Still, the effort to restore net neutrality could give Democrats political points on consumer protections.The 2015 net neutrality regulations barred internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from blocking or slowing online traffic or from charging companies for faster lanes for consumers. They were highly partisan in Washington and came after a decade of telecom-industry resistance.They were upheld by a federal appeals court, but the Federal Communications Commission scrapped the rules after the Trump administration installed a Republican majority there. That meant there was nothing stopping ISPs from interfering with internet traffic so long as they disclosed it.The net-neutrality saga continued as tech companies and nearly two dozen U.S. states sued to undo the 2017 repeal and restore the 2015 measure. A decision by a federal appeals court on that is pending. California also has a net-neutrality law which is on hold until the appeals court decision.In Congress, Republicans have introduced three other bills that net-neutrality advocates say are too weak because they don’t give the FCC the power to go after potential bad behavior by ISPs aside from blocking, throttling and charging internet companies for zippier access to users. Explore further Tech firms, states face feds in net neutrality court battle This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The House has passed bill Wednesday to restore Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, but the legislation faces slim odds of making it through the Republican-controlled Senate. Citation: House passes bill to restore ‘net neutrality’ rules (2019, April 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-house-bill-net-neutrality.htmllast_img read more

Renault and Fiat Chrysler flirt with audacious megamerger Update

first_img Renault had for years tied its strategy to a partnership with Japanese automaker Nissan but this has come into question after the arrest and subsequent ouster of Carlos Ghosn at both companies.After a board meeting over what it termed a “friendly” offer, Renault said it would enter talks on a merger that would forge the world’s third-largest automaker.Investors cheered the prospect, with Renault’s shares soaring 15 percent in afternoon trading in Paris, and Fiat Chrysler stock up more than 10 percent in Milan.A deal would give Fiat access in particular to Renault’s electric car technologies, allowing it to meet the strict CO2 limits being enacted by the European Commission.Renault for its part might be able to tap the US market thanks to Fiat Chrysler’s extensive operations in North America.”Given the investments and the technological advances that are going to be necessary, there’s isn’t really a choice, you have to reach a critical mass,” said Flavien Neuvy of the Cetelem Observatory research group.The idea has the backing of the French government, which owns a 15 percent stake in Renault, after Fiat said the merger would not result in the closure of any production sites.”The government is in favour… but the terms of this merger must be supportive of Renault’s economic development, and obviously of Renault’s employees,” government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said Monday. Renault, Fiat Chrysler in tie-up talks © 2019 AFP Italy’s outspoken deputy premier Matteo Salvini also gave a thumb’s up to what he called a “brilliant deal”.But labour unions were wary, with the CGT urging the French state to maintain a blocking minority after any deal.’Pre-eminent global group’Renault was plunged into disarray last November with the arrest in Tokyo of Ghosn, who was also chairman of its Japanese partner Nissan.That alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi, sells around 10.8 million automobiles per year in total, compared with Germany’s Volkswagen and Japan’s Toyota, both with around 10.6 million.But its future is in doubt following Ghosn’s ouster at both Renault and Nissan, with Tokyo in particular bristling over a push by the French side for deeper integration. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Fiat Chrysler said the merger with Renault would create the world’s third largest automaker There was no mention of Nissan, which is battling falling sales and the reputational damage from the downfall of Ghosn, who is fighting financial misconduct charges.Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told reporters Monday that he was “open to constructive discussions to strengthen the alliance,” and the subject will surely be raised in a meeting on Wednesday with Renault’s board chairman Jean-Dominique Senard.Costly shiftFiat Chrysler has been under pressure in Europe, stoking speculation it was looking for a partner as the highly competitive industry is pushed to consolidate in the face of declining demand and the costly switch to electric cars.The company is widely seen as a latecomer to the electric vehicle market, but does well in the US SUV and pick-up sectors.Renault, by contrast, was an early convert to electric cars and has made strong inroads in the market with its popular Zoe hatchback, though it has not yet tried to tackle the North American market.Fiat Chrysler said the merger would put the group in “a strong position in transforming technologies, including electrification and autonomous driving”.Early this year, rumours circulated that Renault was interested in Fiat-Chrysler after its hopes for a full merger with Nissan or even French competitor PSA were dashed.Fiat Chrysler predicted that the merger would generate more than five billion euros ($5.6 billion) of cost-savings and other synergies, on top of the benefits from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.All counted, including Nissan and Mitsubishi, a combination with Fiat Chrysler would mean the production of close to 16 million vehicles, besting Volkswagen and Toyota. Renault holds 43 percent in Nissan, which in turn owns 15 percent of its French partner. Despite pledges on both sides to pursue the alliance, analysts say the tensions might be pushing Renault to explore alternatives. Fiat Chrysler said its proposal for Renault would create “a pre-eminent global automotive group” with annual sales of 8.7 million vehicles.The brand portfolio of the two groups would be “broad and complementary… and would provide full market coverage, from luxury to mainstream”, it said. Explore further Fiat Chrysler is big in the US, where Renault has made few inroads Carlos Ghosn’s arrest in Japan threw the Renault-Nissan alliance into disarray Citation: Renault and Fiat Chrysler flirt with audacious mega-merger (Update) (2019, May 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-fiat-chrysler-merger-renault.html French automaker Renault said Monday that it would study “with interest” a 50-50 merger proposal from Fiat Chrysler, a deal that could reshape the industry as Renault reviews its options following the arrest in Japan of its chief executive.last_img read more

Government introduces bill to ban commercial surrogacy

first_img Next Press Trust of India New DelhiJuly 15, 2019UPDATED: July 15, 2019 15:44 IST File photo for representation.Commercial surrogacy will soon be banned and only close relatives will be permitted to act as surrogates to infertile couples for “ethical altruistic” reasons.On Monday, the government introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha that also provides for constitution of surrogacy boards at national and state levels, as well as that the intending couples should not abandon such a child under any condition.Only Indian couples who have been legally married for at least five years would be allowed to opt for surrogacy, as per the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill, which was introduced by Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan.The bill seeks to “allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the intending infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years and 26-55 years for female and male, respectively.”A woman should be allowed to act as a surrogate mother only once and should be a close relative of the intending couple and “should be an ever-married woman having a child of her own and between the age of 25-35 years.”According to the statement, India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries for past few years.”Due to lack of legislation to regulate surrogacy, the practice of surrogacy has been misused by surrogacy clinics, which leads to rampant commercial surrogacy and unethical practices…,” it noted.The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December, 2018 but lapsed as it could not get the nod from Parliament.ALSO READ | 8 companies with great parental leave policiesALSO READ | After Zomato, drug firm Novartis announces 26-week paid parental leave for both men and womenALSO WATCH | Surrogacy has an important role for women, says Dr. Firuza ParikhFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byNayanika Sengupta Tags :Follow Surrogacy (Regulation) BillFollow SurrogacyFollow Lok SabhaFollow Harsh Vardhan Government introduces bill to ban commercial surrogacyOn Monday, the government introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha that also provides for constitution of surrogacy boards at national and state levels, as well as that the intending couples should not abandon such a child under any condition.advertisementlast_img read more