US Navy says mine fragments magnet point to Iran in Gulf tanker

first_img“Until further information is received regarding the cause of the explosion and the security of this important shipping lane is secured, Frontline will exercise extreme caution when considering new contracts in the region,” it said in a statement. Kido also said NAVCENT had collected biometric information including fingerprints from the ship’s hull that would help in building a criminal case. He said the United States was working with regional partners on a “joint and combined investigation”, but declined to name the countries taking part.Washington and Riyadh have publicly blamed Iran for last week’s attack and the sabotaging last month of four ships, including two Saudi tankers, off Fujairah, a major bunkering hub. Several European nations have said more evidence is needed.The UAE has said an inquiry into the May 12 attack pointed to a state actor, without naming a country. That inquiry said it was highly likely that limpet mines placed by trained divers were the cause.“The dynamics of the two attacks are not clear, and the video that the US said demonstrated Iran’s role was also not clear,” a Western diplomat in the Gulf told Reuters. Tanker attacks, Gulf of Oman tanker attacks, Gulf of Oman, US-Iran conflict, Iran nuclear deal, wang Yi, China-US conflict, World news, Indian Express news, Iran has denied having any role in the tanker attacks. (File)The United States Navy on Wednesday displayed limpet mine fragments and a magnet it said it had removed from one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week, saying the mines bore a striking resemblance to Iranian ones. Related News Best Of Express Advertising Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach More Explained “The European line is that de-escalation (from possible conflict) must be a priority. Abu Dhabi is very much in line with the EU views on this,” the diplomat said. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Washington would maintain its pressure campaign on Iran and continue to deter aggression in the region but does not want the confrontation with Tehran to escalate.The United States said on Monday it would send around 1,000 more troops to the Middle East, in addition to a 1,500-troop increase announced last month that it said was prompted by Iranian threats.A Western military source told Reuters that countries with military personnel based in the Gulf are waiting for the United States to lead efforts to enhance security in Gulf waters.Frontline, which operates the Front Altair, said on Tuesday the vessel was in stable condition anchored off Fujairah and that it was working with third parties, including governmental officials, to determine the cause of the blast. It ruled out mechanical or human error. Advertising INS Vikramaditya reaches Karnataka port center_img After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan By Reuters |Uae | Published: June 19, 2019 6:29:57 pm “The limpet mine that was used in the attack is distinguishable and also strikingly bearing a resemblance to Iranian mines that have already been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades,” said Commander Sean Kido, commanding officer of an explosive ordinance dive and salvage task group in the Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT).He was speaking to reporters at a NAVCENT facility near the UAE port of Fujairah. Small fragments said to have been removed from the Kokuka Courageous were on display alongside a magnet purportedly left by the IRCG team allegedly captured on video.‘No flying object’The Japanese company that owns the Kokuka Courageous had said that its ship was damaged by two “flying objects”, but NAVCENT dismissed this.“The damage at the blast hole is consistent with a limpet mine attack, it is not consistent with an external flying object striking the ship,” Kido said, adding that nail holes visible in the hull indicated how the mine was attached to the ship. The location of the mine above the ship’s waterline indicated the intention was not to sink the vessel, he said. The United States, waging a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against Iran to curb its nuclear and regional activities, has been trying to build an international consensus that Iran was behind last week’s blasts, as well as a May 12 strike on four oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates.Tehran has denied any involvement in both attacks near the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit route for global oil supplies, but the incidents have raised fears of broader confrontation in the Gulf region.The US military previously released images it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned tanker Kokuka Courageous, which was hit by explosions along with the Norwegian-owned Front Altair ship on June 13. Taking stock of monsoon rain Strong as the Sun: Vikramaditya is like no other ship Indian Navy ever had Advertising Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Govt notifies top panel to look into Assam Accord clause on social

first_imgWritten by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2019 6:56:37 am Related News Retired IAS officer M P Bezbaruah was to head the panel.Clause 6 of the Accord states: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”The MHA’s notification, signed by Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg, has given six months to the committee to come up with its recommendations. It would be supported by the Northeast division of the MHA and the Assam government, the ministry stated.Some other terms of reference of the committee, according to the notification, are to examine effectiveness of actions taken since 1985 to implement Clause 6; to hold discussions with various stakeholders, including social organisations, legal and constitutional experts, eminent persons from the field of art, culture and literature, conservationists, economists, linguists and sociologists; to suggest measures to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam. Chairman M P Bezbaruah becomes 5th to drop out, says Assam panel virtually defunct The committee, headed by retired Gauhati High Court judge Biplab Kumar Sarma, will also make recommendations on reservation for Assamese people in the Assembly, and other local bodies.It will also look into the need for reservation in government jobs for Assamese people, besides recommending measures required to preserve culture and identity of the local people.Intended as part of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, the committee was notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday. The committee was first notified in January, but its members did not join in protest against the citizenship amendment Bill. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill: North-East heat makes Centre warm up to state consent Advertising Amid citizenship bill protests, MP Bezbaruah refuses to head panel on Assam Accord Assam accord, what is Assam accord, Amit Shah, Assam accord and NRC, Assam, immigration in Assam, foreigners in Assam, assam tribe, assam people, Assam news, Indian Express Intended as part of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, the committee was notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday.The Government has notified a high-level committee that is expected to look into the implementation of a clause of Assam Accord that seeks to provide safeguards to preserve and promote social, cultural and linguistic identity of Assamese people.center_img Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post According to the MHA notification, the committee may also suggest any other measures as may be necessary to protect, preserve and promote cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.Notably, All-Assam Students Union, among signatories of the accord, is also demanding rights over land and natural resources for the Assamese people.Members of the committee include Assam’s A-G Ramesh Borpatragohain, Arunachal Pradesh’s A-G Niloy Dutta, retired IAS officer Subhash Das, retired IPS Pallav Bhattacharya, academics Srishtidhar Dutta and Jaikanta Sharma, author Sumanta Chaliha, and journalist Wasbir Hussain. Advertising Best Of Express ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict After Masood Azhar blacklisting, ICJ verdict in Kulbhushan case isolates Pakistan Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Guns kill more US kids than cancer This emergency physician aims to prevent

first_img In late October, Cunningham convened the first in-person meeting of the FACTS team in a daylong event in a UM conference room. The roughly two dozen researchers and handful of trainees present included many of the public health scientists actively doing firearm research today: grizzled epidemiologists who are still standing after the 22-year funding drought; surgeons-in-training; data mavens; and clinical psychologists such as Rinad Beidas, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has been studying whether and how counseling parents on gun safety could be incorporated into routine pediatric visits.”The overarching purpose here is how to rebuild the field,” Cunningham told the meeting as it opened. “We want more firearm researchers at the end of this who know what they are doing.”Their animating principle is that gun violence, like any other public health bane, can be tackled scientifically, divorced from any political agenda. “There is a science to injury prevention,” Cunningham says. She and others note that decades of studies on motor vehicle safety led to evidence-based policies such as car seat and seat belt laws, which have dramatically reduced childhood motor vehicle fatalities even though many more cars are on the road.In the case of firearms, Cunningham says, “the person, the gun, the home environment—all are modifiable in some way or another. We have not even started to try to address the ways that make the combination safer.”The scientists discussed 10 candidate pilot projects over 5 hours; Cunningham and Zimmerman will soon decide which will move forward.One project proposes to enlist focus groups of gun owners to craft effective safe storage messages, aiming to curb teen suicide in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In such rural areas, the rate of suicide by gun is almost twice that in urban areas of the United States. Another proposed study, a survey, would separately ask teens and their gun-owning parents how accessible the household’s guns are, to reality check parents’ views.A third proposal makes the chilling assumption that it won’t be long until the next mass school shooting. In its aftermath, Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University, would study young people’s use of social media to characterize post-traumatic stress and anxiety, as well as resilience. Fewer than 1% of gun deaths in children and teens occur in schools. But Ranney believes school shootings may have much broader mental health impacts.Cunningham, who radiates both affability and the decisiveness of a seasoned emergency physician, ran the meeting as part pep talk, part crash assignment. She shut down digressions and poured on doses of budget reality when suggestions got too ambitious. “This is not a democracy, as I tell my children,” she reminded the group.Given the constraints imposed by the congressional amendment, Cunningham and her team are at pains to emphasize that they are not coming after anybody’s guns. The official NIH project description promises to respect “gun ownership as an important part of the cultural fabric of U.S. society.”Cunningham is blunt: “Our goals are not political. We are not aiming to decrease total gun numbers. We respect Second Amendment rights.” 41,216 MELANIE MAXWELL In 2010, Cunningham finally published a paper with guns in the title—a survey of handgun access in teens visiting the emergency department in Flint. Four years later, she came across a bigger opportunity.In August 2014, NIH’s child health institute sent out a broad call for team proposals to build research capacity for preventing any prominent cause of childhood injury. As Cunningham read the announcement, one sentence leapt off the page: “Increasingly, attention is being paid to firearm-related injury as a serious public health concern.”She contacted NICHD to make sure she had not misread its intent. She was told she had not. She and Zimmerman’s first proposal was sent back for revisions. But on a second try, it received a perfect score from an NIH review panel.One week later, Donald Trump was elected president. Given that NRA had funneled $30 million to Trump’s campaign, NIH officials privately fretted about gun research. “The election makes everything more complicated,” one administrator emailed to another. But in September 2017, the grant money arrived, and Cunningham’s team went to work, calling itself the Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens (FACTS) Consortium.Four months later, a 19-year-old former student gunned down 17 students and staff at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. “My inbox was flooded with researchers wanting to join FACTS—even to volunteer,” Cunningham says. “The idea that the topic is too political to study is passing with the urgency created after Parkland.”A violent childhoodCunningham’s own sense of urgency predates any news event. “My interest in gun violence prevention has … roots [in] lived experience,” she says. After his wife kicked him out in the mid-1970s, Cunningham’s father continued to stalk her and 5-year-old Cunningham, banging on the front door and breaking windows. To escape him, her mother began a series of moves to low-rent apartments in other towns. They relied on food stamps while Cunningham attended four schools in 3 years.”We were terrified,” Cunningham says. “I was scared my mother would be killed. She was scared she would be killed. My father told her not infrequently that he had a gun and would find her.” The fear only lifted years later, after her father died.Cunningham says her early experience helps her “understand that people sometimes buy guns when they think the law cannot protect them.” Did that pistol make Cunningham and her mother safer? Public health experts can’t answer that question: A 2003 study that examined whether abused women living apart from their abusers are safer with a gun was inconclusive. No study since has delved into the issue.It’s one of myriad questions about firearms and violence that remain unanswered, largely because of a dearth of funding to explore them. Guns are the second-leading cause of death of children and teens in the United States, after motor vehicle crashes. In 2016, the most recent year for which data are available, they killed nearly 3150 people aged 1 to 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Cancer killed about 1850. But this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, spent $486 million researching pediatric cancer and $4.4 million studying children and guns, according to its RePORTER database.That’s because gun violence research has been operating under a chill for more than 2 decades. In 1996, Congress crafted an amendment, named for its author, then–Arkansas Representative Jay Dickey (R), preventing CDC—the government’s lead injury prevention agency—from spending money “to advocate or promote gun control.”That law was widely interpreted as banning any CDC studies that probe firearm violence or how to prevent it. The agency’s gun injury research funding was quickly zeroed out, and other health agencies grew wary. The few dozen firearm researchers who persisted were forced to rely on modest amounts from other agencies or private funders to tackle a massive problem.Now, there may be early signs of a thaw. In March, in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, Congress wrote that CDC is free to probe the causes of gun violence, despite the Dickey amendment. (The agency has not done so, citing a lack of money.) And annual firearm-related funding from NIH, according to a search of its RePORTER database, roughly tripled after a 2013 presidential directive that was issued in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Just as importantly, the agency began to flag firearm violence in some of its calls for research. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 7003 Accidents A generation of scarcity During the past 22 years, public funding for gun violence research has been modest. Private funders have tried to compensate.  Fatalities of 1–18-year-olds (2006–2016) Drowning 1160 5.1% Rebecca Cunningham says public health research can help prevent gun injuries in children. 30.8% 12,091 Undetermined Cancer Rebecca Cunningham FOIA/NIH; NIH REPORTER DATABASE 62.6% 10,020 Email Headline benton sans condensed 12 ptThis line clarify basic facts about the data, like units, time frame or information the reader needs to read before going into the chart. Motor vehicle crashescenter_img Suffocation 19,125 10,809 Family and friends commemorate DrayQuan Jones, 16, who was shot and killed this spring in Flint, Michigan. Guns disproportionately kill African-American children. Congenital abnormalities Firearm-related deaths A heavy toll Firearms are the second-leading cause of death in children in the United States, after motor vehicle crashes. In the decade ending in 2016, more children died from gun injuries than from cancer. Funding sourceTotal funding (1996–2018) Funding sourceU.S. National Institutes of HealthTotal funding (1996–2018)$58 million Funding sourceU.S. Department of JusticeTotal funding (1996–2018)$39 million Funding sourceState of CaliforniaTotal funding (1996–2018)$6 million Funding sourceJoyce FoundationTotal funding (1996–2018)$24 million Funding sourceCalifornia Wellness FoundationTotal funding (1996–2018)$10 million Funding sourceLaura and John Arnold FoundationTotal funding (1996–2018)$20 million pledged (2018) That’s why Cunningham is now in charge of the largest firearm research grant that NIH has awarded in at least 30 years. With $4.9 million from NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), she is co-directing a 5-year project to build capacity for researching firearm injuries in children. Cunningham and UM public health expert Marc Zimmerman are leading 27 scientists at a dozen institutions in work they hope will carry the field forward for years after this funding ends in 2022.The grant is not designed to answer one particular question. Rather, the goal is to lay out what questions need answering first. The researchers are building a user-friendly archive of existing data and launching pilot studies. And they are training the young scientists who they hope will come after them.Cunningham’s grant “is unique” in U.S.- funded gun violence research, and not just for its size, says Garen Wintemute, a gun violence researcher at the University of California, Davis, who co-authored one paper with Cunningham but is not part of this grant. “In the last 20 years this is the first time that an award has been made not just to do a project, but to set up an infrastructure that would allow a lot of projects to be done.”Although gun rights groups continue to insist that public health scientists steer clear of gun violence, some researchers are feeling empowered to push back. Last week, surgeons writing in JAMA Surgery called on CDC to restart its own gun violence research. And last month, the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Fairfax, Virginia, provoked a firestorm when it tweeted that “selfimportant anti-gun doctors” should “stay in their lane.” Hundreds of emergency department doctors tweeted back, many including photographs of their scrubs, hands, and shoes bloodied from treating gunshot victims. More than 40,000 health care professionals, including Cunningham, signed an open letter to NRA complaining that the group has hobbled gun violence research, declaring, “This is our lane!”All the same, there’s still little public money for gun research. And given the polarizing politics, Cunningham’s team must walk a fine line: probing gun violence without being seen as advocating gun control. But she’s betting that this is the beginning of the end of the funding chill. Her forward-looking NIH award “is more than another grant,” she says. “[It’s] the end of the silencing of a generation of scientists.”In the emergency roomWearing a white coat and with the requisite stethoscope draped around her neck, Cunningham recently showed visitors around a trauma bay stuffed with monitors, tubing, and tanks at UM’s University Hospital, which serves Ann Arbor and its rural surroundings. She works in the emergency department here several times a month. (She is also associate vice president for health sciences research at UM, and the fourth-leading NIH grantee among U.S. emergency room doctors.)The young trauma patients Cunningham sees here underscore the need for research on guns and children. “The teen suicide survivors that I remember most clearly are kids or young adults who have blown off the front of their face,” Cunningham says. “Those are some of the worst trauma patients I have seen because they are awake and utterly miserable. And they are going to have just devastating injuries.”After working her way through college and medical school, Cunningham did her medical residency at UM in the late 1990s. She spent months staffing an emergency department 80 kilometers north in Flint, Michigan, an impoverished city where she saw a different kind of gun violence. After street shootings, she saw victims “shot in the leg, shot in the arm, shot in the belly, shot in the chest … often multiple gunshot wound victims in one night. More than once, the teen was the second in the family to be killed. I cared for young children caught in crossfire walking to school.”She was often pregnant with one of her three daughters when she had to sit down with a mother to tell her that her child had been shot and killed. It was, she says, “completely senseless.”After her residency, Cunningham began 2 decades of research studying the impacts of violence on youth, but for many years she saw no way to study gun violence in particular. “No mentor of mine would touch it.” JAKE MAY/THE FLINT JOURNAL-MLIVE.COM/AP PHOTOS ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN—Rebecca Cunningham has only one kind of memory from her early childhood: violence. Her father shattered mirrors, tore up the house, and beat and threatened to kill her mother. Cunningham, then less than 5 years old, remembers her older sister trying to protect her.”When my father would start in with my mother, my sister would cover my eyes and try to hide with me behind the couch,” recalls Cunningham, now a 48-year-old emergency physician and researcher at the University of Michigan (UM) here. “The police were in and out of the house a lot. If there had been a gun in my home in those years, my mother certainly would have been killed.”One day Cunningham’s father, a lawyer, called her mother threatening to kill her. Her mother changed the locks on their New Jersey house. She sent Cunningham’s two older siblings to live with a safely distant foster family. And she bought a handgun. [The grant is] the end of the silencing of a generation of scientists. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Meredith WadmanDec. 6, 2018 , 10:00 AM (GRAPHIC) A. CUADRA/SCIENCE; (DATA) CDC 22,724 Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe 14,231 Homicide Guns kill more U.S. kids than cancer. This emergency physician aims to prevent those firearm deaths Suicide 330 The team has signed up gun-owning stakeholders to advise them. These include groups like Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership, based in Lake Grove, Oregon, and individuals like James Berlin, police chief and former SWAT team leader in the Detroit suburb of Roseville, Michigan.Berlin, in a phone interview, said he has turned down other research groups over the years because “it seemed like they were trying to find facts that fit their foregone conclusions.” Cunningham’s team struck him differently. “They are actually trying to get the answers” on pediatric gun deaths, he says, “so it doesn’t happen in the future.” He adds of Cunningham: “She made me feel like my opinion mattered.”But hard-line gun rights groups have refused to work with the team. Only “the most tame” groups have signed on, David Hemenway, a veteran injury prevention researcher at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said at the meeting.”It’s year one,” Cunningham replied. “There’s more time for more voices.” But she acknowledged that local and national NRA chapters had failed to return her team’s repeated phone messages and emails. (NRA also did not respond to Science’s repeated requests for comment for this article.) The National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown, the gun industry’s trade association, declined to sign on because of “concern about the ‘public health’ focus,” Bill Brassard, the group’s senior communications director, wrote in refusing Cunningham’s request.In a statement provided to Science last month, Brassard added, “Though we do not oppose research per se, too often ‘research’ from some in the public health field is biased and designed to advance a predetermined antigun policy outcome. … Gun-related violence is largely a criminal justice matter and not a public health issue.”An uncertain futureFor a woman who began life at more risk than most for gun violence, Cunningham has landed well. She divorced—because “marriages are miracles”—then remarried and now co-commands a blended family of five teenagers. She lives on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, on a forested lot with a chicken coop overseen by her daughters. Her 77-year-old mother, who is also happily remarried, lives nearby. She still has the gun, stored away, unloaded.Like many U.S. parents, Cunningham finds her own children affected by gun violence. “My kids come home after those shootings and they are terrified in school.”But despite powerful public reaction to school shootings, some experts are not as sanguine about the future of gun research as Cunningham. “I don’t see this as a turning point,” says David Studdert, a health policy expert at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California, who’s not part of the FACTS project. And pediatrician Fred Rivara, a FACTS team member and veteran firearm researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, worries about future funding for his young trainees.However, Wintemute, who has studied gun violence for 30 years, thinks this may be a watershed moment. He notes Cunningham’s grant and other new money—his group recently received a $5 million award from the state of California—plus the groundswell of physician activity on Twitter. “It’s entirely possible that this is the beginning of a new mobilization,” he says.Cunningham is confident that the problem of gun violence can be solved with science—and with participation from all sides. So, she keeps searching for common ground. “We are not having any conversations here that are an ‘us and them’ narrative,” she told scientists at the meeting. “We are about reducing kids dying.”last_img read more

Radioactive waste standoff could slash high techs supply of rare earth elements

first_img 89% The standoff has caused Lynas’s stock to lose almost half its value since May 2018 and has worried many countries hungry for REOs. A shutdown would be “a significant event with a ripple effect,” says Ryan Castilloux, a metals and minerals analyst at Adamas Intelligence in Amsterdam. For one thing, the shutdown would strengthen China’s position as the dominant supplier of REOs, which many countries deem a strategic risk. Japan’s electric vehicle industry, for instance, would lose its main supplier of REOs for permanent magnets; “it would have to reestablish a relationship with China after almost a decade of friction” in the REO trade, Castilloux says.Rare earth elements (REEs) occupy atomic numbers 57 to 71, the “lanthanide series” of the periodic table, and also include scandium and yttrium. Their exceptional magnetic and conductive traits make them critical to clean energy technology, such as hybrid fuel cells, solar panels, and wind turbine magnets. “Although rare earth oxides production worldwide is only worth several billions of dollars, it is essential for industries worth trillions,” Castilloux says.Rare earth deposits themselves are not scarce—more than 800 are known on land. Refining them takes lots of corrosive chemicals and generates huge amounts of residue. China was long the sole supplier; when it reduced exports in 2010, citing environmental concerns, prices jumped as much as 26-fold and major consumers scrambled for alternate sources. Lynas has become a “flagship” of REO production outside China, Castilloux says. The United States and Myanmar mine REEs as well, but they are processed in China, which today produces about 89% of the global REO output. Rare earth oxide production2018 2% United States Email Australia 68% 11% Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Other Ryan Castilloux, Adamas Intelligence Radioactive waste standoff could slash high tech’s supply of rare earth elements Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country But in Malaysia, the waste has raised red flags. At the LAMP, concentrated ores are roasted with sulfuric acid to dissolve the rare earths and then diluted with water in a process called water leach purification, leaving a moist, pastelike residue. By September 2018, the LAMP had already produced 1.5 million tons of residue; because the ores contain thorium and uranium, almost 30% of it is slightly radioactive.Some REO facilities elsewhere have built permanent, secure facilities to store such waste, says Julie Klinger, a geographer and expert in REO mining at Boston University; others are secretive about what they do with it. In a plan approved by the previous government, Lynas agreed to try to recycle its residues. The company has sponsored Malaysian researchers to find new uses, including products that can improve soil properties.These efforts have not yielded commercial products, however. And in December 2018, a new executive committee, appointed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change to evaluate the LAMP, cautioned against using the waste in agriculture because radioactive nuclides might accumulate in the environment. Radiochemist Amran Majid, a retired radiation protection officer at the National University of Malaysia in Bangi, and others have suggested a different strategy—extract the thorium, which accounts for the vast majority of the radioactivity, for use as fuel for nuclear reactors.So far, the LAMP has been storing residues on site instead, in rapidly growing hills. The imagery of piled up radioactive waste has sparked public fears, which experts say are exaggerated. Workers at the site are exposed to less than 1.05 millisieverts (mSv) per year, Lynas reports, far below the 20-mSv threshold advised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for workers exposed to radiation. The health effects of such low doses are “negligible,” says Kwan Hoong Ng, a medical physicist at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. People outside the facility are at an even lower risk, Amran adds.Still, in 2011 and 2014 IAEA found that Lynas lacked adequate plans for a permanent facility if recycling fails. The executive committee has suggested Lynas build one immediately, citing the potential for natural disasters to disperse the residues. (Monsoon storms and floods hit the area 4 months of the year.) Radioactivity isn’t the only risk, says Bun Teet Tan, chair of Save Malaysia Stop Lynas, a nongovernmental organization here. A 2013 review by the Öko-Institute in Darmstadt, Germany, commissioned by Tan’s group, found that heavy metals such as nickel, chromium, lead, and mercury could contaminate groundwater. Despite the new government’s tough language, Tan worries whether “real action would ever be taken,” saying the government has been lax about enforcing regulations at the LAMP in the past.Neither the ministry nor Lynas responded to interview requests from Science. In a financial report issued in late February, Lynas directors said it has lived up to the terms of its operating license, and that it will build permanent storage if necessary. Exporting the residue should be the last resort, the report says. But the government hasn’t budged. 10% China 9%center_img Myanmar Other 10% Chinese dominance Rare earths are mined worldwide but are mostly processed in China. Lynas is the only notable rare earth oxide supplier outside of China. About 30% of the 1.5 million tons of residue stored on Lynas’s facility in Malaysia is slightly radioactive and covered with a black lining. Malaysia (Lynas) Saleem Ali, an expert in energy and the environment at University of Delaware in Newark who visited the LAMP in 2014, says the anti-Lynas fervor in Malaysia is “unfortunately a classic case of the not-in-my-backyard syndrome.” He says recycling is a commendable option but worries activists are now “stigmatizing the waste.” Given the importance of REOs for green technology, “The industry needs to make the case more effectively that [it] benefits not just the local, but also the global community,” Ali says.While the dispute in Malaysia has intensified, REO producers from developed countries are establishing new footholds around the world—in Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, and South America. A Lynas shutdown “might reduce global investment,” says Castilloux, as other investors might fear similar problems, “or it could fast-track other players to fill the gap.” But Klinger says the conflict could yet become an “exciting opportunity” for Lynas to come up with more innovative solutions that could save the plant and become a model for clean REO production. “Lynas could assume a leadership role globally and show other companies how to do the same thing,” she says. Rare earth mining 2018 By Yao-Hua LawApr. 1, 2019 , 4:25 PM Save Malaysia Stop Lynas KUANTAN, MALAYSIA—Companies and governments around the world are anxiously watching the fate of a sprawling industrial facility 30 kilometers north of this city on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia.The 100-hectare Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) produces 10% of the world’s output of rare earth oxides (REOs), minerals needed in technologies including mobile phones, hard drives, fiber optic cables, surgical lasers, and cruise missiles. Lynas, an Australian company, imports concentrated ores from mines on Mount Weld in Australia and refines them here in Malaysia, where costs are lower; it sells REOs—which include cerium compounds, used in catalytic converters, and neodymium, critical to permanent magnets—to Japan, the United States, and other countries. The plant produced almost 18,000 tons of REOs in 2018.Now, the LAMP faces closure, barely 7 years after it opened. Environmental groups have long opposed the storage on the site of slightly radioactive waste from the extraction process, and they found a sympathetic ear in a new government elected in May 2018. In December 2018, the government demanded that the facility ship its radioactive waste back to Australia if it wants to renew its operating license, which expires on 2 September. On 12 March, a government task force to help organize the shipments was announced. But the company says exporting the more than 451,000 tons of residue by the deadline is “unachievable.” (GRAPHIC) N. Desai/Science; (DATA) Adamas Intelligence 1% Although rare earth oxides production worldwide is only worth several billions of dollars, it is essential for industries worth trillions. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Chinalast_img read more

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says China extradition bill dead students not

first_img Taking stock of monsoon rain Clashes break out as Hong Kong protesters escalate fight in suburbs Lawyers and rights groups say China’s justice system is marked by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detention, claims that Beijing denies. “My sincere plea is: Please give us an opportunity, the time, the room, to take Hong Kong out of the current impasse and try to improve the current situation,” Lam said. Advertising After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan But Lam’s attempt to restore order in the Asian financial hub and cling to her job did not satisfy many protesters who demanded she completely withdraw the bill and charged her with playing word games by declaring the bill dead.The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trial in courts controlled by the ruling Communist Party, sparked huge and at times violent street protests and plunged the former British colony into turmoil.In mid-June, Lam responded to protests that drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets by suspending the bill. Chief Executives of Hong Kong are selected by a small committee of pro-establishment figures stacked in Beijing’s favour and formally appointed by China’s central government. Lam’s resignation would require Beijing’s approval, experts say.China has called the protests an “undisguised challenge” to the “one country, two systems” model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years since it was handed back to China.Lam said the June 12 protest, which saw police fire tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds at demonstrators, had not been given a label, but reiterated any decision to prosecute protesters would be one for the justice department.“Any demand that we should run an amnesty at this stage, that we will not follow up on investigations and prosecutions of offenders is not acceptable, because that bluntly goes against the rule of law in Hong Kong,” she said. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield By Reuters | Published: July 9, 2019 10:06:32 am Post Comment(s) Best Of Express Hong Kong protesters, police clash as demonstrations target Chinese traders Advertising Hong Kong, Hong Kong extradition bill protests, Hong Kong China protests, Extradition Bill protests, Carrie Lam Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam pauses during a press conference in Hong Kong, Tuesday (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the extradition bill that sparked the city’s biggest political crisis in decades was dead and the government’s work on the bill a “total failure”. On Tuesday she admitted “there are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the legislative council”. “So, I reiterate here, there is no such plan, the bill is dead,” Lam told a news conference.University students who have made up the bulk of protesters shrugged off Lam’s latest comments, saying nothing more than a full withdrawal of the bill will do. “What we want is to completely withdraw the bill. She is playing word games,” said Chan Wai Lam William, General Officer of the Student Union of Chinese University of Hong Kong.Demonstrators have called for Lam to resign as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (CE), for an independent investigation into police actions against protesters, and for the government to abandon the description of a violent protest on June 12 as a riot.“It is not a simple thing for CE to step down, and I myself still have the passion and undertaking to service Hong Kong people,” she said when asked about the protesters’ demands. “I hope that Hong Kong society can give me and my team the opportunity and room to allow us to use our new governance style to response to people’s demand in economy and in livelihood.” Advertising Related News Hong Kong was returned to China from Britain in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy, but in recent years there has been growing concern about the erosion of those freedoms at the hands of Beijing.The planned bill triggered outrage across broad sections of Hong Kong society amid concerns it would threaten the much-cherished rule of law that underpins the city’s international financial status.Hong Kong is governed under a “one country, two systems” formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest and an independent judiciary. Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Hong Kong tourism, hotel occupancy falls as protests drag on More Explainedlast_img read more

17 killed as heavy rains lash Nepal

first_img Nepal floods death toll touches 43 Post Comment(s) Nepal schools make Mandarin compulsory after China offers to pay teachers’ salaries nepal rains, nepal floods, rains in nepal, nepal monsoon, nepal rain victims, nepal police, kathmandu rains, kathmandu floods, world news, Indian Express Members of Nepalese army help residents to reach dry ground from a flooded colony in Nepal’s Kathmandu. (Reuters)At least 17 people were killed in floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in Nepal on Friday, home ministry officials said here. Heavy monsoon rains for the past few days have left many settlements at high risk of floods and landslides in several places in Nepal. Transportation has also been disrupted in all major highways.Rain-fed rivers have also started to erode embankments putting nearby settlements at high risk of flooding. Nepal floods: Death toll touches 78; over 17,500 displaced Three people died after their house got buried in a landslide in Kathmandu’s Mulpani area.According to the Nepal Police, 17 people died while six are missing. Initial reports said that 400 families in Morang and 35 families in Bara have been displaced.nepal rains, nepal floods, rains in nepal, nepal monsoon, nepal rain victims, nepal police, kathmandu rains, kathmandu floods, world news, Indian Express A man walks past gas cylinders in a flooded colony in Kathmandu. (Reuters)As many as 13 people were also injured in rain-related incidents in several parts of the country. Advertising Advertising Related News By PTI |Kathmandu | Published: July 13, 2019 10:22:42 amlast_img read more

IT Resume Dos and Donts Formatting for Readability

first_imgI’m a strong believer that an IT resume needs to tell a story. The formatting of the document should serve only to clarify that story, and not get in the way.When the document is finished, take a look. Does the formatting lead your eye to the most important points? Is the formatting clear and clean? Or does it distract from the story you’re trying to tell? This is an easy fix. Headers and footers made a lot of sense when an IT resume was likely to be read as a printed sheet of paper.In 2018, how likely is it that a busy hiring authority is going to take the time or the effort to print out the hundreds of resumes that are submitted for every position?Not terribly.Your IT resume is going to be read online.That’s why using a header for your contact information is a bad idea.It takes a few seconds to click on the header, copy and paste your email and phone number, and then click again in the body of the resume to read the text.A few seconds doesn’t seem like much, but for someone who is looking through a lot of resumes, every second really does count. A hiring authority who is REALLY busy may just decide it’s too much trouble to get your contact information from the header.That means your resume may well end up in the “read later” folder.That’s not a good outcome.There’s another problem with using the header, related to the one I just discussed.Headers just look old fashioned. Out of date.Old fashioned is not the brand you want to present if you’re looking for a job in technology — whether you’re a CIO, an IT director, or a senior developer.Again, this is an easy fix. Just put your name and contact information in the body of the resume. I suggest using a larger font in bold caps for your name. You want to be certain that your name will stick in the memory of the reader. 1. Don’t Use Headers J.M. Auron is a professional resume writer who focuses exclusively on crafting the best possible IT resume for clients from C-level leaders to hands-on IT professionals. When he’s not working, he practices Fujian Shaolin Kung Fu and Sun Style Tai Chi. He also writes detective fiction and the occasional metrical poem. 5. Don’t Use Arial or Times New Roman I’ll end the “don’ts” with another simple one.Arial and Times New Roman are, well, so 1990s. Yes, they’re good, clear, readable fonts, which is why they’ve become so popular.Probably 90 percent of all IT resumes are written in these two fonts. There’s nothing negative in that, but it’s a little boring.Now, I’m not suggesting you use Comic Sans or Magneto, but there are some great, clean fonts that aren’t as common in the IT resume world.Personally? I like Calibri for body and Cambria for headings.So, that gives you a number of things to avoid in formatting your IT resume. I’ll now suggest a few “dos” to concentrate on to ensure that your document is as readable as possible. This point gets more important with each passing year. These days, the odds are that the hiring authority will be reading your story on a phone, tablet, or other mobile device.That’s changed the way I’ve formatted the IT resumes I write for my clients.I’ve never gone beyond minimal design, but I’ve scaled things back. For example, I used to use shading to draw attention to critical sections of the document.But now? I think that can be hard to read on a mobile — and readability, to repeat a theme, is the only goal of resume formatting. 2. Don’t Over-Bullet This is pretty simple, but it is important. I always insert hard page breaks in every finished IT resume I write. That helps ensure that the document is going to look consistent across devices and across platforms.It’s not 100 percent foolproof — Word is a less-than-perfect tool. With hard page breaks, though, the odds are very good that your resume will look the same to each reader — and to the same reader when reviewing the document on different devices. That consistency reinforces the sense of professionalism you’re striving to convey. 3. Don’t Get Colorful This is another easy fix, but it’s important.The only time you want to lead with education is when you’re a new grad. If you’re a professional — whether senior, mid-career or junior — you want to highlight your experience on page one, and not take up that valuable space with your degrees or certifications.Of course, degrees, training and certifications are important, but they belong at the end of the resume, at the bottom of page two or three. 3. Use Bold and Italics Sparingly center_img This is probably the most common mistake I see in the IT resumes that cross my desk.In my trade, we call it “death by bullets.” The job seeker has bulleted everything.Everything.That’s really hard to read. Beyond the fact that it’s just not clear, there’s another big problem with over-bulleting.To paraphrase The Incredibles, if everything is bulleted, nothing is.The goal of using bullets — sparingly — is to draw the reader’s eye and attention to your major accomplishments.If you’ve bulleted everything, the reader doesn’t know what’s critical and what’s not, which defeats the purpose of using bullets in your resume.In my own work as an IT resume writer, I make a clear distinction between duties and responsibilities and hard, quantifiable accomplishments. I write the duties in paragraph format, and bullet only the accomplishments that demonstrate what my IT resume clients really have delivered.It’s a clear, straightforward approach that I recommend. Professional IT resume writers disagree on this, but I’m going to suggest what I’ve found effective in my practice.I always write the resume first. I personally use a plain text editor, to make certain that Microsoft Word doesn’t add anything that I’ll have to fight to remove later.It’s only when I’ve got the text completely finished that I copy and paste into Word, and then add the formatting that I think best supports the client story I’m trying to tell.If I try to format as I’m writing, the formatting may take over. It’s tempting to insist on keeping the formatting consistent, even when it’s not best supporting the story.So think about it. I’d strongly recommend writing first, and formatting later, when you’re completely clear on the story you’re trying to tell.I know that many people struggle with formatting their IT resume, so I hope that these simple ideas will help make the process a little easier and less painful.Stay tuned for future articles that will dig a bit deeper into the IT resume process, covering content structure, writing style, and branding. 1. Keep Things Simple In my career as an IT resume writer, I’ve seen a lot of IT resumes cross my desk, and I’d like to share some common of the most common formatting problems that I see regularly. Of course, an IT resume requires more than great formatting. It requires well-written, targeted content, and a clear story of career progression. It needs to communicate your unique brand and value proposition.Still, if the formatting is off, that can derail the rest of the document and prevent your story being read by the hiring authority.I’ll start with a few IT resume formatting “don’ts.” 4. Use Hard Page Breaks 2. Think Mobile Happily, this particular problem doesn’t seem as common as it was a few years ago, but every once in a while, I’ll still see a resume with lots of color.The idea behind that, of course, is to make the resume “eye-catching.”Rather than catching the reader’s eye, however, a lot of color is just confusing.”Why is this section blue? Is blue telling me it’s really important? And yellow? Why is this person using yellow? Because it’s mighty hard to read…”I’m sure you see my point. The colors, rather than giving the reader a map of what to look at first — what to prioritize — just end up looking, well, busy.That makes your resume harder to read. And if it’s harder to read?Yeah. As I mentioned above: It’s likely to go into the “read later” folder.You really don’t want that to happen. 5. Write First, Format Later This point follows directly from the previous one. We don’t want to bold or italicize everything. Bold and italics, used consistently and sparingly, can help signal to the reader what is most important in your IT resume, and provide a framework for a quick read-through.That enables the hiring authority to get the gist of your career fast, without distracting from a deeper second read. 4. Don’t Lead With Education last_img read more

Gadget Ogling CES Edition

first_imgWelcome, friends, to the first 2018 installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, where we attempt to find the most compelling new gadgets that somehow survived a development process that lasted through the guttural wretchedness of 2017. Kris Holt is a writer and editor based in Montreal. He has written for the Daily Dot, The Daily Beast, and PolicyMic, among others. He’s Scottish, so would prefer if no one used the word “soccer” in his company. You can connect with Kris on Google+. Perhaps the biggest news to come out of CES this year was Toyota’s autonomous vehicle, e-Palette. Partnering with the likes of Pizza Hut, Uber, Mazda, Amazon and Didi, this is sort of an autonomous van, bringing your orders and letting you try things before you buy in a mobile retail space, which is not entirely possible with typical online shopping. Turning Back Time I’ve long been ambivalent on wearables, but L’Oreal has concocted one I’d have to be a monster not to get behind. UV Sense needs no battery and is small enough to fit on a fingernail. Its sensor monitors your exposure to ultraviolet light and lets you know when it might be time for you to take shelter. It brings to mind the light gun game controllers of old or even the Wiimote. Only this time, one won’t need to be tethered to a game console.I can imagine developers creating a game that uses a whole bunch of these, and leads groups of friends to a park for a mass laser tag-style encounter. It’s a game I just made up that I already can’t wait to play.Rating: 5 out of 5 Pew Pews Roader’s Time Machine Camera is designed to hang around your neck and, for up to seven hours of battery life, constantly capture what it sees. When you hit a button, it saves the last 10 seconds of footage as well as the following 10.You can send a low-resolution version of that 20-second clip to your smartphone immediately, and if you’d like to save a high-resolution version, you can grab that too.It could be a great solution for people who always find themselves just missing an important or interesting moment occurring right in front of them.By the time you grab your phone, open the camera, and hit record, it’s often too late. Having the chance to capture a child’s first word when it’s unexpected might be priceless for parents. Thermal Toilet It uses NFC to communicate with your phone rather than WiFi or Bluetooth. Since this is a L’Oreal gizmo, it can suggest some products based on your skin tone and exposure.It’s a fantastic idea, and if it can help prevent at least one case of melanoma, it will have been a worthwhile endeavor. However, for me, I’m more content to hang out in the shade anyway. Give me moderate temperatures or give me my bed.Rating: 3 out of 5 Averted Skin Cancers It’s not quite the most subtle-looking device, and maybe there’s a way to incorporate this tech into clothing so it’s less conspicuous. I do wonder, though, how many times I’d be able to capture myself slipping on ice over the next few months.Rating: 4 out of 5 Forever Momentscenter_img Bringing You Everything and Everywhere Blast Away What’s CES without its more fun side? Merge VR has created the 6DoF Blaster, a plastic toy gun with a space for your smartphone that you can use for augmented-reality or mixed-reality gaming. In our CES-packed edition this time around are a camera that allows you to hop back in time, a tiny wearable to monitor sun exposure, a mobile retail space that can come to you, an AR game controller, and an, um, Alexa-connected toilet.As always, the ratings relate only to how much I’d like to use these myself. These are not reviews, mainly because I’ve never even seen these items in the same physical space as myself. Sun Safety Kohler’s Numi is an Alexa-connected toilet. That’s right.It can warm the seat as you get close and flush automatically when you’re done, like myriad public restrooms you’ve seen. It can have various presets adjusted to the preferences of everyone in your home, and can even play music if you have a compatible speaker. It uses UV light to sanitize and warm water for cleansing, and has a warm-air dryer, and ambient lighting, all of which seem a bit much for one of the oldest and most important pieces of technology in human history.There’s even a touchscreen remote, for heaven’s sake, and of course, there are voice controls too.I can’t sniff at the automatic deodorizer, though. That’s one feature that all toilets should have.Rating: 3 out of 5 Do Not Disturbs It can be used for ride-sharing too, which could be a boon for cities dealing with too much congestion. Toyota’s playing the long game here, with testing expected to start in 2020.While the e-Palette is very much a concept for now, it’s another step toward autonomous transportation and delivery. And, heck, if it helps avoid my Amazon deliveries being left outside when a driver can’t wait 15 seconds for me to get the door, I have to support this to the largest degree.Rating: 5 out of 5 Who Needs Drivers Anymores?last_img read more

6 Things We Wont Be Able to Live Without in 2035

first_img6. AI Life Manager This is likely only the tip of the iceberg, because we quickly will be surrounded by increasingly intelligent products — some that have our best interests at heart and some that want to scam us.The issues with deep fakes, fishing by increasingly intelligent systems, the proliferation of smart robots, and redundant services will continue unabated. In a few short years we are going to need to deal with these changes in more than the existing ad hoc fashion, and actually get ahead of problems like what to do with dormant autonomous vehicles, and where to allow drones to drop the packages they deliver safely and securely?We have tons of disruptive products and services, but few are doing gap analysis to figure out what new things will be critical to this new world. I’ve listed six, but I’ll bet you can think of more. The next Bill Gates or Elon Musk likely is working on one or more of these things already. What are you working on? There are going to be some interesting problems with autonomous vehicles at scale that peer-to-peer navigation can’t address. What happens, for instance, if a passenger has a medical emergency, or if a vehicle gets hacked or goes rogue due to some technical problem?A centralized deep learning artificial intelligence could take control of the vehicle, fire up and look through its interior and exterior sensors, and mitigate the risk, but initially it is likely that a human will be called on first to do the job and then oversee it to make sure the AI makes the right decisions.However, I truly doubt that human dispatchers, given the historic problems and delays surrounding this limited resource, will be able to act both fast enough and comprehensively enough.For instance, say a man decided to go from San Francisco to LA and sleep in the car. On the trip he has a heart attack. Sensors in the car would need to pick that up — otherwise it’s going to arrive with a dead passenger. The car would need to be redirected, given a priority lane, and taken to max speed while an emergency response was scrambled. Closing speeds could exceed 300 miles per hour (EMTs and the vehicle going in opposite directions), putting response within around 10 minutes from most anyplace in the country. That’s one scenario.Realize that autonomous vehicles would be excellent explosive delivery platforms, too, and the related threat would need to be identified and mitigated in seconds, particularly if it should involve an autonomous flying vehicle (a poor man’s cruise missile).Some central service is going to need to coordinate responses across a variety of services and resources at computer speeds, once a problem is identified. Wrapping Up 2. Autonomous Ride-Sharing Car Harbor 1. Drone Drop Spots A bigger problem is the coming group of autonomous flying vehicles. They can’t use existing structures, except maybe on roofs, and those won’t handle the kind of volume traffic that Uber likely anticipates with its coming service.For these you’ll likely need purpose-built structures that safely can receive and then deploy these autonomous flying vehicles, which some mistakenly call “flying cars.” (If it just flies, it isn’t a “car” — it is something else.)Given the limited range of these things and the necessary safety envelope for that range, bringing them in from remote areas would both reduce the benefit of timeliness and increase the chances of a catastrophic failure in transit massively, as well as lower the time in service for the vehicles.Flying vehicles likely will need a storage/charging area kind of like aviaries. One source of inspiration for builders could be Japanese science fiction anime. Its artists have been particularly creative with this problem. (This clip is pretty amazing.) 4. Autonomous Traffic Control I made the HP Spectre Folio the product of the week when I first got it several months back, but I realized last week that it is by far my favorite notebook computer. I have notebooks from all the major vendors but, while not yet perfect, the Folio has become the one notebook I grab most often.This is because it morphs into a usable tablet, a great movie player on planes (thanks to Movies Anywhere) and a decent e-book reader, and it is always connected. I find that often I can leave my backpack, charger and Kindle Fire tablet behind and just carry this laptop, which has been doing wonders for my back. (My backpack, loaded, is impressively heavy.) Autonomous cars are in the works to take the place of services like Uber and Lyft — but where will these cars go to standby and charge? (Most likely will be electric.) If they haven’t already, I have no doubt that the firms thinking of building out this solution will realize that parking structures may become a competitive advantage and will start buying up and retrofitting them for this use.The firm with the most local cars likely is going to get the most riders in a region, and firms that don’t have their own parking may find themselves banned from cities trying to control traffic and limit bad behavior, like double parking, at scale.Cars will go in, charge, and then deploy as needed, staying off the street when they don’t have riders except on the way to pick them up or return from dropping them off. These standby, charging and wait points will be critical to the success of the autonomous ride-sharing car effort. I touched on the drone drop issue a little last week, and I have been thinking about it ever since. With the advent of drone deliveries, we need a safe place to drop packages. For homes, the roof would be best because it generally has clear airspace above, it is sturdy in case the package drops prematurely, and it is a ton more secure than a driveway, lawn or porch.It’s also far safer than trying to get a drone to land on a balcony or navigate through an open window (and safer for pets as well, because none of us want to come home to a pet injured by a drone or as a result of tying to catch one).The best companies to do this would be firms that already know how to penetrate the roof safely. I’m thinking firms like Solatube, because the product could be as simple as a roof-mounted chute that would curve and have water drainage at the low point. This would allow the package to roll down to a padded area in an insulated chute arriving in a secure holding area where your package(s) would be safe until you returned.Multitenant buildings could have tenant-only accessible areas with cameras on the top floor where packages could be picked up. There are some things I’d like to see improved. It now comes in brown and burgundy (the 70s would like their colors back) and I’d prefer black. I’d prefer that it use the Qualcomm Always Connected platform for longer battery life (or have a charger that’s easier to pocket), and that it have a higher nit (more light) screen for outdoor use.Even without these corrections, this leather-covered baby is just a ton easier and better to carry than any other product I currently have access to.For instance, I had to do a day trip to San Francisco last week. I was in coach on a small jet, but I could cantilever the screen so that I could watch movies, while the poor woman next to me was trying the same thing on her little smartphone. I flipped it to the side to read for a while in tablet mode, and when needed, I was able to catch up with email and do research on the Web while in 4G cellular service.Now I know a number of my peers have come to love this thing as well, and that is pushing the other OEMs to create similar products that potentially are even more advanced (and probably will come in black rather than burgundy). However, until then the HP Spectre Folio is my favorite and my product of the week. This thing is AWESOME!The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. 5. Biometrics Identity-Theft Protection 3. Autonomous Plane Sky Harbor I’m giving myself extra wiggle room because we know things rarely happen as fast as we think or progress as slowly as we hope. We all thought we’d have flying cars by the end of last century, for instance, but we are due to be up to our armpits in them by the end of next decade if the impressive number of trials continue to go well.I’ll close with my product of the week: my favorite laptop. I get a kick out of efforts to try to protect people from privacy violations by limiting facial scanning. The thing is, if your picture is up someplace on social media, chances are it already has been scanned and linked to personal data. Those cows not only have left the barn — they have left the state, so closing that barn door likely will not do any good.In a recent case, a college student was arrested because someone stole his credit card number and the system identified the crook’s image with the student’s name, connected the student — rather than the crook — to a number of crimes.Right now, there is no easy way even to find out if you are misidentified in the criminal identification systems, let alone fix the problem. Credit monitoring services like Experian help address stolen digital identities. We will need them to expand (the likely path) to biometric hacks, or we’ll have to wait for new services focused on the compromise and correction of misidentified biometric data. Otherwise a lot of us wrongly will end up on no-fly lists or arrest site lists.Realize there is a pretty good chance that while the systems in place can recognize that they have connected the wrong image to the name, their fix might be only to disassociate the image, not correct it. They would fix the picture but still associate you with the crime. HP Spectre Folio We are quickly getting to the point when all the services we subscribe to are becoming an unmanageable and exceedingly expensive. You probably have several music and video streaming services (I do) with overlapping and redundant libraries; identity protection services provided by your credit card companies and third parties; service contracts from different providers on your appliances and vehicles that might be more cheaply handled by one firm; and insurance from a variety of vendors, none of which will protect against your next most likely claim.Managing our lives has become like managing a company. With little or no training, you may be getting overwhelmed by all the services — many, if not most, of which you rarely or never use, and may never need.This suggests we soon will need an overarching service that helps us optimize our spend, makes sure we have what we need when we need it, without massively overspending for things we’ll never need, and that understands our goals and works to further them.This service could handle commitments like taxes, aggregate alerts, and provide direction regarding what to do with them, ensuring our piece of mind without requiring we commit our mental resources to these ongoing issues. Basically, we’ll need our digital assistants to grow up and be like Tony Stark’s Jarvis. 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

Big food root cause of obesity and malnutrition worldwide

first_img Source:https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)00722-9/fulltext The commission of experts were put together by the Lancet medical journal. They highlighted the three major issues faced by the world population today. One of them is obesity and increased consumption of junk food and high calorie food combined with lack of physical activity. Another extreme is unavailability of adequate food leading to severe malnutrition and nutrition related problems. A third emerging issue is the problem of climate change linked with food production to feed the world population, waste disposal and transportation of food.  The Lancet Commission on Obesity was prepared by 43 academics belonging to 14 different countries. The commission says that politicians, when it comes to food choices and diet of the populations have been suffering from “decades of inertia”.According to the expert group it is time that both the political forces as well as the civil society hold up against the food industry that caters to only its own commercial interests. They have called for a UN treaty similar to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) that could help develop healthy as well as sustainable food policies. This could ban food and beverage companies from discussions and faulty advertising much like FCTC has done with tobacco.The team wants that subsidies that are provided for food and agriculture transport that cater to poor diet choices need to be lifted. The civil society organizations could soon receive up to a $1bn (£760m) to campaign against food industries for reducing sugar content, imposing sugar taxes and counter strategies that promote unhealthy diet according to the panel’s recommendations. The team of experts spoke about the research from Mexican NGO El Poder Del Consumidor. He and his team, backed by the Bloomberg Philanthropies worked towards taxes on soft drinks successfully.Tim Lobstein from the World Obesity Federation was one of the members of the commission. He said that there is enormous power and financial strength of the food and beverage industry. This power is often exerted onto governments. He added that at present in the US Congress there are 294 lobbyists from the food and beverage industry and this is much more than lobbyists from tobacco and alcohol industries. He said, “Of that, two-thirds are former Congress staff, so they know what they are doing. That level of lobbying is devoted to preserving the status quo. It is a major barrier to change and must be challenged.”Related StoriesMaternal obesity may negatively affect children’s lung developmentGut-boosting food may put an end to childhood malnutrition worldwideResearchers find link between maternal obesity and childhood cancer in offspringAccording to the commission, the food industry pressure has successfully removed sustainability from national dietary guidelines. They mention that cycling, walking and using the public transport is low in the US because of the subsidies on fossil fuels that keep the petrol prices low and encourage private car use. This not only is bad for the environment but also reduces physical activity.Prof Boyd Swinburn of the University of Auckland, the co-chair of the commission was firm when he said in a statement, “Until now, undernutrition and obesity have been seen as polar opposites of either too few or too many calories. In reality, they are both driven by the same unhealthy, inequitable food systems, underpinned by the same political economy that is single-focused on economic growth and ignores the negative health and equity outcomes. Climate change has the same story of profits and power ignoring the environmental damage caused by current food systems, transportation, urban design and land use.”Professor William Dietz of George Washington University in the US, a report author in a statement said, “In 50 years, if we are not able to reduce this, we will have this incredible scourge of both obesity and undernutrition and the planet will be burning.” He explained, “Although food clearly differs from tobacco because it is a necessity to support human life, unhealthy food and beverages are not. The similarities with Big Tobacco lie in the damage they induce and the behaviours of the corporations that profit from them.”Professor Corinna Hawkes of City University in London, another member of the commission said that the commission was “not trying to put the food industry out of business.” She said, “People are just encouraged to eat too much and this means there is over-consumption in some areas and under-consumption in others.”Lobstein said poor eating choices are also associated with use of processed foods that come in plastic covers. He said that according to a survey by Ocean Conservancy seventy percent of the plastic waste in the seas comes from the food and beverage industry. “All these things are interrelated,” he said adding, “There are compounds in plastics that are endocrine disruptors, which may be contributing to obesity. If plastics in the food chain are causing weight gain, we will need win-win solutions to improve the food supply while saving the planet.”The commission in the 61 page report advocated consumption of less red meat similar to an earlier recommendation “planetary health diet” by the Lancet and Eat Forum NGO recently. By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJan 28 2019A new report speaks about the influence of food on worldwide obesity and malnutrition epidemic says a new report. The report states that “big food” needs to be stopped around the world in order to deal with malnutrition on one hand and obesity on the other. There is also a problem of climate change and effects on natural resources, says the report.center_img Image Credit: Trong Nguyen / Shutterstocklast_img read more

FIND launches new schistosomiasis program within neglected tropical diseases portfolio

first_imgThe program to develop the CAA RDTs is expected to be complete within 4 years, with the first milestone of feasibility testing for the disease control test anticipated in 2019. Source:https://www.finddx.org/ Seven out of the 10 diseases identified in the London Declaration for eradication, elimination or control by 2020 lack critical diagnostic solutions – including schistosomiasis. With this addition to our neglected tropical diseases program, we are pleased to extend our long-standing commitment of bringing diagnostic excellence to the fight against these diseases, contributing to WHO goals for control and, ultimately, elimination.”Catharina Boehme, CEO, FIND Mar 14 2019The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) announced today the launch of a new schistosomiasis program within its neglected tropical diseases (NTD) portfolio. The program focuses on developing rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for detection of circulating anodic antigen (CAA) in blood and/or urine, to support national control and/or elimination programs in countries where schistosomiasis is regularly found.Schistosomiasis is caused by parasitic worms carried by freshwater snails and affects over 206 million people across 78 tropical and sub-tropical countries, with most of the burden found in sub-Saharan Africa. People can become infected when they come into contact with fresh water that is infested with worm larvae, while carrying out routine activities. The infection triggers immune reactions resulting in progressive organ damage, which can lead to chronic ill-health and ultimately death, if left untreated. Current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for schistosomiasis diagnosis recommend examination of stool and/or urine samples by microscopy to detect worm eggs, but this can be challenging especially when the intensity of the infection is low. Analysis of multiple samples over several days by highly trained microscopists is both time-consuming and challenging to deploy; inaccurate diagnosis can lead to treatment being stopped too soon and, as a result, infections quickly returning to their original levels.CAA is secreted continuously by living schistosomes. A laboratory-based test for the antigen, with high sensitivity for all species of schistosomes that are of public health importance, is available. However, in order to achieve optimal sensitivity, the test requires complex sample processing steps and a reader for detection.FIND is leading a consortium, together with WHO, that includes Mologic, UK, and Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Netherlands, to develop novel RDTs for schistosomiasis infection. Two RDTs for CAA are being developed: one to support ongoing schistosomiasis control programs by providing data to estimate prevalence and intensity of infection, supporting the update of guidelines on routine use of RDTs for schistosomiasis; the other one with a higher sensitivity to support elimination efforts by identifying low infection intensities.Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorIntermittent fasting shown to improve blood glucose levelsInitial work streams are being supported by catalytic funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with additional funding from Merck, through the Merck Global Health Institute, which is amongst the scientific partners of this program. The science and technology company Merck launched its Global Health Institute in April 2017 with the mission to develop transformative health solutions to support control and elimination programs related to infectious diseases such as schistosomiasis, and to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).center_img Contributing to the schistosomiasis control and elimination agenda is a priority for Merck. This program clearly addresses the need for new sensitive diagnostics in the fight against schistosomiasis.”Beatrice Greco, Head of R&D and Access at the Merck Global Health Institute Schistosomiasis is contracted from contaminated water, putting whole communities at risk. The new diagnostic technologies will be a huge step forward, but to achieve real impact their use cannot be confined to labs. The RDT format will allow testing in community settings and enable essential surveillance and disease tracking.”Joseph Ndung’u, Head of Neglected Tropical Diseases at FINDlast_img read more

Study offers novel insights into how a major tumor suppressor pathway becomes

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 5 2019The Hippo pathway is an important biological tumor suppressor program that controls cell growth and organ size in humans. Cancer cells have been found to frequently deactivate Hippo signaling in order to achieve increased cell growth and become more aggressive. However, how the Hippo pathway becomes deregulated in human cancers is still poorly understood.Researchers now have found a new regulator of Hippo signaling that offers novel insights into how this critical signaling pathway becomes turned off in cancer cells.Related Stories3D breast tumor models may improve drug discovery and testingBiomarker correlates with prostate cancer aggressiveness and predicts metastasis to boneNovel anticancer agents show promise to control tumor growth in nearly every cancer type”We have discovered that the enzyme STK25, a serine/threonine kinase, is a regulator of the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway,” said corresponding author Neil J. Ganem, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and medicine, section of hematology and medical oncology, at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).The researchers used a combination of experiments in both cell lines and experimental models to study how STK25 regulates Hippo signaling. They found Hippo signaling was significantly impaired when they removed STK25 in cell lines. They also found this to be the case in models in which STK25 was genetically deleted. By studying cancer genetics databases, they discovered STK25 is frequently deleted in a wide range of human cancers, suggesting that its loss can promote cancer formation.According to the researchers, STK25 regulates Hippo signaling in a manner that is completely different from the other identified components of the Hippo pathway to date and represents a completely novel way by which a major tumor suppressor pathway may become activated.”Understanding how the Hippo pathway becomes deregulated in human cancers has been challenging, which has made it difficult to target this signaling pathway for therapeutic benefit. We hope our study ultimately leads to a better understanding of Hippo signaling deregulation in human cancers, and thus help promote the development of anticancer therapeutic options that did not previously exist.” Source:https://www.bmc.org/last_img read more

Are Chronic Pain Relief Drugs for Children Effective

first_imgShutterstock | narikanThe research, which forms part of a collection of reviews in the Cochrane Library and has recently been summarised in the journal PAIN, concludes that much more research in this area is needed to improve the standard of the evidence available so far.The study, which is a summary of all available reviews of research into this area, was conducted in collaboration with an international team of 23 leading researchers from around the world. It was supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Versus Arthritis and Bath’s Center for Pain Services.In adults, chronic pain that lasts for at least three months is known to have serious adverse effects, but a lesser known fact is that one-fifth of children also suffer with chronic pain, which can cause significant distress for both children and parents.The main forms of chronic pain among children are abdominal pain, headaches, migraines and musculoskeletal pain. Suffering with the pain can mean children start to miss school, feel isolated and develop depression and anxiety. Usually, the first approach to treatment is to prescribe medication.“Living with chronic pain can have a profound physical, emotional and psychological impact, particularly in children,” says Director of Involvement and Services at Versus Arthritis, Stewart Long.“It can stop them joining in things other young people do and affect development of friendships. This can lead to isolation, making children more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression and affect their ability to fulfil their potential and maintain their future aspirations.”The new study has revealed a significant contrast between the evidence available about drugs for adults in chronic pain, compared with what is available for children. Among adults, 300,000 patients have been studied in hundreds of randomised trials, whereas among children, the figure is only 393 and the number of trials is six.The authors describe this disparity between adults and children, which is a ratio of around 1000:1 as “unacceptable” and say that the evidence emerging from trials of adults cannot “simply be applied to children,” who have bodily systems that work differently.Study author Emma Fisher, from the Center for Pain Research at the University of Bath, points out: “Children are not just small adults so we cannot simply extrapolate evidence acquired from adults and use it in children.”Fisher and team emphasise that the lack of evidence does not necessarily mean evidence of no effect. However, they argue that very little investment has been made into researching which treatments are best for children and that this need addressing urgently. Overall, there is no high-quality evidence to help us understand the efficacy or safety of the common drugs used to help children with chronic pain. The lack of data means that we are uncertain about how to optimally manage pain. Doctors, children and their families all deserve better,”Study leader Christopher Eccleston, Director of the Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath. By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jun 27 2019A study led by researchers at the University of Bath has revealed that research into the drugs used to treat chronic pain in children is lacking and insufficient to base treatment decisions on.center_img Related StoriesWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished childrenThe researchers acknowledge that practical and ethical barriers exist to conducting randomised control trials on children, but they point out that these are no different to those existing in other areas of paediatric pharmacological research.Eccleston is now calling for healthcare policymakers to tackle the problem and break down these barriers.Fisher estimates that at the current rate of clinical trial reporting, which is only one every 3.5 years, it would take more than 1,000 years to produce an evidence base that could reliably inform treatment decisions: “This lack of knowledge requires new funding and urgent attention.”Similarly, Long says “we urgently need chronic pain to be prioritised in policy, funding and research so that the millions of people living in pain today, regardless of their age, are better supported.”Lead medical consultant at the national Bath Centre for Pain Services, Jacqui Clinch, says she sees and treats children and adolescents from across the UK who have often suffered with pain for years. As well as experiencing overwhelming pain, these young people often develop sleep problems, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, muscle weakness, nausea, numbness and many other associated difficulties: “They transform from physically and socially active individuals to missing school, physically inactive and housebound. In short, their lives, and those of their loved ones, fall apart.”“As part of the international pain community, we strive to optimise research into both further understanding pain pathways in young people and exploring new interventions to alleviate suffering in this vulnerable population and their families.”Alternative approaches to drug therapies are available for children with chronic pain including psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, but again the evidence base for these needs improving.The team suggests funding and incentives are now made available that will help to drive evidence-based research into this area that doctors can rely on to inform their treatment decisions. Source:https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-06/uob-rrl062519.phplast_img read more

Olympic video and VR Guide to watching without a TV

This 2018 image provided by Comcast Corp. shows Xfinity Stream mobile app with Olympics coverage for Comcast customers. NBC owner Comcast will include online coverage on its TV set-top boxes and TV coverage on its mobile apps to offer viewers one-stop shop to the Olympics. Comcast and other cable providers will also offer the opening ceremony and other events in sharper, “4K” resolution, though with a day’s delay. (Comcast Corp. via AP) Every Olympic event will be streamed live. But to watch online, you’ll still need to be a paying cable or satellite subscriber. As with past Olympics, NBC is requiring proof of a subscription. If you’ve already given up on traditional cable or satellite TV, you can sign up for an online TV service such as PlayStation Vue or YouTube TV. Otherwise, your video will cut out after a half-hour grace period.The subscription requirement also applies to coverage on virtual-reality headsets.More than 1,800 hours of online coverage begins Wednesday evening in the U.S. with preliminary curling matches. Friday’s opening ceremony will be shown live online starting at 6 a.m. ET, and on NBC’s prime-time broadcast on a delayed basis at 8 p.m. NBC also plans live streaming of the closing ceremony on Feb. 25.Here’s a guide to watching the Olympics online.___TRADITIONAL COVERAGENBC’s over-the-air network will cover popular sports such as figure skating and skiing, some of it live. For those who can’t get to a TV, NBC will stream the broadcast at NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. But there you’ll need your paid-TV credentials to sign in—even though you can watch the network over the air for free. The sports network NBCSN will be the main overflow channel, carrying events such as biathlon, bobsled and luge. Coverage on CNBC and USA Network will be limited to curling and ice hockey. The Olympic Channel will have medal ceremonies, news and highlights, but not event coverage. All four of these cable channels will also be streamed online.Much of the online coverage will come from the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Broadcasting Services. That means the spotlight will be on all athletes, not just Americans. In addition to live events, you can get streams of some training and practice runs. NBC also plans digital-only shows, including a daily two-hour wrap-up starting at noon ET (2 a.m. the next morning in Pyeongchang).Some cable companies plan special features. NBC owner Comcast will include online coverage on its TV set-top boxes and TV coverage on its mobile apps to offer viewers one-stop access to the Olympics. Comcast and other cable providers will also offer the opening ceremony and other events in sharper “4K” resolution, though with a day’s delay. — PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and FuboTV are all $45 for comparable packages. But you can bring Sling TV’s bill down to $30 for just the two main Olympic channels and DVR. PlayStation is $40 without the Olympic Channel.Free trials are available, and you can cancel after the Olympics. Most services let you enter your ZIP code to check whether the NBC station is available. Streaming might be restricted where the station isn’t available.___BEYOND VIDEOThe NBC Sports app and the NBCOlympics website offer highlights, interviews and features on athletes without needing a subscription. You’ll also have full access to scores, schedules and guides to understanding obscure events.Samsung, an Olympic sponsor, developed the official Apple and Android app for the games, called PyeongChang 2018. It has schedules, news and 3-D and drone views of the venues.The games’ official website, pyeongchang2018.com, also has live video of the Olympic torch relay.Traditional media organizations will also cover the event, even though extensive video from the official venues are restricted to the rights-holding broadcasters. The Associated Press, for instance, has a Winter Games hub with traditional text, photo and video coverage alongside graphics breaking down complicated moves in figure skating and snowboarding and daily illustrations from sketch artist Dan Archer. The AP will also have 360-degree video and drone views of the venues. 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. In this Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, file photo, athletes from Japan practice at the Gangneung Oval during a speed skating training session prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. As with past Olympics, NBC is requiring proof of a TV subscription to watch. More than 1,800 hours of online coverage begins Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the U.S. with preliminary curling matches. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File) Explore further This 2018 image provided by Comcast Corp. shows the Olympics interface on an X1 TV set-top box for Comcast customers. NBC owner Comcast will include online coverage on its TV set-top boxes and TV coverage on its mobile apps to offer viewers one-stop shop to the Olympics. Comcast and other cable providers will also offer the opening ceremony and other events in sharper, “4K” resolution, though with a day’s delay. (Comcast Corp. via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This 2018 image provided by Comcast Corp. shows the Olympics interface on an X1 TV set-top box for Comcast customers. NBC owner Comcast will include online coverage on its TV set-top boxes and TV coverage on its mobile apps to offer viewers one-stop shop to the Olympics. Comcast and other cable providers will also offer the opening ceremony and other events in sharper, “4K” resolution, though with a day’s delay. (Comcast Corp. via AP) Olympic video and VR: Guide to watching without a TV ___VIRTUAL REALITYIntel is working with the Olympic Broadcasting Services to produce virtual-reality coverage of 30 events. Eighteen events, or 55 hours, will be live.During the Rio Olympics in 2016, VR coverage typically wasn’t live and required Samsung’s Gear VR headsets with a Samsung phone. This time, VR is available on Google Daydream and Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets as well. Those without a headset can still watch on web browsers or Apple and Android mobile devices. In the U.S., you’ll need the NBC Sports VR app.VR isn’t meant to replace television. While Intel’s VR productions of baseball and other sports had their own announcers, the Olympic coverage will rely on regular television coverage embedded in the VR experience. And most of the VR video will be in 180 degrees—you’ll see the action in front of you and a little bit to the sides, but not what’s behind you. Videos in 360 degrees will be limited to non-competition features such as a demo run down the bobsled. Citation: Olympic video and VR: Guide to watching without a TV (2018, February 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-olympic-video-vr-tv.html But VR will offer more leaderboards and stats than television, along with the ability to choose camera positions. For downhill skiing, for instance, you might prefer watching from a particular location on the mountain, the way a spectator would, rather than have the camera shift the skier goes down. For figure skating, one camera will be near the judges so you can get their vantage point. There will be no cameras on the rink or on any athletes, however.___IF YOU LACK CABLE OR SATELLITE TVFor the most part, access to an online TV service—one that streams many of the channels you’d get from a cable subscription—will also let you use the NBC apps for streaming and VR.Google’s YouTube TV has the lowest price for all five Olympic TV channels, at $35 a month. Google says the service is available in more than 80 U.S. markets, covering more than 80 percent of households, though the NBC station isn’t available everywhere.In excluded markets, you could check out a rival. What works best will depend on your needs:— DirecTV Now also has a $35-a-month offering. But the Olympic Channel is part of a higher tier, at $60 a month, and DirecTV Now generally won’t let you record programs for viewing later (a DVR feature is still being tested among some subscribers).— Hulu with Live TV is $40 a month for all five channels and DVR. read more

Africas young professionals embracing gospel of bitcoin

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this photo taken on Thursday March 8, 2018, Ugandan Bitcoin miner Godfrey Kabaka Mumpe lectures fellow Ugandans about the currency in the capital city Kampala. Some tech-savvy Africans are embracing bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency, despite the warnings of a few governments, seeing the volatility in its value a better risk than the usual hustle amid the continent’s high unemployment. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera) 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. Despite the risks, “it is not wise to dismiss cryptocurrencies at this stage,” said Stephen Kaboyo, a Ugandan analyst who runs the Kampala-based financial services firm Alpha Capital Partners. But those who invest in “a hugely speculative asset” must first understand the risks, he warned.In Uganda, where per capita income was less than $700 in 2016, bitcoin enthusiasts are mostly unfazed by the volatility. At least one restaurant in Kampala now accepts bitcoin, with owner Jennifer Birungi saying she had to put it “on the menu” to get more comfortable with cryptocurrencies.Birungi is a registered user of the exchange platform BitPesa, which serves 6,000 customers in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. They can cash out their bitcoin in return for local currency, which can be sent directly to their mobile phones’ bitcoin wallets or wired to their bank accounts.Other enthusiasts cited the relative convenience of bitcoin in financial transfers.”I used to want to buy medical equipment online but it was becoming hard. Transacting online is very expensive in Uganda with all the fees,” said Moses Semulya, a doctor at a Kampala hospital. “Bitcoin is changing that, making things easier and faster.”Semulya said he rues a missed opportunity to invest in bitcoin in 2016 when it was still relatively cheap. Now he holds nearly $800 worth of it in his digital wallet, an amount he hopes will swell as more people in Africa and elsewhere turn to the cryptocurrency.He concluded: “Right now I would rather invest in bitcoin and watch this space rather than buying a plot of land.” In this photo taken on Thursday March 8, 2018, Daphine Ayo, a Ugandan Bitcoin miner, looks at a menu at a restaurant that accepts Bitcoin, in the capital city Kampala, Uganda. Some tech-savvy Africans are embracing bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency, despite the warnings of a few governments, seeing the volatility in its value a better risk than the usual hustle amid the continent’s high unemployment. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera) Such facilities, however, have faced doubts about whether they are genuine and some countries have warned of money laundering and the threat to government-backed currencies.In China, where a substantial amount of the world’s supply of bitcoin originates, the government ordered a shutdown of all cryptocurrency mining operations in January. The crackdown, plus hacking attacks leading to the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin from Japanese transfer Coincheck, contributed to the volatility of the value of a single unit of bitcoin, which rose to $19,000 in December but has since fallen below $9,000.Uganda’s central bank has warned that investing in bitcoin and other digital currencies “is taking a risk in the financial space where there is neither investor protection nor regulatory purview.”Kenya and Nigeria have issued similar concerns, and last year Namibia officially banned the use of cryptocurrencies for commercial purposes. But other countries in Africa appear open to the possibilities. Last year Tunisia announced it would launch a digital currency based on blockchain technology and South Africa, Africa’s most developed economy, is researching the technology’s feasibility. In this photo taken on Thursday March 8, 2018, Daphine Ayo, left, and Richard Muhumuza, both Ugandan Bitcoin miners, have lunch in the capital city Kampala, Uganda. Some tech-savvy Africans are embracing bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency, despite the warnings of a few governments, seeing the volatility in its value a better risk than the usual hustle amid the continent’s high unemployment. (AP Photo/Stephen Wandera) Bitcoin and cryptocurrency for n00bs “What I have earned in one-and-a-half years from bitcoin is more than I earned in 10 years as a teacher,” Richard M. Bagorogo told his audience. “I am living on bitcoin because getting a job in this country is not easy.”Some tech-savvy Africans are embracing bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency, despite the warnings of a few governments, seeing the volatility in its value a better risk than the usual hustle amid the continent’s high unemployment.Many bitcoin adoptees are professionals aiming to supplement their salaries, but others are jobless millennials hoping to make a living by trading the cryptocurrency, which isn’t tied to any bank or government and, like cash, allows users to spend and receive money anonymously or mostly so.In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and elsewhere a small community turns up at events where stars like Bagorogo preach what they call “the gospel of bitcoin.”On a recent morning Bagorogo explained how he once could not afford to enroll his children in the international school where he taught. Now, he said, his lifestyle has changed: a recent holiday in Dubai and more than enough money to help out his father.It didn’t always go smoothly, as many in Africa have little idea what bitcoin is. “When I tried to bring my cousins on board, they called my father in the village and said, ‘Your son has gone mad,'” Bagorogo recalled. “For me, I was fascinated by the mathematics behind blockchain technology. But the local man is interested in money, not the mathematics, so I normally sit with them and show them how I get and withdraw my money. Once they see how easy it is, they also want bitcoin.”Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rely on blockchain, or the public, distributed ledgers that track the coins’ ownership. The bitcoin ledger is powered by “miners,” so-called because they throw computational power into the system to discover and verify cryptocurrency units, occasionally receiving—or “mining”—new bitcoins in return.Bagorogo encourages people to invest in one of over two dozen global mining pools. For many who can’t afford to buy and hoard large amounts, the potential returns, including dividends, can seem promising. Citation: Africa’s young professionals embracing ‘gospel of bitcoin’ (2018, March 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-africa-young-professionals-embracing-gospel.html Explore further In a sleek new high-rise in Uganda’s capital, an enthusiastic lecturer described his financial success with the cryptocurrency bitcoin while his earnings were projected on a screen. read more

Cambridge Analyticas secret psychographic tool is a ghost from the past

While the method was asserted to be capable of producing “terrifyingly accurate personality analysis”, using Facebook likes as psychometric indicators presents significant methodological limits. For instance, liking a Facebook page is not an individual action performed in isolation, like the systematic compiling of a questionnaire. Instead, it is an inherently social and symbolic act – and needs to be interpreted in the context of the platform and its use.Considering the accuracy of CA’s predictions, two other points need to be critically considered. First, if psychographic analysis is relevant at all for deriving marketing insights. Second, micro-targeted advertising content via psychographic techniques has the capacity to effectively manipulate people’s minds. Provided by The Conversation This articles stems from our experience and exchanges with scholars in consumer and marketing research, who are perhaps most familiar with the development of market research and segmentation methods and practice over time.The secret weapon: psychographic segmentationThe psychographic-segmentation tool employed by CA extends the traditional marketing audience or voter analysis beyond simple “demographics” – for example, age, gender, education – toward profiling based on personality traits and value-based scores. Combined with “big data” from Facebook profiles and algorithmically enhanced statistical analysis and stealth marketing tactics, this method has arguably become an enviable digital marketing secret, not least among advertising and marketing professionals.While much of the public discussion on the CA case has been about how massive amounts of Facebook data have been unethically obtained and used for the purpose of influencing voter behaviour in the US elections and the Brexit, relatively little has been said on the exact analytical method used by the firm and the extent of its contribution to the voting results. According to a detailed account by Michael Wade of IMD Business School, CA was able to identify the profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users by matching two different approaches and data sources. First, the results of 270,000 personality tests obtained through a quiz-like Facebook app developed by Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan. Second, the results were statistically related to “digital footprints of human behaviour” of these respondents and their (unaware) Facebook friends’ profiles (for example, “likes”), thanks to a model developed by another Cambridge academic, Michal Kosinski.As a result, psychographic information about millions of people were automatically derived from Facebook data, without the usually burdensome process of personality questionnaires that take hundreds of questions to answer by each analysed participant. This sort of “reverse engineering” (as Wade calls it) based on social media users’ activity means that only about 100 Facebook “likes” are enough to estimate a person’s psychological traits. Information such as liking, say, Salvador Dalì or Lady Gaga would serve as an indicator of a personality type – for example, openness. The machine-learning implementation and more detailed analytical procedure is summarized in video featuring Jack Hansom from SCL elections, company affiliated to Cambridge Analytica. Citation: Cambridge Analytica’s secret psychographic tool is a ghost from the past (2018, April 3) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-cambridge-analytica-secret-psychographic-tool.html Explore further The novel ways in which marketers and also political institutions can now harvest our social-media data and divide us into homogenous groups suited for mass-customised and targeted messages has been one of the hot issues unfolding from the aftermath of recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica big-data scandal. Many articles have already sought to summarise the events, actions, participants, and the points of view – not least the unethical ones. However, our attention was drawn to the fact that there is currently little empirical evidence of the actual effectiveness or impact of the psychographic analytical tools used by Cambridge Analytica (CA). This is surprising, considering that the method has so far been featured as something that could be termed “the ultimate marketing weapon”. Summary of the machine-learning implementation and analytical procedure, featuring Jack Hansom from the SCL elections, company affiliated to Cambridge Analytica. A weapon from the past?In marketing and consumer research, techniques for market segmentation has evolved from the fact that it is simply not effective, nor otherwise feasible for a marketer to try to influence everyone at once, with the same message. Therefore, the targeting of a specific subgroup – one that would be more likely to react in a desired manner to the intended marketing message – become the practice and theory of marketing communication. However, the logic for choosing the effective segmentation and targeting criteria has changed importantly over the years, not least due to technological changes and possibilities.Despite the work of theorists in the early 20th century – for example, Thorsten Veblen and Max Weber, who recognised that consumption behaviour is closely tied with social structures (and vice versa) – the marketing scholars and practitioners in the post–World War II mass-media era have relied heavily on individualist and behavioural psychological paradigm. It is fair to say this has been the golden age of psychographic market segmentation in which target group has been profiled and expressed in terms of their personality traits or value system scores (for example, the VALS system). However, the personality/value-based measurement has consistently been challenged for its ability to predict actual behaviours, such as specific product, brand or environmental choice (Wedel and Kamakura 2000 and Rokka and Uusitalo 2008). Second, these approaches precisely assume that behavioural patterns are shaped by differences in “global” psychological states or values (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) that are thus “necessarily devoid of any influence of sociohistorical context” (Holt 1997, 327). Put differently, an abstracted and universalized personality type cannot capture the complexity and cultural sensitivity of consumer lifestyle choices, symbolic expression and tastes.This shift in thinking put an end to wider application of psychographic methods long ago, at least in the field of marketing and consumer research. Instead, four decades of work have testified the importance of sociocultural perspectives that are much more sensitive to the social and symbolic systems that shape our lifestyle-relevant choices and tastes (Arnould and Thompson 2005 and Holt 1997). This perspective is also shared by researchers in the Lifestyle Research Centre of EM Lyon. An analysis of Facebook likes from this standpoint would be understood more as the analysis of individuals’ lifestyle associations and networks governed by socially established expressions of taste. Main difference of the psychographic segmentation to this form of socio-cultural lifestyle analysis would be its lack of connection to society and its cultural currents.A ‘magic bullet’?A second issue evoked in the CA debate is the manipulative power of big data–based psychographic approaches that bear rather naïve assumptions about how communication and advertising work.In the 1930s – the heyday of totalitarian propaganda – the dominant theory for interpreting the effects of mass media on population described political messages as “magic bullets” that, once they reached the targeted audience, would have immediate persuasive power. This arguably simplistic view was rejected a decade later by Paul Lazarsfeld and colleagues at Columbia University. Their empirical work relativized the power of political propaganda, demonstrating that message effects are largely mediated by interpersonal relations and collective interpretations – for instance, political views are also discussed and formed during family dinners and not simply absorbed from the media (Neuman and Guggheneim 2011). Similar considerations also resonate widely in advertising and marketing research. For example, there exists a body of academic literature that indicates that, based on empirical evidence, advertising does not increase or reduce alcohol consumption (Tikkanen and Aspara 2017).However, with the rise of big data–based psychographic segmentation, the old “magic bullet” thesis has apparently gained new popularity. Cambridge Analytica’s bragging of ‘psychological warfare” stands as a case in point. We still have little or no evidence of the extent to which such campaigns can persuade people to change their mind about even simple product or brand choices – much less to vote differently.We cannot argue there is no value in, nor evidence of, the ability of psychometric segmentation to achieve marketing goals. For example, a recent study found a 40% increase in advertising click-through-rate. However, its actual effects on consumption or voting behaviour have yet to be demonstrated. Psychographics—the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters’ minds This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. 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. read more

Reddit CEO says racism allowed but not welcome on the site

Now he’s backpedaling a bit.As tech companies face increasing pressure to police content on their platforms, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said something to the equivalent of the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”In response to a question about whether slurs are against Reddit’s rules, Huffman said: “It’s not. On Reddit, the way in which we think about speech is to separate behavior from beliefs. This means on Reddit there will be people with beliefs different from your own, sometimes extremely so. When users actions conflict with our content policies, we take action.”That resonates in 2018, in the aftermath of the fatal Charlottesville white-supremacist march last year, and as racists feel more emboldened to say what they want online and offline.Some Reddit users, aka Redditors, let him have it.”You allowed r/the—donald to advertise for a fascist rally that culminated in a deadly terror attack,” wrote a Redditor called kitten cupcakes, referring to Charlottesville.”Not all speech is ‘valuable discourse,’ and by letting it exist on your platform you are condoning its existence and assisting its propagation,” user aYearofPrompts said.And PostimusMaximus referred to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional grilling: “Zuckerberg is sitting over here getting grilled for not removing hate-speech fast enough due to AI limitations and yet you find yourself passing hate speech off as okay.”Thursday, Huffman updated his remarks, saying that “While racism itself isn’t against the rules, it’s not welcome here.”However, he seemed to stick to the spirit of his Wednesday response when he added: “I believe the best defense against racism and other repugnant views, both on Reddit and in the world, is instead of trying to control what people can and cannot say through rules, is to repudiate these views in a free conversation, and empower our communities to do so on Reddit.”Previously banned Reddit groups include ones called “CoonTown” and “raping women.” Last year, the site banned two high-profile white nationalist groups. As I wrote then, it takes a lot to be banned from the pretty-much-anything-goes site, which has become a haven for hate. But “Altright” and “Alternativeright” were engaged in doxxing, or spreading people’s personal information.Huffman, who co-founded Reddit with Alexis Ohanian, became its CEO in 2015. When he took over after Ellen Pao’s brief, tumultuous time as chief executive, Huffman pledged to ban the “dark side,” which he defined as “communities whose purpose is reprehensible.” He said then that Reddit had “no obligation to support” such communities, which provides an online discussion board that has about 330,000 monthly users, more than 138,000 communities, and an average 14 billion views according to the About page on its website. It is said to be among the most visited sites on the internet.Also this week, Reddit announced that it had banned nearly 1,000 suspected Russian troll accounts.”We also did not detect any effective use of these accounts to engage in vote manipulation,” Huffman said in a post Tuesday. Reddit has a history of allowing its users to say just about anything. On Wednesday, its CEO said racist language is just fine—officially giving license to the hatred that already lives on the site, which bills itself as the front page of the internet. Reddit updates content policy, banning a ‘handful’ of groups Explore further 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. Citation: Reddit CEO says racism allowed, but not ‘welcome,’ on the site (2018, April 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-reddit-ceo-racism-site.html ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. read more

Qualcomm aims to spark virtual reality market with its first standalone ARVR

first_img The new chip from Qualcomm, which primarily makes smartphone semiconductors today, targets virtual reality/augmented reality gear at affordable prices—in the $200 range.That is similar to the $199 pricetag for Facebook’s new Oculus Go virtual reality headset, which went on sale earlier this month.Oculus Go, a standalone VR headset that doesn’t require tethering to a smartphone or computer, is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 smartphone processor.By having a dedicated virtual/augmented reality chip, Qualcomm hopes to be able to drive a better experience for untethered AR/VR devices—with longer battery life, lower temperatures and better video/audio.Qualcomm is the first major chip designer to produce a system-on-a-chip specifically for virtual realty/augmented reality. In the past, it has supplied smartphone processors that were sometimes tweaked for VR/AR customers.But other chip makers could follow suit. Both Intel and Nvidia have virtual reality programs that supply headset makers with computer processors and graphics chips.Qualcomm is calling its AR/VR chip platform the Snapdragon XR1, and it was unveiled Tuesday at the Augmented World Expo in the Bay Area. The chip is tailored for high-definition video, audio, graphics, head tracking, speech recognition, jitter reduction, low latency and controller support, among other features key to virtual reality.”We strongly believe that XR is the next mobile computing platform,” said Hiren Bhinde, director of XR product management at Qualcomm. “This is going to disrupt all these different verticals, including health care, education, military, retail, marketing and advertising.”Many virtual reality headsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR and Google Daydream, are essentially accessories to smartphones. Users fit their smartphones into a virtual reality headset to get the VR experience.In addition, there are powerful gaming virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR. They are typically linked via cables to souped-up gaming computers or consoles and cost $400 or more. 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. Explore further Qualcomm platform poised for good times in standalone extended reality But standalone VR devices—untethered from computers or smartphones—have been gaining traction this year, said George Jijiashvili, senior analyst with CCS Insights. Oculus Go, Lenovo Mirage Solo and the HTC Vive Focus are among the new untethered devices.”In the standalone VR headset category, pricing will be a crucial determining factor of success,” said Jijiashvili. “Given the Oculus Go’s price tag of $199, I’m optimistic about its chances of sparking a new wave of growth that can help broaden the appeal of VR, particularly among businesses and in education as well.”Qualcomm will still supply more expensive, $400-plus premium gaming headsets with chips based on its latest Snapdragon 845 top tier smartphone processor. It can power eye tracking and sophisticated controller functions so gamers swinging a sword feel like their hands are part of the game, said Hugo Swart, senior director at Qualcomm and head of XR business management.The dedicated Snapdragon XR1 platform doesn’t support the same level of controller immersion. But it still aims to create a good experience for the price.”What we see is a demand from (device makers) and consumers for a product that is good, but maybe doesn’t have all the features of premium quality,” said Swart. “You still feel immersed in the experience. You still have the very low latency that is required for a good experience, but it is more affordable than the premium quality tier.”According to CCS Insight’s latest market forecast, 2 million standalone VR headsets will be shipped globally in 2019, rising to 10 million in 2022.CCS Insight forecasts 22 million virtual reality and augmented reality headsets and glasses of all types will be sold in 2018—with fivefold growth to 121 million devices by 2022.Smartphone-connected virtual reality will account for the bulk of the sales this year, but standalone devices are expected to grow quickly and account for 63 percent of the total market value of $9.9 billion by 2022, according to CCS.”We were encouraged to see in our latest consumer survey that virtual tourism, remote participation in events such as music concerts and virtual social interactions are all emerging as further uses for virtual reality,” said Jijiashvili. “Watching video is also proving popular, particularly on smartphone-based headsets.”Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chips are being tested by VR/AR device makers now. They are expected to be used in headsets available to consumers starting next year.center_img ©2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Citation: Qualcomm aims to spark virtual reality market with its first standalone AR/VR chip (2018, June 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-qualcomm-aims-virtual-reality-standalone.html Qualcomm is rolling out a dedicated chip targeting virtual reality/augmented reality headsets in hopes of driving the nascent market into the mainstream.last_img read more

Silicon Valley eyes Africa as new tech frontier

first_imgWith its colourful hammocks and table tennis table, a new tech hub in the Lagos metropolis wouldn’t look out of place among the start-ups on the other side of the world in Silicon Valley. Some fear that the technological advances could deepen social inequality In exchange, Facebook, which currently has some 26 million users in Nigeria, gets more users and access to a massive market to test new products and strategies. “We are invested in the ecosystem. Just the fact that they are engaging… that in of itself is a goal,” she added.Cyber colonialism?Many African governments have given the tech titans an enthusiastic welcome. In California, Osinbajo said the Nigerian government will “actively support” Google’s “Next Billion Users” plan to “ensure greater digital access in Nigeria and around the world”. Citation: Silicon Valley eyes Africa as new tech frontier (2018, July 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-silicon-valley-eyes-africa-tech.html But the NG_Hub office is in the suburb of Yaba—the heart of Nigeria’s burgeoning tech scene that is attracting interest from global giants keen to tap into an emerging market of young, connected Africans.In May, both Google and Facebook launched initiatives nearby.This week, Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was in California to court US tech investors for what he said could herald a “fourth industrial revolution” back home.But it isn’t just Nigeria that is piquing the interest of tech giants.Last month, Google said it would open Africa’s first artificial intelligence lab in Ghana’s capital, Accra.Demographics are a key factor behind the drive: Africa’s population is estimated to be 1.2 billion, 60 percent of them under 24. By 2050, the UN estimates the population will double to 2.4 billion.”There’s a clear opportunity for companies like Facebook and Google to really go in and put a pole in the sand,” said Daniel Ives, a technology researcher at GBH Insights in New York.”If you look at Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, where is a lot of that growth coming from? It’s international,” he told AFP.Facebook is operating from the NG_Hub as it doesn’t yet have a permanent office in Nigeria.The company’s Africa head of public policy, Ebele Okobi, said at the opening of the premises that the goal was to cultivate the nascent technology community.The social network has pledged to train 50,000 people across the country to “give them the digital skills they need to succeed”, she added. “Working collaboratively I think is a good way of technology transfer for Africa,” he said. “If they are only looking for business, that’s colonisation.”‘Epocalypse Now’As Africa’s technology sector grows, fuelled by growth in mobile phone use, so too does pressure on governments to protect its citizens’ personal data. Osinbajo told tech leaders Nigeria was keen to create the right environment for development, including for regulation.But the debate over privacy is muted in many African countries, unlike in Europe, which recently passed tougher new data protection laws.Facebook has also been at the centre of a storm for failing to protect user data in connection with claims of manipulation in the 2016 US presidential election and the Brexit referendum.Global Justice Now, an anti-poverty group, fears tech companies are being given free rein to create a global surveillance state. “We could find ourselves sleepwalking towards a world in which a handful of tech companies exercise monopoly control over whole swathes of the world economy, further exacerbating inequality between the global north and the global south,” said the activist group in a May 2018 report titled “Epocalypse Now”. Renata Avila, from the World Wide Web Foundation in Geneva that campaigns for digital equality, said that has not come to fruition but there were pressing concerns.”The message is that Africa needs investment and it needs to develop these industries, so usually it’s a pro-business narrative,” said Avila, a digital rights researcher.”But there is little oversight,” she added, warning that without regulation, people were vulnerable to exploitation. © 2018 AFP Facebook and Google have both launched initiatives in Lagos Explore further Few sectors in Africa inspire as much hope as technology, which has the potential to revolutionise everything from healthcare to farming. Examples include Ubenwa, a Nigerian start-up that has been described as “Shazam for babies”, after the application that identifies music and films from snippets.Ubenwa analyses a baby’s cry using AI to diagnose birth asphyxia, a major cause of death in Africa when babies don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients before, during or immediately after birth.Detecting the problem early could save thousands of lives.”Africans should be responsible to come up with the solutions,” said Tewodros Abebe, a doctoral student studying language technology at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.”Unless we are involved, no one can understand the existing problems in our continent.” Abebe dismissed fears that what Facebook and Google are doing represents a form of so-called cyber colonialism. Mobile phones driving user growth in Africa: Facebook Lagos is attracting interest from global tech giants keen to tap into an emerging market of young, connected Africans 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

Facebook stops Huawei from preinstalling apps on phones

first_img Report: Huawei cuts meetings with US, sends US workers home The social network said it has suspended providing software for Huawei to put on its devices while it reviews recently introduced U.S. sanctions.Owners of existing Huawei smartphones that already have Facebook apps can continue to use them and download updates.But it’s not clear if buyers of new Huawei devices will be able to install Facebook’s apps on their own.Facebook’s move is the latest fallout in the escalating U.S.-China tech feud.The Commerce Department last month effectively barred U.S. companies from selling their technology to Huawei and other Chinese firms without government approval. China’s Commerce Ministry responded this week by warning it would release its own list of “unreliable” foreign companies in the near future.U.S. officials are pressing their global campaign to blacklist Huawei, the world’s No. 1 network equipment provider and second-largest smartphone maker. They say Beijing could use the company’s products for cyberespionage but without presenting evidence of intentional spying.”We are reviewing the Commerce Department’s final rule and the more recently issued temporary general license and taking steps to ensure compliance,” Facebook said, referring to a 90-day grace period allowing continued support of existing Huawei equipment.Huawei declined to comment.Google, which makes the Android operating system used by Huawei, has already said that while it would continue to support existing Huawei phones, future devices won’t come with its flagship apps and services, including maps, Gmail and search. Only basic services would be available for future versions of Android. 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. Facebook said Friday it has stopped letting its apps come pre-installed on smartphones sold by Huawei in order to comply with U.S. restrictions, a move that deals a fresh blow to the Chinese tech giant. Explore furthercenter_img © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: Facebook stops Huawei from pre-installing apps on phones (2019, June 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-facebook-huawei-pre-installing-apps.html Mika Lauhde, Huawei’s vice-president for cybersecurity and privacy attends a panel discussion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, June 6, 2019. A senior executive for Chinese technology giant Huawei said Thursday that he hopes the company’s animosity with the United States will be resolved and warned that the U.S. would be shooting itself in the foot if it were to shun Chinese technology. (TASS News Agency Pool Photo via AP)last_img read more