Moto G5S Plus to feature improved camera premium design

first_imgThese early details, along with the leaked marketing render above, were published by VentureBeat. Starting off, one of the most noticeable changes on the Moto G5S Plus is an all-aluminum chassis, a big step up from the G5 and G5 Plus’ plastic frame. Unfortunately it appears there won’t be any changes to the internals, as the same 2.0GHz Snapdragon 625 chip is being used, with the max configuration featuring 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.The other big upgrade from Motorola is the use of a dual camera setup on the G5S Plus’ rear. Each sensor is said to have 13-megapixels, with one handling color images while the other is for black and white photos. The front-facing camera will now be 8-megapixels, a bump up from the 5-megapixel shooter on the G5 and G5 Plus.Lastly, the G5S Plus will arriving with a 5.5-inch display, whereas the original G5 and G5 Plus had 5.0 and 5.2-inch screens, respectively. The Plus will be keeping the same Full HD 1080p resolution as before, however.We’ll have to wait for Motorola’s July 25th event to find out more, such as if there will also be a smaller sibling in the form of a Moto G5S. It’s already likely we’ll see the Moto X4 and Moto Z2 Force make their debut, so who knows what other surprises are in store.SOURCE VentureBeat Story TimelineHere’s what you get when you buy a Moto Z2 Play nowThis Moto Z2 Play Moto Mod seemed absurd at first, now it’s my favoriteGoogle Fi’s mystery phone may be Moto X4Moto E4 Review: Verizon’s best cheap phoneNext Moto Mods batch includes 360-degree camera, DirectTV DTV Motorola has a press event scheduled towards the end of this month, and what we’re seeing here is sure to be one of the announcements: the new Moto G5S Plus. The device not just a special edition of the original G5 Plus, but an overall improvement with a number of key feature upgrades, including the camera, build quality, and display.last_img read more

Reddit twofactor authentication goes live secure your account now

first_imgUsers have long been requesting two-factor authentication on Reddit, and the company has finally added it. The company announced the new feature this afternoon, saying two-factor authentication has rolled out to all Reddit users. This follows a slower introduction, including beta testing, a rollout to moderators, and more.Two-factor authentication puts an extra step into the login process, one that a hacker would have extreme difficulty bypassing. When logging in, and assuming two-factor is active, the user will be prompted to enter a code from an authenticator app after using their username and password. This requires the user to have their phone available.This is a six-digit code; a new one is generated with every login attempt. Thanks to this, someone who knows your username (which is everyone on Reddit) and your password still can’t access the account unless they get access to your smartphone. Of course, you need to activate it in order to use it.AdChoices广告Reddit users can activate two-factor authentication by going into their account’s password/email tab under “Preferences.” Enable the feature and then follow the steps when prompted. You’ll need to generate backup codes to use for the times your phone isn’t available. This feature is available on third-party apps, desktop, and mobile. SOURCE: Reddit Reddit may be a bastion of throwaway accounts, but many users have regular accounts that they use as their more permanent posting handle. Some of those accounts are valuable; others contain personal content, maybe even messages linking it to the user’s identity. Security is important for those reasons and more, and now Reddit has finally an adequate solution.last_img read more

New HTC Desire 12s is not OCDfriendly

first_imgStory TimelineHTC Desire 10 Pro leaked specs reveal a flagship deviceHTC Desire 10 line seeks to break the mold [UPDATE]HTC Desire 650 unveiled with ‘sculpted grip’ designHTC Desire 12, 12+ boast big displays and dual cameras The display on this smartphone is 5.7-inch (1440 × 720 pixels) HD+ 18:9 2.5D, and there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 inside. There’s at least 3GB RAM inside, and at least 32GB internal storage. There’s a 3,075mAh battery, the unit sizes in at 154.2 x 72.7 x 8.3 mm, and weighs around 150g. This device has access to 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONASS, and NFC. There’s a new smartphone on the market from HTC, and it has a back-facing camera setup that’s a little off-center. Instead of planting the entire camera array in the middle of the phone, they’ve decided to place the one lens in the center, making the whole backside rather uncommon. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of off-center camera setups before, but never one quite like this.center_img This smartphone looks a lot like its brethren – like the HTC U12+ for example – but just ever-so-slightly different. This new device has a 13MP camera up front and another 13MP camera around back. The front-facing camera has an f/2.4 aperture with LED flash.AdChoices广告The back-facing camera has an f/2.2 aperture, LED flash, PDAF, and 1080p video recording abilities – and it’s off-center. The pill-shaped grouping of the LED flash and the camera are not centered as they were with previous HTC U smartphones. They’re also not angled in a way that would indicate they’re meant to be used in landscape mode.Instead, it would appear as though the designers of this smartphone wanted to see how it felt to place the camera lens in the center, the LED to one side, and no regard payed to the centering of the HTC logo. Look at that nonsense. I could MAYBE get onboard with an off-center camera array if the logo (also on the back and of approximate similar size to the camera array) were also off to one side. But it’s not. One is one way, the other is the other. And now it makes an otherwise beautiful smartphone look like it’s got an uncorrected mistake on its back.The HTC Desire 12s isn’t a phone you’ll likely see available at your local carrier – it’s not really meant for the USA. Instead it’ll be released in Taiwan, and probably Taiwan only. This device will be released in a couple different iterations. One will have 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, and that’ll cost NT$5990 (approximately $194). The other is a 4GB/64GB model for closer to NT$6990 (approximately $226). last_img read more

Skype background blur made possible with AI

first_imgRedmond is no stranger to using AI for background blur. It actually implemented this very same feature in Microsoft Teams a while ago. Despite its popularity, background blur isn’t as common in videos because of complexity as well as the lack of need for such artistic effects in video chats, especially video conferencing. But in case you want all the focus on yourself and not on the mess behind you, you now have that option.Skype’s background blur AI is trained to detect human forms but it does more than just detect heads. It can also detect hands, arms, and even hair so you don’t have to feel forced to sit still like a mannequin worried the slightest movement would break the illusion.This new Skype feature is currently available only for most desktops and laptops, which means it will work without additional specialized hardware. its arrival comes at a curious time shortly after it was revealed that Google was also working on some form of depth detection for its Duo video chat app. While Google’s feature may start with AR stickers, it’s only a matter of time and a few tweaks to make it also support video bokehs. Bokeh, the effect of blurring of objects around the subject, has become a popular feature in mobile photography. It’s made possible with two cameras but even a single camera can do it with some software tricks. But while that’s relatively easy to do with still shots, it’s harder to pull off when your subject is less stationary. And that is why Microsoft is resorting to some Artificial Intelligence to implement background blur in Skype video chats on desktops. last_img read more

Volkswagen top secret test site tipped in emissions scandal

first_imgThe information comes from sources speaking to Bloomberg, which reports that the test site was allegedly located near to the company’s main office tower. The sources claim that this top-secret testing site was only accessible to a limited number of people, and that it had atypically tight security in place.Some employees who had access to all other development sites within the complex were barred from entering this particular top-secret location, the sources say. These unnamed individuals go on to claim that this site was used, in part, to upload emissions-cheating software. The site’s existence has not been officially stated and Volkswagen has declined commenting on the rumor.Questions remain about how many people were aware of VW’s cheating system and to what degree company executives may have been involved. If the sources are correct in stating that this site exists and was within close reach of an office building where executives were located, it raises fresh questions about how much these higher-ups may have known.The entire matter revolves around an emissions cheating system used with some Volkswagen diesel engines that allowed them to maintain high levels of performance while also passing emissions tests. The matter has rolled on since then, affecting millions of vehicles around the world and with costs in the billions via repairs and fines.SOURCE: Bloomberg Volkswagen AG had a top-secret site at its headquarters, according to sources, that was used to test the company’s emissions cheating system. The system, which first came to light years ago, allowed for affected vehicles to pass emissions tests without actually meeting the emissions requirements during normal operation. Though at one point the entire debacle was blamed on a small team of engineers who went rogue, sources have surfaced claiming that VW had a full top-secret testing site in place.last_img read more

Samsungs new Galaxy Fold video tries to add why to the wow

first_imgFolding phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X certainly have geek-appeal, but how exactly are they meant to improve everyday life? That’s the question Samsung has set out to at least begin to answer with its latest Galaxy Fold video, a sort of day-in-the-life of an owner of the upcoming flagship foldable. Going by Samsung’s latest video, that justification is multitasking – and portability. The clip shows a Galaxy Fold user going through different stages of the day, making video calls, checking maps, and consulting documents, all while switching between the outer screen and the larger, folding display inside. Later on, they use the large panel to frame a group photo, after having slotted the folded phone into their back pocket.Obviously it’s a somewhat idealized vision of what daily life with a Galaxy Fold might look like. Just how many people actually regularly make video calls – and need to consult documents on their smartphone at the same time – is unclear; whatever the number might be, it seems fair to say it would be a niche use-case. AdChoices广告Similarly, being able to consult an ingredient list, a timer, and a YouTube video recipe simultaneously may very well be beneficial to those who view their smartphone as their sous-chef. Nonetheless it does raise the question of whether $2k is silly money to spend on what’s effectively serving as a mini-tablet. In fact it could well be fair to say that the “killer app” for foldable phones still isn’t known, and it may well not arrive – if at all – until devices are in consumers’ hands and developers get an idea of how they’re being used and the use-cases opening up from them. Early adopters (and their wallets) will bear the brunt of that figuring-out period, as usual, but now seems like a good time for Samsung and others hoping to push the form-factor to weigh in with why, exactly, we should plan on putting a folding phone in our pockets or purses. Story TimelineSamsung Galaxy Fold vs. Huawei Mate X: battle of the foldGalaxy Fold already has two foldable successors in the worksSamsung explains why Galaxy Fold’s innie is better than an outiecenter_img Certainly, there’s no shortage of tech early-adopter kudos to be had by being among the first to own a Galaxy Fold. For a start it’s expensive: $2,000, in fact, when it goes on sale in April 2019. That’s assuming you can even find one, with Samsung said to be planning relatively limited availability for the Android smartphone. Geeking out over the ability to fold a display in half and not have it snap, though, only gets you so far. While Google and Samsung have demonstrated before how Android will accommodate apps transitioning between the Galaxy Fold’s external display and its internal touchscreen, along with shifts in aspect ratio, that’s more of an encouragement for developers. What’s been absent is a real selling point which makes the case for folding devices being the next big thing in smartphones. last_img read more

Chevrolet shows off refreshed 2019 Camaro at SEMA in Shock yellow

first_imgBright colors and muscle cars have a long history together spinning back to the ’60s. Chevrolet has a new SEMA show car that will be on display in Las Vegas that wears a paint color that will be offered on the 2019 Camaro. That paint color is a very bright yellow that is called Shock. The color reminds of a highlighter marker. The show car on display at SEMA will be wearing accessories and performance parts offered via Chevrolet dealers. The 2019 Camaro gets a restyled front and new technologies inside. Expanded accessories and performance parts offered include second-generation ground effects, black wing spoiler, fuel door with exposed carbon fiber insert, black Camaro fender badges, 50-state-legal cold-air induction, Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, and 1LE suspension parts.The Camaro SS Shock show car has concept front-end styling with a relocated bowtie emblem and concept hood and fender graphics. This isn’t the only Camaro show car at SEMA, another will be covered in Satin Steel Grey Metallic paint with red accents.Production 2019 Camaro cars get new front-end styling for LS, LT, and SS models with a new fascia, grille, dual-element headlamps, hood, and LED signature lighting. The ZL1 model keeps the airflow optimized front end and the RS package gets unique headlights and lighting signature.AdChoices广告 The rear gets new LED taillamps feature red lenses on LS and LT with RS, SS, and ZL1 getting dark tinted clear lenses. 2019 also sees a new turbo 1LE model and a 1o-speed paddle shift automatic for the SS with launch control and line lock. The full line of 2019 Camaro colors includes Shock, Crush, Riverside Blue Metallic, Shadow Grey Metallic and Satin Steel Grey Metallic.SOURCE: Chevylast_img read more

Sandmarc anamorphic lens adds cinematic flare to iPhone videos

first_imgAnamorphic is a format used in widescreen movies that involves a wide, rectangular lens. The format’s popularity dwindled with the rise of formats shot using spherical lenses, but has seen a resurgence in popularity with the rise of digital media. Underscoring that popularity is a growing number of anamorphic lenses designed for mobile phones.The new anamorphic iPhone lens from Sandmarc is the latest among these mobile-focused photography products, enabling filmmakers to utilize their iPhone’s full potential. The new lens shows 2.4:1 wide aspect ratio videos for cinema-like footage; Sandmarc says the lens captures more horizontal data by ‘squeezing the image.’The lens produces an oval bokeh and a flare effect that Sandmarc describes as similar to the lens flares featured in some movies. This flare effect appears when the lens is exposed to a large amount of ‘vivid light,’ the company explains, such as from a bright source point like headlights.AdChoices广告The anamorphic lens was designed to be durable via the use of an aluminum housing. Sandmarc offers the lens with the Pro iPhone case and also a clip-on option; the included case is more durable and ‘protective’ than the previous version, also sporting a new finish. The lens is offered for the iPhone 7 and higher for $159.99 USD. Sandmarc has launched an anamorphic lens for the iPhone, enabling mobile users to capture ultra-wide videos with a classic cinematic look, including a lens flare effect akin to what viewers see in movies. The lens is designed specifically for the iPhone, boasting features similar to traditional camera lenses, including multiple elements and multiple coatings. Story TimelineOlympus super telephoto zoom lens, 2x teleconverter now in developmentOlympus’ 16.6x super-zoom lens is max Micro Four Thirds magnificationBlack Eye Pro Kit G4 lenses offer smartphones some DSLR chopslast_img read more

MercedesAMG A 35 4Matic Saloon is a hopped up family car

first_imgMercedes-AMG has been unveiling lots of new performance cars in recent months, including the slick GLE 53. The latest car is the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic Saloon, which is the second car in the new Mercedes compact car platform from Mercedes-AMG. The automaker says that this is the first choice for customers wanting comfortable space and sportiness. Power comes from a 2.0L turbo four making 306hp and 400 Nm of torque. The engine has a twin-scroll turbocharger for responsiveness at low speeds and power at high speeds. The A 35 4Matic also features an exhaust system with a flap that controls sound depending on the drive mode selected. The power goes to the road via all four wheels, and the car uses an AMG Speedshift DCT 7 dual-clutch transmission. The car does have a Race-Start feature, which is essentially launch control for the fastest acceleration. Mercedes-AMG says the car can hit 100 km/h in 4.8-seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. The car has the MBUX multimedia system inside and supports “Hey Mercedes” voice assistance.A very cool looking fully digital instrument cluster is used in the car. It allows the driver to configure a range of special displays for warm-up, set-up, G-force, and engine data. The infotainment system also has telemetry data and AMG Track Pace features; pricing is unannounced at this time.last_img read more

Android Auto gets dark mode new nav bar and better notifications

first_imgThat new color palette, Google says, is designed to be easier to see while you’re driving, given the fact that most dashboards are made of darker materials. There’ll be easier to read fonts, for example, with color accents for at-a-glance recognition of important features. The new Android Auto will take greater advantage of the screens it’s used on. Different automakers have different sizes and shapes of infotainment display: Google says Android Auto will now make better use of widescreen panels and show more information at once. That could mean a list of upcoming turn-by-turn directions, details of an ongoing call, or playback controls for your music. As before, you’ll use Android Auto by connecting it to your car’s infotainment system. Google says the updated version should get going faster, automatically picking up where it left off on your media. Your default navigation app will load automatically, with a list of suggested locations. A new navigation bar, meanwhile, will not only show shortcuts for different apps but allow control over their essential features. Turn-by-turn directions will be included, for example, long with media controls and buttons to deal with calls. A new Notification Center will show all the recent calls, messages, and alerts. The changes come as Google makes a concerted push to carve out a spot on the modern dashboard. In parallel with Android Auto is Android Automotive OS, effectively Google’s software running natively on the car’s own systems. Unlike Android Auto, you won’t be able to upgrade your existing vehicle to Android Automotive OS. Instead, Google will be working closely with automakers to embed the software into their cars. First up will be Polestar, the performance electric venture by Volvo and Geely; we saw the initial fruits of their labors last week, in the shape of the upcoming Polestar 2 EV. Google says that the two automotive platforms will continue, rather than Android Automotive OS subsuming Android Auto. The latter, while less fully integrated into the underlying systems of a car, is a lot more available. Indeed, Google says that now there are more than 500 different models, across 50 different brands, that support it. The updated Android Auto with its new interface will be rolling out later this summer, Google says. We should hear more about it at I/O 2019 this week. Android Auto is getting a makeover, with Google’s phone-based infotainment platform promising swifter navigation and better use of increasingly large dashboard displays. Previewing the new version just ahead of its big I/O 2019 keynote, Google’s updated interface also adds a dark theme for better visibility.center_img Story TimelineAndroid Auto Wireless reminded me of Google’s big Pixel mistakeAndroid Auto “minimize app” let’s you live dangerously for a whileAndroid Auto update delivers new messaging and media featureslast_img read more

It Chapter Two trailer brings Pennywise back with plenty of nightmare fuel

first_img Editors’ Recommendations From Maleficent to Gia, a ranking of Angelina Jolie’s best movies Who ya gonna call? Paul Rudd joins Ghostbusters 3 cast, slimes himself Doctor Sleep trailer takes us back to the Overlook Hotel for The Shining sequel From Big Daddy to Murder Mystery, these are Adam Sandler’s best movies Terminator: Dark Fate: Everything we know about the new movie so far It: Chapter Two trailer brings Pennywise back with plenty of nightmare fuelClosePennywise the Dancing Clown has returned to Derry, but will the Losers Club be strong enough to stop him this time around?Warner Bros. Pictures has released a new trailer for It: Chapter Two, the upcoming sequel to the highest-grossing horror movie of all time.It: Chapter Two brings back the characters who first defeated the evil entity known as Pennywise 27 years earlier to face the creature again when it resurfaces in their hometown of Derry, Maine. Now adults, the childhood friends must deal with the trauma of their earlier encounter with Pennywise and the myriad ways that horrific experience affected them in the nearly three decades that followed.The first trailer for the film (see below) was released in May, and featured Crimson Peak actress Jessica Chastain prominently as Beverly Marsh, the young girl whose friendship with a group of outcasts 27 years earlier changed her life and put her on a collision course with Pennywise. The preview shows Beverly visiting her childhood home in Derry, only to have her meeting with the current occupant take a nightmarish twist.Chastain’s impressive cast of co-stars is also introduced in the trailer. The cast of adult members of the Losers Club includes James McAvoy (X-Men) as Bill Denbrough, Bill Hader (Barry) as Richie Tozier, Jay Ryan (Beauty and the Beast) as Ben Hanscom, James Ransone (Generation Kill) as Eddie Kaspbrak, Andy Bean (Here and Now) as Stanley Uris, and Isaiah Mustafa (Shadowhunters) as Mike Hanlon. The film also features Teach Grant (Altered Carbon) as Henry Bowers, Jess Weixler (The Son) as Audra Phillips, Xavier Dolan (Boy Erased) as Adrian Mellon, and Will Beinbrink (Queen of the South) as Tom Rogan.Last, but far from least, the film brings back Bill Skarsgård as the supernatural villain Pennywise.Directed again by Andrés Muschietti from a script penned by Gary Dauberman, It: Chapter Two is based on Stephen King’s acclaimed novel of the same name, which was divided into two chapters for the big screen.It: Chapter Two has big — one might even say clown-sized — shoes to fill when it hits theaters in September. When the first film debuted in 2017, it had the biggest opening weekend of all time for a horror movie and went on to become the highest-grossing horror movie ever made, earning $327.4 million in U.S. theaters and $700.3 million worldwide.The film is scheduled to premiere September 6.last_img read more

First Edition March 13 2013

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Headlines include highlights of the budget unveiled yesterday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and previews of what to expect from the Senate Democrats’ blueprint, which will be released today.  Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Difference In What Medicare Spends On Cancer Care May Not Affect Survival RatesNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Alvin Tran writes: “Although Medicare spending for patients with advance cancers varies regionally, a new study suggests that those differences are not related to survival rates” (Tran, 3/12). Check out what else is on the blog.The New York Times: 2 Parties’ Budgets Show Big Rift As GOP Renews 2012 ProposalsSenate Democrats and House Republicans on Tuesday outlined vastly divergent approaches to shoring up the government’s finances, a reminder of how far apart they remain on fiscal policy even as both sides insist publicly that a bipartisan compromise is possible. … The Republican plan sets out to balance the budget in a decade and would cut spending by $4.6 trillion through 2023, in large part by rolling back many of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative accomplishments. It would repeal the health care overhaul of 2009, eliminate the subsidized insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion that make up the core of the law, and turn Medicare into a system of private insurance plans financed by federal vouchers (Peters and Weisman, 3/12).Los Angeles Times: Two Sides Still Far Apart In Budget ProposalsJust before Obama arrived for the latest installment of his Capitol Hill charm offensive, House Republicans, led by Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, unveiled an austere budget proposal that looks a lot like one they approved last year that Democrats quickly dismissed. Republicans revived plans to overhaul Medicare, slash the social safety net for the poor and bolster defense — all while lowering corporate and individual tax rates to no more than 25%. … Senate Democrats, meanwhile, sitting down to lunch with the president, offered a counterproposal that would raise nearly $2 trillion toward deficit reduction, with equal parts coming from taxes and spending cuts. But their plan does not balance the budget for the foreseeable future (Mascaro and Memoli, 3/12).The Wall Street Journal: GOP Budget Establishes Contrast With DemocratsRepublican budget standard-bearer Paul Ryan on Tuesday offered his party’s most provocative fiscal framework in years, calling for Medicare and Medicaid overhauls and new limits on defense spending not previously endorsed by party leaders. The White House criticized Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal Tuesday, calling it the “wrong course” to reduce the deficit. The House Republican plan would burden the middle class by slashing spending without raising taxes on upper-income households, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement (Paletta, 3/12).The Washington Post: Ryan Sets Stage For A Budget Duel, Targets Health-Care LawOn Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out a 10-year spending plan that would revive the most controversial prescriptions from last year’s GOP budget, including a partial privatization of Medicare and a repeal of the health-care law that is Obama’s signature policy achievement. Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) briefed her colleagues on a competing plan, to be released Wednesday, that would raise taxes by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade and spend nearly $100 billion on a new jobs package — ideas Republicans have firmly rejected (Montgomery, 3/12).NPR: Ryan Budget Proposal Echoes Obamacare While Rejecting ItHealth policy watchers might have been amused reading the latest blueprint for the federal budget, out today. That’s because once again House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan proposes a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans refer to as “Obamacare.” But this time, the proposal describes the changes it envisions to the Medicare program in very Obamacare-like terms (Rovner, 3/12).The Wall Street Journal: Democrats’ Budget Mixes Tax Increases, Spending CutsSenate Democrats will propose raising $975 billion in new taxes over the next decade in the budget they will release this week, setting up a sharp contrast with a House Republican plan to balance the budget over 10 years without new tax increases. … Democrats would lower domestic spending in part by saving $275 billion through changes to federal health-care programs that are smaller in scale than Republicans have proposed for Medicare and Medicaid (Peterson, 3/12).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Says He Won’t ‘Chase A Balanced Budget Just For The Sake Of Balance’President Barack Obama is criticizing a proposed House Republican budget, saying it would turn Medicare into a voucher-like program, cut deeply into programs such as Medicaid and increase tax payments by the middle class in order to achieve promised lower tax rates. Asked in an ABC World News interview Tuesday whether he will propose a budget that balances in 10 years, Obama said he would not (3/12).The New York  Times: Obama Discusses Entitlement Changes With Senate DemocratsMr. Obama expressed hope of reaching a “grand bargain” in the next few months, according to the senators at the meeting, and said he was optimistic about an immigration bill. The president arrived at 1:30 p.m. and stayed until 2:45 p.m., which was a half-hour longer than scheduled, largely because he was peppered with so many questions. While the tenor of the discussion was civil, several senators voiced concerns about cuts in popular programs like Medicare and Social Security, according to people at the meeting. “He clearly shares our concern that we’re not going to do this deal on the backs of needy Medicare and Social Security recipients,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut (Landler and Steinhauer, 3/12).Politico: President Obama To Democrats: Entitlements May Have To ChangeBut Obama acknowledged that Social Security and Medicare — big drivers of federal spending — wouldn’t survive without some changes to save money. Obama added that Republicans must first agree to more revenue hikes before the White House would concede on changes to entitlement programs, senators attending the luncheon said. Obama seemed to be opening the door a crack toward a way forward: if the White House is seen as willing to put entitlements on the table, some Republicans may reconsider their staunch opposition to new revenue (Gibson, 3/13).The Wall Street Journal: Obama, Democrats Discuss Safety-Net ProgramsPresident Barack Obama, meeting behind closed doors with Senate Democrats on Tuesday, indicated he was open to negotiating changes to entitlement programs, something that Republicans have demanded, according to lawmakers who attended the meeting. Mr. Obama met with Senate Democrats as he was making a new push with lawmakers to reach a broad deficit-reduction deal. Lawmakers emerging from the meeting said Mr. Obama had a wide-ranging conversation with Senate Democrats on sensitive party issues surrounding federal safety-net programs (Hughes, 3/12).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Will Nation’s Uninsured Get Lost In Long Application For Obama Health Care Plan? Applying for benefits under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could be as daunting as doing your taxes. The government’s draft application runs 15 pages for a three-person family. An outline of the online version has 21 steps, some with additional questions (3/13).NPR: Aging Homeless Face More Health Issues, Early DeathIf aging is not for sissies, that’s especially true if you’re homeless. You can be on your feet for hours, forced to sleep in the frigid cold, or seriously ill with no place to go. But increasingly, the nation’s homeless population is getting older. By some estimates, more than half of single homeless adults are 47 or older (Fessler, 3/13).The New York Times’ The Caucus: Arizona Governor Introduces Bill To Expand MedicaidIn her brief remarks, Ms. Brewer twice used the word “conservative” to describe Arizona’s Medicaid program, a managed-care system whose cost per patient is $680 less than the national average, and the bill she was endorsing, which would extend Medicaid coverage to anyone who made up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line (Santos, 3/12).The New York Times: Legal Battle Over Limits On Sugary Drinks May Outlast Mayor’s TenureBut if the case over the soda wars was shaping up as a landmark of the Bloomberg administration, the timing of the legal battle suggested that a definitive ruling was not likely to come before Mr. Bloomberg leaves office on Dec. 31 (Glaberson, 3/12).The Wall Street Journal: Health Merger in Idaho ChallengedThe Federal Trade Commission and Idaho’s attorney general have challenged the acquisition of a physician group by a Boise, Idaho-based hospital system, in the latest sign of antitrust regulators’ close focus on health-care mergers. The antitrust complaint, filed Tuesday under seal in U.S. District Court in Boise, says that the merger between St. Luke’s Health System and Saltzer Medical Group gave the combined entity an approximately 60% share of the primary-care physicians in Nampa, Idaho, the state’s second-largest city (Mathews, 3/12).  Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page. First Edition: March 13, 2013last_img read more

New Report Explores How Medicare Payments Impact Hospice Care

first_img The world’s biggest drugmakers face a new reality when it comes to U.S. pricing for their products as insurers use aggressive tactics to extract steep price discounts, even for the newest medications. Big Pharma executives acknowledged the depth of change this week during public presentations and interviews with Reuters at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference in San Francisco. Drugmakers have long relied on their ability to charge whatever they deemed appropriate in the U.S., the world’s most expensive health care system. (Beasley and Humer, 1/15) Reuters: Big Pharma Faces Up To New Price Pressure From Aggressive Insurers This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. In other marketplace news – New Report Explores How Medicare Payments Impact Hospice Care The Washington Post examines how profit motives sometimes shape end-of-life care. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: How The Drive For Profits Is Shaping End Of Life Care A federal watchdog has warned – yet again – that financial incentives in Medicare may be warping the ways that hospice care works in the U.S. In a report released Wednesday, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services warns that some hospices appear to have sought higher profits by focusing on patients living in assisted living facilities. (Whoriskey, 1/14) last_img read more

Get the ultimate Nintendo Switch bundle with Smash Bros Ultimate and £30

first_imgIn our 4.5 / 5 star review, Stuart Andrews backed this up, saying: “The Switch has become the console that gives you great games wherever you are, whatever the time and whomever it is you want to play with. You might not want it as your primary gaming system, but you’ll definitely want it as your second.” Related: Amazon Prime Day Nintendo Switch DealsMeanwhile, Smash Bros. Ultimate snagged a 4 / 5 star review by… well, me. I said: “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the most refined Smash yet. There’s a ridiculous amount of content here, local multiplayer is the best, but the other modes are a mixed bag.” In short. What you’re buying here is an incredible bundle for local gaming, letting your entire family get involved. The £30 can be used to pick up classic titles like Mario Odyssey or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but you could also use it to pick up a few more local multiplayer titles, getting the perfect buy both for families or a rowdy flat. Nintendo Switch & Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for just £299Nintendo Switch Neon with £30 eShop Credit & Super Smash Bros. Ultimate BundleThe ultimate hybrid console, paired with the ultimate party game. At this price, this Switch offer is too good to pass up.Currys PC World|Great price|Now £309.00View DealNow £309.00|Great price|Currys PC World Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editor So, what are you waiting for? The Nintendo Switch has already proved itself, so it’s a great time you finally get one for yourself.Want to stay up to date with Amazon Prime Day 2019? We’ve got you covered. For more amazing offers, follow us @TrustedDealsUKWe may earn a commission if you click a deal and buy an item. That’s why we want to make sure you’re well-informed and happy with your purchase, so that you’ll continue to rely on us for your buying advice needs. Dealscenter_img There’s a phenomenal deal for the Nintendo Switch right now, letting you pick up Nintendo’s hybrid console, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and even snag £30 of eShop credit too.If you’re happy with the objectively-the-best Neon Joy-Cons, there’s no reason not to pick up this deal. The Switch manages to impress pretty much everyone that touches it, and these deals are a great way to buy into the ecosystem. In our office, several staff members pick up a Switch every time a deal like this comes up, and it’s pretty much the best device for casual gaming on the market right now.  Nintendo Switch & Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for just £299Nintendo Switch Neon with £30 eShop Credit & Super Smash Bros. Ultimate BundleThe ultimate hybrid console, paired with the ultimate party game. At this price, this Switch offer is too good to pass up.Currys PC World|Great price|Now £309.00View DealNow £309.00|Great price|Currys PC World We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.last_img read more

The island Canada forgot On Campobello citizens are left exiles in their

first_img What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation More The island Canada forgot: On Campobello, citizens are left exiles in their own land With no ferry service, the only access to mainland Canada is through the United States “Pretty well everybody likes to talk to everybody else except for us,” she said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t want to be running the ferry last summer. We had to rebuild the whole ferry, and it just didn’t get done in time.”Silvaggio has heard, though not directly from Thompson, that the province is interested in extending the Campobello ferry’s operating season, starting earlier in the spring and running it later in the fall. (Thompson later confirmed that extending the ferry’s operating season was a logical interim measure and something the province will be pursuing.)“If that is the plan, we’re interested,” Silvaggio said.Extending the season would be a definite plus, but it is not a permanent fix, something Brent MacPherson, founder and chair of the Campobello Year Round Ferry Committee, a citizens group dedicated to its namesake task, wants to resolve.MacPherson is 62, semi-retired and married to a native islander, Victor Mitchell. The couple moved to Campobello a little more than a year ago, but recently pulled up stakes after Victor, a hairstylist, got sick of commuting across Maine to get to his four-day-a-week job at Pure Hair & Esthetics Studio in St. Andrews, N.B.A view from the Franklin Delano Bridge that connects Campobello Island with Lubec Maine. Kevin Bissett/The Canadian Press Facebook Featured Stories Reddit The 160-minute round trip was long, to be sure, but the border crossings are what rankled Mitchell, 66, most. As a hairstylist, he travels with a bag containing clippers, scissors, a blow dryer, combs, brushes and other related tools that U.S. border agents repeatedly questioned him about.Even more aggravating was when the pair traveled together as a couple. MacPherson believes, admittedly without any proof, that he and Victor were flagged at least “six to 10 times” by the U.S. simply because they were married men.Nonetheless, MacPherson loves Campobello, wishes he still lived there, and was instrumental in pushing for a federally funded feasibility study on a year-round ferry service.Phase one of the study was a survey completed in October. It revealed 81 per cent of island business owners feel that “crossing the border today is more difficult than five years ago, mostly owing to lengthier American border controls.”When you take all the bad things out, all the inconveniences, and just look out at a summer’s day, you see that living here is pretty tough to beatScott Henderson, a Campobello native Join the conversation → Twitter Sponsored By: Comment Kevin Bissett/The Canadian Press Emailcenter_img Share this storyThe island Canada forgot: On Campobello, citizens are left exiles in their own land Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn ← Previous Next → advertisement 19 Comments “The residents of Campobello must travel through a foreign country while transporting goods and services from one part of N.B. to another,” Richards said in an email to the Financial Post. “The regulations imposed and the new regulations enacted will make it almost impossible to conduct daily affairs.“Even the basic transportation of household goods can be scrutinized by border security working for the U.S. government; in theory and in practice, the people of the island have been stranded by a good degree of thoughtlessness.”Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale’s office in a statement to the Financial Post said the “traveller’s experience will be entirely unchanged” by the new bill.The anti-smuggling component of the bill, moreover, is intended to target items such as “stolen vehicles and materials that violate Canada’s anti-nuclear proliferation obligations,” the statement added. “To deal with these problems — which are not serious concerns with respect to Campobello Island shipments — C-21 gives Canada Border Services Agency officers the discretion to require reporting and to conduct examinations, as and where necessary.”The one thing Senator Richards, Mayor Smart, Victoria Matthews, Campobello’s Progressive Conservative MLA Greg Thompson and Liberal MP Karen Ludwig can unanimously agree upon is that, ultimately, the island needs a year-round ferry service binding it to mainland Canada.There used to be a 30-minute privately owned summer ferry service connecting Campobello to Deer Island, N.B., but the service stopped in 2017 after the boat sank and it has yet to resume operation. To get to mainland New Brunswick to buy, say, groceries, islanders must cross an international bridge, clear U.S. Customs, turn right, drive 85 kilometres through Maine and check-in with Canadian customs in St. Stephen, N.B. It also found that a majority of islanders purchase between “21 and 100 per cent of their goods in the U.S.” Three-quarters of the respondents said they would happily divert their dollars to Canadian businesses — a total pegged at about $3.1 million annually — were they linked by a year-round ferry.“There are strong regional economic benefits associated with a year-round ferry,” the survey concluded.It is a conclusion Scott Henderson can’t dispute. Henderson is 56, and a Campobello native. He runs a small construction company that relies on twice-weekly deliveries from a supplier in St. Stephen. Henderson makes the order, and the supplier deals with the border-related paperwork.Construction being construction, there is always something more he needs — a nut, bolt, light bulb, other bits and bobs — so he drives across the Franklin Delano Roosevelt bridge several times a week to Lubec Hardware on Water Street. He also gets gas and does his banking in Lubec, because Campobello doesn’t have a gas station or a bank.Henderson reckons he spends a $1,000 a month at the hardware store — the owner doesn’t take Canadian currency at par — money, being Canadian, he would prefer to spend in Canada.“I am 56 and I’ve lived here all of my days. I think everybody has thought about moving off the island at some point. Some of our elderly spend two or three days a week going back and forth to doctor’s appointments in Saint John,” he said.“Sometimes, living here, it just feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. But when you take all the bad things out, all the inconveniences, and just look out at a summer’s day, you see that living here is pretty tough to beat.”• Email: | Twitter: oconnorwrites Once back at the border, the islander must declare all the fruits and vegetables they have purchased to U.S. agents, and do the drive in reverse to get home, including passing (again) through Canadian customs. All told, one shopping trip equals four border crossings.But Matthews has more pressing needs than groceries. Her three-year-old son, Walter, has some learning challenges. He was assigned a caseworker in St. Stephen in October and a plan was made for the specialist to commute to Campobello four days a week to work with him. That plan hasn’t been initiated yet, because the Canadian specialist is waiting to receive a passport.“It is a little frustrating,” Matthews said.Islanders with plumbing problems speak of the impossibility of finding a mainland New Brunswick plumber willing to travel through Maine for a job. The same goes for electricians, septic bed maintenance companies, freshwater well-digging operations, washer and dryer repair technicians, major construction firms, furnace repairmen and veterinarians.To get treatment for an ailing cow, an island farmer, and there are a handful of them in a predominantly fishing community, requires a permit from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to import the cow into Maine for the drive north to Canada — which nobody bothers doing. What they will do, according to Campobello Mayor Stephen Smart, is arrange for a lobster boat to take the beast on a cross-water trip to the New Brunswick mainland.Island residents will also spend the majority of their income in the U.S. to avoid the multiple border crossings, the mayor said, regardless of the less-than-robust Canadian dollar.“If our community is going to survive and not become a ghost town or simply a summer residence for the Americans, whom we actually do like, we need an easy way for Canadians to come and visit us, as far as tourism goes, and a clear way for us to get to Canada without going through the U.S. border,” Smart said. “Some people here, they don’t leave the island, unless they can leave it by boat. We’re down to 800 people. Our high school graduating class is down to four kids. I see transportation as a critical barrier to growth.”Campobello’s day-to-day isolation from the rest of Canada irks Senator David Adams Richards, an award-winning New Brunswick author who sits in the Senate as an independent.Richards is an outspoken critic of Bill C-21, a new amendment to the Canada Customs Act intended to crack down on smuggling and facilitate the sharing of traveller information between U.S. and Canadian border officials. The act received Royal Assent before Christmas, and the senator suspects it will amplify the daily headaches islanders already experience in relation to the border.If our community is going to survive and not become a ghost town or simply a summer residence for the Americans, whom we actually do like, we need an easy way for Canadians to come and visit us, as far as tourism goes, and a clear way for us to get to Canada without going through the U.S. borderCampobello Mayor Stephen Smart Victoria Matthews can understand the attraction of Campobello Island, N.B., to an outsider. It can seem a magical place, with rocky coastlines, dramatic ocean vistas, big tides, bogs, lichen-shrouded forests, clams to dig for and wild blueberries to pick by the bucketful come summer.There are lighthouses, seabirds, breaching whales and, for history buffs, a star attraction: Roosevelt Campobello International Park, 1,134-hectares centred around the family cottage of former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor.There are also the locals, about 800 or so permanent residents, such as Matthews. They hold community fundraising suppers, watch out for their neighbours and welcome scads of mostly American cottagers and tourists who stream across the Roosevelt International Bridge from Lubec, Maine. A port in a storm: politics, competing interests leave Port of Halifax future in limbo ‘You are cut off, in a lot of ways’: Could apathy be the end for Canadian lighthouse keepers? ‘A total mess’: Railways ration space as congestion worsens, leaving commodity companies in the lurch But despite Campobello’s postcard-worthy attributes, the 23-year-old Matthews has pretty much had it with the place. It’s not that the island doesn’t feel like home. It’s that Campobello makes her feel as though she is a Canadian living in exile — physically, politically, practically, medically and economically separated from the rest of the country — which, more or less, she is since the bridge is the island’s only physical link to mainland North America and it’s not to Canada.“At this point, there is not a whole lot I can say that I love about Campobello,” Matthews said. “Like, for example, our grocery store, it is really limited in choice. The only meat is ground beef, chicken and steak, and the fresh food spoils real quick and there is no fish, well, once in a great while our convenience store will have some fish. But if I want to buy real food, I have to drive all the way to the superstore in Canada — and that means I have to drive through the States to get there.”There used to be a 30-minute privately owned summer ferry service connecting Campobello to Deer Island, N.B., but the service stopped in 2017 after the boat sank and it has yet to resume operation. To get to mainland New Brunswick to buy, say, groceries, islanders must cross an international bridge, clear U.S. Customs, turn right, drive 85 kilometres through Maine and check-in with Canadian customs in St. Stephen, N.B.After all that, they are ready to go shopping, but not, ideally, for oranges, mangoes, potatoes grown in Western Canada, rice in burlap bags, avocados, more than 12 plants or a new pet parakeet, all of which are banned by U.S. customs.The star attraction of Campobello Island is Roosevelt Campobello International Park, 1,134-hectares centred around the family cottage of former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor. East Quoddy Lighthouse, Campobello Island, N.B. The island famous for being the summer home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has no ferry service to the Canadian mainland causing hardship and inconvience for its population of 800.Rose Catalano Curtis/Trover/photo illustration National Post Mark Iype/Telegraph-Journal Joe O’Connor Thompson, a long time Conservative MP under Stephen Harper, has been bemoaning the “thickening of the border” since 9/11. But he said getting a ferry into action would take two to five years minimum, and that’s assuming all the players involved had already discussed how much it would cost and who was going to pay for it, a hypothetical dialogue that hasn’t happened yet.“I am a big fan of magic wands, but you don’t often get control of the wand,” Thompson said.Some lay the blame for the island’s isolation on East Coast Ferries Ltd., which operated the Deer Island-to-Campobello seasonal ferry loop until last season, when its ferry sank. The company has since built a new ferry, dubbed the Hopper III, but it is in bureaucratic limbo, awaiting a visit from Transport Canada officials to certify it safe for the coming summer.Widespread chatter ensued in the absence of the ferry service last summer, ensnaring islanders, the New Brunswick media and different levels of government. But for all the noise, nobody apparently bothered to call Leanne Silvaggio, manager of East Coast Ferries Ltd., to ask what was up with the boat.It wasn’t that we didn’t want to be running the ferry last summer. We had to rebuild the whole ferry, and it just didn’t get done in timeLeanne Silvaggio, manager of East Coast Ferries Ltd. January 23, 201910:38 AM ESTLast UpdatedJanuary 24, 20191:20 PM EST Filed under News Economy last_img read more

2019 Nissan LEAF Wins Australias Green Innovation Award

first_imgOne of the advantages, mentioned by the Drive Network, is the bi-directional charging capability (LEAF-to-Home), which makes us wonder whether it will be available for consumers in Australia.Andrew Maclean, editor in chief of the Drive Network said:“There are significant advantages in driving an electric car, but the Nissan LEAF takes those benefits beyond the driving experience with the ability to save money when it’s in the driveway. The Nissan LEAF-to-Home function makes the electric car more appealing than ever.”Nissan Australia managing director, Stephen Lester said:“Drive Car of the Year is one of the most important awards in the industry, and we are delighted with the recognition bestowed on new Nissan LEAF. The benefits of owning a LEAF are considerable. The high power and torque make it incredibly fun to drive, it’s inexpensive to run on a daily basis and the vehicle-to-grid benefits are ground breaking in what they offer owners. This is wonderful recognition for LEAF, Nissan, and a global team that put so much effort into the advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies included as standard equipment on this vehicle.”.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } Nissan To Electrify A Third Of Its Volume In Australia Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 21, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla Australia Will Add CCS Chargers To Support Model 3 Chargefox Launches First ABB Ultra-Fast Chargers In Australia Source: Electric Vehicle News Nissan LEAF is considered more than just an electric carThe second-generation Nissan LEAF has won its first major Australian automotive award – Car of the Year Green Innovation.According to, it recognized the LEAF for its abilities beyond being just an electric car.The Japanese flagship EV is scheduled for Australia in mid-2019, which means that first customers need to wait several more months to get one to try.News from Australialast_img read more

Spark Plug Manufacturer Develops SolidState Batteries For Moon Mission

first_img Germany Launches Funded Institution For Solid-State Battery Development The most desired advantage of the batteries with solid electrolyte is wide operating temperature window. Conventional lithium-ion batteries can’t withstand the extreme cold of -150 °C (approx. -240 °F), while solid-state can.Hopefully, the obstacles to commercializing solid-state batteries will be overcome soon, which would enable better electric cars.More about the project:“NGK SPARK PLUG and HAKUTO-R have also agreed to transport a trial design of NGK SPARK PLUG’s solid-state battery technology to the Moon in 2021. Through this technological cooperation, the two organizations will conduct the world’s first test of solid-state battery technology on the Moon.Testing solid-state battery technology on the Moon is aimed at supplying the burgeoning lunar industry with a stable energy storage solution. However, in order to conduct sustained lunar exploration, energy storage technology must be capable of withstanding extremely cold temperatures on the Moon, such as during the lunar night and in the permanently shadowed regions at the Moon’s poles.Today’s lithium-ion batteries consist of liquid electrolytes, which are not suitable for lunar conditions. As the Moon’s poles can reach -150 °C (approx. -240 °F) in temperature, the liquid would freeze, which would cause the expansion of volume and risk of damaging the internal structure of the battery. Therefore, a stable power supply in space and on the Moon is critical for exploration and further development.The current solution to keep electrolyte batteries above freezing temperatures has been to attach an electrical generator which generates heat using sources such as radioactive isotope which can be hazardous. In comparison, solid-state battery technology uses a solid material as an electrolyte, such as ceramic, and avoids the issue of freezing liquid. Further, the technology is expected to produce safer, more compact batteries compared with conventional lithium ion batteries.Currently, solid-state battery technology is still an emerging technology, not yet on the market for practical use, and there are several types under development. NGK SPARK PLUG has been pursuing research and development on “oxide-based ceramic electrolyte” battery technology with a focus on providing a wider operating temperature range and higher safety than other types. The choice of oxide eliminates the risk of combustion or hazardous gas leakage, and the company leverages its ceramics expertise in material and processing to improve the performance of its solid-state battery material.NGK SPARK PLUG’s specialty in making their batteries small and compact is a key feature for future spacecraft to install the technology in a limited space. At the same time, NGK SPARK PLUG has developed a unique capability of non-sintering the oxide-based electrolytes, instead of the common practice of sintering (densification of oxide electrolyte using a high temperature treatment). This means NGK SPARK PLUG will be able to eventually make the batteries larger for multiple applications.Shinichi Odo, President & CEO, NGK SPARK PLUG: “We are very excited to participate as a corporate partner and a payload provider for HAKUTO-R’s challenge to embody our corporate message “IGNITE YOUR SPIRIT”. We will seek the possibilities of all-solid-state batteries and contribute to space development.”Takeshi Hakamada, Founder & CEO, ispace: “Stable power supply will be the most critical component to enable industry to take to the Moon. Ultimately, this means NGK SPARK PLUG’s contributions will facilitate the expansion of human presence into outer space.”” 24M’s Dual Electrolyte System To Enable 350 Wh/kg Batteries Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 5, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Temperature flexibility of next-generation batteries impressSolid-state batteries are the real deal, although those promising batteries with greater performance and high energy density to conventional lithium-ion are not yet ready for series-production and automotive applications.Surprising reinforcement in development comes from Japanese spark plugs manufacturer NGK SPARK PLUG CO., which developed solid-state batteries and intends to use it – together with ispace – in a new lunar expedition in 2021 described as world’s first commercial lunar exploration program “HAKUTO – R”.See Alsocenter_img Source: Electric Vehicle News Video: Fisker Talks EMotion, Solid State Batteries, Electric SUV Source: iSpace via Green Car Congresslast_img read more

Mack Trucks launches electric refuse vehicle

first_imgMack Senior VP Jonathan Randall said, “Built on our decades of experience in powertrain innovation, the electric LR delivers a powerful yet quiet, zero-emission solution designed to tackle one of the most demanding applications in one of the largest cities in the world.” Source: Mack Trucks Mack Trucks has unveiled a demonstration model of an electrified version of the company’s refuse truck. The Mack LR EV is powered by two 130 kW motors that produce a combined 370 kW of total peak power, 260 kW of continuous power, and 4,051 lb-ft of torque.The electric Mack LR is equipped with four Li-ion batteries charged through a 150 kW system. All of the vehicle’s accessories are electrically driven through 12, 24 and 600 V circuits.The demo model will begin real-world testing in 2020 with the New York City Department of Sanitation. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazinelast_img read more

EV battery production Are you ready for the surge

first_img Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on July 5, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Sponsored by Rockwell AutomationMeeting annual demand for tens of millions of batteries will require a long-term connected production strategyBy: Bill Sarver, senior industry consultant for global automotive and tire, Rockwell Automation Plenty of factors are driving electric-vehiclesales – gas prices, new laws, eco-minded consumers.But the biggest influence on sales might be rightunder the hood of the vehicle itself: the battery. It’s simple cause and effect. Batteries make up one-third of the cost of an electric vehicle. As their price goes down, so does overall vehicle cost. In fact, falling battery prices could make electric vehicles cheaper than conventional vehicles in just three years.This will soon create demand for tens of millionsof new electric-vehicle batteries annually. And if you want to be able to takeadvantage of this tremendous opportunity, you need a long-term strategy to createhighly efficient connected operations.The Goal: Flexible,Nimble ProductionMany manufacturers have gotten by with disconnectedinformation systems in the enterprise and in their facilities. This approach mayhave worked up to now, but it won’t for much longer. What has been a low-volume industry to date is now poisedto explode. In the massive, digitalized gigafactory of the future, you will needto be able to produce multiple battery types efficiently and in large volumes.And you will need to adjust quickly as industry needs and battery technologieschange. It will be crucial that you be able to change yourproduction lines rapidly, while still meeting yield and quality requirements.That’s why highly connected and automated operations are essential.However, even if you know the value of suchoperations, the ROI may be difficult to draw up to help justify the effort. Or,you may not know how to implement the new technology required within yourcurrent system. Fortunately, there are multiple ways that you can address thesechallenges. Build YourFoundationMoving to high-performance operations can happen inphases rather than all at once. Start by implementing at a pace and scale that’sright for today. Then, you can scale up your operations as you prove ROI andyour production needs change.A manufacturing execution system (MES) creates thefoundation on which you can build modern battery operations. It allows you tointegrate your plant-level control systems and enterprise-level business systemsso you can execute and track orders across your enterprise. It also gives youadditional context to turn production data into actionable information.MES is relatively new to battery production, but itcan deliver the same productivity and efficiency results that automotiveoperations have been realizing for years.For example, a leading tier-one automotive supplierneeded to boost productivity and improve flexibility in one of its facilitiesto meet customer demand – the same challenges that battery makers face. Thecompany turned to an MES and other software to better leverage its productiondata and help workers make more informed decisions. Using the new technology, the facility was able to executemore than 11.5 million data collection transactions daily to monitorproduction, inventory and more. This helped the facility increase OEE andproductivity by 50 percent. The facility also reduced project development timefrom six to three months, a big advantage in a competitive market.Hone in onProduction ChallengesYou can start with a full-scale MES solution thatdeploys across your enterprise. But fit-for-purpose MES applications might be abetter option, because they can be deployed individually and scaled up as partof a phased implementation approach. MES applications help you address specificchallenges in your operations. This could include quality, machine performanceand genealogy. For example, an MES application can alert you whena machine’s processes go outside its prescribed limits when performing qualitychecks. This can help you respond to issues in real time, before they turn intoquality issues. An MES application can also give you full batterytraceability throughout your production process, generating its genealogyquickly and easily. This kind of transparency can help you deliver batterieswith a consistent level of quality and give customers greater peace of mindthat batteries are safe for use. You can implement MES applications at the machineor work-area level. And over time, you can scale them up to a larger MES systemthat gives you a single version of truth across all your processes. This cangive you a clear picture of production to help you optimize your processes,improve throughput, and create more standardized and repeatable processes.Get ConnectedA facility that can reliably produce batteries inhigh volumes and keep up with technology changes must be digitized using Industry4.0 concepts. For example, being able to connect your operations back tomaterial sources – like mines – can help you improve your cost efficiency andquality of battery production.But connectivity is only the start. The true valueof a digitalized operation is in your data. And you should be thinking aboutthe role of data and analytics in your future operations now.Start by identifying the data that your employeeswill need to manage production. Next, design those requirements into your facility.Then you can create strategies to turn your data into actionable informationthat can drive better decisions all the way from the plant floor to theboardroom.An industry partner with the right mix of industryexperience and technical know-how can help you through this critical process. They can help you create connected operations thatsupport both your short-term needs and long-term vision. They can help youunderstand what data you have today and what you’ll need in the future to meetyour business goals. And they can work with you to architect informationsystems and develop standards for your connected equipment. Operate WithIntentA structured plan is paramount to your long-term production strategy. It can help you connect and build your systems with intention and clear strategy, rather than adding systems as you go. And it can help make sure you have the scalability and flexibility that you need in your operations to grow and evolve in tandem with the industry. Learn more from Rockwell Automation: Source: Electric Vehicles Magazinelast_img read more

FCPA Enforcement Actions Against Foreign Companies From OECD Convention Peer Countries

first_img Free 90 Minute 2017 FCPA Year In Review Video A summary of every corporate enforcement action; notable statistics and issues to consider; compliance take-away points; and enforcement agency and related developments. Click below to view the engaging video tutorial. As highlighted in this post, like prior years (see here) much of the largeness of 2017 FCPA enforcement resulted from corporate enforcement actions against foreign companies.Specifically, of the 13 corporate enforcement actions from 2017, 5 (approximately 40%) were against foreign companies (based in many instances on mere listing of securities on U.S. markets and in a few instances on sparse allegations of a U.S. nexus in furtherance of an alleged bribery scheme). Even more dramatic, of the net $1.13 billion FCPA settlement amounts from 2017 corporate enforcement actions, approximately 90% of this number was from enforcement actions against foreign companies.With one exception (Keppel Offshore – Singapore), all of the foreign companies that resolved 2017 FCPA enforcement actions were from peer OECD Convention countries. The question should thus be asked whether these FCPA enforcement actions represented a proper use of the FCPA – at least from a policy standpoint.In other words, what legitimate U.S. law enforcement interests are implicated when for example:A Chilean company like SQM interacts with Chilean officials;A U.K. company like Rolls-Royce interacts with alleged officials in Thailand, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Angola and Iraq;A Swedish company like Telia interacts with Uzebekistan officials; orA Dutch company like SBM Offshore interacts with alleged officials in Brazil, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Iraq?All of these 2017 FCPA enforcement actions were against companies headquartered in countries that, like the U.S., are parties to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (OECD Convention).In other words, Chile, the U.K., Sweden, and the Netherlands are all “peer” countries with mature FCPA-like laws governing the conduct of their companies coupled with reputable legal systems to prosecute such offenses.Given this reality, as well as the specific provision in Article 4 of OECD Convention that “when more than one Party has jurisdiction over an alleged offence described in this Convention, the Parties involved shall, at the request of one of them, consult with a view to determining the most appropriate jurisdiction for prosecution,” can it truly be said that the U.S. was an appropriate jurisdiction to prosecute certain foreign companies for alleged interactions with non-U.S. officials?As highlighted in this prior post, in 2017 DOJ officials stated that they “are working harder than ever to coordinate with global partners and avoid what some have termed “piling on” in attendant global resolutions.” As stated by Sandra Moser (Principal Deputy Chief, Fraud Section, DOJ):“Coordination with foreign countries will continue, and that number of coordinated resolutions will grow, including with new countries.  This is important for several reasons.  First and foremost, it is fair to companies.  It encourages companies to cooperate across the board, because we understand that, at the end of a case, money paid out is derived from one pie.  A resolving company should not have piled upon it duplicative fines via separate resolutions that do not credit one another.  Although the “piling on” problem is not entirely solved by doing this (other countries may certainly try to reach additional resolutions), our efforts do mitigate this problem, and we are trying to do better in this regard.”Granted, in most of the enforcement actions highlighted above there were credits or offsets in terms of U.S. FCPA settlement amounts for related foreign law enforcement actions. However, the bigger question is whether the above examples should have been instances in which the U.S. simply backed away because of the related foreign law enforcement action?For a prior post posing the same general question see here ” “non-U.S. efforts to prosecute overseas bribery are hampered by the absence of clear, credible statements from U.S. prosecutors that they will desist from prosecuting if a local prosecutor does so in good faith” as well as FCPA Flash podcasts here (Bruce Yannet – Debevoise & Plimpton), here Robert Luskin (Paul Hastings) and here David Bitkower (Jenner and Block and former DOJ Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division).In the minds of some, FCPA enforcement has become a convenient cash cow for the U.S. government. The above enforcement actions in 2017 against foreign companies, which resulted in approximately $1 billion flowing into the U.S. treasury, only amplify these concerns.From a historical perspective, it is worth noting that part of the FCPA reform discussion in the 1980’s were bills – introduced by Democrats – seeking to waive the FCPA’s provisions “in the case of any country which the Attorney General has certified to have (1) effective bribery or corruption statutes; and (2) an established record of aggressive enforcement of such statutes.” (See S. 1797, Competitive America Trade Reform Act of 1985, introduced on October 29, 1985 by Senator Gary Hart (D-CO) and H.R. 3813, Competitive America Trade Reform Act of 1985, introduced on November 21, 1985 by Representative Vic Fazio (D-CA)).While waiving the FCPA’s provisions – as those bills sought to do – does not seem like a good idea, perhaps the time has come with the maturity of the OECD Convention – for U.S. enforcement agencies to adopt a policy of not bringing FCPA enforcement actions against foreign companies from peer OECD Convention countries. 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The Charitable Donation That Did Not Occur

first_imgAfter the introductory comments in italics, the remainder of this post is from Corporate Counsel at a well-known U.S. based publicly traded company.Do Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions based on foreign charitable donations (such as Schering-Plough, Nu Skin Enterprises and several others that include such allegations) represent a net positive or net negative? The FCPA Guidance contains the unobjectionable statement that companies “cannot use the pretense of charitable contributions as a way to funnel bribes to government officials.” However, seldom are the circumstances as black and white as the government portrays and query whether business organizations, because of this guidance and because of the above enforcement actions involving charitable donations, have become excessively risk averse and have stopped contributing to humanitarian causes or otherwise pulled back from supporting communities or institutions in need. According to the below guest post, the answer is yes and query whether the world is a better place because of this.*****Most people can agree that preventing corruption is a good thing, and that vigorous enforcement of the FCPA can help in advancing this compelling public policy aim. But can it go too far? Can vigorous enforcement create an environment that not only limits corruption but that also prevents businesses from acting altruistically, and potentially improving communities and lives, because of risk aversion made necessary by that enforcement?Here is a real world example, with names and locations omitted. Take the case of my company – US-based company that trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. My company operates principally in the US, but has an operational footprint that includes North America, Latin America, and Asia. As such, my company is aware that its operations implicate FCPA risk. Consistent with enterprise risk-ranking methodology, and on the advice of external vendors specializing in FCPA compliance, my company categorizes vendor and third-party relationships based on degree of risk (whether low, medium, or high). My company further specifies that vendor and third-party relationships need to be managed in accordance with guidelines that are aligned to risk category. These guidelines run from sanctions/watch-list screenings, to contractual language requirements, enhanced due diligence, written certifications, training, and billing requirements. All of which looks objectively reasonable and which would seem to protect the company from FCPA risks while also providing operational flexibility.But, let’s look at a situation where one of my company’s units operating in a high-risk jurisdiction was interested in making a modest charitable donation to a worthy humanitarian organization. Consistent with the aforementioned guidelines, the company considers foreign charities to be high risk relationships. Why? Because of the expansive way in which the “anything of value” element has been interpreted and enforced. We know that prosecuting authorities are likely to view foreign charitable contributions as a possible method for bribery. Accordingly, in order to mitigate against the risk of having a charitable donation being seen as corrupt, a prudent actor should follow the same steps for these relationships as it would for other high-risk relationships. In my company’s case, the steps for vetting a high-risk relationship involve a strenuous due diligence requirement consisting of outsourced screening and internal review with follow up. All of this costs time and money.Returning to our example, let’s assume that the proposed donation is of surplus cleaning and office supplies which have little value to the company, but which might be assessed objectively at $500 USD. In order to follow protocol, however, the steps for vetting the charitable organization implicate many thousands of dollars in due diligence fees, and several hours of employee time. So what should my company do? Assume that there is no risk in making the donation and throw caution to the wind? Or should my company insist on following protocol thereby making the process of vetting and documenting the relationship so costly so as to remove any incentive for making the donation in the first place?Is there a right answer? For my company, the business sponsors decided that making the donation was not worth the expenses of time and effort that would have been required to comply with the applicable compliance policies. In other words, the juice was simply not worth the squeeze.As a result, a few things happened:A needy organization was deprived of useful goods and equipment;My company was deprived of the opportunity to act altruistically and to gain good will in the local community;Trust between the company’s internal groups was affected because it was difficult for compliance to articulate the need to follow controls and procedures without seeming unreasonable.Looked at another way, everyone lost out.Is this the type of situation that the FCPA was enacted to address? It is hard to imagine that it was, or that a compelling argument can be advanced that preventing nominal value charitable donations is aligned with US foreign policy interests. But, in light of aggressive enforcement theories, this is the effect that the FCPA can have. Companies become risk-averse to the point that they avoid efforts with the potential to benefit all parties involved. Learn More & Register FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available.last_img read more

WDFW Offering Emergency InStream Work PermitsGreater Wenatchee Sunrise Lions honor Law EnforcementHoran

first_imgWashington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials said today that emergency permits are available to public and private landowners who need to conduct in-stream work to protect their properties from high water throughout eastern Washington.Higher-than-normal snow pack last winter and unseasonably warm weather this spring have caused flooding and the need for in-stream work to protect or repair houses, barns, fences, roads, bridges, culverts, and other property.Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on May 11 across eastern Washington, including three counties – Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens – that are experiencing active flooding and another 17 counties he said are threatened with flooding in the near future.State law requires WDFW to review all planned work that could disturb the bed or natural flow of streams and rivers before the department issues a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit, designed to ensure the work doesn’t harm fish or fish habitat.The HPA review process can take up to 45 days. During flood emergencies, however, the permits can be issued as quickly as the same day if there is an immediate threat to people, property, or the environment.“We have begun issuing emergency permits in locations threatened by high water flows, and we will continue to work quickly with anyone who needs help in these conditions,” said Margen Carlson, WDFW Habitat Program deputy assistant director. “Our goal is to enable people to protect their properties while also safeguarding fish and their habitat.”Those who need an HPA can contact a local WDFW habitat biologist or WDFW regional office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, excluding holidays. Contact information is available at People who need help outside of normal business hours may call the emergency HPA hotline at 360-902-2537.last_img read more

The impact of sleep apnea is worse for women shows study

first_img Source: May 9 2018The statistics are startling. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 26 percent of adults ages 30 to 70 have sleep apnea.Left untreated, its sleep-disturbing effects can lead to life-threatening cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation and stroke. And for women, the impact can be even more severe.Studies led by UCLA School of Nursing professor Paul Macey have repeatedly shown that there are significant differences between the impacts of sleep apnea on men and women. While men are more likely to have sleep apnea, women with sleep apnea have a higher degree of brain injury.Related StoriesSleep quality linked to memory problems in new studySleep decline in one’s 50s, 60s increases risk of Alzheimer’s diseaseUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleep”Because women report different symptoms, they tend to be misdiagnosed,” Macey said. “Early detection and treatment is the best way to protect against damage to the brain and other organs.”In his most recent study, Macey and colleagues examined medical records and brain scans of a group of patients who were diagnosed with sleep apnea and a group without sleep apnea. Macey found several apparent connections between thinning of the brain’s cerebral cortex and apnea symptoms. The researchers also found distinct changes in brain structures and cognitive symptoms that differed between men and women. For example, in the frontal lobe, which controls cognitive skills and motor function, more regions appear thinner in women with apnea than men or in the group of patients without sleep apnea. That difference might explain the impact on memory and other mental processes among women with the disorder, the researcher said.The study continues to illustrate the significant clinical differences between men and women with sleep apnea, and points to the need for different treatment approaches to address these varied symptoms. The higher degree of brain injury in women may underlie their more common cognitive problems compared with men, while thinning associated with both men and women who have sleep apnea may be behind the disordered breathing seen between both, the researchers said. It is not clear whether these physical brain changes precede the sleep apnea disorder, or worsen sleep apnea’s symptoms as the disorder progresses.Each study “is like uncovering another piece of what might be going on,” Macey says.last_img read more

Study finds rise in multidrug resistant infections among US children

first_img Source: May 14 2018Antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii infections, one of the most common hospital-acquired infections in children across the United States, are on the rise, according to results of a recent study published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society on March 22.”Acinetobacter are bacteria known to cause serious infections and notoriously difficult to treat because of growing antibiotic resistance. The bacteria survive for long periods in the environment,” said study primary author Dr. Latania Logan, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor of pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center.The research examined national and regional trends of antibiotic resistance in clinical specimens over a 13-year period. The data was taken from The Surveillance Network Database, a network of 300 laboratories distributed throughout the U.S. and is compiled by the Centers for Disease Dynamics Economics and Policy in Washington, D.C.Children with chronic conditions are at higher risk of infectionBecause A. baumannii is an infection caused by bacteria that takes advantage of patients with compromised immune systems, children with a chronic condition are at a higher risk of infections of the lung, urinary tract, or other sites after surgery, intubation, trauma, or catheterization.The amount of A. baumannii samples in infected children that were resistant to the antibiotics cephalosporin and carbapenem increased between 1999 and 2012 overall. However, the authors of the study noted a slight decline after a peak in 2008. Antibiotic stewardship guidelines released in 2007 or infection control guidance specifically designed to combat multi-drug resistant A. baumannii in health care settings may have been related to the decrease.Related StoriesNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careInitiating dialysis at higher level of kidney function linked to lower patient survivalRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymoma”While we are encouraged by the slight downtrend in resistance after 2008, there is still an overall increase in these infections. Further studies are needed to assess the most effective prevention strategies in children,” Logan said.’A perfect storm’ of drug resistant infectionsA. baumannii has numerous ways that protect it from antibiotics. The bacteria are able to protect themselves by using genetic adaptations that support survival in dry, harsh environments, and additionally have in place several mechanisms to render antibiotics ineffective. In this situation, “a perfect storm” results, Logan said. As a result, highly resistant A. baumannii infections are increasingly being reported worldwide.The study results show that the number of cephalosporin resistant A baumannii increased from 13.2 percent of infections in 1999 to 23.4 percent in 2012, whereas the number of carbapenem resistant A baumannii increased from 0.6 percent in 1999 to 6.1 percent in 2012. From 1999 to 2012, the proportion of cephalosporin resistant and carbapenem resistant bacteria among all A baumannii increased each year by 3 percent and 8 percent, respectively After 2008, a downward trend was observed, but resistance remained higher than the 1999 baseline.”It is encouraging to see the downtrend after 2008, but we need to continue to monitor,” said the study co-author Dr. Sumanth Gandra, a resident scholar in the Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, an independent research initiative based in Washington, DC and New Delhi, India.last_img read more

Novel program offers new options for adult congenital heart patients

first_img Source: Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Aug 29 2018Experts at the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute are forging new ground in the development of a first-of-its-kind program aimed at adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD).The novel program in Advanced Congenital Cardiac Therapies (ACCT) allows for patients to be evaluated for heart transplantations and ventricular assist devices (VAD) -; a foreign concept to Michael Sharpe, 39, who received a new lease on life in May.Diagnosed at 9 months old with tetralogy of Fallot, Sharpe had resigned himself to the lifelong condition caused by the combination of four heart defects present at birth. He had already undergone the routine surgeries and procedures to improve the oxygen-poor blood flow out of his heart to the rest of his body.”I did not know that transplant was an option for congenital heart patients,” said Sharpe. “My parents were with me when the doctors mentioned it and they were shocked too.”This has allowed me the incredible option to watch my son grow up. Evan is my motivator. When they told me that I was in heart failure, the thought of not seeing him grow up hit me the most.”I know people don’t live very long in heart failure and I kept thinking, ‘I’m getting maybe two to five more years.’ But now? I have 20, 30-plus years. That’s the absolute best part.”Sharpe is one of three patients with ACHD transplanted at Vanderbilt within the last year. An additional three patients are currently listed for heart transplant and another three have undergone VAD implants.More than 30 patients have been evaluated for advanced therapies since the launch of the program, according to Jonathan Menachem, MD, assistant professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt.The program’s referral volume continues to grow each week, said Menachem, director of ACCT at Vanderbilt.”To my knowledge, we are the only place in the country that has dedicated resources to develop a program and collaborative network focused on providing advanced heart failure therapies to ACHD patients,” said Menachem. “This is possible at a place like Vanderbilt because of the strengths of the multitude of specialists required to care for complex patients.”Menachem has spent time at national conferences presenting evidence on the topic of providing dedicated programming for ACHD patients as well as collaborating and networking with medical teams locally, regionally and nationally.”Adult congenital heart is the fastest growing segment in cardiology, as more than 85 percent of children born with congenital heart defects survive to adulthood,” said Ben Frischhertz, MD, assistant professor of Medicine. “Furthermore, heart failure is the No. 1 cause of death in ACHD, and yet these patients are less likely to undergo transplant or have a VAD implanted.”Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaRNA-binding protein SRSF3 appears to be key factor for proper heart contraction, survivalImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsMenachem hopes that as the field moves forward, more centers will offer this service.”But it is going to take a bit for health care to catch up, especially as more and more congenital heart patients make it into adulthood. We have more survivors and not enough providers,” said Menachem.Menachem said Vanderbilt, as a high-volume heart transplant center, is poised to be a leader in the area. His team recently published data in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation demonstrating that ACHD patients benefit from undergoing transplantation at high-volume centers.”And, in ACHD patients who survive the first year post transplant, their outcomes are at least equivalent if not better than non-congenital patients who undergo transplantation,” said Menachem. “This is a vast improvement from years ago when most ACHD patients were considered too high risk for transplant.”Part of ACCT’s goal is to introduce the idea of heart transplantation and VAD earlier in a patient’s treatment plan. In the past, patients presented too late and were too sick to be considered for transplant.Under the new design, patients will be plugged in sooner and medical teams will be better prepared about the appropriate timing for an advanced therapy.Sharpe was 38 before he heard about the prospect of transplantation and counts himself among the lucky ones.In late 2017, he was off shore working as a paramedic on an oil platform when he went into heart failure. Once stabilized, he returned to Vanderbilt to see Frischhertz, who connected him with Menachem.”Congenital heart patients decline rapidly,” said Sharpe. “It’s like jumping off the cliff instead of going downhill when we start having symptoms.”Now on the mend, Sharpe can tell a stark difference since receiving his new heart.During his rehabilitation session, it’s not his heart telling him to stop or slow down, it’s fatigue in his legs.”My son keeps telling me, ‘Daddy you got a new heart and you might be able to keep up with me, but I’m still going to beat you when we race.'”Sharpe said he is looking forward to the challenge.last_img read more

Study reveals prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 18 2018A new study from the University of Iowa finds that type 2 diabetes remains overwhelmingly the most common type of diabetes diagnosed in American adults who have the disease.The study found that 8.5 percent of American adults have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and .5 percent with type 1 diabetes. Among those who are diagnosed with diabetes, 91.2 percent have type 2 diabetes and 5.6 percent have type 1 diabetes. The study was published this month in the prestigious British Medical Journal.Although previous survey studies have reported the rate of diabetes in the United States, the rates by diabetes subtypes–type 1 , type 2, or other type–were virtually unknown. Study lead author Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health, says the results are important because it allows health care professionals and policy makers to better allocate resources to treat each type of the disease.”These two types of diabetes differ not only by their causes, but also by their clinical manifestations and treatment strategies,” he says. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that typically develops in childhood. Patients with type 1 diabetes also have problems in producing insulin, and therefore they require insulin treatment for survival.Type 2 diabetes mostly develops in adulthood and is caused by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors such as obesity, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Type 2 diabetes is treated with lifestyle change, medication, and/or insulin.”Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle changes, but so far, there is no established method for preventing type 1 diabetes”, Bao says.Related StoriesDiabetes patients experiencing empathy from PCPs have beneficial long-term clinical outcomesSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsMothers with gestational diabetes transferring harmful ‘forever chemicals’ to their fetusThe study is based on data gathered by the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which is conducted annually by survey-takers who visit peoples’ homes and ask them about their health. Bao says the NHIS is the first and only national health survey that attempts to determine how many adults have each type of diabetes. Since 2016, survey takers started to ask respondents who had been diagnosed with diabetes if they had type 1, type 2, or other type.Bao acknowledges that the present study has a limitation in that it relies on self-reported data from respondents, so it could be subject to reporting errors. However, he says the results provide a benchmark for future surveys to better determine the prevalence of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes in adults. In addition, this study only has data on diagnosed diabetes and could not determine the rate of undiagnosed diabetes.Bao emphasizes the need to continue monitoring the dynamic changes of these two types of diabetes in American population. He expects more Americans to report type 2 diabetes as a result of the ongoing obesity epidemic. But he also wouldn’t be surprised if more adults have type 1 diabetes because of improved treatments that keep patients alive longer.”Type 1 diabetes used to be lethal for children years ago and so children who had the disease had shorter lifespans,” he says. “Now, treatment has been improved to be so effective that a lot of children will survive well into adulthood.”last_img read more

Better power lines would help US supercharge renewable energy study suggests

first_imgBut some observers wonder whether the U.S. power grid can rise to the renewables challenge. The grid is divided into several regional grids or “interconnections,” which contain smaller subdivisions. Because regions experience both sunless and windless periods, energy planners and experts have long believed that a wind- and solar-dominated grid would need to store some power for later use. The problem is that large-scale storage technologies haven’t been commercially realistic.Alex MacDonald, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C., researcher, was familiar with that problem. But he realized that researchers hadn’t explored all the potential solutions. For instance, meteorological data suggest that wind is always blowing somewhere in the United States, MacDonald says. So, although renewable energy output might be intermittent on a regional scale, it would have a more constant flow at a national scale. MacDonald wondered whether the U.S. grid might be able to overcome intermittency problems if it added high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission lines—which suffer less energy loss than do traditional alternating-current transmission lines—to connect regional grids, so that power could be moved to where it was needed.MacDonald, Christopher Clack of NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and other colleagues wanted to test this idea. They built a computer model to analyze different configurations of a weblike network of interregional HVDC lines plus renewable energy installations. The model divides the United States into a grid of 152,000 squares that are assigned to regional grids. In order for the program to evaluate the potential for solar and wind power in each square, the researchers inputted data on sunlight and wind speeds between 2006 and 2008 (but the program excluded areas, such as national parks and mountain slopes, that typically can’t host windmills or solar panels). Then, using forecasts for power prices and demand, the program could calculate where it would be economical to build wind and solar projects, and move renewable power from region to region. Finally, the researchers told their program to find the lowest-cost way to achieve certain emissions cuts while still meeting future power demand.By 2030, with HVDC lines meeting at 32 nodes between regional grids, the United States could add enough wind and solar power to cut power sector emissions by up to 80% from 1990 levels, the researchers concluded. And they calculated that power prices would be lower, on average, than a business-as-usual scenario. And “these results are the minimum of what we could get to,” MacDonald tells ScienceInsider, explaining that the researchers used very cautious assumptions.Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, energy researcher Jonathan Koomey, who wasn’t involved in the work, agrees that the NOAA team’s assumptions are generally cautious. U.S. power demand may rise less than the team’s projections, for instance, as a result of new energy-efficiency measures. And the team gets its rosy results even though it didn’t add in the health and environmental costs of the pollution created by burning fossil fuels. But Koomey also offers major caveat: The study doesn’t consider the potential for electricity demand to rise more than expected should electric vehicles catch on, he notes. If that happened, the United States would need more renewable projects to achieve the same emissions cuts.The bigger hurdle to realizing the study’s vision of a national grid, however, may be persuading policymakers, utilities investors, and landowners that it’s a good idea, says Susan Tierney, a former U.S. assistant secretary of energy under President Clinton who’s currently an energy consultant at the Analysis Group in Boston. “The problem is not rooted in technology, but rather in the way that the U.S. power system is organized legally, politically, economically, and culturally,” she says. Utilities and politicians are sometimes loath to depend on distant power producers, for example, and communities often fight the construction of large power lines.Koomey notes that the researchers aren’t necessarily advocating a totally storage-free, national system or trying to bash storage technology. “They’re just saying, ‘Let’s just explore a system without storage and see if it’s possible.’” The answer, he says, is that it’s more possible than many people might think. Click to view the privacy policy. 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But a study out today suggests that the United States could, at least in theory, use new high-voltage power lines to move renewable power across the nation, and essentially eliminate the need to add new storage capacity.This improved national grid, based on existing technologies, could enable utilities to cut power-sector carbon dioxide emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2030 without boosting power prices, researchers report today in Nature Climate Change. The findings come on the heels of the Paris climate agreement, in which the United States pledged to cut its national emissions by up to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. About 40% of U.S. emissions come from the power sector, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released rules that task states with reducing power-sector emissions. States can choose from a menu of strategies, EPA says, such as boosting renewable energy use. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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How your mind protects you against hallucinations

first_img More than 300 years ago, the philosopher René Descartes asked a disturbing question: If our senses can’t always be trusted, how can we separate illusion from reality? We’re able to do so, a new study suggests, because our brain keeps tabs on reality by constantly questioning its own past expectations and beliefs. Hallucinations occur when this internal fact-checking fails, a finding that could point toward better treatments for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.The study is “very elegant,” and an important step toward identifying the brain regions that produce hallucinations—and keep them in check, says Georg Northoff, a neuroscientist at the University of Ottawa who was not involved with the work.We don’t always perceive the world as we see—or hear—it. In an experiment devised at Yale University in the 1890s, for example, researchers repeatedly showed volunteers an image paired with a tone. When the scientists stopped playing the tone, participants still “heard” it when the image appeared. A similar auditory hallucination occurs in daily life: when you think you hear your cellphone ring or buzz, only to find it’s turned off. “People come to expect the sound so much that the brain hears it for them,” says Albert Powers, a psychiatrist at Yale University and an author of the new study. By Emily UnderwoodAug. 10, 2017 , 2:00 PM Email 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 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country How your mind protects you against hallucinations These examples suggest hallucinations arise when the brain gives more weight to its expectations and beliefs about the world than to the sensory evidence it receives, says study author and Yale psychiatrist Philip Corlett. To test that idea, he, Powers, and colleagues decided to apply a version of the 1890s experiment to four different groups: healthy people, people with psychosis who don’t hear voices, people with schizophrenia (a subtype of psychosis) who do, and people—such as self-described psychics—who regularly hear voices but don’t find them disturbing.The researchers trained everyone to associate a checkerboard image with a 1-kilohertz, 1-second-long tone. As the team changed the intensity of the tone and sometimes tuned it out entirely, participants were asked to press a button when they heard it, increasing or decreasing pressure to indicate their level of confidence. Using magnetic resonance imaging scanners, the researchers captured a snapshot of the participants’ brain activity as they made their choices.The team hypothesized that people who hear voices would be more likely to “believe” in auditory hallucinations. That’s precisely what they found: Both the schizophrenics and self-described psychics were nearly five times more likely to say they heard the nonexistent tone than healthy controls. They were also about 28% more confident that they had heard the tone when none was there, the researchers report today in Science.Both self-described psychics and people with schizophrenia also showed abnormal neuronal activity in several brain regions responsible for monitoring our internal representations of reality. The more severe a person’s hallucinations were, for example, the less activity they displayed in the cerebellum, a wrinkled nodule at the back of the brain. The cerebellum plays a critical role in planning and coordinating future movements, a process that requires constantly updating one’s perception of the outside world.The findings confirm that, when it comes to how we perceive the world, our ideas and beliefs can easily overpower our senses, Powers says. The work also suggests that the cerebellum is a key checkpoint against this distortion, he adds.Northoff says future experiments should investigate whether there are any telling differences between the psychotic and healthy brain at rest. Such studies could guide still-experimental therapies such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, which aims to suppress or boost brain activity in targeted areas through electrical currents. Even more promising, says Corlett, is the prospect that studies like this one will help clinicians predict who is likely to develop schizophrenia, allowing them to seek early treatment.last_img read more

MeTooSTEM founder out at Vanderbilt

first_imgNeuroscientist BethAnn McLaughlin has left Vanderbilt University. Lane Turner/The Boston Globe/Getty Images BethAnn McLaughlin, the controversial neuroscientist who founded the advocacy organization #MeTooSTEM 14 months ago, said today that she has left Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville “by mutual agreement” with the institution.“My employment and faculty appointment ended July 8. I value my time at Vanderbilt, and I look forward now to exploring new opportunities,” McLaughlin, 51, said in a statement issued through her lawyers.McLaughlin was denied tenure in 2017 but appealed, saying her tenure process had been tainted by retaliation for her testimony in a sexual harassment case. A faculty committee in February declined to reverse that tenure denial. Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, who will leave his post next month, accepted the committee’s decision. By Meredith WadmanJul. 9, 2019 , 10:50 AM 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 Neither McLaughlin nor her lawyer, Ann Olivarius of McAllister Olivarius in Saratoga Springs, New York, would comment further. Vanderbilt issued a statement confirming McLaughlin’s departure and adding: “We thank Dr. McLaughlin for her work at Vanderbilt. We share a strong commitment to the success of women in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math], and we wish Dr. McLaughlin well in her future endeavors.”Sharona Gordon, a biophysicist at the University of Washington in Seattle who in February launched a petition trying to save McLaughlin’s job, suggests McLaughlin was not allowed to comment further as part of a legal settlement: “When the most visible face of the #MeTooSTEM movement is silenced, it sends a chilling message to targets of sexual harassment everywhere that the system is stacked against them.”McLaughlin lobbied AAAS (publisher of Science) and the National Academy of Sciences to adopt policies allowing the ejection of sexual harassers; both have done so in recent months. She was also a key force pushing the U.S. National Institutes of Health to change its policies to deal more forcefully with sexual harassment, a process now in motion.McLaughlin’s management of the nonprofit #MeTooSTEM, which was incorporated as a 501C3 charity in May, came under fire recently when women leaving the organization’s board accused her of a lack of transparency and of sidelining women of color.center_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country #MeTooSTEM founder out at Vanderbilt Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

US scientists brace again for a government shutdown

first_imgShawn Clover/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country 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 U.S. scientists brace, again, for a government shutdown By Science News StaffDec. 21, 2018 , 12:00 PM Shutdown static blinds U.S. radio telescopes Many researchers have experience with what might be coming. In October 2013, the U.S. government partially shut down for 16 days after Republicans in Congress blocked spending legislation in an effort to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act. This time, Trump and Congress—especially Democratic lawmakers—can’t agree on funding for the border wall between the United States and Mexico that Trump promised to build during his presidential campaign. Email Report tallies U.S. shutdown costs Here we go again. Scientists in the United States are bracing for a partial shutdown of the federal government that is expected to begin at midnight. It would be the third shutdown of the year (although one lasted just 9 hours), and could scramble research projects and meetings, delay grants, and complicate hiring and training.Unlike some past shutdowns, this one will not affect the entire federal government. Congress has already approved, and President Donald Trump has signed, spending bills that fund about three-quarters of federal activities. That means any shutdown will not directly affect a number of major science agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the departments of energy and defense.But Congress has not finished work on bills that cover nine departments and some other key science agencies. That list includes the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the interior and agriculture departments. Unless the White House and Congress can reach an agreement today to extend current spending levels for these agencies, they will be forced to furlough an estimated 380,000 employees. (An additional 420,000 “essential” employees involved in critical health and safety activities—such as air traffic control and military missions—will be required to work without pay.) Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Read our coverage from previous shutdowns Science groups react to U.S. government shutdown as researchers scramble More shutdown stories As a result of the 2013 shutdown, some scientific facilities shut down, meetings were canceled, projects in Antarctica ground to a partial halt, and reviews of federal grant applications were delayed, in some cases by many months.“There will definitely be a disruption in the grantmaking process,” says Amanda Greenwell, head of NSF’s Office of Legislative and Public Affairs in Alexandria, Virginia. It also means scientists and university administrators won’t be able to talk with NSF program managers if any questions arise about NSF-funded research. But NSF has no in-house labs, Greenwell noted, and the contractors that run major NSF-funded facilities such as observatories and research vessels have enough money in their accounts to weather a short-term shutdown.Some science groups are already reacting to the looming impasse with concern. “Shutdowns, which waste American resources and taxpayer dollars, have grave consequences for science and research, public health, public lands and species protections,” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a statement. “[I]f a scientist misses the window of research opportunity because of a shutdown, it has a real impact on the agency’s science-based work—and taxpayer dollars.”As a result of a quirk in the calendar, any shutdown would not begin to bite deeply until Wednesday of next week, when furloughs would begin. Many federal employees do not work on the weekend, and Monday and Tuesday are federal holidays.last_img read more

Astronomers discover solar systems most distant object nicknamed FarFarOut

first_imgThe solar system’s most distant object is 140 times farther from the sun than Earth. For the better part of a decade, Sheppard and his collaborators—Chad Trujillo at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and Dave Tholen at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu—have methodically scoured the night sky with some of the world’s most powerful and wide-angled telescopes. Their insistent search has netted four-fifths of the objects known past 9 billion kilometers from the sun. Astronomers discover solar system’s most distant object, nicknamed ‘FarFarOut’ By Paul VoosenFeb. 21, 2019 , 10:15 PM For most people, snow days aren’t very productive. Some people, though, use the time to discover the most distant object in the solar system.That’s what Scott Sheppard, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., did this week when a snow squall shut down the city. A glitzy public talk he was due to deliver was delayed, so he hunkered down and did what he does best: sifted through telescopic views of the solar system’s fringes that his team had taken last month during their search for a hypothesized ninth giant planet.That’s when he saw it, a faint object at a distance 140 times farther from the sun than Earth—the farthest solar system object yet known, some 3.5 times more distant than Pluto. The object, if confirmed, would break his team’s own discovery, announced in December 2018, of a dwarf planet 120 times farther out than Earth, which they nicknamed “Farout.” For now, they are jokingly calling the new object “FarFarOut.” “This is hot off the presses,” he said during his rescheduled talk on 21 February. NASA/JPL-Caltech This is not stamp collecting. Clustering in the orbits of these objects can serve as indicators of Planet Nine’s influence. Like Farout, FarFarOut’s orbit is not yet known; until it is, it’s uncertain whether it will stay far enough away from the rest of the solar system to be free of the giant planets’ gravitational tug. If it does, the two could join another of Sheppard’s recent distant discoveries, “the Goblin,” which dovetails with projections of the Planet Nine’s possible orbit.It will take several years to determine the orbits of Farout and FarFarOut, and whether they will provide more clues. Meanwhile, with nearly every new moon, Sheppard is back out searching on his preferred telescopes, the Blanco 4-meter in Chile and the Subaru 8-meter in Hawaii. He flies to Chile next week, and Hawaii the week after.last_img read more

PreAztec Flayed Lord Temple Discovered in Mexico

first_imgMexican archeologists claim they have a significant discovery at hand. The country’s National Institute of Anthropology and History shared on January 2 that they’ve found an early temple, perhaps the very first, of the ‘Flayed Lord’. This concerns a popular ancient god that fulfilled several worship roles but its most important was connected to regeneration, growth, and fertility.The relics associated with the ancient deity resurfaced during recent digs at ruins belonging to the Popoloca people at the Tehuacan archeological site in Mexico’s Puebla state.Xipe Totec as depicted in the Codex Borgia, shown holding a bloody weapon and wearing flayed human skin as a suit.The depiction of the deity, whose name is Xipe Totec, consists of prominent-looking stone carvings including head parts weighing over 400 pounds and a distinct trunk part. All were found in pristine condition.Among the most intriguing detail is one extra hand that is hanging from one of the deity’s arms, symbolizing a sacrificed person’s skin hanging over him.Not all details of those sacrificial rites are fully clear to archeologists.Ceramic statue of Xipe Totec from the Gulf coast, now in the Museo de América in Madrid. Photo by Simon Burchell CC BY-SA 3.0Another intriguing decoration on the torso part includes a feather skirt.The finds’ age is estimated to be in between 900 and 1150 A.D., which likely makes it the earliest known representation of Xipe Totec found so far in the country.The cult of Xipe Totec traveled wide throughout Mesoamerica and was accepted also by the Aztecs, to whom the Popoloca people succumbed to. But the Aztecs would alter the way they treated this deity. Supposedly they assumed this was the deity who contrived war.Archaeologist Castillo with one of the sculptures. MELITÓN TAPIA/INAHThe temple site where the recent relics of Totec were found should have been completed by the Popolocas sometime between the 11th and 13th-centuries and is contained within a bigger complex called Ndachijan-Tehuacan. The Aztecs, who most likely originated from the north of Mexico, forged their presence in Mesoamerica during the 13th-century.According to archeologist Noemi Castillo who commented in a press release, the figure of the deity also “has a hole in the belly” which would have been used “to place a green stone and ‘endow them with life’ for the ceremonies.”The ancients also used a volcanic rock to produce the sculpture work. The rock in question could be rhyolite but since such a resource has not been traced locally, it must have been obtained from a more remote area.MELITÓN TAPIA/INAHThe sculpture work likely had an important function on the sacrificial altars where the captives to the deity were presented. For most of the time, those captives were either slaves or prisoners.The Popolocas people who greatly relied on farming garnered a special relationship with Xipe Totec. In this deity, they saw a direct link with the natural cycles of Earth, and his worship came in place during the springtime.Their special spring festival known as Tlacaxipehualiztli was conducted each year to assure a productive harvesting season. The very name Tlacaxipehualiztli signifies to don the skin that has been removed.Codex Borbonicus“The flayed skins, which rotted away to reveal a living human beneath them, represented fresh plants emerging from decayed husks,” writes the Smithsonian on the symbolism of this ritualistic effort.According to more accounts that describe the rituals, the processions took place at different platforms. The sacrificial death of the chosen captives should have been held at one temple, but their skin was then ritually stored in another temple and only after it was worn by ritual participants for a couple of days on.Archeologists have commented that the temple where the recent relics of the deity were found, could be one temple that clung to that function of storing the skin.Each victim subjected to the sacrificial ritual would have been sacrificed either in a gladiator-like fight or presented on a platform where finished with arrows. The victims were then transported to another platform and besides having their skin removed there, their heart was also cut out in another gesture to admire God.It was normally priests which oversaw the festivites and who then wore the skins.While the principal function of Xipe Totec was to represent regeneration, his other domains included being the god of liberation (in a penitential context) and even enacting phallic god.Read another story from us: The Mystery of the “Lost” Pyramid – Funerary Complex or Solar Temple?Each item found in the recent dig is due to undergo lab tests and additional analysis which will help experts piece together more details.last_img read more

Dominica Red Cross opens first ever branch office

first_imgShareTweetSharePinDominica Red Cross branch building in Good HopeThe community of Good Hope in the eastern part of the island is home to the first Dominica Red Cross Society’s Branch Office. The history making moment was officially unveiled earlier last week during the official opening ceremony held at Good Hope.In her remarks at last Thursday’s opening ceremony, Dominica Red Cross Society’s Director General Sandra Charter-Rolle, commented that the opening of the first branch office is a major achievement of the society, and an indication of greater things to come intended to benefit a greater cross section of the community. “The establishment of branch offices has always been the desire of the Dominica Red Cross Society and is part of the wider plan of the society to construct branch offices and storage facilities for each of the eight branches that have been established on island in the not too distant future”.She stated further that the branch offices will strengthen the capacity of the National Society to provide support to the communities they serve, to better prepare and respond to emergencies or disasters in the communities.The opening of the Good Hope Branch office will provide support, build capacity and serve the communities of Good Hope, Petite Soufriere and San Souveur. The facility will be utilized for trainings, branch meetings and will also for undertaking fund raising activities.The Society was pleased to have the parliamentary Representative for the area, Honorable Johnson Drigo, Chairman of the Good Hope Village Council Mr. Edward Garraway and the Chairman of the Good Hope Branch Office Miss Laura Laurent present for the official opening event. Members of the Good Hope Branch and members of the community also turned out in large numbers to witness the opening of the branch office which will become very useful in serving the communities in times of crises and disasters.last_img read more

Rez girl to lead Diné College Rodeo Team

first_imgSeptember 6, 2017 ‘Rez girl’ to lead Diné College Rodeo Team Photo courtesy of Diné CollegeThe Diné College rodeo team is looking forward to a good year under new coach Heather Williams.center_img Heather Williams said it just came down to where she’d feel comfortable. And after meeting the people–most of whom she’s acquainted with–involved with the Diné College rodeo program, the self-proclaimed “rez girl” from Lukachukai knewSubscribe or log in to read the rest of this content. Bottom Adlast_img read more

Why is BJP stand on govt formation in Karnataka and MP different

first_img Maharashtra: Shiv Sena to protest non-payment of farmers’ claims by insurance companies Post Comment(s) Shiv Sena’s protest against insurance firms ‘nautanki’: Congress’ Vijay Wadettiwar By Express News Service |Mumbai | Updated: July 9, 2019 4:25:24 am Shiv Sena, BJP, Karnataka government, Congress-JDS government, Congress-JDS government downfall, Madhya Pradesh government, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Indian Express news,  After independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar, who resigned as ministers in the Kumaraswamy government on Monday, the coalition’s number came down to 104 in the 224-member Karnataka assembly. (File)The Shiv Sena on Monday asked the BJP why its stand on government formation in Karnataka was different from Madhya Pradesh. It also made a pitch for a “national policy” on whether to form governments by poaching opposition legislators.Referring to former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s statement that some Congress legislators were in touch with them (the BJP), but (the party) would not form the government by dislodging anyone, the Sena its editorial mouthpiece Saamana said, “Does the BJP have different stands in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh?” Advertising The editorial said the Karnataka government had majority and could have run the government properly. “But, the question is whether Siddaramaiah wanted the government to run. He wanted to become CM again with the support of Kumaraswamy’s JD(S),” it added.Referring to Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah’s statement that Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would have BJP governments soon, the editorial said that Shah should have added Karnataka to it “as things are taking place as planned”.“The Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are also in crisis. They have a wafer-thin majority. So, there will be a Karnataka-like situation in these states too,” it said. Related News Pachora ready for Aaditya Thackeray’s maiden rally in Jalgaon Advertising “There should be a national policy on whether to form governments by poaching legislators,” it said.Claiming the downfall of the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka was predicted 13 months ago when it was formed, the editorial said: “It is clear that the Kumaraswamy-led government will fall. It is a political crisis in Karnataka. But, not just BJP’s ambition, but the infighting in the Congress is also responsible for it.”After independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar, who resigned as ministers in the Kumaraswamy government on Monday, the coalition’s number came down to 104 in the 224-member Karnataka assembly. The BJP, with the support of Nagesh and Shankar, now has 107 members.last_img read more

Tamil Nadu water crisis Train carrying water from Jolarpettai arrives in parched

first_img Advertising The train with 50 tank wagons (BTPN), carrying 50,000 litres of water in each of them from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, reached the filling station at the Integral Coach Factory Yard in Villivakkam Friday afternoon.Around 100 inlet pipes installed near the railway tracks would be used to discharge 2.5 million litres of water in all the wagons to be sent to a treatment plant after passing through a conduit, an official of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board said.“After treatment it would be sent for distribution. This arrangement has been made for the next six months until the (advent of the) north-east monsoon,” the official told PTI. By PTI |Chennai | Published: July 12, 2019 4:28:13 pm Advertising Tamil Nadu Ministers including D Jayakumar and SP Velumani present at Chennai’s Villivakkam railway yard to welcome the first train carrying water from Jolarpet.The train was supposed to reach Chennai on Thursday, but leakages in the valves led to the delay. Jolarpettai is 217 km away from the southern metropolis.All the arrangements took around 20 days of time to complete. The initiative would be formally inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Ministers later in the day, the official said. Chennai has been grappling with an acute water crisis over the past few months. The southern metropolis is facing a daily water deficit of at least 200 million litres, and the four reservoirs supplying to the city have run dry.The Tamil Nadu government had earlier requested the railways to help them ferry the water to the city.Earlier, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced mitigating Chennai’s water woes by getting drinking water supplied from Jolarpettai with an allocation of Rs 65 crore. Tamil Nadu plans 10,000 check dams to tide over water crisis center_img Related News Express Daily Briefing: ‘India’s 45 mins of bad cricket’, a look inside the Karnataka Speaker’s rulebook; and more 1 Comment(s) Tamil Nadu water crisis: Train carrying water from Jolarpettai arrives in parched Chennai A technician checks a valve before water is pumped into a tanker train, which is transported to drought-hit city of Chennai, at Jolarpettai railway station in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. ( Source: Reuters) A train carrying 2.5 million litres of water arrived in Chennai, which has been grappling with an acute water crisis over the past few months, officials said Friday.last_img read more

Iconic Lakshman Jhula in distress to be closed down

first_imgWritten by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun | Updated: July 13, 2019 3:50:06 am Advertising The iconic suspension bridge, across the Ganga, is 96 years old and connects the districts of Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal. One of the landmarks and chief attractions of Rishikesh, the 136-metre-long bridge is for pedestrians on paper but is frequently used by motorcycles.Following the fresh order, officials have started barricading both sides of the bridge.According to an order by Additional Chief Secretary, PWD, Om Prakash issued on Friday, the PWD had submitted a report to the government, stating that the Lakshman Jhula has become dilapidated due to an unprecedented rise in traffic.The report further said that the bridge’s towers appear to be leaning to one side. “Due to a further increase in traffic load, there is a possibility of bridge getting damaged in future and possibilities of loss of lives then, cannot be ruled out,” the order read. Explained: Why has the Uttarakhand govt shut down Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh Related News The suspension bridge, across the Ganga, is 96 years old and connects the districts of Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal. Virender Singh NegiThe Uttarakhand government has ordered the immediate closure of the Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh after a PWD report stated that the bridge is in a distressed state, which may lead to a mishap. Advertising Rishikesh: Lakshman Jhula declared unsafe, closed to traffic and pedestrians Alternative to Lakshman Jhula to be built soon: Uttarakhand CM Rawat The order also cited a technical study that says, “We observed that most of the bridge parts/components are in FAIL and COLLAPSE condition. This bridge should not be permitted for pedestrian movement…”Citing the study report, the order directed that Lakshman Jhula be closed from July 12 onwards. Tehri Garhwal SSP Yogendra Singh Rawat told The Indian Express, “Pedestrian movement will be completely stopped as soon as barricading is completed.” The closure of the bridge could make it difficult for the administration to manage the crowd during Kanwar Yatra, which begins on July 17.“We are in communication with PWD to develop an alternate bridge. There is another bridge, Ram Jhula. But once Lakshman Jhula is closed, load on Ram Jhula will increase. We need at least two bridges,” the SSP said.Tehri Garhwal District Magistrate V Shanmugam said, “A new bridge cannot be built in a short time. SDM and officials of PWD and the police have been asked to inspect the area to find an alternate arrangement.” Post Comment(s)last_img read more

The 3D ECommerce Revolution

first_img3D Product Imaging 3D Product Imaging Use Cases AI Analytics Tools for 3D Product Imaging As business decision making steadily becomes more data-driven, demand for measurable metrics is higher than ever. Conversion rate, website traffic and customer engagement levels are important guides for marketers in all industries, yet some don’t even realize they need previously nonexistent data that is now available.AI analytics tools of 2019 will be able to track the way potential customers interact with product imagery embedded into retailers’ websites, whether 2D or 3D images, and present the most telling metrics on a heat map.Apart from dwell time, the tool will highlight points of customer interest and the best angles for thumbnail product positioning, as well as predict the probability of the purchase based on the patterns in customer behavior. Another set of difficulties that retailers often face when digitizing products has to do with the inability of 3D modeling and 3D scanning to process some specific objects. Yet, thanks to 3D imaging, product features that not so long ago were considered out of reach — black, shiny and glossy objects, such as silks, leathers and jewelry items, as well as anything transparent, unusually shaped or textured — now pose no obstacle.Online retailers of larger, tactile items have been turning to 3D visualization tools to help shoppers get a better sense of the product’s physical dimensions, shape and materials.For instance, vertical luggage retailer Samsonite has made its online product displays as realistic as possible with 3D product imaging.”It is important for our customers to have the opportunity to examine the goods in detail, and 3D visualization allows us to bridge the gap between online shopping and brick-and-mortar stores,” said Jay Nigrelli, vice president of e-commerce at Samsonite.Smaller, more delicate products also can be digitized in 3D successfully. A great example is American Greetings, a creator and manufacturer of social expression products and the leader in e-greetings. In addition to high-quality photos, it now also presents site visitors with 3D images.Considering that reenacting the in-store experience for greeting cards online is almost impossible with the current visualization tools available, 3D product imaging has solved a major problem for American Greetings. Glitter, foil, embossing, and other attachments are quite common with greeting cards, and it can be difficult to appreciate these features with traditional 2D photography.Lingerie also can be 3D-digitized as proven by F3 Studio, the European fashion brand that offers apparel ranging from practical to provocative. Neither delicate trims nor chantilly lace pose a challenge to 3D imaging technology.Some jewelry brands have made sure not to be left behind tech-wise, too. Guérin Joaillerie, a premium jewelry brand in Europe, turned to 3D visualization to capture features that make jewelry difficult for other solutions to portray, including the sparkle of gems and glitter of metal, transparency, reflections of light, and unusual design.Jewelry shopping is a very particular process, and many customers cannot overcome their hesitation to make the purchase online. In the end, it’s up to interactive visualization to tip the scales in the click-and-brick standoff.center_img We are now living in a time when customer expectations are changing particularly fast, and retailers that can’t keep up get left behind. A consumer who enjoys the online shopping experience at an e-store automatically begins to expect the same level of service from every virtual point of sale.Thus, the expectation loop is born, and the only thing for retailers to do to get ahead of the curve is to innovate, innovate and innovate.Emerging 3D technologies are a force poised to drive the revolution in the online shopping experience. Despite delivering a convenient browsing experience, and a wider assortment than usually found in brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce has had limitations. It could not satisfy consumers’ desire to physically examine a product prior to purchase. Nor could it mirror the in-store experience. At least it could not until now.Thanks to 3D product imaging, a retailer can provide customers with a graphical 3D product representation that is also interactive. With a 3D View, customers can choose which part of an object they’d like to see. Zoom in or out? Rotate the object? View it in motion? All of these features are easily accessible, thanks to 3D imaging.Some merchants see demo videos that show products in action as a way to enhance the online shopping experience. However, 95 percent of respondents to a recent survey preferred an interactive 3D representation to video playback.Engagement levels and interactivity are not the only metrics to be affected positively by 3D product imaging, as it also boosts metrics that directly influence sales, with conversion rate being a prime example.TSUM, one of the largest luxury goods department stores in Eastern Europe, has digitized more than 40,000 products in 3D, proving that it is possible to visualize large numbers of stock keeping units (SKUs) in a reasonable timeframe.Having the right tools is key, as most solutions for 3D imaging face major weaknesses: They require a lot of costly equipment; and they take too much time, which makes them poorly suited for large catalogs.It’s thanks to recent advancements that creating a 3D view of any piece is now a simple three-step process: Shoot the chosen object with a digital camera; upload the result into the processing platform to get a 3D View; and once it’s ready, embed it into anything you wish — be it website, mobile or 3D/AR/VR application.Besides being simple to use, the new SaaS technologies for 3D imaging are also very fast. In fact, they are 10 times faster than previous 3D technology, and they don’t require any specific equipment. Kosta Popov is the founder and CEO of Cappasity, which provides an easy and scalable platform for creation, embedding and analysis of 3D and AR/VR content. Kosta is an expert in 3D technologies, SaaS solutions, and mobile applications. He was named one of the top innovators of 2016 by Intel Software.last_img read more

Advances in radiation treatment help prolong improve lives of people with anal

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 8 2018Two recent studies find advances in radiation therapy are helping to prolong or improve the lives of people with anal cancer, including those whose cancer has advanced to stage IV. Both studies were published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics (Red Journal), the flagship scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).One study, of patients with advanced-stage anal cancer whose disease has spread to the para-aortic lymph nodes, found that a combination of extended-field radiation therapy and chemotherapy could substantially improve overall survival and control the cancer without increasing serious side effects. A second study found that, for patients with locally advanced anal cancer, the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) instead of conventional radiation treatment improved tolerance of radiation treatments and reduced the need for ostomy (surgery to re-route how waste exits the body).Anal canal cancer is relatively rare, with approximately 8,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Most anal canal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) that have not yet spread to other parts of the body. Roughly 20 percent of anal SCC patients, however, are diagnosed with distant metastatic disease — also known as stage IV disease — each year.Aggressive combination therapy prolongs survival for select patients with stage IV anal cancerPatients with stage IV anal cancer typically have not been considered candidates for definitive treatment once their cancer had spread to other parts of their bodies. A new study shows that, if that cancer has spread only to the para-aortic lymph nodes, aggressive treatment in the form of extended-field radiation therapy could potentially improve their long-term outcomes.”The label of ‘stage IV’ cancer is not one size fits all,” said lead researcher Emma B. Holliday, MD, an assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “There are emerging data in several cancer types where aggressive treatment of metastatic disease can improve survival.””Although involvement of the para-aortic nodes is considered metastatic disease for squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal, we have long suspected that these patients do not have the poor prognosis that accompanies a stage IV diagnosis in other cancers,” she said. “The results from this study showed that aggressive combination treatment with definitive extended-field chemoradiation can lead to good outcomes.”It is common for SCC to spread to the pelvic and inguinal lymph nodes before moving on to the para-aortic (PA) lymph nodes. Dr. Holliday noted that her results were similar to previous studies of patients with SCC of the cervix who had been classified as stage IV due to metastases to the para-aortic lymph nodes.In this retrospective review, Dr. Holliday and her team assessed long-term outcomes for 30 patients who were treated with curative-intent, extended-field chemoradiation — combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy — between September 2002 and February 2016 at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.Over the course of the study, external beam radiation therapy techniques evolved. Therefore, some patients were treated with 3D conformal techniques during the early phase of the study and a few were treated with intensity modulated proton therapy during the later phases. The vast majority of patients, however, were treated with IMRT. For chemotherapy regimens, patients received either six weekly cycles of cisplatin with 5-fluoruracil/capecitabine (5-FU), two cycles of mitomycin-C with 5-FU or daily capecitabine.After 3.1 years of follow-up, 18 of 30 patients remained alive and 17 showed no evidence of anal cancer. The overall survival rate was 67 percent (95% CI 49-89), with a disease-free survival rate of 42 percent (95% CI 25-69). Cancer recurred in 15 of the patients (50 percent), predominantly as distant metastases.No patients died from side effects related to the aggressive combination therapy. The treatments were well tolerated, although patients undergoing chemoradiation treatment for anal cancer often experience severe (grade 3-4) hematologic side effects, such as the loss of red and white blood cells, increased susceptibility to infection and loss of blood platelets; gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite; and/or skin reactions. Six patients (20 percent) in this study experienced severe hematologic problems, nine (30 percent) experienced severe gastrointestinal side effects and eight (27 percent) experienced severe skin reactions.Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerLiving with advanced breast cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumors”I think we see that patients with para-aortic node metastases are potentially curable because these lymph nodes are the next echelon up from what we consider to be the regional lymph nodes in the pelvis,” said Dr. Holliday. “Most importantly, if we can deliver a curative dose of radiation to all sites of disease, we have the potential to extend survival for these patients.”IMRT increases ability to complete treatment cycles, decreases need for breaks and additional surgeryAnother recent study from the Red Journal examined how improvements in radiation therapy technology have led to fewer side effects and treatment interruptions for patients with locally advanced anal cancer. This review of a large clinical database found that a technologically advanced type of radiation — intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) — could reduce toxicities for anal canal cancer patients treated with radiation.”Using data from the national Veterans Affairs system of hospitals, we studied radiation toxicities among veterans with anal cancer and compared IMRT versus older forms of radiation therapy,” said lead researcher Alex K. Bryant, MD, a resident physician affiliated with the department of radiation medicine and applied sciences at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. “We found that IMRT produced substantial benefits, including decreasing the need for treatment breaks and increasing chemotherapy completion rates.”IMRT is a specialized type of radiation treatment that manipulates photon or proton beams of radiation into the shape of the targeted tumors, in order to limit radiation exposure to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumors.Dr. Bryant and his team identified 779 patients in a national Veterans Affairs database who had been diagnosed with locally advanced anal SCC between 2000 and 2015. The patients had been treated with conventional radiation therapy (n=403) or IMRT (n=376), both with concurrent chemotherapy. The adoption of IMRT increased substantially during the study period; no patients received IMRT prior to 2004, compared to 89 percent of patients treated from 2012 to 2015.The researchers found that patients treated with IMRT were 42 percent less likely to require a break from radiation treatment of more than five days. IMRT patients also had a 40 percent lower risk of needing ostomy surgery related to the cancer progressing or recurring.Patients treated with IMRT also were more likely to receive and complete two cycles of chemotherapy, the standard treatment course. Overall, 19 percent (n=63) of patients who received IMRT were unable to complete two full cycles of chemotherapy, compared to 43 percent (n=153) treated with conventional radiation. The association of IMRT with completing standard chemotherapy remained significant even after controlling for patient and tumor characteristics.”We were surprised that IMRT allowed more patients to complete a full course of chemotherapy,” said Dr. Bryant. “Previous studies have shown that the combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy is very important for curing anal cancer, and we were encouraged that IMRT allowed more patients to undergo this potentially life-saving treatment.”Researchers found no difference in short-term severe hematologic or gastrointestinal toxicity or long-term survival outcomes between the two radiation treatment groups. The study did not examine less severe toxicities.”Though it was unclear why we saw a benefit for completing therapy, one possibility is that IMRT reduced toxicities that we were not able to measure – in particular, dermatologic toxicity and less severe forms of gastrointestinal and hematologic toxicity – and this allowed more patients to complete chemotherapy,” said Dr. Bryant. “Further research would be needed to determine whether there is a relationship between a reduction of those toxicities and completion of chemotherapy. If true, this would be a wonderful secondary benefit of IMRT and of great importance for patient outcomes.” Source: read more

Brain imaging study reveals hot spot for cuereactivity in substance users

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018When patients with dependence on alcohol, cocaine or nicotine are shown drug cues, or images related to the substance, an area of their brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) shows increased activity, report investigators at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in an article published online September 7, 2018 in Translational Psychiatry.”We asked the question: ‘Which brain area is more engaged when these patients see a drug cue versus a neutral cue?'” explains Colleen A. Hanlon, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at MUSC and senior author on the study.To answer this question, Hanlon and her team imaged areas of increased brain activity, or ‘hot spots,’ in response to drug cues. They recruited three categories of substance users: chronic cocaine users, heavy alcohol users and cigarette smokers. They imaged brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). During fMRI sessions, the participants were shown images of cocaine-, alcohol- or cigarette-related cues alternated with matched neutral images. For example, a cue for cigarette smokers was an image of a person holding a cigarette, while the matched neutral image showed a person holding a pencil. The physiological reaction to drug cues, or cue-reactivity, is indicative of substance use disorder and often leads to drug use.Participants in all three cohorts of substance use (cocaine, nicotine, and alcohol) exhibited ‘hot spots’ in the mPFC when cues were presented.Hanlon and her team are dedicated to mapping neuronal circuits using neuroimaging techniques to better understand addiction. Specifically, they aim to find a region of the brain that can be targeted by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. TMS is a noninvasive procedure used to modulate neural networks. It works by applying a magnetic field to a specific area of the brain to either stimulate or attenuate electrical activity. Because many of the ‘hot spots’ identified by the study were located at a depth of five centimeters or less, they can be reached by TMS therapy, showing the feasibility of using TMS for substance use disorder.TMS has few side effects and is currently used as a treatment for depression. The most common side effects are headaches that can occur post-procedure. A few people may also be susceptible to seizure and are advised to abstain from TMS therapy.Related StoriesGeorgia researcher receives grant to develop models to better predict mental health disordersNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpNature of social cognitive deficits in people with progressive multiple sclerosisThe mPFC is in the frontal lobe of the brain. Its functions includes memory retrieval and decision-making, but it also plays a role in the limbic reward circuit, or the pleasure-seeking pathway that is activated by addictive drugs. Hanlon’s neuroimaging study has led to clinical trials targeting the mPFC with low-frequency TMS to reduce excitability.”As we move forward into clinical trials, these findings suggest that, by modulating the mPFC, we might be able to help multiple forms of substance-dependent populations, rather than having to reinvent the wheel for every particular disease,” says Hanlon.Phase 2 clinical trials in patients seeking treatment for cocaine or alcohol use are under way at MUSC and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Patients undergo fMRI scans during the first week of the study and are then randomized to receive 10 days of TMS or sham therapy. Patients are scanned again at the end of their inpatient treatment with follow-up scans one and two months post-treatment. The desired outcome is for patients receiving TMS therapy to show reduced cue-reactivity in their follow-up scans, along with increased sobriety time after treatment.Hanlon is also currently involved with another clinical trial at MUSC focused on using TMS therapy for nicotine dependence. This trial, called QuitFast, provides participants with multiple sessions of TMS per day to support them through their first week of quitting smoking in hopes of increasing their chances of staying quit. Other trials at MUSC are assessing the use of TMS for chronic pain and opiate use.”It’s a really exciting time to be in the field,” says Hanlon. “We have decades of preclinical research that have demonstrated specific neural circuits involved in drug use, and we have lots of clinical research that has developed various pharmacological agents, but we don’t have any neural circuit-based interventions. That’s where TMS comes in. We hope to fill the translational gap between the preclinical studies and helping our patients.”last_img read more

Study Three quarters of Frenchspeaking adults in Quebec fall short of dietary

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 6 2018Less than 25 percent of study participants meet Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for fruits and vegetables according to a study just published in the Canadian Journal of CardiologyIn a web-based study reported in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, more than three quarters of French-speaking adults in Quebec, Canada, fall short of meeting current dietary guidelines regarding consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, sodium, and saturated fats. The authors recommend stronger, more impactful actions to support everyone in adopting healthier dietary habits to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While these observations relate specifically to the population analyzed, similar findings might apply to many other jurisdictions internationally if studied.Unhealthy dietary habits have been identified as the second leading risk factor for mortality globally. “Despite years of efforts and campaigns aimed at having people consume more vegetables and fruits, low consumption of these healthy foods remains a major public health concern in the province of Quebec,” explained lead investigator Benoît Lamarche, PhD, Chair of Nutrition from the School of Nutrition and Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada. “Regular monitoring of the population’s food and nutrient intake is essential to develop effective nutrition-focused public health policies.”In this study, Dr. Lamarche and colleagues report results from data collected as part of the PRéDicteurs Individuels, Sociaux et Environnementaux (PREDISE) survey, a web-based analysis designed to assess the association between individual, social, and environmental factors, and adherence to current dietary guidelines in Canada. PREDISE was a multicenter cross-sectional study involving five research centers in five administrative regions in the province of Quebec. The aim of this study was to provide dietary intake estimates using an age- and sex-representative sample of French-speaking adults with Internet access from these regions. Dietary intake was estimated from the average of three validated web-based 24-hour recalls collected from 1,147 participants, over half of whom were woman.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerLess than 25 percent of participants met Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for vegetable and fruit intake. Most participants reported consuming more than 2300 mg of sodium (prevalence 81 percent) and more than 10 percent of energy as saturated fats (74 percent). The mean Canadian Healthy Eating Index score on a scale of 0-100 was 54.5, reflecting poor diet quality according to current dietary recommendations.”Comparison of these diet quality scores with scores measured in 2004 suggested no improvement, despite numerous efforts and campaigns to promote healthy eating over the years,” observed Dr. Lamarche. “Subgroups with a lower socioeconomic status are particularly at risk of having a low quality diet.”These data emphasize the need for more effective nutrition-focused public health policies to maximize cardiovascular disease prevention at the population level,” he concluded. “This implies not only the need for nutrition education, but also a profound modification of the ‘toxic’ food environment to which the population is exposed.”In an accompanying editorial, James M. Brophy, MD, PhD, of the McGill University Health Center, Centre for Health Outcomes Research, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, observed, “The authors’ conclusions about the need for more effective nutrition-focused public health policies to maximize cardiovascular disease prevention at the population level are very reasonable. The ultimate goal is not merely to enhance awareness/adherence of constantly evolving food guidelines, but to avoid further marginalization of the most deprived of our society by providing them with the educational and economic means to overcome existing nutritional barriers.” Source: read more

New study uncovers potential risks posed to infants by mothers with influenza

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 9 2019Pregnant women with influenza are more likely to experience complications, but how this affects infants is unclear. A new Birth Defects Research study uncovers the potential risks to infants.The study included 490 pregnant women with influenza, 1451 women without influenza with pregnancies in the same year, and 1446 pregnant women without influenza with prior year pregnancies. Women with 2009 H1N1 influenza admitted to an intensive care unit were more likely to deliver preterm infants, low birth weight infants, and infants with low Apgar scores than women in the other groups.Related StoriesAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysMore effective flu vaccine begins clinical trials across the U.S.Complement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchWomen with influenza who were not hospitalized, as well as hospitalized women not admitted to the intensive care unit, did not have significantly elevated risks for adverse infant outcomes.”The message of this work is particularly timely in the midst of the current influenza season. Our study found that severely ill women with 2009 H1N1 influenza during pregnancy were more likely to have adverse birth outcomes–such as their baby being born preterm or of low birth weight–than women without influenza,” said senior author Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, of the University of Florida. “These findings support the importance of pregnant women receiving the influenza vaccine and of prompt treatment with antiviral medications for pregnant women suspected of having influenza.”Source: read more

Selective destruction of prostate tumor as effective as complete prostate removal

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, led by prostate cancer treatment pioneer Dr. Eric Walser, have shown that selectively destroying cancerous prostate tissue is as effective as complete prostate removal or radiation therapy while preserving more sexual and urinary function than the other treatments. This study is currently available in Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.Prostate cancer the second most common form of cancer in men. In fact, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates 174,650 new cases and 31,620 deaths from prostate cancer in 2019.Related StoriesStudy reports role of cancer gene in tumor microenvironmentNew prostate cancer test could bring an end to unnecessary biopsiesScientists use advanced imaging to track brain tumor ‘turncoats’With current screening techniques, prostate cancers are now often detected early enough so that with treatment, they stay within the prostate gland and don’t spread or cause harm to the patient. However, aggressive treatments such as removing the prostate or radiation therapy can result in difficulty with urinary and sexual functions.Walser, lead author, UTMB professor and chair of the department of radiology, helped to establish a less invasive method of targeting and removing only the cancerous prostate tissue called focal laser ablation or FLA. This outpatient procedure has very little recovery or pain and preserves erectile and urinary functions.”FLA offers men more peace of mind than active surveillance or ‘watchful waiting’, the traditional alternative to radical treatment,” said Walser. “FLA pairs MRI imaging to identify cancer-suspicious areas in the prostate and advanced laser technology to remove it completely, with virtually no risk of impotence or incontinence.”In 120 men with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer treated with FLA, 17 percent needed additional cancer treatment after one year with no noticeable change in quality of life or urinary function.In a small group of men who underwent a more aggressive FLA, only 6 percent had evidence of cancer one year later. However, these men all noticed a significant drop in sperm count.”Other studies have shown that after completely removing the prostate, 15 to 30 percent of patients have a cancer recurrence within 5 to 10 years of surgery,” Walser said. “Although FLA doesn’t yet have such long-term data, this technique may ultimately provide similar cancer control while better preserving quality of life.”last_img read more

Allergic reactions trigger changes in brain behavior development in unborn males and

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 29 2019Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and colleagues at Ohio State University have discovered that allergic reactions trigger changes in brain behavior development in unborn males and females. This latest brain development discovery will ultimately help researchers better understand how neurological conditions can differ between men and women.It is the first study to assess the response of a type of immune cell called a mast cell, linked to allergic responses, to determine if these cells play a role in sexual behavior development.”Many mental health and neurological disorders show a sex bias in prevalence, this latest research shows that inflammatory events, like allergic reactions, early in life may influence males and females differently due to underlying sex differences in the neuro immune system,” said Margaret McCarthy, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, whose lab conducted the research that was initiated by Dr. Katherine Lenz, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State UniversityRelated StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingSlug serves as ‘command central’ for determining breast stem cell healthThese findings, which were published in Scientific Reports, illustrate that immune cells are involved in the process of brain sexual differentiation, and that prenatal allergic inflammation can impact this crucial process in both sexes. This finding is another discovery that will ultimately help researchers understand behavioral development differences between males and females.How Allergic Reactions Impact Sexual BehaviorResearchers tested the sexual differentiation in rats that were exposed to an allergic reaction while still in utero. They induced an allergic reaction to egg whites in pregnant rats, and results of the study showed the allergic reaction impacted behavior changes in the offspring. Male rats showed less male sexual behavior as adults and adult females behaved more like male rates.The research tracked mast cells, which are known for their role in allergic responses. Researchers sought to determine if exposure to an allergic response of the pregnant female in utero would alter the sexual differentiation of the offspring and result in sociosexual behavior in later life.”This research shows that early life allergic events may contribute to natural variations in both male and female sexual behavior, potentially via underlying effects on brain-resident mast cells,” said Dr. McCarthySexual differentiation takes place in the early life process and it is directed by sex chromosomes, hormones and early life experiences. What this research showed is that immune cells residing in the brain such as microglia and mast cells, are more numerous in the male than female rat brains, and these cells play a critical role in brain development. Source: read more

Cancer cells use tactics to avoid being recognised by immunotherapy agents

first_imgThis may provide clues as to why some of the patients do not respond to immunotherapy agents say researchers. Researchers have also suggested methods by which this could be bypassed and effectiveness of immunotherapy could be increased. The results of the study were published this week in the latest issue of the Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer.Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust explain that cancer cells can literally “change their spots” so that they are unrecognizable to the immunotherapy agents. They can do this by switching off the key molecules on their surfaces that the immunotherapy agents are trained to recognize.The team tested samples of bowel cancer cells and found that while some responded well to immunotherapy, others failed to do so. They tested the changes in these tumour cells by examining miniature tumours grown in the labs. The team then tried a combination of available agents to reverse the efficacy of the immunotherapy agents so that they could work for more patients.The researchers explain that the antibody-based drug cibisatamab – an immunotherapy agent, could work better in more patients if the theory is proved. This study, they add, could also help determine which of the patients would respond well to immunotherapy and which of them would not.Cibisatamab is one of the new and promising immunotherapy agents that can help identify the cancer cells using immune mechanisms and then kill them selectively. However some patients respond well to this drug while others respond poorly or not at all. Researchers explain that one arm of the drug attaches itself to a molecule present on the surface of the cancer cell. It is called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). The other arm of the drug activates a special immune cell called a T cell that can attack and kill the tumour cell. When grown in the labs the team found that some of the tumour cells could hide themselves from treatment by changing their surface molecules and the CEA levels thus reduce.Cibisatamab has been found to be effective against most bowel cancer patients. This study aimed to look at the cause of its non-efficacy in some of the patients. Biopsy samples were taken from eight bowel cancer patients for this study and mini replicas of the tumours were created in the labs of ICR. Some of the cells contained high numbers of CEA, some low and some were in between, explain the researchers. The team then used cibisatamab to treat these patients and saw that 96 percent of those with high CEA responded well with the drug and only 20 percent with low CEA responded to the drug. They noted that 53 percent of those with mixed levels of CEA responded to the drug.Related StoriesStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerAs a next step the team allowed the cancer cells to grow again in the lab for a month. They noticed that the CEA levels had changed in these regrown tumours. This meant that the cells could change their CEA so as to escape being recognized by the immunotherapy agent. The researchers delved deeper into the genetic make-up of the cells with low CEA on their surfaces and found that these cells have an increase in the WNT pathway of genes. Certain drugs target this pathway in the cancer cells. They realized that if these drugs were combined with cibisatamab, the efficacy of the cibisatamab could be improved in the cancer cells. WNT pathway targeting drugs include tankyrase inhibitors and porcupine inhibitors. They found that when these drugs were used the CEA levels on the cells were increased. This made them vulnerable to the immunotherapy, explained the researchers.Dr Marco Gerlinger, Team Leader in Translational Oncogenomics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Oncologist at The Royal Marsden said in a statement, “Cancer is very good at hiding from the body’s immune system. The latest successful immunotherapies work by acting as a matchmaker to bring the immune system together with cancer, so that it can see it and attack it.” He explained, “Our study has found that bowel cancers have a way of dodging even the newest of immunotherapies – changing their spots by altering the levels of a key molecule on the surface of cells, so that they become harder to recognise. We used a new technique for growing miniature replicas of tumours to develop a way of testing whether patients will respond to immunotherapy. And best of all, we were able to identify an existing inhibitor of the WNT pathway which could be used to reverse this process. We hope that this could in future help immunotherapies work in more patients, by making cancer cells more visible to immune cells.” He was the study leader.Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, added, “As we move away from one-size-fits-all therapy for cancer, it’s so important that we are able to identify which patients are most likely to respond to a drug, and do everything we can to avoid resistance to treatment for as long as possible. This research reveals a way in which cancers are able to hide from a promising new type of immunotherapy. Although the work is still in its early stages, it could be used to develop a test for who is most likely to respond to the drug, and points to possible drug combinations that might prevent or delay resistance.”The study was funded by the Cancer Research UK and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden. Image: Colour-enhanced image of human colon cancer cells in culture. Credit: Annie Cavanagh. License: (CC BY 4.0) By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDApr 15 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers have found that bowel cancer cells have a mechanism by which they can switch off some key molecules on their surfaces and thus escape being recognised and killed by the immunotherapy agents.last_img read more

Researchers examine the protocol for treating aggressive prostate cancer

first_img Source:UCLA The study assessed 1,170 patients who were treated between 2000 and 2013 for an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Using a statistical model, the UCLA researchers compared the outcomes for men who were treated with radiation for their prostate alone versus men who received similar high-dose treatment for their prostate in conjunction with radiation for their whole pelvis.The study results showed that patient outcomes improved when they received a high dose of radiation therapy for their prostate along with radiation for their whole pelvis region. The UCLA researchers however also noted that a randomized trial is required to further prove their conclusions. We undertook this study because several randomized trials have failed to show any benefit to prophylactically treating the whole pelvis region with radiation along with treating the prostate. However, these trials have been limited by delivering substandard doses of radiation to the prostate. This raises the question of whether treating the pelvic nodes in conjunction with high-dose radiation to the prostate would be helpful.”Dr. Amar Kishan, Member, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centercenter_img Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 20 2019Treating an aggressive disease is always challenging but improving the way therapies are applied can benefit patients by giving them a better outcome.In a new study published by European Urology, UCLA researchers and colleagues from ten other institutions examined the protocol for treating aggressive prostate cancer. With aggressive forms of this disease, it is often unclear if radiation therapy should be applied to the prostate alone or to the whole pelvis. The reason a low-dose of radiation may be applied to the whole pelvis is that pelvic lymph nodes may have microscopic cancer cells within them.Previous tests have proven that a high dose of radiation is effective in treating prostate cancer. This new study set out to learn if treating men with a high dose of radiation for their prostate, along with a lower dose of radiation for their pelvic lymph node would improve their outcomes.last_img read more