Win a free cruise with TravelBrands NCL

first_imgWin a free cruise with TravelBrands, NCL << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Travelweek Group center_img MISSISSAUGA — A new contest from TravelBrands Cruises by Encore Cruises and NCL gives agents the chance to win prizes based on bookings made May 14 – 25.Prizing includes a free seven-night cruise for two aboard Norwegian Bliss and multiple sets of $50 in Loyalty Rewards points. To participate in the contest, agents will receive one ballot for every NCL booking made by phone and two ballots for every booking made online during the contest period.Members of the ‘Your TravelBrands BDM’ Facebook group will earn double ballots. Agents who answer Norwegian trivia questions on the ‘Your TravelBrands BDM’ Facebook group throughout the contest will receive one extra ballot for participating.Trivia questions will be asked by TravelBrands and Norwegian employees, including Frank DeMarinis, President & CEO of TravelBrands. A few lucky agents will receive $50 worth of TravelBrands Loyalty Rewards Points. The TravelBrands Loyalty Rewards program allows agents to collect points and redeem them for a multitude of rewards.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksTravelBrands is also offering a consumer incentive when booking an NCL cruise. Clients booking any 2018 seven-night+ sailing in a balcony stateroom or above will receive free chocolate dipped strawberries which will be delivered to their stateroom during the sailing.Travel agent partners can join the TravelBrands Facebook group to take part in this interactive contest (search ‘Your TravelBrands BDM’ on Facebook). Travel agents can also visit to learn more about the giveaway and to make their bookings. Tags: Contest, Encore Cruises, Facebook, NCL, TravelBrands Posted bylast_img read more

Radisson Blu Atria Bengaluru opens 13 March in th

first_imgRadisson Blu Atria Bengaluru opens 13 March, in the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state, Bengaluru, also known as, “The Garden City.” An centre of economic activity and high-technology industry, the city is also renowned for its parks and nightlife. The newly opened Radisson Blu Atria Bengaluru, is set to introduce the brand’s internationally renowned, Yes, I Can!SM service philosophy with sophisticated design and premier accommodation.Radisson Blu Atria Bengaluru is a 45-minute drive from the Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) and a 10 minutes’ drive from the City Railway Station. Located within close proximity to iconic attractions including the Government Legislative Building, Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore Palace and Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, the hotel is also positioned at the centre of the central business district and leisure hubs, making it an ideal destination for the discerning business and leisure traveller.Designed with the modern traveller in mind, the hotel features 167 well-appointed guest rooms and suites with modern amenities. Bringing exciting flavors from around the globe, the hotel has four food and beverage outlets for guests to indulge in. Guests can enjoy international cuisine at One Atria Café or authentic Indian cuisine at the hotel’s speciality restaurant, Tijouri. The Whiskey Bar and Tea and Wine Lounge provides drinks, making it the perfect venue to unwind.The hotel has over 1,250 square meters of flexible room configurations with its six meeting spaces and two boardrooms, capable of accommodating large wedding receptions or intimate team meetings complemented with state-of-the-art presentation and audiovisual tools. Other facilities available at the hotel includes the Business Class Lounge, business centre, swimming pool, spa and fully-equipped fitness centre.last_img read more

November 25 2011photo Paolo Soleri and Jeff Ste

first_imgNovember 25, 2011[photo: Paolo Soleri and Jeff Stein on October 19. 2011] Cosanti Foundation President, Jeff Stein AIA, spoke of Arcosanti and arcology at the second TECHONOMY conference, “Revolutions in Progress,” in Tucson this past week.In what was termed a “Techonomy Lab”, Stein was paired with theoretical physicist Geoffrey West, Distinguished Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, in a public dialogue entitled, “The City Never Sleeps.” They discussed the city, its future growth, and how it serves as the basis for a global economy. TECHONOMY is an annual forum where CEO’s of international high-tech companies come together with provocative speakers and share ideas about how technology can provide new solutions to global problems. Vehicles, buildings, cities, healthcare, education, political stability: all these – and their relation to new technologies – were explored over the three-day event. While in Tucson, Stein filmed an interview with Kaplan Educational Systems, one of the conference’s sponsors, on the challenges – financial, social, ecological – facing the new generation of college students. He also met with industrial designer and Cosanti alum Geoffrey Bruce, whose company Tensile Shade Structures is working on a design for the East Crescent Canopy at Arcosanti. THANKSGIVING photos will be posted next week.last_img read more

Its a story that has stunned the publicLast week

first_imgIt’s a story that has stunned the public.Last week, a report by The Times of London found that in 2011, the national director for Oxfam in Haiti and senior aid workers hired local sex workers while working in the country. After an internal investigation, the Times reported, Oxfam accepted the resignations of three men and fired four for gross misconduct.At the time, the charity was providing relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake that killed 220,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.Across social media, critics and Oxfam donors expressed their outrage.For staffers and researchers in the humanitarian sector, the incident in Haiti was disturbing — but not shocking. For decades, there have been reports of relief workers sexually exploiting the very people they are trying to help.”I wasn’t surprised by the revelations. This is a sector-wide problem,” says Megan Nobert, a human rights lawyer and founder of Report the Abuse, a project that researched sexual offenses by aid staffers from 2015 to 2017. “It’s one that’s affecting not just Oxfam but [also] the U.N. and small NGOs.”For this reason, most aid groups have ethical codes of conduct that explicitly prohibit sexual exploitation, which the U.N., in their own ethics handbook, calls a “catastrophic failure” to protect those they serve.In the past, when a scandal like this was exposed, “the world was horrified for a short period of time. Aid groups would say it’s terrible, we’re going to strengthen our systems and everybody is appeased,” says Paula Donovan, head of Code Blue, a campaign to end impunity for sexual exploitation and abuse by U.N. personnel. “Then it happens again.”Aid observers think that in this era of #MeToo — the movement against sexual assault in the workplace — momentum is finally building for a new commitment in the aid community to zero tolerance.For this reason, Donovan thinks that the Oxfam incident could trigger real change in the sector. “There’s a perfect storm now,” she says.A history of sexual exploitation The reports of sexual abuses in the aid industry cover a variety of victims, behaviors and organizations. Sometimes these incidents involve aid workers assaulting their colleagues. For two years, Nobert collected stories of staffer-on-staffer violence from more than 1,000 individuals for Report the Abuse, published in a report in 2017.But the Oxfam scandal focuses on a different type of problem: humanitarian workers who sexually assault aid recipients. The workers may be employed by an aid group or be part of the U.N. peacekeeper force.The forms of exploitation include range from sexual harassment to buying sex and bartering for sex to sex with a minor and rape, according to a document prepared by the U.N. in 2016.And for aid workers who have wondered whether hiring a sex worker is truly grounds for dismissal, a task force created by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee — whose members include U.N. agencies, the WHO and the World Bank — makes it clear: “In most communities, the vast majority of women in prostitution don’t want to be there,” it states in an FAQ on its website. “Exploitative sex [is] one of the few avenues they have for obtaining money to meet basic needs.”It’s hard to say how widespread this problem is. “Anecdotally, we know that this happens, though getting exact data collected and published has not always been common protocol,” says Nobert.In the wake of the Oxfam scandal, however, a number of cases involving some of the major aid agencies have emerged. World Vision told Reuters on Tuesday that there were 10 incidents with volunteers or staff in 2016 “involving either sexual exploitation or abuse of a child involved in one of the charity’s activities.”There have been incidents reported in the past as well.In 2002, after mounting concerns about sexual violence by aid workers and U.N. employees against children in West Africa, Save the Children and UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, investigated the issue in a report. In a survey of 1,500 adults and children, researchers collected allegations of abuse and exploitation against 67 individuals. They found cases of staffers who traded humanitarian aid, like cooking oil and bulgur wheat for sex with girls under 18.A few years later, spurred by a high-level U.N. meeting on sexual violence among staffers in 2006, Save the Children conducted another investigation, this time in Haiti, Sudan and the Ivory Coast. It found that aid workers from a number of organizations had asked children for “lesbian sexual displays,” filmed girls engaging in sexual activity in exchange for food rations or U.S. dollars.Other cases have centered around sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers, who travel to disaster and conflict zones to protect civilians. A U.N. report found that in 2014, U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, largely from a French military force, were sexually abusing children in exchange for food or money. Some of the children were as young as 8 years old.Donovan says that the peacekeepers also engage in sexual relations with women of child-bearing age — and there’s even a nickname for babies to women who become pregnant: “peacekeeper babies.”And just because it happens doesn’t make it OK. “That humanitarian aid workers assist them in the day and at night and exploit and abuse their extraordinarily unfortunate situation for their own pleasure — it’s appalling,” she says.Many Western charities and the U.N. have clear policies in place that prohibit such sexual exploitation. In a 2003 document, the U.N. states that acts of sexual exploitation are grounds for dismissal. Codes of conduct from Western charities like the Danish Refugee Council and the Lutheran World Federation, from 2007 and 2005, respectively, have similar language for its staffers.Unpunished acts So then why does this behavior persist?”We have the guidelines, policies, procedures in place to prevent this. That’s not lacking,” says Judith Greenwood, head of the CHS Alliance, a charity network based in Geneva. In 2016, her group hosted a conference in Bangkok to explore ways that aid groups could improve investigations into allegations of sexual exploitation.”What’s lacking,” says Greenwood, “is the application.”Studies and reports have shown that sex offenses committed by staffers often happen without serious consequences to the perpetrators and that justice is rarely brought to victims. A 2015 independent report on the U.N. peacekeepers’ sex crimes, for example, detailed a “gross institutional failure to respond to the allegations in a meaningful way.”Even Oxfam acknowledges its failings in a February 9 press release: “We have not done enough to change our own culture and to create the strongest possible policies to prevent harassment and protect people we work with around the world.”Seeking solutionsEven before the Oxfam outrage, there were signs of change. In 2015, Donovan’s campaign, Code Blue, was created to keep up the pressure to end sexual exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and seek justice for the victims. Its name hearkens to the peacekeepers’ iconic blue helmets.In January 2017, just days after he took office, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres created a high-level task force to tackle the peacekeeper problem internally.Still, more needs to be done, says Greenwood.For one, aid groups need to do a better job of vetting employees, says Paul Spiegel, who directs the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins University. “Aid workers are recycled among different organizations because people are desperate to find staffers to go to these places at times.”As for offenders: “Maybe you need to be blackballed in the community,” he says. “This person could never be hired again.”Oxfam acknowledges that Roland van Hauwermeiren, the head of mission in Haiti who hired the sex workers in 2011, had also paid for sex while stationed in Chad in 2006. The charity had known about the allegation yet still hired him to work in Haiti four years later.Since the Oxfam story broke last week, the charity shared how it plans to regain the trust of the people it aims to help. It will hire an independent body to look through past cases of sexual abuse at the charity to see if they can be reopened. It has set up a confidential whistleblowing hotline. It promises to do a better at checking the background of potential hires.Oxfam’s deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, stepped down on Monday, taking “full responsibility” for the Haiti incident, which happened under her watch.And Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, told NPR that the group will work with local authorities in Haiti to achieve justice for the women who were abused by the staffers. “For some [victims], that might mean helping them find better jobs, or helping them find markets [where they can sell goods],” she says, with the ultimate purpose of “restoring dignity.”Both Greenwood’s group and Nobert have given credit to Oxfam for the steps it has taken.Meanwhile, there could be financial consequences, not just for Oxfam but for other British charities. The United Kingdom, which gives $45 million to Oxfam annually, threatened to cut funding to overseas aid agencies if they fail to address sexual exploitation by their employees and volunteers in the field.”Unless you safeguard everyone your organization comes into contact with, including beneficiaries, staff and volunteers, we will not fund you,” said Penny Mordaunt, U.K. secretary of state for international development at a conference in Stockholm on Wednesday.These “respectful demands for humanitarian organizations to do better has helped hold us accountable, has helped us move forward,” says Nobert, founder of Report the Abuse.But even a critic like Nobert, who in 2015, spoke publicly about being drugged and raped by a U.N. supplier while on a mission to South Sudan, stands by the work of these organizations.”Don’t stop funding these groups. Not every humanitarian is committing acts of sexual abuse,” she says. “The vast majority go to [the field] to alleviate poverty and help people.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

An Ohio fertility clinic said that the remote alar

first_imgAn Ohio fertility clinic said that the remote alarm system on its storage tank was turned off, so it didn’t know that the temperature had fluctuated, and that the consequences were worse than it initially thought — all 4,000 eggs and embryos in the cryofreezer are likely nonviable.In a letter to affected patients on Tuesday, the University Hospitals health care system wrote: “[W]e have determined that the total number of affected eggs and embryos for these patients is more than 4,000, not the estimate of 2,000 previously used. We are heartbroken to tell you that it’s unlikely any are viable.”University Hospitals said its investigation into the incident on March 3 to 4 at its fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland suggested the problems might have been caused by human error, mechanical failure or both.The first problem was that the remote alarm system on the tank, designed to alert a staff member if there were swings in temperature, was turned off.”We don’t know when the remote alarm was turned off,” the letter explained, “but it remained off through that weekend, so an alert wasn’t sent to our employee as the tank temperature began to rise on Saturday night, when the lab isn’t staffed. An alarm should have been sent and received. We don’t know who turned off the remote alarm nor do we know how long it was off, but it appears to have been off for a period of time.”The letter also said the tank that failed needed preventative maintenance. The tank had been having issues with the mechanism is that is supposed to automatically refill the liquid nitrogen to keep the specimens cold. As a result, the liquid nitrogen was being filled manually.”On the Friday before the weekend of the failure, the liquid nitrogen was brought in a container from the nearby Andrology Lab and poured into the tank,” the letter says. “The liquid nitrogen levels in the tank were monitored and appeared to be appropriate on Friday and Saturday, but we now suspect that may not have been the case.”Just before the tank failure occurred, the clinic had been preparing to move all the specimens to an extra storage tank to perform maintenance on the automatic fill.Dr. James Liu, chairman of the hospital system’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the clinic was “about a day or so out” from moving the eggs and embryos when the failure happened.The hospital system says it is refunding storage fees to those patients who had stored eggs and embryos, as well as offering tailored emotional and medical support, including a free round of IVF for those who want it. The hospital system isn’t asking patients to sign a release in order to access the services.In a video statement, Tom Zenty, the hospital system’s CEO, apologized for the failure:”We understand that our patients are grieving and we grieve with them. Clearly, we can’t give back what was lost. We hope to help them recover some of that loss through the medical and emotional support services we have offered. I can’t say it any more plainly: we failed our fertility clinic patients. We are sorry. I am sorry. And we are going to everything we can to regain our patients’ trust.”The first court hearing in the matter was held on Monday. The Plain Dealer reports that 57 plaintiffs have come forward thus far and that 22 lawsuits have been filed against University Hospitals. It remains to be seen whether class action status will be granted.One couple who lost their embryos, Jeremy and Kate Plants, told the Plain Dealer in an email that the hospital system’s letter and video were “horrifying.””We had accepted that our embryos were lost, but our hearts break for those who were holding on to hope that their embryos were still alive,” Jeremy Plants wrote.He also criticized University Hospitals for not resolving its problems sooner.”What were they thinking,” he asked, “and why was nothing done before this disaster happened?” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

Chimps owned by the National Institutes of Health

first_imgChimps owned by the National Institutes of Health should be moved from research facilities to retirement sanctuaries unless that relocation is “extremely likely” to shorten their lives, a report issued Friday says.”Chimpanzees should be relocated to the federal sanctuary system unless relocation would place the chimpanzee’s life, safety, and welfare at extreme risk,” says the report from a working group convened by the NIH to examine the safety of transferring chimps to retirement homes.If there’s disagreement between a lab and a sanctuary about whether to relocate a chimpanzee, the group recommended that “independent expert veterinary opinion should be sought to inform the relocation decision.”The report comes in the wake of a recent controversy about whether moving frail or elderly chimps away from their familiar setting was unduly stressing them and endangering their health.Some animal welfare advocates maintain that Chimp Haven, a refuge of 200 acres in Louisiana, offers the chimps a naturally forested habitat where the animals can enjoy freedom impossible to achieve in a lab. Even though all NIH-owned chimps are housed in social groups with access to the outdoors and climbing structures, advocates say the animals should be moved to sanctuaries.”We are pleased that the working group report emphasizes relocation for as many chimpanzees as possible and we will be pushing to make sure every chimpanzee is relocated to Chimp Haven,” says Kathleen Conlee, vice president of animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States. She notes that “there are numerous examples of chimpanzees thriving once they are retired to sanctuary.”But some have argued that old, sick chimps shouldn’t be forced to leave their long-term homes and caretakers, and they point to deaths that occurred after chimps were transferred to Chimp Haven as evidence that animals suffered from the change.The NIH has been working to retire its research chimps ever since 2011, when a major study concluded that the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research had become largely unnecessary. As of March 2018, the NIH owns or supports 504 chimpanzees, and 232 already live in the federal sanctuary system.Of the 272 chimps that haven’t yet been moved to sanctuary, 177 have chronic health conditions that could potentially increase the risk of health problems related to the stress of relocation, according to the report.The report makes a number of recommendations, including that veterinary records must be shared between the sending and receiving facilities and that both should collaborate “to jointly expand the technical assistance available to the receiving facility to care for at-risk chimpanzees.”The working group also concluded that the NIH needs more information in the chimps it owns, saying the agency only had general information. “The NIH therefore lacks the data necessary to proactively assess the health of individual chimpanzees in its colony, track chimpanzees over time, or conduct its own population or actuarial research,” the report said.The working group’s findings are being presented to the NIH’s Council of Councils, an advisory group, which will submit the report along with its own recommendations to the NIH. NIH will then open a 60-day public comment period before the NIH director makes a decision about how to proceed. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit read more

Theres no shortage of news and feature stories ab

first_imgThere’s no shortage of news and feature stories about addiction. Oftentimes, they follow a similar narrative — from painkillers overprescribed, to heart-wrenching family interventions, to challenging stints in rehab, to the happy endings of sobriety.But for people who have lived through addiction, a lifetime remains after initial treatment ends. What happens next?For many of those in recovery, the true test of sobriety comes not during the initial stages of treatment but in the months, years and decades to follow. After the addiction ends, the situational causes and contributors of it are likely to persist.Here’s what journalist Maia Szalavitz wrote in Scientific American:If we want to reduce opioid addiction, we have to target the real risk factors for it: child trauma, mental illness and unemployment…Many people would prefer it if we could solve addiction problems by busting dealers and cracking down on doctors. The reality, however, is that as long as there is distress and despair, some people are going to seek chemical ways to feel better. Only when we can steer them towards healthier—or at least, less harmful—ways of self-medication, and only when we reach children before they develop this type of desperation, will we be able to reduce addiction and the problems that come with it.Addressing the risk factors can help prevent addiction and help those who relapse.What happens after treatment ends?Show produced by Bianca Martin.GUESTSSam Arsenault, Director, National Treatment Quality Initiatives at Shatterproof, a national nonprofit; @PHwithSamBarry Grant, Director of Outpatient Services, Hope House Treatment Centers in the greater Annapolis, Maryland area; certified chemical dependency counselor; @risewithbarryBrooke Feldman, A person in recovery; social worker; writer; advocate; currently serves as the Philadelphia Center Manager for CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine; @BrookeM_FeldmanFor more, visit© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio. Copyright 2019 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.last_img read more

The proportion of Department for Work and Pensions

first_imgThe proportion of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff who say they have been victims of disability discrimination at work in the previous 12 months has risen by about 50 per cent in just four years, Civil Service figures have revealed.The annualCivil Service People Survey shows the number of DWP staff sayingthey had personally experienced disability discrimination at work in the past12 months rose by 150 (more than 10 per cent), from 1,462 in 2017 to 1,612 in2018.And theproportion of all DWP staff reporting disability discrimination rose by about12 per cent, from about 2.55 per cent of all employees in 2017 to about 2.85per cent in the 2018 survey.This was anincrease of about 50 per cent since the 2014 survey, when 1.91 per cent ofthose responding to the survey said they had experienced disabilitydiscrimination at work in the previous year.But thefigures are even more striking when compared with the number of disabled staff employedby DWP.The latestCivil Service figures, from November 2018, show that only 7.7 percent of DWP employees declared that they were disabled.Thissuggests, according to calculations by Disability News Service (DNS) – whichDWP has failed to comment on – that more than a third of disabled DWP staffexperienced disability discrimination at work in 2018.Theproportion of DWP employees who have experienced any kind of discrimination hasalso continued to increase in the last four years, from 11 per cent in 2014 to14 per cent in 2018.It is justthe latest evidence of worsening levels of discrimination within the governmentdepartment responsible for the much-criticised Disability Confident scheme and will further strain the scheme’s credibility.DWP itselfhas been awarded the status of Disability Confident Leader, the highest ofthree levels within the scheme, which aims to work with employers to “challengeattitudes towards disability” and “ensure that disabled people have theopportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations”.Lastweek, DNSreported how DWP repeatedly failed tomake reasonable adjustments for disabled people who were recruited to buildbridges between jobcentres and the local community through its CommunityPartners scheme.InNovember, thedepartment admitted failing to keep track of how many complaints by staffthrough its internal grievance system were based on allegations of disabilitydiscrimination.Earlierthe same month,new research showed that the EmploymentTribunal had dealt with almost 60 claims of disability discrimination takenagainst DWP by its own staff over a 20-month period.And last summer, figures provided to the work and pensions select committee by Sarah Newton (pictured), the minister for disabled people, showed that nearly 7,000 employers that had signed up to Disability Confident had promised to provide just 4,500 new jobs for disabled people between them, an average of less than one per employer.Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, declinedto comment on the DWP discrimination figures this week.But David Gillon, a prominentdisabled critic of the Disability Confident scheme, said: “IfDWP can’t even tackle a rapidly increasing disability discrimination problem,never mind resolve it, then how can they justify retaining their DisabilityConfident Leader status, and their leadership of the entire DisabilityConfident programme?”He said that a total of 1,612 incidents of disability discrimination wasmore than six per working day.He said: “A core responsibility of a Disability Confident Leader is beingan example to others, and teaching lessons learned across the DisabilityConfident community. “There is precisely zero evidence of DWP doing this, or evenacknowledging that they have a problem, so the justification for theirretaining Disability Confident Leader status appears absent. “In fact, their failure to acknowledge the issue argues strongly for theremoval of their Leader status.”He said it was “particularly disturbing” that the number of incidents ofdisability discrimination reported “far exceeds” those in areas such asethnicity and sexual orientation, which was “the reverse of the pattern seenfor harassment in the general population from police and Crown ProsecutionService figures”. He added: “This strongly suggests that the issue may be a cultural onerelated to views of disability within DWP or the Civil Service as a whole.”A DWP spokesperson refused to say if Newton was concerned about thefigures, why DWP thought the figures had risen so sharply over the last fewyears, and why it thought there had been another year-on-year increase in 2018.She also refused to say if Newton thought the figures suggestedcomplacency by ministers about discrimination, whether they suggested DWP was institutionallydisablist, and whether DWP should still be able to call itself a DisabilityConfident Leader.But she said in a statement: “We areabsolutely committed to ensuring all colleagues, including those withdisabilities or health conditions, get the support they need to thrive.“The department has a duty ofcare to its colleagues and aims to lead by example as a Disability Confidentemployer, following best practice in recruiting, retaining and developingdisabled staff. “We take very seriously any reports of disability discrimination from colleagues, while taking active steps to promote equality.”A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Trustee emeritus Elkins remembered

first_imgShareTrustee emeritus Elkins rememberedFROM RICE NEWS STAFF REPORTSJames Elkins III, who served as a Rice University board member for 18 years, died of an apparent heart attack June 10 while vacationing with his family in France. He was 58. In a joint statement, Rice Board Chairman Jim Crownover ’65 and President David Leebron reflected on the loss of the longtime Rice and Houston leader: “The Elkins family is truly one of the first families of Houston, personally shaping the advancement of our city to the unique stature and reputation it enjoys today, including its medical center, academic institutions, arts organizations and charitable groups. “The Elkins have been a cohesive force in so many of Houston’s achievements, bringing broad and visionary commitment to the future of our community. For so many years, Jim was the leader of the Elkins’ contributions in these areas. He exerted influence and care through his governing role in organizations too numerous to list. He was a key adviser to so many people and causes, including the two of us, and his calm, interested and compassionate manner made him truly unforgettable to work with.”A native Houstonian, Elkins received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Texas School of Business. After working for Morgan Guaranty Trust in New York, he returned to Houston in the late 1970s to pursue a career with the now-defunct First City National Bank. His most recent business venture was Houston Trust Co., an asset management firm that he co-founded.Elkins served on Rice’s board as a term governor during 1980-1984, 1986-1990 and 1996-1998 and as a trustee from 1998 to 2006, when he became a trustee emeritus. Since retiring from the board, he continued to serve on the Academic Affairs Committee and as an informal adviser to many at Rice.“There was hardly a month in the past 30 years that Jim did not think of Rice and make an effort on behalf of Rice,” Crownover said.In addition to serving on Rice’s board, Elkins was a trustee of Baylor College of Medicine, the Methodist Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital and St. John’s School, which he attended from kindergarten through ninth grade. Other beneficiaries of his community involvement were the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Parks Board, the Houston Zoo, the Salvation Army, the Retina Research Foundation, the Wortham Foundation, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, the Vivian L. Smith Foundation and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Elkins is survived by his wife, Jenny, their seven children and his two sisters.A memorial service was held June 15 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. JAMES ELKINS III Long Description AddThislast_img read more

At IO Android Takes Backseat to Machine Learning

first_img –shares Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Google I/O is ostensibly about the future of Android, but that changed in 2016 when CEO Sundar Pichai put the AI-powered Google Assistant and machine learning at the forefront, a trend that continued at this year’s show.At I/O 2017, the phrase “going from mobile first to AI first,” was repeated throughout the opening sessions and definitely set the tone.In addition to adding to its collection of open-source neural net technology, Google also introduced a more advanced Tensor Flow Unit (TCU), a piece of hardware designed specifically for running and training neural nets. This technology has been made available to developers and researchers on the cloud, and Google doubled down with 1,000 units available for research organizations.The average consumer, however, will likely experience Google’s machine-learning efforts via the Google Assistant. Developers can now build special Actions for this super-powered chatbot, which expands what the Assistant can do. Google unveiled new tools to make interactions like purchases seamless, opening the door for the Assistant to become a money-making platform for developers.In addition to the ascendance of the Assistant, it was interesting to see all the places where mobile phones were absent. A new Android-based, in-car control system highlighted the Assistant, but doesn’t require a phone. Google Home is getting a slew of updates, but voice calls don’t require a phone; Home will now simply call numbers, for free. It’s a startling move, partly because of its convenience but especially because this is exactly the context where we would expect to see crossover with Android devices.Popular Google platform iPhoneOne noticable point was the number of times the iPhone was mentioned during the series of keynotes at Google I/O. These weren’t offered as points of comparison to show Android’s superiority. Instead, Google treated the iPhone almost as if it were another platform for its developers.It started when the Google Assistant debuted in the less-than-popular chat app Allo, which launched simultaneously on iPhone and Android. The Assistant next appeared exclusive in the Pixel and Pixel XL phones, but now the Assistant will be everywhere: in cars, in TVs and, yes, in the iPhone. Now that developers can write Actions for the Assistant, it effectively turns the iPhone into an extension of Google’s existing platforms.The pieces of AndroidAndroid isn’t going away, clearly. Sessions focusing on the changes coming in Android O highlighted new tools and efforts to make developing for Android easier. But there was also a sense of tension as Google starts to take back more and more control of the Android platform. If developers want to target their apps for the new Android O, they have to use the OS’s new notification channels. If not, developers were told in a session, notifications will be dropped.Android is also popping up in more places beyond the phone. A stripped-down, hardened version of Android will power Google’s IoT platform called Android Things. Several of the changes coming to O regarding power and processor use are also coming to Android Wear, with additional restrictions.The real question is not what the future of Android will be. With 2 billion active monthly users on Android, it’s clearly a major player in the Googleverse. Rather, Google is pushing hard to turn Android developers into Google Assistant developers, Google Home Actions developers and web developers using the latest tools available in Chrome. That transition is going to be key toward Google becoming an AI first company. Software Analyst Next Article As Google puts its machine learning at the forefront, Android is just another platform. May 19, 2017 Add to Queuecenter_img Android Enroll Now for $5 Image credit: Google via PC Mag Max Eddy 3 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag At I/O, Android Takes Backseat to Machine Learninglast_img read more

Marijuana and Parenting Study Finds They Go Well Together

first_img Yet another study has blown apart the age-old stereotype of cannabis users as lazy stoners who have trouble getting off the couch.A study released this month surveyed parents of children under the age of 18, of whom 77 percent had a household income of $75,000 or more–hardly the economic province of the lazy.The study found that of this group, 35 percent frequently use cannabis before doing that all-American activity with their kids: watching TV.And they aren’t doing so to “zone out.”  A majority said that cannabis enhances their TV time with the family, making them more engaged both with the kids and the content they are watching.Related: To Drug Test or Not to Drug Test?Altering the StereotypeThe study was conducted by Minor & Co. Studio, a New York City-based marketing research company. The findings undermine the way many continue to view those who use marijuana.“The stoner stereotype is so prevalent and persistent in TV and media that it continues to stigmatize those for whom cannabis is part of their active and healthful lifestyle,” Robert Miner, president of Miner & Co. Studio, said in a release accompanying the study findings.Eight out of 10 respondents, all of whom live in states where cannabis is legal for adult and medical use, said they “regularly” use cannabis before watching television with the family.  They also said that:Cannabis makes TV watching with kids more enjoyableThey spend more time with their kids watching their shows when using cannabisThey are more engaged to discuss the showsThey “bond” more with their kids and become more likely to seek out shows from their own childhood to watch with their kidsMarijuana and good parenting? That seems to be the case with the study’s findings.Related: California’s ‘Pot Desert’ ProblemPay Attention, Network ExecutivesMinor & Co. points out that the study findings should be of great interest to network executives. That’s primarily because parents who use cannabis said they watch more television, are more engaged and are more willing to try out new content.The study also shows that these parents have outgrown the very stereotypes that the media they watch depicts. Seventy percent said they use marijuana for medical purposes or to enhance their well-being or social experiences.They also don’t see themselves as stoners. Rather, the words they used to describe themselves included “mindful,” “present,” “active” and “professional.” A majority also said they do not relate to the forgettable, bumbling characters that movies and television often portray as being cannabis users.The respondents voiced hope that TV creatives would move past the stereotypes because how they present cannabis users has a significant impact on how people perceive them.Follow on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Researchers say cannabis makes watching TV with the kids more enjoyable. Get 1 Year of Green Entrepreneur for $19.99 Guest Writer News and Trends 3 min read Subscribe Now Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. June 26, 2018 Marijuana and Parenting? Study Finds They Go Well Together. –shares Image credit: MoMo Productions | Getty Images Add to Queue Next Article Green Entrepreneur provides how-to guides, ideas and expert insights for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a cannabis business.last_img read more

Bae Takeaway Skillset and Curated Top the List of Words Wed Like

first_img Next Article Add to Queue The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: Pixabay As 2014 winded to a close, we were confronted with what seemed like an endless procession of “Word of the Year” pronouncements. “Vape” was crowned Oxford Dictionaries word of the year, “culture” nabbed Webster-Merriam’s top spot, while the Global Language Monitor went the unconventional route of selecting the heart emoji for its top word of 2014.I guess this is all well and good, but what about the words that, thanks to overuse, misuse, or down right blahness, we’d like to see expire along with the year? What words should be banned from entering 2015?Luckily, the folks at Michigan’s Lake Superior State University are on it. For the past 40 years, the institution has compiled an annual list of words — culled from nominations made through the university’s website and ultimately finalized by a committee — which should be “banished from the Queen’s English for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness.”Some of the selections for 2014 stemmed from overall frustration and fatigue with cultural terms. “Bae” was one of the most nominated contenders and deemed “the most annoying term of affection to show up in years,” while “foodie” was dismissed as “ridiculous.” But the majority of the words on the list are business-speak at its worst.Related: For the First Time, an Emoji Has Been Named the Most Popular Word of the Year”Skill set,” “curate,” and “takeaway” were all taken to task for, among other things, pretentiousness, over-use and general uselessness. As anyone who has a LinkedIn account or has attended any kind of corporate meeting can tell you, these works are everywhere (explore our site, and you’ll find we’re guilty of it here). The overarching reasoning behind their elimination is that they have become pointless, “jargon-y” fluff. “Skill set” just means skill (“A skill is a skill — that is it,” wrote Stephanie Hamm-Wieczkiewick from Litfield Park, Ariz. in support of getting rid of the word), “curate” is too often an unnecessarily pretentious way of saying “select” (“It used to have a special significance reserved mainly for fine art and museums. Now everything is curated,” wrote Samantha McCormick from Kirkland, Wash.) and “takeaway” has been overused into meaninglessness (“I have heard Jon Stewart use it. I’ve heard Charlie Rose use it, as well as countless numbers of news talking heads, usually for all the wrong reason,” wrote John Prokop from Oakland, Calif).Are there more pressing business terms that need to be eliminated for good? If you have some suggestions for corporate jargon that needs to go, tell us in the comments below.Related: Why ‘No’ is the Most Important Word You’ll Ever Say ‘Bae,’ ‘Takeaway,’ ‘Skillset’ and ‘Curated’ Top the List of Words We’d Like to See Banned in 2015 News and Trends 3 min read Guest Writer Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Apply Now » –shares Laura Entis December 31, 2014last_img read more

Abbott to Buy St Jude for 25 Billion to Boost Heart Devices

first_imgMergers and Acquisitions Enroll Now for $5 April 28, 2016 This story originally appeared on Reuters Image credit: Reuters | Brendan McDermid –shares Reuters Abbott Laboratories said it would buy St. Jude Medical Inc. for $25 billion to expand its heart device business as it competes with larger rivals Medtronic Plc and Boston Scientific Corp.Analysts questioned the cost of the deal versus its financial benefits, and how it would affect Abbott’s purchase of diagnostics company Alere Inc., which the U.S. government is investigating for its sales practices.Abbott Chief Executive Officer Miles White defended the St. Jude deal, saying it would add to earnings per share in the first full year after it closes. He also said financing plans contemplate both the Alere and St. Jude acquisitions.St. Jude shareholders will receive $46.75 in cash and 0.8708 in stock, or about $85 per share. This represents a 37 percent premium to St. Jude’s Wednesday closing.Shares of St. Jude rose 26 percent to $78.10 in early trading, while Abbott fell 6.7 percent.Abbott said on Thursday it would take on or refinance about $5.7 billion of St. Jude’s net debt.The company said St. Jude’s devices for heart failure, blockages and abnormal heart rhythm complement its range of heart products. With St. Jude, Abbott could compete better in an environment where hospitals prefer to deal with only two or three companies, White said.The deal will add 21 cents per share to earnings, excluding special items, in 2017 and 29 cents in 2018, Abbott said.The move comes after years of speculation about the two medical device companies merging. Bloomberg reported last summer that a deal was under discussion, but Abbott denied it.Asked on Thursday by analysts during a conference call, White said the talks did not begin until late last year.”I don’t know that anything has changed,” White said. “I’ve been open about being interested in M&A.”Abbott’s cardiovascular device unit will have annual sales of $8.7 billion after the business are combined.The company said in February it would buy Alere for $5.8 billion to become the leader in point-of-care diagnostic testing.Later that month, Alere said it received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice and that it would delay filing its annual report.White last declined week to respond directly to a question on the Alere agreement, fueling speculation the deal might not close. On Thursday, he said that he declined to comment as company policy.Evercore is advising Abbott on the St. Jude deal, while Guggenheim Securities is the financial adviser to St. Jude.Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz was legal counsel to Abbott, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher advised St. Jude.(Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru and Caroline Humer in New York; Additional reporting by Natalie Grover and Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Lisa Von Ahn)center_img Next Article Abbott to Buy St. Jude for $25 Billion to Boost Heart Devices 3 min read Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Add to Queuelast_img read more

Researchers aim to protect humans mammals from deadly effects of African sleeping

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018A team of Clemson University researchers wants to protect humans and other mammals from the debilitating and even deadly effects of African sleeping sickness.James Morris, a Clemson professor in the College of Science’s department of genetics and biochemistry, said that studying the cause of the disease is vital because, although the transmission of African sleeping sickness by tsetse flies has been studied for more than 100 years, the secret to the underlying parasite’s success remains largely a mystery.”There are a number of questions about how the parasite grows and develops in the fly and then gets transmitted to humans and other mammals,” said Morris, who is on the faculty of Clemson’s Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center.A paper titled “Glucose Signaling is Important for Nutrient Adaptation During Differentiation of Pleomorphic African Trypanosomes” was recently published on the American Society of Microbiology’s mSphere site. It focuses on the biological cues that “tell” the parasite – the African trypanosome (Trypanosoma brucei) – to change life cycle stages as it moves from host to host.”One of the key things that happens is that, as the parasite is floating around in (mammalian) blood, it perceives its neighbors and says ‘oh, there are a lot of us,’ and becomes a different form that is ready to go into a fly, if the fly were to happen to bite that person,” Morris said. “That form that’s ready for life in the fly doesn’t grow – it’s not a growing form – it’s really sitting there, waiting to be taken up by a fly. Once it passes into the fly, though, it begins to grow again. It becomes a form that can live in the fly, and that’s the insect-stage form, or procyclic form.”The team worked to unravel the mechanism by which the parasite knows when to grow and when not to grow.”What has been a mystery, and still is a mystery, is how the parasite really knows where it is,” Morris said. “It turns out that if you take the form that lives in the fly and inject it into a mammal, it is killed instantly by the mammal’s immune system. So, the parasite really has to do an excellent job of recognizing its environment.”As the study’s name suggests, the team focused on sugar, or glucose, as a possible cue for the parasite’s changing ways.”We’ve always suspected the sugar was the cause, but it’s been hard to prove,” Morris said, so the team looked at the possibility that the parasite was somehow monitoring the glucose in its environment.”We felt, wouldn’t it be interesting if the parasite is monitoring that sugar to know when it has moved into a fly, because when there’s lots of sugar, the parasite thinks ‘I’m in a mammal,’ and when there’s no sugar, the parasite thinks ‘oh, I’m in a fly’,” Morris said. “We found that if you take the parasites and remove glucose nearly completely, they’re still alive, which was: A, very surprising because they’re so reliant on the sugar; but B, they also then quickly changed into the form that can live in the fly.”That discovery opens the possibility for treatment that can defuse an outbreak of the potentially deadly African sleeping sickness in humans.”That’s the first step in understanding that pathway and trying to confuse the parasite with drugs later,” Morris said, “so that when they’re in your blood, perhaps you could give them a drug and make them think ‘oh, there’s no glucose around, I should become the insect stage,’ and they would be killed.”Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchYijian Qiu, who was a doctoral student in Morris’ lab before recently becoming a post-doctoral associate at the University of Buffalo, was the lead author of the paper. Qiu’s research focus is in organism-environment interaction and interaction between different organisms.”This is why I found my Ph.D. project on how T. brucei communicates with its environment so fascinating,” Qiu said. “I think the most exciting part of the results is that we found that glucose, the most common energy source for the majority of organisms, could actually become a signal for cell development or an inhibitor for proliferation in different stages of a lethal parasite. We discovered this during the process of addressing a long-standing debate in the parasite field: whether environmental glucose plays a role in the differentiation of T. brucei during its traveling from mammalian host to insect vector.”Although there have been no recent outbreaks of African sleeping sickness among humans, Morris said it’s important that scientists continue to unlock the disease’s secrets.”Currently, I’d say there are certainly less than 10,000 cases of the sickness on the planet each year, but certainly in our lifetime there have been epidemic levels of the stuff, and so it comes and goes,” he said.In humans and animals, African sleeping sickness entails bouts of fever, headaches, joint pains and itching. The parasite can eventually enter the brain, causing changes of behavior, confusion and poor coordination. It also can disturb the sleep cycle, hence its name. Without treatment, sleeping sickness is usually fatal.But while the disease numbers aren’t currently at epidemic levels in humans, the same is not true for other mammals.”The problem really is that in animals it’s unchecked, and it has a really catastrophic effect on agriculture and those pursuits in sub-Saharan Africa,” Morris said.Morris has worked on the mysteries surrounding African sleeping sickness for 26 years, and he said that many questions still remain unanswered.”We want to exploit this new understanding,” Morris said. “The question then becomes, how does the parasite measure glucose, how does it know it’s going away? There are a couple of possibilities – more than a couple, probably – but we think one thing that’s happening is that the parasite has a receptor for the sugar somewhere on its surface where it can assess what’s out there, sort of sample it and say okay, there’s sugar out there or there’s not. And all those pieces are missing right now.”I think we have the genetic tools to understand how all that’s connected,” he added, “so I think that’s the next big step.”In addition to Morris and Qiu, the authors were Jillian Milanes, Jessica Jones, Rooksana Noorai and Vijay Shankar, all of whom were affiliated with Clemson during the research and writing of the paper. Morris credited Noorai’s and Shankar’s work at Clemson’s Genomics and Computational Biology Lab, without which “we wouldn’t have the depth of insight that we do.” Source: read more

Increased activity of EHMT2 gene deficient neurons could cause autism in humans

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 13 2019A novel investigation into the impacts of neuronal mutations on autism-related characteristics in humans has been described in the open-access journal eLife.Autism spectrum disorder, and autism patients’ responses to treatments, is increasingly studied using neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – immature cells that can give rise to an unlimited source of any type of cell needed by the body. But high costs mean that only a few iPSC-derived neuronal lines are typically tested in a single study, limiting previous autism research. New approaches are therefore needed to speed up developments in this area.A team of researchers from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the University of Toronto and McMaster University in Canada set out to establish a scalable iPSC-derived neuron model to help improve autism research. They developed a resource of 53 different iPSC lines derived from 25 individuals with autism, who carry a wide range of rare genetic variants, and from their unaffected family members.Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationISTH introduces new global education initiative in gene therapy for hemophiliaEMBL study reveals uncoupling between chromatin topology and gene expressionUsing CRISPR editing, the scientists also created four ‘isogenic’ pairs of iPSC lines (cell lines with the same or similar genetic makeup) that either had or did not have a mutation, to explore the impacts of mutations on autistic characteristics.”We investigated the synaptic and electrophysiological properties of our iPSC lines using a large-scale multi-electrode array for neuronal recordings, as well as more traditional patch-clamp recordings,” explains first author Dr. Eric Deneault, Postdoctoral Fellow previously in the Genetics and Genome Biology program at SickKids, and now at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada. “Our results revealed numerous interesting associations between the genetic variants and the neuronal characteristics that we analyzed.”Deneault says their most compelling find was a consistent, spontaneous network hyperactivity in neurons that were deficient in the CNTN5 or EHMT2 genes, which may cause autistic characteristics in people. This discovery of hyperactive networks is consistent with current views of autism and paves the way for further investigating their roles in the condition.”In fact, we have made our biobank of iPSC-derived neurons and accompanying genomic data openly available to help accelerate research in this area,” says Dr. Stephen Scherer, a co-senior author of the paper and Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics at SickKids, and of the McLaughlin Centre at the University of Toronto. “We hope this will in turn speed up the development of potential new therapeutic strategies for autism patients.” Source: read more

Indicators of despair rising among Americans entering midlife

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 16 2019Indicators of despair–depression, suicidal ideation, drug use and alcohol abuse–are rising among Americans in their late 30s and early 40s across most demographic groups, according to new research led by Lauren Gaydosh, assistant professor of Medicine, Health and Society and Public Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University. These findings suggest that the increase in “deaths of despair” observed among low-educated middle-aged white Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) in recent studies may begin to impact the youngest members of Generation X (born 1974-1983) more broadly in the years to come.The study, The Depths of Despair Among U.S. Adults Entering Midlife, appears in the American Journal of Public Health. Gaydosh’s co-authors are Kathleen Mullan Harris, Robert A. Hummer, Taylor W. Hargrove, Carolyn T. Halpern, Jon M. Hussey, Eric A. Whitsel, and Nancy Dole, all at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.In 2016, U.S. life expectancy began to decline for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, and researchers theorized that this was driven by a marked increase in deaths due to drug overdose, alcoholic cirrhosis and suicide among middle-aged whites with low education or in rural areas. At the time, this was explained by a unique triple-punch of worsening employment prospects accompanied by a declining perception of socioeconomic status and an erosion of social supports for this group. But studies to better understand those mortality trends did not definitively show that low-income rural whites were actually experiencing more despair than other groups.”What we wanted to do in this paper was to examine whether the factors that may be predictive of those causes of death–substance use, suicidal ideation and depression–are isolated to that particular population subgroup, or whether it’s a more generalized phenomenon,” Gaydosh said.Related StoriesResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIVNew structured approach to managing patients with depression in primary careTo do so, they turned to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, or Add Health, directed by Harris at the University of North Carolina, which tracked the physical and mental health of thousands of Americans born between 1974-1983 from adolescence through their late 30s and early 40s in 2016-18.”We found that despair has increased in this cohort, but that increases are not restricted to non-Hispanic whites with low education,” Gaydosh said. “Instead, the increase in despair that occurs across the 30s is generalized to the entire cohort, regardless of race, ethnicity, education, and geography.”While patterns of drinking, drug use and mental health symptoms varied across races and education levels–whites were more likely to binge-drink in adolescence, while Hispanics and African Americans of all ages were more likely to report depressive symptoms, for example–the trends were broadly the same. Adolescence was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a rocky time for everyone, followed by a period of improvement in their twenties. By the time the teens were in their late 30s, however, indicators of despair were trending back up across the board, and in some cases were higher for minority populations than they were for low-educated whites or rural adults.Gaydosh and her colleagues say these findings should be cause for concern, as they suggest midlife mortality may begin to increase across a wide range of demographic groups. “Public health efforts to reduce these indicators of despair should not be targeted toward just rural whites, for example,” she said, “because we’re finding that these patterns are generalized across the population.”Source: read more

Britain says Facebook must go further in data scandal

Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to rein in the leakage of data to outside developers and third-party apps Britain’s culture minister says Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to fix problems at his social media company aren’t going ‘far enough’ Citation: Britain says Facebook must go further in data scandal (2018, March 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from A scandal erupted last weekend when a whistleblower revealed that British data consultant Cambridge Analytica (CA) had created psychological profiles on 50 million Facebook users via a personality prediction app.Matt Hancock, Britain’s minister for culture and digital, said it should not be down to companies such as Facebook to set their own rules on data privacy.”Zuckerberg has apologised and said that they are going to make some changes, but frankly I don’t think those changes go far enough,” he told BBC radio.”It shouldn’t be for a company to decide what is the appropriate balance between privacy and innovation and use of data, those rules should be set by society as a whole and so set by parliament.”That’s the approach that we are taking—the big tech companies need to abide by the law and we are strengthening the law.”Zuckerberg has vowed to “step up” to fix problems at the social media giant, as it fights a snowballing scandal over the hijacking of personal data from millions of its users.He announced new steps to rein in the leakage of data to outside developers and third-party apps, while giving users more control over their information.’Huge’ trust breach: FacebookThe scandal has wiped out around $60 billion (48 billion euros) of Facebook’s market value since Monday, Bloomberg news reported. US FTC probing Facebook data scandal: media Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, said the situation was “extraordinarily serious” for the company.Facebook says it discovered last week that CA may not have deleted the data as it certified.CA “should never have had access to any of this data” and Facebook felt “absolutely” misled by the British firm, Cox told BBC radio.”We asked them multiple times and they told us they didn’t have anything. Which is really infuriating.”It was a huge breach of trust where lots of data may have made its way into the wrong hands.”He said Facebook’s business model relied upon the company protecting people’s data so they can share information securely.Restoring public trust in Facebook depends on the next steps and will “take a long time, but it’s something we’re committed to”, said Cox.World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee described the scandal as a “serious moment for the web’s future”.The British scientist said it was time for all internet users to “build a web that reflects our hopes and fulfils our dreams more than it magnifies our fears and deepens our divisions”.”I can imagine Mark Zuckerberg is devastated that his creation has been abused and misused,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that “some days I have the same feeling”.”I would say to him: You can fix it. It won’t be easy but if companies work with governments, activists, academics and web users we can make sure platforms serve humanity.” © 2018 AFP Explore further Britain’s culture minister said Thursday that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to fix problems at the world’s biggest social media network did not go far enough. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Could you do it Trips that ban cellphones even for photos

Citation: Could you do it? Trips that ban cellphones, even for photos (2018, April 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. A new tour company called Off the Grid is asking travelers to put cellphones away and not even use them for photos.Off the Grid founder Zach Beattie says he wants the trips to be mindful, unplugged and “very social.”The first trip is to Lisbon in July, with others planned to Prague, Croatia and Barcelona.The small group tours are seven to 10 days. Prices range from $1,500 to $1,650, including accommodations in hostels, some meals and ground transportation (but not airfare).Itineraries emphasize experiences like surfing or dining with a local family rather than bucket-list sightseeing.For emergencies, participants get a “dumb phone” without internet access.Tour-goers can bring cameras, but professional photographers will also document the trips. Return trips feel shorter in hindsight Would you take a trip without your cellphone? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further read more

Apple to build new Austin hub expand in other tech hotbeds

first_imgApple employee Daniel Trevino poses for a photo with Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s Vice President of People, after an announcement about Apple’s new campus in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax cut on overseas profits, which prompted the company to bring about $250 billion back to the U.S.The company said it will also open offices in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, each employing at least 1,000 workers over the next three years. Apple also pledged to add hundreds of jobs each in New York; Pittsburgh; Boston; Boulder, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon.”They are just picking America’s most established superstar cities and tech hubs,” said Richard Florida, an urban development expert at the University of Toronto.Apple’s scattershot expansion reflects the increasing competition for engineers in Silicon Valley, which has long been the world’s high-tech capital. The bidding for programmers is driving salaries higher, which in turn is catapulting the average prices of homes in many parts of the San Francisco Bay Area above $1 million. Many high-tech workers are thus choosing to live elsewhere, causing major tech employers such as Apple, Amazon and Google to look in new places for the employees they need to pursue their future ambitions. The spots where Amazon and Apple decided to expand were obvious choices, based on an analysis released earlier this year by CBRE Research. Washington, D.C., ranked as the third best place in North America for tech talent, behind Silicon Valley and Seattle. New York ranked fifth and Austin sixth. No. 4 was outside the U.S.: Toronto.The new Austin campus, with about 3 million square feet (nearly 280,000 square meters) of office space, will be about a mile from another large office that Apple opened five years ago. Apple currently employs about 6,200 workers in Austin, making it the company’s largest hub outside Silicon Valley even before the expansion.The new jobs are expected to mirror the same mix Apple already has at its Cupertino, California, headquarters, ranging from jobs in technology and research that pay well over $100,000 to lower-paying positions in customer call centers. Austin Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Phil Wilson described jobs that Apple will be adding as “mid-skill” and “good-paying.”Virtually all of the jobs in Seattle and San Diego will be in technology—a field where six-figure paychecks plus stock options are standard. The jobs in Culver City, about eight miles from Hollywood, will also be in digital music and video, two areas Apple is expanding in to boost its subscription entertainment offerings.While much of the $250 billion overseas profits has been earmarked for buying back company stock and paying higher shareholder dividends, Apple pledged in January to finance more than $30 billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. over the next five years. It also committed to creating more than 20,000 more U.S. jobs during that same time frame. After adding 6,000 jobs, Apple said it now has 90,000 U.S. workers and is on track to fulfill its expansion pledge on schedule. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, center, speaks with Austin Mayor Steve Adler during an event about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. “Talent, creativity and tomorrow’s breakthrough ideas aren’t limited by region or ZIP code,” Cook said in a statement.Cities around the country offered financial incentives in an attempt to land Apple’s new campus, but Cook avoided a high-profile competition that pitted them against one another, as Amazon had before deciding to build huge new offices in New York and Virginia.Amazon could receive up to $2.8 billion in incentives in New York, depending on how many it ultimately hires there, and up to $750 million in Virginia. Apple will receive up to $25 million from a jobs-creation fund in Texas in addition to property-tax rebates, which still need approval. The figure is expected to be a small fraction of what Amazon received.The government incentives offered to Apple seem “more in the line of normal business site selection” compared with Amazon’s public “shakedown,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Center. Apple unveils plan for $1 bn campus in Texas, US expansion Explore further “There’s a growing backlash in the country against the entire process of subsides and relocation inducements,” Muro said. “That said, the Apple numbers for a very significant increase in jobs are much less eye-popping than the Amazon numbers.” Apple employees attend an event about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about Apple’s new campus announcement as Apple employees listen in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)center_img Apple employees attend an event about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, the Apple logo is shown at a store in Miami Beach, Fla. Apple released a statement early Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, saying it plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas. The company’s statement says its plans also include establishing locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, with more than 1,000 employees at each. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s Vice President of People, speaks during an event about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) In this May 31, 2018, file photo, customers enter the Apple store, in New York. Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, break ground on smaller locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and over the next three years will expand in Pittsburgh, New York and Colorado. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, the Apple logo is shown at a store in Miami Beach, Fla. Apple released a statement early Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, saying it plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas. The company’s statement says its plans also include establishing locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, with more than 1,000 employees at each. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) Where U.S. companies open new facilities or plants has had the potential for public and political backlash.That potential intensified under the Trump administration, which has pushed companies to keep more of their operations in the U.S.While Cook has steered mostly clear of President Donald Trump’s ire, Apple received some pushback three months ago. Apple sent a letter to the U.S. trade representative warning that the burgeoning trade war with China and rising tariffs could force higher prices for U.S. consumers. Trump in a tweet told Apple to start making its products in the U.S., and not China. Apple uses plants in China and elsewhere to produce components and assemble its products.Cities have been eager to bring in more tech employers because their hires often make six-figure salaries. That can ripple through the economy, with new employees filling restaurants and theaters, buying property and paying taxes.But an influx of affluent tech workers can also drive up rent and home prices, making it more difficult for those in lower-paying jobs to make ends meet. “When tech companies invest in a place and try to hire thousands of workers, it is of course good news for tech workers who are already there and want to be there,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist for employment website “But it can put a strain on the housing market and transportation.”Austin might not feel the stress as much as some other places, Kolko said, because it already has been building more housing in anticipation of more tech employment.Austin’s tech industries accounted for nearly 140,000 local jobs, or 14 percent of Austin’s total employment, about twice the national average, according to the city’s chamber of commerce.Apple opened its first office in Austin a quarter century ago, and Dell’s headquarters are in nearby Round Rock. Google, Facebook and IBM are among the other notable tech companies with satellite offices in Austin.Austin landed another coup in July when the U.S. Army announced plans for a “Futures Command” center to train soldiers and develop technology to combat threats from places like China and Russia.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hailed Apple’s new campus as a milestone development that “truly elevates Austin as one of the premier technology hubs in the entire world.” Citation: Apple to build new Austin hub, expand in other tech hotbeds (2018, December 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Apple employees attend an event about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) Apple employees attend an event about Apple’s new campus announcement in Austin, Texas, Thursday, Dec, 13, 2018. Apple plans to build a $1 billion campus in Austin, that will create at least 5,000 jobs ranging from engineers to call-center agents while adding more luster to a Southwestern city that has already become a bustling tech hub. The decision, announced Thursday, comes 11 months after Apple CEO Tim Cook disclosed plans to open a major office outside California on the heels of a massive tax break passed by Congress last year. (Ricardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Left stance on Sabarimala issue shameful says Modi

first_imgRELATED COMMENTS Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inaugural ceremony of the Kollam bypass on NH 66, in Kerala   –  PTI Addressing a meeting, PM charges State govt of ignoring public sentiments SHARE SHARE EMAIL sabarimala SHAREcenter_img Published on January 16, 2019 Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s whistle-stop tour of Kerala on Tuesday evening has provided enough hints that the Sabarimala issue will form the main agenda during the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.The visit came a day after the annual ‘Makaravilakku’ festival at the hill shrine, which shot to national and international fame after the historic Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups access to the shrine, in September last year.Lack of flourishWomen between the ages of 10-50 were banned from entering the temple premises. The reversal of the tradition had pitted the faithful against the CPI(M)-led State government, which vouches by the order and wants to ‘uphold gender equality.’The BJP, along with the Congress, has supported protests against the order, accusing the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government of ignoring public sentiments.The Prime Minister visited the State for inaugurating a bypass in Kollam district. He later offered prayers at the Sreepadmanabhaswami temple in Thiruvananthapuram.Political observers said there was lack of flourish or aggression while taking on arch rivals — the CPI(M) and the Congress — during his address to BJP workers at Kollam.The Tripura exampleThe Prime Minister said the State government’s conduct in the matter was most reprehensible.“For sometime now, the entire nation has been talking about Sabarimala. The State government’s conduct here will go down in history as one of the most shameful by any party or government.“We knew that the Communists don’t respect Indian history, culture and spirituality, but nobody imagined they would have such hatred for others,” Modi said. He reminded the CPI(M) about what had happened to its government in Tripura.BJP President Amit Shah while speaking at Kannur sometime ago said the BJP “would not mind throwing out the government if it continued to play with issues of faith.”On OrdinanceIn Kollam, the Prime Minister also paid to expectations that he would respond to the demand of an Ordinance to restore status quo at Sabarimala.He did not respond to the State BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai’s entreaties for action with respect to ‘police excesses’ on party workers during peaceful demonstrations. COMMENT CPI(M) hits back, says PM spoke like an RSS pracharaklast_img read more