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first_img Comments   Share   Quarterback Carson Palmer drops back to pass during training camp Aug. 1, 2015 (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The BadLinebacker Sean Weatherspoon and tight end Darren Fells each left practice early. While it seems Fells was suffering from cramps, there is no word on what happened with Weatherspoon.Fitzgerald dropped a pass during one drill.NotedTight end Ifeanyi Momah got a good amount of work with the first-team offense, though that may have been because both Jermaine Gresham (back) and Troy Niklas (hamstring) sat out with injuries.Ellington and rookie David Johnson shared the backfield for a few plays.Quoted“Never.  Not even a hint of doubt.  I was cognizant of all of the work ahead of me but never for a second did I have a doubt.” – QB Carson Palmer on if he had any doubts he’d be back this season following a torn ACLUp NextThe Cardinals will get back on the field Sunday with a walkthrough in the morning and then another practice at 2:00, with the latter event once again open to fans. – / 28 GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals began their 2015 training camp in earnest Saturday in front of an estimated 12,000 fans at University of Phoenix Stadium.It was the first of 19 practices that will be open to the public, and though the players were not wearing pads, they put on a pretty good show for those in attendance.Though to be fair, there is little the team could have done that would have disappointed the masses, who were excited to get their first look at a team many believe could contend for a spot in Super Bowl 50. Top Stories center_img The GoodIf not for the brace on his left knee you would not have guessed QB Carson Palmer was coming off an injury. True to everything we’ve all heard up to this point, No. 3 looked like his normal self on the field throwing darts and even scrambling when necessary. He hooked up with John Brown for one deep ball, burning Patrick Peterson down the sideline (though Peterson claimed it was an incomplete pass). Palmer also threw touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd during 11-on-11 drills.It was good to see Andre Ellington back on the field, too, running with the first-team. Though expectations do not seem to be as high for him now as they were one year ago, the third-year pro is once again going to be counted on to be a big part of the team’s offense.Brown looked every bit the star people think he is about to become, reeling in a couple of well-thrown deep balls. Rookie J.J. Nelson also looked good, hauling in a couple of deep passes.Also, Tyrann Mathieu looked very much like himself, flying around the field making plays. In one drill he stepped in front of a pass intended for Brown, batted the ball in the air and then came down with the interception. Now to be fair, he may have held Brown a bit when the receiver was coming out of his break, but the interception itself was clean and another sign of the Honey Badger being back. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img 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 http://www.npr.org/.last_img 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 http://www.npr.org/.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

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 dispensaries.com 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 dispensaries.com 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

How Will Brangelina Divide Their Millions And Who Gets the Winery

first_imgLegal Here are five lessons from the Jolie-Pitt divorce that could come in handy for entrepreneurs with marital woes of their own. Jacqueline Newman Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. 139shares September 25, 2016 Managing Partner, Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, LLP Register Now » How Will ‘Brangelina’ Divide Their Millions? And Who Gets the Winery? The end of a great love is never easy. But there are still material issues to resolve.Related: 5 Essential Tips for Financial Planning After DivorceYes, we’re going there: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: As the whole world gawks at the dissolution of perhaps this most iconic of Hollywood marriages, we are once more reminded of the complexity of divorce between entrepreneurial individuals with multiple complex assets.Naturally, the existence of a prenup to that marriage would alleviate some of the intricacies of the financial divorce. But, as there was no mention of one in Jolie’s divorce filing, it is possible (albeit unlikely) that the couple never signed one.Because Jolie and Pitt are two of the most famous people on the planet and own a variety of complex assets, their case presents all the complexities of a high-profile, high net worth divorce. Aside from the sensationalist lure of the story, there is much wisdom that entrepreneurs with their own marital woes can extract from the multiple possible scenarios in the Jolie-Pitt split. Here are those lessons:1. Get a prenup.Jolie and Pitt married after many years of living together, sharing humanitarian work and raising several children. Who would have thought that after a decade-long relationship, their marriage would last only two years?My experience with celebrity and high net worth divorce has taught me that no matter how in love you are and how much you trust your future spouse, even if you have lived together 10 years, you still need a prenup. Though this may not be apparent at first glance, discussing a prenup requires an openness and level of trust that can greatly strengthen the marital bond.When the couple married two years ago, Pitt had a higher net worth than Jolie, due mainly to such successes of his production company Plan B as Eat, Pray, Love; 12 Years a Slave; and Selma. Now, I do not personally practice in California, but I am informed that, withhout a prenup, California’s community property laws will prompt a 50-50 split of Jolie’s and Pitt’s earnings. Because Jolie has been in fewer blockbusters since she married Pitt, and Plan B has been doing extremely well of late, absent a prenup, Jolie will be entitled to a share of Pitt’s earnings.2. Keep your passion project as separate property.In 2012, Pitt and Jolie purchased an established wine-producing chateau in France. Unlike other stars who put their names on wine labels prompted by an oversized ego rather than an entrepreneurial spirit, these two actor-entrepreneurs saw their investment in Chateau Miraval turn out to be a success.The chateau’s signature rosé was the only rosé to make Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines list in 2013. Pitt and Jolie paid $60 million for the estate, adding some extra Hollywood-glamour value to the property by having their wedding celebration there on the grounds.According to media reports, the winery means much more to Pitt than to Jolie. But the truth is that unless the chateau was listed in a prenup as Pitt’s separate property, the couple might potentially have to liquidate it in order to split their money; or else each spouse might have to come up with the funds to buy out the other party’s interest.On the other hand, it seems that Jolie is much more invested in the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation than her husband. If things get ugly, Jolie might find herself having to listen to Pitt’s ideas for the foundation and be unable to have full control over one of her most cherished projects.Related: Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Says Married Entrepreneurs Must Do This or Risk Divorce3. Do not take business appraisals lightly.Plan B is an excellent business, as are the separate Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie brands. The Chateau Miraval winery is also a profitable business. At this point, however, either Jolie or Pitt may be tempted to present low business valuations, in order to have to shell out less, in the divorce, for the other spouse.I have seen this happen countless times. A monied spouse shows up with a business appraisal that is convenient for the divorce: “The business is not doing very well, and it is not worth much.” And this may be difficult for the other spouse to refute, because business valuations are very subjective, and it is very hard to argue against them; so, such unrealistic appraisals are commonly accepted.Now, if that same, first monied spouse wants to sell the business some time after the divorce, what will he or she do when potential buyers request to see all previous business appraisals? This person cannot very well say, “Here is the appraisal, but my business is worth much more; I was just trying to screw over my spouse.”That’s hardly a good starting point for a sound business transaction, of course. Therefore, when it comes to business appraisals, long-term thinking is the way to go.4. Settle out of court whenever possible.For entrepreneurs like Jolie and Pitt, discussing personal finances in the public eye never does any good. Strategically, there are certain details about your business that you do not want on the cover of People magazine.If you are a partner in a company, for instance, the suspicion that your former spouse might soon have a stake in it might weaken the business. This is especially true if your spouse has no prior connection with the business and no experience.In that case, it can be devastating for board members to learn that they will soon need approval from a complete outsider for every subsequent business decision. Such fears can have a domino effect, and your business can suffer as a result.Then there is the fact that litigation is expensive. While people like Jolie and Pitt can certainly afford it, it is emotionally draining, especially when children are involved. The majority of high net worth divorces settle, and there is good reason for that. The prospect of going to court is simply too risky on many levels, because there is little guidance from the law in the high net worth divorce space, and a great deal is left to the judge’s discretion.For busy actor-entrepreneurs like Jolie and Pitt to be at the mercy of a court can be extremely problematic, as a judge will not care if they are on location in the Sahara shooting a $200 million movie. Court dates will have to be honored. Settling a case is the only way to control the schedule, which can be a critical point for high-earning individuals.5. Keep finances and emotions separate.Since Jolie has not asked for spousal support and neither spouse is currently trashing the other one for the benefit of the tabloids, their divorce may well turn out to be a “clean” one. After all, if you are just dividing up money, divorce turns into a somewhat of a business negotiation.  But there is a threat looming over Hollywood’s most beloved power couple, and it has to do with child custody.Should Jolie maintain her current position of requesting sole custody of the parties’ six children — and assuming that Pitt will not agree — the two may be facing a custody fight. Once children, not money, are the issue, the mind shifts and emotions run high. When the business mind no longer dictates the discussion, emotions run the gamut, and custodial issues often blur with financial ones.However, if the parties understand that it is in their best interest to deal with finances and child custody separately, and not let their emotions get the best of their good judgment, everyone will benefit.If Jolie and Pitt agree on custody, as she does not want spousal support, and her $275 million net worth is not that far below Pitt’s $350 million, the division of the assets may run smoothly. Both Jolie and Pitt will be able to maintain their current lifestyle, and so will the children.Related: If You Run a Company Together, What Happens When You Divorce?At that point, all of us gawkers can move on to whatever Hollywood offers next. The dream of a seemingly perfect love that enthralled millions of us for 12 years may be over, but perhaps the fans` sensibilities will be spared; the Pitt-Jolie divorce won’t have to turn into a nasty spectacle, after all. Next Article Add to Queue Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 8 min readlast_img

Dogs trained to sniff out malaria

first_imgMalaria. Release of malaria parasites from red blood cell. Image Credit: Kateryna Kon / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDOct 31 2018It is already known that dogs with their sharp noses can sniff out a host of human diseases including cancers.A new study has now shown that dogs could possibly detect and diagnose a person suffering from malaria. Clues from this technology is now helping scientists to develop an accurate diagnostic technology that can detect the dreaded parasitic infection that kills thousands each year. Researchers explain that in patients with epilepsy, those with early stages of cancer and those who suffer from fluctuations of blood sugar levels, there is an alteration in the smell of the urine, sweat and breath. This minute change is often detected by the sharp noses of trained dogs.Malaria is a parasitic infection caused by Plasmodium species and can be detected by blood tests. It kills thousands yearly and there are no rapid non-invasive tests at present to detect the infection that causes high fevers with chills and may cause serious complications and even death if not treated adequately. According to public health entomologist Steven Lindsay from Durham University, developing technology that harness the principles of a dog’s nose to detect malaria could help develop and simple non-invasive test to detect malaria.Dr. Lindsay explains that people with malaria often produce a “distinct odour in their breath”. It is speculated that the mosquitoes can detect the presence of the parasites in a human and bite them to help spread the infection as they bite another healthy person. They scientists speculated that dogs too have top notch smelling systems and it is likely that they may also be able to detect these parasites in the humans thorough these distinctive smells.center_img Related StoriesProteasome inhibitors show potential for combating multidrug-resistant malariaSouthern Research team aims to discover new, safer antimalarial medicinesHuman liver cell protein aids development of malaria parasite, study findsProfessor Lindsay presented the results of his research at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual meeting this week at New Orleans and found that dogs (a Labrador and a Labrador-retriever cross breed) who were trained to smell out the malaria parasites from children’s worn socks were successful in sniffing out the parasite.They were correct in detecting an individual with the infection 70 percent of the time and were also correct in detecting is a person did not have the infection 90 percent of the time. Both being right about the infection or about the infection-free status are with high accuracy.Lindsay explained that the children of Gambia who participated in the study were provided with nylon socks to be worn overnight. The samples of these socks were then sent in air sealed packages to UK for identification of the smells by the trained dogs.According to the team of researchers, this is just a “proof of concept” stage of the study but it is a first step to find an alternative to blood tests. Each year hundreds of thousands of blood tests are conducted to detect malaria in the infected as well as non-infected individuals.According to Professor Lindsay, may be using this technique the dogs could sniff out malaria patients in large crowds as well. He added that the teams would work along with the national malaria control programs of various nations to develop safer and non-invasive alternatives to diagnosis. He said that the next step could be to develop chemical detectors that could detect malaria from odour markers.Source: https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/4692/presentation/17373 and https://www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uklast_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:http://newsstand.clemson.edu/mediarelations/clemson-researchers-reveal-secrets-of-parasite-that-causes-african-sleeping-sickness/last_img 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:https://elifesciences.org/for-the-press/52152f0a/scientists-provide-new-insight-on-gene-mutations-associated-with-autismlast_img 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: https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2019/04/15/indicators-of-despair-rising-among-gen-x-ers-entering-middle-age/last_img read more

Climate change adversely affects human health says new report

first_imgWhat are the chief priorities?Some important areas addressed in the report include:Zero-carbon economy by 2050Decarbonization could avert at least 350,000 avoidable deaths a year within the EU, due to the burning of fossil fuels. This accounts for over half of the excess mortality due to air pollution. Over seven million babies in Europe are also at risk of cognitive disability due to polluted air.Related StoriesNitrogen-rich diet reduces mosquitoes’ ability to transmit ZikaSafe sex an elusive target; STIs continue to rise in EnglandIncreased air pollution could reduce health benefits of living in walkable neighborhoodsAir pollutants and GHG emissions often come from the same sources. Fighting air pollution thus reduces climate change, protects the environment, and promotes health.Healthier dietsSwitching to plant-based diets with less red meat has multiple benefits: EASAC presents strong evidence of the increasing and diverse risk posed to human health and life by the global increase in temperature. They estimate that by the end of this century, worldwide temperatures will be more than 3°C higher than that before the Industrial Revolution.This degree of warming could result in our losing many of the public health gains achieved over the last couple of centuries. Health systems may also be unable to cope with the increasing scale of demand.Immediate, determined and effective action is required to keep the rise below 2°C. This is likely to prevent significant deterioration of health conditions, and to produce great economic advantages as well.To achieve this, we must recognize that climate change anywhere in the world affects human health on a global scale. Conversely, responsible action by the EU to counter climate change will benefit the human race in toto, both now and for future generations.Workable solutions have been presented to mitigate climate change, but the chief obstacle is lack of political will to act.How does climate change affect health?EASAC identifies both direct and indirect consequences of global climate change on human health, including environmental catastrophes like wildfires, droughts, famine and flooding; loss of food security; increased disease burden (infectious and otherwise); and heat-induced injuries.The chief dangers of such climate change will include: Direct effects of heat exposure and natural calamities, as well as increased release of allergens and air pollutants Dwindling food production in some regions of Europe and its trade partners in food Increased and changing patterns of infectious disease Increased forced migrations as agriculture becomes unsustainable Climate change. Image Credit: Piyaset / Shutterstock Reduces food system GHG emissions by 40% Less land and water needed for human nutrition Llower incidence of non-communicable diseases like stroke and heart disease Promotes resilient agriculture systems Increases food security Source: https://easac.eu/publications/details/the-imperative-of-climate-action-to-protect-human-health-in-europe/center_img By Dr. Liji Thomas, MDJun 4 2019Climate change may progressively affect human health for the worse, requiring prompt and resolute action to stabilize it, reports a consortium of 27 leading scientific academies in Europe.  In its new report, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) stresses that climate change is global, and is primarily due to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by human activity, resulting in heating up of the land more than of the oceans. Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Image Credit: InsectWorld / Shutterstock Excessive rainfall and floods could cause an increase in water-borne diarrhea and norovirus infections.Warmer temperatures could favor the proliferation of food-borne bacteria like Salmonella, with increased food poisoning risks, as well as promoting the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli (or Escherichia coli).Evidence for urgent changeThe negative effects of climate change on human health have been sidelined so far in the EU’s environmental policy, which has concentrated on reducing GHG emissions and preparing for global warming.The EU must incorporate an evaluation of the health effects of any climate change initiative into its policy, whether domestic or international.The damage caused by misinformation about the causes and effects of climate change must be resisted successfully. It is important for scientists to gather credible evidence to foster change, and to make this information public. This is crucial to ensure the weight of widespread public sanction behind the decisive movement towards a low-carbon economy. Importing food for the EU from outside could promote deforestation elsewhere, for instance, to get more land on which to raise livestock fodder.  Guidelines for “climate-smart” food systems and healthy diets are urgently needed and must be propagated extensively and persuasively.Infectious diseasesIncreasing global temperatures could increase the burden of infectious diseases in both humans and animals in Europe. Both the incidence and the area of distribution are likely to go up. For instance, with greater availability of geographical areas fitting its preferred environmental conditions, the mosquito vector Aedes albopictus which carries the dengue virus is expanding over Europe.last_img 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 https://phys.org/news/2018-03-britain-facebook-scandal.html 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

Treating the fear of spiders with augmented reality

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In Germany, there are no wild spiders that pose a threat to humans. But that does not stop many people panicking at the sight of one. Their bodies react with heart palpitations, shivering, dizziness, sweating and shortness of breath. Sometimes the psychological stress is so great, the fear so overwhelming, that sufferers of the phobia have to undergo therapy. Behavioral therapy approaches have proved most successful in treating arachnophobia. Exposure therapy, which involves confronting patients with one or more real spiders, is considered particularly effective. However, sufferers of the phobia often do not avail themselves of such treatments, either because exposure to the eight-legged creatures is a too terrifying prospect, or because of a lack of therapy options available where they live.In the “DigiPhobie” project, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT are working to remedy these problems in collaboration with Promotion Software GmbH, Saarland University and Saarland University Medical Center. They are developing a new kind of digital therapy system that is designed to enable exposure therapy in a domestic environment. It is based on the idea that by confronting the feared object in virtual or augmented reality, patients will find it easier to face their fears and be less intimidated by the prospect of starting treatment. The system comprises a digital therapy environment, wearable sensors and augmented reality (AR) glasses to be precise.Exposure therapy in virtual reality”We transfer real exposure therapy to the digital game system that runs on the data glasses. All therapy tasks are digitally simulated. The phobia sufferer can perform various challenges – such as catching a spider with a glass and a postcard or prodding one with their finger – in virtual reality,” says Dr. Frank Ihmig, scientist at Fraunhofer IBMT, describing the therapeutic approach. Ihmig and his team create the software for therapy management and the biofeedback control system, which consists of wearable sensors that measure the patient’s vital parameters during a session, such as their heart rate variability, skin conductance and breathing rate. Arachnophobia is the technical term for the fear of spiders. Approximately 3.5 to 6.1 percent of the population suffer from this phobia. Exposure therapy is the most common form of treatment. However, 60 to 80 percent of arachnophobes do not receive any therapy because of a lack of services. Others simply cannot bear the terror of facing up to real spiders. Together with partners, Fraunhofer researchers are developing a digital therapy system that is designed to facilitate treatment in the home environment and give sufferers a better sense of security. A demonstrator of the system will be exhibited at the MEDICA trade fair in Düsseldorf from November 12 to 15 (Hall 10, Booth G05/H04). Citation: Treating the fear of spiders with augmented reality (2018, October 29) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-spiders-augmented-reality.html Calculating physiological fear responses with a machine learning algorithmOut of the parameters measured, it is possible to extract features that indicate emotional stress. Using these stress features the researchers train a machine learning algorithm. “With the learning algorithm, we derive the patient’s physiological fear response and try in this way to determine the intensity of their fear. Alongside the subjective perception of the arachnophobe, this provides an objective measure of their fear response. This calculated measure is fed back into the digital therapy game, effectively creating a closed-loop system. In this way, we can adapt the therapy to the personal needs of the patient,” explains Ihmig. Game elements such as the size, number and distance of spiders, as well as the movement behavior of the arachnids, can be adjusted dynamically.The Fraunhofer researchers use adhesive electrodes to measure ECG and skin conductance. Breathing is monitored with the aid of a chest strap with piezoelectric sensors. The measured signals are transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth to the therapy management software. All data on the sessions and the course of the therapy is archived in the database and made available to therapists and clinical researchers for analysis.Effectiveness to be determined in clinical studyIn spring 2019, a validation study will begin to evaluate the effectiveness of the digital therapy. Similar approaches using virtual reality (VR) glasses have shown that good outcomes can be achieved with this form of therapy. The results of the analyses are to lay the foundation for further treatment concepts. It is conceivable, for example, that the therapy could be applied to other phobias such as the fear of snakes or cockroaches. “We hope that the results of the clinical study open up new perspectives for treating patients suffering from specific phobias,” says Ihmig.On top of this, the results provide the basis for developing a kit containing the complete therapy set. “The long-term goal for patients is to be able to borrow the kit from their doctor’s office or pharmacy or medical equipment store and carry out individual sessions and exercises at home,” says Ihmig. The researcher and his team will be presenting the biofeedback system at the joint Fraunhofer booth (Hall 10, Booth G05/H04) at the MEDICA trade fair in Düsseldorf from November 12 to 15. Explore further Provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft New era in virtual reality therapy for common phobias With the aid of a digital therapy environment displayed in data glasses, exposure therapy is transferred to virtual reality. Credit: Fraunhofer IBMT, Bernd Müllerlast_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

India hopes for ICJ relief in Kulbhushan Jadhav case

first_imgNEW DELHI: While the government seemed to have taken the maximalist position by demanding that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ask Pakistan to release Kulbhushan Jadhav, there are several other rulings which the court can pass in its judgment Wednesday which will allow India to claim vindication of its decision to knock on the doors of the international court. Ahead of the judgment, India’s main hope is that the Court will hold Pakistan guilty of having violated Vienna Convention on Consular Access (VCCR) 1963 by denying India consular access to Jadhav. India’s case was built around the same point as it exposed the farcical nature of Jadhav’s military trial which resulted in his death sentence. India is also hoping, as it had pleaded before the Court in case Jadhav’s release wasn’t possible, the ICJ will ask Pakistan to go for a civil trial of the alleged Indian spy after allowing him consular and legal assistance from India. For India, the violation of Article 36 of VCCR by Pakistan makes it a fit case for the annulment of Jadhav’s death sentence and also for the court to ask Islamabad to release him immediately. As India has argued, Pakistan violated Vienna Convention by failing to inform India immediately of his arrest, by not informing Jadhav of his rights and preventing him from contacting India’s consular post and also by denying Indian officials access to him despite repeated requests from Indian authorities for the same. Both India and Pakistan are aware of the fact that the ICJ is unlikely to give any lopsided verdict. Just as India called for Jadhav’s trial in a civil court in case the ICJ wasn’t able to secure his release, Islamabad said that the review and reconsideration mechanism was available with the Pakistan high court in case the ICJ found it guilty of having violated VCCR. Pakistan is well aware of its position that the 2008 bilateral agreement on consular access overrides VCCR is unlikely to pass muster with ICJ. While the Court is likely to find that Pakistan violated international law by denying India access to Jadhav, Geneva-based international lawyer and first Indian law-clerk at the ICJ Shashank P Kumar says the more interesting issue will be that of the relief that the Court would be willing to provide for such a violation. This will determine if India gets the relief it seeks for Jadhav or if its `victory’ is purely symbolic. “In past cases of this kind — all of which involved trials and convictions under the US criminal justice system — the Court has usually provided relief by ordering a ‘review and reconsideration’ of the conviction through judicial means. In the Jadhav Case, however, India has argued that Pakistani courts are biased and therefore not in a position to effectively undertake a ‘review and reconsideration’ of his conviction, and that therefore the court should order his release,’’ says Kumar. “It is important to remember however that the ICJ is not a criminal court of appeal. It will therefore be interesting to see if and how the Court moulds the relief of ‘review and reconsideration’ of the conviction by domestic courts — a relief that is usually granted in cases involving US criminal courts — to the peculiarities of Pakistan’s military court system under which he was tried and convicted,” he adds. As other Indian experts have stated, any Pakistani court is unlikely to remain immune to pressure from not just Pakistan authorities but also the public which is convinced Jadhav was an Indian agent out to create havoc in Pakistan. However, even if the ICJ is reluctant to question the domestic judicial process of a sovereign nation, as Kumar says, it would be difficult for the court to compare the independence of Pakistan military courts with that of US criminal courts. Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for youlast_img