Dense Fog Limited Visibility Expected On The Kenai

Posted On Sep 14 2019 by

first_imgVisibility is expected to be one quarter mile or less at times, according to the advisory. Very low visibilities can cause very difficult driving conditions. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued a Dense Fog Advisory, which is in effect until 11am, this morning. Including the cities around Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Nikiski, and Cooper Landing.center_img A dense fog advisory means visibilities will frequently be reduced to less than one quarter mile. If driving, slow down, use your headlights, and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.last_img


NASA wants your help bringing back pieces of a potentially hazardous asteroid

Posted On Sep 10 2019 by

first_imgOriginally published May 23.  Comment NASA’s on a mission to collect space dirt from a potentially… Tags NASA Space 12 Photos All that’s needed to hang out on the asteroid is a mapping app, a screen large enough to clearly see images of the asteroid’s surface and a mouse or trackpad that can make precise marks. 5:24 Explore asteroid Ryugu with Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft An interactive tutorial explains how to get around the CosmoQuest app circling craters, measuring boulders and erasing mistakes. CosmoQuest, a project run out of the Planetary Science Institute that supports citizen science initiatives, offers additional user assistance through an online community where mappers can share tips and high-fives and ask questions. CosmoQuest also shares guidance through livestreaming sessions on Twitch. The original design for capturing a piece of the space rock was based on locating a hazard-free zone with a 160-foot (25-meter) radius on Bennu’s surface. However, because of the unexpectedly rocky terrain, the team is yet to identify such a site.The volunteer asteroid mapping is straightforward work that involves dragging and dropping, an eye for detail and a bit of perseverance. When I signed up Wednesday night at about 9 p.m. PT, more than 70 “Bennu Mappers” were online scouring the asteroid’s surface. The Bennu mapping campaign continues through July 10.asteroidAn easy-to-follow tutorial helps Bennu Mappers get going. Screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET Bennu measures about 1,600 feet (500 meters), only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building, and is considered potentially hazardous. “There’s a very small chance that it will impact Earth in the next century,” Burns has said. Which means you probably don’t need to get out your helmet just yet.In its first five months communing with Bennu, Osiris-Rex has already discovered trapped water and determined that Bennu is between 100 million and a billion years old, making it significantly more mature than predicted. But the mission’s coup de theatre, the sample grab, won’t take place until 2020. That’s when the spacecraft’s fancy robotic arm will reach out and tag the asteroid’s surface with its Touch-And-Go Sample Arm Mechanism, or Tagsam.While touching the rock, the arm will blow a burst of nitrogen gas to loosen up bits of debris that will be then be brought back to Earth when the spacecraft returns in September 2023.The asteroid may contain unaltered material from the beginning of our solar system. The hope is that Bennu’s cargo will yield insights into astronomical processes and resources in near-Earth space and improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.  Share your voice A view of asteroid Bennu’s surface itaken by the PolyCam camera on NASA’s Osiris-Rex on March 21 from a distance of 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers).  NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona Before NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft can reach out and grab a piece of asteroid Bennu, it needs to find a safe spot on the space rock’s surface. And for that, NASA wants your help. Osiris-Rex, which arrived at Bennu on Dec. 3, 2018, aims to become the first US spacecraft to return a sample from an asteroid to Earth. Japan’s Hayabusa mission brought back asteroid particles in 2010, with another asteroid-wrangling mission out of Japan under way this year.Since the NASA craft arrived at Bennu, the team has discovered an extremely rocky terrain that threatens the vehicle’s safety. So NASA is asking volunteers to develop a hazard map by measuring Bennu’s boulders and mapping its rocks and craters via a web interface. “Bennu has surprised us with an abundance of boulders,” Rich Burns, Osiris-Rex project manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. “We ask for citizen scientists’ help to evaluate this rugged terrain so that we can keep our spacecraft safe during sample collection operations.” 1 Now playing: Watch this: Sci-Tech Being Bennu Visit to Bennu reveals rubble trouble and seeds of life Osiris-Rex finds water in its first week at asteroid Bennu Spacecraft drops into orbit around asteroid Bennulast_img read more


USFDA to add Personnel in India to Boost Inspection

Posted On Sep 5 2019 by

first_imgThe USFDA follows the October-September fiscal year.In 2014, 90 inspections have been carried out till 4 August and there were 70 instances where ‘Form 483’ was issued; versus 101 such forms in 2013 and 102 forms in 2012.Form 483 is used by the FDA to document and communicate concerns discovered during inspections. In the past, other Indian drug makers such as Ranbaxy Laboratories and Wockhardt have been hit by bans, due to violation of manufacturing guidelines.The USFDA conducted 598 investigations in foreign countries excluding China. There are 517 registered firms in China and 519 in India.US Food and Drug Administration has offices in New Delhi and Mumbai that comprise of 14 staff members, but only six members are into investigation of medical products. And among these six, only three members are permanent.Altaf Lal, director of Indian agency resigned from his post in May this year. Currently, Carl Sciacchitano, senior science adviser in USFDA’s Office of International Programmes, is acting as director, India.”Once fully staff-fed, this will increase our presence to 19 permanent American staff based in-country, including 10 dedicated to medical products,” Financial Express quoted Spokesperson Christopher Kelly. Additionally, Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of USFDA said during an interview with Bloomberg that the agency slowly aims to expand their offices in India. FDA activities in India involve engaging with Indian counterpart regulatory authorities to ensure the timely exchange of information regarding clinical trials that are conducted on fixed intervals.India is second after Canada as drug exporter to the US, where it supplies about 40 percent of generic and over-the-counter drugs. 2014 ( till 4 August)5989088 201363711178 20073336419 20094245952 20115589889 20083246436 201262414161 Fiscal YearOther countriesIndiaChina Due to fewer US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) staff members in India, the number of inspections has been declining. However, the agency now intends to increase its manpower in the country, so that inspections are carried out regularly and efficiently.  Inspection record by US FDA:Fiscal YearFiscal YearOther countriesOther countriesIndiaIndiaChinaChinaFiscal Year2007Other countries333India64China19Fiscal Year2008Other countries324India64China36Fiscal Year2009Other countries424India59China52Fiscal Year2010Other countries440India72China48Fiscal Year2011Other countries558India98China89Fiscal Year2012Other countries624India141China61Fiscal Year2013Other countries637India111China78Fiscal Year2014 ( till 4 August)Other countries598India90China88 20104407248last_img read more


Tesla CEO Elon Musk hints at opening Gigafactory in India

Posted On Sep 5 2019 by

first_imgElon Musk, the founder of US-based electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors, has hinted at setting up a Gigafactory in India to manufacture lithium-ion batteries in order to address the problem of power shortage in the rural areas of the country.”Given high local demand, a Gigafactory in India would probably make sense in the long term,” Musk tweeted.If the plan is implemented, it would give the much-needed boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to bring Tesla’s technology to the country to “power India’s rural homes,” the Business Standard said.During his visit to the US last month, Modi held discussions with Musk at the Tesla campus in Silicon Valley on the potential of having a battery making facility and other renewable energy technologies in India. The Modi government aims to generate 100 GigaWatt of solar power by 2022. But the country has commissioned solar power plants with a total capacity of just 4.57 GW as on 22 October.A study by Deloitte and the Confederation of Indian Industry in August showed that India has the capacity to produce 759 GW of solar power.Tesla is already making a power storage device named as PowerWall, which is highly expensive for the Indian market. High cost and difficulties in raising its production “will likely keep the invention from coming to India any time soon.”Regarding Tesla cars, Musk said: “Auto import duties are prohibitively high. Hoping for a special category for EVs. Most of our discussion (with Modi) was on batteries.”last_img read more


Sojourner Douglass Appeals to Preserve Accreditation

Posted On Sep 1 2019 by

first_imgSojourner Douglass College is facing a fight to preserve its accreditation after changes to the federal Pell grant program in the earlier part of the decade caused significant declines in funding and enrollments, leading to budget shortfalls. Dr. Charles Simmons, president of the college, tells the AFRO that while he is confident Sojourner Douglass can win its appeal hearing in Feb. and preserve the accreditation it lost last Nov., he feels that the school has not been treated the same as other, traditionally White institutions (TWIs) in analogous or worse financial shape by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the body that oversees the accreditation process.Sojourner Douglass was originally established in 1972 as a branch of Antioch College, which is in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and became an independent institution in 1980, according to Simmons. The college, located in east Baltimore, mostly serves working adults (most of whom are female heads of households) and has organized its academic calendar to make it easier for adults, with their incumbent family and work obligations, to complete a degree program.Dr. Charles Simmons, president of Sojourner Douglas College.The school offers three semesters per calendar year, so that a full-time student could finish what would traditionally be a four year bachelor’s program in three years, says Simmons.The U.S. Dept. of Education changed its rules concerning Pell grant (education grants for low-income students) distributions for the 2011-12 academic year, allowing only two disbursements per year rather than three. Sojourner Douglas lost $5 million in federal student aid as a result of this change.The Pell grant was also limited to a total of 12 semesters (equivalent of six years), down from the previous cap of 18 semesters, on the reasoning that one should be able to complete a four year degree in six years.“Many of our students are transfer students,” explained Simmons. “They start at the community college, they may stop out to get a job, they may stop out to get married, they come back, they may stop out to have a child, so we had a number of students who were transfer students, and so we had a number of students who had reached that 12 semester cap, so we lost another $2 million.”By the end of fiscal year 2013, Sojourner Douglass was facing an over $5 million budget deficit as a result of the changes to the Pell grant program. This occurred just as the college was required to submit a periodic review report to MSCHE, demonstrating that they continued to meet the commission’s standards for accreditation.At this point, two things occurred according to Simmons. The bank that holds the commercial mortgage on one of Sojourner Douglass’s buildings saw the revenue shortfall caused by the changes to the Pell grant program and called the mortgage due rather than renewing it, creating a further debt obligation for the college. At the same time MSCHE was reviewing Sojourner Douglass’s continuing accreditation-worthiness, and seeing the revenue shortfalls and debt obligations of the college, determined that Sojourner Douglass had failed to meet the commission’s standard on fiscal resources and informed the institution that their accreditation would be revoked if it could not demonstrate that its operations were fiscally sustainable.Sojourner Douglass had to respond to six items in order to avoid this impending loss of accreditation, and while the college was able to satisfy most of the items, it was held back by the inability to complete a sale-leaseback agreement—in which an investor would purchase one of their buildings, relieving the college of the debt it owed on the property, and then lease it back to the college for continued use—because the investor would only agree to the sale-leaseback on the condition that Sojourner Douglass was fully accredited to ensure that the investor would have a viable, long-term tenant.MSCHE, however, wanted the sale-leaseback agreement completed prior to renewing Sojourner Douglass’s accreditation, and though MSCHE was informed that the sale-leaseback would be completed upon renewal of accreditation, MSCHE revoked that accreditation nonetheless, effective June 30, 2015. The school now faces an appeals hearing on Feb. 2, in Philadelphia.“We’ve been in operation for 42 years, we’ve served the community well,” said Simmons.  “This act to remove our accreditation was not based on academics, we’ve satisfied all of the academic criteria. Our students do well, our students graduate, they get good jobs; they’re in management positions throughout the state. So this is all just finance.”The Baltimore City NAACP is assisting Sojourner Douglass in its appeal of the MSCHE decision and looked into other, similarly situated, institutions and found that MSCHE has renewed accreditation for at least eight schools facing similar or worse fiscal deficits, including one school with a deficit of $47 million, all of whom are TWIs, according to Simmons.“It appears that we’ve been treated differently,” said Simmons.Tessa Hill-Aston, president of the Baltimore City NAACP, indicates that Sojourner Douglass is the only institution founded and run by Black people among those the NAACP looked at with similar financial issues, and was also the only one whose accreditation was revoked.“Even though some of the other schools have a lot of African American [students], they’re not run by African Americans, so that makes a difference,” said Hill-Aston.  “A lot of times schools can have African American students . . . and they’re making money off the population but they’re not run by African Americans . . . So I do feel there has not been the same opportunities given and I’m hoping that will change.”Hill-Aston says that now is the time for alumni to step up and help Sojourner Douglass with whatever contribution, regardless of size, that they can afford, as the institution works to revamp its finances and demonstrate the viability of its enterprise.Simmons said the loss in financial aid due to the changes in the Pell grant program, and the subsequent negative publicity from the loss of accreditation have cut the college’s enrollment by almost half, going from approximately 1400 students in 2013 to 800 now.In spite of the current challenges faced by the college, Simmons says he fully expects to win the appeal, and is encouraging students to remain with the institution rather than flee out of concern their credits or degrees will not be valid.“We intend to continue to serve our community,” said Simmons. “The credits are still good, credits are transferable, the degree is still good. As long as we are an accredited institution—and we won’t issue any degrees or any credits, if we lose, after June 30, 2015, but any credit that any student earns, or any degree that a student earns up to that point is good.”ralejandro@afro.comlast_img read more


Network theory expert sees Web pages as 19 clicks apart

Posted On Aug 31 2019 by

first_img Citation: Network theory expert sees Web pages as 19 clicks apart (2013, February 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-02-network-theory-expert-web-pages.html © 2013 Phys.org 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. Journal information: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Explore further More information: rsta.royalsocietypublishing.or … 87/20120375.abstractblogs.smithsonianmag.com/scien … y-19-clicks-or-less/center_img Social networking for terrorists Despite enormous “pieces” of Web such as sites, hosted images, and videos—the Indexed Web contains at least 14.33 billion pages, according to the February 19 tally of WorldWideWebSize.com, it takes 19 or fewer clicks to get to any of them from another, regardless of scale.Barabási, who is known for his work on network science, has looked at the Web’s structure. The Web is an information network, in which the nodes are documents connected by links, noted in the paper’s abstract. “Other well-known network structures include the Internet, a physical network where the nodes are routers and the links are physical connections, and organizations, where the nodes are people and the links represent communications.”The author noted how, with a path length of about 19, connections are made, with massive hubs such as Google and Facebook behaving as the key super-connectors. Similar to the small-world concept of a limited number of degrees of separation, the super-connectors render the Web access experience into a small world. For ease of access and connectivity, the good news is that it only takes a small number of superconnecting sites to get us where we want to go The bad news is the same. Attackers removing this relatively small number of Web pages would cause serious problems if, in the targeted attack, the most connected nodes were deliberately removed first. Knocking out a few critical nodes that connect the Web may isolate various pages and hinder movement. Barabási is known for his work in network theory and is described as a pioneer in this field. He is a professor at Northeastern University in Massachusetts and he directs the university’s Center for Complex Network Research. The Center’s studies include the Internet’s dynamics and complex networks inside the cell. The Center’s premise is that, regardless of the kind of network, whether the network under study is the Web or the economy, the same principles largely apply. Many networks have common principles that can be studied using methods in theoretical physics. Credit: Opte Project (Phys.org)—The concept of its being a small world after all is now being placed in the scientific context of the wide, wide Web as a small Web after all. According to a physicist, Web pages are actually no greater than 19 clicks apart. Put another way: Everything on the Web is connected by 19 clicks. Put another way? Any two Web pages are no more than 19 clicks apart. How can that be? The paper discussing this, by Albert-László Barabási, has been published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.last_img read more


Converting waste heat into electricity works better in two dimensions

Posted On Aug 31 2019 by

first_img Explore further More information: Sunao Shimizu et al. “Enhanced thermopower in ZnO two-dimensional electron gas.” PNAS. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1525500113 The enlarged illustration (in the circle) shows a 2D electron gas on the surface of a zinc oxide semiconductor. When exposed to a temperature difference, the 2D region exhibits a significantly higher thermoelectric performance compared to that of bulk zinc oxide. The bottom figure shows that the electronic density of states distribution is quantized for 2D and continuous for 3D materials. Credit: Shimizu et al. ©2016 PNAS 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. Improved thermoelectric materials with atomic layer deposition Citation: Converting waste heat into electricity works better in two dimensions (2016, June 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-06-electricity-dimensions.htmlcenter_img (Phys.org)—The large amount of waste heat produced by power plants and automobile engines can be converted into electricity due to the thermoelectric effect, a physics effect that converts temperature differences into electrical energy. Now in a new study, researchers have confirmed theoretical predictions that two-dimensional (2D) materials—those that are as thin as a single nanometer—exhibit a significantly higher thermoelectric effect than three-dimensional (3D) materials, which are typically used for these applications. © 2016 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences The study, which is published in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Sunao Shimizu et al., could provide a way to improve the recycling of waste heat into useful energy.Previous research has predicted that 2D materials should have better thermoelectric properties than 3D materials because the electrons in 2D materials are more tightly confined in a much smaller space. This confinement effect changes the way that the electrons can arrange themselves. In 3D materials, this arrangement (called the density of states distribution) is continuous, but in 2D materials, this distribution becomes quantized—only certain values are allowed. At certain densities, the quantization means that less energy is required to move electrons around, which in turn increases the efficiency with which the material can convert heat into electrical energy.Experimentally demonstrating this thermoelectric enhancement in 2D materials has been challenging because of the difficulty in fabricating 2D materials with the appropriate electron arrangement. Although previous experiments have demonstrated this enhancement in certain materials, it has been unclear whether the mechanism of enhancement agrees with predictions.In the new study, the researchers fabricated a 2D electron gas on the surface of a zinc oxide semiconductor, and showed that this material’s thermoelectric properties can be directly compared to those of bulk zinc oxide because both 2D and 3D versions have a single electron band. “In order to discuss the thermoelectric effect unique to 2D materials, it is very important to control the carrier density in the 2D layers,” Shimizu, a researcher at the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Saitama, Japan, told Phys.org. “Our approach, the electric field effect with ionic gating, enabled us to produce an ideal 2D layer and to control the carrier number.”Using their new approach, the researchers found that the 2D electron gas exhibits a thermoelectric effect that is approximately three times larger than that of the 3D semiconductor.This enhancement ratio is about twice as large as predicted by a simple simulation, which the researchers suspect could be due to inaccuracies in estimating the thickness of the 2D layer, where even a few nanometers can make a big difference. They hope that future research will lead to more accurate approaches of estimating the thickness, providing a better measure of the thermoelectric effect enhancement. “The results of this study clearly remind us of the importance of low-dimensional materials and devices for realizing high-performance thermoelectric conversion,” Shimizu said. “In the future, I would like to investigate other low-dimensional materials, including nanotubes and quantum dots.”last_img read more


Caribbean tourism hits new record in 2016 despite drop in Canadian numbers

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_img Share Tags: Caribbean, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Trend Watch Posted by BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — It was a record year for the Caribbean in 2016, which welcomed over one million more visitors than the previous year to reach an impressive 29.3 million.According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), this was the first time Caribbean tourism surpassed 29 million arrivals, once again growing faster than the global average.“Despite political, security and economic uncertainties and challenges in our main source markets, tourist arrivals to the Caribbean increased by 4.2% in 2016, better than the 3.9% overall internationally,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of CTO. Riley also noted during his presentation of the Caribbean Tourism Performance Report 2016 that visitor expenditure hit a new high as well, growing by an estimated 3.5% to reach US$35.5 billion.The United States remained the Caribbean’s primary market with an estimated 14.6 million stay-over arrivals, up 3.5% on 2015. However, it was Europe that recorded the highest rate of growth among the main source markets, led by strong increases from Germany (8.2%) and the United Kingdom (4.1%).More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“Despite terrorist attacks in some countries, the Brexit referendum in the U.K. and bumpy economic outcomes across continental Europe, arrivals from that market climbed by 11.4% to reach 5.6 million. The strong European performance was evident by the healthy increases of between six and 16.8% in each month, compared to the corresponding month in 2015,” added Riley.Canada, normally a robust market for the Caribbean, recorded a decrease for the first time since 1994, and only the second contraction since 1982. The 3.3 million arrivals from Canada represented a 3.4% drop when compared to 2015.Plus, Riley revealed that cruise arrivals grew at a slower pace of 1.3% to approximately 26.3 million, while the hotel sector recorded negative growth, with all hotel indicators contracting, with the exception of the number of available rooms, which grew by just over 1%, according to Smith Travel Research.So what’s the forecast for 2017? The CTO predicts increases of 2.5% and 3.5% in long-stay arrivals and increases of between 1.5% and 2.5% in cruise passenger arrivals. Caribbean tourism hits new record in 2016 despite drop in Canadian numberscenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Friday, February 10, 2017 last_img read more


First look at Flight Centres Toronto flagship Travel Centre

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_img Share Tags: Flight Centre First look at Flight Centre’s Toronto flagship Travel Centre Posted by Wednesday, September 27, 2017 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Flight Centre’s first flagship Travel Centre is now open in Toronto with 10,000 square feet of space in a heritage building at the corner of King St. West and Spadina Ave.Flight Centre says the mixed-use planning and event space “is now ready to revolutionize the way Canadians travel”.Leisure travel consultants work on the main floor, which is open to the public. A team of 50+ corporate travel advisors works on the lower floor in the business travel centre.Here’s a look at the space ahead of the grand opening on Sept. 28:last_img read more


Sunny days as Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando makes its debut

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgTags: Openings & Renovations, SeaWorld, SeaWorld Orlando << Previous PostNext Post >> Sunny days as Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando makes its debut Share Thursday, March 28, 2019 center_img ORLANDO — Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando has opened with everyone’s favourite Sesame Street friends along with the iconic Sesame Street neighbourhood including Abby Cadabby’s Garden, Big Bird’s Nest, Mr. Hooper’s Store and the famous 123 Stoop.  The debut of this highly-anticipated, six-acre world class attraction is the largest Sesame Street land inside of any of the SeaWorld parks and an exciting part of Sesame Street’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration. Sesame Street’s Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita kicked off the opening at a special preview event earlier this week. “We are thrilled to officially welcome guests to walk down Sesame Street for the very first time in the theme park capital of the world,” says Mark Pauls, President of SeaWorld Orlando. “This highly-anticipated, immersive new land is the largest Sesame Street land inside of any of our SeaWorld parks. With over 30 new ways to play and an award-winning parade, this is a new land that guests of all ages will love, and we are excited to share it with the world.”Scott Chambers, Senior Vice President/General Manager, North America Media and Licensing, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the iconic brand, says that theme parks “represent one of the most powerful ways for families to engage with and delight in the Sesame Street characters.”Chambers adds that “Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando will enable us to establish deeper connections with even more families while helping the Workshop sustain its nonprofit and educational mission.”In addition to several educational interactive experiences, Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando includes six colourful, themed rides: Abby’s Flower Tower, Cookie Drop!, Slimey’s Slider,  Big Bird’s Twirl ‘n’ Whirl, Elmo’s Choo Choo Train and Super Grover’s Box Car Derby.  Super Grover’s Box Car DerbyAnother favorite of the new land is the Rubber Duckie Water Works wet play area.  Scheduled daily highlights in the neighborhood include Storytime with Big Bird at his nest and the Sesame Street Party Parade. Storytime with Big BirdSesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando is also serving up fun favourites at Eats on the Street, featuring food trucks and a specialty drink stand. Guests can take home mementos from Mr. Hooper’s Store, which features plush characters, apparel, collectible pins and more, available only at Sesame Street at SeaWorld. Elmo’s Interactive Light-Up Bubble Wand unlocks hidden surprises, special effects and exclusive content throughout the street. And a visit to Photos with Elmo and Friends provides backstage access to Sesame Street friends with meet and greet opportunities. Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more


Mexican media agree Controversial yellow card in Sundays match against Costa Rica

Posted On Aug 19 2019 by

first_imgConcacaf 1, Costa Rica 0…En tiempos extras.— David Faitelson (@Faitelson_ESPN) July 20, 2015 In Costa Rica, any mention of the name Walter López is sure to incite bitterness among the nation’s football fans for a long time to come. The referee drew the now-infamous yellow card on Costa Rica’s Roy Miller in the 121st minute, setting up Mexico’s winning penalty kick in Sunday’s 1-0 Gold Cup quarterfinals match.But widespread complaints from Costa Rican fans have found some on the Mexican side nodding their heads in agreement.ESPN reporter and longtime Mexican football journalist David Faitelson said in a column Monday morning that the region’s football federation, CONCACAF, wants Mexico to advance to the finals for higher viewership numbers. “The official decided to call the penalty and in his decision could have weighed the prevailing interest of the Gold Cup organizers – the ‘new’ CONCACAF or the ‘old’ CONCACAF – that Mexico and the United States make it to the final,” Faitelson wrote in his ESPN Deportes column.The sports daily Medio Tiempo said in a tweet: “Advance gifted: El Tricolor gets to the semifinals with a #NoEraPenal.” Mexico’s Diario Récord said: “The national team was willed into a 1-0 victory in the quartefinals with a horrible penalty given in favor of Miguel Herrera’s side.”Many in Mexico seem to be in agreement that the penalty was undeserved, except for head coach Miguel Herrera and Peralta. “I asked Oribe if he was fouled and he told me that he [Roy Miller] threw him from the top,” Herrera told reporters after the match.Social media users joined in on the conversation by poking fun at the questionable call and tying it into Donald Trump’s recent remarks about Mexicans. (Via Facebook) Related posts:Injury may keep Costa Rica’s star goalkeeper Keylor Navas out of the Gold Cup CONCACAF Gold Cup preview: Ticos look to re-establish themselves as region’s top team Costa Rica lets win slip away, draws 1-1 with El Salvador Costa Rica looks for win against rival Mexico in Gold Cup quarterfinals México a celebrar un #NoEraPenal http://t.co/aET5TBZ5d2 pic.twitter.com/TY8w4wjVzc— MedioTiempo (@mediotiempo) July 20, 2015 Facebook Commentslast_img read more


Facebook ID valid for US travel

Posted On Aug 17 2019 by

first_imgMr Klein was so shocked he tweeted about the incident, causing a range of responses from equally-stunned followers and commentators questioning if the event was true or not. “We understand passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, due to lost items or inadvertently leaving them at home… not having an ID does not necessarily mean a passenger won’t be allowed to fly,” the TSA website said. The co-founder of popular video website Vimeo was able to pass through a United States’ airport without his official government-issue identification, using a social media website profile. Vimeo co-founder and DIY.org chief executive Zach Klein could not believe his luck when his Facebook profile was accepted as a valid form of ID when travelling recently, news.com.au reported. Image: Corbis/Artigacenter_img “If passengers are willing to provide additional information, we have other means of substantiating someone’s identity, like using publicly available databases.” Source = ETB News: P.T. This is not a new policy, according to the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), who have been allowing travellers to use “other means” of verifying their identity for some time.last_img read more


Sports network Eleven Sports has secured a new liv

Posted On Aug 6 2019 by

first_imgSports network Eleven Sports has secured a new live exclusive rights agreement with the English Football League for the next five years covering Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland.The deal will give Eleven rights to show coverage of Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One, Sky Bet League Two and Carabao Cup competitions in the three countries. The agreement follows an initial two-season deal that was agreed before the start of the 2015-16 season.Eleven will show games delayed and on repeat in addition to a minimum of 55 Sky Bet Championship matches and up to 30 Carabao Cup matches exclusively live across linear and OTT channels.We cooperate closely with rights holders to help them connect and engage with fans in innovative ways. Our partnership with the EFL for five more years is a testament to the work we have done together to deliver thrilling football action with a fresh tone of voice for the fans. We’re very pleased to continue with EFL competitions in Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland – markets where football is extremely popular,” said Danny Menken, Group Managing Director, Eleven Sports.“We are very pleased to extend our agreement with Eleven Sports to show matches from across the Sky Bet EFL and Carabao Cup. The proliferation of the global game means having a regular and prominent presence internationally has never been as important and is very significant to our Clubs who are looking to further establish themselves in key overseas markets including those territories Eleven Sports have secured the rights in,” said EFL CEO Shaun Harvey.last_img read more


Nigeria has 37 billion barrels of crude oil reserv

Posted On Aug 4 2019 by

first_imgNigeria has 37 billion barrels of crude oil reserve and is Africa’s largest oil producer. The country also boasts 187 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, the ninth-largest reserve in the world. Nigeria has all the right geology for oil and gas. But geology isn’t everything. The best geology in the world can still be a terrible place to put your money if other risks threaten to steal all of a project’s profits and potential – and country risk can pose precisely that threat. Think about it this way. In considering any business venture, you need to know several key parameters, such as how much it will cost to establish the operation, how much you will produce, and what percentage of your profits the government will take. In Nigeria, you cannot calculate any of these metrics with confidence because the rules are so complex and corrupt. Now a new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), being debated in Nigeria’s parliament after some 15 years in the works, is supposed to change all of that. The new PIB is intended to clarify, codify, and clean up an industry where corruption and uncertainty are killing investment interest. Unfortunately, the new PIB is just as bad as the 13 separate rules it is set to replace. It would solidify a structure that operates on bribery and favors and it would take so much profit from producers that the effort would no longer be worth the risk. It would scare away the oil and gas investors that it is supposed to attract, and in doing so would doom Nigeria’s troubled energy sector to continue on its current downhill trajectory. I want to talk about Nigeria today not just to scare investors away from one particular country, but to remind us all that country risk can easily make or break a project. No matter how fantastic the geology or how large the reserve, if the government of the day is corrupt, desperate for income or popularity, straight-up greedy, or any combination thereof, best just walk away with your money. If you invest in a country with that kind of government, you might as well have just handed your dollars to the government on a golden platter. And if you don’t know how much risk a country bears, best to find out from an energy investment team that travels the world to assess country risk firsthand. Setting the Stage: Nigeria’s Oil Nightmare Nigeria officially produces 2.7 million barrels of oil a day, but no one has any confidence in that number. Oil is stolen at a shocking rate in the country, so figures from traders on Nigeria’s saleable oil show output well below that government figure. More generally, information about Africa’s biggest oil industry is an opaque myriad of numbers, and no one knows which ones are accurate. Experts say Nigeria could easily measure how much oil it produces but it chooses not to… because if there were an authoritative figure, the truly horrifying scope of corruption would be exposed. Mismanagement, theft, and corruption cost the industry billions of dollars a year. Heavy government subsidies for petrol add another $16 billion to the annual tab. In addition the country’s four refineries work far below capacity, forcing Nigeria to import most of its fuel. A new report, commissioned after the country erupted in protests in January when the government tried to reduce fuel subsidies, states oil-theft volumes have climbed to the astonishing level of 250,000 barrels a day, or 10% of production. Some months as much as 400,000 barrels are stolen every day. Even more shocking: 40% of refined petroleum products – either refined in Nigeria or imported – that are moved through state-owned pipelines are lost to theft and sabotage. Small-scale pilfering has been endemic in Nigeria since the late 1990s, but now more sophisticated thieves are stealing directly from export terminals, tank farms, refinery tanks, and ports. The stolen oil is worth some $6 billion annually. Of course, writing a sweeping new bill to regulate an industry rife with corruption and vested interests is not easy. That’s why the PIB has been in the works for more than a decade. Five years ago the bill made it to Nigeria’s Parliament, but disagreements between the administration, oil majors, and lawmakers stymied its passage. With almost no regulatory or fiscal certainty on the table, Nigeria has become a dangerous place for Big Oil to do business. While they wait for that certainty, oil majors have held off on many billions of dollars in investment – one expert estimates the industry lost $28 billion in investments in 2011 alone. As a result, oil output is about the same as it was a decade ago, and only three exploratory wells were drilling in 2011, down from more than 20 in 2005. The government has not held a licensing round for five years. Nigeria’s New Oil and Gas Bill The Nigerian government says its main goals in developing new regulations for its oil sector are to clean up a corrupt industry, clarify a confusing sector, and encourage new investment. Unfortunately, the PIB accomplishes none of those goals. I won’t embark on a full dissection of the bill. What I will do is point out the most glaring of problems – starting with the fact that the PIB would give a few select politicians huge powers within the sector. Here’s a good example: the president would have the power to grant licenses and leases without a competitive process – or any kind of process, for that matter. This leaves the door wide open for everyone to continue practicing the political favoritism and corruption that has crippled the industry in the past. The president would also have the power to set special tax rates for any projects he deems as strategic to the nation. Imagine if Romney or Obama were given this power… Alongside a president who can hand out licenses as he pleases and siphon funds from any project he deems strategic, the Minister of Petroleum is granted draconian powers to determine rentals and royalties. There are two huge problems with this. First, giving immense powers to individuals only encourages bribery and corruption. Second, companies thinking of developing a new project have no certainty around their rental and royalty payments if the minister creates her own arrangement for each project. Well, that’s a slight overstatement. Companies would know the minimum level of government take from new projects – and it’s too high. Executives from a wide range of Big Oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, have said publicly that the tax terms outlined in the PIB render offshore oil and gas projects unviable. Exxon is the second-biggest offshore operator in the country, and it says it will not invest any more in deepwater projects if the PIB is passed. Part of the problem is that oil companies demand better fiscal terms to operate in places like Nigeria, to compensate for the extra risks posed by piracy, kidnappings, theft, and corruption. Instead of providing that kind of financial incentive, the PIB absolves oil companies of any responsibility for environmental damage caused by sabotage… which would mean that no one is accountable for such damage. The environment will continue to be destroyed, and the sabotage will continue. More than half of Nigeria’s 160 million people earn less than $2 a day. From that perspective, rampant pipeline sabotage and bunkering in the Delta region are understandable: the Nigerians who commit these acts are helping themselves to a portion of their country’s resources. The only way to ease this kind of activity is to truly share profits with local communities. To that end, the PIB would create a Petroleum Host Communities Fund. Producers would have to give 10% of their after-tax profits to this fund – disbursements that would be credited against other payments to the government to not increase overall government take – and the funds thus generated from onshore and shallow water offshore production would be distributed to affected communities. It sounds great… but unfortunately, just like so many other parts of the PIB, the Host Communities Fund is a great idea that is structured so as to invite political interference. The PIB does not define how the funds will be distributed, putting another lever in the hands of the president and his ministers. Communities would be pitted against each other in a race for favor with the government, and the president could easily use this race for favor to achieve his own ends within the Delta. Also left in the hands of government: a whole whack of oil-related assets. International advisors had pushed for a PIB that incorporated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and then partially privatized it, following the example of Brazil’s Petrobras. Doing so would require the company to be managed like any other international oil company, with minimal political interference. Instead, the PIB would break the NNPC into three entities and privatize only two. The management company left in government hands would contain major oil assets and revenue streams that would remain subject to heavy political interference. And I mean heavy. The NNPC currently controls every aspect of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, from exploration and production to refining and pipelines, and it will continue to do so if the PIB is passed. But this is a company that is regularly listed as one of the most closed oil companies in the world. In fact, a joint report from Transparency International and the Revenue Watch Institute judged the NNPC to have the worst record of 44 national and international companies examined. Audits and examinations regularly produce descriptions like “accountable to no one” and “a slush fund for the government.” The PIB is a failure on almost every front. Oil companies considering Nigeria are looking at the PIB and walking away. Nigeria – home to the eleventh-largest oil reserves and ninth-largest gas reserves in the world – will continue to see its production pinched between declining investment, greedy government take, and massive theft. The decimated environment of the Niger Delta will see no savior, and the people who live there will continue to live in grinding poverty while corruption and theft steal billions every year. It’s a tragedy for Nigeria and a warning for oil investors. The warning is one I repeat regularly: never underestimate country risk. Greedy governments and corrupt politicians can and will take every cent of profit from oil and gas projects in their lands, leaving companies bankrupt and investors robbed. Nigeria is by no means the only country pinching its oil sector. Venezuela and Argentina are also robbing their energy producers to buy popular affection, along with a raft of other nations. However, there’s a silver lining. Every time a country screws up its oil sector, the Big Pinch tightens: there is a bit less oil available to feed an oil-hungry world and a bit more pressure on exporters to earn even more from each barrel that is available. The result? Oil prices that have nowhere to go but up. Anyone who understands the risks and makes the right investments will be able to ride those prices to huge returns. However, country risk is hard to assess from afar. That’s why my ground team travels the world, from Albania to Iraq, Africa to Asia, going wherever a prospective energy story takes us to understand the situation firsthand and separate fact from fiction. It would be impossible for every investor to assess every prospective investment in person – which is why we do it for you. If you are an interested and active energy investor, consider a subscription to my flagship newsletter, Casey Energy Report, and travel with us on the journey to find the best investments in the global energy sector. Additional Links and Reads US Poised to Become World’s Top Oil Producer; May Soon Overtake Saudi Arabia (Huffington Post) What a headline! Using data from the US Energy Information Administration, the reporter behind this article suggests that surging US oil output could push the US past Saudi Arabia and into top spot in the global oil-production rankings within a few years. Citibank also provides some data, predicting that US production could reach 13 to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, making North America the “new Middle East.” Why the US Is Not the New Saudi Arabia (Christian Science Monitor) If this headline seems a direct rebuttal of the article above – that’s because it is. This writer challenges the article, saying that anyone who “actually examined figures available from the US Energy Information Administration website carefully instead of simply parroting oil industry sycophants” would have ended up with a headline more like: Marginal gains in US oil production mean continuing high prices and imports for Americans. The writer explains that there are several ways to define oil supply, and the one used to suggest that US is catching Saudi Arabia in oil production includes natural-gas plant liquids and biofuels, making for a very misleading conclusion. Europe Left Behind as Shale Shock Drives America’s Industrial Resurgence (Telegraph) The wonders of US shale gas continue to amaze. Fresh evidence daily suggests that swaths of the American industry are gaining a massive and lasting advantage in energy costs over global rivals – and those advantages are demolishing assumptions about US economic decline. Oil Firmer at US$110 as Sandy Shuts US Refineries (National Post) Hurricane Sandy is providing a clear reminder of the vulnerabilities of offshore oil production to weather. Predicted to be the largest storm ever to hit the North American mainland, Sandy is prompting refineries to close and oil analysts to reduce consumption estimates in the face of canceled flights, a dearth of commuters, and an all but shut-down road transportation sector.last_img read more


Centennial video series The first physics building at Rice

Posted On Jul 28 2019 by

first_imgFacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis ShareDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduCentennial video series: The first physics building at RiceRice University’s weekly centennial videos run through Oct. 12 HOUSTON – (May 24, 2012) – Built in 1914, Rice University’s physics building, called Herzstein Hall, was the first structure to rise on campus after the original group of buildings opened in 1912. The Physics Department had grown so strong so quickly at the new Rice Institute that its accomplishments catapulted it to be the next big project. The Physics Department leader, Professor H.A. Wilson, took a lead role in the design of the building and ensured it would be built as a place for cutting-edge physics research and public service. The public service mission was so important to Wilson and the department that language was written into cornerstone of the building that states that the science taught and researched at Rice should be a service to the community.Working with Centennial Historian Melissa Kean, video producer Brandon Martin takes a look at Rice’s original physics building. To learn more about Rice’s history, visit Kean’s blog at www.ricehistorycorner.com.To help celebrate the university’s centennial Oct. 12, Rice University is producing weekly videos exploring the school’s unique history.The video, available on YouTube at http://youtu.be/FRVJc8SUp_o, is also available to media in high quality and without music for editing purposes. For higher-quality video, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at david@rice.edu or 713-348-6327.-30-Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its “unconventional wisdom.” With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.last_img read more


The Formula Jeff Bezos Uses to Identify Great Ideas

Posted On Jul 26 2019 by

first_imgSmall Business Heroes Image credit: Franziska Krug | Getty Images May 7, 2019 Next Article –shares The Formula Jeff Bezos Uses to Identify Great Ideas Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Nina Zipkin 2 min readcenter_img The Amazon founder revealed his thought process in an interview. Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Jeff Bezos is currently the wealthiest person on earth. In September 2018, Amazon was valued at $1 trillion for the first time. As the founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, and owner of the Washington Post, it’s clear Bezos didn’t get to this point in his career without having a certain skill for identifying and cultivating ideas that change the game.In conversation with Forbes, Bezos laid out the thought process he goes through when deciding when to move forward with a new initiative.Related: A $150 Billion Net Worth Makes Jeff Bezos the Richest Person on Earth and 27 Other Crazy Things We’ve Learned About the Amazon Founder”We have to have a differentiated idea. It can’t be a ‘me too’ offering,” he explained. “We’re gifted with some very large businesses we’ve built over time, and we can’t afford to put our energies into something that if it works, it’s still going to be small. … Even at substantial scale, it has to have good returns on capital.”Then, Bezos added, once you do have a success, don’t rest on your laurels. “Friends congratulate me after a quarterly-earnings announcement and say, ‘Good job, great quarter,’” Bezos said, “and I’ll say, ‘Thank you, but that quarter was baked three years ago.’ I’m working on a quarter that’ll happen in 2021 right now.” Add to Queue Entrepreneur Staff 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. Enroll Now for $5last_img read more


Cybercrooks Tire of Windows Theyre After Your iPhone Now

Posted On Jul 26 2019 by

first_imgTechnology Smartphone apps are particularly vulnerable to hackers as they access user information without permission. Cybercrooks Tire of Windows — They’re After Your iPhone Now Next Article –shares Add to Queue The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. January 28, 2011center_img 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List 2 min read Cybercrime is moving away from traditional targets, like Windows PCs, and focusing more on mobile devices, according to Cisco’s 2010 Annual Security Report (PDF). As Microsoft becomes more savvy about patching holes in its OS, cybercriminals are treading into new territories, with a strong focus on iOS and Android.When the federal government declared jailbreaking cellphones legal, intrepid hackers sought and discovered more exploits in mobile operating systems. A prominent example used by Cisco is JailbreakMe 2.0, the Safari-based iPhone flaw — which has since been patched — that allowed users to jailbreak with very little tampering of iOS.Cisco threat research manager Scott Olechowski also said that the proliferation of Android will likely lead to major attacks on Google’s OS in the future. Olechowski noted that the more devices that adopt Android — such as smartphones, tablets, even vehicles — the more enticing the open-source OS becomes, especially when it comes to the big bucks in the enterprise.Most concerning for mobile hacks are apps, many of which access user information without permission. Recently, Trapster, an app that warns drivers when a speed trap is ahead, was hacked, exposing millions of iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile phone passwords — some of which may also have been linked to a user’s PayPal account.Many companies using smartphones for work do not have a cybersecurity strategy planned or in place, according to Cisco. This is a major concern for iOS business consumers, given that the iPhone is being used at 88 percent of the Fortune 100 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune 500.And for you PC users out there: Tired of your Mac-using friends’ snooty condescension about how their machines are impervious to viruses? Turns out that hackers are targeting Mac users more and more.Although Apple regularly pushes out security updates, due to increased iOS product adoption — especially on the iPad, which has sponged 90 percent of the tablet market-digging into a Mac isn’t so much a waste of time anymore. Still, compared to Windows, the malware threat to Macs is tiny. Brought to you by PCWorld Brennon Slattery Apply Now »last_img read more


DZIF scientists reveal problems with available diagnostics for Zika and chikungunya virus

Posted On Jul 18 2019 by

first_img Source:http://www.dzif.de/en/news_media_centre/news_press_releases/view/detail/artikel/zika_and_chikungunya_viruses_diagnostic_pitfalls/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 18 2019Millions of people have contracted Zika and chikungunya virus infections since the outbreaks that have been striking Latin America since 2013. Particularly Zika-related malformations in newborns warrant reliable diagnostics. DZIF scientists from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin demonstrate the problems with the currently available diagnostics, particularly for Zika virus detection, and develop combined testing methods that have higher reliability.”False positive results can have fatal consequences,” emphasizes Prof Felix Drexler, who heads the Virus Epidemiology group at the Charité and has been working on developing detection methods for viruses at the DZIF for years. A particular cause for concern for the people affected is an increase in the number of cases of brain malformations in newborns (microcephaly), for which a link with Zika virus infection has meanwhile been confirmed. Can a pregnant woman complete her pregnancy or does she perhaps have an undiagnosed Zika virus infec-tion? The increase of illegal abortions in Latin America during the Zika outbreak highlights the dramatic consequences of unreliable diagnoses.We need reliable laboratory diagnostics, particularly in outbreak regions like Brazil. “However, this is certainly not the case at the moment,” explains Drexler. “Our study in that region has shown that correct antibody diagnostics for Zika were successful in only half of the patients at best”. The results for chikungunya virus confirmation are much better. This virus is also widespread in Latin America and can cause symptoms similar to those of Zika infections but presumably does not cause malformations. Here, antibody diagnostics are indeed reliable, the researchers say.Molecular detection methods: requirements and realityAcute infections are predominantly confirmed by detecting viral genomes in blood and urine. However, this method can only be used about one week after presentation of the first symptoms. Subsequently, infections can solely be confirmed by detecting the antibodies against the virus produced by the infected individual. However, vaccinations and infections with similar viruses hamper precise antibody detection. In a study conducted in Brazil, Drexler and his team investigated the requirements for and the reality of this together with scientists from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro.The studyPatients with confirmed Zika or chikungunya virus infections were included in the study. The scientists took follow-up samples in a period of up to 90 days after the acute infection. They applied and combined different methods for molecular and antibody detection.The resultsFor both viruses, molecular detection by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed low virus concentrations, even just a week after the presentation of symptoms. In Zika virus infections, the virus concentration is already so low in the first week that particularly sensitive testing is required and combined antibody testing should be done.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairImmunotesting for the antibodies showed severe shortfalls. “We were able to see that the sensitivity of a frequently used immunotest for antibodies in acute Zika infection was only about 30%.” However, the scientists were able to increase this sensitivity by using Immunoglobulin A (IgA) as a marker instead of the usual Im-munoglobulin M (IgM). The results for chikungunya testing were unambiguous and the people affected could consequently rely on the diagnosis.The reliability problem”We can see very clearly that a combination of several testing procedures must be used to obtain precise Zika virus test results, particularly in tropical regions where people contract infections with many viruses that are related to each other,” Drexler concludes. However, the researchers still need larger studies with more patients in order to develop the best testing methods. The scientific data from this and following studies will enable the translation into routinely applicable tools to be developed by companies. According to Drexler, it is not only about giving pregnant women and couples more reliability. Both the implementation of public health preventive measures and conducting further research are also dependent on reliable risk estimations.BackgroundResearch teams led by Felix Drexler and Christian Drosten, formally University Hospital Bonn, now Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, have developed novel Zika virus tests as well as a standard test for the MERS coronavirus (MERS for Mid-dle East Respiratory Syndrome), which is being used globally. At the DZIF, they are very well equipped for emerging virus diagnostics. The Zika diagnostics project in Brazil was brought underway by the DZIF in order to appropriately tackle the danger of emerging infections.Zika and chikungunya viruses Zika viruses are usually transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, but can also be trans-mitted sexually. Symptoms of Zika virus infection include rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis and sometimes fever. However, these symptoms are described as mild in comparison to other tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus can cause foetal malformations of the brain during pregnancy. Chikungunya viruses are also transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and cause symptoms similar to Zika virus infections. They therefore also cause fever and joint pain, which can be very severe and persist for months after the infection.last_img read more


Engineers build smallest volume most efficient wireless nerve stimulator

Posted On Jul 18 2019 by

Early engineering work by D.J. Seo, a Berkeley Ph.D. student who was co-advised by Alon and Maharbiz, followed by experimental validations by Ryan Neely, another Berkeley Ph.D. student, advised by Carmena, set the foundations of the neural dust vision. In the years since neural dust’s invention, ultrasound has proven to be among the most promising technologies for powering and communicating implantable devices.Muller came to Berkeley in 2016 and has been a key driver of neural dust innovation. Her research group specializes in bidirectional electronic interfaces with human body, specifically in the brain and peripheral nervous system. Her team has been working on ways to use the power that can be transmitted to neural dust. In StimDust, her lab has taken the neural dust platform and built a more effective stimulator that can wrap around a nerve cuff and can also record, transmit and receive data. They did this by designing a custom integrated circuit to transfer ultrasound charge to the nerve in a well-controlled, safe and efficient way. Citation: Engineers build smallest volume, most efficient wireless nerve stimulator (2018, April 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-smallest-volume-efficient-wireless-nerve.html The device, called StimDust, short for stimulating neural dust, adds more sophisticated electronics to neural dust without sacrificing the technology’s tiny size or safety, greatly expanding the range of neural dust applications. The researchers’ goal is to have StimDust implanted in the body through minimally invasive procedures to monitor and treat disease in a real-time, patient-specific approach. StimDust is just 6.5 cubic millimeters in volume and is powered wirelessly by ultrasound, which the device then uses to power nerve stimulation at an efficiency of 82 percent.”StimDust is the smallest deep-tissue stimulator that we are aware of that’s capable of stimulating almost all of the major therapeutic targets in the peripheral nervous system,” said Rikky Muller, co-lead of the work and assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley. “This device represents our vision of having tiny devices that can be implanted in minimally invasive ways to modulate or stimulate the peripheral nervous system, which has been shown to be efficacious in treating a number of diseases.”The research will be presented April 10 at the IEEE Custom Integrated Circuits Conference in San Diego. The research team was co-led by one of neural dust’s inventors, Michel Maharbiz, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley. The creation of neural dust at Berkeley, led by Maharbiz and Jose Carmena, a Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and a member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, has opened the door for wireless communication to the brain and peripheral nervous system through tiny implantable devices inside the body that are powered by ultrasound. Engineering teams around the world are now using the neural dust platform to build devices that can be charged wirelessly by ultrasound.Maharbiz came up with the idea to use ultrasound for powering and communicating with very small implants. Together with Berkeley professors Elad Alon and Jan Rabaey, the group then developed the technical framework to demonstrate the scaling power of ultrasound for implantable devices. This graphic details the simplicity of the StimDust design. The components of StimDust include a single piezocrystal, which is the antenna of the system, a 1-millimeter integrated circuit and one charge storage capacitor. Credit: Rikky Muller Explore further StimDust is about an order of magnitude smaller than any active device with similar capabilities that the research team is aware of. The components of StimDust include a single piezocrystal, which is the antenna of the system, a 1-millimeter integrated circuit and one charge storage capacitor. StimDust has electrodes on the bottom, which make contact with a nerve through a cuff that wraps around the nerve. In addition to the device, Muller’s team designed a custom wireless protocol that gives them a large range of programmability while maintaining efficiency. The entire device is powered by just 4 microwatts and has a mass of 10 milligrams.After testing StimDust on the benchtop, the research team implanted it in a live rodent to test it in a realistic environment. Through a cuff around the sciatic nerve, the research team was able to control hind leg motion, record the stimulation activity and measure how much force was exerted on the hind leg muscle as it was stimulated. The researchers then gradually increased stimulation and mapped the response of the hind leg muscle so they could know exactly how much stimulation was needed for a desired muscle recruitment, a kind of sophisticated analysis required of medical devices.Muller hopes that her work can lead to applications of StimDust to treat diseases such as heart irregularities, chronic pain, asthma or epilepsy.”One of the big visions of my group is to create these very efficient bidirectional interfaces with the nervous system and couple that with intelligence to really understand the signals of disease and then to be able to treat disease in an intelligent, methodical way,” Muller said. There’s an incredible opportunity for healthcare applications that can really be transformative.” In 2016, University of California, Berkeley, engineers demonstrated the first implanted, ultrasonic neural dust sensors, bringing closer the day when a Fitbit-like device could monitor internal nerves, muscles or organs in real time. Now, Berkeley engineers have taken neural dust a step forward by building the smallest volume, most efficient wireless nerve stimulator to date. Provided by University of California – Berkeley The small size of StimDust can be seen in comparison to a dime. Credit: Rikky Muller Wireless, implantable sensors the size of a grain of sand could have wide use in body monitoring StimDust fitted onto a live mouse sciatic nerve via a cuff. Credit: Rikky Muller. 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


Three things we can all learn from people who dont use smartphones

Posted On Jul 18 2019 by

first_img Explore further Poll: Teens say social media makes them feel better Our participants shared a deep belief in, and attachment to, a different way of socialising that’s focused on expression, touching, talking and being in the same space, physically. For them, this helped to maintain a feeling of human bonding and connection. And while this slower, deeper acknowledgement of others was especially valued by our participants, they also thought it might be valuable to society more broadly. Given the angst-ridden nature of frenetic social networking, we could all benefit from slowing down and taking stock more often. For many people today, the sense of being “always-on” is generating a desire to achieve greater balance and disengage from the things that are causing them stress. For our participants, who didn’t use smartphones and social media, time with others was associated with a sense of calm and purpose in life.2. Switching off is not missing outOur participants questioned what exactly is “social” about social media: what constitutes communication, and what do we get from the way that social stuff is measured on online platforms – whether that’s friendship, support or social contact. Rather than having hundreds of “friends”, they would always choose to see people face to face and nurture relationships that would support them through the tough times. Taking the opportunity to switch off may, at first, cause some anxiety. But the trick is to realise that switching off is not the same as missing out. When you first switch off, you may spend more time in your own company. But from these moments may come a realisation of how exhausting it is to sustain online connections, and indeed how superficial it is to be locked in endless exchanges of trivial information. Those who chose to disconnect are neither sad nor excluded. Freed from the screen, they escaped from the overwhelming flows of information and tasks. Their deep sense of connection with the world, and their loved ones, was clear to see. 3. Being, rather than doingMany of those who switched off enjoyed new-found vitality, because they found time to connect with the world in the here and now. This is crucial to helping us reset and relax, so that we are prepared for more stressful times. Time spent scrolling through content may feel as though it makes light demands on body and mind. But the visual interference from a bright screen is far from relaxing. You are much less likely to have restful sleep if you share a bed with your smartphone, or surf to sleep. As mindfulness is becoming more popular, its core ideas are often coopted by technology. On Instagram, for example, successful influencers show off their yoga skills and promote spiritual disciplines. Fitness trackers, health data and yoga apps consistently rank among the top apps downloaded by smartphone users. Our disconnected group told us that we should be more critical of our use of apps and start leaving our phone behind. If mindfulness is a state of being focusing on the present – channelling thoughts, feelings and sensations as they flow through us – then what use is a screen? Constant connection paradoxically results in less free time, and periods when we are able to think without interruption give precious refuge from the demands of daily life.These disconnected people did not switch off to be “anti-social”. They did so to take charge of when and where they connected with people. They may well be part of a vanguard, leading to new ways of being happier, more rested and, yes, more social. Ten years from now, we might look back at the emergence of social media as a part of humanity’s growing-up – a time that created social divisions, anxiety and restlessness and which damaged the health and well-being of many. Until then, maybe it’s best to put our smartphones down – or at least switch them off a little more often. The Pew Research Centre recently reported that about a quarter of US adults say they are “almost constantly” online. Stress, addiction, depression and anxiety seem unsurprising consequences of using social platforms often specifically designed to keep us repeating the same actions over and over again. Even so, many would find the prospect of living offline worrisome, or simply impossible. That’s why we undertook a small study with 50 people who may seem nothing less than social outcasts in today’s screen saturated environment. None of our participants used social media or had a mobile phone, and most even refused to email. We wanted to understand why these people had decided to switch off, and how they managed it. But rather than seeking quick fixes for overuse, we explored the principles and values that drove our participants to live the way they do. Much has already been written about how we can switch off – but that won’t achieve much, unless we really feel the benefits. Here’s what our respondents said they’d learned, from living their social lives offline. 1. Spending time with othersPart of the problem with social networking platforms is that we don’t just use them for communicating – they also promote a particular way of being connected to and supportive of those around us. These interactions are channelled through the platform to create data, which is ultimately fed back to data brokers and marketers. Citation: Three things we can all learn from people who don’t use smartphones or social media (2018, September 19) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-people-dont-smartphones-social-media.html ‘Someone likes me.’ Credit: Shutterstock.center_img This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Many of us spend hours every day tethered to our devices, pawing at the screen to see if it will deliver a few more likes or emails, monitoring the world and honing our online presence. Social networking platforms such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are supposed to make us feel more connected. Yet our reliance on technology to “see” the social world around us can be a heavy burden. 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. 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