Researchers awarded 61 million euros to address female fertility problems

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019Queen’s University have been awarded 6.1 million euros, in collaboration with 11 other global partner universities and institutions, to develop a test to identify harmful chemicals that affect female fertility.The grant is part of a wider research project funded by the European Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 to develop highly needed test methods to identify harmful chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors. The tests will be used to address a range of health issues affecting humans, animals and the environment.Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with hormones and are found in everyday products such as plastics, air fresheners and cosmetics. Without dedicated tests to assess endocrine disruptor properties, it is difficult to gauge the damage these chemicals can have on humans, animals and the environment.Related StoriesResearch suggests wisdom is linked to happiness and mental healthSociologist identifies link between decline in stable manufacturing jobs and reduced fertility ratesDiabetes drug can halve the risk of late miscarriage, preterm births for women with PCOSBetter test methods will help protect the health of humans and the environment. In humans, endocrine disruptors can affect fertility and brain development. Animals can be affected by endocrine disruptors in the environment. For example, male fish are increasingly carrying female eggs caused by the release of endocrine disruptors released by waste water treatment plants.Researchers at Queen’s University and Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands have been awarded 6.1 million euros to develop a test on assess how endocrine disruptors can affect a women’s fertility (through the FREIA project).Dr Lisa Connolly from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University, co-author on the study explained: “There is surprisingly limited knowledge on this issue. We will investigate how exposure to endocrine disruptors during different hormone-sensitive phases in a woman’s life such as the fetal, puberty, and adult stages, can ultimately affect her fertility.”The main aim of this project is to develop tests for humans to identify the chemicals that can cause damage to the female reproductive system.Dr Connolly added: “We are delighted to be part of this research project which brings together experts across a number of countries. It is only through developing a test to better understand how these chemicals affect fertility that we will then be in a position to offer solutions.”Source: https://www.qub.ac.uk/News/Allnews/QueensUniversityBelfastawarded61millioneurostoaddressfertilityissues.htmllast_img read more

New approach to repair defects in fetal membranes could prevent lifelong medical

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 23 2019Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London have developed a new approach to repair defects in fetal membranes which could prevent life-long medical conditions and disabilities associated with preterm birth.The integrity of the fetal membranes that surrounds the baby in the womb during pregnancy is vital for normal development. Once the fetal membranes have ruptured or are damaged, they fail to heal leaving a defect until the end of pregnancy.This condition is called pre-term premature rupture of the fetal membrane (PPROM), and is a common cause of preterm birth.Currently, there are no clinical solutions to improve healing of the fetal membranes after they rupture.This new research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, describes a reason for this poor healing response. The researchers have identified a molecular mechanism activated during the repetitive stretching of the amniotic membrane linking the mechanical forces to factors that may cause preterm labour and PPROM.When the researchers used a combined bioengineering and pharmaceutical approach to knock down a protein called connexin 43 (Cx43), they found the reduction in this molecule encourages rebuilding of the fetal membranes, and enhances the processes of tissue healing and repair, similar to healing skin wounds.Dr Tina Chowdhury, lead author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, said: “We are using novel bioengineering tools at Queen Mary which have allowed us to test the tissue in a way that has never been done before. The bioengineering tools give us an understanding of both the mechanical as well as biological mechanisms involved and will help us to develop therapies that will reduce the number of preterm births.”She added: “We hope that that our combined bioengineering and pharmaceutical approach will effectively repair defects in the fetal membranes, therefore allowing the amniotic fluid to reaccumulate around the baby and preventing the life-long medical conditions and disabilities associated with PPROM and preterm birth.”Related StoriesTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Why Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenFetal medicine specialists are increasingly offering surgery to babies in the womb before birth, to treat abnormalities of the spine, diaphragm or placenta. PPROM complicates around one-third of these cases, which reduces the clinical effectiveness of fetal surgery.Professor Anna David, a consultant in pre-term birth at University College London Hospital (UCLH), Director of the UCL EGA Institute for Women’s Health and a co-author of the paper, said: “Improving fetal membrane healing is a major unmet clinical need for my patients who spontaneously rupture their membranes. We are now offering fetal surgery at UCLH to close spina bifida in the baby before birth, and the ability to heal the fetal membranes after surgery would improve baby outcomes. Our findings could lead to a therapy that will prevent preterm birth, with the potential to save many lives worldwide.”This research is funded by the Rosetrees Trust, Sparks, GOSH Children’s Charity and UCLH Charities.Kiki Syrad, Director of Grants at Sparks, the children’s medical research charity, said: “Our aim at Sparks is to fund research that will have the greatest impact for seriously ill children and finding new ways to prevent preterm birth could have a tremendous impact for some of the 60,000 babies in the UK who are born too soon each year. It’s very encouraging to see the exciting and innovative progress being made by Dr Chowdhury and her team in this important area of child health that can affect babies not only at birth, but also throughout their lives.”Source: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/last_img read more

Study finds dog breeds and physical traits that pose highest risk of

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)May 23 2019New research at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center identifies dog breeds and physical traits that pose the highest risk of biting with severe injury. Doctors want parents of young children to use this information when deciding which dog to own.The study, published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, explores the risks of dog bite injuries to the face in children and bite severity by breed, size and head structure. Researchers found pit bulls and mixed breed dogs have the highest risk of biting and cause the most damage per bite. The same goes for dogs with wide and short heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds. Most bites to children occur from a family dog when the dog is resting and the child approaches. Try to provide and encourage resting places away from where children run and play. Many bites to children occur even when an adult is in the room. If you can’t devote your attention to the interactions between the dog and child, it may be best to have a physical barrier between them, such as a baby gate or crate for the dog. This is especially important for toddlers whose behaviors may be more erratic, unpredictable or frightening to a dog. Teach children to let resting dogs lie and to stay out of dog crates, beds and other resting places that are designated for the dog. If the dog’s favorite spot is on the couch, put a towel or blanket down to clearly delineate the dog space versus child space. Children should not approach, touch or otherwise interact with dogs while they are eating. Provide quiet areas for dogs to eat away from areas where children run and play. Rawhides and other flavored chews should only be given when dogs are separated from child play areas. Teach children to find an adult if a dog takes one of their toys or snacks. Children should never attempt to retrieve these items themselves. To assess bite severity, researchers reviewed 15 years of dog-related facial trauma cases from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the University of Virginia Health System. They looked at wound size, tissue tearing, bone fractures and other injuries severe enough to warrant consultation by a facial trauma and reconstructive surgeon and created a damage severity scale.Researchers also performed an extensive literature search from 1970 to current for dog bite papers that reported breed to determine relative risk of biting from a certain breed. This was combined with hospital data to determine relative risk of biting and average tissue damage of bite.”There’s an estimated 83 million owned dogs in the United States and that number continues to climb,” said Dr. Essig. “We wanted to provide families with data to help them determine the risk to their children and inform them on which types of dogs do well in households with kids.”According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people in the United State are bitten by dogs annually, and 20 percent of these victims require medical care for their injuries. Those who require treatment after dog bites are predominately children ages 5 to 9 years.”Young children are especially vulnerable to dog bites because they may not notice subtle signs that a dog may bite,” said Dr. Charles Elmaraghy, study co-author, associate professor of otolaryngology at Ohio State’s College of Medicine and chief of otolaryngology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We see everything from simple lacerations to injuries in which there’s significant tissue loss that needs grafting or other reconstructive surgery.”Related StoriesResearchers identify gene mutations linked to leukemia in children with Down’s syndromeRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationDr. K. Craig Kent, dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine said, “This research highlights a significant public health issue and provides a new decision-making framework for families considering dog ownership.”The circumstances that cause a dog to bite vary and may be influenced by breed behavior tendencies and the behavior of the victim, parents and dog owner.”Children imitate their parents,” said Meghan Herron, associate professor of veterinary clinical services at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Be a model for your child and avoid any confrontational or risky interactions that might trigger a fear or fear aggression response if the child were to mimic it. This includes harsh reprimands, smacking, pushing off of furniture and forcibly taking away an item.”Herron offers the following tips for dog owners: The purpose of this study was to evaluate dog bites in children, and we specifically looked at how breed relates to bite frequency and bite severity. Because mixed breed dogs account for a significant portion of dog bites, and we often didn’t know what type of dog was involved in these incidents, we looked at additional factors that may help predict bite tendency when breed is unknown like weight and head shape.”Dr. Garth Essig, Lead Author and Otolaryngologist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center Source:The Ohio State University Wexner Medical CenterJournal reference:Essig, G.F. et al. (2019) Dog bite injuries to the face: Is there risk with breed ownership? A systematic review with meta-analysis. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.11.028.last_img read more

Researchers describe the early warning signs of eating disorders

first_imgDr. Joanne Demmler, a senior data analyst in the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research in her statement said, “This has been an absolutely fascinating project to work on. We used anonymized clinical data on the whole population of Wales and unraveled it, with codes and statistics, to tell a story about eating disorders.””This ‘story-telling’ has really been an intricate part of our understanding of this extremely complex data and was only possible through a very close collaboration between data analysts and an extremely dedicated and enthusiastic clinician.”Professor Keith Lloyd, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales added, “Eating disorders can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families so this study is very timely. We’re committed to making the case for adequate services and support for people with eating disorders in Wales delivered close to where they live.”UK Government’s stanceThe UK House of Commons picked up this study and released a statement called, “Ignoring the Alarms: too many avoidable deaths from eating disorders.” The report adds that there has been a gross lack in information regarding the epidemiological picture of eating disorders across the nation.The report says that in 2017 (December), the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) had spoken about the eating disorders and presented a report titled, “Ignoring the Alarms: How NHS eating disorder services are failing patients.” The report came after the death of 19-year-old Averil Hart and two other girls due to complications related to eating disorders.That report had recommended five steps to deal with the situation. These included – Journal references: Ignoring the Alarms follow-up: Too many avoidable deaths from eating disorders. (2019). https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmpubadm/855/85503.htm. Demmler, J., et al. (2019). Shining the light on eating disorders, incidence, prognosis and profiling of patients in primary and secondary care: national data linkage study. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2019.153. The latest report from the House of Commons wanted to assess the progress made on each of these five recommendations made in 2017.The report describes a serious lack of training for doctors and inadequate reporting on  the prevalence of eating disorders. The report says, “As a matter of urgency NHS England should commission a national population-based study to properly assess how many people have an eating disorder.”The authors suggest that there should be greater awareness and uptake of “Management of Really Sick Patients with Anorexia Nervosa (MARSIPAN) guidelines”. The report says that there has been increased funding for mental health but they add that specific amounts spent on adult eating disorders need to be allocated.The report concludes: I cannot emphasise enough the importance of detection and early intervention for eating disorders. Delays in receiving diagnosis and treatment are sadly common and also associated with poorer outcomes and great suffering.This research contributes to the evidence about prevalence of eating disorders and begins to quantify the scale of the problem in the entire country of Wales. The majority of these patients we identified are not known to specialist eating disorder services.The increased prescriptions by GPs both before and after diagnosis indicates that these patients, even if not known to specialist services, have significantly more difficulties or are struggling. This underlines the clinical need for earlier intervention for these patients and the need to support GPs in their important role in this.” By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJul 1 2019The early warning signs of eating disorders have been clearly defined in a large study from the Swansea University researchers. The team has published their study results in the latest issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.The researchers noted that those with eating disorders had a higher rate of misdiagnosis (being diagnosed with other conditions) before being diagnosed with an eating disorder. The experts believe that this study could help general practitioners identify the disorders much earlier than their clear manifestation.Tero Vesalainen | ShutterstockMost patients ‘are not known to specialist eating disorder services’Experts on the study team explained that eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders that affect around 1.6 million people in the UK. These figures, they add may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg with a large number of cases being missed out because many do not seek professional help until too late.It is hoped that the current study will help GPs diagnose the disorder earlier for earlier interventions early. The team explains that earlier the diagnosis, better are the chances of the patient for a complete recovery.The team from the Swansea University Medical School looked at electronic health records from GPs and hospital admissions in Wales between 1990 and 2017 and found that 15,558 people in Wales were diagnosed with some or the other form of eating disorders.The team explored the records that were anonymous to see the health parameters a couple of years before the individual was diagnosed. They noted that patients with eating disorders also had higher levels of mental disorders such as personality or alcohol disorders and depression within two years of being diagnosed with eating disorders.Patients with eating disorders also suffered more incidences of accidents, injuries, and self-harm. Many of them had been diagnosed earlier with conditions that necessitated the use of antipsychotics and antidepressants.Not surprisingly, patients were also commonly diagnosed with gastrointestinal problems and had been prescribed drugs for upset stomach, constipation etc. these patients had been diagnosed earlier with malnutrition and vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well, write the researchers.The team of researchers thus warn that one or more combination of these factors could mean that the individual could be at a greater risk of eating disorders. These factors thus could help the GPs to look out for the disorders in their patients.Lead researcher’s Dr Jacinta Tan, associate professor of psychiatry at Swansea University and the Welsh representative of the Eating Disorder Faculty in the Royal College of Psychiatrists, commented on the research: Training of doctors and other medical professionals regarding the management of eating disorders Quality and availability of adult services and easy transition from child to adult services Improving coordination when more than one service is involved Using training to address gaps in the provision of eating disorder specialists Improving investigation and learning, in particular from serious incident investigations NHS England established an Adult Eating Disorder Expert Reference Group, chaired by Professor Tim Kendall and Jess Griffiths, an expert by experience, to help review the data and modelling for the NHS Long Term Plan. Welcome steps are being made in response to the PHSO’s report, but sufficient progress has not yet been made in response to the PHSO’s report.”last_img read more

BMW drives to new sales record but still lags Mercedes

Explore further BMW booked record sales for the seventh year in a row in 2017, but still trailed behind arch-rival Mercedes The Munich-based group said in a statement that sales of its core BMW-brand cars rose by 4.2 percent to almost 2.1 million last year. Growth was primarily driven by the strong performance of its X-series SUVs and updated 5-series limousines, the statement said. While sales in China grew by 15 percent, European sales edged forward by one percent and business in the Americas declined by two percent.Despite the record performance, BMW was still unable to catch up with Mercedes, which held on to the pole position in the luxury segment with sales of 2.3 million units last year.Nevertheless, sales chief Ian Robertson insisted that the BMW group as a whole was “the world’s leading premium automotive company”.Taking into account sales of BMW’s Mini and luxury Rolls-Royce units, the group sold some 2.46 million vehicles worldwide last year.By comparison, Mercedes-Benz and its Smart brand sold 2.42 million units.BMW also said it hit a self-imposed target to sell more than 100,000 electric and hybrid vehicles in a year across its own-brand and Mini ranges.Along with other German carmakers, BMW has promised a range of new electric and hybrid models in the coming years.Germany’s proudest industry faces tougher emissions requirements in future, and must deal with the fallout from repeated environmental scandals. German high-end carmaker BMW said Friday it booked record sales for the seventh year in a row in 2017, but continued to trail rival Mercedes-Benz. Daimler profits hit by costs of diesel emissions recall © 2018 AFP Citation: BMW drives to new sales record but still lags Mercedes (2018, January 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-bmw-sales-lags-mercedes.html 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

News Corp CEO rails at dysfunctional online environment

Citation: News Corp CEO rails at ‘dysfunctional’ online environment (2018, February 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-news-corp-ceo-rails-dysfunctional.html News Corp’s chief executive on Thursday took a swipe at Google and Facebook for fostering a “dysfunctional” and “debased” online environment which harms the news media and responsible journalism. © 2018 AFP News Corp CEO Robert Thomson, seen at a 2017 conference, stepped up his criticism of Google and Facebook as his firm released quarterly earnings Explore further Robert Thomson, CEO of the publishing arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, stepped up his criticism of the online giants as the company released its quarterly earnings.Thomson said the steps announced by Google and Facebook to stem misinformation and improve the quality of online news were “modest steps toward changing a digital environment that is dysfunctional at its core.””The bot-infested badlands are hardly a safe space for advertisers, whose brands are being tainted by association with the extreme, the violent and the repulsive.”Thomson said News Corp is seeing growth in online visits and subscriptions to its media properties such as the Wall Street Journal and The Sun of Britain, but added that “the potential returns for our journalism would be far higher in a less chaotic, less debased digital environment.”A longtime critic of the dominant online companies, Thomson said he welcomed the decision by Google to end a “first click free” requirement for news items in search queries, and Facebook’s efforts to enable readers to know more about sources of articles on its news feed.But he noted that the online firms “are in the midst of a particularly disruptive period, commercially, socially and politically.”For the quarter ending in December, News Corp reported a $66 million loss, as it set aside $174 million for recalculated taxes following the passage of a US fiscal reform measure.Total revenue for the fiscal second quarter rose three percent to $2.18 billion, with operating profits showing modest changes at its divisions for newspapers, book publishing and digital real estate.Revenues for its News UK, News Corp Australia and Dow Jones units grew seven percent, four percent and one percent, respectively.Advertising revenues declined six percent from a year ago, in part due to weakness in the print advertising market and the decision to end publication of the Wall Street Journal’s international print editions.Circulation and subscription revenues increased six percent, as Dow Jones saw a 10 percent bump in revenues fueled by gains from digital subscriber growth at the Wall Street Journal.Digital subscriptions for the US business daily rose to 1.39 million in the final three months of the year from 1.08 million a year earlier.The company also reported gains in digital subscribers to its Australian newspapers, The Times and Sunday Times of Britain and The Sun. News Corp reports profit jump to $87 mn 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

As Facebook embraces artificial intelligence tools will it further spook consumers

Social media companies have embraced artificial intelligence tools to scrub their platforms of hate speech, terrorist propaganda and other content deemed noxious. But will those tools censor other content? Can a program judge the value of speech? Explore further Facebook is far from alone among social media companies harnessing artificial intelligence to assist humans monitoring content.”AI tools in concert with humans can do better than either can do alone,” said Wendell Wallach, an investigator at The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute in Garrison, New York.But Wallach noted that many users do not understand artificial intelligence, and Big Tech may face a backlash like food concerns face over genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.”The leading AI companies, which happen to be the same as the leading digital companies at the moment, understand that there is a GMO-like elephant that could jump out of the AI closet,” Wallach said.Already, concern is mounting among conservatives on Capitol Hill that platforms like Facebook tilt to the political left, whether AI tools or humans are involved in making content decisions.”You recognize these folks?” Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., asked Zuckerberg while holding up a photo of two sisters.”Is that Diamond and Silk?” Zuckerberg asked, referring to two black social media personalities who are fervent supporters of President Donald Trump.Indeed, it was, Long said, and Facebook had deemed them “unsafe.””What is unsafe about two black women supporting President Donald J. Trump?”Zuckerberg later noted that his Facebook team “made an enforcement error, and we’ve already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”Artificial intelligence tools excel at identifying salient information out of masses of data but struggle to understand context, especially in spoken language, experts said.”The exact same sentence, depending on the relationship between two individuals, could be an expression of hate or an expression of endearment,” said David Danks, an expert on ethics around autonomous systems at Carnegie Mellon University. He cited the use of the “N-word,” which between some people can be a friendly term, but is also widely considered hate speech in other contexts.Any errors that AI tools make in such linguistic minefields could be interpreted as censorship or political bias that could further diminish trust in social media companies.”The general public, I think, is much less trusting of these companies,” Danks said.Eventually, he said, the algorithms and AI tools of a handful of companies will earn greater public trust, even as consumers do not understand how they operate.”I don’t understand in many ways how my car works but I still trust it to function in all the ways I need it to,” Danks said.Just as librarians once used subjective judgment in taking books off the shelves, social media companies also can face criticism that AI tools can overreach.”Twitter faces this,” said James J. Hughes, executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, in Boston. “Pinterest and Instagram are always taking down artists’ websites who happen to have naked bodies in them when they think they are porn, when they are not.”And they are doing that based on artificial intelligence algorithms that flag how much naked flesh is in the picture.”In his testimony, Zuckerberg said AI tools were increasingly adept at “identifying fake accounts that may be trying to interfere in elections or spread misinformation.”Facebook has admitted that a Russian agency used Facebook to spread misinformation that reached up to 126 million people around the time of the 2016 presidential vote, and that the personal data of 87 million people may have been misused by the firm Cambridge Analytica to target voters in favor of Trump.Zuckerberg told senators that Facebook’s delay in identifying Russian efforts to interfere in the election is “one of my greatest regrets in running the company” and pledged to do better to combat manipulation for this year’s election.As legislators wrestled over whether Facebook and other social media companies need regulation, Zuckerberg repeatedly faced questions over the nature of his company. Is it also a media company because it produces content? A software company? A financial services firm that supports money transfers?”I consider us to be a technology company, because the primary thing that we do is have engineers who write code and build products and services for other people,” Zuckerberg told a House hearing.Experts say that answer doesn’t address complex issues around platforms that are increasingly more like public utilities.”The electric company is not allowed to say, we don’t like your political views therefore we are not going to give you electricity,'” Danks said. “If somebody is knocked off of Facebook, is that tantamount to the electric company cutting off their electricity? Or is it more like the person who is really loud and obnoxious in a bar, and the owner says, ‘You need to leave now’?” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last week that his company is rapidly developing AI tools to “identify certain classes of bad activity proactively and flag it for our team.”It is one of several moves by Facebook as it struggles with an erosion of consumer trust over its harvesting of user data, its past vulnerability to targeted political misinformation and the opaqueness of the formulas upon which its news feeds are built.Some technologists believe that AI tools won’t resolve these issues that Facebook and other social media companies face.”The problem is that surveillance is Facebook’s business model: surveillance in order to facilitate psychological manipulation,” said Bruce Schneier, a well-known security expert and privacy specialist. “Whether it’s done by people or (artificial intelligence) is in the noise.”Zuckerberg said his Menlo Park, Calif., company relies on both AI tools and thousands of employees to review content. By the end of the year, he said, some 20,000 Facebook employees will be “working on security and content review.”The company is developing its AI tools to track down hate speech and fake news on its platform and views the tools as a “scalable way to identify and root out most of this harmful content,” he said, indicating several times over 10 hours of testimony on two days that Facebook algorithms can find objectionable content faster than humans.”Today, as we sit here, 99 percent of the ISIS and al-Qaida content that we take down on Facebook, our AI systems flag before any human sees it,” Zuckerberg said at a Senate hearing, referring to extremist Islamic groups.The artificial intelligence systems work in conjunction with a counterterrorism team of humans that Zuckerberg says numbers 200 employees. “I think we have capacity in 30 languages that we’re working on,” he said.Other existing AI tools “do a better job of identifying fake accounts that may be trying to interfere in elections or spread misinformation,” he said. After fake accounts placed political information on Facebook that disrupted the 2016 election, Facebook proactively took down “tens of thousands of fake accounts” before French and German elections in 2017, and Alabama’s special election for a vacant Senate seat last December, he added. Key points from Facebook-Zuckerberg hearings ©2018 McClatchy Washington Bureau Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Citation: As Facebook embraces artificial intelligence tools, will it further spook consumers? (2018, April 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-facebook-embraces-artificial-intelligence-tools.html 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

Walmart goes upscale with personal shopper service Update

first_img The new $50 per month service called Jetblack is launching in New York, offering “curated shopping recommendations” using both artificial intelligence and professional assistants.The new subscription service ramps up competition with Amazon, which gives customers a variety of benefits and delivery options through its Prime subscription membership.The new Walmart service comes from its recently acquired Jet.com online platform and its technology incubator known as Store No. 8.Jetblack will let customer text requests for items such as birthday gifts. Operating in the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, it offers same-day and next-day deliveries from Walmart, Jet.com and its retail partners, which are expected to include local boutiques and luxury retailers.It will be led by Jenny Fleiss, co-founder of the retail fashion rental service Rent the Runway, who joined Walmart last year.The website offered few details, offering customers an opportunity to join a waiting list.”We are thrilled to introduce Jetblack to the world today,” said Fleiss in a statement.”Consumers are looking for more efficient ways to shop for themselves and their families without having to compromise on product quality. With Jetblack, we have created an entirely new concept that enables consumers to get exactly what they need through the convenience of text messaging and the freedom of a nearly unlimited product catalogue.”Jet.com founder Marc Lore said the new service using “conversational” commerce “will have a profound impact on how customers may shop five years from now.”Walmart and other retailers have been scrambling in the face of Amazon’s push into various sectors including groceries, with more than 100 million Prime subscribers. Jenny Fleiss, who joined Walmart last year, is heading the Jetblack platform that allows shoppers to order items via text message Citation: Walmart goes upscale with personal shopper service (Update) (2018, May 31) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-walmart-shop-by-text.html Walmart on Thursday unveiled a new concierge shopping service enabling customers to get quick deliveries and advice from a personal assistant, going upscale in the retail giant’s battle with Amazon. Walmart unveils Lord & Taylor site as it tries to go upscalecenter_img Explore further © 2018 AFP This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

California sued by DOJ after governor signs model net neutrality bill

first_img Explore further SB 822 is meant to fill the void left by the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of the Obama-era federal regulations that prohibited internet service providers from engaging in blocking, throttling or discriminating against online traffic.California’s bill, written by State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, had been hard-fought by ISPs, which argued along the way that it would be hard for them to have to comply with state-by-state regulations. The bill had a rough road in the state Legislature, where at one point it was watered down by one committee before consumer protections were restored to the version that eventually passed.”This is a historic day for California,” Wiener said in a statement Sunday. “Today marks a true win for the internet and for an open society. I’m proud of the broad and diverse grassroots coalition that moved this legislation forward and got it passed.”That coalition included advocacy groups such as San Francisco-based Credo.”Thanks to hundreds of thousands of activists who would not give up the fight against all odds, Californians will have real, meaningful net neutrality protections,” said Brandy Doyle, Credo campaign manager, in a statement Sunday. “We thank Gov. Brown for standing with us and protecting the future of the internet and all our communities who depend on it.”The high-fives were still going when the federal government crashed the party.”Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement announcing the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, Sunday. “The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order.”In March, Sessions sued California over its “sanctuary” laws on immigration, but the state’s laws were upheld in July.”California fought Trump and Sessions on their immigration lawsuit—California won—and California will fight this lawsuit as well,” Wiener said Sunday night. “I have complete confidence that Attorney General Xavier Becerra will do a great job defending this law.” California now has the strongest net neutrality rules in the nation, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill during a last-minute flurry of bill signings and vetoes Sunday. A little over an hour after the announcement, the Department of Justice sued the state. Credit: CC0 Public Domain The federal rules on net neutrality, the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally, were enacted after years of legal and political wrangling. The issue has long had bipartisan support, and a Mozilla/Ipsos poll in April showed nearly 80 percent of Americans from both major political parties support it.But AT&T, Comcast and other internet service providers argued in California, as they have for years, that net neutrality rules hinder innovation and investment in next-generation internet infrastructure.In addition, ISPs claimed that the California bill goes further than the federal rules did, because it also bans some instances of zero rating, or the practice of exempting some online content from data caps.”This bill is neither the way to get there, nor will it help advance the promise and potential of California’s innovation DNA,” said Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom, an industry group that counts AT&T and Verizon among its members, in a statement. “Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all.”The federal Open Internet Rules, which were passed in 2015, were repealed by a Republican-majority Federal Communications Commission in December. The repeal, drafted by Ajit Pai—the FCC chairman appointed by President Donald Trump—took effect this year. Since then, states such as California have been scrambling to enact their own rules.Three states, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, have enacted their own net neutrality rules, while governors in several other states have signed executive orders to establish some protections. Many other states are considering their own rules.”California’s net neutrality bill is now the model for all future state and federal legislation,” said Gigi Sohn, who was counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.Pai weighed in through a statement with the DOJ’s announcement of its lawsuit on Sunday: “I’m pleased the Department of Justice has filed this suit,” he said. “The Internet is inherently an interstate information service. As such, only the federal government can set policy in this area.”The DOJ lawsuit names Brown and Becerra as the defendants. The governor’s office said Sunday night it had no comment on the lawsuit. US sues California over ‘net neutrality’ ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Citation: California sued by DOJ after governor signs ‘model’ net neutrality bill (2018, October 3) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-california-sued-doj-governor-net.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Efficiency boost for robot submarines

first_img The researchers explain that autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are essential mobile robots that can travel underwater and perform tasks that are considered to hazardous for people to carry out for various reasons. There are, however, problems that face the operators of AUVs, specifically the fact that control algorithms are not necessarily optimized for distance nor energy consumption.The team’s approach to enabling energy awareness, as well as self-adaptive deployment, has now been tested with ten AUVs. Their work demonstrates that they can reduce energy consumption with their algorithm in the test AUVs by almost a third. This could be a real boon for marine environment monitoring, military missions, search missions after the loss of a craft at sea, and perhaps even after a tsunami, earthquake or other geological catastrophes.The team concludes their paper with a nod to the future direction of their research. “Future work will study an energy-supplying problem during the ocean rescue that generating trajectories for AUVs to rendezvous with energy-carrying robots, such as mobile charging stations, i.e., a rendezvous problem for AUVs and mobile charging stations,” they explain. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Provided by Inderscience Researchers in China have designed an improved energy-aware and self-adaptive deployment method for autonomous underwater vehicles. The team of Chunlai Peng and Tao Wang of the Guangdong University of Technology, in Guangzhou, provide details in the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control. Citation: Efficiency boost for robot submarines (2019, March 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-efficiency-boost-robot-submarines.html Using behavior trees to improve the modularity of AUV control systems More information: Chunlai Peng et al. An improved energy-aware and self-adaptive deployment method for autonomous underwater vehicles, International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control (2019). DOI: 10.1504/IJMIC.2019.098005 Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Walmart Google make grocery shopping easier with new voice ordering which launches

first_imgCredit: CC0 Public Domain Starting Tuesday, all you have to do is say, “Hey, Google. Talk to Walmart” and start adding food to your cart. It uses your order history to know what product you mean when you say, for example, “orange juice.” It checks that brand, what size, etc.—and pops that in your cart, according to the company.It works on any device where Google Assistant is available, such as Google Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones and watches.There’s one key requirement that has to be met, though: Walmart Voice Order is available only for customers of the 2,100-plus Walmarts with store pick-up and the more than 800 stores that offer delivery.The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is America’s largest grocer.”The more you use it, the better we’ll get,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of digital operations for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “We know when using voice technology, customers like to add items to their cart one at a time over a few days—not complete their shopping for the week all at once. So, this capability aligns with the way customers shop.”Walmart’s focus on e-commerce continues to be a major focus of the big-box chain. Online sales—fueled in part by groceries—jumped 43 percent in the fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31 Citation: Walmart, Google make grocery shopping easier with new voice ordering, which launches today (2019, April 3) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-walmart-google-grocery-easier-voice.html Explore further ©2019 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.center_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. Ordering groceries from Walmart is about to get easier. Walmart partners with Google on grocery shopping via voicelast_img read more

New Goa CM Pramod Sawant wants floor test in House on Wednesday

first_imgRELATED SHARE Pramod Sawant takes oath as Goa CM Goa Manohar Parrikar: BJP’s saviour in Goa SHARE SHARE EMAIL Published on state politicscenter_img BJP may name Sawant as new Goa Chief Minister COMMENT Hours after being sworn in, Goa’s new Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said his government has sought a floor test on Wednesday to prove its strength in the Assembly.The BJP-led government in the coastal state claims support of 21 MLAs – 12 from the BJP, three each of allies Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents.The strength of the 40-member House has been reduced to 36 due to the death of chief minister Manohar Parrikar, BJP MLA Francis D’Souza and resignations of two Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte.The Congress is the single largest party in the state with 14 MLAs. There is also an NCP legislator in the House.“We have written to Governor Mridula Sinha, requesting her to hold the floor test Wednesday to prove our strength. We are ready for the floor test,” Sawant told reporters after assuming office Tuesday.The chief minister said his priority was to complete all the projects undertaken by Parrikar, who died on Sunday after battling cancer and was accorded a state funeral Monday.Sawant said the state government will build a memorial in Parrikar’s name at Panaji’s Miramar beach, where he was cremated.Sawant was sworn in as the new chief minister of Goa just before 2 am Tuesday, after hectic parleys between the saffron party and its allies to put a new government in place in the state.The governor also administered oath to 11 other ministers, including those from BJP’s allies MGP and the GFP.As per the power-sharing arrangement reached with allies, an MLA each from the two smaller parties backing the BJP will be made deputy chief minister, party sources said.They are GFP chief Vijai Sardesai and MGP legislator Sudin Dhavalikar. COMMENTS March 19, 2019 The new Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant at his office after taking charge on Tuesday   –  The Hindulast_img read more

Modi has taken vikas off the agenda Prithviraj ChavanModi has taken vikas

first_imgThe Congress will not let the upcoming elections be dominated by a personality-based campaign, avers senior party leader Prithviraj Chavan. In an interview with BusinessLine, Chavan, who is the former chief minister of Maharashtra and former minister of State in the UPA government, said he believes there are great chances of a Congress-led coalition forming the government in 2019. Excerpts:What is the Congress’ strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections?One of the defining issues of the 2014 elections was that we unwittingly got trapped in a personality-based contest. Narendra Modi could get away with abstract promises of achhe din and the ‘Gujarat Model’. There was a plethora of corruption scandals that the UPA got entangled in, although the Congress was very particular in seeking resignations from people who had serious allegations of corruption against them. This time, the Congress is not letting the election turn into a personality-based campaign. We are also asking questions. We will take up the national security agenda, the Hindu terror agenda and satellite weaponry (capability). There are also a lot of unfulfilled development-related promises of the Prime Minister. Even in his first election speech in Maharashtra, there wasn’t a single word about vikas or development. He’s taken it off the agenda as he knows he can’t win that battle. What outcome do you expect from the elections?In 2014, out of 273 Lok Sabha seats in the heartland and the cow belt, the BJP alone won 223 seats. Our underlying idea has been to put up one candidate against the BJP’s Hindutva candidate. I think the BJP will win not more than 150-170 seats in the region, while the alliances may win 20-30 seats. This means that 340 seats will be with other parties, the largest of which will most likely be the Congress. My prediction for the elections is a coalition government, led by someone from the Congress. Or alternatively, it could be a non-Congress candidate which all Opposition parties agree on. Even with a huge swing in their favour, Modi is not likely to be the Prime Minister. The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra is seen to be strong. How will you fare? The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance was also present in 2014. The Shiv Sena will find it difficult to explain to their people that after four years of criticising the NDA government, why they are suddenly saying it is great. The other issue is that the BJP has not been able to groom the original BJP-RSS Sangh workers, who lifted the party to political power. Instead, they had to hijack, import, coerce and induce people from other parties like the Congress.Why are you not contesting the Lok Sabha election?I don’t have a Lok Sabha seat. I contested four times from the Karad constituency, which is now Satara. It has been with the NCP since 1999 and has a popular MP. I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Maharashtra SHARE Published on politics national electionscenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS April 07, 2019 COMMENTlast_img read more

PM Modi Ministers spend Rs 393 cr on foreign domestic travel in

first_imgCOMMENTS COMMENT politics (general) Published on A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers incurred an expenditure of Rs 393 crore on foreign and domestic travel in last five fiscal years.City-based RTI activist Anil Galgali had filed an RTI query with the PMO seeking the total Foreign Travel Expenses (FTE) and Domestic Travel Expenses (DTE) incurred by the Prime Minister and his council since May 2014.In December 2018, the Modi government, replying to queries on foreign travel expenses in Rajya Sabha, had said that an expenditure of over Rs 2,021 crore was incurred on chartered flights, maintenance of aircraft and hotline facilities during Modi’s visits to foreign countries since June 2014.The RTI filed by Galgali finds that Rs 263 crore was spent by the PM and his cabinet colleagues on their foreign visits, while Rs 48 crore were spent in their domestic visits. As far as Ministers of State are concerned, the RTI reply states that they incurred expenses of Rs 29 crore on foreign visits and Rs 53 crore on domestic visits.Replying to his query, Satish Goyal, the senior accounts officer of Pay and Account Office of the Cabinet Affairs, has stated that cumulative expenditure incurred on FTE and DTE by the PM and the ministers from financial year 2014-15 to 2018-19 was Rs 393.58 crore.Citing e-lekha reports, Goyal gave separate expenditures of the Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister and the Ministers of State. According to the RTI reply, Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister spent Rs 311 crore, while Ministers of State spent Rs 82 crores on their foreign and domestic visits.A major chunk of expenses was incurred in the year 2014-15, when Rs 88 crore was spent on foreign travels by the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues.‘Lack of transparency’Galgali asked why all details were not kept separately and termed it a “lack of transparency”. “This information on travel expenditure does not give the full picture and therefore, it is a lack of transparency. The government should keep all records of each minister and their numbers of trips and their expenses and all these information should be available in public domain,” he said.Replying to Galgali’s previous RTI query, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had said that it does not keep records of the expenses incurred on the domestic visits of the Prime Minister exclusively.Praveen Kumar, Under Secretary and the Central Public Information Officer of the PMO, had replied that the MPs’ domestic visits are organised by the different public authorities and documentation of the expenses incurred on the PM’s domestic visits is not part of the records and information maintained.Kumar also said that the Prime Minister’s tours related to poll campaigns are not official ones and the PMO does not have to incur any expenditure on them, therefore, the details cannot be provided.As per PMO website, the expenses on domestic visits of the Prime Minister are met out of the budget of the Ministry of Defence, while the expenses of his foreign tours are met out of the budget head “Cabinet Ministers Maintenance of PM’s aircraft Other charges”.According to the PMO website, Modi has made 49 foreign trips from May 2014 to February 22, 2019. It also lists the expenses incurred on chartered flights on these 49 foreign trips.center_img May 11, 2019 SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARElast_img read more

Malakoffs Saudi assets purchase to fill earnings gap

first_img Related News DIL is a 40% stakeholder in a Malaysian consortium comprising a 40% stake in Malakoff and a 20% stake in Tenaga, which owns about 30% share in two independent water and power plants in Saudi Arabia.With the purchase, Malakoff will double its stake in these two assets to 24% each in 4Q19.”In the past three years, the combined associate incomes from these two assets were RM46.8m/RM57.6m/RM47.5m which made up 14%/20%/21% group’s core profit, respectively. “As such, upon completion of the acquisition, contributions from these two assets are important as they could make up a-third of the group earnings,” said Kenanga.The independent water and power plants are the first and largest in Saudi Arabia as well as the main water suppliers for the Makkah province. They also form 13% of power and water capacity for the country, and have remaining concession periods of about 10 years.According to Kenanga, the acquisition is priced at EV/EBITDA of c.8x which it believes is fairly reasonable, being quite close to MALAKOF’s FY18 EV/EBITDA of 7.8x.”Assuming yearly contribution of RM47.5m for the next 10 years at 12% effective stake, total earnings collections could be RM475m which is 66% higher than the acquisition price of c.RM287 (USD70m @ 4.10), without taking into account the time value of money, a seemingly good deal,” it said. Property 12 Jul 2019 Malakoff to acquire Khazanah’s stake in Desaru Investments Travel 11 Jul 2019 KL Tops Holiday Destinations For Saudi Arabia Travellers KUALA LUMPUR: Kenanga research expects improved sentiment for Malakoff Corp Bhd for raising its stake in Saudi Arabia’s water and power plant assets.Following the announcement, the research house raised the stock to outperform at a higher target price of RM1 from 90 sen previously.It said in a note that the move will boost its bottomline by 18% while filling the earnings gap left by the expired Port Dickson power plant’s PPA extension and tariff cut at Segari Energy Ventures.Malakoff announced yesterday it had entered an agreement to acquire the entire stake in Desaru Investment Ltd (DIL) from Khazanah for US$70mil. World 11 Jul 2019 Saudi Arabia moves to secure Yemen Red Sea ports after UAE drawdowncenter_img {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Corporate News Tags / Keywords: Related Newslast_img read more

Cycling Bardet shameful but revengeful after Tour de France blow

first_img Cycling 10 Jul 2019 Cycling – Mountain training will pay off for Thomas says Ineos team boss {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related News Cycling 09 Jul 2019 Cycling – First crack in Ineos armour as Thomas loses time Related Newscenter_img Overall, Bardet lies 26th, 2:08 adrift of Thomas.”There was a lot of disappointment yesterday, even a feeling of shame towards his team mates and towards himself,” his sports director Julien Jurdie told reporters before the start of Friday’s seventh stage to Chalon sur Saone. “Shame is a word that he used. He made huge sacrifices to be here, we know how committed he is.”For all the swashbuckling talks at AG2R-La Mondiale, the French team seem far from fulfilling their ambitions.”I’ve got the feeling that I was not at the required level after all the hard work I’ve done,” Bardet, who has not won on the World Tour stage in two years, told reporters.”I felt like I was a spectator of the race. The legs did not respond like I wanted them to, it’s not a good sign.”Bardet, however, has a never-say-die attitude, even if his recent form and the time he has already lost suggest he will not make it onto the podium in Paris.”I feel revengeful. I want to race with my guts. Yesterday was a big setback but there are a lot more stages left. I came for more than this. It’s just starting,” he added. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris) BELFORT, France (Reuters) – Romain Bardet was aiming at no less than overall victory on the Tour de France, but after only six stages the Frenchman has been left ashamed of himself and virtually out of contention.Second overall in 2016 and third in 2017, the 28-year-old AG2R-La Mondiale rider started the race full of ambition despite a below-par season and his limited time-trialling abilities.But Bardet, who has three Tour stage wins to his name, was convinced that aggressive tactics would see him cause havoc in the mountains.It fell flat, however, as he lost over a minute to defending champion Geraint Thomas in Thursday’s hilltop finish at La Planche des Belles Filles, where his team expected him to get into the groove after they lost ground in the team time trial. Cycling 11 Jul 2019 Quiet man Pinot ready to make his presence felt on the Tourlast_img read more

Why a Dallas VR company thinks its tech can help ageing adults

first_imgA 93-year-old resident of a seniors’ home in Cologne, Germany, is able to look around a digitally recreated castle using virtual reality. In the United States, MyndVR specialises in the use of virtual reality for aging adults in assisted living communities. — dpa Patrick May couldn’t remember whether to wear his glasses – or where he left them, for that matter – when he put on the virtual reality headset that’s become a regular part of his twice weekly routine.”It’s blurry,” said May as an assistant at Signature Pointe Senior Living in Dallas helped him adjust the headset. A staffer retrieved May’s glasses, and the image in front of him came into view.May lives in Signature Pointe’s memory care unit, where all residents have some form of memory difficulties such as Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases.Chris Brickler, co-founder of Dallas-based virtual reality company MyndVR, is hoping that VR headsets will help adults like May retrieve or replicate memorable moments in their lives. The company specialises in the use of virtual reality for ageing adults in assisted living communities.May remembered that he used to scuba dive and asked an assistant to place him in a scuba simulation. He used to enjoy diving off the Texas coast.The simulation took him once again, diving off a small boat into blue water.”Wow, what’s all that stuff?” May said, pivoting his head in every direction and pushing his wheelchair around the room to different areas of the virtual environment lined with fish, coral and the occasional turtle.”Wow, a fisherman’s delight,” May said, laughing as a school of fish swam by.Signature Pointe, a continuum of care facility managed by senior living operator Life Care Services, is one of 35 facilities nationally using the technology. It incorporates virtual reality into resident activities, offering it twice a week to residents of all cognitive abilities. Signature Pointe staff members report back their findings in the form of surveys to MyndVR.Signature Pointe’s sales and marketing director Nancy McCarthy brought MyndVR to the center after hearing about its potential benefits.”They really enjoy it a lot, probably a lot more than I thought they would,” McCarthy said.Brickler, a former Silicon Valley executive and consultant, founded the Dallas-based company in 2017 with friend Shawn Wiora, who worked in health care technology. The company started off as a question of shared interests when the pair asked themselves, “How can we improve the lives of older people with virtual reality and music as a foundation?”In 2017, the company tested the technology on hundreds of seniors across five states, gathering feedback after each test. While Brickler was hopeful, he didn’t expect the level of impact he’s seen.”We’re constantly seeing breakthroughs in how VR can help with health,” Brickler said.Huge marketMyndVR officially rolled out its technology in April 2018 and now serves senior communities in more than 20 states. MyndVR’s basic package includes headsets, tech support and fresh content every month for about US$500 (RM2,058) a month. Pricing varies based on the size and needs of the senior home.The devices are increasingly used to address a variety of situations, including resident isolation, dementia care, pain management and staff training, according to a report by Senior Housing News. It looked at five virtual reality companies serving senior homes.It could be a powerful opportunity for ageing adults in North Texas. In Dallas County alone, there are over 255,000 adults aged 65 or older, according to census data.MyndVR’s sweet spot is giving virtual experiences to seniors of any level of cognitive ability. But Brickler said it’s particularly useful for seniors in memory care or who can no longer travel.The hope is that VR will help trigger areas of the brain that connect to memory and cognition in the same way music or other less than traditional treatments do.While there’s no medical data on MyndVR at this point, there’s anecdotal evidence that shows promising results in memory care patients, Brickler said.”It is a powerful, powerful technology that can bring people back to a memory state,” Brickler said.Besides sparking memories in seniors, the technology allows staff to get to know residents’ likes, dislikes and experiences, said Signature Pointe’s McCarthy.New adventuresThe technology also allows ageing adults to take virtual safaris or trips to monuments they might never get a chance to see.MyndVR’s current product uses an HTC VIVE headset and a menu system with hundreds of choices. The company creates and licenses its own VR content, from concerts to a trip down Route 66. Other popular categories are animals, nature and travel.The realistic simulations are filmed by MyndVR itself. Brickler said the realism is necessary for a population that didn’t “grow up on Donkey Kong” and are less familiar with exploring worlds of computer-generated imagery.In the assisted living unit at Signature Pointe, residents watched a variety of 15- to 20-minute simulations.One resident, Robert Bascher, sat nearly still as his headset rocketed him toward the ground in a virtual skydiving trip. He typically moves around less than other residents, who often tilt their heads or bodies to take in the virtual environments. But for him, it’s a win.Bascher has Parkinson’s disease and has near constant tremors in his hands and body. But after using the VR headset, the staff found that his symptoms eased.The positive effects for Bascher can last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. McCarthy called it an unexpected surprise. Related News Related News Metro News 22 Apr 2019 Mosque ventures into virtual reality Another resident, Carol Mongoven, giggled along to a simulation she was watching. Her virtual journeys took her to Hawaii, a place she’s always wanted to go, and let her travel to Universal Studios Hollywood to visit Jurassic Park.”It shows me places I would never be able to go otherwise, and it’s very realistic,” Mongoben. “It’s fascinating.”MyndVR serves only senior communities, but Brickler thinks there are broader in-home uses of the technology.”It’s a wide-open space,” Brickler said. – The Dallas Morning News/Tribune News Service Tech News 24 Jun 2019 Las Vegas is becoming a virtual reality hub Metro News 10 Jul 2019 Changing people’s perspective on autistic disorder {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

To quit or not to quit PSBs Wong to seek Sarawak CMs

first_imgSIBU: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh (pic) will seek the Chief Minister’s advice on whether he should quit his positions in the Cabinet as Second Finance Minister and state International Trade and E-Commerce Minister.Speaking at a press conference after the launch of the party at its annual delegate conference (ADF), Wong said the delegates had passed a resolution to let him decide on whether or not to resign and when to resign.”Let me say this: I will seek the Chief Minister for advice.”It was he who appointed me. Nation 11 Jul 2019 Parti Sarawak Bersatu deputy president Jerip leaves party Nation 10 Jul 2019 GPS supports lowering of voting age “You know the appointment of ministers is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. Even if I want to leave, I would have to seek his advice as to when and how I leave the Cabinet,” he said.Should he resign from his Cabinet position, Wong said, he would continue to be the party president and would work to unite all members so that PSB could move forward.He said he was confident that the future would be bright for the party.Asked about the sudden resignation of PSB’s deputy president Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Wong said there would be no more resignations as the party members had pledged loyalty to the party.Earlier at the ADF, Wong said he no longer had the moral standing to represent PSB in the state cabinet as “all my arms and legs have been chopped off” by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), the ruling coalition.”And resignation is the only honourable way out because the Cabinet post is for the party and not for me personally,” he said.Wong was also unhappy that none of his party members were included in the new councillors list drawn up by the state government.He said he believed drastic action was taken against PSB because it was gaining in popularity and size, and thus posed a threat to the component parties in GPS.”I don’t understand why GPS suddenly considers us their enemy.”We have only recruited several leaders from GPS component parties who have either been sacked from their party or resigned from their position. We did this with good intention, which is to strengthen not only our party but also indirectly help GPS by preventing these leaders from joining the Opposition,” he said.He said PSB was not wrong either in setting up its units in rural area where GPS component parties were already there.”I don’t see anything wrong with what we are doing, though there might be areas which belong to GPS component parties. Likewise in constituencies under PSB, such as Opar, Bawang Assan and Engkelili, there are parties pursuing for them,” he said.PSB, formerly the United People’s Party (UPP), was formed on July 14, 2014. It is a splinter party that broke off from SUPP following a leadership crisis.Wong founded the party along with Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, George Lo, Dr Johnical Rayong and Datuk Ranum Mina.However, Dr Jerip quit PSB with immediate effect via a letter dated July 10. He said he arrived at the decision after “consulting the people and supporters in his constituency (Mambong)”.More than 3,000 PSB members attended the delegate conference this weekend during which the party was relaunched following the name change. Tags / Keywords: Nation 1d ago Will Sarawak Cabinet be reshuffled? I don’t know, says CMcenter_img Parti Sarawak Bersatu , President , Wong Soon Koh , Politics Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related Newslast_img read more

Delhi HC imposes Rs 50000 cost on woman for filing false sexual

first_imgDelhi HC imposes Rs 50,000 cost on woman for filing false sexual harassment pleaThe court said there was no merit in the woman’s petition in which she has challenged the 2012 order of the internal complaint committee (ICC).advertisement Press Trust of India New DelhiJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 23:22 IST There is no merit in this writ petition which is dismissed with cost of Rs 50,000 to be deposited by the petitioner: Justice JR | File photo from PTIHIGHLIGHTSCourt said the organisation, where woman was working, is at liberty to initiate appropriate action against herThe woman in her complaint had alleged sexual harassment by her senior in 2011The high court said it was of the view that the woman’s complaint appeared to be falseIn a one of its kind order, the Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on a woman for filing a false complaint of sexual harassment against her senior official and dismissed her plea challenging the benefit of doubt given to him.The court said there was no merit in the woman’s petition in which she has challenged the 2012 order of the internal complaint committee (ICC) and sought that direction that the retirement benefits of the man be withheld.”There is no merit in this writ petition which is dismissed with cost of Rs 50,000 to be deposited by the petitioner [woman] with the Delhi High Court Advocates Welfare Trust within four weeks,” Justice JR Midha said.The court said the organisation, where the woman was working, is at liberty to initiate appropriate action against her for “filing a false compliant” against the man in accordance with law.In her petition, the woman had also sought direction to the organisation to initiate independent departmental enquiry against the man and to also prosecute him.The woman in her complaint had alleged sexual harassment by her senior in 2011. She had alleged that the man had misbehaved and made sexual advances towards her.To examine the complaint, an ICC was constituted where the man had denied the allegation and claimed that the complaint was the result of a grudge against him due to certain official work disposed by him in her absence.The committee had observed that the exact content of communication of the incident could not be established and gave benefit of doubt to the man.It had recommended relocating both the woman and the man from their present posting.The high court, after going through the record of the inquiry proceedings, said it was of the view that the woman’s complaint appeared to be false.It said the woman had claimed that the incident took place in the presence of the staff and other members but during the inquiry proceedings, she could not give the name of any person present at that time.”The petitioner has not mentioned the alleged comments of respondent No 3 [man] in the complaint on the ground of modesty. The petitioner did not even disclose the alleged comments before the committee. No reason or justification was been given by the petitioner for not disclosing the same before the committee. The entire complaint of the petitioner appears to be false and has been filed with some ulterior motive,” the court said.Also Read | Delhi High Court turns down plea to declare marital rape as ground for divorceAlso Read | Delhi: Men rally against criminalisation of marital rape, share tales of spousal abuseAlso Watch | Why marital rape can’t be criminalised?For the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byMohak Gupta Tags :Follow Delhi High CourtFollow sexual harassement Nextlast_img read more