WTC first responders at higher risk for head and neck cancers study

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 17 20199/11 first responders’ health still threatened from exposure at deadly attack, Rutgers study findsA Rutgers study has found a significant increase in head and neck cancers among workers and volunteers who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC), pointing to newly emerging risks that require ongoing monitoring and treatment of those who were exposed during the initial response.The study, which is the first to report on head and neck cancers in WTC first responders, found a 40 percent increase in diagnosis of these diseases between 2009 and 2012.The study appears in the International Journal of Cancer.The findings highlight the need to examine the potentially carcinogenic effects of WTC exposure in the context of other strong risk factors and the need for continued medical monitoring of WTC responders, particularly the police and military.”Since cancers are diseases of long latency, the findings of significant excess cancer in this period point to a newly emerging trend that requires ongoing monitoring and treatment of WTC-exposed persons,” said lead author Judith Graber, an associate professor at Rutgers School of Public Health and a researcher at Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.The results were part of a two-year study funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examining whether first responders were at greater risk of human papillomavirus (HPV)–related throat and tongue cancer because of their exposure during recovery efforts in lower Manhattan.Related StoriesUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerTen-fold rise in tongue-tie surgery for newborns ‘without any real strong data’Cancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedThe most prevalent increases were oropharyngeal cancers, which are often associated with HPV infection, and laryngeal cancer, but not oral and nasal cancers. The study also found that head and neck cancers were most associated with responders who were over 55, were non-Hispanic whites or who worked in military or protective service occupations and performed rescue and recovery and maintained the perimeter after the attacks.The research began when clinicians treating WTC-exposed responders at Rutgers’ World Trade Center Health Program became concerned about an usually high number of patients with cancers of the head and neck. They compared the incidence of head and neck cancers in 73 people among the program’s 33,809 WTC responders from 2003 through 2012 to the number of expected cases based on the New Jersey State Cancer Registry.”This excess occurrence in head and neck cancers is plausible since first responders inhaled debris clouds containing many known carcinogens,” said Graber, who is also an associate member in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “In addition, these carcinogenic exposures might add to or increase the effect of known personal risk factors for some head and neck cancers, such as tobacco smoking, heavy alcohol use and oral HPV infection.”The findings highlight the need to examine the potentially carcinogenic effects of WTC exposure in the context of other strong risk factors and the need for continued medical monitoring of WTC responders.Source: read more

Expanding range and functionality of radiotracers for improved disease diagnosis

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 4 2019Biomedical imaging has revolutionized medicine, granting doctors a window into miniscule molecular and cellular processes inside the body. An EU-funded project helped to expand the view, developing innovative radiochemistry concepts and techniques that could lead to earlier diagnosis of diseases – saving lives.Radiotracers are molecules labeled with radioactive atoms that are essential to precision imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET). By tracking the activity of special radiotracers designed to accumulate in tumors, areas of inflammation or certain types of cells, non-invasive PET imaging scans can detect disease long before it is evident in other tests, including many types of cancer, heart disease and gastrointestinal, endocrine or neurological disorders.Different radiotracer molecules enable PET machines to track different cells and hence detect various processes occurring in the body with varying levels of clarity. The EU-funded RADIOMI project expanded the range and functionality of radiotracers, improving the imaging available and the ability of pharmacologists to develop and evaluate new treatments.Among the project’s main achievements was the development of innovative radiochemistry techniques to improve diagnosis, and the monitoring of disease progression or drug discovery using radioactive isotopes of molecules such as fluorine-18, carbon-11 and nitrogen-13.‘The main limitation in the use of PET is that it requires molecules labeled with short-lived radioactive atoms,’ says RADIOMI coordinator Véronique Gouverneur at the University of Oxford in the UK. ‘The preparation of these labeled molecules is very challenging and involves synthetic strategies and technological resources that differ significantly from classical chemistry. We are therefore addressing one of the key aspects of functional biomedical imaging – the radiochemistry essential for the preparation of radiotracers, many of which are currently difficult to create.’Innovative techniquesRADIOMI researchers developed simple, fast and efficient techniques to label amino acids with nitrogen-13, turning these ubiquitous essential building blocks of proteins into excellent tracers for investigating metabolic processes via PET scans.Related StoriesScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchThey also developed new fluorine-18 reagents to access radiotracers that are difficult or not possible to obtain via conventional radiochemistry, as well as designing a more efficient process to use carbon-11, a radioisotope essential for diagnosing and monitoring Alzheimer’s disease, among other applications.The work has opened new pathways for ongoing research by members of the RADIOMI team, including collaboration with a pharmaceutical company to create novel molecules of pharmaceutical interest using carbon-11. Furthermore, two follow-up projects in Spain focused on using nitrogen-13-labeled amino acids to study prostate cancer tumor development.Another RADIOMI researcher expanded on fundamental work into controlling fluoride reactivity through hydrogen bonding, a discovery that led to the invention of a new class of catalyst with applications in drug discovery.RADIOMI was funded through the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship programme and supported young and early-stage researchers in cutting-edge work on radiotracers. The ongoing research by RADIOMI participants underscores the success of the training activities carried out in the project that expanded the career horizons of 18 research fellows across Europe, Gouverneur says.‘Molecular imaging is a booming research field of critical importance to facilitate diagnosis of disease, to monitor response to therapy, and to streamline the process of drug development with significant social and economic benefits,’ she adds. ‘However, access to trained individuals has been limited and there is intense competition for the same pool of talent in Europe and internationally. RADIOMI has successfully demonstrated how training networks can have a direct positive impact by producing a new crop of highly trained people in radiochemistry, many of whom have gone on to fill important unmet needs in the field.’. Source: read more

Why sleeping with the TV on could cause weight gain

first_imgRelated StoriesDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesUCR biomedical professor to investigate how body’s cannabis-like molecules influence obesityThe associations did not seem to be explained by sleep duration/quality or other potential mediators such as diet and physical activity.The authors say the findings suggest that artificial light exposure at night should be addressed in obesity prevention discussions:“Further prospective and interventional studies could help elucidate this association and clarify whether lowering exposure to ALAN while sleeping can promote obesity prevention,” they conclude.Artificial light contains blue wavelengthsPrior to the advent of artificial lighting, the sun was the main source of light and people generally spent the evening and night-time in darkness. Now, across most of the globe, people’s evening environment is illuminated by energy-efficient lighting and electronics with screens such as televisions or laptops.This increases exposure to blue wavelengths of light, which is beneficial in the daytime, boosting attention span, mood and reaction times. However, studies have shown that this blue-light exposure can be disruptive during the night-time.Scientists know that light exposure suppresses the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which is involved in regulating the circadian rhythm. Even exposure to dim light has an effect and exposure to light at night is one of the reasons people suffer from poor sleep.While any type of light exposure can affect melatonin secretion and the circadian rhythm, exposure to blue wavelengths at night is known to have a stronger effect.Researchers at Harvard University and colleagues performed an experiment comparing the difference in effect between 6.5 hours of blue light and green light exposure. The study showed that exposure to blue light suppressed melatonin for approximately double the amount of time the green light did, as well as causing twice as much shift in circadian rhythm.How to prevent weight gain associated with ALAN By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jun 11 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Exposure to artificial light at night while sleeping may be a risk factor for weight gain and the development of obesity, according to a study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study findings suggest that lowering artificial light exposure at night (ALAN) might be a useful intervention for obesity prevention.tenevart | ShutterstockA high-calorie intake and sedentary behaviors are generally considered to be the main contributors to the obesity epidemic and these are currently the most common targets in obesity prevention strategies. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that ALAN may also be a contributor.Artificial light has been shown to affect circadian rhythmOver recent decades, increasing trends in light pollution have paralleled the rise in obesity prevalence in the U.S. Findings from animal studies also suggest that night-time light exposure may directly influence melatonin signaling and the circadian rhythm in ways that could lead to weight gain. In rodents, ALAN has been associated with suppression of genes involved in the circadian rhythm and altered feeding patterns that cause weight gain.However, few studies have looked at the association between ALAN and obesity in humans.  Research has mainly been limited to studies looking at shift workers who are exposed to a lot more occupational light than non-shift workers.A small number of studies have pointed towards a link between ALAN while sleeping and weight gain, but firm conclusions could be drawn due to limitations such as small sample groups, cross-sectional designs and a lack of adjustment for potential confounders such as diet and physical activity.Proving an association between artificial light and weight gainNow, epidemiologist Dale Sandler from the National Institutes of Health and colleagues have investigated the association between ALAN while sleeping and risk for weight gain and obesity using data from a large prospective cohort of US women involved in the Sister Study.More than five years of follow-up data were available for 43,722 women (aged 35 to 74 years) from all 50 states in the U.S and Puerto Rico who were enrolled between July 2003 to March 2009.None of the women were shift workers, day-time sleepers or pregnant at baseline and none had a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer. Sensitivity analyses and additional multivariable analyses were performed to adjust for potential mediating factors such as sleep duration and quality, diet, and physical activity.Sandler and team report that among the 43,772 women (who had a mean age of 55 years), ALAN while sleeping was positively associated with an increased obesity prevalence at baseline, as determined by measures of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). ALAN whilst sleeping was also associated with 19% increased risk for incident obesity.Compared with women who were not exposed to ALAN while sleeping, women who slept with a television or light on in the background were 17% more likely to gain 5kg or more in weight, 13% more likely to have a 10% or more increase in BMI, 22% more likely to become overweight and 33% more likely to become obese. Source:Park YM, White AJ, Jackson CL, Weinberg CR, Sandler DP. Association of Exposure to Artificial Light at Night While Sleeping With Risk of Obesity in Women. JAMA Intern Med. 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0571 Ensure that any lights being used as night lights are dim red lights. Red light is the least powerful at suppressing melatonin and shifting circadian rhythm Avoid looking at bright screens from three hours prior to going to bed If working night shifts, wear glasses that block blue light and if using electronic devices at night, install an application that filters blue-green light. Ensure plenty of exposure to bright light throughout the day. This will improve night-time sleep, as well as enhancing mood and alertness levels during the day. Artificial light at night while sleeping was significantly associated with increased risk of weight gain and obesity, especially in women who had a light or a television on in the room while sleeping.”last_img read more

Dietary supplement improves neuronal function of a patient with atypical Rett syndrome

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 19 2019A multicentric translational research study carried out by groups of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Sant Joan de Déu Hospital (HSJD) , the University of Barcelona (UB), Hospital Clínic (IDIBAPS), the University of Vic (UVic), Sant Pau i la Santa Creu Hospital (IIB Sant Pau), the Rare Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERER) and the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA, France), has demonstrated the potential of the amino acid L-serine – administered as a dietary supplement – to improve the neuronal function of a patient with a mutation of glutamate receptors associated with atypical Rett syndrome with severe encephalopathy. This collaborative study, led by Dr Xavier Altafaj (‘Neuropharmacology and pain group’, IDIBELL), and published in Science Signaling, opens a new range of therapeutic options for patients with mutations that affect glutamathemic neurotransmission.Patients with atypical Rett syndrome show altered neuronal, motor, cognitive and social development. The patient who has been the object of this study presents a mutation in the GRIN2B gene, which codes for a subunit of NMDA glutamate receptors of the NMDA type called GluN2B. The HSJD medical team and the research group of Dr Altafaj initiated the study determining the impact of this GRIN2B mutation in the clinical manifestations of the patient. In order to find it out, they surrounded themselves with experts in the field of structural chemistry (Dr Olivella, UVic) and biophysics (Dr Soto, UB). The multidisciplinary study determined that the simple change of a single amino acid (deriving from the GRIN2B mutation) caused a drastic reduction in the functionality of NMDA receptors. With these results, Dr Altafaj’s team began a second phase of cellular, physiological and biochemical studies with the participation of Dr Carles Sindreu (UB), which allowed them to identify a set of neuronal alterations derived from the hypofunctionality of the mutated receptors.”In light of these experimental evidence, we proposed a very simple line of reasoning, which has become successful”, Dr Altafaj explains. “Since the mutation of the receptors leads to less activity, it is necessary to recruit them in a more sustained way. If we imagine a glutamate receptor like a door that opens to allow calcium (a necessary element for neuronal function) in, the GRIN2B mutation causes this door to not open sufficiently. Therefore, if we can increase the frequency with which this door opens, we will, in this way, compensate for the defect. And this is how we evaluated the effect of D-serine (a co-agonist of these receptors, which promotes their opening), which reversed part of the alterations caused by the GRIN2B mutation.”Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationResearch reveals genetic cause of deadly digestive disease in childrenNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careThe administration of D-serine has shown some toxicity in rodents, but its stereoisomer L-serine is a natural amino acid that is found in several foods. Chronic supplementation of L-serine powder in the patient’s diet (which results in an increase in D-serine levels) led to a remarkable improvement in the patient’s motor and communicative abilities. This pilot study was received with enormous interest from families with children who present mutations of the GRIN genes (“GRINpaties”), and the initiative coordinated by Dr Altafaj has recruited10% of patients with GRINpaties worldwide. Combining functional studies and the evaluation of new therapeutic complementary strategies, the Dr Altafaj’s team supports families and the European clinical community, also raising awareness for this rare neuropediatic diseases.A promising treatment with no side effectsIndeed, the evolution of the patient, who was treated by Dr Àngels Garcia Cazorla and Dr Anna López (HSJD), showed that dietary supplementation with L-serine is associated with significant improvements in the patient’s symptoms, both motor and cognitive. “The patient is able to carry out basic motor tasks that were unthinkable of at the beginning of the treatment, 17 months ago. We could say that the patient is connected to the outside world that surrounds him and that represents a critical and key step towards establishing new neuronal connections”, describes Dr Altafaj describes.The researchers are cautious but at the same time optimistic: “the results that we observe in the patient after a year and a half are very promising and we hope they will continue improving, but we must also bear in mind that they are the result of a combined effort of several therapeutic interventions carried out by the family and other multidisciplinary teams. However, previous experiences with similar clinical cases had not shown such significant improvements, and in this sense this study makes us be very optimistic and pushes us forward in this direction”. Because of that, a current pilot study has been joined by several European children with GRINpaties linked to the hypofunctionality of the NMDA receptors, and a multicentre clinical trial is being organized at European level.Even though it has been led by IDIBELL, the study has been extremely collaborative and multicentric, including doctors and researchers from the HSJD, researchers from the UB, UVic, the IIB Sant Pau, the IDIBAPS, and the CIBERER: all in all, it shows “a great understanding between Catalan biomedical institutions, and above all, a strong commitment of all participants, who joined in order to improve the quality of life of the patient”, Dr Altafaj says. The results of this project, who was spontaneously initiated without funding, have laid the foundations for a new project funded nationwide, and which is also supported by multiple donations that allow researchers to continue advancing in the study of these mutations and the neurological diseases they cause. Source:IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute Our research group specializes in the study of these receptors, which in physiological conditions are associated with learning processes, memory, neurodevelopment and neuronal plasticity, and which are the main actors in excitatory transmission and neuronal function.”Dr Xavier Altafaj, ‘Neuropharmacology and pain group’, IDIBELLlast_img read more

IUconnected startup working to enable precision medicine for mental health issues chronic

first_imgAccording to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 20.4 percent of American adults — about 66 million people — suffer from chronic pain.But without an objective way to measure how badly a patient is suffering, it’s difficult for health care providers to know how to treat their condition or measure the effectiveness of that treatment regimen over time, Neff said.”This uncertainty is part of the reason why the opioid epidemic came into being,” he said.That’s why MindX Sciences, which is based in Indianapolis, is developing apps and blood tests that will help doctors objectively assess the severity of pain and several mental health issues, including suicide risk, PTSD and depression, as well as determine a patient’s risk for future clinical problems. Its products will also help doctors match patients to specific medications and monitor their response to treatment. Neff said the tests could help pharmaceutical companies develop new medications, including some promising compounds that MindX has already identified.The company’s work is based on more than 15 years of research by IU School of Medicine professor of psychiatry Alexander B. Niculescu, who has identified blood biomarkers for suicide risk, depression, pain, longevity, PTSD and other indications. Niculescu is the founder, chairman and chief scientific officer of MindX Sciences, which is licensing his intellectual property from the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office.Niculescu, who is also a practicing psychiatrist, said he started MindX because he wants to help doctors do a better job of saving and improving lives.Related StoriesHospitals’ decision to transfer kids with mental health emergencies is based on insurance typeSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyEffective stop smoking treatments less likely to be prescribed to people with mental health conditions”Suicide is a growing epidemic, and so are pain and opioids,” Niculescu said. “PTSD is underdiagnosed and undertreated in both civilian and military populations. One in four people will suffer from depression in their lifetime. Mental health can directly influence aging and longevity. These are all targets we want to sequentially address, and we have put together a first-class team to do that. It’s very important to bring psychiatry into the 21st century — to make it on par with other medical specialties — because in the end, everything we are or do is reflected in the mind. If your mind is helped to function well, your whole life is happier and longer.”For other diseases, like cancer, physicians can biopsy the affected part of the body to determine its stage of disease, Niculescu said. But when it comes to mental health and pain, he said, biopsying the brain isn’t an option, so the company has engineered new “liquid biopsies” that will allow doctors to track mental health symptoms objectively using blood.”A very important part of this whole process is matching people with the right treatments, in a personalized way,” Niculescu said. “It’s important that we’re able to track how well the treatments are working and to adjust course if necessary.”Neff said MindX Sciences expects to have its first blood tests for pain and suicide risk available to doctors within the next year through an early-access program. Additional wider access and blood tests for other indications will become available over the next one to three years, he said.”What this means is not only will doctors be able to confirm when the patient is telling them something is causing pain or mental distress, they will know the risk of future clinical worsening even before that,” Neff said. “Doctors will also have actionable information about what medications and nutraceuticals they can put patients on and be able to track how they are responding to treatment.”This innovative work reflects IU’s extensive expertise and research curing, treating and preventing chronic illnesses. To build on the intersection of these areas of core strength and to bring precision medicine treatments to Hoosiers, IU President Michael A. McRobbie in June 2016 announced IU’s inaugural Grand Challenge, the Precision Health Initiative. Source:Indiana University Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 2 2019A new startup company founded on science developed at Indiana University is working to enable precision medicine by commercializing the first objective tests for mental health issues, including suicide risk, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and for pain, all of which historically have been difficult to measure for patients and health care providers alike. These tests will also help match patients to the right medications. There is no objective method to assess pain in current clinical practice. A doctor shows you a happy-to-sad face scale and asks you to rate your pain, and then they observe you. That’s it. They can’t tell the magnitude of the pain because it’s a very personal, subjective experience.”R. Matthew Neff, co-founder, president and CEO of MindX Scienceslast_img read more

Dutch hitech group ASML notches up fantastic year

CEO Peter Wennink (L) and CFO Wolfgang Nickl (R) of Dutch chip equipment manufacturer ASML attend the presentation of the annual figures of 2017. ASML etches ‘remarkable’ 2016 profit Citation: Dutch hi-tech group ASML notches up ‘fantastic year’ (2018, January 17) retrieved 18 July 2019 from 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. “ASML generated record sales and net income in 2017,” said chief executive officer Peter Wennink.Net profit soared by 44 percent to 2.12 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in 2017. Sales also hit record highs, rising by a third to 9.05 billion euros. “Overall a fantastic year,” said Wennink from the company’s headquarters in the southern Dutch town of Veldhoven.ASML is one of the world’s leading makers of lithography systems used by the semiconductor industry to make integrated circuits and microchips.The company is considered a bellwether of the global high-tech industry as it supplies sector giants such as Samsung and Intel.The lithography systems are used to manufacture processor chips, as well as memory chips such as DRAM and SRAM, essential for mobile phones and tablets.”The semi-conductor industry is on fire,” said Wennink, also predicting “extremely strong” demand in 2018 for “memory products.”Part of ASML’s success comes from its sales of so-called extreme ultraviolet (EUV) machines which enable companies to produce smaller, more powerful and more rapid microprocessors.”Due to industry strength, some customers requested earlier shipments of their lithography systems, which we were able to accommodate,” Wennink said.This helped the company to end the year on a strong fourth quarter, with net profits up 23 percent at 643 million euros.EUV sales pushed past the billion-euro mark to 1.1 billion euros, making 2017 “the year in which preparations for inserting EUV into high-volume chip manufacturing shifted into a higher gear,” said Wennink.The company employs some 19,000 people in 16 countries, but demand has meant creating new jobs, with “thousands of vacancies worldwide”, the Dutch public broadcaster NOS said.Last year, some 100,000 people applied for about 2,500 jobs, around half of which were in The Netherlands. “The personnel office is running overtime,” NOS added.”The Dutch pool of technicians is fairly empty and not everyone has the right training,” said Wennink, explaining why about 60 percent of new employees are foreigners. Dutch computer chip maker and global hi-tech bellwether ASML Wednesday reported “a fantastic” 12 months with year-on-year profits almost doubling in 2017, sales on the increase and thousands of new jobs being created. read more

Boeing Embraer near deal on commercial air business source Update

© 2018 AFP 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. US aerospace giant Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer are close to an agreement to combine their commercial air operations into a new company, a person familiar with the talks told AFP Tuesday. Citation: Boeing, Embraer near deal on commercial air business: source (Update) (2018, February 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Boeing and Brazil’s Embraer are near a deal that would leave military business under Brazilian control and separated from a new commercial venture, that would be based in Chicago The deal is designed to address the main roadblock to a merger between the two aerospace companies: Brazilian government opposition.Boeing would hold 80 to 90 percent of the new company, which would be based in Chicago, while Embraer’s military operations would not be affected by the transaction and would remain under Brazilian control, the source said. The companies in December confirmed they were in talks on a possible combination, a move seen as part of Boeing’s strategy to counter archrival Airbus’ ambitions in the smaller commercial aircraft category with a venture with Canadian company Bombardier.However, the talk of a merger drew immediate objections from the government in Brazil, which holds a so-called golden share with veto power over Embraer transactions. Boeing presented this structure to the government, and the discussions “are moving in the right direction,” the source said, noting the announcement of an agreement could be made in the coming weeks.’Golden share’Brazil’s Defense Ministry has referred to government control of Embraer as “a matter of national sovereignty.” According to a report in Brazilian daily Valor Economico, the government would retain the “golden share” in Embraer.Boeing declined to comment on the reports, but chief Dennis Muilenburg told investors last week that the combination with Embraer would be “a great strategic fit,” and that the company was working to address the Brazilian government’s concerns.”These discussions are productive and we’re continuing to have active dialogue with the key stakeholders,” Muilenburg said.The takeover of Embraer’s commercial airliners would enable Boeing to complete its portfolio by adding aircraft with a capacity of up to 150 seats and to regain ground in the medium-haul against Airbus.Airbus announced in mid-October a strategic partnership with Canadian Bombardier on CSeries aircraft in that size range, which was the subject of a bitter trade complaint brought by Boeing, which failed. The world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer with nearly $6 billion in sales, Embraer was privatized in 1994 and is one of Brazil’s success stories. It offers a range of civil and military aircraft as well as business jets. In 2013, Embraer launched the E-Jets E2 family, a new generation of aircraft due to enter the market this year as a potential competitor of the CSeries. Its defense branch includes models such as the A-29 Super Tucano for attack or training missions, and the KC-390 for military transport.The reaction to the proposed deal was largely positive, given the potential to address the government’s objections and put Boeing on surer footing in its battle with Airbus and Bombardier.The agreement to keep Embraer’s “military division in-house… would hopefully satisfy the Brazilian government,” CFRA’s Jim Corridore said in a research note.”We think that Boeing would benefit, gaining entry into a plane size they are not currently in.”Canaccord Genuity aviation analyst Ken Herbert said he is “not convinced of the strategic long-term benefit for Boeing,” but noted that the combination “does position Boeing as a leader from the mid-size business jet market through regional aircraft on up.” Embraer to team up with Brazil telecoms in space plan read more

Your reaction to pics of Leonardo DiCaprio animals could unlock your next

first_img Explore further To overcome password fatigue, many smartphones include facial recognition, fingerprint scans and other biometric systems. Credit: Chen Song, University at Buffalo Citation: Your reaction to pics of Leonardo DiCaprio, animals could unlock your next smartphone (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from The trouble with these easy-to-use tools is that once compromised—yes, they can be hacked—you can’t reset them.”You can’t grow a new fingerprint or iris if that information is divulged,” says Wenyao Xu, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science and engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “That’s why we’re developing a new type of password—one that measures your brainwaves in response to a series of pictures. Like a password, it’s easy to reset; and like a biometric, it’s easy to use.”The “brain password,” which would require users to wear a headset, could have implications in banking, law enforcement, airport security and other areas.”To the best of our knowledge, this is the first in-depth research study on a truly cancelable brain biometric system. We refer to this as ‘hard cancellation,’ meaning the original brain password can be reset without divulging the user’s identity,” says collaborator Zhanpeng Jin, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science and engineering at UB.Their work is described in a study that will be presented June 11 at MobiSys 2018, a flagship mobile computing conference hosted in Germany by the Association for Computing Machinery.Why celebs and animals?Xu was motivated to create a cancelable biometric password after hackers stole the fingerprint files of 5.6 million workers from the U.S. Office of Personal Management in 2015.Perhaps the most accessible way to record brain activity is through electroencephalography, which uses electrodes to measure the brain’s unique patterns of electrical activity.For their system, Xu and collaborators reconfigured a virtual reality headset, reducing the number of electrodes to six. Three record brain activity, two serve as grounds and the last acts as a reference point. Typically, these headsets have 32 to 64 electrodes.The electrodes recording brain activity measure three areas of the organ: the intraparietal sulcus (controls declarative memory), the inferior parietal lobule (processes face recognition) and the temporo parietal junction (reading comprehension).Researchers chose specific image types to stimulate each brain region. They used animal pictures for the intraparietal sulcus because one’s memory of a certain animal can be highly individualized. For example, a person who suffered a spider bite will have a different reaction than someone who hasn’t.For the inferior parietal lobule, researchers relied on recognizable celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio. For the temporo parietal junction, they used encouraging phrases such as “aspire to inspire.”How the brain password worksUsers are shown the three images in rapid succession—1.2 seconds to be exact. The process is repeated three additional times. By the end of the fourth time, after 4.8 seconds, the brain password is ready.Researchers recruited 179 adults—93 men, 86 women—to test the brain password. Test subjects’ average age was 30.Researchers collected data from three sessions, including one that occurred five months after the original test. The goal of the last test was to see how brain passwords functioned over time.Overall, brain passwords were more than 95 percent effective. The performance dipped slightly, by 1 percent, on the last test.Early adopters and privacy concernsWhile wearing a headset may not appeal to common internet users, Xu says that may change over time, especially if the device is redesigned into something more like Google Glass.Plus, he says, companies with deep concerns about cybersecurity may be early adopters of the technology. As for privacy concerns, Xu says the system—even if hacked—would not divulge sensitive information.”These passwords contain information gathered from only three channels in less than five seconds. Semantic memory attacks need much more time than that,” says Xu, who plans to continue work on the system to make it more reliable and appealing to users.center_img How to pick a new password, now that Twitter wants one Provided by University at Buffalo 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

Chinese auto sales fall for second month in August

first_imgChinese auto sales fell for a second month in August, an industry group reported Tuesday, adding to signs of economic malaise amid a worsening tariff battle with Washington. Explore further Citation: Chinese auto sales fall for second month in August (2018, September 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from More information: China Association of Automobile Manufacturers: China auto sales rise 7.9 percent in May as electrics surgecenter_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. Sales of SUVs, sedans and minivans in the biggest global auto market contracted by 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.8 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, sank 2.1 percent to 2 million units.Chinese auto demand has cooled as economic growth slows after Beijing tightened controls on bank lending to cool surging debt.Sales of SUVs, usually the industry’s brightest spot, shrank 4.7 percent to 737,000 units. Sedan sales were down 3.4 percent at 901,000.Total auto sales for the first eight months of the year gained 2.6 percent to 15.2 million.Sales growth has declined steadily, tumbling from May’s 7.9 percent to 2.3 percent in June. Full-year 2017 sales growth was 1.4 percent.China’s mounting tariff fight with U.S. President Donald Trump over its technology policy has added to anxiety, though the economic impact so far is limited.Weak demand is a setback for global automakers that look to China to drive revenue and are spending heavily to develop models for local tastes.Beijing imposed 25 percent import duties on U.S.-made autos as part of its retaliation for a similar American increase. But that falls most heavily on BMW AG’s imports of SUVs from a South Carolina factory. American brands produce most of their vehicles in Chinese factories.Sales of pure-electric cars rose 31.7 percent from a year ago to 72,000 units. Sales of gasoline-electric hybrids jumped 130.8 percent to 28,000 vehicles.Beijing is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar campaign to promote electric car development in hopes of creating a profitable new industry. Automakers are rolling out dozens of electrics but still rely on sales of gasoline-powered models for their profits.In August, Nissan Motor Co. began production of its first electric sedan designed for China. The Sylphy Zero Emission, based on Nissan’s Leaf, is the first of dozen of lower-cost electrics being developed for China by General Motors, Volkswagen and other global automakers. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.last_img read more

NTSB considering technology to avoid accidents close calls

first_img Citation: NTSB considering technology to avoid accidents, close calls (2018, September 25) retrieved 17 July 2019 from In this July 11, 2017, file photo, vehicles wait outside the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. Video captured the moment that an off-course Air Canada jet flew just a few dozen feet over the tops of four other jetliners filled with passengers. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board will consider the probable cause of the close call at the airport. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In this Oct. 24, 2017 file photo, an Air Canada plane prepares to land on a runway at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. Video captured the moment that an off-course Air Canada jet flew just a few dozen feet over the tops of four other jetliners filled with passengers. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board will consider the probable cause of the close call at the airport. Plane pictured is not the plane the NTSB will review. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) Safety regulators are recommending the use of technology to help avoid the kind of catastrophic collision that nearly occurred when an Air Canada jetliner zoomed over four taxiing planes full of passengers, coming within 10 to 20 feet of the first one. “We could not have gotten literally or figuratively any closer to having a major disaster,” Bruce Landsberg, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a hearing Tuesday to determine the cause of the July 2017 incident in San Francisco and make safety recommendations.The Air Canada pilots were apparently confused because one of two parallel runways was closed and dark before the late-night incident. The crew was seconds from landing on a taxiway containing four other planes that were loaded with passengers and waiting to take off.NTSB staff is recommending adapting technology used to track ground vehicles so that it could warn pilots and air traffic controllers if a plane is not aimed at the correct runway. They also recommend that Canada adopt new regulations to combat pilot fatigue on late-night flights.The board was expected to vote on the recommendations and determine probable cause of the incident before adjourning the hearing in Washington, D.C.The Air Canada crew was cleared to land on 28R, to the right of 28L. According to a preliminary NTSB report , the pilots thought the lighted runway was 28L—not theirs—and they aimed their jet to land to the right of that, on a parallel taxiway where the other planes were waiting to take off. According to the NTSB, the pilots told investigators that they didn’t see planes on the taxiway, but that something did not look right.A United Airlines pilot in one of the planes warned air traffic controllers about the onrushing Air Canada jet, and pilots on a Philippine Airlines jet switched on their landing lights in an apparent warning maneuver.The Air Canada pilots abandoned the landing and pulled their plane up. An NTSB staff member said Tuesday that they calculated the plane flew 10 feet to 20 feet above the first of the four waiting jetliners, then circled and returned for a safe landing. Both pilots of the Airbus A320, which was arriving from Toronto, were experienced. The captain, who was flying the plane, had more than 20,000 hours of flying time, and the co-pilot had about 10,000 hours.In May, federal officials blamed pilot error for three other close calls in the previous 16 months at the San Francisco airport. Pilots say that the airport, with parallel runways close to each other, requires special attention during landings.The Air Canada incident led the Federal Aviation Administration to issue new rules for the airport covering nighttime landings when one of the runways is closed and better late-night control-tower staffing. In this Oct. 24, 2107 file photo, the air traffic control tower is in sight as a plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. Video captured the moment that an off-course Air Canada jet flew just a few dozen feet over the tops of four other jetliners filled with passengers. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board will consider the probable cause of the close call at the airport. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This composite of file images released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows Air Canada flight 759 (ACA 759) attempting to land at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on July 7, 2017. At top is a map of the runway created from Harris Symphony OpsVue radar track data analysis. At center is from a transmission to air traffic control from a United Airlines airplane on the taxiway. The bottom image, taken from San Francisco International Airport video and annotated by source, shows the Air Canada plane flying just above a United Airlines flight waiting on the taxiway. Video captured the moment that an off-course Air Canada jet flew just a few dozen feet over the tops of four other jetliners filled with passengers. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board will consider the probable cause of the close call at the airport. (NTSB via AP, File) Explore further Pilots used laptop computers while straying off courselast_img read more

Startup meets Wakanda Disney innovation hub aims to advance technology for filmmakers

first_img ©2018 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. “We needed to push our own industry forward,” said Jamie Voris, Walt Disney Studios’ chief technology officer. “By pulling together, we can solve these big and complex problems.”Executives declined to say how much money they are putting into the lab, which is funded by Disney and its partners: tech companies Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. and consulting firm Accenture Interactive. But the unit appears to be moving aggressively, greenlighting about 25 projects to tackle in the next year.”We don’t want this to be a one-and-done project,” said Dave Ward, Cisco’s CTO of engineering and chief architect. “We want to make it easy for the artists and creatives and allow them to use this technology seamlessly in their productions.”The debut of “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” a sequel to the 2012 computer-animated hit “Wreck-It Ralph,” was an ideal chance for the studio to test new uses for tech, including projection mapping, virtual reality and mobile gaming, executives said. In the film, the arcade game characters Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz take a trip to cyberspace via their arcade’s new Wi-Fi connection.”‘Ralph’ is such a great property, and we wanted to put it in multiple dimensions,” Havey said.For screenings of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, the studio created a display of colorful, moving light images, representing internet traffic, to project onto the auditorium’s intricate interior. StudioLab developed software to make the projection mapping process easier and more efficient for Disney employees. Using a device resembling a surveyor’s pole, it took just an afternoon to scan the El Capitan, a task that once might have taken months to complete, Havey said.Another of StudioLab’s projects was to help quickly create a free mobile game called “Pancake Milkshake” based on a popular clip from the film’s teaser trailer in which Ralph feeds copious stacks of pancakes to a bunny and milkshakes to a kitty. The game lets players easily share their scores with friends through their messaging apps.StudioLab also shepherds Disney’s relationship with virtual reality company the Void, which recently unveiled its “Ralph Breaks VR” experience, created by Industrial Light & Magic’s ILMxLAB. The game lets four players, equipped with headsets and vests, travel the internet with Ralph and Vanellope.StudioLab oversees the slate of Disney’s film tie-ins for the Void, which this week launched the 11-minute virtual experience at seven locations in the U.S. and Canada, including the Glendale Galleria and Downtown Disney. The Void charges $29.95 to $36.95 a ticket. The Void previously featured the popular “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” virtual reality project, and is expected to create a Marvel offering for next year.”They saw (the Void), and rightly so, as a really innovative way to tell stories,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLAB. “They’re shepherding innovation on behalf of the studio, and we’re bringing that to life.””Ralph Breaks the Internet” is expected to collect more than $80 million in ticket sales Wednesday through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada, according to early studio estimates. The film cost at least $175 million to produce.StudioLab also wants to improve the filmmaking process itself. It fashioned software called Scout-in-a-Box, an iPad app that uses drones to view and digitally re-create filming locations to help filmmakers assess feasibility, plan logistics and set up shots.For “Captain Marvel,” the studio used a drone to take images of an abandoned mall in the San Fernando Valley. Not only did the studio approve the location, it also used the data from the app to digitally re-create it as a Blockbuster Video store for the film itself. Danielle Costa, vice president of visual effects for Marvel Studios, said she plans to use Scout-in-a-Box for future films.”It definitely makes for a much more well-oiled machine when you’re shooting,” Costa said. “You can plan an entire move in advance and hand that template to a rigging crew, and it will be completely accurate.”StudioLab recently used videoconferencing technology to conduct a remote set visit to “Stargirl,” a movie planned for its Disney+ streaming service. Studio Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman were able to see and interact with the actors and crew on the New Mexico set and get a detailed sense of the action on the soundstage.Other ideas are in the works. One room in the lab showcases how a future production studio could work, by letting visitors use virtual reality controllers to change camera angles on “Tron” images. Instead of typical lightweight gaming controllers, the lab uses wheel cranks and dolly sliders that resemble the heavy equipment used on real sets.Disney also wants the lab to address major long-term challenges. For example, the process of rendering computer animation remains expensive and time-intensive, and the lab is working on ways to make it more efficient. Improving data security during the filmmaking process is another priority.Although some of the ideas remain in early stages, Havey is optimistic that more of the lab’s experiments will find practical uses.”I’m happy when innovations get out of the lab and into the real world,” he said. “That’s what I live for.” The Burbank studio’s 4-month-old, 3,500-square-foot innovation hub is a short walk from Walt Disney’s old office and is furnished with Kem Weber chairs reminiscent of a bygone era. But instead of pencils and light tables, visitors find experimental virtual reality editing equipment, location-scouting drones and digital projections that wrap around walls.The purpose of the space, dubbed StudioLab, is to use Silicon Valley-style experimentation to help studio executives and filmmakers stay ahead of rapid advances in technology by developing and showcasing new ideas for making and marketing movies.Some of its ideas have already spilled into the real world. Initiatives have included promotional efforts for the big-budget animated film “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which opened this week; and helping filmmakers shoot scenes for the upcoming superhero movie “Captain Marvel.””A start-up-meets-Wakanda vibe was pretty much what we were going for,” said Ben Havey, vice president of Disney’s Technology Innovation Group, during a tour. “To be able to sit with those teams of storytellers, and basically give them superpowers through technology, is really our mission here.”Studio technology centers are hardly a new idea. 20th Century Fox, for example, founded its own Innovation Lab in 2014, and Sony Pictures earlier this year announced its Innovation Studios project in Culver City. Paramount Pictures last year hired entertainment “futurist” Ted Schilowitz from Fox.Disney executives said their hub can succeed by combining the brainpower of its various studios, including Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm. The company has a storied history of technological invention through Disney Imagineering, its famed park design and research arm. Disney also develops long-term technological advances in entertainment through its Disney Research division.The new lab is focused on helping filmmakers such as “Avengers: Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo address the nuts-and-bolts technological challenges that arise daily. Those difficulties include analyzing overseas film locations, finding faster ways to render animation and protecting sensitive data while working on scripts and effects. Explore further “Disney+” service a year away from streaming showscenter_img Citation: Start-up meets Wakanda? Disney innovation hub aims to advance technology for filmmakers (2018, November 26) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Inside Walt Disney Studios’ original animation building, where artists once drew “Dumbo” and “Cinderella” by hand, a 15-person team of innovators is trying to create a moviemaking Tomorrowland. 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

Airbus sells 65 jets to SMBC Aviation Capital

first_img The order for 50 A320neo and 15 A321neo single-aisle aircraft brings to 71 the total number of planes from that category ordered by Dublin-based SMBC last year, a statement from the European aerospace giant said.Large orders typically result in a discount on the catalogue price.SMBC, one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG).It leases planes to 90 companies in 44 countries, and as of end September owned, managed or had committed to buy 663 aircraft, the Airbus statement said.More than 6,500 planes from the A320neo (new engine option) group have been ordered by more than 100 clients since it was launched in 2010, Airbus added.The aircraft consumes 15 percent less fuel, a figure that is expected to reach 20 percent in 2020, and is considerably quieter, it said.On January 3, Airbus said it had finalised the sale of 120 A220-300 single-aisle jets worth $11 billion to US carrier JetBlue and a start-up codenamed Moxy that is to begin operations in 2021.In terms of actual deliveries, Airbus was slightly behind US rival Boeing in 2018 however, with 800 commercial aircraft for the European group, compared with 806 for Boeing. Aircraft leasing company SMBC Aviation Capital has finalised an order for 65 Airbus planes from the A320neo family with a catalogue price of $7.47 billion (6.6 billion euros), Airbus said Monday. Citation: Airbus sells 65 jets to SMBC Aviation Capital (2019, January 21) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Explore further © 2019 AFPcenter_img Airbus boosts US footprint with new A220 plant in Alabama 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. The order for 50 A320neo and 15 A321neo single-aisle aircraft brings to 71 the total number of planes from that category ordered by Dublin-based SMBC last yearlast_img read more

Learning to talk again life without internet in Tonga

first_img Tonga: Whole country cut off from Facebook, YouTube Tonga relies heavily on international links for daily supplies and vital tourist earnings In the capital Nuku’alofa, guesthouse operator Taiatu ‘Ata’ata estimated she lost bookings “worth thousands of dollars”.And Lee Latu was trying to run a hotel in Vava’u “with no idea if I have bookings needing to be picked up”.Accountant Caryl Jones said he was unable to file monthly tax returns for his many clients.”I have clients that email me information, so they were unable to do so. And I have clients who have accounting in the cloud and they couldn’t access their accounting system in order to do it.”When the cable—which joins up with the Southern Cross cable linking Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the continental United States—was repaired, it caused fresh problems as people rushed to re-establish contact with family, friends and clients.At a murder trial in Nuku’alofa, judge Charles Cato had to remind the jury what they were there for, telling them that just because the internet had been restored it did not mean they could use social media while evidence was being heard.The cause of the break in the cable has not been determined but it is suspected it was cut by a ship dragging its anchor along the seabed. 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. © 2019 AFP “Definitely there had to be an impact on various operations.” For many of Tonga’s 110,000 residents, it was a wake-up call to how much they have come to rely on the internet in just half a decade since an 827-kilometre underwater fibre-optic cable from Fiji, like this one, was put into service Tonga, which lies nearly 3,300 kilometres (2,000 miles) east of Australia, was plunged into digital darkness for a fortnight Closed for businessFor Tonga, which relies heavily on international links for daily supplies and vital tourism income, no internet meant serious problems with making and confirming transactions.Banks could not process money transfers, hitting families reliant on income from relatives working overseas. Sam Vea, Tonga agent for global freight giant DHL, said the first week of the outage created “major issues” for the company.”We could not send our shipments because we have to upload documents before they are put onto the plane,” he said.”We really need that connection. That was the scary part, and we didn’t know how long it was going to be out.”Several small businesses which use Facebook to publicise their services could no longer take bookings online. To conserve precious capacity, officials filtered out social media, cutting families off from relatives and friends overseas, and damaging companies which operated through Facebook Explore further Some queued for hours to access the satellite service, while others pottered about in their gardens or went out socialising.”I actually felt that it was pretty good to be forced off the internet and talk to people again, go outside and see what everyone’s up to,” Savieti said.”There were a lot of people going out during that time, going to the bars … it was so full.”But the outage did not come as a welcome break for everyone.Lives were at stake as medicine stocks reached dangerously low levels, and Health Ministry chief Siale ‘Akau’ola lost contact with government outposts on Tonga’s outer islands.”There are areas that are critical and most of them need confirmation of supplies and when the goods are arriving. So things were kind of in the dark and dangerously low some of the stock,” ‘Akau’ola said. A two-week cyber blackout caused financial headache and social heartache in remote Tonga, but it also forced residents of the Pacific island kingdom to rediscover the art of offline communication. Citation: Learning to talk again: life without internet in Tonga (2019, February 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from The sudden internet outage on January 20 brought an abrupt halt to many businesses and cut access to social media—the community’s lifeline to the outside world.”We had to learn how to talk to each other without internet messaging,” Joshua Savieti, who works in the creative arts, said of the involuntary digital detox.”We didn’t know anything, what was going on, anything on the news, (or) if there was a cyclone coming.”It took 13 days to find the fault—a severed undersea cable—and reconnect Tonga, which lies nearly 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) northeast of New Zealand.During the blackout, a small, locally operated satellite service helped maintain limited service, but the speed was a throwback to dial-up days.To conserve capacity officials filtered out social media, cutting families off from relatives and friends overseas and dealing a blow to companies which operate through Facebook.For many of Tonga’s 110,000 residents, it was a wake-up call to how much they have come to rely on the internet in just half a decade since the 827-kilometre (513-mile) fibre-optic cable from Fiji was put into service.last_img read more

Amazons growing ties to oil industry irks some employees

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Aug. 3, 2017, file photo, an Amazon employee applies tape to a package before shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. The online shopping giant, which already works with BP and Shell, has been trying to woo more oil and gas companies to use its technology to help them find drillable oil faster, angering workers who have been pushing Amazon to do more to combat climate change. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) The online shopping giant, which already works with BP and Shell, has been trying to woo more oil and gas companies to use its technology to help them find drillable oil faster, angering workers who have been pushing Amazon to do more to combat climate change.The employees say the company should drop its work with the industry entirely, arguing that it shouldn’t contribute to hurting the environment. Workers at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters have been meeting regularly, spreading the word and encouraging more involvement to put pressure on the company.The issue came to a boil on Wednesday, when workers publicly published a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos that was signed by more than 4,000 Amazon employees.”Amazon absolutely should not be helping oil and gas companies extract oil from the ground,” said Emily Cunningham, a user experience designer at the company who is part of a group of employees who have pushed Amazon to reduce its carbon emissions.The company is courting oil producers to Amazon Web Services, which offers cloud computing services to government agencies and major companies, such as video-streaming service Netflix and digital scrapbooking site Pinterest. AWS is one of Amazon’s biggest money makers, accounting for more than 70% of Amazon’s total profit last year.It’s unclear how big of a business oil and gas companies are for AWS; BP and Shell have been clients for several years. But it seems Amazon has stepped up its courting of the industry recently.Andy Jassy, who runs AWS, spoke at last month’s oil and gas conference CERAWeek in Houston for the first time. Amazon was also one of the sponsors of the event, which brings together executives from some of the top oil and gas producers around the world. At one of Jassy’s discussions, he explained how Shell was using Amazon’s machine learning technology to figure out which wells would produce the most oil before drilling.”That’s a real game-changer,” he said at the conference.Questions sent to Amazon about its ties to the oil industry were not answered. Instead, AWS spokesman Jason Kello sent a link to its sustainability website, which said the company uses solar and wind power to some of its data centers. Employees at big tech companies have been emboldened to advocate for issues they care about. At Google, for example, high-paid employees walked out of their offices last year to protest the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives.Amazon employees say they already got the company to budge somewhat on climate change. About 30 Amazon employees, including Cunningham, filed a shareholder resolution late last year asking the company to cut its use of fossil fuels to power Amazon’s data centers and the trucks and jets used to deliver Amazon’s packages.In February, Amazon announced that it would release its carbon footprint for the first time later this year and said it would make half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030, but provided no details on how it will do that. But employees say the announcement wasn’t enough.In the letter released Wednesday, Amazon employees list a number of grievances, including that the company doesn’t have any detailed climate change plans and that it’s seeking the business of fossil fuel companies.”Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis,” the letter said.More young workers are demanding that their employers do more to combat climate change, said Sue Reid, a vice president of climate and energy at Ceres, a nonprofit that works with large investors and companies to make sustainability changes. She said that ignoring worker demands could hurt worker morale and bring more negative attention to the company. Often, making the changes benefits the companies since reducing energy use can mean cutting costs.”It’s kind of baffling companies don’t line up to do this,” Reid said.Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer at Amazon, thinks the company should drop its business with oil companies. He said climate change is a personal issue for him: He’s of Bangladeshi decent, a country that has been hurt by flooding and other natural disasters that have been linked to global warming.He said large companies like Amazon that are contributing to climate change should be doing more to reduce their impact.”This is extremely concerning to me,” he said. “The people who are least responsible for climate change will bear some of its worst consequences.” Amazon aims to cut its carbon footprint Citation: Amazon’s growing ties to oil industry irks some employees (2019, April 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Explore further Amazon is getting cozy with the oil industry—and some employees aren’t happy about it.last_img read more

Wikipedia doing very well financially cofounder

first_imgWikipedia, launched in 2001, is the biggest internet encyclopedia. It is multi-lingual and ad-free.It has enemies.China has broadened its block of Wikipedia to include all language editions, an internet censorship research group reported this week.According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month.The Turkish government has been blocking Wikipedia for the past two years. “We are doing very well financially,” Wales told AFP ahead of Vivatech, a Paris tech fair for start-up companies.”We spend less than we bring in every year,” he said.Wikipedia had “never been really good” at attracting major donors, with most of its money coming from people each giving around 15 euros ($16.80) in endowment money, he said.Wikipedia has published nearly 350 million articles, and has clocked up more than 190 billion views over the past 12 months.But Wales also said he feared a threat to Wikipedia’s business model from increasing use of mobile devices coupled with personal assistant applications like Apple’s Siri.”We see a rise of people using Wikipedia in ways that don’t involve websites,” he said.”We love that but you don’t come to the website and see the (request for donations) banner. We haven’t seen any impact yet but we worry, we think we should raise money.”Wikipedia has now launched a donations drive to build up reserves, Wales said. “Fix the roof when there’s sunshine, when it rains it’s too late,” he said. ‘Never been really good’ with big donors In good financial shape Explore further Citation: Wikipedia ‘doing very well financially’: co-founder (2019, May 16) retrieved 17 July 2019 from China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia © 2019 AFP Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said Thursday that the free online encyclopedia is in good financial shape, although increasing mobile phone use may cut into future donations. 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

After This Young Monkey Got Hit by a Car Monkey Strangers Comforted

first_img Originally published on Live Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedVikings: Free Online GameUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoAncestryThe Story Behind Your Last Name Will Surprise YouAncestryUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoClassmatesSearch For Any High School Yearbook, It’s Free.ClassmatesUndoGundry MD SupplementsTop Cardiologist: This One Thing Will Properly Flush Out Your BowelsGundry MD SupplementsUndo Photos: Adorable and Amazing Guenon Monkey Faces This seemed to attract the attention of another group of macaques. “At 14:40, a neighbouring group (MonkeyWatch Group) arrived,” Campbell wrote. “A juvenile approached Pipo, inspected his injuries, and groomed him. Approximately 20 min later, an adult male also approached and groomed Pipo. When MonkeyWatch Group left the area later in the day, Pipo left with them. He did not scream again after MonkeyWatch Group arrived.” Pipo ended up hanging out with the MonkeyWatch group for four months, long after his injuries appeared to have healed, according to Campbell. During that time, he was “fully integrated” into the new group’s social structure and got along with them before eventually departing and returning to his home group. This finding is also good news for Barbary macaques as a species, Campbell wrote. There are only about 10,000 individuals left in the wild, and their numbers have fallen significantly in recent years. Poaching is a significant problem, with monkeys removed from the wild and sold into the pet trade at 150% the rate the population could sustain, according to a 2008 study in the journal Traffic Bulletin. Efforts to restore wild Barbary macaque populations rely on the hope that young poached macaques, often very young monkeys, can be returned to groups they weren’t born into, where strangers can take care of them. (Adult males of this species especially love babies and often “sandwich” them in three-way male-baby-male group hugs, Campbell wrote.) But up until this point, researchers had assumed that only baby monkeys and very young juveniles were candidates for this sort of rehabilitation. Pipo’s case suggests, Campbell wrote, that older juveniles might also be able to return to the wild to live with groups of strangers. Image Gallery: Sneezin’ Snub-Nosed Monkeys Left: Pipo screams from the tree days after being abandoned. Right: Pipo sits on the ground. Credit: Liz A. D. Campbell/Springer, the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( The young monkey from the neighboring group grooms Pipo and appears to inspect his injuries. Credit: Liz A. D. Campbell/Springer, the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( Precious Primates: Images of Chimeric Monkeys Even monkeys know it’s right to care for strangers in need. (Or maybe their parents just didn’t teach the helpers about “stranger danger.”) In a new paper published in the July issue of the journal Primates, scientists document for the first time Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) fostering an older juvenile macaque — a stranger to them — after finding him lost and hurt on the side of the road days after he had been struck by a car inside a park in Morocco. The monkeys groomed and cared for the injured juvenile, named Pipo and almost 3 years old, and socialized with him until he was healed and ready to return to his own group. The observation was surprising, study author Liz Campbell, a zoologist at the University of Oxford, wrote in the journal article, because “intergroup encounters at this [national park in Morocco] range from immediate withdrawal by one group to lengthy, sometimes aggressive, contests.”These Sharks Were Too Busy to Notice a Bigger Predator Watching ThemThe unexpected twist at the end of this feeding frenzy delighted scientists.Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really Loud00:35关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0002:2802:28  Researchers had never seen monkey strangers getting along like this before. [8 Human-Like Behaviors of Primates] That was good news for Pipo. After a car struck him on March 20, 2018, Campbell wrote, he retreated to a nearby tree while other members of his home group looked on. “Several group members displayed affiliation towards him, and a juvenile sat with him and groomed him as he appeared to be losing consciousness,” she wrote. “At approximately 17:35 (1 hour before sunset), his group left for their sleeping trees, but Pipo was left behind in the tree.” The next day, Pipo was nowhere to be found, Campbell wrote, and she and her colleagues assumed he had died. But on March 22, she wrote, “he was found in the same tree, alone and screaming repeatedly. He later left the tree to feed on the ground but continued screaming intermittently, then returned to the trees.”last_img read more

UP set to celebrate Kumbh Mela on a grand scale

first_img The Uttar Pradesh Government is making arrangements on a grand scale to celebrate the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj from January 15 to March 14, according to UP Minister for Industrial Development Satish Mahana.He was speaking here on Sunday at a programme organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the UP Government to promote Kumbh Mela. He said it would be “a national and international event of great significance highlighting the religious traditions of our country and its great cultural heritage and we want participation from all states and Union Territories besides scores of delegates and NRIs coming from abroad.”He said arrangements had been made on a grand scale and a temporary city had come up at the site with all facilities. Even the UNESCO had included Kumbh Mela in the list of events highlighting “the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, thanks to the efforts of our honourable Prime Minister.”Mahana said,”It would be a massive congregation of humanity, unheard of anywhere in the world. We are expecting nearly 15 crore people during the period as against 12 crore last time. It is a huge challenge to ensure their safety and to ensure sanitation, but we are up to it. We have made all arrangements methodically and we are inviting people from all over the country and the world.”In response to a question, he said it should not be viewed as merely a ritualistic event of the Hindus. “It is above all castes, creeds and religions. “In response to a another question whether the BJP Government is celebrating the event on such a scale to garner votes in the coming general elections, he said it was not the fault of the BJP Government if the event synchronises with the general elections. “The two events are different and unrelated. We should not politicise it,” he clarified. SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE rivers Uttar Pradesh Published on religion and belief Railways to run 800 special trains for Kumbh Mela in Allahabad center_img December 30, 2018 Centre to UP govt: Re-think 3-month closure of tanneries during Kumbh RELATED Kumbh Mela (File Photo) COMMENT COMMENTSlast_img read more

Delhis water shortage may scorch election contestants this summer

first_imgMay 06, 2019 SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS People Waiting to fill water from the tanker, which arrives once a day during morning hours near geeta colony in East Delhi   –  RV Moorthy Published on Water will take centrestage for candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Delhi, as the State continues to reel under a severe shortage this summer.They may face the voters’ ire and will have to address the issue. In addition to water supply, inadequate drainage facilities that lead to water logging in unauthorised colonies is also going to be a poll issue.“The duration of water supply by the Delhi Jal Board has come down from what it used to be around a decade ago,” a West Delhi resident in a housing society said.“We have an underground tank where water is stored to ensure that there are supplies throughout the day,” he added.The Jal Board comes under the administrative control of the Delhi government. It is responsible for distribution of drinking water and disposal of domestic sewage in the capital.The conditions are tough in 675 identified but unauthorised housing settlements (popularly known as Jhuggi-Jhompri or JJ clusters) across the city. According to the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, these JJ clusters dot the length and breadth of the city.Piped water supply connections are not available for these homes, only community water taps.The JJ Cluster behind Meridien Hotel at Dr Rajinder Prasad Road is spread over 884 square metres and has 124 households. “There is one tap for every 10 homes. Water is regularly supplied but there are insufficient discharge facilities. This situation has worsened over the past two years and we will ask anyone who comes to campaign here to address this issue,” a resident of the cluster said.This cluster is in Central Delhi. It is smaller and better off than most of the clusters in other parts of the state.On its part, the Delhi Jal Board has prepared a Summer Action Plan 2019 targeting a peak production of 936 million gallons per day (mgd) of potable water. This is 20 mgd more than the peak output during the summer of 2018. Despite the higher production, there will be a deficit of 300 mgd in the city according to the Delhi Jal Board’s own estimates. SHARE water supply water (natural resource) Delhi COMMENTlast_img read more

Grin and gripe

first_img Related News Stumbling block: Perak’s Ronaldo Silva crashes into a Selangor player during the Super League match in Ipoh on Wednesday. — Bernama Perak put them on level terms off a Leandro Dos Santos penalty in the 48th minute. Careca then bagged his brace and the winner in the 62nd minute.Durakovic was full of praise for his fighters.“I’m very, very happy with my players as we don’t have a big squad. Selangor are a good side with top local and foreign players and they also have a good set-up of coaches.“The two goals we conceded were due to our mistakes but to come back in the second half and win the game was not easy.“Credit to my players for their fighting spirit to collect full points,” said Mehmet. “I want the boys to enjoy the win with their families.”The Seladang have a day’s rest before heading north to play against their FA Cup final opponents Kedah on Saturday.Sathianathan was annoyed that despite dominating the match they failed to hang on to their lead.“Perak’s penalty kick hit the post and none of my players reacted to clear the ball. They all just gave up and this is what I don’t like,” said Sathianathan.“We have limited players now as most are injured and it will be a challenge to form a decent team for our last two matches.“I will seek divine help to make sure my players can recover fast.”Their next match will be against Petaling Jaya City on Saturday and will wrap up their fixtures against PKNS on July 20.Perak now have 30 points, moving up one rung to sixth in the 12-team standings while Selangor remain fifth on 31 points. Football 10 Jul 2019 Durakovic keeps defenders awake as Giants loom Football 10 Jul 2019 Perak edge Selangor 3-2 in Super League clash Related News KUALA LUMPUR: One coach was jumping for joy while the other was forlorn.Perak coach Mehmet Durakovic was grinning from ear to ear after they came back twice to edge Selangor 3-2 at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Wednesday.Meanwhile, his counterpart B. Sathianathan rued their bad luck as a number of the Red Giants’ players were on the crocked list.The visitors took the lead through Taylor Regan in 29th minute before Careca equalised in the 42nd. Three minutes later, Selangor regained the lead through Endrick Dos Santos. Football 08 Jul 2019 The coast is clear {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Immelman Samooja ace same hole at Scottish Open

first_img Golf 09 Jul 2019 Malaysia’s Green can grin as European Tour title is within range Golf 15 Apr 2019 Factbox – List of Masters champions at Augusta National Related News Related News “I had a nice feel with my swing, playing into a bit of a breeze I was just trying to knock down some kind of a wedge.”It came out perfect, started spinning up into the breeze, was looking really good.”Because the tee’s elevated I saw it go in and saw the crowd erupt, so pretty cool moment there for me.”The ace helped Immelman to a five-under 66 in the first round, while Samooja shot a 64 that left him a shot behind a four-way tie for the lead.Immelman, 39, is a part-time player these days, working mainly as a television analyst with Golf Channel in the United States.Samooja is in his first season on the European Tour at the age of 31, and he took his second ace of the year in his stride.”It’s the same as making an eagle,” he said. “Two shots off the scorecard and you just need to move on. There’s a lot of golf to play, so just try to forget it as quick as possible.” (Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)center_img Golf 11 Jul 2019 Golf – Social media critics no problem but not granny, says Kuchar (Reuters) – Trevor Immelman scored a hole-in-one at the 15th at the Scottish Open on Thursday and could not even boast the first ace of the day at the hole.Finland’s Kalle Samooja had already achieved the feat at the 115-yard downhill hole at the Renaissance Club in North Berwick.But that hardly detracted from Immelman’s excitement as the former Masters champion watched in delight as his ball landed a yard or so beyond the pin and spun back into the hole.”To be honest I was just trying to get it on the green there,” the South African told Golf Channel.–– ADVERTISEMENT –– {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more