The Welsh governments decision to close its indep

first_imgThe Welsh government’s decision to close its independent living grant scheme and pass the funding to local authorities could see cuts to the support packages of hundreds of disabled people, new research suggests.Disabled campaigners say that information released by local authorities in Wales has created “extreme cause for concern” about the transition process, which is seeing funding from the interim Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG) passed to the 22 councils.WILG was set up by the Welsh government – with UK government funding – as a short-term measure to support former recipients of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) when ILF was closed in June 2015.But the Welsh government is now closing WILG and by April next year the 22 councils will be solely responsible for meeting the support needs of all former ILF-recipients in Wales.The Welsh government’s own estimates, released to Disability News Service (DNS) last night (Wednesday), suggest that about 200 former WILG-recipients will see their support packages cut by next April.Members of the Save WILG campaign, led by former ILF-recipient Nathan Lee Davies (pictured), submitted freedom of information requests to all 22 Welsh councils earlier this year, and they say the responses proved they were right to be concerned that the transition process would lead to many former ILF-users seeing their support packages cut.Few of the councils were willing to provide detailed information about how the process of re-assessing the needs of the former ILF-recipients in their areas would affect their support packages.But some of the local authorities admitted that a significant proportion of those currently receiving support through the WILG have already had their support packages cut.In Wrexham, Davies’ home local authority, the council said it had re-assessed less than a third of former ILF-users but had already cut the support of 18 of them, increasing support for just seven, and leaving one package unchanged.Monmouthshire council had cut four of 19 packages, Conwy had reduced two of 12 – although the vast majority had still to be assessed – while Caerphilly had reduced four of 29, Merthyr Tydfil had reduced 15 per cent, and both Carmarthenshire and Rhondda councils had cut 10 per cent of support packages.About a third of the councils – including Pembrokeshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Cardiff and Blaenau Gwent – failed to say how many support packages had been cut.But some local authorities did produce more encouraging answers, with Powys council saying the reassessment process had seen it increase the support packages of 59 of 62 former ILF-users.Although Port Talbot council had reviewed less than a third of service-users, half had had their packages increased, and the other half had seen them stay at the same level, while Bridgend decided that all but one former ILF-recipient would continue to receive the same support package.There were also repeated warnings from the local authorities that they could not promise that support packages would not be cut in the future, with Cardiff council warning that “no guarantees as to the future are possible with any funding arrangement”.Asked if it could guarantee that WILF recipients would have their care packages ring-fenced from all future austerity cuts forced onto local authorities, both Merthyr Tydfil and Port Talbot replied with just one word: “No.”Huw Irranca-Davies, the Welsh government’s minister for social care, has previously pledged that no former ILF-users would lose out in the transition process.But a Welsh government spokesman said that its most recent monitoring of the transition had found about 100 of 580 WILG-recipients were having their support “provided in a different manner than previously”*, while 130 were receiving more support.As about 1,300 people are due to go through the transition, this suggests that about 200 former WILG-users will eventually see their packages cut.He insisted that the government was committed to ensuring that all disabled people are “fully supported to live independently in their communities”.And he said that Irranca-Davies had visited both Powys and Wrexham councils this week to “see at first hand the work they have been undertaking” and “will be speaking to other authorities about this over the next few weeks”.The government spokesman said: “He will also be asking authorities to undertake a deep dive of a sample of cases where there have been significant changes in the type of support people are receiving, to establish the reasons for this and ensure they are receiving the appropriate support they require to live independently.“This is in addition to the ongoing monitoring of the programme, and an additional independent evaluation which has been commissioned by the minister.”The spokesman claimed that the “feedback from disabled people” on the transition programme had been “positive”.He said: “Together with our partners in local government and the third sector, we will continue to closely monitor the process and the individual outcomes of the transition from the ILF to the person-centred and co-produced approach to independent living in Wales.”But Miranda Evans, policy and programmes manager for Disability Wales, said her organisation was “extremely concerned that disabled people with high support requirements are having their hours of care reduced when transferring over to direct payments”. She said: “In a number of cases people are losing their ‘socialising’ hours, which is of great concern. “This vital support enables people to play a part in their community, volunteer with a local group and get involved in political life. “Without this necessary support disabled people will become isolated, disengaged and unable to leave their home.”Disability Wales has called for an “urgent review” of the Welsh government’s policy and investigations into the differences between how local authorities are applying it, which she said showed “the further development of a postcode lottery”.She added: “We remain concerned that funding will be absorbed by social services budgets and not be directed to those who need it: disabled people with high support requirements.”Davies said the Welsh government’s comments showed that “they simply refuse to see the evidence that is staring them in the face”.He said: “Yet again the Welsh government seems to think of former ILF recipients as a privileged bunch.“This is not the case at all, as we are disabled people with high care and support needs who were guaranteed a lifetime of adequate support under the old ILF system.“They do not deserve to be made to feel like a hindrance by the Welsh government.”He said the conclusions that can be drawn from the freedom of information responses were “very worrying indeed” and show “a shocking lack of consistency between local authorities, the development of a ‘postcode lottery’, the lack of an adequate complaints procedure for former ILF recipients and an alarming lack of security, or guarantees, for the future”. Davies is determined to persuade the Welsh government to keep the current system, which allows former ILF-recipients some security by receiving funding from three different “pots”: WILG, local authorities and their own personal contributions.He said: “The responses reflect why we started the campaign three years ago and give weight to our belief that the tripartite system of care needs to be maintained.“Disabled people with high care and support needs simply cannot rely on cash-strapped local authorities to provide the levels of care that they need. “One of my biggest concerns is that even the local authorities who have increased a majority of care packages cannot guarantee that these packages will remain at the same levels in future years.“It is a concern that these generous increases may only be put in place for a year, while the local authorities sharpen their axes for further cuts once the campaign is over.” He added: “The Welsh government now need to listen to the voices that have supported our campaign – assembly members, MPs, Disability Labour, Jeremy Corbyn, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, celebrities such as Ken Loach and most importantly their own members who passed a motion calling on them to #SaveWILG at the Welsh Labour conference in April 2018.” *The Welsh government press office was unable to confirm by 1pm today that this means that their support hours have been reduced A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

THE latest edition of the In Touch Podcast is now

first_imgTHE latest edition of the In Touch Podcast is now available to download.We look ahead to today’s game with Hull FC and reflect on the award winners at Saints End of Season Dinner.Nathan Brown, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Adam Swift, Jon Wilkin and Jordan Turner are all featured.To listen click here or search for St Helens RFC on iTunes.Remember if you want a question answering on the Podcast drop us a line @saints1890 on Twitter or email [email protected] podcast is in association with Citytalk 105.9.last_img read more

SAINTS take on Wigan today – and Hull FC on Monday

first_imgSAINTS take on Wigan today – and Hull FC on Monday – in a packed Easter weekend.All the stats, facts and figures are here:Wigan v Saints:Tommy Makinson has scored tries in the Saints’ last three meetings with Wigan (2-2-1) whilst Wigan’s Joe Burgess has bagged one in each.Last 10 Meetings:St Helens 14, Wigan 6 (SLGF, 11/10/14) (at Old Trafford, Manchester)Wigan 12, St Helens 16 (SLR18, 27/6/14)St Helens 14, Wigan 33 (SLR9, 18/4/14)St Helens 22, Wigan 16 (SLR22, 22/7/13)Wigan 28, St Helens 16 (SLR9, 29/3/13)Wigan 18, St Helens 26 (SLR27, 7/9/12)St Helens 16, Wigan 42 (SLR15, 27/5/12) (at Etihad Stadium, Manchester)Wigan 18, St Helens 4 (CCQF, 12/5/12)St Helens 10, Wigan 28 (SLR10, 6/4/12)St Helens 26, Wigan 18 (SLQSF, 1/10/11)Super League Summary:Wigan won 31 (includes win in 2010 Grand Final & wins in 2001, 2003 and 2004 play-offs)St Helens won 30 (includes wins in 2000 and 2014 Grand Finals & wins in 2000, 2002, 2009 and 2011 play-offs)4 drawsHighs and Lows:Wigan highest score: 65-12 (A, 1997) (also widest margin)St Helens highest score: 57-16 (MM, 2008) (also widest margin)Saints v Hull Super League Summary:St Helens won 25 (includes win in 2006 Grand Final & wins in 2001 and 2006 play-offs)Hull FC won 113 drawsHighs and Lows:St Helens highest score: 74-16 (H, 1999) (also widest margin)Hull FC highest score: 44-6 (H, 2005) (also widest margin)Career Milestones:Jon Wilkin needs three tries to reach a career century of touchdowns. His total of 97 has been scored as follows: 8 for Hull KR (2000-2002), 88 for St Helens (2003-2015) and 1 for England (2004-2005, 2008-2009 & 2011-2012). Wilkin also made 6 non-scoring appearances for Great Britain (2006-2007).Super League Milestones:(Players reaching significant figures in Super League games only, including play-offs)Danny Tickle needs 13 points to draw level with Sean Long in fifth place in the list of all-time leading point-scorers.1 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds, 1997-present) 3,2592 Paul Deacon (Wigan/Bradford/Oldham, 1997-2011) 2,4133 Andy Farrell (Wigan, 1996-2004) 2,3764 Lee Briers (Warrington/St Helens, 1997-2013) 2,2885 Sean Long (Hull FC/St Helens/Wigan, 1996-2011) 2,2006 Danny Tickle (Widnes/Hull FC/Wigan/Halifax, 2000-present) 2,1877 Pat Richards (Wigan, 2006-2013) 2,1108 Danny Brough (Huddersfield/Wakefield/Castleford/Hull FC, 2005-2006 & 2008-present) 1,7339 Iestyn Harris (Bradford/Leeds/Warrington, 1996-2001 & 2004-2008) 1,67410 Michael Dobson (Salford/Hull KR/Wigan/Catalans Dragons, 2006, 2008-2013 & 2015) 1,438Danny Brough needs one goal to draw level with Pat Richards in seventh place in the list of all-time leading goal-kickers (conversions and penalties only, not including field goals).1 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds, 1997-present) 1,4772 Paul Deacon (Wigan/Bradford/Oldham, 1997-2011) 1,0433 Andy Farrell (Wigan, 1996-2004) 1,0264 Danny Tickle (Widnes/Hull FC/Wigan/Halifax, 2000-present) 9075 Lee Briers (Warrington/St Helens, 1997-2013) 8496 Sean Long (Hull FC/St Helens/Wigan, 1996-2011) 8267 Pat Richards (Wigan, 2006-2013) 7598 Danny Brough (Huddersfield/Wakefield/Castleford/Hull FC, 2005-2006 & 2008-present) 7589 Iestyn Harris (Bradford/Leeds/Warrington, 1996-2001 & 2004-2008) 64010 Michael Dobson (Salford/Hull KR/Wigan/Catalans Dragons, 2006, 2008-2013 & 2015) 593Paul Wellens, Leon Pryce, Rob Burrow, Kirk Yeaman and Luke Dorn all have the opportunity to move up the list of all-time leading try-scorers in forthcoming Super League rounds.1 Danny McGuire (Leeds, 2001-present) 2212 = Keith Senior (Leeds/Sheffield, 1996-2011), Paul Wellens (St Helens, 1998-present) 1994 David Hodgson (Hull KR/Huddersfield/Salford/Wigan/Halifax, 1999-2014) 1685 Leon Pryce (Hull FC/Catalans Dragons/St Helens/Bradford, 1998-present) 1676 Ryan Hall (Leeds, 2007-present) 1557 Ade Gardner (Hull KR/St Helens, 2002-2014) 1538 Rob Burrow (Leeds, 2001-present) 1519 Kirk Yeaman (Hull FC, 2001-present) 14910 = Luke Dorn (Castleford/London Broncos/Harlequins/Salford, 2005-present), Pat Richards (Wigan, 2006-2013) 147Paul Wellens – 1 try away from 200 (199 for St Helens, 1998-2015)Consecutive Appearances:Hull FC’s Joe Westerman has the longest run of consecutive appearances amongst Super League players, with 51. Westerman last missed a Hull game on 25 May, 2013 – a 22-16 Magic Weekend win against Hull KR at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. His streak then started on 31 May, 2013 – an 18-6 home win against Leeds.1 Joe Westerman (Hull FC) 512 Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons) 413 Morgan Escare (Catalans Dragons) 394 Mose Masoe (St Helens) 375 Rangi Chase (Salford Red Devils) 31First Utility Super League Leading Scorers:Tries:1 Justin Carney (Castleford Tigers) 92 Ken Sio (Hull Kingston Rovers) 83 Tom Lineham (Hull FC) 74 = Albert Kelly (Hull Kingston Rovers), Danny McGuire (Leeds Rhinos), Jordan Turner (St Helens) 67 = Ben Jones-Bishop (Salford Red Devils), Tom Makinson (St Helens), Chris Riley (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Anthony Gelling (Wigan Warriors) 5Goals:1 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 292 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 233 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 214 = Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons), Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 206 = Craig Hall (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats), Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 198 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 189 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 1710 Travis Burns (St Helens) 14Goals Percentage:1 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 85.18 (23/27)2 Danny Tickle (Widnes Vikings) 84.61 (11/13)3 Travis Burns (St Helens) 82.35 (14/17)4 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 78.37 (29/37)5 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 75.00 (21/28)6 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 74.07 (20/27)7 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 73.33 (11/15)8 Craig Hall (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 73.07 (19/26)9 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 70.83 (17/24)10 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 70.37 (19/27)Points:1 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 662 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 563 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 554 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 485 = Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 477 Craig Hall (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 428 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 419 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 4010 Justin Carney (Castleford Tigers) 36last_img read more

Darmian close to Napoli move

first_imgNapoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis stated that he is interested in signing Matteo Darmian from Manchester United. The Italian defender moved to the English Premier League from Torino in 2015 and has appeared 85 times for Manchester United. However he was restricted to just 8 league matches during Jose Mourinho’s second season at the helm of the Red Devils and has admitted that he wants more first-team opportunities.PSV Eindhoven’s Santiago Arias was also targeted by last season’s runners up but the Colombian has now signed for Atletico Madrid so as to replace the departing Sime Vrsaljko.WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=a7617b59&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=128&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=a7617b59&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

Silva wants to stay with the Citizens

first_img SharePrint Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva has committed his long-term future with Manchester City by signing a three-year contract extension until 2025.The Premier League Champions, who are currently leading this season’s standings, announced the creative midfielder’s contract renewal on Wednesday. The 24-year-old was signed by Pep Guardiola from Monaco in May 2017 and has already won three major trophies with the Citizens.Manchester City’s sporting director Txiki Begiristain stated:“Bernardo is an exceptional talent, so offering him a new deal and ensuring he spends the best years of his career with us was a very easy decision.”Silva has become the 11th player to renew his contact with the club since the beginning of the year.WhatsApp <a href=’https://sp2.img.hsyaolu.com.cn/wp-shlf1314/2023/IMG17212.jpg” alt=”last_img” /> read more

STARTERS ORDERS Friday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Friday 26 SeptemberRACING2.00 HaydockExcilly 4/6 > 4/72.10 NewmarketLong View 10/1 > 8/13.00 HaydockStake Acclaim 18/1 > 14/13.15 NewmarketOcean Tempest 25/1 > 20/1What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img

STARTERS ORDERS Wednesday

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]elcome to Starters Orders. Our daily midday update from the trading room at Star Sports with our key market movers for the day across all sports.Wednesday 16 DecemberRACING12.40 NewburyMinella On Line 12/1 > 6/12.25 NewburyO’Faolains Boy 9/2 > 7/22.40 LudlowDrumshambo 14/1 > 9/15.10 KemptomSeverini 5/6 > 8/13FOOTBALLChampionship19:45 Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HD / Sky Sports 5 / Sky Sports 5 HD5/6 Hull City 7/2 Reading 12/5 DRAW(All prices subject to fluctuation) What’s your view?CALL STAR SPORTS ON 08000 521 321last_img read more

STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY Video Previews

first_imgSTAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY 2019: Our expert panel preview the 2019 Star Sports Greyhound Derby held for the first time at Nottingham Greyhound Track.Our panel, hosted by Julie Collier is:Kevin Hutton Greyhound Derby Winning TrainerMartin Chapman ‘Lofty’ Star Sports Greyhound ExpertIan Fortune Irish Greyhound ExpertTo check out the latest betting for the Star Sports Greyhound Derby visithttps://starsports.bet/event/greyhoundracing/228423/greyhound-derby-2019/ante-postYou can also download the Star Sports App, full details at:https://www.starsportsbet.co.uk/new-the-star-sports-app/STAR SPORTS GREYHOUND DERBY 2019LEADING ENGLISH CONTENDERS<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>LEADING IRISH CONTENDERS<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>IRISH OUTSIDERS<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>ENGLISH OUTSIDERS<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>WHAT TO EXPECT<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>last_img read more

Rice students host panel discussion fundraiser for Japan

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Jessica StarkPHONE: 713-348-6777EMAIL: [email protected] students host panel discussion, fundraiser for JapanApril 13 event aims to educate and encourage donationsOn the heels of a successful benefit concert in which Rice University students raised more than $8,300 for the Japanese Red Cross Society, another group of students is hosting “Makeruna Japan: Rice is With You,” a panel discussion and fundraiser for the ongoing crisis in Japan. The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 13 in Keck Hall, Room 100, on the Rice University campus, 6100 Main St.The discussion will focus on Japan’s earthquakes, tsunami, nuclear reactors andcommunity needs. Panelists will include experimental particle physicist Marjorie Corcoran, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice; seismologist Fenglin Niu, an associate professor of Earth science at Rice; Takahiko Watabe, acting consul-general of Japan at Houston; and Greg Crowe, president of the Japan-America Society of Houston. Rice President David Leebron will offer welcoming remarks. Tickets are not required for “Makeruna Japan,” but donations will be collected at the door and online at www.rice4japan.org for the Japanese Red Cross Society. Rice students will also sell their artwork during the event, with all proceeds going to the society. “We thought it was important to educate ourselves and others about what is happening in Japan,” said Tiffany Chen, an undergraduate student who organized the event. “That understanding is essential in remembering that these natural disasters will have a long-term effect on the people of Japan and our entire world.” Chen, who has family in Japan, said that she and other students were also motivated to do an educational event to help others understand and calm their fears about how the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan could affect the United States. “We all want to know how this will affect us, but I hope people don’t lose sight of those who are currently suffering in Japan,” Chen said. “It’s far from over for them. There continue to be earthquakes, including the 7.4 magnitude quake that happened earlier today. They need our help.” Initiated by students, the event is a collaborative effort among Rice students, faculty and staff, including the Center for the Study of Languages, the Chao Center for Asian Studies and the Office of International Students and Scholars. It is just one of the relief efforts taking place at Rice University. Rice’s Chao Center for Asian Studies will sponsor a booth to collect donations for the relief efforts at the Japan Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 9 and 10 at Hermann Park. Last week, students from the Shepherd School of Music hosted a benefit concert to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society, and the proceeds from a recent boba tea sale by the Japanese Association of Students also went to the society. Students also collected donations for the relief effort during Rice’s Culture Fair April 1. To interview Chen or the Rice panelists, contact Jessica Stark, assistant director of media relations, at [email protected] or 713-348-6777. last_img read more

Rices Kinder Institute identifies challenges facing Rice Village

first_imgShareDavid [email protected] [email protected]’s Kinder Institute identifies challenges facing Rice VillageNew study finds parking, management, infrastructure are most pressing problems HOUSTON – (Sept. 1, 2015) – Although many patrons of Rice Village might say that parking is a persistent problem in the popular shopping area, a new report from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research finds that Rice Village actually has ample parking, but more can be done to improve the use of available spaces.Rice Village.Parking was just one of the challenges identified in the report, “Rice Village: Parking, Management and the Built Environment.” The study also identified an overall lack of district-level management and an unwelcoming pedestrian infrastructure as issues that prevent Rice Village from becoming a “more successful economic and social hub.”The report is the first product of the Kinder Institute’s Vital Communities initiative, part of the Urban Development, Transportation and Placemaking Program, which is designed to help bring meaningful planning, design, management and infrastructural improvements to metropolitan neighborhoods.“The report highlights the roots of several key issues facing the Rice Village area and presents a set of potential solutions for stakeholders to consider,” said Kyle Shelton, a postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute and author of the report. “Parking is just one small piece of the puzzle. To tackle these issue comprehensively and for the long haul, stakeholders must also think about how to better advocate for the district and maintain its built environment.”The report offers the following observations and suggestions with regard to parking, management and infrastructure.ParkingEven at times of peak demand, Rice Village has at least 1,000 parking spaces that are unused. Shelton said Rice Village’s parking currently includes individually managed private lots and dedicated spaces, little-used private garages that are not available for public parking and employee parking in on-street spaces and in business lots.Shelton said problems include a lack of clarity about which parking spaces are paid and which are free, lack of signage to streamline parking in desired areas and a poor pedestrian environment that discourages people from taking advantage of available parking farther from their destination.“The perceived parking problem lies not in the amount of parking, but rather in the availability of parking that already exists and the management of the parking supply so that it can effectively meet the demand,” he said.Shelton said that the most comprehensive solution to the parking situation would be to permit the city of Houston’s Parking Management Division to operate all public and private parking spaces and lots, price those spaces according to demand and create a parking-benefits district. However, he noted that smaller steps, such as parking meters and contracted employee parking in private lots and garages, could also be undertaken.ManagementShelton said the lack of comprehensive parking management in Rice Village highlights a, deeper problem: the lack of management in the district generally. Cohesive management of the Rice Village area’s upkeep, signage and built environment by a dedicated entity would greatly benefit the area, he said. He laid out several special-district options for Rice Village in the report.“Our research indicates that the combination of a municipal management district and parking benefit district represents a feasible and productive option for the Village,” Shelton said.InfrastructureShelton noted in the report that much of Rice Village’s infrastructure is in disrepair.“The streets and sidewalks in the Village are in need of maintenance, and it’s not the most welcoming pedestrian and biking environment,” Shelton said. “In addition to heavy automobile traffic, there’s a lack of public and communal spaces, well-marked and controlled crosswalks and bike racks and lanes, and there are very few tree-lined streets beyond Morningside Drive.”He suggested that special district or management entity funds could be used to address this issue.“Pedestrian, bicycle and roadway improvements would help make Rice Village a more welcoming and useable space,” he said. “These improvements also can be a part of addressing parking problems by encouraging users to come to Rice Village by other modes of transportation or to park once and visit several destinations.”Shelton noted that other Houston developments — such as Bagby Street and Discovery Green — offer examples of what might be pursued in the Village.The study was conducted in April and consisted of seven hourly counts across a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The count times were selected to represent both high- and low-usage periods. Researchers went out during each of these times and checked the status of every parking space in Rice Village. The count included nearly every private and public lot, garage and on-street parking spot in the district. The only garage left out of the study was the Hanover Building’s residential garage, as it is fully restricted to residents and unlikely to be made available for nonresidential parking.Shelton hopes the study will spark conversation among area stakeholders about what options exist for improving the Rice Village area and how they might go about pursuing these options.“For its part, the Kinder Institute is looking forward to being a part of those conversations,” Shelton said.A full copy of the study is available at http://kinder.rice.edu/dtp.-30-For more information, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or [email protected] news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Kinder Institute for Urban Research: http://kinder.rice.edu/Urban Development, Transportation and Placemaking at Rice’s Kinder Institute: http://kinder.rice.edu/dtp/Photo link: http://news.rice.edu/files/2015/08/img_0504__1200_px_width.jpgPhoto credit: Rice UniversityLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,920 undergraduates and 2,567 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6.3-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 2 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go here.If you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Office of News and Media Relations – MS 300, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005 AddThislast_img read more

A 2in1 pillow that lets you sleep on your bed or at

first_imgNo pillow has looked at the act of sleeping or napping as holistically as the Dullo. This nifty two-sided, custom-shaped pillow comes with a great deal of attention paid to all sorts of sleep, whether it’s on your back, your side, on a sofa, or even your workspace (that’s if your boss allows it). The Dullo is a perfect juxtaposition between a device with medical benefits, as well as a device that’s just great to use and own, because not only does the Dullo help you sleep healthier, it’ll make you look forward to sleeping!Dullo comes with two separate pillow designs fastened to each other to form one single multi-purpose cushioned headrest. Analyzing different sleep patterns, either side of the Dullo is designed for a different sleep posture. A concave side gives your neck the perfect support to keep it and your spine in the correct posture when you sleep on your back, while a more uniform side with ridges allows you to sleep easily on your side. Depending on which posture you sleep in the most, the Dullo can easily be flipped to give you a comfortable night’s sleep. It even comes with a trapezoid design, allowing you to rotate the pillow to suit your comfort needs based on your ergonomics, your mattress type, or even your mood.The Dullo comprises two individual halves that can be separated too. Splitting the Dullo in two gives you two thinner pillows that you can use either independently or hinged together to recline on a sofa or futon. Separating the Dullo in two also lets you adjust its height, giving you an additional bit of control over your comfort. The split-pillow design also gives Dullo an added use-case. You can slip your hands between two pillows and use the Dullo to sleep at your desk! Providing the perfect set-up for a power nap at the workplace, the Dullo’s split design cushions your head as well as your hands, allowing you to sleep while sitting at a table.Dullo’s approach to perfect sleep extends to its construction too, with a breathable fabric exterior that keeps your head, neck, and arms cool and dry, and a short-thread microfiber stuffing on the inside that give the pillow the perfect combination of softness and shape-memory. The microfibers come with a coating of silicon too, making them moisture-repellent, and giving the Dullo the ability to be easily machine-washed every now and then, because hygiene also plays a major role in a healthy night’s sleep!Designer: DulloClick Here to Buy Now: $69 $99 (40% off). Hurry, for a limited time only!With the built-in grooves and head-cradling hole in its ergonomic design, Dullo Pillow will ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.Designed to gently cradle and support both your head and neck. The center crater helps to evenly distribute the weight throughout your head during any sleeping position throughout the night so that you can get a good night’s rest.Dullo Pillow is snug against the body so that there is less burden on the head and neck to support the rest of the body as you sleep.Dullo Pillow delivers the best sleeping posture known to help people who suffer from insomnia, anxiety, stress and back/neck pain while sleeping.5 Main Differences Between Dullo & Other Pillows1. Distribute Your Head WeightOther pillows allow for too much movement throughout the night which ends up interfering with the quality of sleep. The center crater in Dullo Pillow gently supports your head from all angles so that you can maintain a comfortable position all throughout the night.2. Neck Support TubeDullo Pillow contains two support tubes that work to prevent the microfiber filling from shifting too much while simultaneously providing cushioned support for the neck. The tubes have been designed to perfectly mold to your neck so that it maintains its natural C-curve shape so that you can sleep deeply throughout the night.3. Designed for All Neck LengthsDullo Pillow has been designed to provide maximum comfort and quality sleep for different neck lengths. Dullo Pillow adjusts your body position so that the spine aligns horizontally with the head and neck.4. Microfiber FillingSilicone-coated microfibers are elastic and resilient, so pillows with this filling are not easily deformed. Dullo Pillow’s coated fiber filler absorbs micro shocks from your neck and shoulders and allows you to sleep comfortably. Unlike ordinary cotton, Dullo Pillow’s coated fiber filler is highly water-resistant and breathable which allows for humidity/temperature control for a good night’s sleep.5. Air VentilationThrough the crown side hole and gap between the two detachable sides, airflow goes through both sides and circulates around the head so that you can stay as cool as possible while you’re sleeping with Dullo pillow.Click Here to Buy Now: $69 $99 (40% off). Hurry, for a limited time only!SharePinShareFlipSharePocket1.3K Shareslast_img read more

This NYC Startup Brings Pampering Straight To Home

first_img Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Interviews, Wellness Sometimes, in order to feel your best, you need to look your best, and Glamsquad helps you do exactly that. This beauty services brand brings hair, makeup, and nail services straight to your home.  Glamsquad caters to the busy, on-the-go urbanite who wants to look his or her best.  The company leverages technology both in matching clients to its professionals as well as for its provider selection process, which ensures that the experience is consistent across different providers and that the providers are representative of the company’s culture.AlleyWatch sat down with CEO Amy Shecter about the ultimate beauty service company built for the go-getter and its future plans.Tell us about the product or services that Glamsquad offers.Glamsquad is a beauty services company delivering hair, makeup and nail services, in NYC, LA, Miami, DC, Boston and San Francisco/Bay Area. Glamsquad’s mission is to connect like-minded beauty enthusiasts through personalized in-home beauty experiences between our clients and our beauty professionals. Our talented and trusted beauty professionals are hand-selected and rigorously vetted to guarantee consistent, high-quality results. Using our intelligent, data-driven technology, we expertly match our professionals and clients to ensure an elevated and customized experience with every appointment. Glamsquad believes that human touch and helping people look their best is at the heart of what makes people feel special.How is Glamsquad different?Glamsquad’s biggest differentiator is our highly selective application process for our Beauty Professionals.  We accept a small percentage of those that apply as we look for talent, personality and only those that represent the ethos of our culture and brand.  Our team of independent hair stylists, makeup artists, and nail technicians are meticulously selected and curated through a rigorous onboarding process which includes both talent/skill analysis and character assessment.What market does Glamsquad target and how big is it?Glamsquad targets more densely populated urban markets with an appetite for on-demand services and a passionate beauty community.What inspired the start of Glamsquad?  Glamsquad launched in New York City in January 2014, offering on-the-go blowouts (and hair styling) to women around the city seeking the convenience of an affordable, yet luxurious, in-home beauty service to help them look and feel their best. In April 2014, Glamsquad launched makeup services in NYC, followed by new market launches in LA that October and Miami that December. Since then, we’ve continued to expand our service offerings and markets to meet the high demand.You have come into a few organizations as CEO after the company has already launched. What do you do first to ensure that you have a lay of the land and then what’s next?  The first thing I do when I join an organization at any point in the maturation of the company is to immerse myself in the brand, the people and the culture.  I believe it’s important to understand what working and what’s not working before making any decisions about what path to create.  Within a few months, in collaboration with the leadership team, we create a project plan to align against the priorities we will achieve and then communicate those initiatives throughout the organization.  Having a clear vision and a path to execute against makes the whole company operate successfully. What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?  Our milestones are opening new markets, increasing our footprint in existing markets, launching in-home selling and developing our partnership with CVS.What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?  One of the greatest pieces of advice I never got but learned on the job is that you don’t necessarily have to have all of the skills to do a new job well.  As a strong leader, it is essential to utilize the strength of the team around you to succeed.  By leveraging the team, you know so much more than any one individual working alone.One of the greatest pieces of advice I never got but learned on the job is that you don’t necessarily have to have all of the skills to do a new job well.  As a strong leader, it is essential to utilize the strength of the team around you to succeed.  By leveraging the team, you know so much more than any one individual working alone.If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?  I would love to have lunch with Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM.  She is an inspiration for female executives (especially in the tech community) and is successfully leading a path for change and innovation at one of the largest tech and consulting companies in the world.Why did the company launch in New York?  The original founding team launched in NYC first because it is where they are from and it is such a strong on-demand and beauty city!What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?  My top two favorites are Gramercy Tavern and Nobu.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST This NYC Startup Brings Pampering Straight To HomeOctober 15, 2018 by AlleyWatch 252SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedinlast_img read more

The 11 NYC Startups That Hit the Stage at ERA Demo Day

first_imgA solidifying force in the NYC Tech scene, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) is graduating its 14th cohort of 11 startups that each received $100K in investment and mentorship from a pool of 400+ experts for the four month program.The midtown-based accelerator, led by Murat Aktihanoglu and Jonathan Axelrod, showcases startups that cover a range of functions from fintech analytics to corporate wellness. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 11 STARTUPS FROM ERA’S WINTER 2018 CLASS PREVIOUS POST1 / 12NEXT PAGE The 11 NYC Startups That Hit the Stage at ERA Demo DayApril 26, 2018 by Reza Chowdhury 398SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: #NYCTech, Accelerators, AlleyTalk, Demo Days, ER Accelerator, Funding, Startups Tagged With: Bryan Lee, Butler Hospitality, Cedric Kovacs-Johnson, Choosy, Chris Choi, David Stasie, Flume Health, Greg Laptevsky, Halston Prox, HealNow, Heather Waibel, Jason Christiansen, Jessie Zeng, Joshua Smith, Myro, Orcadex, Panos Skliamis, Sara Nadel, Sharon Qian, ShopTheCreative, Spin Analytics, Spryfit, StellarEmploy, Tim Gjonbalic, Victor Choi, Vineeth Bhuvanagiri, Welnyslast_img read more

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Target Market

first_img Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources, Strategic 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Target MarketJune 7, 2018 by Marc Gruber and Dr. Sharon Tal 324SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Choosing which market to focus on is one of the most critical decisions for startups. It influences their chances to create value and to generate revenues, and even more importantly, it influences the DNA of their newly established venture and has a long-term imprinting effect.Yet, as founders often stress, this choice is certainly not an easy one. Interviews we have conducted with hundreds of founders show this time and time again: “We asked ourselves do we want to play in this market or that one…this will create totally different firms, in their mindset, in their definition, in marketing and positioning… very difficult questions…it is a fascinating process, but very complicated with lots of stomach aches and no clear answer.”The main reason for this challenge is fogginess. Until we invent a crystal ball that will tell us the future, uncertainty rules the game. It is simply difficult to know which target market will be more attractive in the long-term. Especially when it comes to innovations, there are always unknown elements that turn this into a high risk- low data decision.Yet, there are a few traps that startups often fall into when choosing their target market. Whether you are setting your initial strategy, searching for a pivoting alternative, or seeking to grow your business, make sure to avoid these four, common mistakes. They may bear fatal consequences on your new venture, or at a minimum, prolong your entrepreneurial success.Don’t Be Blind to Alternative MarketsMany times, founders don’t take the necessary time to research different target markets for their innovation, and they simply jump into the first envisioned opportunity. Founders tend to fall in love with their initial idea, and as a result, miss out on other potentially promising opportunities. Although it may seem distracting, it is actually very important to “look before you leap”- make sure that you are not aiming for an inferior market. In fact, a Management Science study showed that the mere identification of alternative markets, in itself, increases the chances of start-ups success. Therefore, you should take a step back and deliberately search for other types of customers who may need your innovation before you set your strategic focus.Limit Your IntuitionIntuition plays an important role in decision making. However, behavioral economists stress that synchronizing our emotional and rational systems is key to making successful choices. When it comes to setting a target market, entrepreneurs often base their decision on a very limited set of considerations: they simply count on their intuition or follow an interested customer. An informed choice, however, must take into account other key parameters. You should strive to verify and validate the value creation potential of your opportunity and the challenges in capturing this value. Be systematic and search for clear evidence. After all, insufficient research or poor evaluation can lead to big disappointments down the road.Don’t Focus too NarrowlyChoosing an inferior target market is certainly daunting, but common mistakes relate not only to betting on the wrong market but also to the scope of your market choice. It turns out that the “laser sharp” focus approach – which is so common in entrepreneurship – actually comes at the expense of flexibility. Many entrepreneurs concentrate their resources on pursuing a single narrow path: they develop their product, define their branding, and build their networks to target a very specific set of customers. While resource scarcity makes this strategy logic, locking the venture into a narrow development path means losing the ability to adapt or pivot over time. To overcome this mistake, keep a few other market opportunities open as your backup or growth options. Make sure not to lock yourself out of other market opportunities even as you progress with your primary target market.Just ChooseLastly, some founders find it difficult to be decisive about this critical decision, and they choose not to choose. Waiting until uncertainty fades away and postponing your decision for too long makes you juggle with too many balls in the air, and this is especially dangerous for startups. Spreading yourself too thin means losing the race – it’s as simple as that. Choosing your target market and letting go of other potentially interesting alternatives is certainly difficult but absolutely necessary. So, make sure you are clear on the markets that you are targeting and on the ones that you are saying “no” to. Despite the anxiety that may accompany this process, at some point you just need to choose.All in all, setting your strategic focus is a complicated process. While doing so, keep in mind that you actually need to consider two questions: what is the most attractive market opportunity that we should focus on, and how can we focus and stay flexible at the same time. Good luck!PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img read more

Dont Be Afraid of Hiring Former CEOs as Employees

first_imgDon’t Be Afraid of Hiring Former CEOs as EmployeesJune 12, 2018 by George Deeb 284SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin The common mistake that most entrepreneurs make when setting up their management team is filling it with people that they feel are easier to control or won’t make them look stupid.  That typically means an older, former CEO would never get a reasonable look as a direct report into the CEO of most early-stage companies.  But, is that fear justified?Why Most Entrepreneurs Typically Avoid Hiring Former CEOsFirst, their inferiority complex kicks in.  I don’t want a former CEO to come in and identify all my shortfallings, or tell me how to do my job.  Second, they think there must be something wrong with the candidate.  Why would a former CEO be interested in this non-CEO position?  Third, they think the former CEO likes to manage others, and won’t get his or her hands dirty rolling up their sleeves with the execution work that is required.  Or, lastly, they simply conclude that an older person simply doesn’t have the energy to put in the work required at an early-stage startup.Why That Is The Wrong PerspectiveMy immediate reaction:  that is rubbish.  Yes, there may be some candidates that could validate the above hypotheticals.  But, in recruiting, there is never a “one size fits all” perspective, as everyone is truly different, and should be assessed on an individual basis.  Have confidence in yourself, to keep your new hire in check.  Maybe the CEO just prefers the marketing tasks and has no problem focusing on one department.  Maybe that candidate likes getting early-stage businesses off the ground and has no problem putting in the long hours required.  Don’t forget, there is only room for one CEO in a company at a time, so when CEOs are looking to make a move, they may have no choice but looking at other executive positions if the right CEO positions are not open.Why Past CEOs Can Be Great HiresFirst of all, only a CEO truly understands all the different areas of the business, and how they work together.  So, for example, hiring a CTO that used to wear the CEO hat, not only understands the needs of the technology department, they also know how those needs impact financial budgets, recruiting, product marketing, etc.  So, instead of having an executive that has lived in a vacuum of one department their entire career, it can often be better to find someone that has a broader vantage point when making decisions.Secondly, former CEOs are not threats to you, they can be material assets for you.  Your business is bound to go through uncharted waters in your growth curve.  Who better to help you navigate those waters than someone that has been there and done that before.  So, instead of taking time to assess various routes (with potentially wasted investment dollars), now you can confidently move much faster and waste less “experimenting dollars” in the process.Thirdly, with lots of CEOs being a jack-of-all-trades, they are great utility players to put out fires as needed in other areas of the business, for which they were not originally hired.  Maybe your COO just quit, and he or she can fill in on that role until a new person is hired.  Or, maybe your head of HR is struggling with creating the right culture or dealing with lots of employee turnover, and this person can help share how they solved those same problems in their last company.  Former CEOs often have lots of tools in their toolbox, to help you fix whatever needs fixing.Why You Shouldn’t Be Intimidated By Former CEOsWhose problem is it if you are worried about being intimidated by hiring a former CEO?  Yours!!  Hiring a former CEO doesn’t mean you are losing control.  You are still the boss!  Be confident in yourself and your decision making, just as before.  Only now, you have someone with experience in the office that can help you toss around new ideas . . . not hurt or impede your efforts.  They aren’t here to make you look stupid or take your job, they are here to help you.  And, if it doesn’t work out, you can always make a change down the road.  Remember, always hire people smarter and more experienced than you are.  If you are the smartest person in the room, you have a problem!!Concluding ThoughtsTo be clear, I am not saying there isn’t any justified merit to the entrepreneurs’ concerns raised above.  Those concerns are often very real for several candidates you will meet.  But, that doesn’t mean those concerns should prevent you from interviewing other candidates, who can impress upon you that those concerns are nothing to worry about.  And, more importantly, can impress upon you that you are hiring somebody with the proven skillsets who can help you take your business to the next level, having done exactly that, in a prior company.  So, don’t be afraid of hiring someone smarter or more experienced than yourself . . . that is the holy grail of hiring when you can find them.Reprinted by permission.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources, Strategiclast_img read more

4 Ways to Attract Prospects Who Arent Necessarily on the Job Market

first_imgFinding and retaining the best employees is one of the greatest challenges business leaders and human resources professionals face. Even with 73 million young adults seeking work, businesses around the globe report a shortage of skilled workers.Attracting outstanding applicants is about more than building cool company culture and offering competitive benefits. It’s about projecting an image that appeals to the 75 percent of all global candidates who are passive job seekers.My company has more than 100 full-time employees working remotely on multiple projects all over the world. Allowing our team this geographical freedom means competing with every company on the planet. If we didn’t retain top talent, we would’ve gone out of business years ago.Starting the ConversationPeople completely fulfilled by their jobs likely aren’t seeking new employment, passively or actively. Many top performers, however, are merely content and would be open to pursuing new opportunities. These passive candidates pose less of a turnover risk but are difficult to attract. They’re choosy and usually more expensive, but they deliver on promises and stick around longer than their flightier counterparts.Candidates we call “passive” for having turned down an initial offer provide a chance to gather feedback on the impression we’re making so we can better package our company moving forward and make “yes” easier for others to say. Talking through their needs also makes it possible to arrive at another offer that works for them.Opening a dialogue with the best prospects begins with establishing a strong narrative that presents your company as a world-changing organization in an environment conducive to meaningful achievement. The best of the best want more than better pay and benefits, which they can find anywhere. Most passive prospects are motivated by factors like superior work-life balance, more stimulating challenges and room for advancement.Enticing Passive CandidatesHere are four strategies for attracting the best candidates without having to sift through countless applications.Create a referral program. When it comes to top talent, relationships are key. Acknowledging and rewarding employees for referral hires helps us attract candidates who otherwise might not have considered new roles. The better your current team, the better prospects they will bring in. Our company understands that nothing beats working with other talented people, and we award cash bonuses for successful referrals. Zappos Insider, a talent pipeline site, is dedicated to encouraging potential employees to apply to the company in general rather than to a specific job. This opens up lines of engagement and helps Zappos stay on passive candidates’ radars.Be a serendipitous resource.Many of our recent candidates found us after stumbling across an open-source framework we recently released. We love working with developers who contribute to open-source environments, so creating one of our own allowed us to demonstrate how we share their values. From that point, the conversation about working together happens naturally. Another great way to attract passive candidates is by hosting special events like hackathons or other industry-related workshops, training sessions, contests, conferences and even virtual networking events.Take on challenging projects.Our best candidates frequently tell us, “I like the company and people I work with, but I’m bored.” Spreading the news about our company by highlighting the most challenging work we do for our clients helps us appeal to highly skilled passive candidates who are waiting for something more interesting to materialize. On your recruiting page, use video to showcase ambitious projects your team has tackled to tempt passive seekers who aren’t fulfilled by their current level and scope of work.Market on relevant platforms.We get involved in conversations on Stack Overflow, GitHub Jobs and Glassdoor because the audiences we want to attract are on these sites. We also have a company LinkedIn page and encourage our employees to highlight their achievements on their own pages to show passive seekers what they’re missing. A survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 75 percent of its members with full-time jobs are not actively seeking new opportunities, but 45 percent of them would be open to speaking with a recruiter if approached.Using these tactics, we don’t have to wait until a job is posted to find great candidates. Potential employees reach out to us, knowing that working for our company is an opportunity to collaborate with inspiring people who share their passions. Building an enthusiastic team in this way lets us take on bigger challenges and pushes our company to new heights.BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Filed Under: Advice, Management, Resources, Strategic 4 Ways to Attract Prospects Who Aren’t Necessarily on the Job MarketMarch 7, 2019 by Kuty Shalev 380SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedinlast_img read more

ATU220 – Indias First Assistive Technology Center Samuel Matthew iPhone 6s Rumors

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show Notes:India’s First Assistive Technology National Center with Dr Samuel Mathew | http://www.nish.ac.in/Framingham State University – News and Events – News – FSU Launches New Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology http://buff.ly/1Na8lKHTelecommunications Relay Services (TRS) http://buff.ly/1DJRvjSiPhone 6S: Rumors & Specs Roundup http://buff.ly/1L5HEXYA Brailler on a Flat Screen | Mechanical Engineering http://buff.ly/1EmY1roOn the Hill with Audrey – Audrey Busch www.ATAPorg.org——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/INDATA——-transcript follows ——SAMUEL MATHEW: Hello, my name is Samuel Mathew, Executive Director of National Institute of Speech and Hearing in India, and this is the Assistive Technology Update.WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Welcome to episode number 220 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on August 14 of 2015.I’m excited today to have Dr. Samuel Mathew who is founding India’s first national assistive technology center. There is a new grad certificate from Framingham University in assistive technology; rumors about the iPhone 6; and a little quick demo that I do on how to type braille on your iPhone.We also have a segment from Audrey Busch who tells us what’s happening in Washington DC related to assistive technology.We hope you’ll check out our show notes over at www.eastersealstech.com, shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATA Project, or call our listener line at 317-721-7124.***Did you know that you can help other people find our show and learn about assistive technology? Head on over to iTunes, write a review, click some stars. We appreciate it. Thank you.***As somebody who teaches assistive technology at the University level, I’m always excited to see when programs are doing more of that. The Framingham State University just outside of Boston is launching a new graduate advocate in assistive technology. It starts with a course on introduction to assistive technology, which is also part of their masters degree program in educational technology and special education, and includes a variety of coursework that includes a visit to the local assistive technology demonstration center and an investment that the university has made IN having assistive technology to demonstrate in the classroom. They are targeting this certificate towards working professionals in K-12 or higher education as well as folks who are working in the area of disability services or the veterans office. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to Framingham.edu and their press release and you can learn more about this new graduates to get in as technology. Check our show notes.***Many of us have experienced a situation where you get a new cell phone or you move to a new carrier and you want to move your number with you. It’s called porting your phone number. Apparently, and I didn’t know about this, that this is an issue among the deaf community. When you move from one video relay service provider to another, you also have the option to port your 10 digit phone number from one provider to another, but apparently the Disability Rights Office in the Federal Communications Commission has received some complaints and inquiries from people about this whole issue of porting their 10 digit number from service to service.So to help with that, the FCC has created a video that is in ASL and also caption and voiced for those of us who aren’t ASL native speakers. It talks about this whole situation and how you might be able to work around those challenges. I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to the FCC’s website and you can check out this video and learn about the ins and outs of porting your 10 digit number from one VRS provider to another.***I don’t spend a lot of time churning the Apple rumor mill, but every once in a while something catches my eye. On OS X Daily recently I found an article that talks about the rumors and specs Roundup for the iPhone 6S. It looks like new iPhones may be coming out in the first part of September. The rumor date is September 9, and there will probably be some sort of an event. People are expecting a number of hardware changes in the new iPhones. They are going to call it the 6S. They are expecting it to have almost doubled the ram, so about 2 GB of RAM, a faster A9 processor than before, better LTE connection so it’ll make your battery last a little bit longer and make your Internet run a little bit faster. One of the big changes they’re talking about is a force touch display where the screen actually knows where your finger is and provides haptic feedback to make you feel like it’s pushing down or vibrating or whatever to create a new level of experience with that touch interface. Also talking about a better camera, 12 megapixels this time. No expected changes in terms of the size or shape very much. We will get a new version of iOS, iOS 9 is supposed to come out around the same time. And one of the speculative things as they are talking about a new color of iPhone. I never cared a lot work on my phone is, but now they are saying that you might, in addition to gold and silver and the others, you might have a rose gold color that people are prognosticating about. Anyway, some fun stuff, predictive stuff, rumor stuff about the iPhone 6S that may be coming out here soon. I’ll pop a link in the show notes and you can join me in my speculation over there at OS X Daily. Check our show notes.***I get a lot of good news from RESNA. They have a listserv that I belong to and it’s all about computer access and those sorts of things. Recently I was forwarded an excerpt of an article that was written by Adrian Lou and was part of Stanford’s Mechanical Engineering Journal. It’s interesting because the title is, “A Brailler on a flatscreen.” It’s talking about people who are going to use an iPhone or an Android or tablet or whatever kind of advice as a braille input device. They talk about the age-old issue of, on the flatscreen device, how do you know where the six braille keys would be? In recent years, there have been some development to create an app that would basically let you put your fingers, wherever works for you, figure out that’s what you meant, and then that becomes your braille keyboard. Based on this article, I followed a link over to the App Store, and I downloaded an app called iBrailler Notes. I’ve got it installed here on my iPhone. It’s going to allow me to start a new note here.APP: New note button. You can calibrate your keyboard.WADE WINGLER: And I’m going to put my index and middle finger on both right and left hand on the screen.APP: Calibrated, ready position.WADE WINGLER: And it calibrated it so that now — I’m sighted, so I see visually six dots here on the screen and they are positioned right where I laid my fingers. Now I can type.APP: A, B, C, D, E, F.WADE WINGLER: I’m a horrible braille typist. But it’s very quickly calibrated and ready to go so that I can start typing away right into this iBrailler Note app. Now, I’m using the free version of the app, but I think you can upgrade for $20 and get all the features. It’ll handle Grade 1, Grade 2 braille. It’ll also let you share out to email, Dropbox, and other kinds of services so that once you’ve captured note in braille, then you can do with the stuff with it. Anyway, I’m always fascinated with how braille is going to be fully implemented on tablets and smartphones and those kinds of things, and it’s a pretty interesting way to use your phone to generate text if you’re a braille user. Anyway, I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to both the Stanford article and also a link to the app in the app store so that you can check it out. Works on iOS but isn’t quite ready for Android. Check our show notes.***It’s time for on the Hill with Audrey. Audrey Busch is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs. In her update, she lets us know how the power of politics is impacting people with abilities and their use of assistive technology. Learn more about Audrey and her work at ATAPorg.org.AUDREY BUSCH: This is Audrey Bush, Policy Director for the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, coming to you with your monthly Washington update. One of the reasons the heat in Washington rose in July was due to Congress’ rapidfire pace. Among many items that Congress worked on, those of importance to the disability community include S.1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, which is the Senate’s reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. This bill passed the Senate in bipartisan fashion.Additionally, the House passed the Steve Gleason Act which removes speech generating devices from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services capped rental rules for several years, thereby allowing patients to purchase their own devices. The Steve Gleason Act had actually already passed the Senate, so the bill was then passed to the President’s desk and signed into law the right before Congress headed out of town, and it was a great way for Congress to enter into the annual month-long August recess with a bang.One item to note is that there was language in the Senate’s reauthorization of the no Child left behind act which paves the way for students with disabilities to use their own assistive technology when taking mandatory assessments. This was a huge feat and one that many of us in the disability community are excited about moving forward.Given July does mark the last month that Congress is in session before they break for August, and return in September, it is clear that the fiscal year 2016 budget will not be completed by the end of this fiscal year September 30, 2015. Therefore, it’s clear that continuing resolution known as a CR, which provides stopgap funding between the end of the current fiscal year and the time in which a new budget for the next fiscal year is determined. This means ultimately level funding for the federal government until Congress does set these new final budget numbers. Therefore, while this is a short update this month, what we do look forward to Congress completing when they return to Washington is December is to really buckle down and focus on how they are going to fund the federal government in fiscal year 2016. While there will likely be a CR in place for a few weeks to a few months while they do figure out the final funding numbers for fiscal year 2016, it is clear neither party does not want any of these discussions to result in a shutdown of the federal government, given there is a presidential election looming in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy the quiet of August and what remains left of those summer days.***WADE WINGLER: I’m in Indiana, and it is kind of early in the morning in Indiana, and I am speaking via the Internet to a gentleman in India, and it’s evening for him. His name is Dr. Samuel Mathew, and he is the Executive Director of the National Institute of Speech and Hearing in the Kerala area of India.Dr. Mathew, are you there?SAMUEL MATHEW: Yes, I am here, listening to you.WADE WINGLER: Good, excellent. Sam, as we were doing our little intro conversation before we hit the record button, it was interesting because I got up early this morning and I’m very excited to talk about India’s first assistive technology center, and within a few minutes of our conversation, we realize that you and I have actually met face-to-face because you spent some time here in the state of Indiana in the US. Is that right?SAMUEL MATHEW: Yes. I was living in West Lafayette for some years, and before that in South Bend. I did my MS and PhD from Purdue University in West Lafayette.WADE WINGLER: So we were joking around, I had assumed that you and I would never have met before, but we probably, based on the time that you and I were working in Indiana at the same time, we probably works together and met and just didn’t either realize that. Very, very small world.SAMUEL MATHEW: Yes.WADE WINGLER: That’s great. Sam, the reason I reached out to you was I saw some headlines recently about India’s first assistive technology center. I was fascinated by that, so thought I would try to get was somebody to try to talk about it, and you were gracious enough to take some time out of your early evening. I thought I might start by asking you. Tell me a little bit about how you got into the field of assistive technology and what is your current role. And they will talk about the centers your next.SAMUEL MATHEW: To tell about my background, I have actually an engineering degree, and while I was in the US was when I changed over to special education in the field of disabilities. When I came back to India, I actually took charge as the executive director of this institute because of my background, because the industry background and all that. Assistive technology is going to be an integral part of what we do because NISH is being transformed into the first national university for rehabilitation sciences and disability studies. The federal government in India is going to fund that.NISH itself has been in operation since 1997. They were focused on speech and hearing and disabilities related to that, but now we got into the limelight with bigger funding. Now we are going to have two focuses. One is higher education for people with disabilities, which means that we will have students which have speech problems, hearing issues, also those who have cerebral palsy, high functioning students and the autism spectrum disorder, similarly challenge students. So assistive technology is one which will help us help them to go through higher education smoothly.WADE WINGLER: It sounds like you got a whole lot going on there. I’m going to ask some questions about the center, but tell me a little bit about your role as the executive director. Are you teaching? Are you administering only? What does a day in the life look like for you in your current role?SAMUEL MATHEW: Right now, my days are more administrative and some policy involvement in the state government, because the government itself has different agencies, and I sit on boards and committees which shapes the disability policy for the states. I do that, but my primary responsibility is two institutes which I look after. One is NISH where this initiative is going on. And then there is a regional institute for physical medicine and rehabilitation where rehabilitation services for children with multiple disabilities. It is in another town in the same state. I really would like to teach, but really don’t get time to teach regularly. I do take classes sometimes for students.WADE WINGLER: I understand. Sam, you have me at a disadvantage in that you know my geography very well because you lived here, but I haven’t been to India yet. Tell me a little bit about the location of the center.SAMUEL MATHEW: The center will be on the campus of NISH, which is in the city of Trivandrum, or we call it in the local language Thiruvananthapuram, which is the southernmost part of India. Kerala state itself is the southernmost-western state in India, so we are towards the tip, about 15 miles from the southernmost tip of India itself.WADE WINGLER: Excellent. I know that the center is in process. When will it be available? And then once it is available, whom will be available to?SAMUEL MATHEW: How we got into this center is that we know that there is a need, and we wanted to do it, but a bank, called a federal bank — it’s not the federal bank in the United States, but a bank called the federal bank is funding it out of their corporate social responsibility funds, CSR funding, so they have funded about 20 million Indian rupees as the initial grant for the project, assistive technology center, and have promised to come up with more as we go along.WADE WINGLER: When the center is open, what kind of things will be found there? What kind of technology, what kind of services, what kind of things would you find when you visit the center?SAMUEL MATHEW: Our goal is, because we are going to have students with the disabilities attending higher education on campus, our goal is, as the students come in, to assist them, and then provide them the appropriate assistive technology. So it could be software running on a tablet. It could be magnifiers. Some of them could be speech generating devices. It could be a notetaker. Things like that which are appropriate which would help them in the classroom, and give it to them so they are academically competent. And then also understand that we don’t have any government system of support, so we’re going to really give assistance other ways, scholarships, free assistive devices for them, to go through the course.WADE WINGLER: It sounds to me a little bit like what I would know as a United States university’s DSS office or Students with Disabilities Office or Adaptive Educational Office. Is it kind of the same model there?SAMUEL MATHEW: Yes. In fact, I sort of shaped that from what I have seen in Purdue and other places, so it’s basically meant for the students. But we also have a bigger mandate because, as an institution that serves a lot of people around the state and the country, we want to be a place where others can come and try out, even the general public. So we will be acquiring assistive technology which is available around the world, and then will be showcasing it for people to come and try it out, like a trial center or lending center also. So it’s a little bit of a high ambition, but that is something that we try to do. Also, further, we would like to do some research, collaborative research, especially with the Institute of technology or university technology departments, where developing assistive technology which is appropriate for our population, especially when it comes to speech generating devices and things like that, or AAC devices. Language is important. We hope to be involved in some research and development also.WADE WINGLER: It sounds like you’ve got a lot of great ideas and a great vision for the future of the program. Sam, because you spent time in the States and time in India, how has assistive technology been accomplished in India prior to this new project, and how does that compare to how assistive technology is done here in the US?SAMUEL MATHEW: I would say that it is not really very well developed for the common man. In fact, that is where our mandate is, to really bring it to the common man and help him, empower him so he can progress. Historically, not much. In our own classroom, we have deaf students who are attending degree programs. We have a program where only deaf students are admitted. A couple of years back, we introduced tablets where they could browse the Internet or the teacher could use it in the classroom, but it has become universal. This year onwards, we want to do that, especially in the deaf students’ classroom. My answer is historically, not much, but going forward we really would like to bring it to the common man where he can be empowered.WADE WINGLER: As we have this conversation, the kind of illustrates for me the fact that just a few weeks ago as we record this, here in the States we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I suppose it goes without saying, but I’m going to say it: there’s nothing in India that mandates accommodations for people with disabilities at that level, right?SAMUEL MATHEW: There is actually a law which was passed in ’95. It’s called the Persons With Disabilities Law, or PWD Act. But that is being updated this year as the Rights for People with Disabilities Act. But in between, there has not been additions to that law itself. We are making progress, but we got into the game quite a bit later than the United States did.WADE WINGLER: Sam, what do you see as the greatest challenge right now and making the center a reality? What are the challenges? What kinds of hills are you climbing these days?SAMUEL MATHEW: One thing is about the right personnel with the right background. I do have some background, but since I do have to oversee a lot of things, I need some really sharp people I would be able to recruit and make them passionate about this whole things and really take it forward with me. That’s one thing, people with assistive technology certification and that sort of working background.Funding is not a big deal because we do have the government backing and this bank has come on, so I don’t see that as a challenge. But then getting into the common man, making it affordable for them with the type of population we have, with poverty and disability as a higher population, so people without greater funding, how can we really get it out to them so they can afford it, is another challenge I see?WADE WINGLER: Some of the things in my next question you’ve addressed a little bit, but I want to flesh it out a little bit. If you were to describe a smashing success with the center here, a few years out, what does it look like for students with disabilities or the common man that you mentioned a few times? What does it look like when this program has been very successful?SAMUEL MATHEW: When the program is in full swing, our students all should have their appropriate assistive technology with them after an appropriate assessment. To see them succeed through that will be a great accomplishment which I’m looking forward to. Since this is going to be a university for disability studies and rehabilitation sciences, we expect a large population of people with disabilities coming through our doors. If we are able to make them successful, being productive, being integrated into mainstream society as successful graduates, great, that is what I look for. And also, being from across the country. Our universities in India don’t have the disability service department like you have in the United States. A lot of them will look up to us, and if we can be the model who can provide them the guidance and advice and the model to duplicate, that will be a success. That’s what we’re looking at.WADE WINGLER: And I think that’s a great vision. We’re just about out of time for the interview today. Dr. Mathew, if people wanted to learn more about your program, learn more about the university, learn more about the center, what kind of contact information would you like to provide?SAMUEL MATHEW: One would be our website, which is NISH.ac.in is our website. If people want to write an email at [email protected] I’ll be happy to answer questions, have people visit us, get involved with us. I welcome such initiatives from people.WADE WINGLER: Excellent. Dr. Samuel Mathew is the executive director at the national Institute of speech and hearing and the Kerala area of India and is in the process of building India’s first national assistive technology Center. Sam, thank you so much for being with us.SAMUEL MATHEW: Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you. Have a great day.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to EasterSealstech.com. Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU182 – Roger Voice, KNFB Reader, RESNA’s new Singapore Conference, Legislative Update From Audrey Busch, Drive About Number Neighborhood AppNovember 21, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU171 – Assistive Technology: USA vs AUS (Wendy Stevens from Lifetec in Australia), Free Assistive Technology Webinars, Web a11y Survey Results, AFB’s Family Connect, Mobile Accessibility ChecklistSeptember 5, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”last_img read more

VDL Delivered First Citea Electric Bus In Switzerland

Am Wochenende an der Messe «beWEGt18» in Kägiswil, ab Montag, 10. September, auf der @PostAuto-Linie zwischen Sarnen und Alpnach: Das neue Elektropostauto ist bald im Einsatz für unsere Fahrgäste. https://t.co/4q6O8iwCBR pic.twitter.com/3GbL6IqIWp— PostAuto (@PostAuto) September 7, 2018 Watch Proterra Electric Bus Conquer Utah’s Steepest Roads Electric buses apparently are a perfect fit for the mountainous roads of Switzerland.VDL Bus & Coach already put on the roads more than 200 electric buses (mostly in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Sweden and Norway) and recently delivered its first in Switzerland.The VDL Citea SLF-120 Electric was ordered by PostBus Switzerland. The bus is equipped with a 180 kWh battery and after an overnight charge is able to operate an entire day thanks to 15-minute recharges at 150 kW at the end of line 342 between Sarnen Bahnhof and Alpnach Dorf Bahnhof.See Also San Francisco’s Bus Fleet Will Be All Electric By 2035 Source: Electric Vehicle News The first bus is part of a pilot project to gain experience, but as there are a lot of mountainous roads in Switzerland, we believe that mass electrification is just a matter of time as the EV acceleration and regenerative braking works in favor of the EV.“VDL will not only be bus supplier for this order but system supplier as well. The Citea SLF-120 Electric, equipped with a 180 kWh battery pack, is slow-charged both during the night at the depot in Sarnen and during the day at the Alpnach Dorf Bahnhof train station by means of plugs (150 kW). Alpnach Dorf Bahnhof Station is the last stop on the route, where the bus stops for an average of 15 minutes to be charged. This allows the bus to be in service throughout the day.”Alex de Jong, business manager public transport for VDL Bus & Coach bv said:“With numerous E-Mobility projects in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Sweden and Norway and more than 200 electric buses on the road, VDL is an experienced partner for the implementation of efficient, emission-free public transport. We are delighted to have had this opportunity to put our experience to good use for the implementation of electric buses in Switzerland.” Chicago Transit Orders 20 Proterra Electric Buses Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 15, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News read more

New Formula E Team HWA Announces Paffett As First Driver

Agag Reveals How Close Formula E Came To Collapse The squad, which will officially be called HWA RACELAB, will be run by HWA AG CEO and Mercedes DTM boss Ulrich Fritz as team principal.More Formula E News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 12, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News “I am really excited about driving for HWA in the fifth season of Formula E,” said Paffett, who drove for Venturi at the inaugural FE rookie test in Marrakech in January.“This is basically the first time for 15 years that I will have switched series and cars.“It will be a major challenge – for me, and for the team. Most of them – like me – are moving over from the DTM.“As such, we have a lot to learn. It will certainly not be easy at first, but we are ready and are all looking forward to it.“Formula E is a very promising series with great prospects. It is great to be a part of it.“I watched the race in Marrakech at the start of the year and was impressed by the atmosphere. It was totally different to the DTM and anything else I’ve seen before.“We must adapt to this new format and adjust our approach to the race weekends accordingly. The standard of the drivers and teams is definitely very high.”The team, which is a precursor for the Mercedes FE entry in 2019/20, will be based at a dedicated workshop designed at HWA’s Affalterbach headquarters to house its race assembly area and simulator.“We are looking forward to the new challenges that come with Formula E,” said Fritz.“Over the past weeks and months, we have worked very hard to lay a solid foundation, upon which to enter this fiercely-competitive series.“In doing so, we have benefitted greatly from the experience gained in cooperation with the Venturi team, whom we supported last season as technical partner.“We are now well positioned with our own team to compete under our own flag. We are approaching this challenge with a healthy mixture of confidence and respect.“The season ahead will be a learning year for HWA RACELAB, but I am confident that we will very quickly establish ourselves and be competitive in the series.”HWA’s second driver “is yet to be confirmed”, according to a team statement, although Fritz recently told Motorsport.com that the team expects to have its permanent line-up in place for the official FE pre-season test at Valencia, which gets underway next week.Chiocchetti highlighted Paffett’s importance to HWA, adding: “It is incredibly valuable to have such an experienced man as Gary at the wheel.“His feedback is an important indicator for the further development of the cars.” Source: Electric Vehicle News Gary Paffett has been announced as the first driver to join HWA’s new Formula E entry ahead of the 2018/19 championship. Agag Pushing Back Against Formula E 4WD Idea Lucas di Grassi’s former engineer at Abt Audi, Franco Chiocchetti, has been given the head of Formula E operations role.HWA has also released the livery it will run on its cars, which will be fitted with Venturi-supplied VFE-05 powertrains. Techeetah Reveals DS-Powered Gen2 Formula E Car Source: Motorsport.com read more

Virtual followup visits for hypertension care just as effective as inperson office

first_img Source:https://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=2255 May 24 2018Virtual follow-up visits for patients with hypertension appeared to be just as effective as in-person office visits in helping maintain blood pressure control. In a study conducted among patients at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), investigators found no significant difference in outcomes – including the need for specialty visits or inpatient hospitalization – between patients checking in with their primary care physicians via a secure website to report aspects of their hypertension care and those who did so via in-person office visits. The report has been published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.”Our central finding was that you can use online, non-simultaneous communication to manage a chronic medical condition without office visits that can be inconvenient for patients and add to demands placed on busy primary care practices,” says study co-author Ronald Dixon, MD, of the MGH Division of General Internal Medicine . “It also supports scaling this concept to other chronic diseases with the addition of devices allowing collection of needed patient information.”The study authors note that one in three U.S. adults have hypertension, and only half successfully control the condition. Hypertension is believed to account for 39 million office visits annually in this country, but whether traditional visits best serve the needs of patients and clinicians has not been determined. The growing pressures on primary care offices are well known, with patients often needing to wait months for non-urgent appointments. So any measures that could reduce the time and resources needed to provide primary care services without compromising the quality of care or increasing the need for specialty care could help relieve that pressure.Select MGH primary care practices began offering virtual visits for common chronic conditions in December 2012. The current study compares data and outcomes for patients from MGH primary care practices who had at least one virtual follow-up visit for hypertension from December 2012 to February 2016 with those of a group of similar patients treated for hypertension at BWH primary care practices during the same time period. The MGH study group included 893 patients participating in virtual visits to follow up an initial in-office clinical visit, while the BWH group included 893 patients with similar demographic factors, chronic conditions and cardiovascular risk factors. Blood pressure readings during the six months prior to the initial office visit at the beginning of study participation were similar for both groups.The virtual visits platform allowed patients to enter up to five blood pressure readings taken since their last visit – either in-office or virtual – report on whether they were taking medications as directed, describe any side effects and ask questions. Primary care clinicians reviewed what patients had entered to answer questions, make needed adjustments to treatment, and to recommend repeat virtual visits, follow-up phone calls or in-office visits. Whether or not to offer virtual visits was determined by the clinician on a case-by-case basis, and patients could choose whether or not to participate in the virtual visit program.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorDanbury Hospital launches ‘Healing Hugs’ for its most vulnerable patientsDuring the six months after participants’ initial clinical office visit, patients in both groups showed similar improvements in blood pressure control and other outcomes. But those in the virtual care group had an average of 0.8 fewer follow-up office visits, a decrease that was even greater among patients whose blood pressure control had been poor upon entry into the study. There were no significant differences between the two groups in specialist visits, emergency department visits or hospital admissions for any reason.David Michael Levine, MD, of the BWH Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, lead and corresponding author of the report, says, “The use of virtual visits to reduce in-person office utilization without negative effects on blood pressure control or the need for other services could significantly expand access for patients of busy primary care practices. Many groups, especially insurance companies, have been skeptical of virtual care because they believe it may increase the use of health care services, but our findings show that a virtual visit can substitute for, rather than add to, an in-person visit, decreasing overall health care utilization.”At the MGH, virtual visit availability has been expanded to all primary care and several specialty care practices, where it now is used to follow up on the care of around 65 chronic conditions, ranging from rheumatologic conditions like gout to psychiatric illnesses like depression. It will soon be extended to practices at other Partners HealthCare facilities, beginning at BWH.Dixon notes, “A paper that a colleague and I published in 2014 reported that conducting and documenting a virtual visit requires about one-fifth of the time a clinician needs for an in-person, office visit. And of course not needing to travel to and from the primary care office is definitely of benefit to patients. The challenge now is finding a way to fairly compensate clinicians for the time and effort devoted to virtual visits.”last_img read more

New cellbased technologies could help improve understanding of musclewasting disease

first_imgJun 6 2018Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have developed new cell-based technologies which could help improve understanding of the muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and test potential drugs for the disease.DMD is a genetic disorder causing muscle degeneration and weakness, caused by an absence of the protein dystrophin. DMD usually affects only boys, with around 100 being born with the condition in the UK each year. There are about 2,500 males known to be living with the condition in the UK at any one time.There are currently no effective treatments for the disease, and patients often succumb to cardiomyopathy, a weakness of the heart muscle which can be fatal. Significant advances have been made in treating DMD in animal models, but there has not yet been success in translating this into medicines for DMD patients.The new approach, led by Dr Yung-Yao Lin from Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute and supported by Professor Andy Tinker from Queen Mary’s William Harvey Research Institute, uses the latest advances in gene editing and stem cell technology to develop a model of human cells with DMD which mimic what happens in a patient’s muscles.The team will be using ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ – adult cells which have been reprogrammed to an embryonic state, so that they can grow to become any type of cell in the body – in this case, skeletal and cardiac muscle cells.A challenge with comparing diseased and healthy cells in research, however, is that each donor’s muscle cells have a different genetic make-up. This makes it incredibly difficult to accurately demonstrate functional differences between DMD patient and healthy human donor muscle cells.To overcome this, the researchers have made use of a gene editing tool known as CRISPR. CRISPR is in use by medical researchers all over the world, but normally it is only used to delete sections of DNA – a relatively simple process.Here, the team are using CRISPR to instead carry out precise editing of the genetic code within DMD patients’ stem cells to ‘fix’ the code and create a healthy muscle cell which has the same genetic make-up as the original patient’s cell.Related StoriesCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentLow estrogen causes muscle loss in women after menopause’Text neck’ may be causing bone spurs in young peopleDr Yung-Yao Lin from Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute said: “Dystrophin is the largest gene in humans, comprising 2.4 million base-pairs and 79 separate protein-coding regions. This makes it one of the most difficult genes to correct, but we’ve managed to do it.”We can now use DMD patient skin cells which are stored in the biobank, and turn them into stem cells to generate an unlimited supply of skeletal and cardiac muscle cells in culture dishes. Our genetically-corrected stem cells will also help us establish a cell-based platform to test future drug candidates.”Mark Silverman from the board of trustees of Action Duchenne, a charity supporting muscular dystrophy research, said: “As both a parent and member of the research committee at Action Duchenne, it is very encouraging to see the breakthrough CRISPR editing tool being used in this way.”There remains a large, unmet need for treatments in Duchenne and families affected by this devastating condition want to see more rapid testing of potential treatments. This exciting news coincides with the release of our latest research strategy, which builds on Action Duchenne’s experience in identifying innovative state-of-the art research.”Professor Francesco Muntoni from the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases said: “We established a rare diseases biological samples biobank to facilitate research on pathogenesis and translational research for children and adults affected by neuromuscular disorders. I am pleased to see this invaluable resource has played a key role in addressing unresolved questions of pathogenesis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is being used to develop novel therapeutic strategies.”The research project to further develop these cell-based technologies for DMD stemmed from the Rare Disease Consortium Initiative, a five year agreement between Pfizer and the Global Medical Excellence Cluster, of which Queen Mary is one of several university partners. The Rare Disease Consortium Initiative provides resources and a framework for the research and development of new and innovative medicines for rare diseases. Source:https://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/2018/smd/new-lab-technology-could-reveal-treatments-for-muscle-wasting-disease.htmllast_img read more

Single fifteenminute bout of exercise increases brain connectivity and efficiency

first_imgJul 9 2018Exercise increases brain connectivity and efficiencyIf you want to learn to walk a tightrope, it’s a good idea to go for a short run after each practice session. That’s because a recent study in NeuroImage demonstrates that exercise performed immediately after practicing a new motor skill improves its long-term retention. More specifically, the research shows, for the first time, that as little as a single fifteen-minute bout of cardiovascular exercise increases brain connectivity and efficiency. It’s a discovery that could, in principle, accelerate recovery of motor skills in patients who have suffered a stroke or who face mobility problems following an injury.In his earlier work, Marc Roig, the senior author on the study, had already demonstrated that exercise helps consolidate muscle or motor memory. What he and the McGill-based research team sought to discover this time was why exactly this was the case. What was going on in the brain, as the mind and the muscles interacted? What was it that helped the body retain motor skills?A muscular video gameTo find out, the research team asked study participants to perform two different tasks. The first, known as a “pinch task” is a bit like a muscular video game. It consists of gripping an object akin to a gamers’ joystick (and known as a dynamometer) and using varying degrees of force to move a cursor up and down to connect red rectangles on a computer screen as quickly as possible (see image on the right). The task was chosen because it involved participants in motor learning as they sought to modulate the force with which they gripped the dynamometer to move the cursor around the screen. This was then followed by fifteen minutes of exercise or rest.Participants were then asked to repeat an abridged version of this task, known as a handgrip task, at intervals of 30, 60, 90 minutes, after exercise or rest, while the researchers assessed their level of brain activity. This task involved participants in simply repeatedly gripping the dynamometer, for a few seconds, with a similar degree of force to that which was used to reach some of the target rectangles in the “pinch task”. The final step in the study involved participants in both groups repeating the “pinch task” eight and then twenty-four hours after initially performing it, allowing the researchers to capture and compare brain activity and connectivity as the motor memories were consolidated.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsMore efficient brain activityThe researchers discovered that those who had exercised were consistently able to repeat the “pinch task” connecting different areas of the brain more efficiently and with less brain activity than those who hadn’t exercised. More importantly, the reduction of brain activity in the exercise group was correlated with a better retention of the motor skill twenty-four hours after motor practice. This suggests that even a short bout of intense exercise can create an optimal brain state during the consolidation of motor memory which improves the retention of motor skills.When they looked more specifically at what was going on, the researchers discovered that, after exercise, there was less brain activity, most likely because the neural connections both between and within the brain hemispheres had become more efficient.”Because the neural activation in the brains of those who had exercised was much lower,” explains Fabien Dal Maso, the first author on the paper, “the neural resources could then be put to other tasks. Exercise may help free up part of your brain to do other things.”The importance of sleepWhat the researchers found especially intriguing was that when they tested participants at the 8 hour mark, there was little difference between groups in skill retention. In fact both groups were less able to retain the skills they had newly acquired, than they were at the twenty-four mark when the difference between the two groups was once more apparent.”What this suggests to us, and this is where we are going next with our research, is that sleep can interact with exercise to optimize the consolidation of motor memories,” says Marc Roig, the senior author on the paper. “It is very exciting to be working in this area right now because there is still so much to be learnt and the research opens doors to health interventions that can potentially make a big difference to people’s lives.” Source:https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/15-minutes-exercise-creates-optimal-brain-state-mastering-new-motor-skills-287952last_img read more

UNLV signs agreement with Desert Radiology to boost business and research opportunities

first_img Source:https://www.unlv.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 6 2018The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), recently executed its first master research service agreement with local medical imaging organization Desert Radiology. The agreement, which is renewable for up to four years, will provide cost-effective imaging analysis services to subjects participating in UNLV research and help generate new business for Desert Radiology. Related StoriesAntioxidant precursor molecule could improve dopamine levels in Parkinson’s patientsResearchers develop novel imaging test to predict immunotherapy response in kidney cancerAI tool can aid in the diagnosis of brain aneurysms”We’re pleased to work together with UNLV to provide quality diagnostics,” said Matthew Grimes, chief operating officer of Desert Radiology. “This new partnership reinforces Desert Radiology’s ongoing commitment and support of the Southern Nevada community.”The partnership is currently supporting studies in the UNLV Schools of Allied Health Sciences and Medicine that require radiological imaging the campus isn’t equipped to provide. One early-stage project will examine the effectiveness of a particular physical therapy regimen in children by analyzing imaging data. Desert Radiology’s imaging services are anticipated to support additional studies in other UNLV colleges and schools as well.”This new agreement furthers our efforts to build new relationships and expand UNLV’s impact in the community,” said Zach Miles, UNLV associate vice president for economic development. “We’re excited by the promise this partnership holds with respect to fueling new research, funding, and faculty recruitment opportunities.”last_img read more

Intel to end sponsorship of Science Talent Search

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The Intel Science Talent Search, one of the nation’s most prestigious competitions for science-savvy high school students in the United States, is losing its title sponsor, The New York Times (NYT) reports. Intel has announced that it will no longer sponsor the program, and the nonprofit that runs the competition, the Society for Science & the Public in Washington, D.C., is looking for a new sponsor to pick up the $6 million annual tab starting in 2017. The program, meant to “inspire innovators of tomorrow,” targets science, math, engineering, and technology students in their last year of high school. It has drawn in thousands of hopeful applicants since it began in 1942. Many of the winners (who receive prize money ranging from $35,000 to $150,000) have excelled as university professors, award winning scientists, and even Nobel laureates. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) It’s unlikely that Intel cut the competition for financial reasons, because it cost only a fraction of a percent of the company’s total revenue last year, NYT reports. Organizers are looking for a new sponsor willing to commit to at least 5 years of sponsorship.last_img read more

Female birds get drabber when their males fool around

first_imgBirds display an astonishing diversity of plumage colors. Males are more colorful than females in some species (top row, left to right: Baltimore oriole, red-legged honeycreeper, and variable seedeater). But females look the same as males in other species Bill Holsten Bill Holsten In some species, males and females look very similar. One example is the golden-hooded tanager in this picture. Female birds get drabber when their males fool around Birds display an astonishing diversity of plumage colors. Males are more colorful than females in some species (top row, left to right: Baltimore oriole, red-legged honeycreeper, and variable seedeater). But females look the same as males in other species Bill Holsten The shining honeycreeper is a small, tropical bird found in Central America. In a new study, scientists compared the colors of almost 6000 species of birds. One conclusion: Birds that live in the tropics tend to be particularly colorful. Bill Holsten The shining honeycreeper is a small, tropical bird found in Central America. In a new study, scientists compared the colors of almost 6000 species of birds. One conclusion: Birds that live in the tropics tend to be particularly colorful. By Kai KupferschmidtNov. 4, 2015 , 1:00 PM Email ‹› Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Kempenaers and his colleagues tried a new approach: scanning pictures. The scientists focused on passerine birds, a group that makes up more than half of all known bird species and that is sometimes known as perching birds for their arrangement of toes—three pointing forward, one back. The researchers scanned illustrations in the Handbook of the Birds of the World, the only book covering every known living bird species, and then used a computer program to quantify how colorful each bird’s plumage is.The tricky part was getting just one number that they could compare across species. For each bird, the scientists looked at six different patches of feathers (nape, crown, forehead, throat, upper breast, lower breast) and then identified the 1% of birds that were closest in color in the same patch. The more males, the higher the score for that patch. The researchers then calculated the average of the six patch scores for each bird. In essence, the scientists measured how “malelike” a bird appeared. But because male birds, in general, tend to be more colorful, that measure also works as a measure of how colorful a bird’s plumage is.Analysis of the data yielded several trends: Larger birds are more likely to be colorful, possibly because they are less likely to be eaten by predators and can afford to be conspicuous. Tropical birds also tend to be more colorful, an observation already made by Charles Darwin. “We can’t say with any certainty what’s driving it. But we can say with certainty it is a very strong and real trend,“ says James Dale, an ecologist at Massey Unviersity. Albany, in New Zealand, and one of the authors of the paper published online today in Nature.The authors noticed one more trend: In species where males mate with more than one female (called polygyny), male birds tend to be more colorful than in monogamous species. This was already known and it is seen as the result of strong competition between males for females. But the authors found that polygyny had an even stronger effect on females: It made them drabber. In monogamous species, males also get to choose females, so there is some sexual selection pressure on them to appear more beautiful. But males in many polygynous species basically take whatever they can get, Kempenaers says. “In these species, sexual selection is acting only on the men. For females there is just natural selection and that favors an inconspicuous plumage.”Tim Caro, an expert on coloration in animals at the University of California, Davis, says the paper is interesting because it looks at female ornamentation as well as male. “Usually most attention is focused on ornamented males,” he wrote in an email.Yet Prum, who has studied the evolution of avian plumage coloration, says that the generalizations arrived at in the study are meaningless, because evolution acts on individual lineages in different ways. For instance, he points out that the biggest passerine bird, the lyrebird from Australia, is large and polygynous, yet both males and females are also drab.Prum also argues that studying avian plumage color off prints is “scandalous,” because there are some aspects of bird coloration that birds can see, but humans cannot. These can only be captured by using a method called spectrometry on live birds or museum specimens, he says.The authors did measure more than 500 bird specimens in museums to test their technique. “The results were very similar whether we used handbook plates or museum skin data,” Dale says. Some information on color will not be picked up by the technique, he acknowledges. “But we compensate for that by having a very large sample size so that the results we get are still very biologically relevant.” Bill Holsten Bird species in which one male can mate with many females tend to have more colorful males. But the promiscuity has an even stronger effect on females, making them drabber. That’s one of the more surprising conclusions in a new study of more than half of all living species of birds, which also reveals that a bird’s size and breeding location has a strong influence on the extravagance of its plumage.“This paper is one of the most ambitious comparative studies ever conducted,“ says Geoffrey Hill, an ornithologist at Auburn University in Alabama, who was not involved with the work. But Richard Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University, says the paper is flawed because the team relied on pictures of birds in a book rather than observing them in the wild. “You couldn’t study animal pheromones with scratch-and-sniff recreations.”Most scientists believe that bright colors signal good health or a great immune system. But why are some bird species more colorful than others? That’s been tough to resolve because it is hard to quantify how colorful a plumage is, says Bart Kempenaers, an ornithologist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany. “How do you compare bright red with bright blue or yellow? That is the problem we had to solve.” In many bird species, the males are more colorful than the females, as in these house finches. The male is on the left, and the female on the right. Bill Holsten last_img read more

Scientists imbue robots with curiosity

first_img Email In a twist on artificial intelligence (AI), computer scientists have programmed machines to be curious—to explore their surroundings on their own and learn for the sake of learning. The new approach could allow robots to learn even faster than they can now. Someday they might even surpass human scientists in forming hypotheses and pushing the frontiers of what’s known.“Developing curiosity is a problem that’s core to intelligence,” says George Konidaris, a computer scientist who runs the Intelligent Robot Lab at Brown University and was not involved in the research. “It’s going to be most useful when you’re not sure what your robot is going to have to do in the future.”Over the years, scientists have worked on algorithms for curiosity, but copying human inquisitiveness has been tricky. For example, most methods aren’t capable of assessing artificial agents’ gaps in knowledge to predict what will be interesting before they see it. (Humans can sometimes judge how interesting a book will be by its cover.) Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) BB-8 certainly looks curious in this photo. By Matthew HutsonMay. 31, 2017 , 5:45 PM Scientists imbue robots with curiositycenter_img jpgfactory/iStockphoto Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Todd Hester, a computer scientist currently at Google DeepMind in London hoped to do better. “I was looking for ways to make computers learn more intelligently, and explore as a human would,” he says. “Don’t explore everything, and don’t explore randomly, but try to do something a little smarter.”So Hester and Peter Stone, a computer scientist at the University of Texas in Austin, developed a new algorithm, Targeted Exploration with Variance-And-Novelty-Intrinsic-Rewards (TEXPLORE-VENIR), that relies on a technique called reinforcement learning. In reinforcement learning, a program tries something, and if the move brings it closer to some ultimate goal, such as the end of a maze, it receives a small reward and is more likely to try the maneuver again in the future. DeepMind has used reinforcement learning to allow programs to master Atari games and the board game Go through random experimentation. But TEXPLORE-VENIR, like other curiosity algorithms, also sets an internal goal for which the program rewards itself for comprehending something new, even if the knowledge doesn’t get it closer to the ultimate goal.As TEXPLORE-VENIR learns and builds a model of the world, it rewards itself for discovering information that’s unlike what’s seen before—for example, finding distant spots on a map or, in culinary application, exotic recipes. It also rewards itself for reducing uncertainty—for becoming familiar with those places and recipes. “They’re fundamentally different types of learning and exploration,” Konidaris says. “Balancing them is really important. And I like that this paper did both of those.”Hester and Stone tested their method in two scenarios. The first was a virtual maze consisting of a circuit of four rooms connected by locked doors. The bot—just a computer program—had to find a key, pick it up, and use it to unlock a door. Each time it passed through a door it earned 10 points, and it had 3000 steps to achieve a high score. If the researchers first let the bot explore for 1000 steps guided only by TEXPLORE-VENIR it earned about 55 door points on average during the 3000-step test phase. If the bot used other curiosity algorithms for such exploration, its score during the test phase ranged from zero to 35—except for when it used one called R-Max, which also earned the bot about 55 points. In a different setup, in which the bot had to simultaneously explore and pass through doors, TEXPLORE-VENIR earned about 70 points, R-Max earned about 35, and the others earned fewer than five, the researchers report in the June issue of Artificial Intelligence.The researchers then tried their algorithm with a physical robot, a humanoid toy called the Nao. In three separate tasks, the half-meter-tall machine earned points for hitting a cymbal, for holding pink tape on its hand in front of its eyes, or for pressing a button on its foot. For each task it had 200 steps to earn points, but first had 400 steps to explore, either randomly or using TEXPLORE-VENIR. Averaged over 13 trials with each of the two methods, Nao was better at finding the pink tape on its hand after exploring with TEXPLORE-VENIR than after exploring randomly. It pressed the button on seven of 13 trials after using TEXPLORE-VENIR but not at all after exploring randomly. And Nao hit the cymbal in one of five trials after using TEXPLORE-VENIR, but never after exploring randomly. Through semistructured experimentation with its own body and environment, TEXPLORE-VENIR was well-prepared for the assigned tasks, just as babies “babble” with their limbs before they learn to crawl.But curiosity can kill the bot, or at least its productivity. If the intrinsic reward for learning is too great, it may ignore the extrinsic reward, says Andrew Barto, computer scientist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst who co-wrote the standard textbook on reinforcement learning and is an unpaid adviser to a company Stone is starting. In fact, R-Max earned fewer points when exploration was simultaneously added to door-unlocking because it was distracted by its own curiosity, a kind of AI ADD. On the other hand, extrinsic rewards can interfere with learning, Barto says. “If you give grades or stars, a student may work for those rather than for his or her own satisfaction.” So an outstanding challenge in training robots is to find the right balance of internal and external rewards.Intelligently inquisitive bots and robots could show flexible behavior when doing chores at home, designing efficient manufacturing processes, or pursuing cures for diseases. Hester says a next step would be to use deep neural networks, algorithms modeled on the brain’s architecture, to better identify novel areas to explore, which would incidentally advance his own quest: “Can we make an agent learn like a child would?”last_img read more

True altruism seen in chimpanzees giving clues to evolution of human cooperation

first_img Whether it’s giving to charity or helping a stranger with directions, we often assist others even when there’s no benefit to us or our family members. Signs of such true altruism have been spotted in some animals, but have been difficult to pin down in our closest evolutionary relatives. Now, in a pair of studies, researchers show that chimpanzees will give up a treat in order to help out an unrelated chimp, and that chimps in the wild go out on risky patrols in order to protect even nonkin at home. The work may give clues to how such cooperation—the foundation of human civilization—evolved in humans.“Both studies provide powerful evidence for forms of cooperation in our closest relatives that have been difficult to demonstrate in other animals besides humans,” says Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who was not involved with the research.In the first study, psychologists Martin Schmelz and Sebastian Grüneisen at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, trained six chimps at the Leipzig Zoo to play a sharing game. Each chimp was paired with a partner who was given a choice of four ropes to pull, each with a different outcome: give just herself a banana pellet; give just the subject a pellet; give both of them pellets; or forgo her turn and let her partner make the decision instead. True altruism seen in chimpanzees, giving clues to evolution of human cooperation Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Michael PriceJun. 19, 2017 , 3:00 PM curioustiger/iStockphoto Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country A pair of studies suggests the evolutionary roots of humanlike cooperation can be seen in chimpanzees, albeit in rudimentary forms. Email Unbeknownst to these partner chimpanzees, the chimp that always started the game—a female named Tai—was trained to always choose the last option, giving up her turn. From the partner’s point of view, this was a risky choice, Grüneisen says, as Tai risked losing out entirely on the banana pellets. Over dozens of trials, after Tai gave up her turn, the six partners pulled the rope that rewarded both themselves and Tai with a treat 75% of the time, indicating they valued her risking her own treats to help them.But the researchers also wanted to see whether the subjects were willing to give up some of their own reward to repay Tai for her perceived kindness. “That kind of reciprocity is often claimed to be a landmark of human cooperation, and we wanted to see how far we could push it with the chimps,” Grüneisen says.The team repeated the experiment, except this time when Tai passed the turn to the subjects, the subjects had the option of either giving themselves four banana pellets and Tai none, or giving both themselves and Tai only three banana pellets. The subjects chose the sacrifice option 44% of the time, compared with 17% of the time when the experimenters, not Tai, made the initial decision. This suggests that the chimps frequently felt compelled to reward Tai for her perceived unselfishness, even at their own expense, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).“We were very surprised to get that finding,” Grüneisen says. “This psychological dimension to chimps’ decision-making, taking into account how much a partner risked to help them, is novel.”The second study, also published today in PNAS, looked at what motivates male chimps to risk life and limb on patrol missions. Male chimps in the wild often team up and silently stalk the group’s boundaries single-file, sniffing for intruders. These can be costly excursions: About a third of the time, they meet chimps from a rival group, and occasionally the encounters turn bloody. So patrolling chimps risk injury or even death.According to classic behavioral theories, chimps should put themselves in such peril only if they have offspring or close maternal relatives in the group. Yet, after analyzing behavior and relationship data from 3750 male chimps in Ngogo, Uganda, collected over the past 20 years, researchers learned that although that was true for most chimps, more than a quarter of the patrollers had no close relations in the group. What’s more, males who didn’t join these all-male patrols didn’t appear to face any repercussions, says the study’s lead author, anthropologist Kevin Langergraber from Arizona State University in Tempe. So, it was a bit surprising that so many chimps risked it.He and his colleagues suggest that a theory known as group augmentation best explains these findings. This theory posits that by patrolling to protect the group’s food supply and expand its territory, the entire group becomes more attractive to females and improves each individual male’s chances of reproducing.Anne Pusey, another evolutionary anthropologist at Duke who is unaffiliated with the studies, agrees it’s a reasonable hypothesis. Protecting and expanding the group’s territory, she says, would “secure or increase the space and food supply for resident females, as well as future immigrant females, with whom [the males] will eventually mate and have a chance of siring offspring.” More and healthier females means each individual male has a greater chance at producing offspring.Langergraber adds that such behavior might serve as an evolutionary basis for human cooperation within huge, diverse communities. “One of the most unusual things about human cooperation is its large scale,” he says. “Hundreds or thousands of unrelated individuals can work together to build a canal, or send a human to the moon. Perhaps the mechanisms that allow collective action among chimpanzees served as building blocks for the subsequent evolution of even more sophisticated cooperation later in human evolution.”last_img read more

Scientific wellness study—and a famed biologists spinoff company—divide researchers

first_img In the pilot project, reported this week in Nature Biotechnology, monthly coaching sessions aimed to help the participants understand the data and create plans to address any concerns. For instance, 95 people had low vitamin D levels, 81 had high mercury levels, and 52 were considered prediabetic. Of all the participants’ measured traits, those three improved most significantly across the study, as individuals were coached to change diets, take vitamin supplements, exercise, or consult their doctors for medical advice.The study also gave participants a Fitbit to track activity and sleep patterns. But only 64% of participants used their devices for 40 days or more, mirroring the dropoff seen in many studies. “This is the best possible cohort of early adopters, and even they couldn’t comply,” Butte says. He adds that’s a potentially foreboding indication of difficulties that lie ahead for the U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative, a National Institutes of Health study that will try to similarly track and analyze 1 million people. CEO and co-founder of Arivale, Clayton Lewis (left), and Co-Founder Leroy Hood, are sold on “scientific wellness” as a new medical frontier. Arivale When you see a study like this, it is thrilling. But when you link it to companies offering this as a service, that is where we start getting into trouble. Jonathan Berg, University of North Carolina School of Medicine By Ryan CrossJul. 19, 2017 , 12:30 PM Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe ‘Scientific wellness’ study—and a famed biologist’s spinoff company—divide researchers Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Leroy Hood knows a thing or two about disruptive technologies. One of biology’s living legends, the now 78-year-old scientist played an influential role in the development of the first automated DNA sequencer. He pioneered systems biology, the study of interactions of molecular networks, and still leads an institute devoted to it in Seattle, Washington. His latest vision is “scientific wellness,” which aims to improve health and prevent disease by combining personalized behavior coaching with DNA and blood testing, activity tracking, and other measures.Hood unveiled the concept 3 years ago, but a pilot study attempting to back it up has only now appeared. He and colleagues have compiled what Hood calls “personal, dense, dynamic data clouds” for 108 people after tracking them for 9 months. Included in the data clouds are their full genome sequences; blood, saliva, urine, and stool samples taken every 3 months that measured levels of 643 metabolites and 262 proteins; and physical activity and sleep monitoring. The massive data set may have helped people avoid diabetes and other health issues, the researchers suggest. Indeed, Hood intends to move forward with his previously proposed 100K Wellness Project, for which he hopes to recruit 100,000 people for by 2020. The study also spurred Hood to co-found a company called Arivale, which now offers similar services coupled to monthly coaching, with a first-year membership price of $3499.Yet not all researchers see the pilot study as a rousing success, or justification for people to spend such sums. They are taking the collection of personal physiological information “to new heights, or depths, depending on how you look at it,” says Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in San Diego, California. Atul Butte, a computational biologist and director of the Institute of Computational Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, notes a “lack of sparkling findings” in the study. “All of these tests cost a lot of money, and it’s not exactly clear what we are getting out of them yet,” he says.  Hood and colleagues identify a single participant that most obviously benefitted significantly from the study. The tests revealed that then 65-year-old Tayloe Washburn, who reported impaired mobility during his family’s hiking trips, had high blood levels of the iron-containing protein ferritin and a genetic risk for developing hemochromatosis, where high iron levels can damage cartilage in joints. Washburn was referred to his physician who linked his cartilage damage to the disease.Though Hood’s study deserves credit for taking “oodles of data” across multiple time points, the results are “a little soft” to conclude such tracking actually helps many people, because there is no control group to compare to, Topol says. He pointed out similar concerns with the battery of medical tests, including genome sequencing and a full-body MRI scan, done on presumably healthy people recently described in a study posted online from J. Craig Venter’s Health Nucleus company.Among the 108 participants in Hood’s study was Clayton Lewis, a friend of Hood’s who works at the venture capital firm Maveron. While monitored, Lewis was training for a triatholon. Although he expected “to be the healthiest person in this study,” the data indicated he was prediabetic, which his personal study coach linked to his metabolism genes and his training diet—low in carbs and high in fats and proteins. He also had the highest blood mercury level in the study, due to his decades-old dental filling. Lewis, who is now 58, resolved both issues by incorporating complex carbohydrates into every meal and getting his filling replaced. He went on to place 10th in his age group in the race. Seeing how the study participants loved “that the data was all about them,” Lewis joined with study leaders Nathan Price and Leroy Hood to launch Arivale, with Lewis as CEO.Now 2 years old, Seattle-based Arivale has already enrolled 2500 individuals for tracking and analysis similar to the pilot study, with 96% of these participants opting in to let their data be used in research, which Hood’s Institute for Systems Biology can pay to access through a licensing agreement. Arivale charges $3499 for the first year, which gets participants’ genomes sequenced; 30-minute monthly coaching sessions; plus blood, saliva, and microbiome (a tally of microbes in stool samples) tests—read every 6 months, instead of every 3 as in the pilot study—plus a Fitbit. Jennifer Lovejoy, Arivale’s chief translational science officer, describes the company as “a bridge to the medical community” that specializes in analyzing the data so that the personal coaches—all registered dieticians, certified nutritionists, or registered nurses—can create lifestyle and wellness recommendations. “Our coaches do not diagnose or treat. We are not providing medical care,” she says. As such, the company has not asked the Food and Drug Administration to review or regulate its offerings.The company’s formation has concerned some original fans of the 100K Wellness Project. “When you see a study like this, it is thrilling. But when you link it to companies offering this as a service, that is where we start getting into trouble,” says Jonathan Berg, a physician scientist that studies cancer and genetics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “We don’t have any idea at all how this information should be used clinically,” he says, adding that scientists should be just as ready to reject their hypotheses as prove them.Such comments don’t deter Hood from his latest disruptive vision. “I think scientific wellness is here to stay,” he says. “And I think it is going to be a key part in the tipping point that is utterly going to transform the practice of health care and take it from a focus of disease to a focus of wellness.” Hood contends that the project’s value will increase with time as more data from a scaled-up study will uncover new signposts for forecasting disease.But Butte says more data alone is not enough. “We need the informatics people to come up with better ways to analyze it,” he says. Whether or not you are convinced such digital data sets will improve health and wellness, though, there’s no denying, Topol says, that “this whole deep dive into human information is really blossoming.”last_img read more

NIH may bar peer reviewers accused of sexual harassment

first_img Email The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, reminded the research community this week that the agency can—and sometimes does—bar scientists accused of sexual harassment from serving as peer reviewers. The bar is lower than the standard to remove an investigator from a grant, say NIH officials, because of their concern about “the integrity of the process.”Noni Byrnes, the newly appointed director of NIH’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR), explained in a 25 March blog post that allegations of sexual harassment could bias a reviewer’s score for a research proposal even if they are ultimately found to be innocent. For example, a male reviewer accused of harassing female postdocs could give better scores to proposals from female postdocs to avoid appearing biased, even if the science didn’t deserve that score. The allegations could come not only from institutions conducting an investigation, but also from victims or “observers.”NIH “can exercise our discretion to exclude” such individuals from its pool of 18,000 reviewers, Byrnes explained. Such a step “is not meant to be punitive, or to imply guilt on the part of the accused,” Byrnes writes. “It is intended simply to protect the integrity of our scientific review process.” Noni Byrnes leads the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review in Bethesda, Maryland. By Jocelyn KaiserMar. 27, 2019 , 4:50 PM The policy is not new, Byrnes told ScienceInsider. NIH has routinely declined to use some potential reviewers for reasons that range from a conflict of interest to the simple fact that a person is chronically late turning in reviews.Byrnes writes that her blog post comes at a time when the agency is receiving a rising number of sexual harassment complaints. And that increased volume has meant the issue is more likely to be on the minds of reviewers, she says.“Especially if some [allegation] got out in the press, everyone around the table knows, the applicant pool knows, the person is listed on our roster,” Byrnes explains. “To me, that compromises the strength and rigor of our process. Why not defer it until everything gets resolved?” And, she adds, “If we find out there’s no issue and they’re innocent, we will invite them back and that person is back in and one of the 18,000.”An allegation could come to one of CSR’s scientific review officers or through a recently announced NIH email address for reporting sexual harassment involving NIH-funded research that triggers NIH to contact the accused’s institution about the allegations. CSR would confer with NIH’s Office of Extramural Research before deciding to bar a reviewer, she adds. But the decision can happen “quickly, especially if it’s somebody who’s scheduled to serve.”Byrnes declined to give a number of peer reviewers who have been removed because of sexual harassment allegations or findings. But she noted that NIH Director Francis Collins recently said that 14 principal investigators have been barred from serving as peer reviewers because of sexual harassment concerns raised in 2018.NIH’s policy for researchers involved in sexual harassment specifies that a principal investigator can lose a grant only after being put on leave or removed by their institution for any reason. The argument is different for peer review, says Byrnes, because “the integrity of the process is a prime driver.” And unlike losing grant funding, “Not attending a [study section] meeting in October is not going to kill [an investigator’s] lab.”The move drew praise on Twitter from many scientists, who interpreted it as a new policy. They gave credit to #MeTooSTEM activist BethAnn McLaughlin, who mentions a ban on peer-review service on her list of four actions that she thinks Collins should take against sexual harassers. “I kind of agree with her,” Byrnes says. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe NIH may bar peer reviewers accused of sexual harassment NIH Image Gallery/Flickr Click to view the privacy policy. 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Karnataka assembly speaker Received only one Cong MLA resignation

first_img Karnataka assembly speaker, Karnataka congress mla resign, Karnataka two congress mla resign, india news The Speaker, who has expressed disappointment over the MLAs not meeting him personally, as mandated by rules, has denied receiving Jharkiholi’s resignation.Despite two MLAs from the Congress claiming to have submitted resignations on July 1, Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar has clarified that he has received only one resignation letter through the correct process. Advertising Related News 0 Comment(s) In Karnataka, Congress-JD(S) coalition on brink as 13 MLAs resign In Mumbai hotel, Karnataka Congress rebels MLAs firm: Won’t take back resignations Karnataka Congress to form panchayat-level committees after humiliating Lok Sabha defeat Two Congress MLAs — Anand Singh from Vijayanagar in Ballari and Ramesh Jharkiholi from Gokak in Belagavi — sent in their resignations on July 1.While Singh handed his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala and sent a copy to the Speaker, Jharkiholi reportedly faxed his resignation letter to the Speaker’s office. The Speaker, who has expressed disappointment over the MLAs not meeting him personally, as mandated by rules, has denied receiving Jharkiholi’s resignation.“There is only one resignation letter given to me physically by a member himself,” the Speaker said on Wednesday.“The Speaker himself has said he has not received the resignation of Jharkiholi,” Former CM Siddaramaiah said. “Only Anand Singh has given his letter. He may withdraw it too. We are talking to him,” he said. By Express News Service |Bengaluru | Published: July 4, 2019 4:12:13 amlast_img read more

US has deep concerns about UN officials trip to China

first_imgChinese officials describe the camps as vocational training centers and say they are necessary to curb religious extremism. Sullivan told Guterres that “Beijing continues to paint its repressive campaign against Uighurs and other Muslims as legitimate counterterrorism efforts when it is not,” and that Voronkov’s trip puts the U.N.’s reputation and credibility at risk.Geng has previously said the U.S. accusations are “fabricated lies” and that the United States should not interfere in China’s internal affairs. Human Rights Watch criticized the United Nations for sending a counterterrorism official instead of a human rights expert, saying it risks deflecting attention from what it called “a massive government rights violation against the Turkic Muslim population.”Chen Xu, China’s new ambassador in Geneva, told reporters Thursday that China had invited U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to visit the camps in Xinjiang “to see for herself.”UN spokeswoman Marta Hurtado confirmed Bachelet had met Chen and that her office is continuing to negotiate “full access” for any trip to China. Geng said China would welcome a visit but added, “we will never allow people with political purposes to interfere in China’s internal affairs and damage China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity with their visit to Xinjiang.” Related News Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, in a phone call Friday with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, called the visit “highly inappropriate in view of the unprecedented repression campaign underway in Xinjiang against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims.”The Chinese foreign ministry confirmed that Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov, the undersecretary-general of the UN counterterrorism office, is in China at the country’s invitation, but didn’t provide any details. “More specific information will be released in time,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing.China has faced international criticism over internment camps in Xinjiang that hold an estimated 1 million members of the Uighur and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups. Post Comment(s) Unbowed, Trump intensifies attacks on four Democratic congresswomen US House rejects Saudi weapons sales; Trump to veto Advertising Hold the applause until Hafiz Saeed is convicted: US committee to Donald Trump By AP |Beijing | Published: June 15, 2019 9:24:24 am Advertising Under fire, Trump pivots and says he would 'absolutely' report foreign help President Donald Trump during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)The US government expressed deep concerns to the U.N. about a reported trip by the U.N. counterterrorism chief to the restive Xinjiang region in China’s far west.last_img read more

Southeast Asian leaders open ASEAN summit in Bangkok

first_img Advertising Related News Advertising Best Of Express However, it is unlikely that there will be any criticism of Myanmar at the summit over the Rohingya, said Prapat Thepchatree, a political science professor at Thailand’s Thammasat University said.“This issue has been a very sensitive one for ASEAN,” he said. Host country Thailand deployed about 10,000 security forces around Bangkok for the summit, mindful of a decade ago when Thailand last hosted an ASEAN summit and dozens of protesters loyal to military-ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra forced their way into the meeting venue.But on Saturday morning, only a small group of people had planned to stage a protest to call Prayuth’s election the product of a rigged system. The group, called Citizens Wanting Elections, was stopped by police before it could reach a meeting point near the summit venue. The group later released a statement welcoming visiting leaders but criticising Prayuth.“The individual who serves as President of ASEAN, who welcomes everyone today, did not come from a clean and fair election,” the letter said. “It is encouraging to see that the ASEAN-China talks on the COC have continued,” said Marty Natalegawa, former foreign minister of Indonesia. “However, there is a real risk that developments on the ground – or more precisely at sea – are far outpacing the COC’s progress thereby possibly rendering it irrelevant.”Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted China’s proposal to jointly investigate allegations that a Chinese fishing vessel abandoned 22 Filipinos after it sank their boat in the South China Sea, his spokesman said on Saturday.Rights groups have also called on ASEAN leaders to rethink support for plans to repatriate Rohingya Muslims who have fled member state Myanmar, where activists say returnees could face discrimination and persecution.ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN summit, ASEAN Thailand summit, ASEAN-China, ASEAN leaders, World news, Indian Express news Host country Thailand deployed about 10,000 security forces around Bangkok for the summit (AP)More than 700,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh in 2017, according to U.N. agencies, after a crackdown by Myanmar’s military sparked by Rohingya insurgent attacks on the security forces. Three years, no takers for India’s $1-billion credit line for ASEAN digital links Formed more than half a century ago, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has historically struggled with challenges facing the region because it works only by consensus and is reluctant to become involved in any matter regarded as internal to a member state.Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was making his debut as a civilian leader representing current chair Thailand, after a general election in March that opposition parties say was designed to ensure his victory five years after the former army chief seized power in a 2014 coup. Officials are expected to discuss a Code of Conduct (COC) for negotiations over the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways and a potential flashpoint, as it is claimed by several ASEAN members as well as China.However, it was unlikely much progress would be made, though member nations might discuss the June 9 collision of a Philippine boat and a Chinese fishing vessel. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan center_img Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach Ocean’s eleven Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield By Reuters |Bangkok | Published: June 22, 2019 2:22:53 pm India rolls out the red carpet for ASEAN ASEAN, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN summit, ASEAN Thailand summit, ASEAN-China, ASEAN leaders, World news, Indian Express news Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pose for a group photo during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, June 22, 2019. (AP)Southeast Asian leaders opened a two-day summit in Bangkok on Saturday, though it was unclear what progress their 10-country group could make on disputes in the South China Sea and the plight of ethnic Rohingya fleeing Myanmar. Post Comment(s)last_img read more