All prices are subject to 10 service charge Foo

first_img*All prices are subject to 10% service charge. Food items are served on rotation basis. Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong’s all-day dining restaurant, The Place, has made a comeback after a two-month makeover in the heart of Kowloon.With a fresh new look in tones of light oak, herringbone patterns and pops of lime and white, the 8600sqf restaurant has turned into an airy dining space offering foodies a variety of popular buffets, its classic all-day à la carte menu, a new wellness afternoon tea, plus grab-and-go choices.Lattice screens separate The Place from the lobby where shiny buckets of seafood sit atop fresh ice along its three-metre Seafood Bar, spotlighted by drop-down pendant lights. Knotted white ropes line the bar to bring out a fishermens catch of the day appeal, and tastes of the sea offer freshly shucked seasonal oyster varieties, Boston lobster, whelks, mussels, crayfish, prawns and Canadian crab.At the live stations, The Place’s chefs serve up foie gras à la minute, paella, Bouillabaisse, Raclette and lobster, with Staub cast-iron pots in vibrant shades of red, mustard and green inviting guests back for seconds.At the Japanese station, Temaki sushi, hand roll cones and fresh sashimi are a must, and the new hammer coppered Tandoor combines Indian culinary theatre with aromatic breads, tandoori and skewered kebabs.For a sweet finish, The Place’s dessert station, now double in size, is the first in Hong Kong to offer a Chocolate Series of Valrhona’s Single-Origin Chocolate that uses cocoa beans from a single source or plantation from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Grenada, Madagascar and Venezuela.Other desserts include baked Alaska, éclairs, fresh churros, as well as the freshly crèpes, lava cake and soufflés.For afternoon tea goers, The Place’s new wellness afternoon tea will be served on weekdays including freshly-squeezed juices, organic teas and sandwiches for the health-conscious guests. Over the weekend, the afternoon tea buffet makes its comeback for a relaxing way to spend the day.Styled by the award-winning team at Stickman Design of Dubai and Hong Kong, The Place, mixed together with warm white stone, a striped timber effect floor, and a splash of fresh meadow green in the furniture, brings a fresh, modern feel to the lively Mongkok neighbourhood.The Place is located at Lobby Level, Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong.hongkong.langhamplacehotels.comlast_img read more

Rep Kahle invites residents to October indistrict office hours

first_img02Oct Rep. Kahle invites residents to October in-district office hours Categories: Kahle News,News State Rep. Bronna Kahle invites Lenawee County residents to join her for office hours on Friday, Oct. 12 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lenawee District Library, 4459 W. U.S. 223 in Adrian.“I appreciate these opportunities to talk about ways to make Lenawee County an even better place to live and work,” Rep. Kahle said. “Come visit with me and discuss the issues that are most important to all of us.”No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov.#####last_img read more

Video technology company Harmonic is to sell its c

first_imgVideo technology company Harmonic is to sell its cable access products business to Aurora Networks for US$46 million (€34 million) in cash.The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter. Harmonic said the decision reflected its commitment to the video production and playout, video processing and cable edge product areas, where it enjoys a leading market position, and the limited synergies between the cable access line and other product areas. The cable access portfolio includes optical transmitters, amplifiers, receivers and nodes.Harmonic’s board has approved an increase to its current share repurchase program to include the net, after-tax cash proceeds from this transaction of approximately US$35 million, contingent upon its closing.The sale of the cable access business enables us to sharpen our focus on our largest growth opportunities,” said Patrick Harshman, Harmonic president and CEO. “Cable access was Harmonic’s lowest margin product line, and through this transaction and the increase in our authorized share repurchase program, we will continue to drive growth in our core markets, expand our gross margin, reduce our outstanding shares, and position our business for stronger long-term earnings.”last_img read more

Charles Cheevers Settop and home gateway maker Ar

first_imgCharles CheeversSet-top and home gateway maker Arris has plans to establish a common application platform, outside of the control of consumer electronics manufacturers like Samsung and Apple.Speaking at Arris’ Video Leadership Forum in Barcelona this week, Arris’ chief technology officer for customer premises equipment, Charles Cheevers, said that the firm wants to create a “unique application environment” for its customers.“As a company we are encouraging our operators, through some of our own ideas but also with some of our competitors, to try and get a common application platform, because we uniquely control the cloud gateway in set-tops,” he said.He added that different players should come together to create an app environment that’s “as rich as something like Android, or iOS, but within our particular industry.”Discussing Arris’ future strategy, Cheevers said that the traditional set-top is changing shifting to more of an IP gateway, with smaller form-factors appearing and more of an emphasis being placed on WiFi connections.“We’re building devices that are meant to spin and refresh quicker than in the past when set-tops were a lot more expensive,” said Cheevers.Arris is working on low, mid and high tier IP STBs, he said. The low tier will be similar in style to small, Chromecast-style streaming devices but with the addition of a remote control, while the mid tier STBs are designed to help “increase the graphics capability” of older TVs.The high tier STBs are designed to keep track of the move to 4K and will have a similar level of performance to games consoles, said Cheevers.Elsewhere, he said another objective for Arris is to work to try and make WiFi “deterministic” in an effort to better manage in-home web traffic – for example prioritising a movie stream in the living room over other mobile WiFi activity.“We can always build excellent antenna designs and an excellent WiFi performance from the hardware, but we can’t control the environment that WiFi works in,” said Cheevers.“The idea is to try and make WiFi deterministic by applying policies to WiFi. Policies to WiFi means you map every service into the available airtime… If we just manage that prioritisation of what services get the most airtime, I think the consumer gets a much better experience from it.”last_img read more

Interest rates could soon take off If we wrote th

first_imgInterest rates could soon take off.If we wrote this a few months ago, you might have thought we were crazy. That’s because the Federal Reserve’s done everything it can to avoid raising interest rates this year.In March, it didn’t raise rates because of a bad jobs report. In June, it held off due to concerns about the global economy and “market volatility.” In September, it didn’t raise rates because it’s waiting for the job market to improve.These are legitimate reasons to not raise rates…but the Fed also held off for another reason: the presidential election.You see, the Fed has held its key rate near zero since 2008. This made it incredibly cheap for households and businesses to borrow money. In many ways, the economy is now hooked on cheap money.At this point, the Fed could trigger a financial crisis or recession by raising rates. And that’s the last thing it wanted to do before the election.• With the election behind us, most people think the Fed will finally raise its key rate next month… To be fair, most investors have been preparing for a December rate hike since the summer. But now that Trump’s going to be president, it looks like rates could rise faster than people expected.You see, most people thought the Fed would raise rates slowly if Hillary won. But Trump has a much different plan for America.He wants to grow the economy using fiscal stimulus, which basically means government spending. Specifically, he wants to spend hundreds of billions fixing the country’s infrastructure.According to Bloomberg, Trump’s policy could force the Fed to jack up rates quicker than they would have under Hillary:“We do view the election of Donald Trump as a game changer,” said Adam Donaldson, head of debt research at Sydney-based Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “The strong bias toward fiscal expansion and inflationary policy represents a stark change to the malaise of recent years. This opens the door for the Fed to hike in December, but also more quickly in 2017 and 2018 than previously expected.”• This is a HUGE deal…  You see, interest rates aren’t some arbitrary number. They’re the price of money. A big move in interest rates affects everything from stocks to commodities.You also have to remember that almost no one thought Trump would win. The market didn’t “price in” rates rising quickly. That’s why we’ve seen big moves by every major financial asset since the election.Today, we’re going to show you how the prospect of rising interest rates is impacting different asset classes…starting with a sector that’s very sensitive to interest rates.• Utility stocks tanked after the election… The sector closed the week down 4.08%. Keep in mind the S&P 500 jumped 3.7% last week. According to Fidelity Investments, utilities were by far the worst-performing group in the S&P 500.Utilities provide electricity, gas, and water to people. They sell things that people can’t live without. This makes for relatively stable revenues, which allows them to pay steady dividends.Many investors own utility stocks specifically for their dependable dividends. That said, utility stocks aren’t as attractive when interest rates are high or likely to rise. That’s because investors can collect decent income in other assets, like bonds.If rates rise like many investors expect, utility stocks could keep falling.• Emerging market assets could also be in big trouble if rates head higher… As you probably know, it’s riskier to invest in emerging markets than in developed countries like the U.S. or Japan. To attract money, emerging markets offer higher returns.For example, Brazil’s 10-year government bond pays a 12.1% yield right now. That’s almost six times more than the 2.1% yield of the U.S. 10-year Treasury.If U.S. interest rates keep rising, U.S. investors could start pulling money out of emerging market assets. According to Reuters, this is already happening:Emerging market shares and currencies slumped on Friday as investors feared higher U.S. interest rates under incoming President Donald Trump will spark capital outflows…The most volatile trading on Friday was across emerging markets, as investors bet that Trump’s fiscal policies will be inflationary, push U.S. rates up and drive investors into dollar-based assets. The real risk here is doing nothing…Porter Stansberry says this could be the domino that starts it all… He’s recommending a strategy to bet AGAINST the most vulnerable companies as it all unfolds. Join him on Nov 16th, to hear how this approach works. – Recommended Links “Project Fedcoin” to Start January 1st?The U.S. dollar is in crisis. Fed members just wrapped up a special “behind-closed-doors” meeting to discuss one of the most dramatic changes to our money in the last 100 years. A change that not only affects how we spend, save, and earn… But that will also transform the very nature of “money” itself. This currency expert explains the shocking details here… — • The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) plummeted last week… EEM tracks emerging market stocks across the world. According to Bloomberg Markets, the fund suffered its worst day since 2011 on Thursday, when it experienced more than $1.5 billion in withdrawals.You can see it’s now down 8% since Election Day and trading at its lowest level since July.On Friday, Bloomberg Markets warned that emerging market stocks could head much lower in the coming days:“EM ETF flows are about to look like the elevator scene from The Shining as you have the double whammy of rising rates and an oncoming ‘America first’ trade policy,” writes Eric Balchunas, ETF Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “We could see $20 billion in outflows by the end of next week.”• The anticipation of higher interest rates has hurt gold, too…  Last week, the price of gold fell 6.1%. It’s now trading at its lowest level since April.Like utilities, gold sold off due to expectations that interest rates will head higher. You see, unlike a bond, gold doesn’t pay interest. Because of this, many investors don’t like to own gold if they expect rates to rise. Of course, regular readers know the conventional wisdom about gold and interest rates is dead wrong.As we’ve pointed out many times, the price of gold has actually increased after the last four Fed rate hikes.You can see in the chart below that the price of gold jumped 20% in just six months when the Fed started raising rates in 2004.In other words, gold can still do very well if the Fed raises rates quickly…which is still a big “if” at this point.• You also have to remember that we don’t buy gold to make a quick profit… We own it because it’s real money and serves as the ultimate protection against financial chaos. And right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the economy and financial system.If you’re nervous about the economy, hold on to your gold. If you’re nervous about the financial system, hold on to your gold. If you’re nervous about our new president, hold on to your gold.Even a small gold position could save you from huge losses when the next financial crisis hits.If you would like to buy gold while it’s “on sale,” check out this presentation we recently put together. It reveals a “loophole” in the global gold market. In short, one of our analysts found what may be the cheapest way in America to buy gold.We can’t say how long this offer will last. So make sure to watch this video today if you’re thinking about buying gold. Click here to learn more.Regards,Justin SpittlerDelray Beach, FloridaNovember 14, 2016How to Hedge Against a Bear MarketEditor’s note: We’re continuing our special mini-series today featuring Stansberry Research founder Porter Stansberry.If you haven’t been following along, Porter says there are unprecedented warning signs in credit markets all around the world…The global scale of these problems means the coming crisis—what Porter has called “the greatest legal transfer of wealth in history”—will be truly historic. And folks who don’t see what’s coming could be wiped out. In fact, Porter says what’s about to happen in the markets will be worse than anything you’ve experienced as an investor…In today’s essay, Porter describes the best way to reduce your risk as this crisis unravels…(The following essay was published on November 14, 2016, in the Stansberry Digest.)From Porter Stansberry, founder, Stansberry Research***For most of the last 15 years, I’ve focused on building tools and advisories to help you avoid risk…You might not have thought of it that way, but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.Just read almost any of the newsletters I (Porter) have written since 2001. You’ll immediately see that my Investment Advisory is primarily about mitigating investment risk. We do this by focusing our recommendations on safe, capital-efficient companies. Alongside this core portfolio, we add a few non-correlated hedge-like investments (such as Fannie and Freddie, which have soared lately). And we even hedge against the market directly with a small number of short-sell recommendations that ideally will “zig” when the rest of our portfolio “zags.”Long-term studies of our results prove this approach has created the best risk-adjusted returns of any letter we publish. (That’s the highest returns with the least amount of volatility.)***But today, I’m recommending the riskiest thing you can do with your money in the markets… There’s an enormous apparent dichotomy here. But… once you really understand this strategy, you’re going to see that there’s no divergence at all. At times, doing things that seem risky (like shorting a stock) are actually the best ways to reduce your portfolio’s risk exposure. Regardless whether you follow me with this particular strategy, I want to make sure you understand why I’m advocating that you take significant steps to hedge your portfolio today.***The biggest pitfall for most investors is the tendency to misjudge risk tolerance… Most subscribers who think they can handle lots of volatility really can’t. But if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “That’s not me. I’m a conservative investor. I don’t take big risks with my portfolio,” I’d bet you’re wrong. Almost every investor I talk to about risk also underestimates the volatility of his or her own portfolio.Not you, though… right? Well, maybe. Think about your own investment experiences. What happened in your account from October 2008 through March 2009? Most people who would have sworn they were conservative investors ended up watching their life savings collapse by 50% or more. Most of them decided they weren’t “buy and hold” investors after all. (They ended up being “buy and fold” investors.) Holding too much risk inevitably trips up most investors.***Risk doesn’t equal reward…I also know from empirical studies of investment results that contrary to what just about every finance department in the country will teach you about finance, risk simply doesn’t equal reward.Lots of good research out there suggests that a strategy of buying well-financed, low-volatility stocks can beat the market by a wide margin.Plenty of real-life examples guide our thinking in this area, too. Investing legend Warren Buffett is a classic example. He made nearly 25% a year in the market between 1954 and 2000 by focusing on the least risky businesses to own, like insurer GEICO, beverage giant Coca-Cola (KO), and credit-card issuer American Express (AXP).It was a brilliant strategy. And it worked, primarily, because he avoided taking risks. He even sold almost all of his stocks in 1969 because he thought the market was too expensive. He didn’t buy back in until 1974. Do you think you could avoid making any equity investments for five years just because you thought the market was too risky?Editor’s note: We are on the precipice of an opportunity where betting against the biggest and most indebted companies in the U.S. could lead to life-changing profits. Porter is hosting a FREE live event on Wednesday night where he’ll lay out all of the details. Click here to reserve your spot.last_img read more

Covered California the states health insurance m

first_imgCovered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, has devised what could be a powerful new way to hold hospitals accountable for the quality of their care.Starting in less than two years, if the hospitals haven’t met certain designated targets for safety and quality, they’ll risk being excluded from the “in-network” designation of health plans sold on the state’s insurance exchange.”We’re saying ‘time’s up,’ ” says Dr. Lance Lang, the chief medical officer for Covered California. “We’ve told health plans that by the end of 2019, we want networks to only include hospitals that have achieved that target.”Here’s how hospitals will be measured: They must perform fewer unnecessary cesarean sections, prescribe fewer opioids, and cut back on the use of imaging (X-rays, MRIs and CT scans) to diagnose and treat back pain.Research has shown these are problem areas in many hospitals — the procedures and pills have an important place, but have been overused to the point of causing patient harm, health care analysts say.C-sections, in particular, have come under scrutiny for years.Many women who don’t need a C-section often get one anyway, according to the data — and it varies from hospital to hospital. Even for low-risk cases, Lang says, several California hospitals are delivering 40 percent of babies by C-section. At one hospital, it’s 78 percent.”That means that when a woman goes to a hospital, it’s the culture of the hospital that really determines whether or not she gets a cesarean section, not so much her own health,” says Lang.Hospitals get paid more to perform a C-section than a vaginal delivery, and the operation usually takes less time, though it is major surgery. Performing it when it’s not needed exposes a woman to unnecessary risks: infection, hemorrhage, even death.Studies also have found that babies delivered by C-section are more likely to have complications and spend more time in the neonatal intensive care unit.That’s not quality health care, Lang says, and that’s why Covered California is telling hospitals they need to reduce their C-section rates to 23.9 percent or lower, for low-risk births.In this case,”low-risk” is defined as a healthy, first-time mom who has carried the single fetus with its head down, all the way to full term — now defined as 39 weeks gestation.Medi-Cal, the state health program for low-income residents, CalPERS, the retirement program for state employees, and the Pacific Business Group on Health, which represents self-insured employers, are also calling on hospitals to improve their quality measures.Together, these groups pay for the health care of 16 million Californians, or 40 percent of the state, which gives them substantial leverage with hospitals.But only Covered California is telling hospitals that if they don’t play by the rules, they’ll be benched.”It’s probably the boldest move we’ve seen in maternity care ever,” says Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that rates hospitals on quality.Expecting hospitals to meet external metrics for quality control is a recent phenomenon, and compliance is still largely voluntary, she says.”Back in the ’80s and ’90s, nobody ever thought that hospitals should have to report to anyone on how they were doing,” she says. “There’s never been a culture of accountability.”Covered California’s move is nationally significant, Binder says, given the consequences for hospitals, and the agency’s reach — 1.4 million people buy coverage through the marketplace — and they shop among plans offered by 11 state-approved insurance companies.Insurers and business groups across the country are already keeping an eye on California’s effort, she says, to see how they might band together to demand similar change from the hospitals in their regions.Overall, California’s hospitals are on board with the C-section goal. Of the 243 maternity hospitals in the state, 40 percent have already met the target, Lang says, and another 40 percent have taken advantage of coaching and consulting to help educate the doctors on how they can adjust their practice. They’re also finding they have to educate patients who request C-sections about the procedure’s risks.”While many may prefer that, when having the full information about the risk that they may be putting themselves and their babies in, they elect not to move in that direction,” says Julie Morath, CEO of the Hospital Quality Institute, a subsidiary of the California Hospital Association. Both groups support the C-section reduction goals as “the right thing to do,” she says.The strategy has raised some concerns among mothers who hear about the 23.9 percent target and worry about rationing.”We don’t just chase rates,” Morath says in response to that concern, “but rather look at what the clinical needs are and how to best respond to those. So if there is an indication for a cesarean section, the mother will receive a cesarean section.”Still, not all hospitals will find it easy to comply. State data show there are about 40 hospitals that are still far off the target in California, including a cluster of hospitals in East Los Angeles that treat low-income, often uninsured, patients.”If you have somebody who is on methamphetamines and is homeless and has not gotten any prenatal care, her chance of a C-section is way higher than someone who is not all those things,” says Dr. Malini Nijagal, an OB-GYN at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and the University of California, San Francisco. “And so the problem is, how do you adjust for the patient population of a hospital?”At Memorial Hospital of Gardena, the C-section rate is 45.2 percent. At East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital, the rate is 48.1 percent, according to publicly available state data listed on CalHospital Compare and Yelp. Both hospitals are working diligently to lower the rates, according to Amie Boersma, director for communications for Avanti Hospitals, which owns both facilities.She says the hospitals will meet the 23.9 percent benchmark and are committed to doing so for the sake of their patients. Being excluded from Covered California health plan networks, she adds, would make it even more difficult for those patients to get care. They would either have to pay out-of-network fees to be seen there, or they would have to travel farther to another facility that was still in the network.”We are in underserved, economically challenged urban neighborhoods and it is vitally important that we continue to provide appropriate, high-quality care for our communities,” Boersma says.Health plans can request an exemption from Covered California’s contract rules (in order to keep noncomplying hospitals in their networks) — as long as they document their reasoning.”That is flexibility that we asked for to ensure that we maintain adequate access to providers,” says Charles Bacchi, CEO of the California Association of Health Plans, a trade group for insurers. “Any major changes to health plan networks must be filed with regulators. And health plans have to ensure that patients continue to receive services in a timely manner.”So far, the prospect of exclusion, plus the coaching for hospitals on how to reduce the rates, have functioned as an effective motivator.By 2020, Covered California’s Lang believes all hospitals will either have met the target or be on their way.”It’s a quality improvement project,” Lang says, “but with a deadline.”This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with KQED and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.last_img read more

Disabled campaigners have criticised the chancello

first_imgDisabled campaigners have criticised the chancellor’s failure to provide any money in the budget to solve the social care funding crisis, despite a warning from the UN.Although Philip Hammond announced some extra funding for the NHS, there was no mention of social care in his budget speech, or in the main budget report.It came only days after the government left disabled campaigners “completely frustrated” by admitting that it will side-line the needs of working-age disabled people from next summer’s social care green paper (see separate story).In August, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities warned that the UK was “going backwards” on independent living, and called on the government to draw up a “comprehensive plan” to address the problem.Despite that call, there was not a single mention of disabled people, disability, independent living or social care in the chancellor’s 7,700-word speech to MPs yesterday (Wednesday), repeating his failure to mention disabled people or disability in his 6,700-word budget speech in March.The chancellor (pictured delivering the budget speech) did announce an extra £335 million for the NHS in England this winter, £1.6 billion in 2018-19, and another £900 million in 2019-20 – still far short of the extra £4 billion-a-year health leaders say it needs – as well as overall increases of £2 billion for the Scottish government, and £1.2 billion more for the Welsh government, but he allocated nothing to social care in England.In March, the chancellor allocated just £2.4 billion in extra money for social care over the next three years, a sum described by disabled campaigners at the time as “meaningless” when set against the scale of the funding crisis.A survey of social workers in England by Community Care magazine and the Care and Support Alliance, published in September, found that more than two-thirds felt they were expected to cut people’s care packages because of local authority funding pressures, while more than a quarter were not confident that the reduced care packages they had to oversee were “fair and safe”.Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday, in his speech responding to the budget, that by March next year more than £6 billion will have been cut from social care budgets since 2010.Linda Burnip, co founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “As expected, the Tories have completely ignored yet again the human disaster they have allowed to develop in relation to social care and have failed to address in any way the ever increasing lack of funding to support disabled people’s human rights to live independently in the community with adequate levels of support.”Disability Rights UK said: “There will be deep disappointment amongst disabled people that there was no mention of social care in the budget.“The crisis in services looks set to continue unabated.”The Local Government Association said it was “a completely false economy to put money into the NHS while not addressing the funding crisis in adult social care” and “sends a message that if you need social care, you should go to hospital”.The disability charity Sense warned the government that it “cannot save the NHS if it delays dealing with social care”.And another disability charity, the MS Society, said the failure to provide more money for social care was “even more alarming” than the refusal to meet the NHS funding gap, and “provides nothing to prevent the current crisis from worsening”.The budget report did include one disability-specific spending announcement, with an extra £42 million for the disabled facilities grant – which provides funding to make disabled people’s homes more accessible – increasing the total budget for this year (2017-18) to £473 million, although this was not mentioned in Hammond’s speech.There was also relief that the government finally agreed to introduce measures to soften the impact of the botched rollout of universal credit (UC), which is gradually replacing six working-age benefits.Campaigners have been warning that the rollout is leaving hundreds of thousands in debt, and forcing people – many of them disabled – to borrow from loan sharks, pawnbrokers and payday loan companies, while many have been left in rent arrears and facing eviction.Hammond announced a package of improvements to UC that will cost £1.5 billion over the next five years (£300 million in 2018-19), including removing the seven-day waiting period for new claimants so that entitlement starts on the day of the claim.Claimants will also be able to secure an advance, equal to a full month’s UC payment, within five days of making a claim, and will be allowed to make online applications for advances.They will also be allowed to pay back the advance payment over 12 months, instead of the current six, while claimants moving from housing benefit to UC will receive an extra two weeks of their housing benefit award to ease the transition.The Treasury told Disability News Service that the changes will cause a further three-month delay to the rollout of universal credit, so it will now reach all jobcentres – although not all claimants – by December 2018 rather than September 2018.Further details were due to be announced today (Thursday) by work and pensions secretary David Gauke.Citizens Advice Scotland welcomed the “significant” changes, and said they would “make a real difference to those claimants who are currently experiencing hardship”, but warned that there were “other problems with universal credit which we believe still need to be addressed”.last_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA 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… Campaigners are warning the Labour party to rethink its support for a radical new benefit system because of risks that its introduction would further isolate and impoverish disabled people.In a new report, UBI: Solution or Illusion? The Implications of Universal Basic Income for Disabled People in Britain, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) says support for universal basic income (UBI) has been growing steadily among those both on the left and the right of politics.Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has expressed some support for UBI and has suggested that the party’s next general election manifesto is likely to include a commitment to a UBI pilot.The Scottish government is also providing funding for possible pilot schemes to be run by four local authorities.UBI is a regular cash payment made to every citizen regardless of their income, paid without any requirement to be in a paid job or looking for work.Many see it as a solution to the UK’s flawed and much-criticised social security safety net, which has seen years of cuts to support and an increasingly-harsh sanctions and conditionality regime.DPAC says this interest in UBI has intensified with the introduction of universal credit.Supporters of UBI also see it as the answer to the “stigmatisation of social security, the scapegoating of benefit claimants and associated hostility towards disabled people”, says DPAC in its report.But the DPAC report warns that too little attention has been paid to the implications of UBI for disabled people.The report warns that it is likely that housing benefit and disability benefits would remain outside a UBI system.This would mean the need for continuing disability assessments, and the risk that the high cost of running a UBI system would mean further cuts to benefits and services relied on by disabled people, such as social care support.DPAC’s Ellen Clifford, author of the new report, said: “While we would be in favour of tax rises to fund welfare provision – particularly corporation tax and a progressive rise in the higher rate of income tax – the use of this for a UBI rather than more traditional forms of disability and unemployment support would mean much of the benefit flowing back to employers rather than those in most need.”Two other grassroots organisations of disabled people, Black Triangle and WinVisible, have this week added their voices to the concerns raised by DPAC about UBI.Clifford’s report concludes that implementing UBI “risks detracting attention and resources from the urgent task required to overhaul the disability benefits system and make it fit for purpose”.It adds: “Given the history of disabled people’s exclusion and the marginalisation of our issues it is reasonable for disabled people to fear that attention and resources dedicated to the task of implementing a UBI will be at the expense of affecting the level of change needed to ensure disabled people receive adequate support.”There are also concerns, says the report, that a more flexible employment market ushered in by UBI, with greater job insecurity and the likelihood of poorer working conditions and lower wages for lower-paid workers, would further disadvantage disabled workers.They also say that right-wing versions of UBI are seen as a way of saving money by avoiding spending on a decent living wage and social protection.And the report says that pushing for UBI risks deferring demands for full reasonable adjustments at work for disabled workers, and “full and unconditional support” for those unable to work, while “ending up with a system that is more of a helping hand for employers than for disabled people”.The report says DPAC’s concerns are born out by the results of pilot UBI schemes that have been run across the world, including one in Finland that has just ended, but has not yet been assessed officially, which critics say has forced unemployed workers into bad jobs while undermining unions, wage equality, and the welfare state.And it says concerns have been raised about the proposed pilot schemes in Scotland, including the cost and potential negative impacts on disabled people, including likely cuts to other social protection schemes.But the report does say that a pilot scheme in India proved successful, with disabled people benefiting more than others, but mainly because “many of those benefiting had received no previous support at all”, which was “very different to what would happen with the introduction of a UBI in Britain to replace existing social security payments”.Clifford said it was worrying how marginalised disabled people had been in the debate around the introduction of UBI.She said DPAC’s message to Labour was to include disabled people in the debate and to consider how they would be affected by the introduction of UBI.Clifford said it was important to have the debate about UBI as there was growing support for the idea that universal credit would have to be scrapped, and that UBI could be the system to replace it.She said: “We have seen with universal credit and personalisation how what can sound like progressive ideas can end up badly for disabled people in practice.“We remember how the personalisation pilots actually went very well.“It isn’t always possible for pilots to capture the full implications of policy roll outs so we are concerned that Labour’s proposed pilots will not on their own be enough to avoid a future situation where UBI is fully rolled out and ends up widening rather than reducing inequality.”The report could surprise some of DPAC’s critics, who often assume that the grassroots group will support the left-wing policies of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn and McDonnell.But DPAC has repeatedly made it clear that it is not aligned to any political party and that its loyalties lie instead with those fighting for disabled people’s “full human rights and equality”, and against government austerity measures “which target the poor while leaving the wealthy unscathed”.John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said existing experiments with UBI appeared to “have been driven by a right wing agenda that undermines workers’ rights”.He said: “On the face of it, UBI seems to be progressive but the devil is in the detail.”He said Black Triangle echoed DPAC’s call for the immediate focus to be on “removing conditionality and sanctions and the hostile environment for disabled people”, replacing the UK government’s disability assessment regime, and co-producing with disabled people a social security system that “will again be fit for purpose”.Claire Glasman, from WinVisible, which supports and campaigns for disabled women, said the problem with UBI was that it was not based on need and – like universal credit – did not recognise the importance of unwaged caring work.She said: “We are very worried that it is going to be a way of cutting benefits based on need: the needs of disabled people, the needs of mothers and children, the needs of bereaved people, which specific benefits exist to cover.”last_img read more

Selfies Could Fool the Galaxy S8s Iris Scanner

first_imgSelfie A hack demonstrates that the iris scanner in Samsung’s new flagship smartphone could unlock the device when presented with a photograph of the owner’s eye. Samsung describes the Galaxy S8’s iris scanner, which lets you unlock the phone just by looking at it, as “one of the safest ways to keep your phone locked and the contents private.” After all, “the patterns in your irises are unique to you and are virtually impossible to replicate,” Samsung explains on its website.But the company may now want to rethink the veracity of its marketing tactics, following a revelation this week that the Galaxy S8 iris-recognition system was hacked with a simple technique. Members of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), based in Germany, were able to unlock an S8 using a photo containing its registered iris. Theoretically, that means anyone who posts selfies online and has an S8 with iris recognition enabled is giving hackers a potential backdoor to unlock their phone.In practice, it’s not that simple. To pull off their hack, the CCC explained in a blog post that they used a clear picture of the phone owner’s face, which was then printed using a laser printer. They then held a contact lens on top of the eye in the photograph, in order to give it the convex three dimensional shape required for the iris scanner to recognize it.In addition to using high-resolution selfies, a hacker could also surreptitiously snap a photo of their intended victim, CCC notes.Despite the simplicity of the hack, it doesn’t reveal any fundamental flaws about Samsung’s iris scanner itself. It’s also worth noting that a similar technique could potentially be used to fool the S8’s face recognition unlocking system, or any other phone with similar unlocking options.Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But it does warn that face recognition (which uses the front-facing camera) is a less secure method of unlocking your phone, explaining in a footnote on its website that “face recognition is less secure than pattern, PIN or password.” Selfies Could Fool the Galaxy S8’s Iris Scanner Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Tom Brant Enroll Now for $5 News reporter Add to Queuecenter_img May 25, 2017 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares Next Article Image credit: via PC Maglast_img read more

This Big Tech Company Is the Most Trusted According to New Survey

first_img This story originally appeared on PCMag 2 min read In light of recent scandals, there’s little surprise in learning that fewer Americans have faith in Facebook’s willingness or ability to obey laws protecting personal information.According to data from Forbes and Statista, Facebook was the only company for which the majority of consumers said they lacked trust. Meanwhile, Yahoo’s new owner Verizon will need to improve consumers’ trust as memories of its massive data leak may still be lingering.Of the four large tech ecosystem vendors that actually sell products to consumers (Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft), Apple ranked last in terms of garnering consumers’ trust, despite the company’s insistence that it is committed to privacy.In contrast, Google ranked second, despite having a business based on targeted advertising.While Amazon has long been unafraid to advertise products to customers based on shared data, it garnered trust among most consumers. That may be related to the company’s outstanding customer satisfaction ratings, or that consumers trust Amazon with their financial information for billing. Amazon’s trust has proven an asset as it has moved forward with devices that listen for speech in the home, and the company will need to leverage a lot of consumer trust if initiatives such as Amazon Key are to be successful. This Big Tech Company Is the Most Trusted, According to New Survey –shares Next Article Trust According to data from Forbes and Statista, 51 percent of consumers do not trust Facebook to obey laws protecting personal information. Add to Queue PCMag Staff Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Enroll Now for $5 Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand April 23, 2018 Image credit: via PC Maglast_img read more

This Startup Has Created a PlantBased Chip That Almost Tastes Like Bacon

first_img Next Article March 14, 2019 Add to Queue Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Entrepreneur Staff 2 min read Image credit: Courtesy of Outstanding Foods Stephen J. Bronner Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brandcenter_img PigOut is made of mushrooms, and its creator worked at Beyond Meat and Just. This Startup Has Created a Plant-Based Chip That Almost Tastes Like Bacon A startup has created a chip that tastes very much like bacon but is made from mushrooms, and it will soon be on the shelves of Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegmans, Kroger and other retailers.Outstanding Foods — founded by Dave Anderson, who helped develop products at Beyond Meat and Just, and Bill Glaser, a serial entrepreneur — has secured distribution with UNFI for the product, PigOut. The company has raised more than $4 million and is backed by big names such as James Altucher, Cesar Millan, Jesse Itzler, Emily Deschanel and Alan Cumming.”We’re right at the convergence of two really strong trends — plant-based foods and better-for-you snacks,” Glaser said. “Our mission is to make it easy for anyone to eat plant-based foods, and we saw the flavor of bacon as being extremely popular. We wanted to own a category and come out with something that was really unique and innovative.”Related: Plant-Based Egg From Just to Soon Be Available Nationwide in Whole FoodsImage Credit: Courtesy of Outstanding FoodsPigOut is made from king oyster mushroom using a proprietary process to reduce fat, as mushrooms absorb liquids such as oil, Glaser said. The company is currently seeking a patent on the process, and Glaser said it plans to license it to other chip makers, since it also works with potatoes.Outstanding Foods also plans to introduce other pork-like products, including plant-based bacon strips and pork rinds. It also wants to expand to other proteins, such as chicken and beef.”We see PigOut not as as the entirety of our business, but a gateway to really establish our brand and then introduce other products after that,” Glaser said.The staff of Entrepreneur enjoyed a sample bag of PigOut provided by the company, with some saying it tasted like a better version of Bacos. We also were charmed by PigOut’s cute pig mascot, who doesn’t have a name yet. Glaser said the company plans to hold a contest and take suggestions from fans for a name. –shares Food Businesses Enroll Now for $5 News Directorlast_img read more

Staples to Turn Parts of Some Stores Into Office Space

first_img Image credit: manolofranco |Pixabay Staples to Turn Parts of Some Stores Into Office Space Next Article April 4, 2016 Staples has announced a new way to make better use of its cavernous stores at a time of shrinking shopper traffic: turning some of that square-footage into office space.The office supplies giant said on Monday it was collaborating with office-sharing startup Workbar to open communal workspace at three of its stores in metro Boston in a pilot. Workbar runs a network of locations with desks and conference rooms that subscribers can use for a monthly fee. Each of the 2,500 to 3,500 square-foot Workbar facilities will have workspaces, conference rooms, private phone rooms and Wi-Fi access. The average U.S. Staples location is 20,000 square feet in size.The move is just the latest by big box retailers looking to find new uses for all their store space at a time more shopping is moving online. For instance, Macy’s has shops run by sports apparel retailer Finish Line and is testing out a similar idea with electronics retailer Best Buy . Sears has rented out parts of stores to everyone from Whole Foods Market to Dick’s Sporting Goods.Staples is struggling with a declining retail business. It said last month it would close 50 of its 1,607 North American stores this year, after shutting 242 others in the two previous years. Staples is also trying to convince the government to let it buy Office Depot to fend off growing competition in the office supplies area from Amazon.com.It recently re-named its business services division Staples Business Advantage from Staples Advantage to prop up that part of its business, which in contrast to the retail division, is growing. Business services now generate 40 percent of company sales, compared to 35 percent in 2013. What’s more, Staples’ North American B2B unit is far more profitable and looks set to surpass the retail division in the next year or two.Many of Staples’ stores have much more space than they need, now that people are buying more and more office items online. Add to Queue Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Phil Wahbacenter_img Staples This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine –shares 2 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »last_img read more

NICE Announces a New Era of Complete Digital Experiences Expediting Enterprises Transition

first_imgComplete digital service management across contact center operations – The first and only unified platform with an end-to-end native integration of digital-first omnichannel management, WFO and Analytics infused with Artificial Intelligence. NICE Announces a New Era of Complete Digital Experiences Expediting Enterprises Transition to Smart Digital Conversations MTS Staff WriterMay 16, 2019, 9:32 pmMay 17, 2019 AIBrand EmbassyCXoneMarketing TechnologyNewsNICESmart Digital Conversations Previous ArticleMarTech Interview with Charli Rogers, VP of International Client Services, YextNext ArticleTechBytes with James Wilson, CTO at Rokt The most efficient digital experience suite – Fully integrated 30+ digital messaging channels with established voice and chat channels all in one native cloud platform, with full elasticity and pay-per-use model.Marketing Technology News: o9 Solutions Continues to Deliver Value with its Premier AI-powered Platform for Integrated Planning and Digital OperationsBarak Eilam, CEO, NICE, said: “CXone is already established as the leading Customer Experience cloud platform, based on the powerful integration of the industry’s best WFO, Analytics and Omnichannel routing in the cloud. This makes CXone the perfect choice for enterprises of all sizes, as they transform to the cloud and advance to analytics. With the addition of Brand Embassy and its pioneering and market-proven digital experience suite, CXone now empowers organizations to also adopt a digital-first strategy, all under one platform.”Marketing Technology News: Captify and Publicis Media Release New Research Revealing Global Beauty Trends That Will Transform The Larger FMCG Ecosystem NICE Accelerates the Cloud Experience Revolution Led by CXone With the Acquisition of Brand EmbassyOrganizations can now provide a true digital consumer experience, as NICE announces the next generation of customer service: Smart Digital Conversations. Enterprises of all sizes can now dynamically connect with every consumer based on their preferences. This is enabled by the acquisition of Brand Embassy, a leading provider of digital customer engagement. Embedding Brand Embassy in CXone, NICE’s leading cloud CX platform, combines CXone’s strong analytics and AI capabilities with Brand Embassy’s groundbreaking and proven digital-first approach. CXone powered by Brand Embassy removes the barriers that historically slowed down the customer experience digital revolution, allowing organizations to put digital at the forefront of their interactions with consumers.CXone, fueled with the capabilities provided by Brand Embassy, is now the only cloud customer experience platform that has the full range of integrated channels, enabling any digital channel to be seamlessly and smartly integrated into any customer service daily operations. With over 30 supported channels, including Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, SMS, email and live chat, CXone powered by Brand Embassy is now the smartest and most complete cloud customer service platform for all channels.Marketing Technology News: Arvind Fashions Partners With Nucleus Vision to Create a More Seamless and Personalized Shopping ExperienceThis unique integration of CXone and Brand Embassy provides multiple groundbreaking advantages:Digital Service in context, eliminating “digital agent” siloes – a new “push/pull” paradigm of naturally handling both real-time (e.g. voice/chat) and digital messaging interactions in one intelligent inbox.last_img read more

Leading hiphop videos depict use of tobacco and marijuana products study finds

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018Over the past decade, hip-hop music has become a world-wide phenomenon and, in 2017, surpassed rock as the biggest music genre in the United States. Up until now little has been known about how often, or in what context, tobacco and marijuana products and imagery appear in hip-hop music culture. In order to get a better understanding of the presence of these products–and the potential public health threat they pose–a team of researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed leading hip-hop music videos over the five years from 2013-2017. They found that that a substantial (40%-50%) proportion of the leading hip-hop videos during this time contained use of combustible or electronic tobacco and marijuana products (or smoke or vapor), corresponding to over 39 billion views to date. They also found that the use of these products in videos was often by main and featured artists, and that the prevalence of combustible or electronic use of tobacco and marijuana rose with songs’ popularity. In addition, brand placement was becoming more common in online hip-hop music content.” While there is no doubt that hip-hop artists have made many positive contributions to social change–speaking out on issues like police violence against minorities–there’s also a history of showing regulated substances in hip-hop and other popular music. These depictions may affect fans’ attitudes toward smoking and increase the likelihood of smoking –particularly among young people,” says Kristin Knutzen, MPH, lead author and Dartmouth Institute research scientist.In their analysis, the researchers included all hip-hop songs listed on Billboard magazine’s weekly Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs list (a list of the top 50 songs) between 2013-2017. During this period, 1,250 songs appeared on the Billboard Top 50 list; 769 of them had accompanying music videos. The researchers also searched YouTube, Tidal, iTunes, Vimeo, and artists’ websites for corresponding music videos of all top 50 songs.Among their findings recently reported in JAMA Internal Medicine: Related StoriesStudy: Tobacco and alcohol usage are common in British reality television showsStudies show no evidence of fall in cigarette consumption due to WHO’s FCTCRisk of children taking up smoking has reduced following tobacco display ban”When young people, especially adolescents, see their favorite artists using tobacco products in music videos, they can begin to view them as normal in hip-hop culture, and they can begin to see themselves using them. They also could view them as less harmful then they are. That’s a very real public health threat,” says study co-author and Dartmouth Institute Associate Professor Samir Soneji, PhD.The researchers note that while these music videos provide “largely unregulated opportunities” for the advertising of tobacco and marijuana products, future regulation that directly addresses the often co-occurring depiction and marketing of tobacco, marijuana, and electronic products in music videos could reduce the burden of tobacco and marijuana use. They also say that beyond federal and state regulation, the music industry and social networking sites could, themselves, reduce combustible and electronic use in hip-hop music videos. For example, advertisements of tobacco products are expressly prohibited by Google, the parent company of YouTube. Thus, YouTube could prohibit postings of music videos with product placement in accordance with Google’s advertising policies. The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos that contained combustible use, electronic use, or smoke or vapor equaled 44% in 2014, 40% in 2015, 50% in 2016, and 47% in 2017. (For a total of 39.5 billion views) Compared with hand-rolled products, manufactured cigarette use was less common in videos. In 2017, only 8% of songs with accompanying music videos contained manufactured cigarettes. Among songs with accompanying music videos containing combustible use, brand placement increased from 0% in 2013 to 10% in 2017. For those containing electronic use, brand placement increased from 25% in 2013 to 88% in 2017. Main or featured artists exclusively used combustible or electronic products in a third of music videos that contained the use of these products. The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos containing the use of these products increased with the popularity of these songs. The proportion equaled 42% among songs in the first quartile of viewership (8,700 to 19 million views) and increased to 50% among songs in the fourth quartile of viewership (112 million to 4 billion views). The researchers note that the music video for the popular song, “I’m The One” by DJ Khaled– featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Wayne — contained both combustible and electronic use, as well as electronic brand placement (KandyPen)– and had been viewed over 1 billion times on YouTube as of June 2018.center_img Source:https://tdi.dartmouth.edu/news-events/new-research-use-tobacco-and-marijuana-products-regularly-featured-hip-hop-music-videoslast_img read more

Improving access to behavioral health screenings for pregnant and postpartum women

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 16 2018The number one medical complication of pregnancy and childbirth for mothers is depression and/or anxiety, with one in seven women suffering from a mood disorder during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Further, substance-use disorder remains one of the most pressing public health issues in Rhode Island, and pregnant and postpartum women are not immune. Each of these health issues is treatable, but the key to successful outcomes is proper screening so treatment can begin.Toward ensuring that pregnant and postpartum women are properly screened, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has recently awarded the Rhode Island Department of Health a five year, $650,000 per year grant in partnership with the Center for Women’s Behavioral Health at Women & Infants Hospital. Together, they will establish a centralized resource to assist health care providers in screening and treating pregnant and postpartum women who have behavioral health conditions.Margaret M. Howard, PhD, is division director of the Center for Women’s Behavioral Health and founder of the Day Hospital at Women & Infants Hospital, the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital program. She has long been an advocate for mental health screening in pregnant and postpartum women and recently received the 2018 Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women in Psychology.”Many people, including health care providers who treat pregnant and postpartum women, don’t realize how common mood disorders are and that they can affect any woman. Postpartum depression cuts across social, economic, geographic, racial, and ethnic lines,” said Dr. Howard. “While there are risk factors for developing postpartum depression, the postpartum period (up to one year after delivery) is the most vulnerable time in any woman’s life to come down with a mood or anxiety disorder. This is exactly why screening is so important.”Related StoriesStudy analyzes high capacity of A. baumannii to persist on various surfacesNew structured approach to managing patients with depression in primary careHospitals’ decision to transfer kids with mental health emergencies is based on insurance typeAccording to the Rhode Island Department of Health, the overarching goal of the grant is to improve the mental health and well-being of pregnant and postpartum women and, thereby, their infants’ social and emotional development through increased access to affordable, culturally and linguistically appropriate treatment and recovery support services.”The period of time just before and after a family welcomes a baby is one of excitement and hope, but it can also be one of the more vulnerable periods in a woman’s life. Among the many challenges that women can face are depression during pregnancy, post-partum depression, and substance-use disorder. For each of these issues, broad, comprehensive screenings programs are a key to successful treatment,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “This partnership will allow us to get vital screening services to women throughout the state and will allow us to focus on critical risk factors, such as experiencing stressful life events, being a teen mom, and having a history of depression. Working together, we can get every woman and family in Rhode Island the supports they need to ensure their health and wellness during every phase of life.”Source: http://www.womenandinfants.org/news/behavioral-health-screening.cfmlast_img read more

Researchers create noninvasive technology that detects when nerve cells fire

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 13 2018Researchers at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, have created a noninvasive technology that detects when nerve cells fire based on changes in shape. The method could be used to observe nerve activity in light-accessible parts of the body, such as the eye, which would allow physicians to quantitatively monitor visual function at the cellular level. The study was published in the journal Light: Science and Applications. The work was funded by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.When nerves fire, there’s a change in the electrical potential (trans-membrane voltage) in the cell. Current techniques for monitoring nerve activity are invasive – requiring either electrodes placed near the nerves or fluorescent markers inserted into the cell. But a new technique, developed by the Stanford team, instead takes advantage of a side-effect of that change in voltage. As the nerve cell fires, the cell’s membrane temporarily becomes slightly stiffer, leading to a rounding of the cell’s shape. These cell shape changes can be picked up by interferometric (phase) imaging, which senses alterations in the the light passing through the cell or being reflected from its surface.Tong Ling, Ph.D., and colleagues in the lab of Daniel Palanker, Ph.D., at Stanford constructed an interferometric microscope equipped with a high-speed camera that collects 50,000 frames per second. This speed is important because the changes in cell shape are subtle, so there’s very little signal compared to noise in the images. With high-speed imaging, the researchers can combine 50 frames together in chunks, averaging out the noise and increasing the strength of the signal. They also designed a novel algorithm that would detect informative regions (i.e. the parts of the cells that move the most) and boost the signal further.”This nanometer-scale shape change is very difficult to see,” said Palanker, “but with ultrafast quantitative phase imaging, it actually turns out to be visible.”Related StoriesScientists find ragweed compounds as potential neuroprotective agentsActive lifestyle shown to repair spinal cord injuriesNeurons rely on their own electrical signals to keep track of normal functionsUsing a dish of cells that had been engineered to fire like neurons, the researchers compared their method to classic, electrode-based measurements of neurons firing. The recordings from their microscope precisely matched the electrical signals sensed by the electrodes.The project is part of a larger collaboration funded through the NEI Audacious Goals Initiative for Regenerative Medicine, a program that aims to restore vision lost due to retinal injury or disease. The eventual goal of the project is to use this technology to detect signals passing through the optic nerve, or even signals from individual nerve cells in the retina. Direct monitoring of nerves in the eye will help researchers design and test new therapies to restore visual function.”Our task in this joint grant was establishment of the basic facts–how fast and how much the cells move during action potential–and to devise the best technical strategies for the system to be then used in humans,” said Palanker. “I think this paper will be a solid reference regarding mechanical effects in cells when they fire.”Moving forward, team members, including the grant’s principal investigator, Austin Roorda, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, will determine how to use this technique with optical coherence tomography, a type of imaging technology commonly used to visualize the back of the eye.”Non-invasive, all-optical, neural recording techniques like those being pioneered by Dr. Palanker and his team are very exciting because, unlike other methods, these can potentially be used in human eyes,” said Roorda. “These developments give promise for a day when we can study retinal diseases in human on a cellular scale and evaluate the treatments to cure them.”Source: https://nei.nih.gov/content/researchers-design-technology-sees-nerve-cells-firelast_img read more

No Facebook doesnt secretly listen via your microphone to target ads at

Whatever you might have heard, Facebook doesn’t listen in on everything you do through the microphone on your phone, mining the information for clues on what ads to send you. Citation: No, Facebook doesn’t secretly listen via your microphone to target ads at you (2018, April 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-facebook-doesnt-secretly-microphone-ads.html “No,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told members of Congress on Tuesday, addressing a conspiracy theory that doesn’t seem to want to die.The theory has been floating around since at least 2016. It posits that Facebook surreptitiously records audio using the microphones on users’ smart phones, then uses voice recognition software to turn it into searchable terms that the site can use to place ads in the user’s news feed.An example would be if someone were discussing lawn mowers near their phone, then suddenly started seeing lawn mower ads in their Facebook news feed.Facebook addressed the rumor in June 2016 in a post, saying this:”Facebook does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed. Some recent articles have suggested that we must be listening to people’s conversations in order to show them relevant ads. This is not true. We show ads based on people’s interests and other profile information—not what you’re talking out loud about.”However, the rumor isn’t going away. In a hearing before Congress on the Cambridge Analytica scandal Tuesday, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan asked Zuckerberg, “Yes or no, does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about users?””No,” Zuckerberg responded.He continued, “Senator, let me get clear on this, you’re talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around that we listen to what’s going on on your microphone and use that for ads. To be clear, we do allow people to take videos on their devices and share those, and videos have audio, so we do while you’re taking a video, record that and use that to make the service is better by making sure your videos have audio, but I think that is pretty clear. But I just wanted to make sure I was exhaustive there.”For those who might still be concerned, a simple solution is to go into phone settings and turn off the permissions that allow the Facebook app to access the microphone. Note that this will make it impossible to record live videos with sound on Facebook, so you’ll need to turn it back on should you want to do so.Instructions on cutting the link:For iPhone users, go to Settings >> Privacy >> Microphone >> look for Facebook, then toggle off the setting that allows the Facebook app to access the microphone.For recent Android versions go to Settings >> Apps >> Facebook >> Permissions, then toggle off the setting that allows the Facebook app to access the microphone. ©2018 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. What to do if Facebook says your info was used by Cambridge Analytica Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Google ramps up Gmail privacy controls in major update

The “all new” Gmail is available to the more than four million businesses that pay for G Suite services.People who use the email service personally for free can opt in by making the choice in settings, vice president of product management David Thacker said in a blog post.Revamped Gmail has “a brand new look on the web, advanced security features, new applications of Google’s artificial intelligence and even more integrations with other G Suite apps,” according to Thacker.A confidential mode added to Gmail promises to let people sending messages set expiration dates and block them from being forwarded, copied, downloaded or printed.Messages can be revoked after being sent, Thacker said.Senders of mail can also require that a code delivered by text message be entered before an email can be viewed, in an added layer of security.”Because you can require additional authentication via text message to view an email, it’s also possible to protect data even if a recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the message is active,” Thacker said.Confidential mode will begin to roll out to personal Gmail users and a limited number of G Suite customers in coming weeks, according to Google.Artificial intelligence is being put to work in new Gmail features including “nudging” people to tend to neglected messages and automated reply suggestions along the lines of those added to a mobile version of the email service last year.”Gmail can also recommend when to unsubscribe from mailing lists,” Thacker said.”Using intelligence, unsubscribe suggestions appear based on cues like how many emails you get from a sender and how many of them you actually read.”Google and rival technology titans such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have followed people into the internet cloud with services, digital content, and software hosted online at data centers but accessed from the gamut of devices. Explore further Google on Wednesday ramped up privacy controls in a Gmail overhaul, aiming first at businesses that use its suite of workplace tools hosted in the internet cloud. Citation: Google ramps up Gmail privacy controls in major update (2018, April 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-google-ramps-gmail-privacy-major.html Indian commuters in Bangalore ride past an advertisement poster for Google, which is overhauling its Gmail service © 2018 AFP Google to stop scanning Gmail for ad targeting This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Election Commission faces questions over alleged violations of election rules

first_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL April 08, 2019 The ECI is an autonomous constitutional body tasked with the smooth conduct of the world’s biggest democratic exercise with as many as 900 million eligible voters. File photo   –  THE HINDU The Commission is also examining a representation against the planned release of a biopic titled “PM Narendra Modi” this month RELATED Election Commission of India politics Published oncenter_img ‘Muslims should not waste their votes on Congress’ Ahead of the general elections that start on Thursday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that it is swamped with many questions and complaints of alleged violation of election rules, known as the model code of conduct. Many are coming via ever expanding social media.Opposition parties have accused the ECI of being biased towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which they say is giving Modi an unfair advantage in the election. There is even a threat to jail commission officials if Modi is ousted.The BJP denies getting any special treatment from the ECI.The ECI – an autonomous constitutional body tasked with the smooth conduct of the world’s biggest democratic exercise with as many as 900 million eligible voters – said it was impartial and taking action against the guilty irrespective of party affiliation.But Tarun Kumar, a secretary for the main opposition Congress party, said the model code of conduct had became a joke because the recently launched NaMO TV that carries Modi’s rallies live and runs other promotional material for the ruling party was still on air despite several complaints against it.“Everyday I think that the Election Commission has sunk to its lowest, only to be proved wrong next day!” said Yogendra Yadav, a political activist and former pollster.‘Modi’s soldiers’Among the top complaints the ECI has ruled on or is examining are a speech by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, Yogi Adityanath of the BJP, in which he associated the armed forces with Modi by calling them “Modi’s soldiers”, according to the ECI’s website.Adityanath has been warned against making such statements in future.The Commission is also examining a representation against the planned release of a biopic titled “PM Narendra Modi” this month.The ECI late last month said Modi did not violate the code of conduct when he addressed the nation to announce that an Indian anti-satellite missile had shot down an Indian satellite in space in a major breakthrough. Opposition parties had accused Modi of trying to gain political benefits through the televised address.To be sure, there are complaints against Congress President Rahul Gandhi too, mainly over his allegations of corruption over a warplane deal signed by the Modi government.“In the world of social media and mobile phones, people get to know things immediately, which we take time to get to know and react on,” Sandeep Saxena, a deputy election commissioner, told Reuters.“The Commission will only move when there is sufficient material. We normally ask our own field functionaries. It takes 12 hours or so to establish, only then we go for action on it.”Saxena said since the code of conduct came into place on March 10, the ECI has received more than 40,000 references and complaints on its mobile app, 99 percent of which have been dealt with. He said 68 percent of the cases were found to be correct and action initiated.Another commission official, requesting anonymity, said that in the past three weeks they would have received more than 1 million complaints from regional parties, national parties, through social media and on the app.“The volume of work is huge. The world has drastically changed because of social media and things like that, the policies sometimes are lagging behind and procedures, which have to be followed, make us slow. People have the right to criticise. We are doing the best we can to conduct a fair election in the country. Some of our officers are working 16 to 17 hours a day,” said the official at the ECI, which has 300 people in its headquarters and others in states.Click here for more information on Elections 2019 national elections COMMENT COMMENTS SHARElast_img read more

Gather info on RSS netas Nitish Kumar tells Bihar intel

first_imgPATNA: The Bihar Police Special Branch, the intelligence wing of the state police which briefs chief minister Nitish Kumar (who is also home minister) on sensitive issues, was directed to gather “detailed information” on the state functionaries of the RSS and its 17 subsidiary outfits in a letter issued by the SP (Special Branch) on May 28, two days before the swearing-in of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. The letter – a copy of which is with TOI – had been addressed to all deputy SPs of Special Branch and asked them to furnish information such as names, addresses, posts and occupations of RSS office-bearers. JD(U) national secretary-general K C Tyagi called it a routine issue. “This is a routine matter, which the police or the intelligence wing of every state or the central government does from time to time. It should not be construed as an attempt either to target or malign the image of any organisation.” A senior BJP leader, on the other hand, remarked, “There is more a lot to it than meets the eye. After all, RSS is a nationalist organisation.” The senior officers assigned to field duty had been asked to treat the letter, copies of which were also forwarded to the ADG, IG and DIG of Special Branch, as urgent and provide the relevant information within a week. The current SP (G), Special Branch, Kartikey Sharma, whose office had issued the letter, said, “I have no idea about any such letter. I assumed charge as SP (G) recently. I was not in the post when the letter, as you have mentioned, was issued.” He did not confirm if his office had received the relevant data from the officers concerned. However, another officer, who did not want to be named, said, “Do you think any officer will delay in submitting the report? It was clearly mentioned in the letter to accord top priority to it.” Additional chief secretary (home) Amir Subhani could not be reached for comment. ADG (Special Branch) J S Gangwar was also not available for comment. A senior home department official, however, said nobody would comment on this “sensitive issue”. Apart from RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Samiti, Hindu Rashtra Sena, Dharma Jagran Samiti, Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, Durga Vahini, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Sikha Bharti, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Hindu Mahasabha, Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh, Hindu Yuva Vahini, Hindu Putra Sangathan, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Bhartiya Railway Sangh, and Muslim Rashtriya Sangh are also mentioned in the memo. Another senior RSS leader clarified that the names of many organisations have been wrongly mentioned in the letter. The list contained even a few non-existent ones. “This indicates how the intelligence wing of the state police functions in the state,” he said, adding that altogether 37 subsidiary organisations of the RSS were active across the country. Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for youlast_img read more