Month: July 2019

  • Report YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content

    first_imgYouTube did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but in a statement provided to Bloomberg it maintained the company’s primary focus has been tackling tough content challenges.Some of the measures taken to address the toxic content challenge:Updating its recommendations system to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation by adding a measure of “social responsibility” to its recommendation algorithm, which includes input on how many times people share and click the “like” and “dislike” buttons on a video;Improving the news experience on by adding links to Google News results inside of YouTube search, and featuring “authoritative” sources, from established media outlets, in its news sections;Increasing the number of people focused on content issues across Google to 10,000;Investing in machine learning to be able to more quickly find and remove content that violates the platform’s policies;Continually reviewing and updating its policies (it made more than 30 policy updates in 2018 alone); andRemoving over 8.8 million channels for violating its guidelines. Trump Card Borderline Content Meanwhile, YouTube’s efforts to manage toxic content may get more complicated due to a federal court ruling in New York state. That decision stems from President Donald J. Trump’s blocking of some Twitter followers critical of his job performance.”We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account — the ‘interactive space’ where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President’s tweets — are properly analyzed under the ‘public forum’ doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.That “public forum” analysis has social media executives wondering about the legal status of their platforms.”Everybody is concerned that rather than being a private club where everybody can have their own dress code, they’re more like a public forum or town square where they’re subject to the First Amendment,” said Karen North, director of the Annenberg Online Communities program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.”If there’s a question of freedom of speech, then everyone is wondering where they can draw the line between what should be available and what should be blocked,” she told TechNewsWorld. “Some pretty vile and toxic speech is legal, and in the town square that speech is protected.” John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. Tackling Tough Content Issues It’s doubtful that government regulation of YouTube would be beneficial, observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.”Though Facebook and YouTube and Google execs have claimed for years to be doing all they can to curb toxic content, the results are pretty dismal,” he told TechNewsWorld.”The video shared by the suspect in the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque massacre is just their latest failure,” King remarked. “That said, it’s difficult to envision how government regulation could improve the situation.”Companies ought to be concerned about toxic content because it can have a negative impact on a company’s brand and financial performance, he pointed out.”You can see evidence of that in various consumer boycotts of advertisers that support talk show and other TV programs whose hosts or guests have gone beyond the pale. No company wants to be deeply associated with toxic content,” King added.”Failing to control or contain toxic content can poison a platform or brand among users and consumers. That can directly impact a company’s bottom line, as we’ve seen happening when advertisers abandon controversial programs,” he explained. “In worst case circumstances, the platform itself may become toxic. With inattention and pollution, a popular mountain lake can quickly transform into a cesspit that people avoid. Commercial companies are no different.” center_img From Lake to Cesspit ‘Bad Virality’ YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.In a 3,000-word article, Mark Bergen wrote that the US$16 billion company has spent years chasing one business goal: engagement.”In recent years, scores of people inside YouTube and Google, its owner, raised concerns about the mass of false, incendiary and toxic content that the world’s largest video site surfaced and spread,” he noted.Despite those concerns, YouTube’s corporate leadership is “unable or unwilling to act on these internal alarms for fear of throttling engagement,” Bergen wrote.The problem with the social internet, IMO, is metrics. They’re almost always a false indicator — shock rather than quality — but because businesses are built on KPIs, they will always manage by any given numbers, even bad ones.— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) April 2, 2019 The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor in the communications department at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.”Much of this content doesn’t violate YouTube’s social community standards,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This is content that is borderline.”Any mechanism that removes content from a platform creates risks. “You run the risk of developing a reputation of privileging some content over others as to what’s removed and what’s not,” Myers explained.On the other hand, if something isn’t done about toxic content, there’s the risk that government regulators will enter the picture — something no industry wants.”Any time you have government intervention, you’re going to have to have some mechanism for compliance,” Myers said.”That creates an expense, an added layer of management, an added layer of employees, and it’s going to complicate how your business model runs,” he continued.”It may also affect the ease at which content is populated on a site. Regulatory oversight may take away the kind of ease and quickness that exists today.” Corporate culture began to change at YouTube in 2012, Bergen explained, when executives like Robert Kyncl, formerly of Netflix, and Salar Kamangar, a Google veteran, were brought in to make the company profitable.”In 2012,” Bergen wrote, “YouTube concluded that the more people watched, the more ads it could run — and that recommending videos, alongside a clip or after one was finished, was the best way to keep eyes on the site.”At that time, too, Kamangar set an ambitious goal for the company: one billion hours of viewing a day. So the company rewrote its recommendation engine with that goal in mind, and reached it in 2016.Virality — a video’s ability to capture thousands, if not millions of views — was key to reaching the billion-hour goal.”YouTube doesn’t give an exact recipe for virality. But in the race to one billion hours, a formula emerged: Outrage equals attention,” Bergen wrote.”People inside YouTube knew about this dynamic,” he explained. “Over the years, there were many tortured debates about what to do with troublesome videos — those that don’t violate its content policies and so remain on the site. Some software engineers have nicknamed the problem ‘bad virality.'”last_img read more

  • Expert suggests ways to control uncomfortable vaginal symptoms in diabetic women

    first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 15 2018With approximately 9.7 million women in the U.S. suffering with diabetes and almost 50 million U.S. adults with prediabetes, most of the women are experiencing uncomfortable vaginal symptoms like recurrent yeast and bacterial infections, vaginal dryness, reduced sexual interest, and painful intercourse that can adversely affect quality of life.”Ask your healthcare provider to test for Hemoglobin A1c or a fasting blood sugar test for type 2 diabetes because diabetes can be prevented if you change your lifestyle by losing weight, eating healthier foods, and exercising more. Diabetes not only puts people at risk for heart disease, it’s also a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputation of limbs, and other serious conditions. And like other serious medical problems, such as osteoporosis or hardening of the arteries, diabetes arrives steadily and silently unless you take the steps needed to stop and reverse the process,” says Mache Seibel, M.D., Member Harvard Medical School Faculty, Editor of “I wrote this song and made this video to remind you of things you can do to lower the risk of diabetes. Also, in my book The Estrogen Fix, I explain how taking estrogen can lower the risk of diabetes for women in menopause.”Related StoriesUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useSome people treated for type 1 diabetes may have monogenic diabetes, study findsUranium toxicity might have caused obesity and diabetes in Kuwait, finds new studyIf you’re suffering with vaginal symptoms, the good news is, the uncomfortable symptoms can be controlled. “If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels is key. And restoring vaginal health for diabetics can be as simple as a trip to the drug store,” adds Seibel. “Your health care provider can also recommend a local vaginal estrogen.” Diabetics, even if they are not menopausal, often have atherosclerosis, which damages blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the heart. It also decreases blood flow to the vagina. The result is diminished lubrication and arousal. Once a woman with diabetes goes through menopause and estrogen levels plummet, so can sexual satisfaction. Decreased vaginal lubrication and resulting vaginal dryness can make intercourse more painful for many women and reduce their sexual desire and response. Replens External Soothing Gel is readily available to calm and soothe the sensitive exterior vulvar skin, and estrogen free Replens moisturizer provides long-lasting internal relief. It rejuvenates dry vaginal cells and provides moisture for three full days. In women with diabetes, vaginal secretions contain more glucose, or sugar, due to higher amounts of glucose in the blood, which nourishes yeast cells, causing them to multiply and create a hospitable environment for the overgrowth of both bacteria and yeast. The key to maintaining daily vaginal health is balancing yeast and bacteria. RepHresh Pro-B is a probiotic supplement that studies show balances yeast and bacteria with two patented and clinically tested vaginal strains of healthy lactobacillus (flora), L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14. Both help maintain the vaginal flora in a normal range.center_img Source: read more

  • New oilfree dry compressing screw vacuum pump from Leybold

    first_imgWhat qualifies the pumps of the VARODRY series is their excellent suitability for the manufacturing industry. The reason: In industrial processes, pumps do not only need to handle clean air, but also dirt, particles, outgassing of media and vapors. Processes do also not always work stable, other disturbance factors might also be involved. The pump must be able to tolerate all of this. In general, screw pumps are the best choice for such demanding requirements. You can compare their function a bit to an extruder that pushes out the disturbing particles together with the regular material at its exhaust. In addition, these pumps are able to handle vapors in the best possible way. All those advantages of the screw-pump functional principle apply to the VARODRY, but next to this, due to its integrated silencer the pump offers also a quiet and pleasant sound profile.However, there are other factors, which make a significant contribution to improving production processes. The variable inlet flange arrangement enables a flexible installation of the pump within the plant. Furthermore, the design of the silencer without “sponge-like” damper materials and the exhaust flange located at the lowest point of the pump facilitates pushing-out liquids or condensed vapors, which might incur in some industrial processes. This prevents potential formation of rust and contributes significantly to process reliability.A further process advantage is the reliability and efficiency of the pump. It can be operated continuously at any inlet pressure and is fully resistant even against repeated shock venting. Any number of cycles can be run without overload, which is still not the current market standard.A major differentiation of the VARODRY is its complete oil-freeness. All other screw-type vacuum pumps on the market are “dry compressing”; nevertheless, all these pumps have gear compartments partly filled with oil to lubricate the bearings and gear wheels.Exactly this is not the case with the VARODRY pumps. The VARODRY is 100% oil-free. Because of this there is no chance for oil migration from the gear chamber into the pumps compression chamber where this oil might react with the pumped gases or in worst case even migrate backwards to the process chamber.This hazard cannot happen with the VARODRY, as it uses grease-lubricated bearings and as even oil-lubricated synchronization gears are not used. Drive and synchronization is done with a high-tech tooth-belt, which on demand can be exchanged in a few minutes by the user himself. This also eliminates the gear oil exchanges which are still required at other screw-type pumps. It is therefore impossible that any oil can migrate backwards to the process chamber, will be blown out of the exhaust or might leak on the floor during gear-box exchange. The VARODRY is therefore the first pump on the market which is 100% oil-free which will have a significant impact on cost reduction and process room cleanliness.Another technical advantage for industrial use is the complete air cooling of the pump. This simplifies the integration of the pump into the plant as there is no need for the sometimes complicated water supply.In contrast to most competitor products, the VARODRY has a moderate temperature profile. The low internal temperatures which peak around 100 to 130°C (depending on operation point) also allow a handling of temperature sensitive media, often preventing that those react immediately and build-up layers inside the pump. This moderate heat is the optimum for many applications enabling long-time operation without need for compression room cleaning.These properties qualify VARODRY for a number of applications:Optical coatings such as spectacle lenses or decorative coatings, e.g. for bathroom fittings, usually produce dust in the sputtering process. A dry compressing screw-pump simply blows such dust through while in oil-sealed pumps the dust is trapped which causes strong wear of the motive parts.The VARODRY is also a perfect pump for drying processes and industrial cleaning systems, e.g. for casted machine parts. Such parts must be dried thoroughly after cleaning to avoid immediate flash rust corrosion. The best method to dry such massive parts which have sometimes hidden solvent reservoirs inside bore-holes or cavities is vacuum drying. The moisture is extracted from even the smallest holes and the part is completely dried. This application requires pumps that can tolerate a lot of vapors – such as the VARODRY vacuum pumps.The same prerequisite applies for successful cryo-pump regeneration. Cryo-pumps freeze the gases and require a regular regeneration, during which the pump is heated and the stored gas will be released and must be pumped out. Large quantities of water are appearing during this process.In addition to drying processes in industrial cleaning systems, the VARODRY is also used in freeze drying application, as well in pharmaceutical as also in food-related freeze drying. Drying applications are also necessary in lithium-ion battery production and in the manufacture of power storage devices.Another target market which involves vacuum drying is the manufacturing of transformers or other high-voltage transmission components. Such components contain insulation materials, i.e. paper windings, which must be absolutely dry. Under vacuum, the moisture in the insulation is reduced to a few ppm only. Water vapor compatibility is also important here.In composite applications, the resin must be degassed prior to usage to ensure bubble-freeness. During the following infiltration step, the resin is then pulled into the pre-evacuated fiber material. In both process steps the resin is outgassing and vapors enter the pump which needs to tolerate this. In this application the VARODRY excels again with its moderate process room temperature, as the build-up of layers is widely prevented which ensures a long-time, trouble-free operation of the pumps.Besides liquid, gaseous and solid, plasma is the fourth state of aggregation. Typical plasma applications are surface cleaning and activation or sterilization where bacteria are killed by the hot surface plasma without a real heat-load for heat-sensitive products. In plasma applications the pressure is typically reduced to <1 mbar, a reactive gas as O2 or H2O2 is introduced and then the plasma is ignited. The pumps need to handle the plasma-gases plus the “burnt” by-products. Using plasma, it is mostly complicated to define exactly the gases which need to be handled by the pump. A dry pump with its robustness is therefore ideal in these applications because it can convey nearly all substances without trouble.With the attributes "easy", "reliable", "efficient" and "dry", the VARODRY is a very good alternative to the usual pumps on the market. Nov 29 2018The new VARODRY is a 100% oil-free, dry compressing screw vacuum pump. Screw pumps are currently state-of-the-art in the field of industrial vacuum pumps. The VARODRY will initially be available in the sizes VD65 (65 m³/h) and VD100 (100 m³/h), the sizes VD160 and VD200 are already in preparation. Source: read more

  • Chemicals at home responsible for decreased fertility in men and dogs

    first_imgResearchers at the University of Nottingham say that over the last few decades there have been concerns regarding loss of fertility and 50 percent reduction the sperm quality worldwide. They also noted that the sperm quality of pet dogs at home has also declined by around 30 percent over time. This raised the question of a common factor present at home that could be blamed.The team started their study by checking on the effects of two specific chemicals called the common plasticizer diethylhexyl phthalate or DEHP and an industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB153). The DEHP is found across various items at home including carpets, floors, clothes, wires, toys, upholstery etc. PCB153 is found in food items but has been banned around the world. The team collected sperm samples from donor men and stud dogs living in the same region of the UK. They noted that when the levels of the chemicals were higher in the environment, there was a decline in sperm quality of both men and the dogs.Study leader Associate Professor and Reader in Reproductive Biology at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, Richard Lea, said in a statement, “This new study supports our theory that the domestic dog is indeed a ‘sentinel’ or mirror for human male reproductive decline and our findings suggest that man-made chemicals that have been widely used in the home and working environment may be responsible for the fall in sperm quality reported in both man and dog that share the same environment.” He added, “Our previous study in dogs showed that the chemical pollutants found in the sperm of adult dogs, and in some pet foods, had a detrimental effect on sperm function at the concentrations previously found in the male reproductive tract. This new study is the first to test the effect of two known environmental contaminants, DEHP and PCB153, on both dog and human sperm in vitro, in the same concentrations as found in vivo.”Related StoriesMost women glad to do genetic testing before IVF, reports surveySperm quality among Swiss men in ‘critical state’, say expertsStress during early pregnancy may reduce future fertility of offspringRebecca Sumner, a PhD scholar, who conducted the experimental parts of this study explained, “In both cases and in both subjects, the effect was reduced sperm motility and increased fragmentation of DNA. We know that when human sperm motility is poor, DNA fragmentation is increased and that human male infertility is linked to increased levels of DNA damage in sperm.” She added, “We now believe this is the same in pet dogs because they live in the same domestic environment and are exposed to the same household contaminants. This means that dogs may be an effective model for future research into the effects of pollutants on declining fertility, particularly because external influences such as diet are more easily controlled than in humans.”Professor Gary England, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and Professor of Comparative Veterinary Reproduction, in his statement said, “Since environmental pollutants largely reflect a Western way of life such as the effects of industry, the chemicals present in the environment are likely to depend on the location. An important area of future study is to determine how the region in which we live may effect sperm quality in both man and dog.”Source: Image Credit: Gladskikh Tatiana / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 4 2019A new study has found that chemical and environmental contaminants at home and diet could be responsible for decreasing fertility of the men and the domestic pet dogs living in the house. The results of the new study were published in the latest issue of the journal Scientific Reports.last_img read more

  • Partial oral antibiotic therapy shows efficacy and safety in patients with infectious

    first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 18 2019Patients with an infection of the inner lining on the left side of the heart (endocarditis) who were switched from intravenous to oral antibiotic therapy had better long-term survival and fewer complications than similar patients who remained on conventional intravenous antibiotic therapy, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session.While initial six-month data had shown that partial treatment with oral antibiotics was similar in efficacy and safety to conventional intravenous therapy for left-sided infectious endocarditis, longer follow-up (median of 3.5 years) demonstrates this therapeutic approach is better for patients, said Henning Bundgaard, MD, PhD, DMSc, professor of cardiology at the Heart Center at the National University Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the study’s lead author.”In stabilized patients with left-sided infectious endocarditis, a switch from intravenous to oral antibiotic therapy showed superior efficacy and safety compared with continued intravenous treatment,” he said. “These findings clearly support a change in the standard of care for this condition.”People with pre-existing heart valve disease, previous endocarditis, prosthetic heart valves or other implanted cardiac devices have an elevated risk for infectious endocarditis. The condition most often occurs on the left side of the heart in the mitral or aortic valve. Men are diagnosed with infectious endocarditis about twice as often as women.The current study, known as POET, is the largest randomized trial of patients with infectious endocarditis, and was designed to test whether oral antibiotic therapy for left-sided infectious endocarditis was at least as effective and safe as intravenous treatment.Clinical guidelines from several professional organizations currently recommend treating left-sided infectious endocarditis with intravenous antibiotics for up to six weeks. During the initial treatment phase, patients often need intensive care and close monitoring. Because intravenous antibiotics are logistically difficult to administer outside of a hospital, most patients remain in the hospital for the duration of their treatment.Studies have suggested that intravenous treatment during long hospital stays may put patients at increased risk for complications. Oral antibiotics would allow patients to leave the hospital sooner and complete their treatment at home. Studies in other conditions have shown that patients with shorter hospital stays generally had better outcomes.Related StoriesWearable sensors show how antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread through hospital wardsAntibiotic susceptibility pattern of Enterobacteriaceae found in GhanaAntibiotic combination effective against drug-resistant PseudomonasA total of 400 patients (average age 67 years; 77 percent male) with left-sided infectious endocarditis were enrolled in the study. Study participants had to be in stable condition and to have had a satisfactory response to at least 10 days of intravenous antibiotic treatment before randomization. They were then randomly assigned to either continue with intravenous antibiotics or switch to oral treatment for an average of 17 days after they were diagnosed. Intravenously-treated patients remained in the hospital until they completed antibiotic therapy. Patients who switched to oral treatment were discharged from the hospital a median of three days after making the switch.The study’s primary endpoint was a composite of death from any cause, unplanned cardiac surgery, embolic events (e.g., stroke) and relapse of infection with the same pathogen from the time of randomization until the end of follow-up.After a median of 3.5 years of follow-up, 53 patients (26.4 percent) in the group receiving partial oral treatment had a primary-endpoint event, compared with 76 patients (38.2 percent) in the intravenously treated group, a statistically significant difference. Eighty-seven patients died; of these, 54 (27.1 percent) were treated intravenously and 33 (16.4 percent) were treated with oral medications, a significant difference. No significant differences in outcome were seen for relapse of infection, unplanned cardiac surgery or embolic events. The magnitude of the difference between the two groups is sufficient to conclude that oral treatment is superior to intravenous treatment, Bundgaard said.Only patients with left-sided infectious endocarditis caused by certain bacterial species were enrolled in the trial, Bundgaard said, and the results may not apply to the approximately 25 percent of patients whose conditions are caused by other bacteria. In addition, although patients with antibiotic-resistant bacteria were not excluded from the trial, none were enrolled. Bundgaard and his colleagues plan to conduct additional analyses to compare quality of life and treatment costs in the groups receiving intravenous and partial oral treatment.last_img read more

  • Sleep decline in ones 50s 60s increases risk of Alzheimers disease

    first_imgInsufficient sleep across the lifespan is significantly predictive of your development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain. Unfortunately, there is no decade of life that we were able to measure during which you can get away with less sleep. There is no Goldilocks decade during which you can say, ‘This is when I get my chance to short sleep.'”Study’s senior author, Matthew Walker, a sleep researcher and professor of psychology Walker and his colleagues, including graduate student and first author Joseph Winer, found that adults reporting a decline in sleep quality in their 40s and 50s had more beta-amyloid protein in their brains later in life, as measured by positron emission tomography, or PET. Those reporting a sleep decline in their 50s and 60s had more tau protein tangles. Both beta-amyloid and tau clusters are associated with a higher risk of developing dementia, though not everyone with protein tangles goes on to develop symptoms of dementia.Based on the findings, the authors recommend that doctors ask older patients about changes in sleep patterns and intervene when necessary to improve sleep to help delay symptoms of dementia. This could include treatment for apnea, which leads to snoring and frequent halts in breathing that interrupt sleep, and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a highly effective way to develop healthy sleep habits. It may even include simple sleep counseling to convince patients to set aside time for a full eight hours of sleep and simple sleep hygiene tricks to accomplish that.”The idea that there are distinct sleep windows across the lifespan is really exciting. It means that there might be high-opportunity periods when we could intervene with a treatment to improve people’s sleep, such as using a cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia,” Winer said. “Beyond the scientific advance, our hope is that this study draws attention to the importance of getting more sleep and points us to the decades in life when intervention might be most effective.”The 95 subjects in the study were part of the Berkeley Aging Cohort Study (BACS), a group of healthy older adults — some as old as 100 years of age — who have had their brains scanned with PET, the only technique capable of detecting both beta-amyloid tangles and, very recently, tau tangles, in the brain.Winer, Walker and their colleagues reported their results online last week in the Journal of Neuroscience.Brain waves out of syncThe team also made a second discovery. They found that people with high levels of tau protein in the brain were more likely to lack the synchronized brain waves that are associated with a good night’s sleep. The synchronization of slow brain waves throughout the cortex of the sleeping brain, in lockstep with bursts of fast brain waves called sleep spindles, takes place during deep or non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. The team reported that the more tau protein older adults had, the less synchronized these brain waves were. This impaired electrical sleep signature may therefore act as a novel biomarker of tau protein in the human brain.”There is something special about that synchrony,” given the consequences of this tau protein disruption of sleep, Walker said. “We believe that the synchronization of these NREM brain waves provides a file-transfer mechanism that shifts memories from a short-term vulnerable reservoir to a more permanent long-term storage site within the brain, protecting those memories and making them safe. But when you lose that synchrony, that file-transfer mechanism becomes corrupt. Those memory packets don’t get transferred, as well, so you wake up the next morning with forgetting rather than remembering.”Indeed, last year, Walker and his team demonstrated that synchronization of these brain oscillations helps consolidate memory, that is, hits the “save” button on new memories.Related StoriesNovel bed system with VR brainwave-control for sleep blissSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaSeveral years ago, Walker and his colleagues initially showed that a dip in the amplitude of slow wave activity during deep NREM sleep was associated with higher amounts of beta-amyloid in the brain and memory impairment. Combined with these new findings, the results help identify possible biomarkers for later risk of dementia.”It is increasingly clear that sleep disruption is an underappreciated factor contributing to Alzheimer’s disease risk and the decline in memory associated with Alzheimer’s,” Walker said. “Certainly, there are other contributing factors: genetics, inflammation, blood pressure. All of these appear to increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. But we are now starting to see a new player in this space, and that new player is called insufficient sleep.”The brain rhythms were recorded over a single eight-hour night in Walker’s UC Berkeley sleep lab, during which most of the 31 subjects wore a cap studded with 19 electrodes that recorded a continual electroencephalogram (EEG). All had previously had brain scans to assess their burdens of tau and beta-amyloid that were done using a PET scanner at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and operated by study co-author William Jagust, professor of public health and a member of Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.Is sleep a biomarker for dementia?Doctors have been searching for early markers of dementia for years, in hopes of intervening to stop the deterioration of the brain. Beta-amyloid and tau proteins are predictive markers, but only recently have they become detectable with expensive PET scans that are not widely accessible.Yet, while both proteins escalate in the brain in old age and perhaps to a greater extent in those with dementia, it is still unknown why some people with large burdens of amyloid and tau do not develop symptoms of dementia.”The leading hypothesis, the amyloid cascade hypothesis, is that amyloid is what happens first on the path to Alzheimer’s disease. Then, in the presence of amyloid, tau begins to spread throughout the cortex, and if you have too much of that spread of tau, that can lead to impairment and dementia,” Winer said.Walker added that, “A lack of sleep across the lifespan may be one of the first fingers that flicks the domino cascade and contributes to the acceleration of amyloid and tau protein in the brain.”The hypothesis is supported, in part, by Jagust’s PET studies, which have shown that higher levels of beta-amyloid and tau protein tangles in the brain are correlated with memory decline, tau more so than amyloid. Tau occurs naturally inside the brain’s neurons, helping to stabilize their internal skeleton. With age, tau proteins seem to accumulate inside cells of the medial temporal lobe, including the hippocampus, the seat of short-term memory. Only later do they spread more widely throughout the cortex.While Jagust has run PET scans on the brains of many healthy people, as well as those with dementia, many more subjects are needed to confirm the relationship between protein tangles and dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. Because PET scanners are currently expensive and rare, and because they require injection of radioactive tracers, other biomarkers are needed, Walker said.The new study suggests that sleep changes detectable in a simple overnight sleep study may be less intrusive biomarkers than a PET scan.”As wearable technology improves, this need not be something you have to come to a sleep laboratory for,” said Walker. “Our hope is that, in the future, a small head device could be worn by people at home and provide all the necessary sleep information we’d need to assess these Alzheimer’s disease proteins. We may even be able to track the effectiveness of new drugs aimed at combating these brain proteins by assessing sleep.””I think the message is very clear,” Walker added. “If you are starting to struggle with sleep, then you should go and see your doctor and find ways, such as CBT-I, that can help you improve your sleep. The goal here is to decrease your chances of Alzheimer’s disease.” Source:University of California – BerkeleyJournal reference:Walker, M.P. et al. (2019) Sleep as a potential biomarker of tau and β-amyloid burden in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience. Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 27 2019People who report a declining quality of sleep as they age from their 50s to their 60s have more protein tangles in their brain, putting them at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to a new study by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley.The new finding highlights the importance of sleep at every age to maintain a healthy brain into old age.last_img read more

  • Google expands Howard West to train more black coders

    Explore further Google embeds engineers as professors This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Last summer Howard University dispatched 26 students to Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus for an intensive twelve-week course on coding. Last week, Google employees who work on initiatives to bring greater diversity to the company’s 78,000-plus staff complained publicly the company is not doing enough to shield them from a harassment campaign orchestrated by a small group of their coworkers. On the one hand, Google is being sued by a former engineer, James Damore, who says the company discriminates against whites, men and conservatives. On the other, it’s being investigated by the Labor Department and sued by female employees for allegedly underpaying women.A year ago when Howard West was announced, Brian Brackeen, the African-American CEO of facial recognition firm Kairos, expressed skepticism that it would boost the employment of African Americans at Google, saying the program offered “micro bridges to major gaps.””Minorities have seen this before. Big companies looking for ‘diversity’ publicity making a token donation to the cause, so that people can praise them for their commitment and consider them proponents of inclusion,” he wrote in a Medium post.Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University, one of the largest of the 102 historically black universities and colleges in the U.S., debriefed students in groups of four and five after their summer at Google.He says Howard West is already paying dividends—and not just for the students who spent the summer drilling deep into software engineering and computer algorithms. Faculty members, energized after teaching at Howard West alongside Google engineers, revamped their courses to cover more ground at a faster clip.Howard West was one of the factors contributing to a more than 40% year-over-year increase in computer science enrollment at the university. Over time it could expose hundreds, possibly thousands, of students from diverse backgrounds to Silicon Valley, opening up the possibility that more African Americans will find jobs in the tech industry, Frederick says.Howard Sueing, a Google employee and an instructor in the Howard West program, says he wishes the program existed when he started at Google to help absorb the “daily dose of culture shock” he experienced in his first days at a company where 2% of the workforce is African American.The eldest of five born in Stockton, Calif., Sueing was raised for part of his life on food stamps in Section 8 housing and had to work to help support his single-income family. He was studying psychology his freshman year at Howard University when a black female professor—one of the first black women in the U.S. to get a Ph.D. in computer science—encouraged him to switch.The steep learning curve meant Sueing graduated with a 2.9 GPA. After graduation, he spent five years at Goldman Sachs but he never let go of his dream: working for Google. So he applied again and again. In 2015, he got hired on his fifth try.One of Sueing’s favorite moments during the Howard West pilot came while he was mentoring students who were designing and launching a Web app as part of their course work. One of the students expressed interest in being a technical lead, but was nervous about taking on such a big role. He encouraged her to do it anyway. He says she became a model for other Howard West students.The demographics of Google—and more broadly of Silicon Valley—triggered varying degrees of culture shock for Howard students, but being completely immersed in the company accelerated the learning process for everyone, says Howard University computer science professor Harry Keeling.”It’s these students’ dream to work for these tech giants. To get the opportunity to do it and to do it at the same time they are gaining credits toward a degree, it’s a double win in my view,” Keeling said.The presence of Howard students also planted a seed on the Google campus. “There is an impact to their environment that these students are bringing,” Keeling said, something he calls “the Howard Flavor.”Lauren Clayton is a 20-year-old computer science student from Nashville. Her math teacher mom raised her with a passion for problem solving and critical thinking. Math classes were Clayton’s favorite, but there wasn’t much in the way of computer science at her high school and, she says, “people don’t talk about it where I’m from.” Then she enrolled in an introductory computer science course the second semester of freshman year at Howard.Getting the chance to learn directly from tech veterans on the Google campus helped her gain the skills Clayton says she’ll need to land a full-time position after graduation. Her enthusiasm is contagious on Howard’s leafy campus in Washington, D.C., where students routinely pepper Clayton with questions about the experience.”It gave me an inside look at what their lives are like, the things they work on, the technology they use. I was really inspired me to work hard to get where their engineers are today,” she said.Alanna Walton, a 22-year-old computer science student at Howard who has interned at Google for three straight summers, recently accepted a job as a software engineer after she graduates. She says Howard West got straight A’s from her classmates, from exploring the Google campus to visiting top tech companies such as Facebook and PayPal. Their only complaint, that the experience of working at Google may have been too authentic, with a crushing load of classes and assignments.Last summer Walton interned at Google in Mountain View, but after graduation she’s going to work for the company in New York, where the tech workforce is 7.3% African American and 9.6% Hispanic versus 2.2% African American and 4.7% Hispanic in Silicon Valley.”When I was in Silicon Valley, I realized Silicon Valley really isn’t for me. It didn’t feel as inviting as I wanted it to,” said Walton, who grew up in a predominantly African-American community. “New York is a little more comfortable.”Not Clayton. She’s one of the four Howard West graduates tapped to return to Google next summer as a software engineering intern. And, come graduation, she says her internal compass will be pointing due west.”Definitely Google is on the list, and I would like to be in the Bay Area. That’s where everything is happening,” she said. “That’s the place to work if you are in tech.” Citation: Google expands Howard West to train more black coders (2018, January 31) retrieved 18 July 2019 from ©2018 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. The experimental test run boosted students’ technical chops and their confidence and now—starting in the fall—the Internet giant is opening up the program to 100 students from Howard and other historically black universities and colleges for a full academic year.Embedding these students in the Googleplex to soak up the ways of Silicon Valley is the latest effort from the company to reverse years of hiring patterns that have resulted in a homogeneous workforce.Tech companies blame a small pool of job applicants for the strikingly low numbers of African Americans and Hispanics working in Silicon Valley. But USA TODAY research shows that top universities turn out African-American and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading tech companies hire them.Why the disconnect? An endless loop of new hires, boasting of childhood coding classes and programming competitions, coming from the social networks of people already working in Silicon Valley or from an elite club of universities such as Stanford and MIT.By contrast, many Howard students get their first serious exposure to computer science in college and few have spent much time in Silicon Valley, the tech industry’s hotbed of innovation and home to many of its biggest players, from Apple to Facebook.The Howard West program, one of many being deployed by Google to increase the diversity of its mostly white-and-Asian-male workforce, is trying to interrupt that cycle and has already yielded some results. Four of 14 participants who applied for software engineering internships are returning to Google this summer and Google says it’s hopeful it will hire others.The details of how the expanded program will operate in the fall—which schools will take part and even what it will be called—are still being ironed out. The more complicated question is whether Howard West can change demographics and attitudes, particularly at a tense moment for the Internet giant, which is in the grips of a culture war over its diversity initiatives. read more

  • The challenges and potential rewards of transitioning to concentrated solar power to

    first_img Citation: The challenges and potential rewards of transitioning to concentrated solar power to desalinate seawater (2018, May 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Why desalination is a conservative industryDesalination began first in the 1950s in the parched Middle East, with thermal desalination technologies driven by plentiful fossil energy.”Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Bahrain; all of their water comes from desalination. They only have water underneath for a few days, so they cannot afford to take any risks,” he explained.”So you can imagine, this industry is very conservative, where water reserves are very low. The population grows year after year in the Arab countries. And the freshwater resource does not grow: they cannot have the luxury of failure in implementing a desalination plant.”The Arabian Gulf is an enclosed sea, with no freshwater rivers feeding into it, and high temperatures increase evaporation, further increasing both salinity and temperature.”There are some places where you can get around 45 or even 50 grams per litre (g/L) of salt. In addition, you can have oil spillage and algae blooms that could cause a failure in the pretreatment system of, for example, a Reverse Osmosis plant,” he said.Thermal desalination is a proven technology well suited to the harsh conditions in the Gulf, but from an energetic viewpoint is quite inefficient compared to today’s more widespread Reverse Osmosis. But such “difficult” seawater can damage membranes, stopping a Reverse Osmosis plant:”So they’re not going to abandon thermal desalination technologies completely. They want to have both.”When to combine thermal desalination with CSPInitially solar thermal energy was proposed as best suited to thermal desalination processes, which essentially use heat to evaporate water. However, the heat for thermal desalination is necessarily located at the site of the desalination plant, which creates a challenge.”There are two problems with CSP-based cogeneration plants for simultaneous generation of electricity and thermal desalination of seawater: salt air corrosion, and that DNI at the coast is not so good as inland. So there’s a penalty in electricity and fresh water costs. The best option for this scenario is siting the CSP plant inland, away from the saline ambient effects, and the Reverse Osmosis plant at the coast,” he noted.Electricity for Reverse Osmosis Sesalination can be transmitted from afar, but heat for thermal desalination cannot. So, in this case, CSP seems better paired with Reverse Osmosis, when seawater conditions allow the use of this technology without problems.For CSP cogeneration plants, thermal desalination is powered by the waste heat available at the outlet of the steam turbine. The feasibility of this option versus the separated production of electricity and desalinated water (using part of that electricity) depends on two factors: the degree of penalty in power production introduced by establishing a higher pressure value for the steam at the outlet of the turbine (required by the thermal distillation plant) and the specific investment cost of the distillation unit.For example, dry-cooled CSP plants produce water in winter at about 50°C to 60°C in summer, close to the 70°C inlet temperature that thermal desalination units (low-temperature MED) need.In the last years, a lot of research effort is being done in developing new heat exchange surfaces based on polymeric materials for thermal distillation plants. Such developments can substantially reduce the impact of the investment cost in the final cost of the fresh water.In the case of standalone solar thermal desalination plants, CSP is the best option to supply the thermal energy a medium temperature required by high-efficient configurations: multi-effect distillation with thermocompression, multi-effect distillation coupled to absorption heat pumps and nanofiltration+multi-effect distillation.Why CSP is better paired with Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalinationToday’s predominant desalination technology uses a process where only electricity is used, sending power round the clock to pump water through a series of membranes to extract the fresh water through Reverse Osmosis (RO).”In most of the world, for desalination applications at industrial scale, a CSP plant coupled to an RO plant which uses electricity for the power plant would be a better option than coupling it with thermal desalination,” he noted.”RO is more efficient when you have what we call “non-difficult” water, like in the Mediterranean Sea, in North Africa, and even in the Red Sea where salinity is a little bit higher,” he said. “For example in the Mediterranean Sea the salinity is only 35 grams per liter (g/L) and you don’t have the problem of changing conditions that could damage the membranes.”The specific energy consumption depends on the salinity of the water. The higher the salinity the higher the specific energy consumption: “For example, at the top efficiency, here in Spain with around 34 to 35 g/L salinity the typical specific energy consumption that each RO module needs is around 3 kWh per cubic meter of freshwater produced.””But the Middle East with higher salinity, 40 to 45 g/L, has higher electricity consumption, because you need a higher pressure, so typically they need up to 4.5 kWh per cubic meter.”CSP + storage = 100% solar desalinationAlarcón-Padilla contends that the only truly 100% solar desalination is with CSP, due to its ability to supply firm energy for long durations with thermal energy storage (TES). Citing the recently announced Metito plant in Saudi Arabia, reportedly powered by solar PV, he noted that when night falls the plant will switch to grid power.”For me this is not solar desalination,” he said. “True solar desalination is when you face the challenge of dealing with a variable source of energy like solar. CSP can deliver a very flat profile. It has an advantage due to its dispatchability.””In principle PV looks cheaper, but you have the problem of no dispatchability. The energy delivery is not flat. It is variable along the day. In addition PV doesn’t have cheap storage available for large capacity.”Desalination cannot be turned off when clouds pass, he pointed out. “You can have scaling problems in the membrane if you keep turning it on and off.As a result, when PV is proposed, it must be backed up to the grid, resulting in much less than 100% solar desalination: “When this “solar” desalination plant is taking electricity from the grid, for me this is just a PV plant that puts electricity into the grid”The same issue applies to CSP with no storage, of course. At sundown, without stored energy, CSP would also switch to grid power. Storage also helps financially: “You want to keep the RO plant working the maximum number of hours to reduce the impact of the investment cost and the final cost of the water.”But there’s more than one kind of storage. In addition to CSP’s thermal storage, both it and PV can simply store any of their surplus “spilled solar” in fresh water, increasing profitability.”Storing energy is very expensive but storing water—just in a normal water tank—is very cheap,” Alarcon-Padilla noted. “When electricity demand is low you can put the desalination modules in operation in order to produce more freshwater.” Explore further Many desert regions could desalinate with solar energy, but which kind of solar? What about after dark? And which desalination technology is best paired with solar? Credit: NASA Freshwater shortages are projected to increase in our hotter and more crowded future. Already, 150 countries desalinate seawater, using fossil fuels. Once policy drove it, renewable projects were deployed and supply chains developed. Renewable prices dropped. Now, many regulators have set targets for full decarbonization by 2050. What seemed risky initially turned out to be not so hard. In many regions, solar and wind is now the low price option.The same could happen in renewable desalination: “Because then we will start to have the experience and learn how to deal with variable solar resources with desalination. Then we would start to have the large capacity solar desalination plants that we need.”He detailed the challenges and opportunities for a similar transition to 100% solar desalination. But supplying an ever-increasing basic need with non-renewable fuels creates a growing threat, according to Dr. Diego-César Alarcón-Padilla, who heads up SolarPACES Task VI at the Solar Desalination Unit at Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA).”Today there is no large capacity desalination plant that is working using renewables” said Dr. Alarcón-Padilla. “There is none.””With desalination we introduce a new consumer of energy. With climate change, and the increase of the human population, and the contamination of the current water resources, year after year we need more and more freshwater,” he said.”Desalination needs energy. And today we are already in the limit in the use of fossil sources, just for recurring demand. If we are serious about meeting our Paris commitments keeping the temperature of the planet to the 2°C rise, we must desalinate with clean energy.”With 16,000 desalination plants around the world already and an expected 15% rise in desalination as the world warms, a policy to drive solar desalination is needed. Dr. Alarcón-Padilla believes that the desalination industry won’t change without a policy driver.Learn from renewable policiesIt took legislation to first put new renewables like solar and wind onto electric grids. Regulators began requiring generators to include renewable energy in the early 21st century. Mandates and subsidies jumpstarted the transition.To now develop renewable desalination, Dr. Alarcón-Padilla proposes the adoption of similar policies. “We need something like a premium per cubic meter of water produced by this solar desalination plant, or a guarantee from the state that they are going to purchase each cubic meter of “clean” water that is required by the public. Just like we had a feed in tariff for electricity produced by renewable energy plants here in Spain.”At current prices, and depending on regional differences, he estimates that CSP (concentrated solar power) could deliver fresh water from Reverse Osmosis desalination at around 80 cents USD per cubic meter—about 30 cents more than fossil fueled desalination. Reverse osmosis. Credit: USMarine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Provided by SolarPACES 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. Researchers pilot system using electrodialysis to produce safe drinking waterlast_img read more

  • Shutting down the internet doesnt work—but governments keep doing it

    first_img Provided by The Conversation This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The statistics are staggering. In India alone, there were 154 internet shutdowns between January 2016 and May 2018. This is the most of any country in the world.But similar shutdowns are becoming common on the African continent. Already in 2019 there have been shutdowns in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Chad, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Last year there were 21 such shutdowns on the continent. This was the case in Togo, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Ethiopia, among others. The justifications for such shutdowns are usually relatively predictable. Governments often claim that internet access is blocked in the interest of public security and order. In some instances, however, their reasoning borders on the curious if not downright absurd, like the case of Ethiopia in 2017 and Algeria in 2018 when the internet was shut down apparently to curb cheating in national examinations. Whatever their reasons, governments have three general approaches to controlling citzens’ access to the web.How they do itInternet shutdowns or disruptions usually take three forms. The first and probably the most serious is where the state completely blocks access to the internet on all platforms. It’s arguably the most punitive, with significant social, economic and political costs. Explore further As the internet continues to gain considerable power and agency around the world, many governments have moved to regulate it. And where regulation fails, some states resort to internet shutdowns or deliberate disruptions. Citation: Shutting down the internet doesn’t work—but governments keep doing it (2019, February 20) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Government internet shutdowns cost Africa dear: report This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. The financial costs can run into millions of dollars for each day the internet is blocked. A Deloitte report on the issue estimates that a country with average connectivity could lose at least 1.9% of its daily GDP for each day all internet services are shut down. For countries with average to medium level connectivity the loss is 1% of daily GDP, and for countries with average to low connectivity it’s 0.4%. It’s estimated that Ethiopia, for example, could lose up to US$500,000 a day whenever there is a shutdown. These shutdowns, then, damage businesses, discourage investments, and hinder economic growth.The second way that governments restrict internet access is by applying content blocking techniques. They restrict access to particular sites or applications. This is the most common strategy and it’s usually targeted at social media platforms. The idea is to stop or limit conversations on these platforms. Online spaces have become the platform for various forms of political expression that many states especially those with authoritarian leanings consider subversive. Governments argue, for example, that social media platforms encourage the spread of rumours which can trigger public unrest. This was the case in 2016 in Uganda during the country’s presidential elections. The government restricted access to social media, describing the shutdown as a “security measure to avert lies … intended to incite violence and illegal declaration of election results”.In Zimbabwe, the government blocked social media following demonstrations over an increase in fuel prices. It argued that the January 2019 ban was because the platforms were being “used to coordinate the violence”.The third strategy, done almost by stealth, is the use of what is generally known as “bandwidth throttling”. In this case telecom operators or internet service providers are forced to lower the quality of their cell signals or internet speed. This makes the internet too slow to use. “Throttling” can also target particular online destinations such as social media sites.What drives governmentsIn most cases the desire to control the internet is rooted in governments’ determination to control the political narrative. Many see the internet as an existential threat that must be contained, no matter what consequences it will have on other sectors.The internet is seen as a threat because it disrupts older forms of government political control, particularly the control of information. The stranglehold on the production and dissemination of information has always been an invaluable political tool for many African governments. The loss of this control, at a time when the media has brought politics closer to the people, presents governments with a distinctly unsettling reality. Social media, for example, inherently encourages political indiscipline and engenders the production and circulation of alternative political narratives. In addition, because it is a networked platform, users are simultaneously and instantaneously local and international and are engaged in an information carnival that is difficult to police. Quite often the narratives therein are at variance with the self-preserving and carefully constructed ideologies of the state.The shutdown trendThe irony, however, is that as these shutdowns continue, even proliferate, there is scant evidence they actually work. Instead, they seem to animate dissent and encourage precisely the kind of responses considered subversive by many governments This has been the case in Burkina Faso and Uganda, for example, where such bans have simply increased the profile of the causes being agitated. Internet shutdowns don’t stop demonstrations. Nor do they hinder the production and circulation of rumours: they encourage them instead. Many people are also circumventing the shutdowns through the use of virtual private networks (VPNs). These are networks that redirect internet activity to a computer in a different geographical location thus enabling access to sites blocked in one’s own country. VPNS are now par for the course in countries like Zimbabwe.The future of unfettered internet access in Africa looks precarious should governments continue on this trajectory. The absence in many African countries of enforceable constitutional guarantees that protect the public’s right to information means there are few opportunities for legal redress. This makes the development of legislative regimes that recognise and protect access to the internet both urgent and necessary. Credit: CC0 Public Domainlast_img read more

  • Virtual reality helps police in dealing with autistic people Update

    first_img“We need you to calm down!” an officer tells the man, who is hitting himself in the head and speaking incoherently.The officers can then choose to either talk to their partner or close in and confront the man.The officers are taught that flashing lights and sirens can be overstimulating and just turning them off could ease the situation. They are also encouraged to remain calm, avoid physically confronting the person and to engage specially trained officers from a mental health crisis team, if their department has one.The training can also create “a sense of empathy” and emphasizes that other methods like shouting or grabbing a suspect, “can hyper-escalate someone who is autistic,” Rick Smith, Axon’s founder and CEO, said in an interview with The Associated Press.”Rather than just training police how to use a Taser, maybe we should train them how to avoid using it,” he said.Police departments large and small have had difficulties responding to calls involving autistic people.In Graham, Texas, about 120 miles (195 kilometers) west of Dallas, a 19-year-old man was throwing rocks at his neighbor’s fence. The autistic teenager, Michael Moore, had difficulty communicating with the responding police officers, so they guessed he might have been drunk or high. They tried to give him a field sobriety test and when he failed the test, they moved in to arrest him. A struggle ensued. Body camera video shows the teen, whose mother says he has a “high functioning” form of autism, being shot with a Taser and thrown to the ground.”When the officers approached him, he tried to maintain contact,” his mother, Tracie Brown, said. “It’s very hard for people with autism.””His hands were visible at all times and he kept saying over and over, ‘My mama is inside. Let me go get my mom’ and for whatever reason the police officers refused to come and verify,” she said.Brent Bullock, Graham’s interim chief, said all of his 25 officers underwent autism training after the incident and were given field guides to identify whether someone may have autism or be suffering from a mental health crisis.”I believe it was a positive thing,” he said. Since then, his officers have encountered similar situations and managed to de-escalate them, Bullock said.Axon plans to provide autism training free with the purchase of Taser devices. Hundreds of law enforcement agencies already use the company’s other products, like Tasers and body camera.The virtual reality experience may be more effective for officers than conventional training, Smith said, because officers can feel what it would be like to be on the other side of the encounter and may be more likely to remember it.”By putting them through this training, we’re giving the officers a chance to learn through experience, which we know is a much more effective way than just trying to remember some checklist they may have been taught in the academy,” Smith said. Explore further Officers arrive, their patrol car’s lights flashing and sirens blaring, to find the man in the parking lot, yelling and not responding to their commands. They have a choice: confront the man and risk having the situation turn violent or regroup to figure out a different approach.The scenario is part of a virtual reality simulation for police that’s being developed by Axon—the company known best for developing the Taser—so officers can learn how to interact with people who have autism and de-escalate situations that could quickly turn awry. The developmental disorder that can involve varying degrees of language and social impairments, often including repetitive behaviors. In 2018, the U.S. government estimated about 1 in 40 kids is diagnosed with autism.This week, the company announced a partnership with Chicago police to train officers by using virtual reality headsets. It will be making the program, developed with the help of mental health and autism experts, available to police departments across the U.S.For now, they offer two training modules: one for autism and another for dealing with people who have schizophrenia.”The ability to tell the difference between someone who’s acting in an unusual way that may be due to their autism versus someone who could be a risk to you can be a really fine line,” said David Kearon of the advocacy group Autism Speaks. “When you’re trying to make that judgment very quickly, that’s where we see mistakes made.”The officers don headsets similar to those used for video games and are immediately immersed in a virtual reality training ground. With a small remote, they can pick the scenario and go through each training scenario in just about five minutes.In the autism scenario, officers experience it first from the point-of-view of the autistic person, watching as the storekeeper approaches somewhat angrily and pulls the toy robot away, telling the man he needs to pay for it. Police are called and officers arrive and confront him.They can then play it from the perspective of the police officers, observing tell-tale signs that someone could be autistic.A crackling call on the radio reports an aggressive male suspect shoplifting and fighting with an employee. The officers pull up to find the man in the parking lot, holding the toy and flailing his arms. They introduce themselves and ask the man what’s happening. He doesn’t respond. Citation: Virtual reality helps police in dealing with autistic people (Update) (2019, May 24) retrieved 17 July 2019 from For people with autism, encounters with police can turn dangerous 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. An autistic man walks out of a store without paying for a toy he picked up. He’s followed by a storekeeper demanding he come back inside. The situation quickly escalates, and police are called. Axon Immersion Training Virtual Reality (VR) headset, used in training police officers to learn the best way to interact with people who suffer with autism, Thursday, May 23, 2019 in Washington. Police officers are now using virtual reality to learn the best ways to interact with people who suffer from autism and de-escalate situations that could quickly turn awry. A new training simulation using virtual reality headsets is being rolled out by Aon, the company best known for developing the Taser. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.last_img read more

  • Boy seeks permission to end life PMO instructs Bhagalpur district officials to

    first_img Press Trust of India BhagalpurJuly 17, 2019UPDATED: July 17, 2019 01:22 IST A 15-year-old boy with roots here has shot off a letter to the President expressing his distress over strained relations between his parents and seeking “permission” to end his life, officials said here Tuesday.The boy currently resides in Jharkhand where his father is a government official. His mother works at a bank in Patna .Bhagalpur district administration officials said the matter came to light recently, when they were alerted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) about the two-month-old letter.The PMO has issued instructions to conduct a thorough investigation and take necessary action, they said.The boy’s letter was apparently sent to the PMO from the President’s office, the officials said.The boy’s father is currently posted in Deoghar in Jharkhand, as a manager in the state rural development department while his mother lives in Patna where she is posted as an assistant manager in a bank, sources said.After spending his early childhood at the NTPC, Kahalgaon, in Bhagalpur from where his grandfather retired, the boy shifted to Deoghar where he is living with his father and pursuing his studies, they said.His grandfather and paternal uncles squarely blamed his mother for strained relations with her husband, and also alleged both have lodged cases accusing each other of being involved in extra-marital relationships, the sources said.In his letter to the President, the boy is said to have expressed his exasperation over the nasty quarrel between his parents and claimed that it was having an adverse impact on his studies.He has also alleged that his father, who has been suffering from cancer, was being “threatened by anti-social elements” at the behest of his mother, the sources said.Disgusted with the situation, the boy wanted to end his life, the officials claimed.Investigations are on in the matter and action will be taken in accordance with law, the sources added.For the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byIram Ara Ibrahim Next Boy seeks permission to end life, PMO instructs Bhagalpur district officials to order probeThe boy currently resides in Jharkhand where his father is a government official.advertisementlast_img read more

  • A Sunken Soviet Sub Is Raising the Radioactivity of the Norwegian Sea

    first_img In Pictures: Japan Earthquake & Tsunami In Photos: WWII-Era Shipwrecks Illegally Plundered in Java Sea Originally published on Live Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoCNETMeet the US Navy’s new $13 billion aircraftCNETUndo A Cold War Soviet nuclear submarine met disaster 30 years ago when it sank in the Norwegian Sea, leading to the deaths of 42 sailors. But instead of lying peacefully at the bottom of the sea, that sub, called the Komsomolets, is leaking radioactive material deep beneath the waves. Several samples collected by an underwater robot from and around the sunken sub’s ventilation duct show that it’s leaking high levels of cesium, a radioactive element, according to the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR). Some of the cesium levels are 800,000 times higher than normal levels in the Norwegian Sea, according to the institute. However, this radiation does not pose a risk to people or fish, the IMR noted. [Photos: WWII Shipwrecks Found Off NC Coast]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  The Soviets launched the 400-foot-long (120 meters) Komsomolets, which means “member of the Young Communist League,” in May 1983, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. While the Komsomolets was on patrol in April 1989, a fire broke out on board, leading to the sub’s eventual demise. As the Komsomolets sank, its two nuclear reactors and at least two torpedoes with plutonium-containing nuclear warheads fell to the bottom of the sea. Since then, the Russians and Norwegians have monitored the wreck, noting its radioactive leaks. “We took water samples from inside this particular duct because the Russians had documented leaks here both in the 1990s and more recently in 2007,” Hilde Elise Heldal, the expedition leader, said in the IMR statement. “So we weren’t surprised to find high levels here.” An analysis showed that one sample had 100 becquerels per liter, compared with the usual 0.001 becquerels per liter normally found in the Norwegian Sea. (A becquerel (Bq) is a unit of radioactivity that represents decay per second.) But Heldal said it was important to put this number into perspective. For instance, following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, regulations were set for how much cesium would be allowed in foods. “After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, Norwegian authorities set this limit to 600 Bq/kilogram,” she said. So, even though the cesium levels from parts of the submarine “were clearly above what is normal in the oceans,” they still “weren’t alarmingly high,” Heldal said. Moreover, samples taken a few yards from the duct didn’t have any measurable levels of cesium in them. “We didn’t find any measurable levels of radioactive cesium there, unlike in the duct itself,” Justin Gwynn, a researcher at the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, said in the statement. Strange cloud But the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), called the Aegir 6000, did catch a strange sight on film: an eerie cloud emanating from the submarine’s duct. After detecting the cloud, the ROV took a sample, which was later found to contain high levels of cesium. Then, the ROV took another sample from a cloud seen rising from a nearby grille. This reading also had high radioactivity levels. Now, the researchers are wondering if this “cloud” is related to the high radioactivity levels in those areas. “It looks very dramatic on video, and it’s definitely interesting, but we don’t really know what we’re seeing and why this phenomenon occurs,” Gwynn said. “It’s something we want to find out more about.” [Photos: WWI-Era German Submarine Wreck Discovered Off Scotland Coast] The researchers plan to study the many samples the ROV collected from the submarine. In the meantime, Heldal stressed that seafood eaters have little to worry about. “What we have found during our survey has very little impact on Norwegian fish and seafood,” she said. “In general, cesium levels in the Norwegian Sea are very low, and as the wreck is so deep, the pollution from Komsomolets is quickly diluted.” Even so, scientists plan to monitor the vessel for years to come, especially since it’s the only known source of radioactive pollution in Norway’s waters. “We need good documentation of pollution levels in seawater, seabed sediments and, of course, fish and seafood,” Heldal said. “So, we’ll continue monitoring both Komsomolets in particular and Norwegian waters in general.” Image Gallery: Stunning Shots of the Titanic Shipwrecklast_img read more

  • Barry Mostly Spares Metro New Orleans Flood Risk Remains

    first_imgNEW ORLEANS—Barry, the first hurricane of the 2019 season to hit the U.S. coast, largely spared metro New Orleans. By Sunday afternoon, the slow-moving storm was downgraded to a tropical depression as it headed north. Forecasters warned of heavy rain through Monday across portions of the lower Mississippi Valley with isolated areas getting up to 10 inches in eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, southeast Missouri and northwest Mississippi, according to the National Hurricane Center. Tornadoes were also possible throughout…last_img read more

  • Chief Justice heads honours list

    first_img Related News GEORGE TOWN: Chief Justice Dat­uk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat heads the honours list to mark the 81st birthday of Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas today.Tengku Maimun was conferred the state’s highest honours, the Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (DUPN), which carries the title Datuk Seri Utama.Two others who are getting the Darjah Panglima Pangkuan Negeri (DPPN), which carries the title Datuk Seri, are Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador and Royal Malaysian Air Force chief Jen Tan Sri Affendi Buang.Kek Lok Si Temple trustee and Malaysia Buddhist Association honorary life president Datuk Steven Ooi Teik Heng was conferred the Darjah Gemilang Pangkuan Negeri (DGPN), which carries the title Datuk Seri. AdChoices广告Prominent businessman and Malaysian-Pakistani League Penang president Datuk Abdul Rafique Abdul Karim was also conferred the DGPN together with Unimech Group Bhd founder Datuk Lim Cheah Chooi.Criminologist and Universiti Sains Malaysia security director Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy and Penang Lay Buddhist honorary president Yeoh Beng Foo were conferred the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN), which carries the title Datuk.State secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus said there are a total of 877 recipients this year with 170 of them receiving their honours during Abdul Rahman’s birthday.“The presentation of awards will continue for next three days on July 15, 16 and 17,” he said during a press conference at Dewan Sri Pinang here yesterday. A hi-tea to mark the celebration will be held today at the Setia SPICE Arena and attended by Abdul Rahman, recipients and state dignitaries.The ceremonial dinner will be held on July 15 at the Setia SPICE Convention Centre.Farizan said a hi-tea will also be held at the SP Arena in Seberang Jaya on July 18. Related News Nation 19 May 2019 Final farewell to CAP president {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Nation 17 Jun 2019 Rozali is Seberang Prai mayor Nation 18 May 2019 Leaders pay last respects as CAP’s S.M. Mohamed Idris laid to restlast_img read more

  • I am appalled Shatrughan Sinha on Sidhus resignation from Punjab cabinet

    first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 14, 2019UPDATED: July 14, 2019 18:56 IST Shatrughan Sinha said Navjot Singh Sidhu is supremely talented and popular sportsman and politician.HIGHLIGHTSCongress leader Shatrughan Sinha on Sunday said he was appalled on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignationSidhu on Sunday announced on Twitter that he has resigned from the Punjab cabinetShatrughan Sinha also said that he hoped that he would certainly pray for remedial measuresCongress leader Shatrughan Sinha on Sunday said he was appalled to hear that party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has resigned from the Punjab cabinet.On Sunday, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and was stripped off key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle in June, announced on Twitter that he has resigned from the state cabinet.Reacting to Sidhu’s resignation, Shatrughan Sinha said, “Rather appalled to learn of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation from the Punjab Cabinet & Ministry! He has been a supremely talented and popular sportsman/politician. Above all, a wonderful human being and man in demand, who is also a dear friend.”Rather appalled to learn of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation from the Punjab Cabinet & Ministry!He has been a supremely talented and popular sportsman/politician. Above all, a wonderful human being and man in demand, who is also a dear friend.Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) July 14, 2019Shatrughan Sinha went on to say that he cannot question Navjot Singh Sidhu’s decision to resign from the Punjab cabinet, however, he hoped that he would certainly pray for remedial measures.”While we cannot question his decision, one would certainly hope and pray for remedial measures soon towards resolving this unfortunate move….Jai Hind!,” tweeted Shatrughan Sinha.While we cannot question his decision, one would certainly hope and pray for remedial measures soon towards resolving this unfortunate move….Jai Hind!Shatrughan Sinha (@ShatruganSinha) July 14, 2019The 55-year-old Sidhu took to Twitter on Sunday, making public his resignation letter, which was sent just four days after his portfolio was changed.The resignation letter dated June 10 was addressed to Congress president Rahul Gandhi.”I hereby resign as Minister from the Punjab Cabinet,” Navjot Singh Sidhu said in the letter to the Congress chief, which he posted on his Twitter handle on Sunday.The date of his resignation letter was a day after he had met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi when his portfolio was changed.In another tweet later, Sidhu said he would be sending his resignation letter to the chief minister.On June 6, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments and allotted him the power and new and renewable energy portfolio.Portfolios of several other ministers too had been changed in the reshuffle exercise.Ever since the portfolio reshuffle exercise, the Punjab minister and his wife Navjot Kaur have been maintaining a distance from the media.Sidhu had approached Congress president Rahul Gandhi on June 9 and had “apprised him of the situation” besides handing over a letter to him.Sidhu, a former BJP leader who had joined the Congress just ahead of the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, has been at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh for sometime now.The tension between Singh and his cabinet colleague had come out in the open last month when the CM blamed Sidhu for the “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming that it resulted in “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls.ALSO READ | Navjot Singh Sidhu resigns as Punjab Cabinet minister, writes to Rahul GandhiALSO WATCH | Navjot Singh Sidhu resigns as Punjab ministerFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySnigdha Choudhury Next I am appalled: Shatrughan Sinha on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation from Punjab cabinetShatrughan Sinha said that he cannot question Navjot Singh Sidhu’s decision to resign from the Punjab cabinet, however, he hoped that he would certainly pray for remedial measures. advertisementlast_img read more

  • Shivpal Yadavled Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party leader found dead in Amethi

    first_img Press Trust of India Amethi(Uttar Pradesh)July 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 14:06 IST The body has been sent for post-mortem. (Representational Image)A leader of the Shivpal Singh Yadav-led Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) was found dead near the Amethi railway station on Friday, police said.Thirty-three-year-old Rohit Agrahari was the state unit secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Ayodhya.His body was found in an orchard along the railway tracks Friday morning, Deputy Superintendent of Police Piyush Kant Rai said.The police officer said it appeared that his body was dumped after being killed.The body has been sent for post-mortem.Agrahari was a native of Keshav Nagar in Amethi.ALSO READ | Samajwadi Party leader shot dead in Greater NoidaALSO WATCH | Close aide of Smriti Irani shot dead in AmethiFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySnigdha Choudhury Next Shivpal Yadav-led Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party leader found dead in AmethiThirty-three-year-old Rohit Agrahari was the state unit secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Ayodhya. The police officer said it appeared that his body was dumped after being killed.advertisementlast_img read more