first_imgRelated posts:Despite Zika virus, Garabito mayor says “no chance” World Surfing Games will be cancelled Caja to stop printing social security slips starting next year U.S. volunteer specialists perform spine surgeries on 11 Costa Rican children Costa Rica welcomes first IVF baby after 16-year ban At the 72nd Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO), Costa Rica launched a global plan to cut snakebite mortality in half by 2030.The roadmap will mobilize $80 million in funding to counteract the human consequences of venomous snakes, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry.“It is a great joy to see that WHO is following step-by-step the proposal that was promoted by Costa Rica since 2016 and adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2018, so that there is an adequate response worldwide to this health problem,” said Elayne Whyte, Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the United Nations.“Costa Rica has had the support of many countries, experts and organizations on this road, and the Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, highlighted this strategy as one of the milestones of the WHO in 2019.“Costa Rica must feel proud of this great achievement at a global level, which reflects decades of scientific work in our country.”The plan is also headed by Nigeria, a country with a high frequency of snakebite mortality that has supported Costa Rica since it announced the initiative in 2016.Read: Top snakebite tips and prevention tricksObjectives will include making safe and effective treatments available worldwide, strengthening health systems, and improving community education.“Our universal health system with trained personnel allows us to deal with each case of snake bite in a timely fashion, preventing and reducing mortality,” said Daniel Salas, the Minister of Health. “At the global level, we can be a model in the approach to snakebites, which allows us to assume a leading role in confronting the problem at national, regional and global levels.”WHO estimates 5.4 million snakebites occur each year, resulting in at least 1.8 million cases of envenoming (poisoning from snakebites) and 81,400 deaths.Of the 140 species of snakes in Costa Rica, 23 are venomous, according to the Clodomiro Picado Institute. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

first_imgA perfect excuse to reunite with friends and family, travelers taking a vacation to Los Cabos in May or June receive a free additional suite and upgrade to private beach-front casitas with the Hotel with a Heart Package at the Marquis Los Cabos resort. Creating the ambience of a private beach house, accommodations in the resort’s spacious casitas are just steps from the beach with a living room, bedroom, wet bar, Bulgari amenities, imported Frette linens, and private plunge pool with views of the ocean. The Hotel with a Heart Package also includes daily breakfast delivered discreetly each morning via a private alcove.“At this stressful time, we thought people would welcome the idea to get away with family and friends together,” says General Manager Ella Messerli.Just featured in National Geographic Traveler’s “Hotels with a Heart,” the Marquis Los Cabos donates five percent of the hotel’s annual revenue for the staff’s education and healthcare in its Marquis University. Since 2003, the resort has helped on average 20 employees a year obtain primary schooling and bachelor degrees.www.marquisloscabos.comlast_img read more

first_img State Rep. Jim Lower of Cedar Lake today announced his September in-district office hours schedule. Rep. Lower will be available on Monday, Sept. 18 at the following times and locations:9 to 10 a.m. at the Crystal Lake Café, 216 W. Lake St. in Crystal; and11:45 to 12:45 p.m. at Dogtown Restaurant, 206 S. Main St., in Sheridan.“In addition to traveling across the district every week, I am committed to holding regular office hours in order to stay accessible to anyone who has a concern, question or problem regarding state government,” Rep. Lower said.No appointments are necessary. Those unable to meet during the scheduled times may contact Rep. Lower’s office at (517) 373-0834 or via email at 11Sep Rep. Lower to host September office hours Categories: Lower Newslast_img read more

first_img We have been accused at times – rightfully so – of being largely focused on the trials and tribulations of the newfound political economy. Given its place as one of the biggest contributing factors to the performance of the investment markets these days, it makes sense. However, there is one area of the economy that continues to grow, largely unabated by the foolish risk-taking of investment banks and the constant flow of bailouts and “easing” – it’s the technology sector. This week, I had a chance to sit down with Doug Casey to get his thoughts on a subject that has long been near and dear to him as an investor and as a person, starting with the most talked about tech story of the past month, Facebook. Louis James: Doug, with a market capitalization surging to almost $100 billion on the IPO of a website company, subsequent 50% haircut wiping out billions of retail investors’ dollars, and now a rugby-style pile-on of lawsuits, I’m sure you have some thoughts on the Facebook fiasco. Care to share? Doug: Sure. Problems were rather predictable, from a number of points of view. First was the market valuation approaching $100 billion; that was a completely arbitrary number, based a ridiculously high P/E ratio, close to 100:1. It’s true that a billion dollars isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still a lot of money. It tells me that there’s still way too much optimism in the stock market in general. It’s a new world since 2008; and it’s absolutely nothing like the late ’90s, when the Internet/telecom/tech bubble was inflated. People are, ironically, living in the past while they think they’re investing in a technology of the future. Apparently the majority of those who piled in at up to $45 per share were retail investors. I’m not opposed to buying IPOs; sometimes they’re deliberately underpriced – in good part so the underwriter can be a hero to its clients and build a good reputation for successful offerings. But a gigantic offering, at a rich price, when the ducks are quacking? Include me out. I like deals that relatively few people are interested in or have even heard about. Of course that approach kept me out of Google, as well. But you have to play the odds. In fact, there are very few stocks I want to own today. The financial sector is entirely too big as a proportion of the economy, and people are still way too interested in “the market” – especially as the world sinks deeper into the Greater Depression. The name of the game today shouldn’t be trying to scalp a few dollars by selling some tech stock to a greater fool. It’s about preserving capital. L: No evidence of “market capitulation” on that IPO – the volume was so fast and furious it crashed the Nasdaq trading system, and lots of people never got their orders filled. Doug: Lucky for them. The shares have gone from that $45 high to a low – so far – of $25.52. That’s a 43% haircut in just a few days. L: Sounds like a junior mining stock. Doug: [Laughs] It does. But at least a mining company can offer a lottery ticket for life-changing gains. When you buy into something with a $100 billion market cap, you’re most likely just providing liquidity for early investors who’ve already made 100:1, or even 1,000:1, on their money. I’m sorry to see people lose money in the market. Theoretically, investors are providing capital for new businesses and technologies. They’re doing that instead of consuming wealth and frittering away capital on high living. I’d like to see them richly rewarded, which would encourage more people to do the same thing. But people who blindly gamble on a trade they don’t understand deserve their losses. Of course, since we’re talking billions of dollars, the “fairness police” are sure to put this thing under a microscope. And naturally, hordes of ambulance-chasers are coming out of the woodwork to collect their fees helping people waste time and money suing each other. The result will be more people who are permanently turned off of investing. And likely lots of new rules and regulations. We’re in a major bear market. The bad news is that lots of nasty things will happen to take the market lower, toward an ultimate bottom. The good news is that eventually a real bottom will be reached, and it will be possible to buy great companies unbelievably cheaply. However, there’s more bad news, namely that the bottom is likely quite a while down the road… In the meantime, the busybodies, losers, and goons who populate the “Swindlers Encouragement Commission” will have a field day. Their counterproductive rules serve only to enrich lawyers and create a false sense of security for naïve investors – as we discussed at some length in our conversation on insider trading. It’s all part and parcel of an investment climate – and more importantly a moral climate – in which the public thinks someone should pay them if they gamble and lose. It’s more writing on the wall: the America that once was has been replaced by the “United State,” inhabited by herds of obedient, reality-TV-educated inmates who take no responsibility for their own actions. Things are going to get worse before they get better. L: Will it get better, Doug? You keep saying it’s going to be worse than even you think it is – and I know you have a pretty fertile imagination. You say you’re glad you have quiet, out-of-the way places to go to when the stock market really crashes, inflation sets in with a vengeance, and the middle class gets thoroughly wiped out. When the riots start, you want to be watching on your widescreen TV, not through your front window. That’s scary enough, but if it’s going to be even worse than you think it will be, what makes you think things will get better – at least in a timeframe of any use to us? How do you know things won’t go “Mad Max” on us, leading to a new dark age? Doug: Well, if the climate-change hysterics get their way, we could see a new Dark Age – or a Dark & Cold Age, since candles put carbon into the atmosphere. Starting a fire could become a capital crime. L: That’s not encouraging. I thought you were an optimist? Doug: I am. I don’t expect a new Dark Age, but neither did the Romans in the early 5th century. Everything and anything is possible, both on the upside and the downside – you don’t live long and prosper by ignoring unsavory possibilities. We’ve become accustomed, as a civilization, to rapid improvements in science, technology, and our general standard of living for roughly the last 200 years, since the start of the Industrial Revolution. It seems like a long time from one perspective. But it’s only about eight generations, or the overlapping lives of two really old people. If you take a longer view, since biologically modern humans evolved perhaps 200,000 years ago, you see that progress was very slow. Maybe 100,000 years went by between the ability to make fire and the invention of the bow. Then maybe another 80,000 to the invention of pottery. Maybe advances in technology are subject to periods of punctuated equilibrium, as are the evolution of species. Maybe the last 200 years of rapid progress are slowing down. It seems to me there were rapid advances in every area for that time – electricity, aircraft, telephony, atomic energy, and literally a thousand other things resulting from the systemization of science. Other than in computers, though, things seem to have slowed down over the last 50 years. I wonder if we’re not just advancing past breakthroughs more than making new ones. Living off of past inertia… I really don’t know if that’s an accurate view; I’m just considering possibilities. L: So why are you an optimist, then? Doug: Well, for one thing, as we discussed in our previous conversation on technology, I think it’s a very important fact that there are more scientists and engineers alive now than there have been in all of history combined. That’s an extraordinarily positive thing. But looking at the trivia many of them are working on, I don’t get the impression there are that many Edisons, Teslas, and Einsteins out there. Let me put that in context… there are probably more, simply because it’s a standard distribution, and there are more people. But maybe conditions aren’t as conducive to their blossoming as was the case 100 years ago, and making the most of their abilities is harder in some ways – although it’s easier in others, like the things made possible with the Internet. In other words, it seems to me most geniuses in the past were entrepreneurs, working in their basements and garages. Today it seems most go to work for big corporations, or especially the government; those aren’t environments conducive to game-changing breakthroughs. A lot of the science today seems to require multibillion-dollar investments; it seems to consume capital, as opposed to creating capital. For instance, NASA resembles the post office more and more every day. On the other hand you’ve got Burt Rutan’s and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. But capital has to be available to fund things like that. And the losses people have incurred in Facebook and a protracted bear market may be a disincentive to put that capital together. Plus, the actions of governments – which are largely approved of by their subjects – all over the world are very destructive of capital, even if we don’t get World War III. L: Where do you expect these trends to take us? Doug: The two areas where it seems the most progress is being made are biotech – including medicine – and computers, in which I include robotics. In medicine, rapid progress is being made on previously incurable diseases like cancer. I’ve heard credible arguments that completely effective cures – not just treatments, but cures – for various cancers may be as little as 10 years away. And it’s not just curing diseases, but understanding and prolonging life expectancy. As things stand, if we can prevent or cure all diseases, disorders, infections, and so forth, various factors point to a “natural” human life expectancy of about 120 years. But researchers already have lab rats growing new legs, vat-grown organs, and maybe the keys to slowing or stopping various aging processes altogether. L: Wait – what happens if the Baby Boomers all get another 100 years of relatively good health? Doug: Good question. The average age of death keeps rising – it’s something like 78 now – although the ultimate age remains about 120. The key is to extend the ultimate age while reversing the aging process. There’s no point in being one of Jonathan Swift’s Struldbrugs. This is why “estate planning” for smart 50- to 60-somethings should not be focused on dispersing accumulated capital to younger generations, but keeping capital productive and growing for many decades to come. Anyone not already suffering from a specific, terminal condition that gives them a life expectancy of fewer than 10 years should have more than a 10- or 20-year financial plan. You want a plan that will allow you to buy the technology to live to 200, with a better body than you now have. But that possibility will be available only to those who can afford it, at least to begin with. No one knows what life will be like on this world in 100 years, and by then we should have colonized other worlds where things could be even more different, so such plans can’t be too detailed. But you only have a chance of finding out if you have the capital to buy the technology to make it possible. L: Sounds like a lot of money. Doug: I’m not a planner by nature. My approach to life has always been that when I come to a fork in the road, I take it. But the accumulation of personal capital is important because it offers vastly more possibilities than does being poor. Money is not hard to come by; you only need find goods and services to provide other people. Vision is hard to come by. It’s because most people’s vision is limited by the culture they grew up in and their own negative attitudes that money is hard for them to accumulate. You know very well that most investors, for example, don’t have what it takes to be successful speculators – that’s why there will always be fantastic profits for those with the independence of mind to be true contrarians and hence successful speculators. L: Okay, well, that sounds more optimistic. But what about the dark side of advanced medical and biological technologies – bioweapons, for example? Doug: Utopia is not an option, at least on this planet. Sure, The Andromeda Strain could wipe us all out tomorrow. Barring that, however, the trend in medicine and biotech is definitely skewed towards longer, healthier lives for most people. L: And the other trend, in computers and robotics – are you as optimistic there? Doug: To be honest, it’s harder to be purely optimistic about this one. Powerful new technologies that lend themselves to abuse are already being deployed, and I don’t just mean weapons, as in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – which is one of the best movies ever made. And I don’t mean things as obvious as video cameras on every street corner, as in V for Vendetta – another of my all-time favorites. I’m thinking about the swarms of drones that are already taking to the air above our heads – not to mention all the stuff that surely exists but is not public knowledge yet. On the other hand, the fact that single individuals can take on whole governments – as participants in the Anonymous group have done – shows that it’s far from a foregone conclusion that we’re headed for the world of 1984, where Big Brother is watching all of us all the time. The technology that could enable that is certainly on the way, but the hacks and technologies to foil universal surveillance is also certainly on the way. More than any specific nightmare technology or scenario, like “Skynet” taking over, what concerns me is that during the Great Enlightenment and ensuing Industrial Age, scientists and inventors were almost entirely private individuals, working for profit or at least their personal interest. Now, Big Government has led to an age of Government Science, which is a very dangerous thing. And the worst part is that a lot of the best and brightest are going to work for the government or for government-funded projects, which is practically the same thing. This is giving the state access to brainpower and creativity. And, as I pointed out in my articles on why sociopaths are always and inevitably drawn to government. Combine these things and you get a really nasty combination. That is frightening. L: Not sounding optimistic again… Doug: I said that sub-trends like this make it harder – not impossible – to be optimistic. Overall the longest trend of them all is The Ascent of Man – and that’s extremely bullish for us all. L: Hm. Well, back to Facebook. I have to say, we did warn people to stay away from that IPO in our technology letter. Doug: Yes, we did. I was tempted to short it myself, actually. But there’s something more interesting than just the IPO disaster to think about regarding Facebook. I saw Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg interviewed on the Charlie Rose show, and several things stood out for me. Now, I actually have a Facebook account, though I don’t use it for anything. I got it some years ago, when someone suggested it would be a good way to find old friends, but mostly it’s complete strangers who “friend” me… although, on the bright side, about 90% seem to be other anarchocapitalist libertarians. On the dark side, it will be one-stop shopping for the bad guys when they use Facebook to round up the usual suspects. The problem is that I don’t know my Facebook friends well enough to want to get to know them, given that there are only 24 hours in a day. And I wouldn’t dream of posting anything other than utter trivia about my personal life there. But I understand that others do use Facebook extensively, even to the degree of it being their primary way of communicating with their friends and family. It seems entirely too impersonal to appeal to me anyway. L: I have a Facebook account as well, which I use largely for one-way communication, sharing a bit of my adventures with my readers – stuff they find interesting, but for which there’s no room in the newsletter. Doug: That sounds like a fairly rational use. This technology does, however, seem to be changing the way people communicate and interact. One thing Zuckerberg said in the interview was that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world – and gaining. Now, Facebook could be out of business in a year, for all I know and care, superseded by the next online phenomenon – hopefully one that’s not a direct pipeline into the NSA and every other dangerous government agency out there. But whatever comes next, the Internet is still connecting people along lines of their choosing, rather than by accident of birth, and without regard to national boundaries – or even language barriers, for that matter. Things like Facebook are basically giant engines for creating phyles, and that, as we’ve discussed, is what I think the social organization is evolving toward. We can see it happening. Virtual communities are forming, solidifying, and becoming more important to many of their members than nationality, race, or even religion. The future is taking shape right on our screens. The question is where this will ultimately lead… Once talking about technology, it is easy to continue on the subject for a long time… understandable, given the sheer number of breakthrough developments of the past few years. After all, it was only five years ago that the first iPhone was released… two years ago for the iPad. All of this development also presents a remarkable set of opportunities for investors. It’s the reason that Doug has long championed having a technology-investing division. For the past three years, that division has been headed by Alex Daley. He and his team have posted an incredible track record in that brief period – including a very accurate call on the direction of the Facebook IPO. Part of their success lies in understanding that behind every amazing advance are great minds – minds that are so valuable to tech companies that they are willing to fight to get the best and brightest on their team. By Doug Casey, Casey Researchlast_img read more

first_imgAn international committee of disabled human rights experts have delivered a series of withering attacks on the UK government over its failure to implement the UN disability convention.Following a two-day public examination of the UK’s progress in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the committee said it was “deeply concerned” that the UK government still believed it was a “champion of human rights”.The committee’s chair, Theresia Degener (pictured), from Germany, told the UK government’s delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”, which was “totally neglecting the vulnerable situation people with disabilities find themselves in”.Stig Langvad, the committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) member who is leading the UK examination, said the government had failed to demonstrate its commitment to the convention.He said the government had failed to answer many questions put to it by the committee over the two days, and that it had “become evident that the committee has a very different perception of how human rights should be understood and implemented” than the UK government.He called on the UK to develop a “concrete strategy which is sufficiently funded” to “fully acknowledge and implement the convention”.Langvad said the committee was “deeply concerned” about the government’s refusal to recognise the findings and recommendations of the committee’s earlier inquiry, which concluded last November that there had been “grave and systematic violations” of three key parts of the convention.He said: “We expect the state party to take the appropriate measures to address the recommendations of our inquiry report.”Langvad added: “I could provide a long list of examples where the state party doesn’t live up to the convention. Unfortunately, the time is too limited.”Coomaravel Pyaneandee, a vice-chair of the committee, had earlier told the UK delegation: “I want to see you coming back as world leader, which at the moment I am afraid you’re not, but disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) from whom I draw inspiration are in fact the world leaders in your country.”Many representatives of DPOs – including Inclusion London, the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Disabled People Against Cuts, Equal Lives, Black Triangle, Disability Rights UK, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales – had travelled to Geneva for the public examination, and had provided detailed evidence to Pyaneandee and the committee members on the government’s failings.Karen Jochelson, the head of the Office for Disability Issues, who led the UK delegation, insisted that the UK was “determined to remain a global lead in disability issues”.She said that UK laws provided “a strong framework for ensuring and progressing the rights of disabled people” although there was “more still to be done in all aspects of society and life” to progressively realise the convention.At the start of the two-day examination, Jochelson had delivered a statement from the minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt, in which she claimed that the UK had been “a global leader in driving forward disability rights and promoting inclusion” and that it could even be a “catalyst” to “help our international partners achieve more on this agenda”.A representative of the Department for Work and Pensions told the committee that the government “takes very seriously its duty to protect the most vulnerable people”, and added: “We stand by the reforms to the UK benefit system.”Jochelson ended by saying that it was “right that the UK is scrutinised carefully and we have welcomed this” and that this reflected Mordaunt’s pledge that the UK would “continue to progress disabled people’s rights and consult with disabled people on government policy and public services”.Two of the key issues that were raised several times by committee members were disabled people’s right to independent living and the treatment of people in secure mental health settings (see separate stories).Among other issues address by the committee were the discrimination faced by disabled people when accessing healthcare; the government’s plans to increase the number of disabled people in employment; and the disability pay gap.It also examined disabled people’s engagement in democracy; the fall in the number of disabled children in mainstream education and the failure to move towards a fully inclusive education system; parents with learning difficulties who have had their children taken away from them; and disabled people who have lost their benefits in the move from disability living allowance to personal independence payment.last_img read more

first_imgA disabled peer has told the House of Lords that plans for a major “restoration and renewal” of the Houses of Parliament must ensure a “step change” in the provision of disability access in a building that can be “extremely unwelcoming” to disabled people.Baroness [Sal] Brinton, president of the Liberal Democrats and a wheelchair-user herself, said the newly-restored palace “will have failed” if it was not “truly accessible” to all disabled people.She said that the building itself – and a “wider, unconscious cultural attitude” – can make the Houses of Parliament “extremely unwelcoming to disabled parliamentarians, staff and visitors”.Members of the House of Lords were discussing long-delayed plans to renovate the Palace of Westminster, which will eventually see MPs and peers move out and work in separate buildings nearby in Westminster – probably soon after 2025 – while a major programme of repairs takes place over a number of years.Last week, MPs voted to approve the plan, and this week peers agreed to this “full and timely decant” to nearby buildings while the work takes place, and that the renovation should ensure “full access for people with disabilities”.Problems include major fire risks, pipes and cables “decades past their lifespan”, and a “huge amount of asbestos” in the building – which is a royal palace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – according to the Tory leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park.Baroness Brinton (pictured) said that MPs and peers who use wheelchairs do not have the same “rights and experience” as their non-disabled colleagues.She said: “A parliamentarian in a wheelchair cannot sit with their party or group in either the Commons or the Lords.“Our Lords’ mobility bench behind the clerks in front of the cross benches, has three spaces, so when five or six of us want to speak we cannot stay in our place for the rest of the debate.“Worse, if the chamber is full, we cannot even manoeuvre around after speaking to let another colleague move in.“Even worse, the Commons does not even have a mobility bench.”She also pointed out that there was just one space for wheelchair-users in the Commons public gallery, and no wheelchair spaces for peers who want to observe proceedings in the Commons.She said that wheelchair-users often have to travel double the distance around the building, because most routes include steps, which means wheelchair-users often miss votes because there are so few lifts large enough for them to use.Baroness Brinton also revealed that wheelchair-users are not able to access parts of the corridors used by ministers in the House of Commons.She pointed out that there are no self-opening doors in the building, and that some of the accessible toilets are “too small, cluttered with bins, and the red alarm cords are often in the wrong place and tied up, which makes their use impossible”.She also said that many of the ramps in the building have “no wheelchair” signs placed on them because they are too steep for wheelchair-users to use.Another disabled peer, the former Conservative minister Lord Blencathra, said: “I could add a whole chapter of horrors and, indeed, humiliations about the difficulties of getting around this place in a wheelchair.” The Liberal Democrat disabled peer Lord Addington said: “We have to get on and do this because we have a duty of care to everybody who works here and to the building.”He said he believed that moving peers and MPs out of the building should take place sooner than 2025.The disabled Labour peer, Lord [David] Blunkett, said he was pleased that the motion they were debating “recognises the importance of accessibility for visitors with disabilities and special needs, although that is also true of those working in the Palace of Westminster and will be in the future”.Another Labour peer, Lord Carter of Coles, said access to the building for disabled people was “a disgrace and we should correct it”.He added: “We should create a building that represents our values and, more importantly, our aspirations.”Baroness Doocey, a Liberal Democrat, said the renovations should “go much further than the minimum standards” on access.She said: “We should make it as easy as possible for every member of the public, regardless of their disability, to come to parliament and, crucially, to feel happy and comfortable when they come here.”Labour’s Baroness Smith of Basildon, shadow leader of the Lords, added: “We have an opportunity to ensure that parliament abides by the laws that we pass but do not follow regarding disability.”A Conservative peer, Baroness Bloomfield, told the debate that, after touring the basement of the building last week, she was “amazed that health and safety regulations allow any of us to occupy any part of this estate at any time.“The threat of a catastrophic failure in this parliament reflects the hideous possibility that a fire within this building, which has the same ventilation construction as the Mackintosh building in Glasgow and the same risks that attach to that system, could indeed cause major damage, potential death and the destruction of historic art and documents on a quite grotesque scale.”Baroness Evans assured Baroness Brinton and other peers who had raised the need to address access issues that “a major element of the proposed works will include significantly improving disabled access in the palace, which does not currently meet modern standards”.And she said that Baroness Brinton had “rightly raised some important issues which need to be looked at”.last_img read more

first_img 2 min read Kate Taylor Image credit: Monica Dipres –shares Chipotle Add to Queue September 15, 2015 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.center_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Chipotle Faces Food Poisoning Lawsuits in California and Minnesota Chipotle is dealing with two apparently unrelated lawsuits from customers who purchased meals that left more than a bad taste in their mouths.Two lawsuits have been filed against the burrito chain in the last week, one in Minnesota and one in California. In Minnesota, April Beck is the first Chipotle customer to file a lawsuit against the chain following a salmonella outbreak in August, reports Food Poisoning Journal. In California, two women have filed a lawsuit against Chipotle for damages due to norovirus infections.The Minnesota salmonella outbreak involved a suspect ingredient that was served in 17 Chipotle locations. At least 45 people have been sickened, and five (including Beck) have been hospitalized. The ingredient, which Chipotle and the Minnesota Department of Health have thus far declined to disclose, has been swapped out from all Chipotle restaurants in the state.Related: Chipotle Hit With Lawsuit Over GMO-Free Menu ClaimsIn California, the food poisoning was related not to salmonella but instead norovirus infections, which are often linked to contaminated employees preparing food. Eighty customers and 17 employees were sickened after eating food from a Simi Valley, Calif., Chipotle location on Aug. 18 and 19, including the two women who filed the lawsuit, reports Food Poisoning Journal.After customers reported the outbreak, the location was temporarily closed. Health inspectors reported that the Chipotle contained dirty and inoperative equipment, as well as equipment directly connected to the sewer, along with other sanitary and health violations.The Food and Drug Agency is attempting to cut down on outbreaks of this sort with new preventative measures, announced last week, which attempt to create “nationally integrated food safety system.” Foodborne disease outbreaks affect 48 million people in the U.S. every year, making the new rules something that could affect anyone who has ever eaten a bad burrito.Related: FDA Releases New Anti-Food Poisoning Rules Just as Salmonella Outbreak Reaches 30 States Reporter Next Article Register Now »last_img read more

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 10 2018Osaka University researchers have developed a system using artificial intelligence that can automatically differentiate between different types of cancer cell, potentially paving the way for the rapid, automated determination of appropriate individualized cancer treatments In cancer patients, there can be tremendous variation in the types of cancer cells from one patient to another, even within the same disease. Identification of the particular cell types present can be very useful when choosing the treatment that would be most effective, but the methods of doing this are time-consuming and often hampered by human error and the limits of human sight.In a major advance that could signal a new era in cancer diagnosis and treatment, a team at Osaka University and colleagues have shown how these problems can be overcome through an artificial intelligence-based system that can identify different types of cancer cells simply by scanning microscopic images, achieving higher accuracy than human judgment. This approach could have major benefits in the field of oncology.Related StoriesUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerArtificial intelligence can help accurately predict acute kidney injury in burn patientsThe system is based on a convolutional neural network, a form of artificial intelligence modeled on the human visual system. In this study, reported in the journal Cancer Research, this system was applied to distinguish cancer cells from mice and humans, as well as equivalent cells that had also been selected for resistance to radiation.”We first trained our system on 8,000 images of cells obtained from a phase-contrast microscope,” corresponding author Hideshi Ishii says. “We then tested its accuracy on another 2,000 images, to see whether it had learned the features that distinguish mouse cancer cells from human ones, and radioresistant cancer cells from radiosensitive ones.”Upon creating a two-dimensional plot of the findings obtained by the system, the results for each cell type clustered together, while being clearly separated from the other cells. This showed that, after training, the system could correctly identify cells based on the microscopic images of them alone.”The automation and high accuracy with which this system can identify cells should be very useful for determining exactly which cells are present in a tumor or circulating in the body of cancer patients,” lead author Masayasu Toratani says. “For example, knowing whether or not radioresistant cells are present is vital when deciding whether radiotherapy would be effective, and the same approach can then be applied after treatment to see whether it has had the desired effect.”In the future, the team hopes to train the system on more cancer cell types, with the eventual goal of establishing a universal system that can automatically identify and distinguish all such cells. Source: read more

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Feb 1 2019Eating disorders — anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or hyperphagia — usually appear in adolescence and often leave young patients and their families helpless. These disorders, whose prevalence is increasing, raise the question of early detection. Today, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), Switzerland, with colleagues from the University of North Carolina in the United States, provide new elements that would allow to identify, long before the critical period of adolescence, children who are more likely to be affected by these serious disorders. Indeed, their findings reveal that an abnormally high or low weight from the age of two significantly increases the risk of eating disorders. These results, which can be read in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, should alert paediatricians to this important public health issue.What are commonly referred to as eating disorders include all pathologies related to eating: food denied in the case of anorexia nervosa or food that young people absorb in very large quantities, very quickly and without control in bulimia nervosa or binge eating. While these disorders are initially classified as psychiatric conditions, more and more studies tend to show that multiple biological and environmental factors are also at stake. “Whatever the origin of these disorders, it is essential to strengthen their prevention and early detection, and therefore to identify risk factors that are visible from an early age,” warns Nadia Micali, Professor at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine and Head of the HUG Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, who directed this reserach.Warning signs from an early age?To identify possible common causes of eating disorders, the researchers analysed data from 1,502 participants in a large British longitudinal study that followed parents and their children over more than twenty years: their weight was measured regularly from birth to 12 years of age; at 14, 16 and 18 years of age they were then assessed for eating disorders. “Our results show that a significant difference in weight in very young children indicates an increased risk of eating disorders,” says Professor Zeynep Yilmaz of the University of North Carolina, the first author of this study. “Thus, a low body mass index (BMI) — about 0.5 points BMI compared to the average — as early as age 2 for boys and 4 for girls – is a risk factor for the development of anorexia nervosa in adolescents, just as excessive BMI from mid childhood would be a risk factor for the further development of other eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa.”Related StoriesStudy: Causes of anorexia are likely metabolic and psychologicalAnorexia may be as much a metabolic disorder as it is a psychiatric one, say scientistsNew therapeutic food boosts key growth-promoting gut microbes in malnourished children”Until now, we have had very little guidance on how to identify children who might be at increased risk for developing eating disorders later in adolescence,” explains Professor Cynthia Bulik, an expert on eating disorders at the University of North Carolina. “By looking at growth records of thousands of children across time, we saw early warning profiles that could signal children at risk. Clinically, this means that paediatricians should be alert for children who fall off and stay below the growth curve throughout childhood. This could be an early warning sign of risk for anorexia nervosa. The same holds for children who exceed and remain above the growth curve—only their risk is increased for the other eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.”Metabolic dysregulation at work?Although eating disorders are essentially psychiatric in nature, the study highlights the need to also examine metabolic risk factors in addition to psychological, sociocultural and environmental components.”The differences in childhood body weight of adolescents who later developed eating disorders started to emerge at a very early age —way too early to be caused by social pressures to be thin or dieting. A more likely explanation is that underlying metabolic factors that are driven by genetics, could predispose these individuals to weight dysregulation. This aligns with our other genetic work that has highlighted a metabolic component to anorexia nervosa.” says Professor Micali, who concludes: “Our results also highlight the multi-factorial composition of eating disorders, as well as the need to develop early detection tools that could be used as part of routine checks by all paediatricians.” Indeed, the earlier the problem is identified, the better it can be managed, especially if support is provided to the family as a whole, rather than just the individual.Source: read more

A man uses a smartphone on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona The race to bring super-fast 5G wireless services to market is heating up with the first commercial deployments of the much-anticipated technology expected at the end of the year. Citation: 5G wireless race heats up (2018, February 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Talk about 5G’s potential to pave the way to a world of self-driving cars, lightening-fast video downloads and smart cities have dominated the Mobile World Congress for years.But at the event in Barcelona this year, companies were full of concrete announcements of early versions of 5G uses.The first commercial 5G roll-outs begin this year and next in the United States, Korea and Japan, and the wireless industry is counting on the new technology to trigger a wave of growth in equipment sales and mobile services.China’s Huawei unveiled in Barcelona what it said is the world’s first commercial chipset that meet the standards of 5G wireless networks, which are better suited for virtual reality and high definition video.KT Corp, South Korea’s largest telecoms firm which exhibited several 5G services at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, displayed at the congress what it said was the world’s first 5G tablet.The telecoms industry only agreed to the first common 5G standards in December and analysts cautioned that the development of the network still has a long way to go.Much of what is being billed as 5G in fact “resembles more LTE++”, or an improved version of the existing 4G network in use in most developed nations, said Carole Manero, director of studies at IDATE, a French think tank on the digital economy.”There is a lot of marketing use of 5G,” she added.Huge investmentsThe next common 5G standards will only be announced later this year so “what is being proposed now is just a first version, many evolutions will follow, as was the case with 4G,” said BMI Research analyst Dexter Thillien.Tech firms are spending heavily to develop products that take advantage of the network’s possibilities. © 2018 AFP “We are investing heavily in 5G, nearly 600 million dollars per year in research and development,” said Huawei executive director and president of products and solutions Ryan Ding.Telecoms operators are also investing heavily to develop 5G networks for fear of falling behind their competitors.5G will account for 14 percent of global wireless connections by 2025, according to GSMA, the global mobile operators association. AI and 5G in focus at top mobile fair The first commercial 5G roll-outs begin this year and next in the United States, Korea and Japan Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges has estimated the cost of providing 5G networks in Europe alone will be €300-500 billion ($370-615 billion).The telecoms industry will invest $275 billion in the United States to develop 5G networks there, Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure said Monday at the mobile congress in Barcelona.Europe laggingWhile the European Union wants European companies to start offering 5G in 2020, spending to develop the network has been lower than in Asia or the United States.”The timescales vary widely on a country by country basis but the USA and China are the most likely winners to be the first” in 5G deployment, Nokia chief executive Rajeev Suri said on Sunday.He said he still believed some European operators would start to move up to 5G next year.In Europe telecoms firms are focusing their 5G efforts on business uses instead of by the general public as in other regions.European telecom operators are more cautious because the move to 4G by consumers was lower in Europe than elsewhere, said Thillien of BMI Research.”European operators know that demand will be low by the public. The y were burned by 4G and see that European consumers are more sceptical,” he added. 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

first_img Provided by University of Surrey Surrey’s ‘artificial whisker’ sensor. Credit: University of Surrey The sensor has primarily been designed for the aerospace sector since overcoming skin friction drag accounts for around 50 per cent of fuel burn on a commercial airliner in cruise conditions. Another potential application is in long pipelines where the power needed to pump substances through is entirely expended on overcoming friction.The new ‘artificial whisker’ technology has been developed by Dr. David Birch of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences in collaboration with Dr. Paul Nathan of Surrey Sensors Ltd, visiting student Xiaozhi Kong (Northwestern Polytechnical University, China) and temporary secondment student Arthur Poulain (ENSTA ParisTech, France).The technology has been developed by repurposing a £10 Honeywell pressure sensor die, creating a sensor which measures less than a millimetre. As well as being much lower cost than prototypes currently available, it offers exceptional sensitivity. The device is sensitive to forces down to about 2 nano-Newtons – equivalent to the change in weight of a piece of tissue paper if a human hair is used to punch a hole in it.Acting like a subminiature joystick, the sensor features pillars which are sensitive to both the magnitude and direction of applied loads, returning a force applied either forward or sideways. The system has been successfully tested in Surrey’s EnFlo wind tunnel.Dr. Birch commented: “To date there has never been a reliable method for directly measuring skin friction drag, except for using one-off experimental prototypes which require seven-figure budgets. The high-sensitivity sensor we have developed costs around £20 and offers an accurate, cost-effective solution.”In addition to applications in fluid measurement, the sensor could also be used in robotics and haptics (mechanical simulation of touch). 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. Citation: The first low-cost sensor that can accurately measure skin friction drag (2018, August 29) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Researchers at Surrey have developed the first low-cost sensor which can accurately measure skin friction drag, using off-the-shelf components. Optical pressure detector could improve robot skin, wearable devices and touch screens Explore furtherlast_img read more

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2019 AFP Ford shares surge as US pickup sales stay strong US automaker General Motors saw profits more than double in the first quarter, but said Tuesday that lower sales in China and North America ate into total revenues. Explore furthercenter_img Citation: GM reports lower sales in China, North America (2019, April 30) retrieved 17 July 2019 from Shares of General Motors fell after it reported lower first-quarter sales in North America and China The news undercut the company’s share price, despite posting net income of $2.2 billion, twice that of the same period of last year, a gain boosted by the one-time impact of a favorable tax court ruling in Brazil. But revenues fell 3.4 percent to $3.9 billion, and excluding special items, operating earnings dropped 11.5 percent, the company said.GM has been projecting auto sales in China to hold steady in 2019 compared to 2018, despite an economic slowdown that has dented auto demand. But first quarter sales in the country fell 17.5 percent to 813,973 compared to a year earlier.While there are expectations that government stimulus will help spur a recovery in the Chinese market, “we have yet to see that translate into auto demand,” said Chief Financial Officer Dhivya Suryadevara.”There’s still not enough specifics around what the stimulus is going to be,” she said, adding that GM has a slate of new vehicle launches in China in the second half of the year.Auto sales also declined in North America, due in part to planned downtime at the company’s sport-utility vehicle factories, offset somewhat by strong demand for new pickup trucks.GM became a political punching bag last year after announcing plans to cut thousands of jobs and shutter seven plants worldwide, including five in North America.Suryadevara said the company has no plans for additional cutbacks.Shares of GM fell 2.5 percent to $39.00 as trading opened.last_img read more