Review highlights calcium handling mechanisms involved in reperfusion injury

first_img Source:https://benthamscience.com/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 20 2018Stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) are a significant cause of death and disability worldwide. However, over the past several decades because of advances in medicines (thrombolytic agents, antiplatelet drugs, beta blockers, and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) and approaches to restore tissue perfusion (percutaneous coronary intervention and cardiopulmonary bypass), the mortality of MI has declined dramatically.Related StoriesEmpa researchers aim to fight unwanted biofilmsNutritional supplements offer no protection against cardiovascular diseases, say researchersNeuroscientists control visual behavior of a mouse with single-cell precisionThese treatments have been known to reduce acute myocardial ischemic injury and to limit MI size when experiments and were done on animals. However, reperfusion can itself amplify cell injury and death; this is known as myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury (I/R). Several studies have uncovered complex mechanisms of cardiomyocyte damage after the process of reperfusion, and efforts are ongoing to search for therapeutic targets to reduce I/R. One of the most observations is is the elevation of Ca2+ ions that takes place at intracellular and mitochondrial levels during reperfusion. This increase in Ca2+ predisposes patients to mitochondrial failure, hyper-contracture and proteolysis, eventually leading the cell toward necrotic or apoptotic death. The channels of the sarcolemma (L-Type Ca2+ channels and sodium/calcium exchangers), the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum (SERCA ATPase) and ryanodine receptors, SOCE(store-operated calcium entry), lysosomes and others, which are modified by I/R injury are responsible for these enormous alterations in cytosolic Ca2+ levels.This review describes different biochemical pathways that lead to Ca2+ overload that causes I/R. Advances in therapeutic strategies oin light of recent discoveries are also discussed.last_img read more

Advanced stem cell approach could help fight Parkinsons disease

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 20 2018Scientists have taken a key step toward improving an emerging class of treatments for Parkinson’s disease.The advance could markedly improve a next generation of therapies for the condition, which affects around one in 350 people in the UK.It could aid development of the promising treatment – known as cell replacement therapy – which was first used in a clinical trial this year. Experts hope the approach, which involves transplanting healthy cells into parts of the brain damaged by Parkinson’s, could alleviate symptoms such as tremor and balance problems.The latest development addresses limitations in the treatment in which, over time, transplanted tissue can acquire signs of disease from nearby cells.Related StoriesExciting study shows how centrioles center the process of cell divisionStudy: Megakaryocytes play an important role in cell migrationNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellResearchers at the University of Edinburgh have created stem cells – which have the ability to transform into any cell type – that are resistant to developing Parkinson’s.They snipped out sections of DNA from human cells in the lab using advanced technology known as CRISPR. In doing so, they removed a gene linked to the formation of toxic clumps, known as Lewy bodies, which are typical of Parkinson’s brain cells.In lab tests, the stem cells were transformed into brain cells that produce dopamine – a key brain chemical that is lost in Parkinson’s – in a dish. The cells were then treated with a chemical agent to induce Lewy bodies.Cells that had been gene-edited did not form the toxic clumps, compared with unedited cells, which developed signs of Parkinson’s.Researchers say the advance could be most beneficial to younger patients living with Parkinson’s and those with an aggressive form of the condition, but that the advance had to be tested in human trials.The study, published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, was funded by the UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology, the pharmaceutical company UCB Biopharma and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.Dr Tilo Kunath of the Medical Research Council’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said: “We know that Parkinson’s disease spreads from neuron-neuron, invading healthy cells. This could essentially put a shelf life on the potential of cell replacement therapy. Our exciting discovery has the potential to considerably improve these emerging treatments.”Dr Simon Stott, Deputy Director of Research for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust said, “Cell replacement therapy represents one experimental approach to regenerative medicine for people with Parkinson’s. This new research by Dr Tilo Kunath and his team at the University of Edinburgh provides another advancement in the development of this treatment. The Cure Parkinson’s Trust is thrilled to be associated with this inspiring and innovative research” Source:https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2018/stem-cell-approach-could-aid-parkinson-s-fightlast_img read more

Alterations in brain networks contribute to cognitive dysfunction in psychiatric disorders

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 3 2019Psychiatric disorders share common alterations of functional connectivity between three core brain networks involved in cognition, according to a meta-analysis published in Biological Psychiatry. The network alterations were localized in brain regions underlying general cognitive performance. The study suggests that the alterations in these networks contribute to the cognitive dysfunction present in multiple psychiatric disorders.The alterations in functional connectivity, which emerged from a meta-analysis of 242 functional brain imaging studies in people with a variety of psychiatric disorders, were found in the three large-scale networks considered to be particularly important for complex cognition–the default mode network; frontoparietal network; and the salience network. Further, analysis of 363 structural brain imaging studies revealed reduced gray matter that was confined to the altered networks, tightly linking structural and functional alterations.Related StoriesIT Faces the Digital Pathology Data TsunamiResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussionNANOLIVE‘s novel CX-A defines a new standard for live cell imaging in 96 well plates for continuous organelle monitoring in cell populationsImportantly, the study provides the first evidence from a meta-analysis of common functional connectivity alterations in neurocognitive networks across psychiatric disorders. “This new knowledge calls for studying brain-based diagnostic biomarkers of psychiatric disorders that are beyond traditional diagnostic boundaries,” said senior author Yong He, PhD, Beijing Normal University, China.Although psychiatric illnesses are considered to be distinct disorders, cognitive dysfunction appears in most of them. This overlap of symptoms across psychiatric disorders has been a major challenge to precisely categorize patients. Although enormous progress has been made in characterizing the neural correlates of diagnoses and symptoms over the past 25 years, neuroimaging biomarkers have yet to contribute to the psychiatric diagnostic process.”Dr. He and colleagues provide an important clue as to why neuroimaging diagnostic biomarkers have made limited progress,” said John Krystal, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “This finding pushes us to rethink the potential role of neuroimaging in the diagnostic process.”The shared neurocognitive network alterations suggest that neuroimaging may be providing a measure of symptom-related pathology not directly related to the disease process. This could pose a problem, as the study of psychiatric disorders–which are defined by collections of symptoms–is primarily limited to the study of behaviors. It is possible that disease-specific elements of biology exist, but the similarity between disorders in this study indicate that greater efforts may be needed to adjust for common elements of pathology in the search for “disease-specific” biomarkers. Source:http://www.elsevier.com/last_img read more

Astronauts who spend several months on spaceflight have lasting effects on paraspinal

first_img Source:http://home.lww.com/news.entry.html/2019/01/09/long-duration_space-wqlu.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 10 2019Astronauts who spend several months on the International Space Station have significant reductions in the size and density of paraspinal muscles of the trunk after returning to Earth, reports a study in Spine. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.Some changes in muscle composition are still present up to four years after long-duration spaceflight, according to the new research by Katelyn Burkhart, MS, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues. They write, “Spaceflight-induced changes in paraspinal muscle morphology may contribute to back pain commonly reported in astronauts.”Trunk Muscles Show Decreased Area, Increased Fatty Tissue, after Months in SpaceThe researchers analyzed computed tomography (CT) scans of the lumbar (lower) spine in 17 astronauts and cosmonauts who flew missions on the International Space Station. Scans obtained before and after missions were analyzed to determine changes in the size and composition of the paraspinal muscles. Average time in space was six months.Running up and down the spine, the paraspinal muscles play a key role in spinal movement and posture. Previous studies have found reduced paraspinal muscle mass after prolonged time in space, suggesting that muscle atrophy may occur without the resistance provided by gravity.The CT scans showed reductions in the size of paraspinal muscles after spaceflight. For individual muscles, muscle size decreased by 4.6 to 8.8 percent. In follow-up scans performed one year later, size returned at least to normal for all muscles.The scans also showed significant increases in the amount of fatty tissue present in the paraspinal muscles. Accordingly, the astronauts’ muscle density, which is inversely related to fat content, decreased by 5.9 to 8.8 percent. For most muscles, composition returned to normal by one year.Related StoriesSleep quality and fatigue among women with premature ovarian insufficiencyOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchDiet and physical exercise do not reduce risk of gestational diabetesHowever, for two muscles – the quadratus lumborum and psoas muscles – fat content remained above pre-flight values even two to four years after the astronaut returned from space. These muscles, which connect the spinal column to the pelvis, are located lateral (alongside) to the spinal column. By comparison, paraspinal muscles located posterior to (behind) the spinal column regained normal size and density.Changes in muscle size and composition varied between individuals. For some muscles, changes in size were at least partly related to the amount and type of exercise the astronauts performed while in zero gravity: either resistance exercise or cycling. In-flight exercise did not seem to affect changes in muscle density.Previous studies of astronauts have linked spaceflight to muscle atrophy, especially of the muscles that maintain posture and stability while upright on Earth in normal gravity. Many astronauts experience low back pain during and immediately after space missions, and they appear to be at increased risk of spinal disc herniation.The new study is the first to measure changes in the size and density of individual paraspinal muscles. The results show that muscle size returns to normal upon Earth recovery, but that some changes in muscle composition – particularly increased fatty infiltration – may persist for at least a few years.Some of the paraspinal muscle changes seem to be affected by exercise, suggesting possible approaches to preventing the adverse effects of prolonged spaceflight on spinal health and functioning. Ms. Burkhart and coauthors conclude, “As NASA plans for future missions to Mars and beyond, these results can be used to guide future countermeasures to mitigate declines in trunk muscle morphology and associated functional deficits.”last_img read more

Early studies and recent clinical trials on nerve growth factor

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 21 2019Nerve growth factor has been playing an important role in development of adult neurobiology. This is because of the regulatory functions that it possesses on survival, growth and differentiation of nerve cells in both of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Nerve growth factor plays an action in survival and growth of peripheral, sympathetic and sensory neurons along on numerous amounts of brain neurons. As far as neuropathic factors are concerned, NGF is the first discovered member of a family collectively indicated as neurotrophins. This includes, brain derived neurophin 4/5, neurotrophin-3 and nuerotrophic factor. For the sake of survival and differentiation of much selected population of peripheral neurons, NGF was discovered. Therefore, many studies took place to identify the role of purified NGF just for the sake of prevention of deaths of NGF-receptive cells. After all the studies, it was revealed to the researchers that NGF possesses good amount of therapeutic properties for diseases like, cutaneous ulcer, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, retinal maculopathy, Retinitis Pigmentosa along with optic gliomas and brain traumas.Therefore, the researches and studies that took place on NGF showed new routes for the diagnostics along with that allowed safe amount of dosages to the effected patients. This thing widened the spectrum of therapy with the help of NGF based therapy. Source:https://benthamscience.com/last_img read more

Three scenarios show we have to think carefully about ethics in designing

Citation: Three scenarios show we have to think carefully about ethics in designing smart cities (2018, March 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-scenarios-carefully-ethics-smartcities.html Provided by The Conversation But there are major ethical challenges that centre on fears about the privacy of information that is provided. The perception that data will be paternally used in targeted community interventions is also an issue.At the Indonesian-Australian Digital Forum in Jakarta in January, participants analysed the sustainability of using citizen reports to collect data on malaria. This information sharing can potentially benefit communities by targeting public health services in areas of need. But it also creates stigma and privacy concerns when individuals are known within their community as disease carriers. Is there any opportunity to consider a person’s consent?Big Data certainly creates opportunities to reduce health disparities. But how many benevolent government interventions engage targeted citizens in the development process? Focusing on the citizenThe examples we use above are very near-term realities. The possibilities and problems of Big Data mean designers require a new type of intelligence that exists between technology and the humanities. As technologies become more sophisticated the designer holds a key role in customising such concepts for mass use. Additionally, as the pendulum swings from technological solutions towards the citizen’s experiences, the variations in different countries’ political and cultural systems will become more pronounced. The old adage that “all politics is local” will be reinforced.But in a Big Data environment, the tendency to average out all those local specificities is magnified by generic technology approaches to complex cultural and contextual problems. Governments should think about and resolve ethical questions in the design of smart cities. City planners should ensure that the technologies deployed do not take away citizens’ privacy and that personal data are not used against them. Smart cities need to be more human, so we’re creating Sims-style virtual worlds Jakarta’s traffic system is one of many facets of the city that could be improved by smart cities technologies, but at what cost? Credit: Vasenka Photography/Flickr, CC BY To improve cities, governments are increasingly promoting the use of technology and data-driven decision-making. They decide how technologies and Big Data are being used or deployed in creating smart cities, with the help of academics who collect and interpret data, design new city ideas and newer technologies for cities. Data harnessed from networked objects that citizens wear or use daily can ease our lives. But it’s possible that the uses of Big Data jeopardise citizens, such as in the scenarios we present below. 1. Longer commute for low-class workersImagine this: A traffic system manages a city’s rush hour, handling thousands of traffic lights, public transport commutes and pedestrian signals. Meanwhile, an AI system uses real-time data drawn from hundreds of thousands of sensors on vehicles and buses. With help from infrastructure like light poles, the optimal flow of traffic is calculated based on the number of vehicles and people in the system. Reducing commute times and improving productivity is the stated end goal of city governments. Who could argue with that?But linking traffic data, geographic data and economic performance creates another scenario. If the system increases economic performance, is it any wonder it prioritises higher-paying jobs linked to more expensive suburbs neighbouring the city? Low-paid commuters contribute less financially to a city’s economy, so a highly paid executive getting a quicker ride to work makes brutal sense. But the system introduces a bias: public transport suddenly takes a little longer for a clerical worker.2. Park bench meter?The humble park bench presents another ethical dilemma for city planners. We’ve been paying for car parking in cities for decades. Now that we can live-track people in fine detail, the possibility of micro-charging for public amenities creates an opportunity for new revenue streams.Think about paying a few cents for time spent resting on a park bench – a parking meter for people. This obviously discourages the positive attributes of city living for avid park users. Yet, as an example of “data-driven” governance, it plausibly shines a light on the already feasible potential for economic disparity.3. Health and the consent of citizensBig Data can also be used to inform city design and planning to reduce health disparities. Public surveillance systems can connect geo-data with health services data to attend to populations that need urgent help. 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. Explore further This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. read more

Artificial intelligence needs to be socially responsible says new policy report

This is according to Dr. Barbara Ribeiro of Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at The University of Manchester, in On AI and Robotics: Developing policy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new policy report on the role of AI and Robotics in society, being published today.Dr. Ribeiro adds because investment into AI will essentially be paid for by tax-payers in the long-term, policymakers need to make sure that the benefits of such technologies are fairly distributed throughout society.She says: “Ensuring social justice in AI development is essential. AI technologies rely on big data and the use of algorithms, which influence decision-making in public life and on matters such as social welfare, public safety and urban planning.””In these ‘data-driven’ decision-making processes some social groups may be excluded, either because they lack access to devices necessary to participate or because the selected datasets do not consider the needs, preferences and interests of marginalised and disadvantaged people.”On AI and Robotics: Developing policy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a comprehensive report written, developed and published by Policy@Manchester with leading experts and academics from across the University. Provided by University of Manchester Play Dr. Barbara Ribeiro, from Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at the University of Manchester, discusses how to carry out and implement such processes in ‘On AI and Robotics: Developing policy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ by Policy@Manchester. Credit: Policy@Manchester The publication is designed to help employers, regulators and policymakers understand the potential effects of AI in areas such as industry, healthcare, research and international policy.However, the report doesn’t just focus on AI. It also looks at robotics, explaining the differences and similarities between the two separate areas of research and development (R&D) and the challenges policymakers face with each.Professor Anna Scaife, Co-Director of the University’s Policy@Manchester team, explains: “Although the challenges that companies and policymakers are facing with respect to AI and robotic systems are similar in many ways, these are two entirely separate technologies – something which is often misunderstood, not just by the general public, but policymakers and employers too. This is something that has to be addressed.” Professor Barry Lennox, Professor of Applied Control and Head of the UOM Robotics Group, adds: “The transfer of robotics technology into industry, and in particular the nuclear industry, requires cultural and societal changes as well as technological advances.”It is really important that regulators are aware of what robotic technology is and is not capable of doing today, as well as understanding what the technology might be capable of doing over the next 5 years.”The report also highlights the importance of big data and AI in healthcare, for example in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).Lord Jim O”Neill, Honorary Professor of Economics at The University of Manchester and Chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance explains: “An important example of this is the international effort to limit the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The AMR Review gave 27 specific recommendations covering 10 broad areas, which became known as the “10 Commandments.” Play Dr. Barbara Ribeiro, from the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at the University of Manchester, discusses how organizations can develop more representative AI public policies in ‘On AI and Robotics: Developing policy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ by Policy@Manchester. Credit: Policy@Manchester One particular area the report highlights where robotics can have a positive impact is in the world of hazardous working environments, such a nuclear decommissioning and clean-up. 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. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Is the UK’s energy policy fit for purpose? PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen The development of new artificial intelligence (AI) technology is often subject to bias, and the resulting systems can be discriminatory, meaning more should be done by policymakers to ensure its development is democratic and socially responsible. Play Dr. Barbara Ribeiro, from the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at the University of Manchester, discusses how local governments can ensure AI development incorporates greater social justice in ‘On AI and Robotics: Developing policy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ by Policy@Manchester. Credit: Policy@Manchester “All 10 are necessary, and none are sufficient on their own, but if there is one that I find myself increasingly believing is a permanent game-changer, it is state of the art diagnostics. We need a “Google for doctors’ to reduce the rate of over prescription.”The versatile nature of AI and robotics is leading many experts to predict that the technologies will have a significant impact on a wide variety of fields in the coming years. Policy@Manchester hopes that the On AI and Robotics report will contribute to helping policymakers, industry stakeholders and regulators better understand the range of issues they will face as the technologies play ever greater roles in our everyday lives. Citation: Artificial intelligence needs to be socially responsible says new policy report (2018, May 10) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-artificial-intelligence-socially-responsible-policy.html Explore further read more

UK car sector investment collapses on Brexit impact industry data

first_img Explore further The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed the news to coincide with its annual meeting in central London.Car investment plunged to £347.3 million ($461 million, 395 million euros) in the first six months of 2018, compared with £647.4 million in the same part of 2017, according to SMMT data.The organisation warned that new investment projects were being hindered by uncertainty over the government’s ongoing Brexit negotiations with Brussels.”The SMMT today called for swifter progress on Brexit and a deal that, as a minimum, maintains customs union membership and delivers single market benefits,” it said in a statement.”With investment slowing and time running out, negotiators must get on with the job of agreeing a deal that will put an end to uncertainty and prioritise the needs of the automotive sector.” Investment in Britain’s automotive sector collapsed by almost half in the first six months of the year, impacted by Brexit uncertainty, industry data shows Investment in UK automotive sector plunges by a third © 2018 AFPcenter_img Citation: UK car sector investment collapses on Brexit impact: industry data (2018, June 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-uk-car-sector-investment-collapses.html 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. Investment in Britain’s automotive sector collapsed by almost half in the first six months of the year, impacted by Brexit uncertainty, industry data showed Tuesday.last_img read more

Snooze mobiles How vibrations in cars make drivers sleepy

first_imgVolunteers were tested on a virtual simulator that can be vibrated on different frequencies. Credit: RMIT University Credit: RMIT University “To improve road safety, we hope that future car seat designs can build in features that disrupt this lulling effect and fight vibration-induced sleepiness.”Led by chief investigators Associate Professor Mohammad Fard and Professor Stephen Robinson, the research team tested 15 volunteers in a virtual simulator that replicates the experience of driving on a monotonous two-lane highway.The simulator was set up on a platform that could be vibrated on different frequencies, with the volunteers tested twice—once with vibrations at low frequencies (4-7Hz) and once with no vibration.The tiredness induced by vibration makes it psychologically and physiologically harder to perform mental tasks, so the body’s nervous system activates to compensate, leading to changes in the heartbeat. With about 20 per cent of fatal road crashes involving driver fatigue, researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, hope their findings can be used by manufacturers to improve car seat designs to help keep drivers awake.Professor Stephen Robinson said the effects of physical vibration on drivers were not well understood, despite growing evidence that vibration contributes to feelings of sleepiness.”We know 1 in 5 Australians have fallen asleep at the wheel and we know that drowsy driving is a significant issue for road safety,” Robinson said.”When you’re tired, it doesn’t take much to start nodding off and we’ve found that the gentle vibrations made by car seats as you drive can lull your brain and body.”Our study shows steady vibrations at low frequencies—the kind we experience when driving cars and trucks—progressively induce sleepiness even among people who are well rested and healthy.”From 15 minutes of getting in the car, drowsiness has already begun to take hold. In half an hour, it’s making a significant impact on your ability to stay concentrated and alert. Lead author, Ph.D. researcher Neng Zhang, in the virtual simulator. Credit: RMIT University Vehicle direction, not driver biometrics, best way to detect drowsiness New research has found the natural vibrations of cars make people sleepier, affecting concentration and alertness levels just 15 minutes after drivers get behind the wheel. Citation: Snooze mobiles: How vibrations in cars make drivers sleepy (2018, July 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-snooze-mobiles-vibrations-cars-drivers.html 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.center_img Provided by RMIT University By looking at the volunteers’ heart rate variability (HRV), researchers were able to gain an objective measure of how drowsy they were feeling as the 60-minute test progressed.Within 15 minutes of starting the vibrating test, volunteers were showing signs of drowsiness. Within 30 minutes, the drowsiness was significant, requiring substantial effort to maintain alertness and cognitive performance. More information: N. Zhang et al, The Effects of Physical Vibration on Heart Rate Variability as a Measure of Drowsiness, Ergonomics (2018). DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2018.1482373 Explore further The drowsiness increased progressively over the test, peaking at 60 minutes.Associate Professor Mohammad Fard said more work was needed to build on the findings and examine how vibrations affected people across different demographics.”We want to study a larger cohort, particularly to investigate how age may affect someone’s vulnerability to vibration-induced drowsiness as well as the impact of health problems such as sleep apnea,” he said.”Our research also suggests that vibrations at some frequencies may have the opposite effect and help keep people awake.”So we also want to examine a wider range of frequencies, to inform car designs that could potentially harness those ‘good vibrations’.” Journal information: Ergonomicslast_img read more

Bitcoins high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be

first_img The energy costs of mining Bitcoin, it has been estimated, now exceed the costs of mining actual metals. Credit: shutterstock Provided by The Conversation Bitcoin recently turned 10 years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity. Journal information: Nature However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, created by Bitcoin mining. Fundamental to that mining process is a peer-to-peer network of computers, referred to as validators, who perform Proof of Work. In essence, this involves computers solving computationally-intensive cryptographic puzzles that prove blocks of transactions, which are recorded in a public asset ledger, known as a blockchain. This ledger is publicly viewable by all computers, which helps the system achieve consensus in an unreliable network of participants.Validators are called miners because the computer, or node, that successfully validates one of those blocks is rewarded with “mined” Bitcoin. Thus mining is also the process by which Bitcoin adds new coins to the network.But these processes consume a vast amount of power.In my 2016 article, Socialism and the Blockchain, I estimated Bitcoin mining’s annual energy use at 3.38 TeraWatt hours (TWh), which I equated to the total 2014 annual consumption of Jamaica. Recent estimates show the currency’s annual consumption rising exponentially, currently reaching an incredible 55TWh. Indeed, a new paper in Nature Sustainability suggests that the energy costs of mining cryptocurrencies exceed the costs of mining physical metals. Furthermore, the paper estimates that Bitcoin emitted between 3m and 13m metric tonnes CO₂ in the first half of 2018. A team in Hawaii even suppose that, if Bitcoin’s adoption continues to rise, within a couple of decades, such emissions could help push global warming above 2°C.However, both the study in Nature and the team in Hawaii make assumptions about the means of energy generation. In the light of the recent disturbing UN 1.5°C Report, humanity would be wise to act on the recommendation for an “unprecedented shift in energy systems”. The hope is that such a shift towards large-scale renewable energy does occur, thus invalidating the assumptions made in those papers. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. 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: Bitcoin’s high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying (2018, November 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-bitcoin-high-energy-consumption-price.html Explore further Credit: Shutterstock Nevertheless, concerns over Bitcoin’s energy consumption remain, so Ethereum, another cryptocurrency, is investigating a more energy efficient consensus algorithm known as Proof of Stake. This method differs from Proof of Work because miners on this network use their economic stake to prove transactions and therefore, they are not performing energy intensive calculations. That introduces some complications – not least, how to ensure that people in this network act honestly, as they would have nothing to lose by behaving dishonestly? Ethereum’s proposed solution is to introduce penalties through measures such as penalising miners for simultaneously producing blocks on two versions of the blockchain. After all, only one of those blockchains is valid.Bitcoin’s Proof of Work overcomes such problems implicitly because it includes natural penalties since miners have to expend energy to prove transactions.In economic game theory, a Nash Equilibrium is said to be reached when a system stabilises because no one gains by changing strategy from that which produces the stable state. Since Bitcoin rewards are given to miners only if their blocks help form the valid Bitcoin blockchain, the most profitable outcome, or the Nash Equilibrium, is for each miner to act in consensus with the majority.As a result, Bitcoin’s Proof of Work algorithm has proven effective, despite the excessive energy consumption.A price worth paying?In essence, my work looks at whether blockchains are a rebuttal to the hierarchies of capitalism. If Bitcoin promotes a way of organising that does not rely on capitalist consumption, might that indirectly drive down society’s energy use and help lessen its environmental impact? After all, consider the recent alarming WWF report, which all but blamed capitalism for the dramatic decline in wildlife populations. We need alternatives.Perhaps, then, Bitcoin’s revolutionary offer, as an alternative to capitalism, means its energy use is a price worth paying? That argument holds some weight if it drives down consumption in other areas of society because Bitcoin mining is not the primary driver behind climate change. However, even then, given the urgency of environmental degradation, if we continue to produce energy in a manner that creates so much warming CO₂, that argument may provide scant consolation. Perhaps alternative consensus schemes, such as Ethereum’s Proof of Stake, provide part of the solution. However, Bitcoin or not, if humankind is to avoid climate catastrophe, we need to take urgent action and find solutions that produce clean, sustainable energy. If we do that, humanity will benefit, and as a by-product, so will Bitcoin. Q&A: What is bitcoin?last_img read more

Moment of truth tech firms in tennis linecall battle

first_imgA behind-the-scenes battle at the world’s top tennis tournaments pits an upstart newcomer and an established star. Citation: Moment of truth: tech firms in tennis line-call battle (2019, March 16) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-moment-truth-tech-firms-tennis.html © 2019 AFP Explore further Foxtenn in action at last yeart’s ATP Moselle Open in Metz, eastern Francecenter_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. Hawk-Eye, the British firm that innovated ball-tracking technology, has been ruling the sector for more than a decade.Its famous video simulations of contested line calls at Grand Slam tournaments are known to tennis lovers around the world.They are produced by computer-linked tracking cameras that calculate a flight path and project the ball’s landing point.But start-up FoxTenn from Spain believes it can do better by eliminating doubt from the line-call business.Hawk-Eye, which operates a dozen or so cameras placed around the tennis court, officially acknowledges a three-millimetre or so margin of error in its simulations of where the tennis ball would bounce.For Foxtenn that tiny margin is too wide and it says it can offer real-time technology that eliminates any room for debate.”What we are offering is the technology of truth and transparency, with the actual impact of the ball on the court,” FoxTenn president Javier Simon told AFP.In fact, FoxTenn’s 40 or so cameras around the court, backed up by scanners and lasers, effectively capture the moment of impact of the ball, without need for any simulation. Lobbying hardSimon says the technology has been given a zero-error rating in a study approved by the main tennis federations, the ATP, ITF and the WTA.Simon says that so far around 30 men’s and women’s tennis tournaments have adopted the FoxTenn system, or about 20 percent of the professional circuit.”Our goal is to equip all the tournaments,” he said, particularly the top-tier Masters 1000 events and the four Grand Slams. Within a few months the line-call contracts will be coming to an end at the nine Masters events, and FoxTenn is lobbying hard for a chance to prove its worth.One tournament which already uses Foxtenn, Marseille Open, found that initial difficulties were overcome after two seasons.”At the start, I liked the idea of a challenger for Hawk-Eye, which had a bit of a monopoly,” said tournament director Jean-Francois Caujolle.”Foxtenn seemed lighter to install, a bit cheaper and had real-time images, which is good.”At the start it wasn’t fast enough, but they have made progress, and it’s very good. Maybe it will make Hawk-Eye renovate.”Players have other things to focus on and are rarely directly concerned by behind-the-scenes technology.Roger Federer said he has no idea whether he has been exposed to Foxtenn.”I doubt it. Yeah, I don’t even know about it,” he told AFP.”You know the tournaments I’ve played. I guess there they haven’t used it. Hasn’t it been Hawk-Eye all the way?”French world number 19 Gael Monfils says he is used to Hawk-Eye but thinks FoxTenn may hold a potential edge “because you see where the actual ball landed”. Algorithm predicts the next shot in tennislast_img read more

Too many airplane systems rely on too few sensors

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. Had I trusted my airspeed sensor, I would have pushed the plane’s nose down in an attempt to regain speed, and possibly put too much strain on the aircraft’s frame, or gotten dangerously close to the ground. But even small aircraft are packed with sensors: While worried about my airspeed, I noticed that my plane was staying at the same altitude, the engine was generating the same amount of power, the wings were meeting the air at a constant angle and I was still moving over the ground at the same speed I had been before the airspeed allegedly dropped.So instead of overstressing and potentially crashing my plane, I was able to fix the problematic sensor and continue my flight without further incident. As a result, I started investigating how computers can use data from different aircraft sensors to help pilots understand whether there’s a real emergency happening, or something much less severe.Boeing’s response to its crashes has included designing a software update that will rely on two sensors instead of one. That may not be enough. The angle of attack describes how the wings meet the oncoming air. Credit: J Doug McLean/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA A test with real dataWe tested our computer program with real data from the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447. The post-crash investigation revealed that three different pitot tubes froze up, delivering an erroneous airspeed reading and triggering a chain of events ending in the plane plunging into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 228 passengers and crew.The flight data showed that when the pitot tubes froze, they suddenly stopped registering airspeed as 480 knots, and instead reported the plane was going through the air at 180 knots – so slow the autopilot turned itself off and alerted the human pilots there was a problem.But the onboard GPS recorded that the plane was traveling across the ground at 490 knots. And computer models of weather indicated the wind was coming from the rear of the plane at about 10 knots.When we fed those data to our computer system, it detected that the pitot tubes had failed, and estimated the plane’s real airspeed within five seconds. It also detected when the pitot tubes thawed again, about 40 seconds after they froze, and was able to confirm that their readings were again reliable. When one sensor fails, other equipment can provide data to detect the failure and even estimate values for the failing sensor. A different sort of testWe also used our system to identify what happened to Tuninter Flight 1153, which ditched into the Mediterranean Sea in 2005 on its way from Italy to Tunisia, killing 16 of the 39 people aboard.After the accident, the investigation revealed that maintenance workers had mistakenly installed the wrong fuel quantity indicator on the plane, so it reported 2,700 kg of fuel was in the tanks, when the plane was really carrying only 550 kg. Human pilots didn’t notice the error, and the plane ran out of fuel.Fuel is heavy, though, and its weight affects the performance of an aircraft. A plane with too little fuel would have handled differently than one with the right amount. To calculate whether the plane was behaving as it should, with the right amount of fuel on board, we used the aerodynamic mathematical relationship between airspeed and lift. When a plane is in level flight, lift equals weight. Everything else being the same, a heavier plane should have been going slower than the Tuninter plane was. Our program models only cruise phases of flight, in which the plane is in steady, level flight – not accelerating or changing altitude. But it would have been sufficient to detect that the plane was too light and alert the pilots, who could have turned around or landed elsewhere to refuel. Adding information about other phases of flight could improve the system’s accuracy and responsiveness. Using information on ground speed and the current wind conditions, a computer can estimate the plane’s airspeed. Credit: Shigeru Imai and Carlos Varela, CC BY-ND Provided by The Conversation Ethiopian Airlines crash: What is the MCAS system on the Boeing 737 Max 8? A Cessna 182 in flight. Credit: Rob Hodgkins/Flickr, CC BY-SA Planes have many sensors, supplying all kinds of useful data. Credit: vaalaa/Shutterstock.com Citation: Too many airplane systems rely on too few sensors (2019, April 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-airplane-sensors.html Credit: The Conversation Cross-checking sensor dataAs a plane defies gravity, aerodynamic principles expressed as mathematical formulas govern its flight. Most of an aircraft’s sensors are intended to monitor elements of those formulas, to reassure pilots that everything is as it should be – or to alert them that something has gone wrong.My team developed a computer system that looks at information from many sensors, comparing their readings to each other and to the relevant mathematical formulas. This system can detect inconsistent data, indicate which sensors most likely failed and, in certain circumstances, use other data to estimate the correct values that these sensors should be delivering.For instance, my Cessna encountered problems when the primary airspeed sensor, called a “pitot tube,” froze in cold air. Other sensors on board gather related information: GPS receivers measure how quickly the aircraft is covering ground. Wind speed data is available from computer models that forecast weather prior to the flight. Onboard computers can calculate an estimated airspeed by combining GPS data with information on the wind speed and direction. Better stillAs my team continues to develop flight data analysis software, we’re also working on supplying it with better data. One potential source could be letting airplanes communicate directly with each other about weather and wind conditions in specific locations at particular altitudes. We are also working on methods to precisely describe safe operating conditions for flight software that relies on sensor data.Sensors do fail, but even when that happens, automated systems can be safer and more efficient than human pilots. As flight becomes more automated and increasingly reliant on sensors, it is imperative that flight systems cross-check data from different sensor types, to safeguard against otherwise potentially fatal sensor faults. Explore further The apparent connection between fatal airplane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia centers around the failure of a single sensor. I know what that’s like: A few years ago, while I was flying a Cessna 182-RG from Albany, New York, to Fort Meade, Maryland, my airspeed indicator showed that I was flying at a speed so slow that my plane was at risk of no longer generating enough lift to stay in the air. What about the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes?The full range of data about Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian Airlines 302 is not yet available to the public, but early reports suggest there was a problem with one of the angle-of-attack sensors. My research team developed a method to check that device’s accuracy based on the plane’s airspeed.We used aerodynamics and a flight simulator to measure how variations in the angle of attack – the steepness with which the wings meet the oncoming air – changed the horizontal and vertical speed of a Cessna 172. The data were consistent with the performance of an actual Cessna 172 in flight. Using our model and system, we can distinguish between an actual emergency – a dangerously high angle of attack – and a failing sensor providing erroneous data.The actual numbers for a Boeing 737 Max 8 would be different, of course, but the principle is still the same, using the mathematical relationship between angle of attack and airspeed to double-check each other, and to identify faulty sensors. If the computer’s estimated airspeed agrees with the sensor readings, most likely everything is fine. If they disagree, then something is wrong – but what? It turns out that these calculations disagree in different ways, depending on which one – or more – of the GPS, wind data or airspeed sensors is wrong. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.last_img read more

US tech firms to take hit from Huawei sanctions

first_imgMoving toward independenceRoger Kay, founder and analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the ban is likely to accelerate efforts by Huawei and other Chinese firms to develop their own sources of microprocessors and other components.”The short-term effect on both American and Chinese companies are inevitably negative,” Kay said.”The longer-term effect is that Huawei and other Chinese companies turn away more sharply from American suppliers.”Neither Intel nor Qualcomm responded to queries on how they would respond to the order on Huawei.Avi Greengart, founder of the research firm Techsponential, said a ban on sales to Huawei could hit a wide range of large and small US firms including Corning, which makes the popular Gorilla Glass for smartphones, and Dolby, a producer of video and audio software for handsets. The tough sanctions imposed on Huawei by President Donald Trump could deal a blow to the many US firms that make up the Chinese tech giant’s supply chain. 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. Explore further American firms last year sold an estimated $11 billion worth of components to Huawei, which was put on a blacklist last week by Washington over national security concerns as trade frictions grow between the US and China.Trump’s executive order could effectively ban makers of US hardware and software from selling to Huawei by requiring a special license from Washington.Bloomberg News reported that US-based chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom and Xilinx have indicated they would halt shipments to the Chinese firm which is the world’s number two smartphone maker and a leader in telecom infrastructure and super-fast 5G networks.Google said it would comply with the US order, leaving Huawei without access to critical services for the Android operating system such as Gmail and Google Maps.Microsoft, which supplies the Windows operating system for many Huawei devices, did not respond to an AFP query on how the order might impact the Redmond, Washington-based firm.Bob O’Donnell of the consultancy Technalysis Research said any ban would almost certainly affect Microsoft.”If it affects Google I don’t see why it wouldn’t affect Microsoft,” O’Donnell said.”Any version of Windows comes from Microsoft, since there is no open-source version.” Citation: US tech firms to take hit from Huawei sanctions (2019, May 20) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-tech-firms-huawei-sanctions.html Apple could suffer from a backlash in China if the crisis over Huawei persists, according to analysts © 2019 AFP Google v Huawei hits millions of smartphone users The sanctions on Huawei are likely to impact US firms selling billions of dollars of components to the Chinese tech giant Risks to AppleGreengart said Apple could also suffer from any protracted crisis over Huawei, estimating the iPhone maker gets about 17 percent of its revenues from China.Even though Apple might benefit in the premium smartphone market in Europe, “I think the risks are higher than the rewards for Apple,” Greengart said.”If there is a backlash against Apple in China, that could have damaging long-term effects.”Greengart said that Google might not see a major impact for the moment.”Ironically (the ban) won’t affect Google much because Google doesn’t make money selling Android.”Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights & Strategy, said he sees a limited impact on US firms in the short run.”The impact to the US companies depends on the length of the ban but also how indexed they are in sales to Huawei,” Moorhead said.”Neither Intel, Google or Nvidia do more than three percent of their business with Huawei, so short-term, it shouldn’t be an issue.”O’Donnell said a bigger risk is that Huawei and other Chinese firms step up efforts to develop software and hardware that allows them to break free from Silicon Valley.”The longer-term question is: does this drive Huawei to develop a third mobile platform?” O’Donnell said.”China is already developing its own technology infrastructure, and this plays into the whole notion of a separate internet in China, which would be a big deal.” Chipmakers Qualcomm and Intel are among the suppliers to Huawei which could be affected by the US ban on sales to the Chinese firm “When you think about all the software and hardware components you get a pretty big list,” Greengart said.”The US is a big part of the global supply chain.”Few firms offered public comments on their response to the Huawei executive order.But one, California-based Lumentum Holdings, a maker of optical and laser applications, said it would comply with the executive order and that Huawei accounted for 15 percent of its revenue so far in the current fiscal year.last_img read more

Huawei says US sanctions will cost it billions in revenue

first_imgU.S. suppliers are taking a hit, too. Micron Technologies, Qualcomm, Qorvo and Skyworks Solutions have all listed Huawei as a major customer. Last week, chipmaker Broadcom reduced its 2019 revenue forecast by $2 billion, saying customers are trimming orders because of the trade tensions, including the U.S. curbs on sales to Huawei. Broadcom previously estimated full-year revenue of $24.5 billion. The research firm IHS Markit said Micron and Western Digital will also suffer, as they lose a leading buyer of memory chips and storage devices.Huawei is expected to face challenges finding alternative suppliers for components, though IHS says Micron and Western Digital could eventually be replaced by South Korean and Taiwanese suppliers.More broadly, U.S. businesses are expressing alarm at the Trump administration’s aggressive policies toward China. Hundreds of companies, trade groups and individuals have written the U.S. trade representative to protest the administration’s plan to extend tariffs of up to 25% on the $300 billion worth of Chinese sales to the United States that haven’t already been hit by import taxes. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, center, speaks at a roundtable at the telecom giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen in southern China on Monday, June 17, 2019. Huawei’s founder has likened his company to a badly damaged plane and says revenues will be $30 billion less than forecast over the next two years. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei speaks at a roundtable at the telecom giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen in southern China on Monday, June 17, 2019. Huawei’s founder has likened his company to a badly damaged plane and says revenues will be $30 billion less than forecast over the next two years. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei speaks at a roundtable at the telecom giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen in southern China on Monday, June 17, 2019. Huawei’s founder has likened his company to a badly damaged plane and says revenues will be $30 billion less than forecast over the next two years. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, left, gets make up on his face before attending a roundtable at the telecom giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen in southern China on Monday, June 17, 2019. Huawei’s founder has likened his company to a badly damaged plane and says revenues will be $30 billion less than forecast over the next two years. (AP Photo/Dake Kang) Huawei’s founder said Monday that the Chinese telecom giant’s revenue will be $30 billion less than forecast over the next two years, as he compared the company to a “badly damaged plane” as a result of U.S. government actions against it. China telecom giant Huawei hints US pressure hurting sales Ren denies that Huawei would share user data with the Chinese government if ordered to do so. He said Monday there are no backdoors in its equipment that anyone could access, and that Huawei is willing to enter into a no backdoor agreement with any nation that wants one.Huawei has brought a lawsuit in the U.S. this March challenging the constitutionality of a national security law which prevents the U.S. government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment. The complaint, filed in Plano, Texas, where Huawei’s American operations are headquartered, alleges that the law singles out Huawei for punishment while denying the company due process.The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Huawei is asking Verizon to pay licensing fees for more than 200 of its patents. While Huawei declined to comment on the matter, company spokesman Joe Kelly said it will hold a briefing later this month on being more aggressive about collecting intellectual property licensing fees.Ren said during the panel discussion that Huawei will not use its many patents as a “weapon,” but did not rule out seeking royalties for usage.He emphasized that Huawei will not stop collaborating with other countries and businesses. Explore further Citation: Huawei says US sanctions will cost it billions in revenue (2019, June 17) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-huawei-founder-revenue-billions.html 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 company’s current situation “is not caused by American businesses, but rather by certain politicians’ different perspectives,” Ren said. “I think both sides will suffer. No one will win.”The panel, organized by Huawei, also included Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the media lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and writer and investor George Gilder.In December, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou—Ren’s daughter—was arrested in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities. The U.S. alleges that Meng misled American banks about the company’s business dealings with Iran, and that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. An extradition hearing is expected to begin in January. Some are showing up in person for seven days of hearings that begin Monday. They want the administration to cancel the tariffs—or at least spare the imports they rely on.Washington claims Huawei poses a national security threat because it is beholden to China’s ruling Communist Party. But American officials have presented no evidence of any Huawei equipment serving as intentional conduits for espionage by Beijing. Huawei’s placement on the Entity List is widely seen as intended to persuade resistant U.S. allies in Europe to exclude Huawei equipment from their next-generation wireless networks, known as 5G. “We never thought that the U.S.’s determination to attack Huawei would be so strong, so firm,” Ren Zhengfei, who is also the CEO, said during a panel discussion at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China.Ren said Huawei will reduce capacity and expects revenue of about $100 billion annually for the next two years, compared with $105 billion in 2018. In February, he said the company was targeting $125 billion in 2019.Huawei’s overseas cellphone sales will drop by 40%, Ren said, confirming a Bloomberg report published Sunday. But the Chinese market is growing rapidly, he said, and Huawei will not allow restrictive measures to curb its research and development.Huawei is embroiled in a trade dispute between China and the U.S., which has accused Chinese companies such as Huawei of committing forced technology transfers and stealing trade secrets. Last month, the U.S. placed Huawei on its “Entity List,” which effectively bars American companies from selling components to Huawei without government approval.last_img read more

Chinas Didi plans to relaunch Hitch service with new safety features

first_imgFILE PHOTO: A man is seen in front of a Didi sign before a promotional event of its Hitch service for the Spring festival travel rush, in Beijing, China January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File PhotoBEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing said on Thursday it was proposing to relaunch its Hitch carpooling service with added safety features, almost a year after suspending the service following the murder of a female passenger by her Didi driver. The case had badly dented Didi’s image at a time when it has been trying to expand overseas to compete with foreign rivals such as Uber and drove the company to pledge that it would prioritize safety over growth going forward. Didi has no definite timetable yet for the relaunch of Hitch but it is putting forward a proposal for public consultation, the company said in a statement. The service will minimize its display of personal information, offer an in-app pop-up which allows drivers and passengers double check the identity of people they were sharing a car with, Didi said. Didi also plans to form a partnership with Chinese insurers to provide up to 1.2 million yuan ($174,502) in accident insurance and roll out a separate program for female passengers and drivers, comprising features such as algorithms that can detect things such as abnormal route changes. Hitch, which allowed users to hail a car through their smartphone and share a ride with someone else headed in the same direction, was advertised by Didi as a new way to meet people such as romantic encounters before it was suspended last year. Reporting by Brenda Goh and Yilei Sun; editing by Gopakumar WarrierOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

ECB to cut rates in September QE 20 still on the cards

first_imgBENGALURU (Reuters) – The European Central Bank will cut its deposit rate in September after signalling a bias to do so this month, according to economists in a Reuters poll who do not expect a turnaround in the euro zone’s economic fortunes any time soon. FILE PHOTO: The logo of the European Central Bank (ECB) is pictured outside its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, December 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph OrlowskiMajor central banks on both sides of the Atlantic are under pressure to ease monetary policy to keep inflation expectations from collapsing amid slowing global growth, increased trade protectionism and weak economic data. When asked what the ECB was likely to do at its July meeting, two-thirds of economists said the central bank would change its forward guidance towards easing. With inflation well below the central bank’s target and not predicted to pick up soon, the ECB is expected to cut its deposit rate by 10 basis points to an all-time low of -0.50% in September. “We don’t think it will be enough to get inflation back on track towards target. Clearly a 10-basis point move in interest rates doesn’t move the dial really,” said Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics. “But the Governing Council will want to signal that they can do more. This … may have some marginal impact on monetary conditions. But no, I don’t think it will be enough.” Indeed, the July 4-17 Reuters poll of over 100 economists showed the outlook for euro zone growth and inflation — and for most major economies in the region — was at best left unchanged or downgraded compared to previous surveys. At 1.3%, euro zone inflation is lower than where it stood when the central bank stopped its 2.6 trillion euro (£2.3 trillion) asset purchase programme in December. While a majority of economists do not expect the ECB to relaunch asset purchases — known as quantitative easing, or QE — this year, nearly 40% of the respondents expected it to do so, up from about 15% last month. “A rate cut won’t do. While we do think that the ECB will cut rates, we mostly see this as a policy move that will precede the restart of QE,” said Daniele Antonucci, chief euro-area economist at Morgan Stanley. TIME TO PUSH AHEAD The European Commission cut its euro zone growth and inflation outlook last week, citing uncertainty over U.S. trade policy. Quarterly economic growth is set to have slowed to 0.2% last quarter and the consensus points to only a 0.3-0.4% rate of expansion in each quarter through to the end of next year. Inflation, which the ECB targets at just below 2%, is forecast to average 1.3% this year and is not expected to hit the target at any time in the forecast horizon which runs through to 2021. That is likely to give the ECB reason to push ahead with stimulus as hinted at in President Mario Draghi’s speeches over the past month. ECB board member Benoit Coeure said as much in a speech on Wednesday. “Looking ahead, the Governing Council is determined to act in case of adverse contingencies and also stands ready to adjust all of its instruments, as appropriate, to ensure that inflation continues to move towards the Governing Council’s inflation aim in a sustained manner,” Coeure said. The backdrop for the ECB, as for many other global central banks easing policy or considering it, is the U.S.-China trade war and the ructions it has caused. The euro zone is particularly exposed as its economy relies heavily on exports. “I would say the dominant story remains one of trade uncertainty and that will likely dampen the prospects of recovery over the coming six months or so,” said Bert Colijn, a senior economist at ING. All but four of 63 economists who answered a separate question said International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde, who is due to replace Draghi after he leaves in October, would continue with the current policy stance. “I think she’s not uncomfortable being in this position … because she has been a clear supporter of unconventional policy,” said Frederik Ducrozet, strategist at Pictet Wealth Management. (Analysis and polling by Tushar Goenka and Manjul Paul; Editing by Ross Finley and Catherine Evans)Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

Dont Waste Your Emotions on Plants They Have No Feelings Grumpy Scientists

first_img What Distinguishes Humans from Other Animals? In animals, neurobiology refers to the biological mechanisms through which a nervous system regulates behavior, according to Harvard University’s Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative. Over millions of years, brains in diverse animal species have evolved to produce behaviors that experts identify as intelligent: Among them are reasoning and problem-solving, tool use and self-recognition. Beginning in 2006, some scientists have argued that plants possess neuron-like cells that interact with hormones and neurotransmitters, forming “a plant nervous system, analogous to that in animals,” said lead study author Lincoln Taiz, a professor emeritus of molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. “They even claimed that plants have ‘brain-like command centers’ at their root tips,” Taiz told Live Science in an email. This perspective makes sense if you simplify the workings of a complex brain, reducing it to an array of electrical pulses; cells in plants also communicate through electrical signals, according to the article. However, the signaling in a plant is only superficially similar to the billions of synapses firing in a complex animal brain, which is more than “a mass of cells that communicate by electricity,” Taiz said. “For consciousness to evolve, a brain with a threshold level of complexity and capacity is required,” he added. Other researchers who recently investigated the neuroscience of consciousness — awareness of one’s world and a sense of self — found that in animals, only vertebrates, arthropods and cephalopods had brains complex enough to enable them to be conscious. “If the lower animals — which have nervous systems — lack consciousness, the chances that plants without nervous systems have consciousness are effectively nil,” Taiz said. And what’s so great about consciousness, anyway? Plants can’t run away from danger, so investing energy in a body system that recognizes a threat and can feel pain would be a very poor evolutionary strategy, according to the article. “Being conscious may seem like harmless fun for plants being cared for in a garden, but imagine, for example, the plight of trees during a forest fire. I would not wish to inflict on trees the consciousness and pain of being burned alive,” Taiz said in the email. “Being unconscious is in all likelihood an advantage to plants and contributes to their evolutionary fitness,” he added. The findings were published online July 3 in the journal Trends in Plant Science. Originally published on Live Science.by 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 SubscriptionUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndoNucificTop Dr. Reveals The 1 Nutrient Your Gut Must HaveNucificUndoArticles VallyDad Cuts Daughter’s Hair Off For Getting Birthday Highlights, Then Mom Does The UnthinkableArticles VallyUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndo A tree falls in the woods; but whether or not anyone hears it, the tree has no regrets. Nor does it experience fear, anger, relief or sadness as it topples to the ground. Trees — and all plants, for that matter — feel nothing at all, because consciousness, emotions and cognition are hallmarks of animals alone, scientists recently reported in an opinion article. The idea that plants have some degree of consciousness first took root in the early 2000s; the term “plant neurobiology” was coined around the notion that some aspects of plant behavior could be compared to intelligence in animals. Though plants lack brains, the firing of electrical signals in their stems and leaves nonetheless triggered responses that hinted at consciousness, researchers previously reported. But such an idea is bunk, according to the authors of the new article. Plant biology is complex and fascinating, but it differs so greatly from that of animals that so-called evidence of plants’ intelligence is intriguing but inconclusive, the scientists wrote. [The 5 Smartest Non-Primates on the Planet] AdvertisementPlants Know Their SiblingsPlants use chemical cues to recognize and cooperate with siblings, while spurring competition among rivals.Volume 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Better Bug Sprays?01:33关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65905-plants-dont-think-or-feel.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0001:2701:27Your Recommended Playlist01:33Better Bug Sprays?01:08Why Do French Fries Taste So Bad When They’re Cold?04:24Sperm Whale Befriends Underwater Robot00:29Robot Jumps Like a Grasshopper, Rolls Like a Ball00:29Video – Giggly Robot02:31Surgical Robotics关闭 center_img Image Gallery: Carnivorous Plants in Action In Photos: Plants in Danger of Disappearinglast_img read more

Trumps Labour Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein case

first_img“Alex called me this morning and wanted to see me,” Trump told reporters. “I just want to let you know this is him, not me.”Acosta’s resignation is effective in seven days. Trump named Deputy Labour Secretary Patrick Pizzella as the acting secretary of Labour.Acosta has served in Trump’s cabinet since April 2017 and from 2005 through 2009 was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. It was there that he handled Epstein’s first case involving sex with girls, which resulted in a punishment that critics say was far too lenient.”Mr. Acosta now joins the sprawling parade of President Trump’s chosen advisors who have left the administration under clouds of scandal and corruption, leaving rudderless and discouraged agencies in their wake. Taxpayers deserve better,” Democratic U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said in a statement.Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, pleaded not guilty to new federal charges in New York this week. Epstein had a social circle that over the years has included Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew.Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had called on Tuesday for Acosta to resign.DEFENDING HIS CASEAcosta responded to the criticism on Tuesday with tweets saying Epstein’s crimes were “horrific” and that he was glad prosecutors were moving forward based on new evidence and testimony that could “more fully bring him to justice.”On Wednesday Acosta held a news conference to defend his handling of the deal, which allowed Epstein to plead guilty to a state charge and not face federal prosecution. Acosta said Epstein would have had an even lighter sentence if not for the deal.Acosta would not say if he would make the same decision regarding Epstein now, considering the power of the #MeToo movement that led to the downfall of several powerful men publicly accused of sex crimes by women. U.S. prosecutors in New York on Monday accused Epstein, 66, of sex trafficking, luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his luxury homes and coercing them into sex acts.Democratic U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who has called on Acosta to testify on the Epstein matter, said in a statement: “Secretary Acosta’s role in approving the extremely favourable deal for Jeffrey Epstein raises significant concerns about his failure to respect the rights of the victims, many of whom were children when they were assaulted.”The federal prosecutors in New York said they were not bound by the deal arranged by Acosta, which allowed Epstein to plead to a lesser offence and serve 13 months in jail with leave during the day while registering as a sex offender. In February, a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Florida, ruled that the 2007 agreement violated the victims’ rights. Epstein’s case and Acosta’s role in the plea deal had come under scrutiny earlier this year after an investigation by the Miami Herald.The Epstein case came up during Acosta’s Senate confirmation hearing but the Republican-majority Senate approved him in a 60-38 vote. He is the latest top Trump administration official to depart under a cloud. The heads of the Interior, Justice, State and Health departments have also either been fired or resigned, among other top staff during Trump tenure so far.Acosta, the son of Cuban refugees and the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet, previously served on the National Labour Relations Board and in the U.S. Department of Justice under Republican President George W. Bush. (Reporting by Nandiat Bose; additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Writing by David Alexander and Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Trott) Related News WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned on Friday amid fresh scrutiny of his handling of the sex abuse case against financier Jeffrey Epstein, becoming President Donald Trump’s latest adviser to leave the administration in controversy.Acosta, joining Trump at the White House before the president left for a trip to Wisconsin, said he did not want to be a distraction to the administration’s work because of his leadership of the Epstein case more than a decade ago.”As I look forward, I do not think it is right and fair for this administration’s Labour Department to have Epstein as a focus rather than the incredible economy we have today,” Acosta said.Trump, who has fired numerous cabinet and other administration officials during his 2 1/2 years in the White House, said it was Acosta’s idea to step down. World 10 Jul 2019 U.S. Labor Secretary Acosta says Epstein crimes ‘horrific’ World 10 Jul 2019 Trump backs U.S. Labor chief Acosta, says will look into matter amid Epstein casecenter_img Related News World 09 Jul 2019 Trump defends cabinet member Acosta embroiled in Epstein sex-abuse case {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Streetwise Tunisia end Madagascars dream with 30 quarterfinal win

first_imgCAIRO (Reuters) – Tunisia ended Madagascar’s remarkable Africa Cup of Nations run when they beat the rank outsiders 3-0 in their quarter-final on Thursday, notching their first win of the tournament in the process.Madagascar, a country with little football tradition and who had not been expected to progress beyond the group stage on their first appearance at the finals, held out until the second half when they were undone by Ferjani Sassi’s deflected shot.Youssef Msakni added a second on the hour for the Carthage Eagles, ranked 25th in the world against Madagascar’s 107th, and substitute Naim Sliti finished it off on the break in stoppage time to earn them a semi-final against Senegal on Sunday.Tunisia had drawn their previous four matches at the tournament, beating Ghana on penalties in the last 16. Football 09 Jul 2019 Tunisia take last place in the Cup of Nations quarter-finals Football 08 Jul 2019 Madagascar fairytale continues with shootout win over DR Congo {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} The Indian Ocean islanders had beaten Nigeria on their way to winning their group and then knocked out Democratic Republic of Congo on penalties in the previous round but it was always going to be different proposition against streetwise, if uninspiring, Tunisia.”Today, the bar was too high, Tunisia were too strong for us, they were a very well-organised team. The result was logical,” said Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis, who also coaches French fourth-tier side Fleury.”I am very proud of the players and what they have done at this tournament, it’s exceptional. I take off my hat to them.”Despite having more possession, Tunisia were let down by the final pass early on while Madagascar were more incisive on the occasions they went forward.Tunisia began to take control towards halftime, however, and Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien twice had to dive at the feet of the marauding Tunisian forwards and then parried Wahbi Khazri’s curling free kick around the post.He was then called into action again to save Ghaylen Chaalali’s low drive from 25 metres.Khazri had a goal disallowed for offside at the start of the second half but it was not long before Tunisia went ahead, although it was very tough on Madagascar.Sassi’s shot in the 52nd minute appeared to offer no real threat to Adrien until it took a wicked deflection off Thomas Fontaine to leave the hapless goalkeeper completely wrong-footed.Eight minutes later, Tunisia struck again. Adrien saved Khazri’s shot but was powerless when Msakni collected the rebound, slipped past a defender and planted the ball in the bottom corner.After that, Tunisia decided to sit back on their lead and Madagascar never looked like mounting a fight back.Although they kept pushing forward, their remarkable campaign ended with something of a whimper with Sliti’s breakaway goal in stoppage time rubbing salt into the wounds. (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)center_img Related News Football 09 Jul 2019 VAR to be used from Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals Related Newslast_img read more