One should be on red alert for an engineered price declineIt was a zero day in gold on Friday, as the metal traded within a five dollar price range for the entire session, with a tiny rally into the close of electronic trading. Gold closed on its ‘high’ of the day, such as it was.The low and high ticks aren’t worth the effort of looking up.Gold closed on Friday at $1,339.00 spot, up $3.70 from Thursday. Net volume was almost invisible at 67,000 contracts.The same can be said for silver, as it traded in about a 10 cent range all day long. The highs and lows weren’t worth looking up, either.Silver closed yesterday at $21.445 spot, up 3 cents from Thursday. Volume, net of July and August, was a pretty beefy 32,000 contracts, which is almost half of gold’s net volume. Something under 20,000 contracts would have been closer to normal.As I’ve mentioned a few time over the last few months, silver’s net volume is now substantially larger that it ever used to be—and I’m wondering why that’s the case, especially relative to gold.Platinum traded flat as well, but palladium had a down/up rally that started at 10 a.m. in Zurich—bottomed shortly after the Comex open—and was back to a few bucks above unchanged shortly after 12 o’clock noon in New York. Platinum closed unchanged—and palladium closed up two bucks. Here are the charts. The overbought conditions in both metals has grown more extreme in the last couple of days.I’d like to point out one more time that the Commercial net short in silver is at, or very close to, it’s extreme all-time high of the last five years—and one should be on red alert for an engineered price decline at some point in the not-to-distant future. My great concern, as I mentioned in the discussion regarding the COT Report, is that with silver is currently sitting at $21.45 spot—and only up about $2.75 from its $18.75 low of the first week of June—one has to wonder how low will JPMorgan et al be able to drive the price if they really put their shoulders into it as, once again, they ring the cash register on the technical funds for fun, profit and price management.I know it hasn’t happened yet—and it’s entirely possible that we could move higher from here for a while—but the COT numbers, using past as prologue, indicate otherwise. All we can do is wait it out.That’s all I have for today. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend—and I’ll see you here on Tuesday. The dollar index closed in New York late on Thursday afternoon at 80.12—and didn’t do much until 9 a.m. BST in London. At that point it dipped down to 80.04 before being rescued up to the 80.23 level at 9 a.m. in New York. It faded a small handful of basis points into the close, finishing he Friday session at 80.19—up 7 basis points from Thursday.I was happy to see the gold stocks bounce back, but they looked like they rallied strongly for the same reason that they got sold off on Thursday—and that was no reason that I could see. The HUI closed up 2.35%.Ditto for the silver equities, as they gained back everything they lost on Thursday, plus a hair more—as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 3.07%.Here’s the long-term Silver 7 Index to show how little ground we’ve actually gained during the current rally.The CME Daily Delivery Report drew a blank yesterday, as no gold or silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday.There were no reported changes in GLD on Friday—and as of 6:01 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either.There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint on Friday.There a little bit of movement in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, as 3,000 troy ounces were reported received—and 225.4 troy ounces were shipped out.However, it was a monster day in silver, as 336,763 troy ounces were reported received—and a whopping 1,942,290 troy ounces were shipped out the door. The link to that activity is here.And now for yesterday’s Commitment of Traders Report. I said in The Wrap in Friday’s column—“Eye-balling the above charts its a tough call on both metals, but basically unchanged wouldn’t surprise me.”I wasn’t even close.In silver, the Commercial net short position blew out by an astonishing 6,063 contracts, or 30.3 million ounces. The Commercial net short position is now up to 290 million troy ounces, a position we haven’t been at since December 2012 when silver was $34 the ounce. Now we’re back at an almost 5-year high in the Commercial net short position—and silver is only $21 the ounce. One wonders how low JPMorgan et al will drive the price when they pull the pin on the technical funds this time around?Ted said that this reporting week’s action was, once again, the technical funds buying back short positions and going long—and in the face of that, the raptors sold another 2,800 long contracts, the Big 4 [read JPMorgan] increased their short position by 2,500 contracts—and the 5 through 8 largest traders added about 800 contracts to their short position. Ted pegs JPMorgan’s short side corner in the Comex silver market at 17,500 Comex contracts, or 87.5 million troy ounces.Here’s a chart that Nick Laird sent my way yesterday evening. It shows the long and short positions of all three groups of traders in the COT Report. Looking only at the center chart, you can see the the Non-Commercial/technical funds in red—and the the Commercials in blue—and the thin black line is the positions of the Nonreportable contract holders that’s visible behind the red bars.Just looking at the Non-Commercial category, in five weeks they’ve gone from a net long position of about 1,000 contracts all the way to a new record high of 48,000 contracts—and for what, dear reader? A lousy two dollar plus move in the price of silver on the chart directly above it.If you look at the top price chart, we had a similar two dollar move in February and March on much smaller trading action between the technical funds and the Commercials. And if you go back to August 2012, the price of silver rallied to $34 from $27 by the first week of October—a seven dollar move. This time—and in a much shorter time period, only five weeks—and on bigger buying volume by the technical funds, silver is only up two bucks and change.In his weekly review on Saturday, July 5, silver analyst Ted Butler had this to say about the above situation: “I have come to believe that the main cause behind the diminishing nature of progressive silver rallies is a willful intent on the part of the regulators and key commercials on the COMEX to snuff out any silver rally before it generates sufficient investment demand that could lead to a physical shortage. More than any alternative explanation that possibly comes to mind, I believe there is a conspiracy between the CFTC and other parts of the U.S. Government, along with crooked private interests on the COMEX, to not let silver go too far on the upside. Further, while this may also be true to some extent in gold, it is in silver where the situation is most critical.”By the way, Ted’s essay “The Silver Conspiracy” will be posted in the clear sometime next week—and you can rest assured that it will appear in this column the moment it shows up in the public domain.There was also deterioration in gold in the COT Report as well, as the Commercial net short position increased by 5,548 contracts, or 554,800 troy ounces. The Commercial net short position now stands at 16.60 million troy ounces. Once again it was the technical funds/Non-commercial traders that covered shorts and went long—and the Commercials of all stripes sold longs, or went short against them. Ted said the JPMorgan sold another 1,000 contracts of its long-side corner in the Comex futures market—and is now down to 2.5 million troy ounces.You’d have to go back to March of 2013 to see the Commercials holding this big a net short position in gold. It was from that point in March of last year where gold got clocked for $400 the ounce by the end of July. One wonders what fate “da boyz” have in store for us in gold going forward? One would have to presume that it would be similar to the fate that awaits silver.By the way, the small traders in the Nonreportable category never have any influence over the price. It’s the interplay between the mechanically-driven technical funds and the Commercials that drives the price up and down as moving averages are broken in either direction.Here’s the equivalent chart for gold that I posted just above for silver.And, without doubt, that big out-of-the-blue rally in both gold and silver in London trading on their Thursday morning will have driven the Commercial net short positions in both these metals to new extremes, but we’ll have to wait until next Friday to find out just how bad it was.I have a decent number of stories for you today—and I hope you can find time in what’s left of your weekend to read the article that interest you the most.With silver prices so low—and at or below the primary cost of production, there has rarely been a more inopportune time for any producer to be hedging and locking in current prices. This is confirmed by the fact that silver (and gold) miner hedging is at multi-decade lows. Yet the concentrated silver short position of the eight largest traders (all commercials) on the COMEX is near its highest level in years, meaning that the concentrated short position is not legitimate since it doesn’t involve bona fide hedging.At the same time, the concentrated short position of the 8 largest COMEX shorts is near record highs, JPMorgan’s share has rarely been lower, according to the COTs. The only explanation that makes sense is that those involved in the conspiracy are trying to take the attention and heat off of the crooks at JPMorgan by shifting some of the short position from JPMorgan and placing it in other large short accounts. There is no legitimate reason why the 5 thru 8 largest traders on the COMEX hold an all-time record short position at a time of record low miner hedging. As distasteful as I’ve always found the word “conspiracy” to be, I can’t find a more apt description for what has transpired on the COMEX. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 09 July 2014Today’s pop “blast from the past” dates from this American Rock Band‘s 1981 triple platinum album “Paradise Theatre”. The group—and the tune—are instantly recognizable—and the link is here.Today’s classical blast from the past is courtesy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. For me, my two favourite instruments are the piano and violin—and the vast majority of the well-known concerto repertoire of the last two hundred years or so, was written for these two instruments. If those two instruments, along with all their associated music vanished from the face of the earth overnight, my next favourite instrument is the oboe. Mozart’s Oboe Concerto in C major, K314 is probably the most well known.It was originally composed in spring or summer of 1777 for oboist Giuseppe Ferlendis (1755–1802) from Bergamo, then reworked by the composer as a concerto for flute in D major in 1778. The concerto is a widely-studied piece for both instruments—and is one of the more important concerti for the oboe.There are no credits given in this youtube.com clip, but it’s quite good. It’s the only complete performance I could find—and the link is here.There’s nothing to discuss regarding yesterday’s price action in either gold or silver. The only thing that I continue to note is that the high trading volume in silver continues unabated, regardless of the price action.Here are the 6-month charts for both gold and silver updated with yesterday’s price and volume data.
Tinder Suspends Co-Founder Over Sexual Harassment Claims Add to Queue Former Staff Writer Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. –shares Next Article Tinder’s former vice president of marketing, Whitney Wolfe, is suing the company she says she co-founded on charges of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. According to court documents filed yesterday, Wolfe alleges that Tinder’s CMO, Justin Mateen, called her a whore at a company event in the presence of CEO Sean Rad.And after having played a pivotal role in the company’s founding, including coining its name, Wolfe says her status as a co-founder was revoked because Mateen believed having a young female in the role made “the company seem like a joke.”Tinder’s parent companies, IAC and Match.com, are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit.Related: Oh, Snap — Evan Spiegel ‘Mortified’ by Vulgar Frat EmailsCourt documents also reveal incinerating text messages between Mateen and Wolfe, who briefly dated. “You prefer to social climb middle aged Muslim pigs that stand for nothing,” Mateen wrote after they’d broken up.In response, Wolfe repeatedly asked Mateen to stop harassing her. “I am trying to do my job and this is very out of control,” she said.In lieu of the leaked texts, Mateen was immediately “suspended pending an ongoing internal investigation,” according to Tinder. “We unequivocally condemn these messages, but believe that Ms. Wolfe’s allegations with respect to Tinder and its management are unfounded,” the company said in a statement to USA Today.Additional allegations include that Rad repeatedly ignored Wolfe’s complaints about being harassed, and bullied her into resigning.Related: New Dating App Startup Aims to Be the ‘Thinking Person’s Tinder’She also alleges that he sent her a text message “depicting IAC chairman Barry Diller as a penis.”And after leaving the company, Wolfe says she tearfully recounted the abuses she suffered to Sam Yagan, CEO of Match.com, who was “unmoved” and “didn’t feel compelled to do anything in response.”Wolfe is asking for lost back pay, lost fringe benefits, lost equity and damages for emotional distress and pain suffering.”I had hoped this would be resolved confidentially, but after months of failed attempts, I have decided to pursue this suit,” she said in a statement to USA Today.Related: GitHub Co-Founder Quits Following Harassment Allegations 3 min read Legal Geoff Weiss Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals July 1, 2014 Register Now »
Source:http://www.neuromed.it/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 12 2018While the heavy negative effects of high consumption are confirmed, those who drink in moderation resort less to the hospital than teetotalersA study of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed (Pozzilli, Italy), in collaboration with the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston), highlights that people who consume alcohol moderately (one glass of wine a day), in the general framework of Mediterranean diet principles, have a lower risk of being hospitalized compared to heavier drinkers, but also to the teetotallers.The research, published in the scientific journal Addiction, involved 21,000 participants in the Moli-sani epidemiological study, followed for over 6 years. During this period, their drinking habits were related to their number of hospital admissions.Related StoriesRecreational marijuana users tend to drink more alcohol, medicinal users drink lessExcess grey matter in the brain can predict escalating drinking behavior in teensPeople use executive control processes to ignore cues that signal something rewarding”We observed – says Simona Costanzo, first author of the paper, who spent a period of research in this field at Harvard University, thanks to a grant from the Veronesi Foundation – that a heavy consumption of alcohol is associated with a higher probability of hospitalization, especially for cancer and alcohol-related diseases. This confirms the harmful effect of excessive alcohol drinking on the health. On the other hand, those who drink in moderation present a lower risk of hospitalization for all causes and for cardiovascular diseases compared to lifetime abstainers and former drinkers “.”The data on hospitalizations – comments Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed and professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Insubria in Varese – is very important in relation to the impact of alcohol on public health. Hospital admissions, in fact, represent not only a serious problem for people, but they have also a strong impact on National health systems. Our study confirms how much excess alcohol can weigh on healthcare facilities, underlining the urgent need of managing the problem, but it also confirms and extends our previous observations according to which moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduction in mortality risk, regardless of the type of disease”.”We are absolutely not saying – underlines Ken Mukamal Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School – that any teetotaler should start drinking to improve his/her health. However, this research reaffirms that the effects of alcohol consumption cannot be reduced to a single catchphrase or punchline. This very comprehensive study clearly shows that we need to consider its health effects based upon both dose and disease”.
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.
Reviewed 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/
Reviewed 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/
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.
Volunteers 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. 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: Ergonomics
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?
FILE 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.
BENGALURU (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.