One should be on red alert for an engineered price

first_imgOne 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.last_img read more

Commute by Bike Check Out Googles 350 Smart Jacket

first_img Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. March 14, 2017 Tom Brant Next Article –shares Google Add to Queue A $350 pair of Levi’s that syncs with your smartphone? Is it Fashion Week again? No, it’s South by Southwest, the annual gathering of tech enthusiasts and culture lovers, where Google and Levi’s offered an update on a project they’ve been working on to make a stylish denim garment full of technology.The garment isn’t jeans, though, it’s a special version of Levi’s Trucker jacket woven out of electronic threads that Google is working on as part of its Project Jacquard. First announced in 2015, the jacket is inching closer to reality with a price tag and a release date of “this fall,” according to Engadget.For $350, you’ll get a jacket that takes the term “wearable” — traditionally used for smartwatches — to new heights. A small tag will be embedded in the denim, containing all the electronic components the jacket needs to connect to your smartphone. The rest of the garment looks like any other Trucker jacket, except you can swipe it to take calls and use other smartphone functions when your device isn’t easily accessible.The target audience is urban bike riders: a promotional video shows a biker swiping his sleeve to change song tracks, get navigation directions and answer calls. The electronic fibers woven into the denim capture touch interactions, and use machine-learning algorithms to determine various gestures. Data is then wirelessly transmitted via the electronic tag — removable for washing — to a mobile device.This being Google, of course, Project Jacquard isn’t stopping at a denim jacket for fashion-conscious techies who commute to work by bike. The company envisions the fabric being used by any fashion designer, and it is working on developing an ecosystem of apps and cloud services to convince people that the high-tech fabric is worth a higher price.Speaking of paying a premium, you can pick up a “dumb” Trucker jacket right now for $65. We’re betting some people will find it worth spending an extra $285 to answer phone calls from their coat sleeve, but many more won’t. Image credit: via PC Magcenter_img 2 min read News reporter This story originally appeared on PCMag Commute by Bike? Check Out Google’s $350 Smart Jacket. The Google-Levi’s partnership takes the term ‘wearable’ to new heights (and price tags). Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Register Now »last_img read more

Amazon Spark Is a PinterestLike Shopping Social Network

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. July 21, 2017 The new feature inside Amazon’s iPhone app lets you follow specific categories and people, making it easy to buy things you find. Add to Queue Image credit: Amazon via PCMag Amazon Amazon Spark Is a Pinterest-Like Shopping Social Network Next Article Angela Moscaritolocenter_img Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals As if you don’t already buy enough stuff on Amazon, the ecommerce giant just added a new Pinterest-like feature to its iPhone app aimed at helping you “find more of what you like.”Dubbed Spark, the new shopping social network lets you follow specific categories and people. Of course, Amazon has made it super easy to buy things there, too.To access Spark, tap the hamburger icon (three parallel horizontal lines) in the Amazon iPhone app, select Programs and Features, then tap Spark. The first time you visit, you’ll select a few of your interests: things like books, style and fashion, food, technology, do it yourself (DIY), home décor, beauty, recipes, video games and women’s fashion, for instance.From there, Spark will create a “feed of personalized content from other Amazon customers with similar interests as you.” If you see something you like, just tap the product link or shopping bag icon to buy it.You can also create posts to share a specific product or story, and “interact with people by commenting or smiling on their posts.” We assume “smiling” on someone’s post is basically like adding a heart or thumbs up.Anyone in the U.S. with the Amazon iPhone app can look at posts on Spark, but you’ll need to be a paid Prime member to contribute your own.Just keep in mind that whatever you do on Spark is pretty much public. “Anyone can view your posts, comments, the interests you follow and see your Amazon Profile,” Amazon said in its Spark FAQs. Your profile displays customer reviews you’ve written but does not show your purchasing or browsing history. This story originally appeared on PCMag 2 min read –shares Reporter Register Now »last_img read more

Admetrics Launches Marketing AI Assistant Newton to Advise Marketers on Growth Opportunities

first_imgAdmetrics, a marketing intelligence company that supports advertisers with data science solutions to gain actionable insights into their marketing data, announced the release of Newton, a new capability that enables companies to run always-on experimentation for insight generation at scale.Newton represents a shift in marketing intelligence software, providing marketers a simple way to turn any marketing data into countless experiments running in parallel to learn, optimize and iterate at scale by continuously analyzing data and making recommendations for growth. In this capacity, Newton functions as a 24/7 expert and advisor, drawing from deep domain expertise to convert data into knowledge, proactively identifying insights and actions to drive positive business outcomes.The ability of Newton to evaluate options and alternatives, determine cause-and-effect relationships and predict highly probable and profitable outcomes positions marketers to bridge the growing disconnect between information and insights. Research firm Forrester puts the scope of the problem into perspective, observing that a massive 60 to 73% of data companies collect is not analyzed.The outcome is a vicious cycle in which marketers invest massive resources to gather tremendous amounts of data from an ever-increasing number of sources and channels—and yet lack the capabilities to turn that information into action, according to a 2019 survey of CMOs and brand marketers reported in Inc. magazine. This also dovetails with Admetrics internal data that shows the majority of brands (57%) have “access to sufficient data resources,” but, at the same time, critically lack capabilities to address and execute data-informed tasks including testing, reporting and bidding model optimization.Marketing Technology News: Blis Expands Into the Netherlands With First HireNewton was architected to address this issue, providing marketers the capabilities to automate and scale data analysis in order to maximize insight generation and increase cost efficiency. To achieve this, Newton leverages Quantify, the Admetrics experimentation engine released in March, to provide highly accurate statistical results at the highest possible pace. This enables quicker time to value and dramatically faster data-driven decision making than traditional testing methodologies by empowering marketers and campaign managers to continuously learn from ever-running experiments.Leading data-driven companies across categories have developed their own experimentation platforms in order to outpace their competition. It’s a competitive advantage that used to demand significant investment and data science expertise, but this is changing with the advance of next-generation solutions, according to Markus Repetschnig, CEO and co-founder at Admetrics.“The release of Newton, which was purpose-built to supercharge experimentation and data analytics by suggesting actions marketers can take to optimize growth, marks a turning point in what all companies can achieve—even if they lack big budgets and large data science teams,” Repetschnig explains.Marketing Technology News: Shoppers Take Center Stage in the 2019 Retail Systems Research Report on eCommerce Website Performance“Newton helps advertisers and agencies minimize missed opportunities for growth and stop losses as early as possible,” Repetschnig says. More importantly, Newton is also one of the first in a new breed of augmented analytics solutions, a cutting-edge category of data capabilities Gartner has identified as a top 10 strategic tech trend for 2019. In practice, Newton harnesses AI models that are tailored to specific advertising value and attribution chains to generate insight and provide actionable recommendations at scale, while minimizing the human component previously required to find issues and opportunities hidden deep in the data.Advertisers and agencies that want to leverage the new capability do not need to change their existing infrastructure as Newton works with any kind of marketing data and can be easily plugged into any tech stack. To date, Newton offers expert models for programmatic advertising and social platforms like Facebook, with additional models in the pipeline to address other marketing use cases.Marketing Technology News: Mongolia’s Mongolsat Networks Optimizes Multi-Screen Video Delivery with Verimatrix and moTV.eu AdmetricsMarketing AImarketing intelligenceMarketing TechnologyMarkus RepetschnigNews Previous ArticleCardinal Path’s 2019 State of Marketing Technology Report Highlights Consolidation & DisruptionNext ArticleTableau Welcomes More than 2,000 Customers and Partners to Berlin for Sold-Out European Conference Admetrics Launches Marketing AI Assistant Newton to Advise Marketers on Growth Opportunities MTS Staff WriterJune 19, 2019, 10:40 pmJune 19, 2019 last_img read more

Moderate alcohol consumption linked with lower risk of hospitalization

first_img 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”.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

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

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

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

Wildlife traffickers use Facebook Instagram to find blackmarket buyers

first_imgCustoms officials display seized turtles at the customs office in Sepang, Malaysia. Two Indian citizens were arrested due to smuggling attempt into the country on a flight from Guangzhou, China with thirty-two small boxes packed with 5,225 red-eared slider turtles. — AP Social networks and online marketplaces have long been hubs of illegal activity, including exotic animal trafficking. Smugglers use the platforms as digital billboards, often sharing photos and videos of their merchandise for users around the world to see. On Facebook and Instagram, it’s common for traffickers to post their WhatsApp or WeChat numbers alongside their goods, a signal to prospective buyers to connect in a more private forum. From orangutans and cheetah cubs to opioids and ancient Middle Eastern antiquities, if something can be sold illegally, researchers say, it’s likely being sold somewhere on Facebook or Instagram.  “If there were T-Rexes alive, they would be selling them,” said Patricia Tricorache, an assistant director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  Now, as Facebook embarks on a shift to more personal communications and private-group activity, it’s poised to get worse. That’s giving advocates a sense of urgency about getting the social network to crack down on the black-market trade before it becomes even tougher to track.  “We’re in the middle of a big storm about what social media should be responsible for on their platforms,” said Tim Mackey, a professor at the school of health sciences at the University of California, San Diego. “Animals are dying in the field, and their platforms are being used to facilitate that trafficking.”  Mackey has spent much of the past year studying the trade of illegal goods on Facebook and Instagram, and recently published a paper about drug sales on Instagram. Now he’s researching the sale of illegal wildlife products – like rhino horns and endangered turtles – specific to Chinese buyers and sellers.  “It looks like this is not a space that Facebook is policing very much,” he said.  Accurate data on trafficking is sparse given the secretive nature of the business, and private groups on Facebook make it even harder to quantify. Operation Dragon, a two-year effort from the WJC that was highlighted by National Geographic in 2018 and included the Malaysian turtle sting, came across more than 20,000 turtles and tortoises for sale, worth more than US$3.2mil (RM13.16mil). “It was noted that on social media platforms like Facebook there was a significant amount of open and aggressive trader traffic posted,” read the report from WJC, an international foundation.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare recently looked at social media sites like Facebook and Instagram as part of a separate wide-ranging report on animal trafficking published in 2018. Over a six-week period covering posts from just four countries, IFAW found 275 listings selling endangered or threatened wildlife or wildlife parts on the two services – a small number, but one that didn’t include any posts that may have been part of private Facebook groups. “It should also be noted that had ‘closed’ groups on Facebook been included in this research, levels of trade discovered on social media could have been significantly higher,” according to the report.  Facebook’s unintentional role in facilitating these kinds of transactions is troubling to researchers, many of whom are banding together to share resources and drive awareness. Mackey is part of a new organisation called the Alliance to Counter Crime Online or ACCO, a coalition of researchers and academics focused on fighting Internet traffickers, specifically on Facebook and Instagram, which it calls “ground zero” for online organised crime.  Dan Stiles, an ACCO member and independent researcher in Kenya, has studied the illegal wildlife trade since 1999 with a focus on great apes. He’s penned reports on the illegal ape trade for numerous wildlife organisations, as well as the United Nations. In late 2016, he even orchestrated a sting operation carried out on Facebook and WhatsApp to help nab a trafficker selling two baby orangutans in Bangkok.  Stiles echoed what many other researchers said: Facebook doesn’t do enough to proactively search for these kinds of posts, which serve as organic ads for traffickers’ merchandise. Instead, its approach has been to remove the posts once others flag them – but even that can pose a dilemma. Removing the posts means eliminating evidence that law enforcement and researchers can use to monitor these traffickers.  “They’re not actually looking for it themselves,” Stiles said, “because they would have closed down a hell of a lot more [accounts] by now if they were.”  Tightening an earlier policy that had forbidden the sale of endangered animals, Facebook in May banned the peer-to-peer sale of all animals, from rare freshwater turtles to puppies. “This policy is allowing us to go very aggressive and be able to remove these live animals,” said Max Slackman, a policy manager at Facebook. The earlier policy was so hard to enforce that the company scrapped it, he said. “At the scale that we operate, training our review teams to identify every single endangered animal is just impossible,” he said.  The company does not, however, actively search for posts that promote the sale of animals on Facebook or Instagram. It uses machine learning to detect posts that include animal cruelty or graphic images, which can lead to the removal of some trafficking posts, Slackman said. But the majority of posts Facebook takes down have been flagged by users, researchers or advocacy organisations.  Still, Facebook says it’s getting better at finding and removing other kinds of illegal activity. In a recent content report, Facebook said it removed more than 1.5 million posts promoting the sale of drugs or firearms in the first three months of the year. It was the first time Facebook shared a metric highlighting the removal of “regulated goods”, and executives say they want to report other, similar kinds of takedowns in the future.  “The hope eventually is that we will have strong information on [animal trafficking] as well as other regulated goods sales,” Slackman said.  Tania McCrea-Steele may be one of the few wildlife researchers who’s confident that Facebook will tackle this problem. McCrea-Steele is a project manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, where she focuses on rescues and conservation. She pointed out that both Facebook and Instagram recently joined the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, a global group of tech companies pledging to cut online animal trafficking by 80% by the end of 2020.  “They do have a really strong wildlife [trafficking] policy in place,” she said of Facebook. Other online marketplaces are particularly popular in Europe, she says, and popular Internet services in China are also an issue.   Social media still poses challenges, she said. Closed groups are hard to infiltrate, and monitoring private conversations, even those that are unencrypted, raises privacy concerns.  That may be one of Facebook’s biggest issues moving forward. As the company pivots away from public sharing and moves toward encryption, even Facebook won’t have access to private communications sent through its network. It already owns one encrypted messaging service in WhatsApp, and Messenger and Instagram will also encrypt all messages sometime soon. The three services have more than a billion users each. On a recent conference call with reporters, chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg conceded that Facebook’s plans for privacy will have trade-offs. Facebook can only fight what it can see.  “We recognise it’s going to be harder to find all the different types of harmful content,” he said. “It’s not clear on a lot of these fronts that we’re going to be able to do as good of a job on identifying harmful content as we can today.”  Gretchen Peters, a security expert and former journalist who founded the ACCO, hopes that Facebook will ultimately be regulated and punished for all kinds of illegal transactions on its network. She’s broaching the subject with US lawmakers and says she’s had meetings with staffers for numerous congressional committees, including the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. Peters believes Facebook is profiting off this illegal activity: The company makes money when people spend time using the service, she says, even if that time is spent trafficking illegal goods.  “I have zero faith whatsoever that the firms are going to do this on their own,” said Peters. “None of us are anti-privacy,” she added. “But we can have better [privacy], and not have it mean children get trafficked, and drugs get sold, and elephants and apes and cheetahs get wiped out. Those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.” – Bloomberg Tech News 09 Jul 2019 Facebook not invited to White House social media summit: company World 07 Jul 2019 Border agency knew of troubling Facebook posts in 2016 – acting secretary Tech News 09 Jul 2019 How Facebook fought fake news about Facebook Related News Ali Ahamed’s black satchel was overflowing with turtles, their tiny heads poking out. Just a few feet away, on the hotel room floor, roughly 20 larger turtles with dark brown shells were removed from black suitcases and flipped onto their backs to keep them from crawling under the couch.  Ahamed had arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and a popular stop for animal traffickers, from India a few days earlier to meet with his buyer, who had discovered the turtle broker through Facebook Inc’s social network months earlier. The two negotiated a sale on Facebook Messenger. The 55 turtles in his bags included red-crowned roofed turtles, known for their brightly coloured necks, and black spotted turtles with little yellow dots on their shells. Both species are endangered, and both have become popular pets in mainland China and Hong Kong.  Ahamed smiled as he showed off the loot to a man in shorts and a grey T-shirt, according to a video of the encounter posted online. The hotel-room exchange was a chance to cash in – a single red-crowned roofed turtle can fetch more than US$1,500 (RM6,168) on the black market. For the buyer, an undercover investigator working with local authorities and the Wildlife Justice Commission, it was an opportunity to rescue dozens of freshwater turtles and put a key wildlife broker behind bars. After inspecting the goods, the buyer left the room and returned with police, who burst in and arrested Ahamed on the spot.  The sting was possible because of Facebook, which investigators used to discover, track and communicate with Ahamed, who ultimately was sentenced to two years in jail. But Facebook also helped to create the problem – the social network’s massive reach has made it an attractive tool for animal traffickers, and simultaneously made it difficult for the company to monitor and block them. Facebook, which didn’t participate in the turtle bust, does take down posts when they’re reported, but until recently has done little to actively hunt them down and halt the trade on its own. That’s allowed illegal wildlife sales to persist on Facebook and Instagram, according to conversations with close to a dozen researchers and academics.  Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

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