Month: July 2019

Chronic dry eye can slow reading rate and disrupt day to day

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 15 2018Johns Hopkins researchers report that chronic dry eye, a condition in which natural tears fail to adequately lubricate the eyes, can slow reading rate and significantly disrupt day to day tasks that require visual concentration for long periods of time.In a study of 186 adults, published online Nov. 15, in Optometry and Vision Science, dry eye specialists at Johns Hopkins Medicine say the condition can slow a person’s reading speed by as much as 10 percent and can make it difficult to read for more than an average of 30 minutes.According to lead investigator Esen Akpek, M.D., Bendann Family Professor of Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, dry eye affects millions of adults in the United States, primarily those age 50 and older, causing ocular discomfort and visual problems. “Many of my patients have perfect vision on standard eye tests but complain they cannot drive at nighttime or in unfamiliar areas, read small print or do computer work,” she says. Akpek suspected that traditional, short-time 75-word eye tests for reading speed and accuracy have failed to uncover the problems dry eye causes because so-called visual acuity, or sharpness, degrades only enough to be measured after longer periods of time.”We suspected that people with dry eye were mostly unable to sustain good reading performance because their tears can’t re-lubricate their eye surfaces fast enough,” says Akpek.To test this, Akpek and her team recruited the 186 participants from the Ocular Surface Disease and Dry Eye Clinic at the Wilmer Eye Institute. All participants were age 50 or older, and had not used prescription or over the counter eyedrops in the 24 hours before testing. The group had a mean age of 63.2, 116 participants had clinically significant dry eye, 39 reported dry eye symptoms but did not have clinical findings, and 31 participants without dry eye acted as controls. Of the participants, 131 with dry eye and 23 control participants were women.All participants answered the Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire–a 12-question survey asking about patient symptoms such as eye discomfort, and about vision quality and environmental contributors to eye complaints, such as wind or smoke.Sezen Karakus, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute and a member of the research team, then administered a new reading study created by Akpek’s colleague Pradeep Ramulu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief of the glaucoma division at the Wilmer Eye Institute. At 7,200 words, the new reading test is much longer and takes participants about 30 minutes to complete.Related StoriesEarly clinical trial of new treatment for severe dry eye disease shows promising resultsAmerican Academy of Ophthalmology shares tips for staying safe around fireworks’Eye-in-a-dish’ model helps scientists to uncover ‘surprising’ AMD gene variantResults showed that the 116 participants with clinically significant dry eye read fewer words per minute than the controls or those with only dry eye symptoms. The reading rate was 32 words per minute less in patients with clinically significant dry eye, averaging 240 words per minute compared to the controls and patients with dry eye symptoms but without clinical findings, who read at the same rate of 272 words per minute.Akpek says the team also found that sustained visual function–such as reading, driving or performing surgery–is hard on everyone’s eyes because it changes the blink rate, which spreads and replenishes tears over the cornea. However, the change in tempo affects people with dry eye more severely.At the beginning and end of the experiments, Karakus collected small vials of tears from each participant for future studies that she hopes will offer clues to exact mechanisms causing this visual difficulty and possible treatments.Akpek says the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye are often complicated, in part because many conditions may cause it, including clogged oil glands and systemic inflammation from a rheumatologic disease.”The most effective treatments are those tailored to the underlying causes of the dry eye, the severity of the tear deficiency and a patient’s activities,” she says. People who experience frequent dry eye symptoms such as stinging, fluctuating vision and dryness can try over the counter eyedrops, but will do best if they undergo professional testing and diagnosis.Current treatments may include prescription drops, lifestyle and environmental changes, and surgical insertion of plugs or other procedures to increase tear production.Unfortunately, dry eye is much misunderstood, says Akpek. Many people do not relate their eye discomfort symptoms, such as stinging or fluctuating vision, to dry eye. Many more self-treat with over the counter eyedrops.However, it is easy to get tested for dry eye, says Akpek. With a simple questionnaire such as the one used in this study, or a few drops in the eye during a routine exam, any ophthalmologist or optometrist should be able to recognize dry eye and refer patients for treatment.In the future, Akpek hopes to find some clues to the specific causes of this disease in the tears collected from the study participants. She would also like to repeat similar experiments in younger people to test how dry eye could be interfering with learning and work productivity. Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/last_img read more

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Pharmacy in future Transformational change is essential in all practice settings

first_img Source:https://pharmacy.utoronto.ca/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 5 2019Medications improve health and saves lives, but they are not risk-free. The modern pharmacist is largely responsible for helping patients navigate an increasingly complex and costly health care system, particularly with respect to medications. And with significant changes in population demographics, technology, and the upsurge in the use of health services across the sector, a group of pharmacist-researchers from the Ontario Pharmacy Evidence Network is calling for the profession to make fundamental changes to effectively and safely meet society’s health care needs.An overview of these recommendations is captured in a peer-reviewed paper published earlier this month in the Canadian Pharmacists Journal (CPJ/RPC).”Patients, families and other health care providers rely on pharmacists to support safe and effective medication use and we need to think seriously about how we can shift and adapt our practice to meet changing health care trends,” says lead author Lisa Dolovich, professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. “We feel that transformational change in the profession of pharmacy is essential in all practice settings including community, hospital, primary care or other organizations.”For example, in the future, dispensing medication may not be a significant component of on-site pharmacy services, the authors write. Recognizing that dispensing and front-store products are increasingly managed by off-site storage and delivery, pharmacies should look to repurpose physical layout and optimize workflow processes to better support patient assessment and communication, including the use of eHealth technology, private rooms and interprofessional teamwork.”This type of organizational-level change will better support pharmacists’ ability to be integrated into a patient’s overall care plan, more effectively work with other primary care providers and open opportunities for pharmacists to expand disease monitoring and prevention services,” says Nancy Waite, professor and associate director of clinical education at University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy.Related StoriesSupplements claiming to boost brain health are ‘too good to be true’, warn expertsPerspectives on how to communicate to older adults about stopping cancer screeningHeat from nanoparticles zaps cancer cells from insidePharmacists, particularly those who work in the community, are also well positioned to support better integration of patient care across the health care system. But this requires better use of technology to collaborate with other care providers and with pharmacists in other care settings, the authors write. In the future, pharmacists should be able to easily triage or refer patients to other health and community organizations and also have a system in place to receive referrals. Pharmacists should have access to and interpret clinical information from other services including lab and diagnostic test results.The authors note that in many recent policy discussions about the future direction of health care services, the voice of pharmacists has been largely absent. This is surprising given total drug spending in Canada was estimated to be $39.8 billion in 2017 and made up the second largest share of health care expenditures.”Pharmacists are an under-utilized resource in health care and we see opportunities for pharmacists to really become a patient’s partner in preventing and managing illness, improving transitions between different levels of care, as well as their medication use,” says Dolovich. “There is much more pharmacists can do to help build an integrated care system that is centred on individual patients’ needs, within their community, and throughout every stage of life.”last_img read more

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Researchers take important step towards developing artificial ovaries for cancer patients

first_img Source:https://www.fau.eu/2019/02/27/news/research/scientists-at-fau-are-researching-a-new-method-for-developing-artificial-ovaries/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 1 2019An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) led by Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini from the Chair of Materials Science (biomaterials) and Prof. Dr. Ralf Dittrich from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen have taken an important step towards developing artificial ovaries for patients suffering from cancer. Together, they have been researching innovative techniques for restoring the fertility of cancer patients and have published their innovative results in Scientific Reports, the open access magazine published by Springer Nature.An artificial ovary would help women fall pregnant, despite suffering from cancer and the strong medication used during chemotherapy that can adversely affect patients’ fertility. The scientific community has been investigating how best to reconstruct female ovaries in the laboratory and which materials to use for a long time. An interdisciplinary team of researchers made up of engineers and materials scientists at the Chair of Biomaterials at FAU and gynecologists and natural scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen is now providing new approaches.Success with electrospinningIn their study ‘Electrospun patterned porous scaffolds for the support of ovarian follicles growth: a feasibility study’, the scientists have been using a method called electrospinning that is used in materials science. This technique is based on applying a high electric potential between two electrodes with opposing polarity. This high voltage can overcome the surface tension of a polymer solution and thus enable the solution to vaporize completely and form a fibrous structure. ‘Electrospinning is extremely versatile, as we can use a wide variety of natural and synthetic polymers’, explains Dr. Liliana Liverani, who is the scientific project coordinator. ‘In our current study, we used the biodegradable material polyepsilon caprolactone and a mixture of this material with gelatine for the first time and created a scaffold of very thin fibers that mimics the natural structure and shape of the ovarian cortex’. The researchers used this scaffold in their in-vitro tests as a substrate for the adhesion of follicles from the ovaries of pigs and assessed the viability of the follicles and oocytes after 10 days of culture on the scaffolds. The results of the live dead tests showed a high number of viable follicles that retained their characteristic shape.Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerStudy reveals link between inflammatory diet and colorectal cancer riskUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancer’This is an important step towards an ideal artificial ovary that imitates the natural organ in terms of environmental conditions for the growth and maturity of follicles. These results are very promising, but further research is required before any further development towards clinical applications can be made’, agree the teams led by materials scientist Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini and Dr. Liliana Liverani and the gynaecologists and natural scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Prof. Dr. Ralf Dittrich, Nathalie Raffel and Dr. Amir Fattahi.Cancer still on the riseUp to now, women and girls diagnosed with cancer can only preserve their chances for pregnancy by having ovarian tissue removed, frozen and re-implanted after they have recovered from the disease. Although this method is considered safe, certain types of cancer can penetrate the ovarian tissue and the cancer can be reintroduced when the tissue is re-implanted. The aim of the new method is to completely replace the diseased tissue with an artificial ovary and restore patients’ fertility, thus significantly increasing their quality of life.All over the world, cases of cancer are on the increase. This is documented by the World Health Organisation’s 2014 World Cancer Report and the Cancer in Germany report published by the Robert Koch Institut (RKI). Around 2000 children in Germany are diagnosed with cancer every year, which poses major challenges regarding treatment-related long-term effects. ‘Both reports mention a continuous improvement in treatment that enables patients to live longer with cancer or after they have recovered’, says Prof. Dr. Ralf Dittrich from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. ‘The five-year survival rate for children and young people with cancer is now around 80%. This is the reason why we are dedicating our resources to improving the quality of life and are looking for solutions across all disciplines’.last_img read more

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Keto diet for the military aging and epilepsy

first_imgThe ketogenic diet contains adequate amounts of protein for body growth and repair. The total calories in the diet are also sufficient to maintain a healthy weight for a given age and height.Common short term side effects of the keto diet include hypoglycaemia or fall in blood sugar, constipation and low levels of acidosis. Long term side effects include kidney stones, stunted growth in children, disruption of the menstrual cycle in women and risk of bone fractures. What is the Ketogenic Diet? Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy Ketogenic Diet Efficacy Ketogenic Diet Indications and Contra-Indications Ketogenic Diet Mechanism Ketogenic Diet Side Effects Ketogenic Diet Types Ketosis and the Keto Diet Further Reading Keto, ketogenic diet, low carb, high good fat. Image Credit: SewCream / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDApr 17 2019MilitaryKetogenic diet or keto diet has been in the news as a trending diet option for weight watchers and those who wish to lose those extra pounds. A new study has shown that this diet could help those in the military at stages of recruitment as well as during service to keep extra weight away. The study titled, “Extended Ketogenic Diet and Physical Training Intervention in Military Personnel,” was published in the latest issue of the journal Military Medicine.The study from researchers at the Ohio State University involved 29 participants who were mainly members of the campus ROTC. They were grouped into two and 15 of them were provided with keto diet for three months while the other 14 controls ate a normal diet.A keto diet specifically is low on carbohydrates (30 to 50 grams per day) and moderate on protein and high on fat. This helps in the body burning fat for energy rather than carbohydrates – a state of nutritional ketosis. It has been used in difficult to treat epilepsy, endurance sports and in management of type 2 diabetes.The participants on keto diet have to undergo daily checks for blood ketone levels using a finger prick test. Ketosis was said to be present if the ketone levels were between 0.5 and 5.0 mM (millimolar). These levels of the participants determined the choices of foods and drinks for them said lead author Richard LaFountain, a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio State.Results of the study showed that those on keto diet lost an average of around 17 pounds and were ketotic for up to 12 weeks. They lost over 5 percent of their body fat and 44 percent of their abdominal or visceral fat. This abdominal or belly fat is responsible for central obesity and insulin resistance that is linked to type 2 diabetes. There was a 48 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity among the keto diet participants. Improvement in insulin sensitivity helps prevent onset of type 2 diabetes. These benefits were not seen among those who consumed a normal diet with around 40 percent of carbohydrates.Jeff Volek, lead author of the study and professor of Human Sciences said in a statement, “We showed that a group of people with military affiliation could accept a ketogenic diet and successfully lose weight, including visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat strongly associated with chronic disease. This could be the first step toward a bigger study looking at the potential benefits of ketogenic eating in the armed forces.”Volek added that each of the participants also took part in regular resistance training and had a comparable physical performance. LaFountain said that seventy percent of those eligible for military service are declared unfit based on their body weight. This study shows that keto diet could help them achieve desired body weight along with adequate sustainable fitness and overall health. Volek said, “The military has called obesity a national security crisis. One of the potential benefits of this diet in the military is that you can lose weight without having to count calories, which could be difficult in training or while on active duty. In this study, they ate as much as they wanted – they just ate differently.” Researchers have found that this diet can increasing blood ketones can reduce the epileptic seizures. The study results were published in the journal Physiological Reports. The researchers found that seizures caused by high levels of oxygen could be prevented by the keto diet.Lead author Csilla Ari D’Agostino, PhD, research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences said, “Exposure to high-pressure oxygen is also a danger to recreational, technical and military scuba divers, including Navy SEAL divers, as a seizure manifesting underwater can be lethal. As a scuba diver, I am very excited about the implications of these findings, since during 20 years of diving I have heard many stories about the dangers of being exposed to high partial pressure of oxygen and it is something that always has to be considered when planning a dive.”Their experiment on rats showed that when kept in a small hyperbaric environmental chamber they were prone to seizures. The rats were given normal diet. Some were given different ketogenic supplements one hour before being exposed to pure oxygen. A combination of ketone ester and medium-chain triglyceride oil was found to be most effective in preventing seizures they noted.Background information on keto dietA keto diet contains high amounts of fat, moderate amounts of proteins and low proportion of carbohydrates. This diet is termed ketogenic because it mimics the effects of fasting, which causes the body to produce ketones. This diet helps the body to burn fat as a main source of energy rather than carbohydrates. The diet contains the ratio of fats to carbohydrates and proteins combined at 4:1. AgingResearchers from Gladstone Institute recently noted that the keto diet could reverse some of the effects of aging successfully.The results published in the journal Science say that the keto diet could reduce the risk of age related heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and cancers. Dr Verdin, lead author and director of the Center for HIV and Aging at Gladstone in a statement said, “Over the years, studies have found that restricting calories slows aging and increases longevity, however the mechanism of this effect has remained elusive.”This study shows that a chemical compound called β-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB) is released when a person starves. This is important for the aging process explain the researchers. When a person follows the keto diet there is increased production of βOHB. This may play a role in reversing the effects of aging and age related conditions. This could mean new therapies for age related diseases speculate the researchers. Dr Verdin said, “Here, we find that βOHB, the body’s major source of energy during exercise or fasting, blocks a class of enzymes that would otherwise promote oxidative stress, thus protecting cells from aging.”βOHB becomes the main source of energy when a person starves say the researchers. It can block some enzymes that can promote oxidative stress in the body. Lab experiements with mice showed benefits of the keto diet mediated by βOHB that blocked an enzyme histone deacetylases, or HDACs. HDACs can inhibit the actions of two genes called Foxo3a and Mt2. When HDACs are blocked, these two genes become activated. On activation they can protect the cells from oxidative stress and age related damage. Thus βOHB can mediate reversal of effects of aging related cellular damage explain researchers.Dr Katerina Akassoglou, one of the study authors and Expert in Neurological Diseases at The Gladstone Institute said, “The findings could be relevant for a wide range of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and traumatic brain injury; diseases that afflict millions and for which there are few treatment options.”EpilepsyThe keto diet’s popularity came after it was found to be effective in keeping seizures away in persons with refractory or difficult to treat epilepsy.last_img read more

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Simple test can easily measure common stress hormones

first_imgI wanted something that’s simple and easy to interpret. This may not give you all the information, but it tells you whether you need a professional who can take over.”Andrew Steckl, Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of electrical engineering in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. UC researchers developed a device that uses ultraviolet light to measure stress hormones in a drop of blood, sweat, urine or saliva. These stress biomarkers are found in all of these fluids, albeit in different quantities, Steckl said.”It measures not just one biomarker but multiple biomarkers. And it can be applied to different bodily fluids. That’s what’s unique,” he said.Steckl has been studying biosensors for years in his Nanoelectronics Laboratory. The latest journal article is part of a series of research papers his group has written on biosensors, including one that provides a review of methods for point-of-care diagnostics of stress biomarkers.Personal experience helping his father with a health crisis informed his research and opinion that a home test for various health concerns would be incredibly helpful.”I had to take him quite often to the lab or doctor to have tests done to adjust his medication. I thought it would be great if he could just do the tests himself to see if he was in trouble or just imagining things,” Steckl said. “This doesn’t replace laboratory tests, but it could tell patients more or less where they are.”UC received grant funding for the project from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Air Force Research Lab. Steckl said the military studies acute stress in its pilots and others who are pushing the edges of human performance.”Pilots are placed under enormous stress during missions. The ground controller would like to know when the pilot is reaching the end of his or her ability to control the mission properly and pull them out before a catastrophic ending,” Steckl said.But the UC device has widespread applications, Steckl said. His lab is pursuing the commercial possibilities.Related StoriesStudy reveals long-term benefits of stress urinary incontinence surgeryRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaStudy explores the effects of near-miss experiences associated with 9/11 terrorist attacks”You’re not going to replace a full-panel laboratory blood test. That’s not the intent,” Steckl said. “But if you’re able to do the test at home because you’re not feeling well and want to know where you stand, this will tell whether your condition has changed a little or a lot.”UC graduate Prajokta Ray, the study’s first author, said she was excited to work on such a pressing problem for her Ph.D. studies.”Stress harms us in so many ways. And it sneaks up on you. You don’t know how devastating a short or long duration of stress can be,” Ray said. “So many physical ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and neurological or psychological disorders are attributed to stress the patient has gone through. That’s what interested me.”Ray said taking exams always gave her stress. Understanding how stress affects you individually could be extremely valuable, she said.”Stress has been a hot topic over the past couple years. Researchers have tried very hard to develop a test that is cheap and easy and effective and detect these hormones in low concentrations,” she said. “This test has the potential to make a strong commercial device. It would be great to see the research go in that direction.”UC is at the forefront of biosensor technology. Its labs are examining continuous sweat testing and point-of-care diagnostics for everything from traumatic brain injury to lead poisoning.Steckl, too, has been a preeminent innovator at UC. His papers have been cited more than 13,000 times, according to Google Scholar. In 2016, he used salmon sperm, a common byproduct of the fishing industry, to replace rare earth metals used in light-emitting diodes for a new kind of organic LED.”We’re device engineers at heart,” Steckl said. “We don’t shy away from things we don’t know much about to begin with. We look for opportunities. That’s a hallmark of electrical engineers. We’re not smart enough not to go where we shouldn’t. Sometimes that pays off!”Source:University of CincinnatiJournal reference:Ray, P & Steckl, A. (2019) Label-Free Optical Detection of Multiple Biomarkers in Sweat, Plasma, Urine, and Saliva. ACS Sensors. doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.9b00301 Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 24 2019Stress is often called “the silent killer” because of its stealthy and mysterious effects on everything from heart disease to mental health.Now researchers at the University of Cincinnati have developed a new test that can easily and simply measure common stress hormones using sweat, blood, urine or saliva. Eventually, they hope to turn their ideas into a simple device that patients can use at home to monitor their health.The results were published this month in the journal American Chemical Society Sensors.last_img read more

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Chinas Huawei says to keep investing in US despite setback

Reports: AT&T drops plan to sell Huawei smartphone in US Explore further Citation: China’s Huawei says to keep investing in US despite setback (2018, March 14) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-china-huawei-investing-setback.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Chinese telecoms giant Huawei says it will continue to invest in the United States despite recent setbacks in its efforts to boost sales there. Xu Qingsong, also known as Jim Xu, Huawei’s head of sales and marketing, told reporters in Shenzhen he was “confident” Huawei smartphone sales would triple this year in the U.S. from last year.News reports in January said Huawei appeared to be on the verge of cracking the lucrative American market when it signed a deal with AT&T, but the agreement fell through under U.S. government pressure.In the past, Huawei officials have rejected U.S. security complaints as politically motivated or possibly an attempt by competitors to keep it out of the market.”I don’t know why they’re so nervous,” Xu said Tuesday, referring to the U.S. “They’re too nervous.”Huawei sells some models in U.S. electronics stores and online but has a minimal share of an American market in which most sales are through carriers. Globally, the company trails Samsung and Apple in handset shipments but leads in China, the biggest market, and says it expects to ship a total of 150 million this year.Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of network gear used by phone companies, suffered earlier setbacks in the American market when a congressional report in October 2013 said it was a security risk and warned telecom carriers not to use its equipment.More recently, a new global struggle for influence over next-generation “5G” communications technology has brought Huawei under increasing scrutiny by the U.S. government. Many American officials are concerned that Chinese companies such as Huawei could take a larger, or even a dominant, role in setting 5G technology and standards and practices.Kevin Ho, president of Huawei’s handset product line, said they’ll instead focus on Europe and developing markets in Asia, especially India, where Huawei sees opportunities to expand the Shenzhen-based company’s market share.”There are still some big countries where our market share is very, very low,” Ho said. “This is a hint of where we can raise our market share globally.”On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump blocked Singapore chipmaker Broadcom from pursuing a hostile takeover of prominent U.S. rival Qualcomm, a deal which officials believed could have hobbled the U.S.’s ability to make a quick transition to 5G.When asked about the blocked deal, Xu declined to comment.Separately, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill on Jan. 9 that would prohibit government purchases of telecoms equipment from Huawei Technologies and smaller rival ZTE, citing their ties to the Chinese military and backing from the ruling Communist Party. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

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New control strategy helps reap maximum power from wind farms

A team of researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) has developed a new way to extract more power from the wind. This approach has the potential to increase wind power generation significantly with a consequent increase in revenue. Numerical simulations performed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) indicate potential increases of up to six to seven percent.According to the researchers, a one percent improvement applied to all wind farms in the nation would generate the equivalent of $100 million in value. This new method, therefore, has the potential to generate $600 million in added wind power nationwide.The team reported their findings in Wind Energy in December 2017 and Renewable Energy in December 2017.In the branch of physics known as fluid dynamics, a common way to model turbulence is through large eddy simulations. Several years ago, Stefano Leonardi and his research team created models that can integrate physical behavior across a wide range of length scales—from turbine rotors 100 meters long, to centimeters-thick tips of a blades—and predict wind power with accuracy using supercomputers.”We developed a code to mimic wind turbines, taking into account the interference between the wake of the tower and the nacelle [the cover that houses all of the generating components in a wind turbine] with the wake of the turbine rotor,” said Leonardi, associate professor of mechanical engineering and an author on the Wind Energy paper, which was selected for the cover.Beyond the range of length scales, modeling the variability of wind for a given region at a specific time is another challenge. To address this, the team integrated their code with the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF), a leading weather prediction model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “We can get the wind field from the North American Mesoscale Model on a coarse grid, use it as an input for five nested domains with progressively higher resolution and reproduce with high fidelity the power generation of a real wind farm,” Leonardi said.The growing power of computers allows Leonardi and his team to accurately model the wind field on a wind farm and the power production of each single turbine. Testing their model’s results against data from a wind farm in North Texas, they saw a 90 percent agreement between their predictions and the turbine’s efficiency. They will present their results at Torque 2018, a major wind energy research conference.Taking the turbulence out of the optimization control algorithmWind doesn’t simply flow smoothly in one direction. It contains turbulence and wakes which are magnified when turbines are grouped together as they are on a wind farm.Wake interactions lead to losses of up to 20 percent of annual production, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Understanding how turbulence impacts energy generation is important to adjust the behavior of the turbines in real-time to reap maximum power.Using their modeling capabilities, they tested control algorithms that are used to manage the operation of dynamic systems at wind farms. This included the control algorithms known as extremum seeking control, a model-free way of getting the best performance out of dynamic systems when only limited knowledge of the system is known.”Many thought it would not be possible to use this approach because of turbulence and the fact that it provides a situation where turbines are changing all the time,” Leonardi said. “But we did a huge number of simulations to find out a way to filter turbulence out of the control scheme. This was the major challenge.”With extremum seeking control, the system increases and reduces the rotational speed of a spinning turbine blade, all the while measuring the power, and calculating the gradient. This is repeated until the controller finds the optimal operating speed.”The important thing is that the control algorithm does not rely on a physics-based model,” Leonardi said. “There are many uncertainties in a real wind farm, so you cannot model everything. The extremum seeking control can find the optimum no matter if there is erosion or icing on the blades. It’s very robust and works despite uncertainties in the system.”Simulating the windTo test their new approach, the team ran virtual wind experiments using supercomputers at the TACC, including Stampede2 and Lonestar5 – two of the most powerful in the world. They were able to use these systems through the University of Texas Research Cyberinfrastructure (UTRC) initiative, which, since 2007, has provided researchers at any of the University of Texas System’s 14 institutions access to TACC’s resources, expertise and training.Access to powerful supercomputers is important because wind turbines are expensive to build and operate and few wind research facilities are available to researchers.”The benefits of using high performance computing to create a virtual platform for doing analyses of proposed solutions for wind energy are enormous,” said Mario Rotea, professor of mechanical engineering at UT Dallas, and site director of the National Science Foundation-supported Wind-Energy Science, Technology and Research (WindSTAR) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC). “The more we can do with computers, the less we have to do with testing, which is a big part of the costs. This benefits the nation by lowering the cost of energy.”While the application of extremum seeking control to wind farms is yet to be field tested, the UT Dallas team already applied the method to a single turbine at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).”The NREL test gave us experimental data supporting the value of extremum seeking control for wind power maximization,” said Rotea. “The experimental results show that extremum seeking control increases the power capture by 8-12% relative to a baseline controller.”Given the encouraging experimental and computational results, the UT Dallas team is planning an experimental campaign involving a cluster of turbines in a wind farm.Collaborations and next stepsThe development of the fluid dynamics model for wind turbines was part of an international collaboration between four U.S. institutions (Johns Hopkins University, UT Dallas, Texas Tech and Smith College) and three European institutions (Technical University of Denmark, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) funded by the National Science Foundation.Through the WindSTAR center, they collaborate with nine leading wind energy companies and equipment manufacturers. These companies are interested in adopting or commercializing the work.”The members of our center do not have access to a lot of horsepower in terms of HPC [high-performance computing],” said Rotea. “The computers at TACC are an asset for us and give us a competitive advantage over other groups. In terms of solving actual problems, we create control systems that they may incorporate, or they may use HPC to develop new tools for forecasting wind resources or determine if there are turbines that are not performing.”In addition to developing the new turbulence algorithms and control strategies, members of the WindSTAR team have introduced methods to predict accurate results on less-powerful computers (work that appeared in the March 2018 issue of Wind Energy) and to determine how closely to place turbines to maximize profits, depending on the cost of land (presented at the 2018 Wind Symposium).The long-term effects of the work go beyond the theoretical.”The research allows us to optimize wind energy power production and increase the penetration of renewable energy in the grid,” Leonardi said. “There will be more power generated by the same machines because we understand more about the flow physics in a wind farm, and for the same land use and deployment, we can get more energy.” Journal information: Renewable Energy Explore further The December 2017 cover image of Wind Energy was produced using the Stampede2 supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. Credit: Christian Santoni, Kenneth Carrasquillo, Isnardo Arenas-Navarro and Stefano Leonardi, University of Texas at Dallas Wind energy’s swift growth, explained (Update) 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. More information: Giacomo Valerio Iungo et al, Parabolic RANS solver for low-computational-cost simulations of wind turbine wakes, Wind Energy (2017). DOI: 10.1002/we.2154Christian Santoni et al. Effect of tower and nacelle on the flow past a wind turbine, Wind Energy (2017). DOI: 10.1002/we.2130 Every two and a half hours, a new wind turbine rises in the U.S. In 2016, wind provided 5.6 percent of all electricity produced, more than double the amount generated by wind in 2010, but still a far cry from its potential. Citation: New control strategy helps reap maximum power from wind farms (2018, April 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-strategy-reap-maximum-power-farms.html Provided by University of Texas at Austin read more

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Facebook creates three Bay Area job hubs of three million square feet

first_imgFacebook has created three Bay Area work hubs that each total at least one million square feet, following big leases with two legendary developers that widen its Silicon Valley footprint. Tech behemoths Facebook, Google planning big Chicago office expansions 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. ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. The tech titan could employ as many as 19,000 in the expansion sites, located in Fremont, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park.The social networking giant is already expanding in its hometown of Menlo Park and has signed a mammoth lease in Sunnyvale. Now, it has signed major leases with Sobrato Organization and Peery Arrillaga totaling 18 buildings in a part of Fremont near the Dumbarton Bridge’s east end.The most recent set of leases in Fremont total 1.04 million square feet, according to Facebook.Here’s how the Fremont transactions break down: 750,000 square feet in rental deals with Peery Arrillaga and 290,000 square feet in leasing agreements with Sobrato. This news organization previously reported in November that Facebook leased 190,000 square feet from Sobrato, but now, Facebook has taken an additional 100,000 square feet.”This new space, with its proximity to our headquarters in Menlo Park, will support our growing workforce,” said Jamil Walker, a Facebook spokesman.Facebook, in addition to ongoing construction of new offices next to its main headquarters at 1 Hacker Way, also has proposed creation of a mixed-use village of office buildings, retail, homes and parks that would include 1.75 million square feet of offices in Menlo Park.In March, Facebook signed a lease with developer Jay Paul for 1 million square feet of Sunnyvale offices in three buildings.Together, the expansions total 3.975 million square feet.Of the up to 19,000 workers who could be employed across the three cities’ expansion sites, the Willow Campus site in Menlo Park could possibly accommodate 7,000 to 8,700 employees.In Fremont, the expansion “makes total sense for Facebook,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “The Fremont campus is a direct play to take advantage of the folks who live in the East Bay who might be able to find a better commute.”Similarly, creating a huge campus in Sunnyvale also could help to ease some commute routes for Facebook workers.”Facebook expanding in Sunnyvale creates better exposure to the San Jose part of the Santa Clara County workforce,” Levy said.Similarly, tech titans such as Cupertino-based Apple and Mountain View-based Google have established outposts in multiple areas beyond their hometowns, including north San Jose, Sunnyvale, Redwood City and Santa Clara.In downtown San Jose, Google intends to develop a village of offices, shops, restaurants, housing, parks and other amenities where 15,000 to 20,000 of the search giant’s employees could eventually work.The Fremont buildings that Facebook has leased include 15 sites owned by Peery Arrillaga and three buildings owned by the Sobrato firm.It’s possible the Ardenwood district could be more closely linked to Facebook’s Menlo Park hub through a rapid bus link on the Dumbarton Bridge, or by rail on an old train route over the Bay.”Facebook probably won’t wait for the rail or bus bridge to expand in Fremont,” Levy said. “They could run shuttles to the BART stations nearby.” Explore further Citation: Facebook creates three Bay Area job hubs of three million square feet (2018, July 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-facebook-bay-area-job-hubs.htmllast_img read more

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Clothing rental could be the key to a stylishly sustainable fashion industry

first_img Filling landfill with clothing and textiles costs the UK alone an estimated £82m every year. But on the flip side, the consumption of clothing is hugely important to the economies of many countries, too. Research from The British Fashion Council, for example, found that fashion contributes £28 billion directly to the UK economy – and globally, it is a US$2.4 trillion industry. Despite this, materialistic values and a widespread desire for having new things, twinned with fashion’s premise to create – and sell – different styles, has reduced the functional value of clothing, making it easily disposable. A staggering 100 billion items of clothing are being produced annually, and 50% of fast fashion pieces are disposed of within a year. In fact, recent figures show that one rubbish truck of textiles is thrown away every second globally. Little wonder, then, that fashion has been dubbed “incredibly wasteful” – even by insiders. The problem with fashionFashion and sustainability have historically had an uncomfortable relationship. The 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, along with growing concerns over sweatshop labour, have seen fashion companies overhaul their social and environmental impacts. Consumers, meanwhile, have grown increasingly concerned about where and how garments are made. But while fashion takes strides to become ethical, there are still serious concerns over its environmental impact and contribution to climate change. ‘I’ll have this one for 24 hours, please.’ Credit: Shutterstock Explore further Provided by The Conversation This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. From jeans to fibres to garment tags—novel recycling for more sustainable fashioncenter_img A staggering 235m items of unwanted clothing were forecast to be dumped in UK landfill in 2017, while the average American is estimated to bin 81lb (37kg) of used clothing annually. Overconsumption and the inevitable disposal of unwanted clothing has become a worrying global problem – and in many cases, this clothing is unnecessarily thrown away. Instead, it could be repaired or recycled. Citation: Clothing rental could be the key to a stylishly sustainable fashion industry (2018, July 31) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-rental-key-stylishly-sustainable-fashion.html Fashion is deemed to be one of the world’s most polluting industries – from toxic chemical use to water pollution and waste. Some 35% of the global total of microfibres in the oceans comes from clothes and textiles, meaning fashion is a major contributor to this pollution. By 2050, it is anticipated, the fashion industry will use up 25% of the world’s carbon budget. So what’s the solution? A circular economy seeks to move beyond fashion’s linear model of take, make and waste, to close the loop, designing out waste and minimising environmental impacts. While fashion brands work to limit their polluting practices through the creation of organic, environmentally conscious collections, there is still a need to limit the sheer volume of waste that fashion creates. Recycling has become an important initiative to address this. H&M, for example, has a successful garment collection scheme, repurposing their consumers’ unwanted clothing. Other brands, meanwhile, are using recycled materials to create clothing. Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has made polyester fleece out of recycled plastic bottles. While recycling could achieve circulatory by designing out waste, it is problematic environmentally. Recycling is energy intensive and may require use of further virgin materials. Additionally, while it resolves some of fashion’s sustainability issues, it does not adequately address the problem that consumers buy too much, and that the average number of times a garment is worn has declined by 36% since 2000. We must reconsider how fashion is sold, encouraging consumers to waste less, and ensure that garments have a longer life span.Are rentals the future?WRAP, the UK’s resource efficiency agency, has identified leasing as an innovative business model that gives clothes a longer service life, while reducing material use and carbon dioxide emissions. A recent survey conducted by Westfield Shopping Centre in London also proposed that clothing rental would become a key future trend. The possible value of the clothing rental market in the UK is predicted to be £923m and the model is already well-established for certain items, such as dinner jackets and wedding suits for men. Despite this, there are currently just a handful of fashion companies that have adopted a leasing model. At Mud Jeans, for example, consumers can lease a pair of organic jeans, and after a year can keep, swap or return them. Girls Meets Dress, meanwhile, was founded in the UK in 2009, under the ethos that in a sharing economy ownership will become obsolete.In America, Rent the Runway has become a significant player in the fashion industry. These companies are built on change, but undoubtedly they face the challenges of the traditional sales-driven fashion system, along with consumer hesitation. Our research has explored the potential for clothing rental among consumers. While we found there were opportunities certainly at the luxury end of the market, there was a definite resistance to rental of lower priced items, which were just too easy to buy. If consumers are to engage, rentals need to be convenient, cheap, accessible and fulfil the desire for having something new. Consumers are open to change and leasing could help achieve a more circular fashion industry. However, there are issues to consider from transportation through to dry cleaning impacts. Clothing rental has the potential to reduce waste and increase the lifespan of garments, but to achieve a more sustainable industry a systemic change in business practice and consumer behaviour is needed. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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French government rules out selling Air FranceKLM stake

first_img Air France’s new boss has had a turbulent start to the job Embattled Air France-KLM stock jumps as hotel group studies bid (Update) 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: French government rules out selling Air France-KLM stake (2018, September 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-french-air-france-klm-stake.html French Finance Economy Bruno Le Maire on Thursday ruled out selling the government’s minority stake in Air France-KLM, saying the priority was to turn around the troubled airline group. Explore furthercenter_img “The state would be a very bad manager if it started selling its stakes in a business which is not in the best shape,” Le Maire told France Info radio.The government’s priority is “the recovery” of the French-Dutch operator, which has suffered months of costly strikes by staff in France over pay, he added.”Ending the participation of the French state in Air France is not part of Ben Smith’s roadmap,” Le Maire said, referring to the airline’s new Canadian CEO.The Financial Times had published an interview with Smith earlier Thursday reporting that he had told the paper the government was prepared to dump its 14 percent stake.Even though “there are some people in Air France that believe that this is something they can have as an insurance”, the government “has recently made clear that this is not a good assumption,” the paper quoted him as saying.But an Air France source told AFP that Smith had “never said the state was ready to sell its stake”.”It was based on a misunderstanding,” the source said.”In responding to a question from an FT journalist, (Smith) indicated that this could happen at the right moment,” the source said of a state sale.Battling Gulf competitionIn another interview published Thursday with French magazine Paris Match, Smith was quoted as calling for more support from the French state, not less. © 2018 AFP “If the French state wants a powerful industry with positive consequences, notably job creation, it has to help our sector revitalise,” he said.Such support would help Air France-KLM compete with Gulf operators like Emirates, he said, adding that the airline enjoyed “massive support” from UAE authorities.Smith, who was named the first non-French boss of France’s former flag carrier on August 16 and started his job last week, has had a rocky arrival at the airline.The airline’s powerful unions strongly opposed his appointment, saying it was “inconceivable” that Air France “fall into the hands of a foreign executive”.As they push for higher wages for pilots, stewards and ground staff, the unions have also criticised Smith’s pay package, which could reach as high as 4.25 million euros if performance targets are met.Smith pledged last week to invest half of his fixed salary of 900,000 euros in Air France stock as a gauge of his “confidence” in returning the airline to a more solid footing.Fifteen days of strikes by staff seeking higher pay have led to waves of flight disruptions, costing the company 335 million euros ($392 million).Smith is due to meet with unions on Monday to try to thrash out an agreement. His predecessor, Jean-Marc Janaillac, resigned in May after gambling his job on reaching a deal with the unions.”We will set off on a path together to reach an agreement, even if that might take a year,” Smith told Paris Match.”Time spent on internal disputes is wasted time that could be spent fighting our competitors,” he added. The French government says it’s not selling its Air France stakelast_img read more

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Ryanair faces fresh strike in Europe

first_img The Dublin-based carrier said it would have to cancel nearly 250 flights amid walk-outs in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. But the company insisted the vast majority of its 2,400 normally scheduled flights would be unaffected by “these unnecessary strikes”.”We find this strike… unreasonable and somewhat out of sync with the progress we thought we were having,” Ryanair COO Peter Bellew said in a conference call with journalists on Thursday.Ryanair said in a statement that the vast majority of its 2,400 flights on Friday “will be unaffected by these unnecessary strikes and will operate as scheduled”.Affected customers received email and text message notifications on Tuesday to advise them of cancellations and options, Ryanair said.Trade unions have claimed that Friday’s 24-hour stoppage will be the biggest strike in the Irish carrier’s history.”By not cancelling enough flights for tomorrow’s strike, Ryanair’s irresponsible behaviour could create tensions and insecurity for all airport staff, Ryanair and the passengers concerned,” the Belgian CNE union said in a statement.Ryanair staff have been seeking higher wages and an end to the practice whereby many have been working as independent contractors without the benefits of staff employees. German cabin crew join Ryanair strike, nearly 250 flights cut Workers’ rightsAnother key complaint of workers based in countries other than Ireland is the fact that Ryanair has been employing them under Irish legislation.Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.EU Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen said on Wednesday air crews should be employed under contracts from the country where they work.”Respecting EU law is not something over which workers should have to negotiate, nor is it something which can be done differently from country to country. I made this very clear to Mr O’Leary today,” Thyssen said in a statement after a meeting between Ryanair’s combative chief executive Michael O’Leary and EU officials.”The internal market is not a jungle; it has clear rules on fair labour mobility and worker protection. This is not an academic debate, but about concrete social rights of workers.” Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. At a press conference O’Leary called for the cancellation of the strike, threatening that he would shrink Ryanair’s fleet at two Brussels airports if it went ahead. Last month, Ryanair pilots across Europe staged a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions, plunging tens of thousands of passengers into transport chaos at the peak of the busy summer season.In July, strikes by cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.This week, Ryanair signed deals with cabin crew unions in Italy to provide employment contracts under Italian law.The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has called on Ryanair to compensate passengers affected by the strikes. In July, strikes by Ryanair cockpit and cabin crew disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers Ryanair braced Friday for what unions warn will be the biggest strike in the airline’s history—although the carrier played down fears of disruption for travellers. Citation: Ryanair faces fresh strike in Europe (2018, September 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-ryanair-fresh-europe.html © 2018 AFP The Dublin-based carrier said it would have to cancel nearly 250 flights amid walk-outs in Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain ahead of the strikelast_img read more

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Target to pay 3M to resolve Massachusetts Medicaid claim

first_img Federal and Massachusetts authorities allege Minneapolis-based Target violated federal and state False Claims Acts by automatically refilling Medicaid recipients’ prescriptions and seeking payment from Medicaid.Massachusetts is among several states that prohibit pharmacies from automatically refilling Medicaid prescriptions without the beneficiary’s explicit request. The policy is designed to prevent unnecessary prescriptions from being reimbursed by taxpayers.Authorities say Target pharmacies knowingly and routinely enrolled MassHealth beneficiaries in the auto-refill program, then billed MassHealth. The practice continued until Target sold its pharmacy business to CVS Health in 2015.Target says it cooperated and provided information to authorities, including information about its efforts to comply with Medicaid laws. Target says it’s satisfied the issue is resolved.Authorities say the company denied wrongdoing. Explore further States with medical marijuana laws see drop in prescriptions Citation: Target to pay $3M to resolve Massachusetts Medicaid claim (2018, December 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-3m-massachusetts-medicaid.html Target Corp. has agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that it violated rules of Massachusetts’ Medicaid program. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Tech fund drives SoftBank Group profit up 36 percent

first_img © 2019 AFP Explore further Japan’s SoftBank Group on Thursday reported annual net profit jumped more than a third, helped by gains from its investment fund which has ploughed billions into some of the hottest names in the tech sector. Net profits for the financial year ending March at the telecoms and investment group came in at 1.41 trillion yen ($12.8 billion), up 35.8 percent.The company hailed gains of 1.26 trillion yen from its investment funds, led by SoftBank Vision Fund, estimated to have firepower of around $100 billion with heavy Saudi Arabian backing.Under CEO Masayoshi Son’s leadership, the SoftBank Vision Fund has embarked on a series of investments, one of the most recent being a $1 billion joint injection with Toyota into ridesharing giant Uber to develop driverless cars.The value of SoftBank Group’s stake in Uber gained 418 billion yen.The company did not offer any formal projections for the year to come but Son said he was confident net profit would top 1.0 trillion yen for the fourth consecutive year.The fund has also ploughed $1.5 billion in fresh financing into Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab.Overall, the fund has set a goal of investing at least $100 billion in firms promising new technological innovations and has taken stakes in some of the hottest companies in the tech world, including Slack, WeWork and Nvidia.It currently invests in 69 companies.However, nearly half of the money in the fund comes from Saudi Arabia and it came under scrutiny last year in the wake of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.At the time, Son said he was “deeply saddened” by the death which he condemned as “a horrific and deeply regrettable act”.But he insisted that SoftBank would still work with the Kingdom “to help them in their continued efforts to reform and modernise their society”.In December, it raised around $23.5 billion via the IPO of its mobile unit but the shares endured a volatile start, losing 15 percent of their value on the first day of trade. 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 SoftBank’s investment funds have driven up profits Citation: Tech fund drives SoftBank Group profit up 36 percent (2019, May 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-tech-fund-softbank-group-profit.html SoftBank aims to raise $23bn on Japan mobile unit IPOlast_img read more

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Ramadan in Mideast is for fasting and Facebook data shows

first_img Explore further Citation: Ramadan in Mideast is for fasting and Facebook, data shows (2019, May 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-ramadan-mideast-fasting-facebook.html The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with its long days of fasting and prayer meant to draw worshippers closer to God and away from worldly distractions, is being reshaped by technology. In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, a woman uses her mobile at the Facebook office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with its long days of fasting and prayer meant to draw worshippers closer to God and away from worldly distractions, is being reshaped by technology. People in the Middle East are spending close to 58 million more hours on Facebook and watching more YouTube videos than at any other time of the year, making Ramadan the biggest moment of the year for advertisers. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. People also spend 27% more time watching religious content on YouTube in Ramadan.”To us, YouTube brings people together. We see a lot of people wanting to watch things together,” said Joyce Baz, Google’s head of communications in Mideast and North Africa.She added that Google products, like its search engine, are there “to simplify people’s lives so that they can focus on things that matter like being with their loved ones and family.” Google’s “Qibla Finder,” for example, helps Muslims find the direction of Mecca to pray toward, wherever they happen to be. In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, a woman looks at a Ramadan-related page on her mobile phone in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. People in the Middle East are spending close to 58 million more hours on Facebook and watching more Youtube videos than at any other time of the year, making Ramadan not only the most important month for Muslims, but the biggest moment of the year for advertisers. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) Ramadan fasting can be safe for patients with heart failure In this May 8, 2019 file photo, a Palestinian reads verses of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, during the month of Ramadan at Al Emari Mosque in Gaza City. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with its long days of fasting and prayer meant to draw worshippers closer to God and away from worldly distractions, is being reshaped by technology. People in the Middle East are spending close to 58 million more hours on Facebook and watching more YouTube videos than at any other time of the year, making Ramadan the biggest moment of the year for advertisers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File) People in the Middle East spend close to 58 million more hours on Facebook during Ramadan and watch more YouTube videos—everything from beauty tips and recipes to sports and TV dramas—than any other time of the year, making the holy month not only the most important one for Muslims, but also the prime time of the year for advertisers.For Facebook, which also owns Instagram, and Google, which owns YouTube, Ramadan brings a welcome boost of business in the region.”Consumption and time spent on our platforms does indeed increase,” said Ramez Shehadi, Facebook’s managing director for Mideast and North Africa.People stay up a lot more at night during Ramadan and have more downtime—especially before iftar, the evening meal that breaks the daylong fast, and the “suhoor,” when people gather to eat before another day of fasting. Many also work shorter hours during the day.All that translates to 5% more time spent on Facebook’s platforms, or what is nearly 58 million more hours, Shehadi said. Put another way, there are almost 2 million hours of additional time spent daily on Facebook in the Mideast during Ramadan.Ramadan is also the peak season for advertising in the region, as TV dramas and soap operas get a 151% increase in viewership on YouTube during the holy month, according to Google. In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, Facebook’s Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ramez Shehadi speaks to The Associated Press at the Facebook office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with its long days of fasting and prayer meant to draw worshippers closer to God and away from worldly distractions, is being reshaped by technology. People in the Middle East are spending close to 58 million more hours on Facebook and watching more YouTube videos than at any other time of the year, making Ramadan the biggest moment of the year for advertisers. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) To more authentically connect with roughly 180 million users in the Middle East, Facebook and Instagram launch special Ramadan icons to give people more customized ways of expressing themselves online. Instagram also has a campaign to promote acts of kindness during the month.”We’re trying to be magnifiers and propagators of goodness as opposed to what might seem on the surface like an extension of consumerism,” Shehadi said. “It resonates with the ethos of Ramadan and certainly the ethos of Facebook, which is around bringing people together around things that matter to them.”Haitham el-Ghoneim, a Jordanian resident in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, said he uses Facebook to connect with friends during Ramadan, sharing traditional greetings for the holy month and checking on his family in Jordan.Still, he doesn’t think the rest of it—all that time spent online, on games, scrolling and ads—is a good thing. “It’s not being spent in a useful way. It’s mostly fake news, or jokes and things that have no benefit,” he said. Google says this year’s top trending search queries during the first week of Ramadan in Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia included a surprising mix of Game of Thrones, prayer times, Ramadan TV shows, movie timings and English Premier League results.Meanwhile, some of the most popular downloaded apps in the Mideast on the Google Play store during Ramadan include games like Stack Ball, streaming apps like Vu and Shahid and online retailers Noon and Jolly Chic.Iftar evening meals are a major social affair during Ramadan, ranging from lavish spreads at home to decadent five-star hotel buffets. This translates into a 16% spike in beauty product searches and an 18% spike in searches for beauty tips on YouTube, compared to the rest of the year. Also, according to Google maps, trips to the malls increase by more than 20% in the last weeks of Ramadan in preparation for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which ends the holy month.Fatima el-Barbar, an Egyptian mother living in Dubai, said she searches more for recipes and watches her favorite TV dramas online during Ramadan. But she said that between her job, taking care of the children, preparing iftar each night, her daily prayers and reading the Quran, the Muslim holy book, there’s little time for the internet.”I actually have less time for the internet in Ramadan than in other days of the year,” she said.To help companies better understand consumer habits in Ramadan, Google identified six categories of audiences: dedicated watchers, devoted fasters, foodies, groomers, travelers and shoppers.”YouTube is a companion during Ramadan, a platform where viewers can watch what they want, whenever they want throughout the day,” Google says in its own pitch to advertisers. 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. “Our revenue is a function of people’s engagement,” Shehadi said. “The more that they engage on our platforms, the more that advertisers want to be able to reach those that are engaging. That’s what drives our revenue.”So much ad revenue is spent during Ramadan that Google launched “The Lantern Award” to celebrate the most creative and engaging ads of the month.Yet Ramadan is not just about abstaining from food and drink, including water, during the day. It’s also about disconnecting from vacuous distractions and focusing on contemplation, introspection, acts of good, charity and connecting with God. It can appear then as a contradiction that this is also when companies ramp up their efforts to get people to buy more, view more and engage in excess consumerism.Google does not disclose total watch time for YouTube during Ramadan, but says that in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for example, viewing of sports videos jumps by 22%, travel videos by 30%, and action games, simulation and video games by 10-20% during the holy month.last_img read more

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Wearable robot WalkON Suit off to Cybathlon 2020

first_img Using sensors to improve the interaction between humans and robots walking together Kim rejoiced after standing upright and walking again by putting on the ‘WalkON Suit,’ the wearable robot developed by Professor Kyoungchul Kong’s team. Even more, Kim won third prize in the powered exoskeleton race at Cybathlon 2016, an international cyborg Olympics hosted by ETH Zurich.Now Kim and Professor Kong’s team are all geared up for the Cybathlon Championship 2020. Professor Kong and his startup, Angel Robotics, held a kickoff ceremony for Cybathlon 2020 at KAIST on June 24. The 2020 championship will take place in Switzerland.Only individuals with complete paralysis of the legs resulting from spinal cord injuries are eligible to participate in the Cybathlon, which takes place every four years. Pilots compete against each other while completing everyday tasks using technical assistance systems in six different disciplines: a brain-computer interface race, a functional electrical stimulation bike race, a powered arm prosthesis race, a powered leg prosthesis race, a powered exoskeleton race, and a powered wheelchair race. The 2016 championship drew 66 participants from 56 teams representing 25 countries.In the powered exoskeleton race, pilots complete everyday activities such as getting up from a sofa and overcoming obstacles such as stairs, ramps, or slopes and up to four pilots compete simultaneously on tracks to solve six tasks; and the pilot that solves the most tasks in the least amount of time wins the race.Kim, who demonstrated walking and climbing the stairs wearing the WalkON Suit during the media day for the Cybathlon 2020 kickoff ceremony on June 21 at KAIST, said, “I have been confined to a wheelchair for more than 20 years. I am used to it so I feel like the wheelchair is one of my body parts. Actually, I don’t feel any big difficulties in doing everyday tasks in wheelchair. But whenever I face the fact that I will never be able to stand up with my own two legs again, I am so devastated.” Explore further Citation: Wearable robot ‘WalkON Suit’ off to Cybathlon 2020 (2019, June 25) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-wearable-robot-walkon-cybathlon.html Play Advances in wearable robot technology have been especially momentous to Byoung-Wook Kim, a triplegic for 22 years following a devastating car accident. Kim rejoiced after standing upright and walking again by putting on the ‘WalkON Suit,’ the wearable robot developed by Professor Kyoungchul Kong’s team. Credit: KAIST He continued, “I still remember the day when I stood up with my own two legs by myself after 22 years by wearing this robot. It was beyond description.” Kim, a triplegic for 22 years demonstrates walking and climbing the stairs wearing the WalkOn Suit during the media day for the Cybathlon 2020 kickoff ceremony on June 21 at KAIST. Credit: KAIST This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen Provided by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) The market for wearable robots, especially for exoskeleton robots, is continuing to grow as the aging population has been a major challenge in almost every advanced country. The global market for these robots expects to see annual growth of 41.2% to 8.3 billion US dollars by 2025. Healthcare wearable robots for the elderly and rehabilitation make up the half of the market share followed by wearable robots for industrial and defense purposes.Professor Kong from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his colleagues developed two wearable robot systems in 2014: The WalkON Suit for complete paraplegics and “Angel Suit” for those with partial impairment in walking ability such as the elderly and rehabilitation patients.Professor Kong said after 15 years of basic research, the team is now able to develop its own distinct technologies. He said their robots are powered by non-resistant precision drives with algorithms recognizing the user’s moving intention. Incorporated with prosthetic devices technology from the Severance Rehabilitation Hospital, their control technology has led to the production of a customizable robot suit optimized for each user’s physical condition.The WalkON Suit, which boasts a maximum force of 250 Nm and maximum rotation speed of 45 RPM, gives the user high-energy efficiency modeled after the physiology of the human leg. It allows users to walk on flat ground and down stairs, climb up and down inclines, and sit and lie down. Currently the battery lasts five to six hours for locomotion and the approximate 25 kg of robot weight still remains a technical challenge to upgrade.Professor Kong’s team has grafted AR glass technology into the WalkOn Suit that one of his pilots put on for the torch relay of the PyongChang Paralympics in 2018. His team is now upgrading the WalkON Suit 4.0 for next year’s competition. Severance Rehabilitation Hospital will help the seven pilots with their training.Professor Kong said his goal is to make robots that can make people with disabilities much more independent. He stressed, “Wearable robots should be designed for each single user. We provide a very good graphical user interface so that we can design, check, and also verify our optimized design for customers’ best performance.” Standing upright and walking alone are very simple but noble motions that separate humans from many other creatures. Wearable and prosthetic technologies have emerged to augment human function in locomotion and manipulation. However, advances in wearable robot technology have been especially momentous to Byoung-Wook Kim, a triplegic for 22 years following a devastating car accident.last_img read more

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Congress MLA Roshan Baigs son moves HC against detention in ponzi scam

first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 16, 2019UPDATED: July 16, 2019 11:05 IST Ponzi scheme operator Mohammad Mansoor Khan accused Roshan Baig of taking Rs 400 crore and not returning it. (File)Hours after suspended Congress MLA Roshan Baig was detained from the Bengaluru international airport in connection with multi-crore IMA Jewels ponzi scam, his son on Tuesday moved the high court.The special investigation team, probing the multi-crore Karnataka ponzi scam, on Monday detained Congress MLA Roshan Baig when he was about to board a chartered plane.#Karnataka: Roshan Baig’s advocate has filed a petition in High Court questioning the detention of his client in connection with IMA case. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/cXjrkdahKVANI (@ANI) July 16, 2019Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy alleged that BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa’s personal assistant Santhosh was along with Baig when he was leaving.He added that on seeing the SIT, Santhosh ran away while the team apprehended Baig.Kumaraswamy also claimed that BJP MLA Yogeshwar was present at the airport at the time and said it was shameful on the part of the BJP that it was helping a former minister, who is facing a probe in the IMA case, escape.”This clearly shows BJP’s direct involvement in destabilising the government through horse trading,” he alleged.The BJP, however, refuted the allegations and accused Kumaraswamy of using the state machinery to save his government.”CM H D Kumaraswamy is using the state machinery to save his govt now. Roshan Baig was given time till 19th July to appear before SIT. This shows how the state government is blackmailing and treating their own MLAs’ using the institutions,” the BJP tweeted.The Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) government is facing a crisis after a flurry of resignations by its MLAs.BJP RESPONSIBLE FOR KARNATAKA POLITICAL CRISISChief minister Kumaraswamy has been alleging the BJP’s involvement in pulling down his government. On Monday, he presented Baig’s case to prove his point.The chief minister shared a document on Twitter showing that the plane was supposed to fly Baig as a passenger.Baig was supposed to appear before the SIT Monday but citing some important work he did not turn up and sought time till July 25 but the investigators asked him to depose on July 19 instead.He was needed in the case as the ponzi scheme operator Mohammad Mansoor Khan had accused him of taking Rs 400 crore and not returning it.Baig has refuted the charge calling it baseless and frivolous.Leaving more than 30,000 investors in the lurch, Mansoor Khan fled to an unknown place.READ | Karnataka Congress MLA Roshan Baig detained at Bengaluru airport over ponzi scam case, Kumaraswamy attacks BJPWATCH | Will non-stop nataka finish Congress-JDS govt in Karnataka?For the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySumeda Tags :Follow Roshan BaigFollow Ponzi scam Congress MLA Roshan Baig’s son moves HC against detention in ponzi scamRoshan Baig’s son has filed a petition in the high court questioning detention of the Congress MLA in connection with the ponzi scam case.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

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Triton Solar AP sign MoU to set up solar battery plant

first_imgSHARE Triton Solar company of the USA has entered into an MoU with AP Economic Development Board to set up a solar battery manufacturing plant in AP under the public private partnership mode.The plant helps in switching over to electrical vehicles and secures 200 mw solar power storage supply to meet the state’s energy needs.The company came forward to set up a solar battery manufacturing plant at a cost of Rs 727 cr after Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, currently on a visit to the USA, held discussions with the delegates of the company. When the Chief Minister explained the priority of the State Govt to introduce electrical vehicles in the state, company chairman Himansu Patel and Managing Partner Nand Sandilya came forward to set up the plant in the state. The company representatives entered into an MoU with EDB in the presence of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Principal secretary of Industry and investments Ajay Jain, and AP Economic Development board CEO Jasti Krishna Kishore.The company representatives said the solar battery unit would produce batteries based on nano and lithium polymer technology. They said that the company would generate a lot of employment opportunities to local youth. In addition, it would help reduce vehicular pollution in the state. Published on September 26, 2018 COMMENT Andhra Pradeshcenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL solar COMMENTS electric vehicleslast_img read more

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Tamil Nadu to form monitoring committee to address water supply related issues

first_imgWith acute water shortage prevailing in the state, the Tamil Nadu government will set up a monitoring committee to take up water supply related issues, Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister SP Velumani said on Monday.He chaired a review meeting along with senior government officials to study the steps need to address the water crisis.Talking to reporters later, Velumani said he has directed officials to form a monitoring committee led by a senior officer who will visit every street in each zone and ensure water supply. He said water supply has been stepped up from the earlier 450 MLD (million litre per day) to current 525 MLD and it will be continued till the onset of monsoon.October-November is the monsoon season in Tamil Nadu.Also read: Water-starved Chennai IT corridor turns to BYOP to tackle crisisThe Minister said the government was providing water supply and other related issues were being addressed “simultaneously”.He rejected reports that some IT companies were directing its employees to work from home due to the water shortage, saying it was a routine practice by companies to ask their employees to work from home. “If some IT companies are facing water supply issued from private water tankers, we are ready to solve them,” he said. COMMENT RELATED water supply SHARE Published on SHARE SHARE EMAIL TWAD Board reviews water supply status center_img Recycling helps tanneries weather the water crisis People waiting for water with empty plastic pots at Metro water tank taps. File Photo   –  The Hindu Tamil Nadu June 18, 2019 Living without water in Chennai COMMENTSlast_img read more

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Google tests new hyperlocal social media site Shoelace

first_img Tech News 08 Jul 2019 Mobile games like ‘Aquapark’ and ‘Polysphere’ woo players worldwide Related News “We also work hard to make sure that everything you see in Shoelace – from profiles to Loops – is aligned with our House Rules and community standards. Think we missed something? Report a Loop or profile and we’ll work hard to fix the situation,” it adds.According to the microsite, Google is focusing its efforts on New York City, though it intends to bring the service to other cities too.”This will help us determine what works and what doesn’t as we work to make the app available to more people. In the meantime let us know if you’d like to bring Shoelace to your community,” it says. Shoelace is currently operating on an invite-only basis and has partnered with select communities for now. The app is available on both the Google Play store and Apple App store, and runs on Android 8 Oreo and newer, or iOS 11 and newer. Users must have a Google account to sign in.Android Police reports that Google had made a similar hyperlocal social network called Schemer back in 2011, which was retired after two years.It adds that Google has a questionable track record with social media: its most well known attempt, Google+ – which also launched in 2011 to challenge Facebook and Twitter – ultimately shuttered back in April 2019. Tech News 10 Jul 2019 UK plan to control online porn is watched as test case Google is delving into social media again with a hyperlocal service, Shoelace which tries to connect people in the same area via their interests. — Google Culture 19h ago Of Nostalgia And Emotional Ties To Stuff Google is testing a new social media site called Shoelace in the US, that helps connect people with shared interests through in-person activities.The service’s name comes from the purpose of Shoelaces, which is to tie people together based on their interests like two laces on a shoe. Following the theme, the activities are called Loops.Google says the service will “supercharge your social life” with curated lists of nearby events which are easy to find and plan, and open to non Shoelace users too.In the FAQ, the Internet giant assures it takes safety and privacy seriously at Shoelace and asks that users to join a community to ensure they only attend Loops with people they might want to know. {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Related Newslast_img read more

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Heavy rain hits DelhiNCR brings much needed relief

first_img India Today Web Desk New DelhiJuly 15, 2019UPDATED: July 15, 2019 16:25 IST The rain hit Delhi after a long dry spell and hot weatherHeavy rain hit Delhi and the larger National Capital Region, cooling temperatures and bringing much needed relief to the parched capital. Heavy rain was reported in Central Delhi, East Delhi and some parts of neighbouring Noida.The rain over Delhi was accompanied by a sharp drop in visibility as dark clouds gathered over Delhi-NCR.The rain hit Delhi after a long dry spell and hot weather. Rain was also expected in parts of Uttar Pradesh with monsoon clouds covering capital Lucknow on Sunday.Earlier, the IMD had predicted rain over Delhi-NCR. The rainfall was predicted to continue until Thursday.Delhi: Rain lashes parts of the city; #visuals from Akbar Road. #DelhiRains pic.twitter.com/WIDn24hjHjANI (@ANI) July 15, 2019″The sky will remain generally cloudy with light rain or drizzle expected. The city is likely to receive light rain till Thursday,” an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.Private weather forecasting agency Skymet echoed the IMD, saying rain was expected to commence from Monday.”Winds over Delhi and NCR have changed to easterly. We expect the weather to change and rains will commence by today evening. Intensity will increase gradually,” Mahesh Palawat, Vice president Meteorology and Climate Change at the Skymet Weather said.(With inputs from IANS)WATCH | Mumbai rains: Is City of Dreams now Ram bharose?For the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byDev Goswami Heavy rain hits Delhi-NCR, brings much needed reliefThe rain over Delhi was accompanied by a sharp drop in visibility as dark clouds gathered over Delhi-NCR.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

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