Netflix highquality audio makes TV shows and films sounds better

first_img Comments High-quality audio not only delivers a higher bit rate but can adapt to the speed of your internet connection by increasing or decreasing that bit rate. Netflix video already does something similar. If you’ve ever been on a slower connection, you have probably seen video playback at a lower quality until there’s enough of a buffer for it to switch to a higher quality version. High-quality audio will do the same and move up and down in quality seamlessly as you watch a show.Currently high-quality audio is rolling out to TVs and connected boxes with support for 5.1 or Dolby Atmos. Devices with 5.1 will receive a bit rate of 192 to 640 kilobits per second. If you’re a Premium Netflix subscriber and have an Atmos device, playback will be between 448 and 768 kbps. Tags Netflix teases Stranger Things season 3 in new trailer Netflix I had a chance to experience the new high-quality audio listening to a sequence from Stranger Things. There were three versions: the original master, a low bit rate one (192 kbps) and a higher bit rate one (640 kbps). The low bit rate version sounded fine, but when compared to the original master it lacked subtle audio details and clarity. The high bit rate version, to my ears, was identical to the original master achieving a phenomena called “perceptually transparent” — don’t worry, I didn’t know what that meant at first either.Perceptually transparent — which, by the way, would be a great name for an improv group — means there are no perceived differences between a studio master and audio that has been compressed. For Netflix streaming that perceptually transparent sweet spot was 640 kbps.Netflix said that these bit rates might “evolve” over time as the company gets more efficient with its encoding. The best and wackiest high-end wireless speakers 22 Photoscenter_img If you plan to watch a show or film on Netflix Wednesday night, you might notice it sounds better. The streaming company has released a new feature called high-quality audio that makes sure what you hear is closer to what the artists behind your favorite show intended. Netflix’s improved audio came about because of the show Stranger Things’ second season.The first episode of Stranger Things season 2 starts off with a car chase. But when the Duffer brothers, the show’s creators, first heard it played back in a living room, they noticed that the sound wasn’t as crisp as the original master from the studio.”It didn’t sound quite as defined. A little bit mushy, you might say. Or like maybe there’s a napkin over it,” said Scott Kramer, manager of sound technology for Netflix. “Very subtle, but noticeable.”To address the issue, the show was streamed at a higher bit rate that sounded closer to the original studio master. This laid the groundwork for Netflix to create its new high-quality audio feature. TV and Movies Audio Now playing: Watch this: 2:50 Share your voice 24last_img read more

Is Judgementall Hai Kya poster plagiarized Hungarybased artist accuses makers of stealing

first_imgFlora BorsiFacebookJudgementall Hai Kya has been in the news mostly for its controversies thanks to the film’s lead actress Kangana Ranaut. And now even after the release of the film, troubles for the makers are just refusing to die down. A popular Hungary-based artist named Flora Borsi has now accused the makers of Judgementall Hai Kya for stealing her art without her persmission.Sharing a juxtaposed image of Judgementall Hai Kya poster featuring Kangana posing with a black cat and her digital photographic work on Facebook, Flora wrote, “Any similarities? It’s a famous bollywood movie poster called “Judgementall Hai Kya”. They didn’t ask for any permission nor reached me out. It’s a shame for big companies plagarizing freelance artists work.”Her Facebook post received a lot of positive reactions from her followers who slammed the Bollywood industry for plagiarizing her art. Flora was overwhelmed with the support from her followers but she urged them not to express hatred towards a nation saying that “It’s all about a big industry vs artists.””Thank you so much guys for supporting me ❤️ but I don’t want anybody to express hatred toward a nation or a country. It’s all about a big industry vs artists,” Flora Borsi commented on her Facebook post.She further added, “Bollywood has nothing to do with this. It’s all about the art department and the creative director. their responsibility is the feedback, which brings negativity in the big picture, which is Bollywood. When someone does a bad things people can’t blame the country where was born.”Take a look.  Flora BorsiFacebookThe makers of Judgementall Hai Kya are yet to address the allegations about plagarizing Flora Borsi’s work.last_img read more

Egypt church bombing kills 15

first_imgMap locating an attack on a church in the Egyptian city of Tanta, north of Cairo. Photo: AFPA bomb blast at a church north of Cairo killed at least 15 people and wounded dozens who had gathered for Palm Sunday mass, state media reported, in the latest apparent attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians.Some 40 people were wounded in the blast, which struck at a Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Cairo, the reports said.A medical official at a hospital in Tanta confirmed to AFP that at least 13 people had been killed.Palm Sunday is one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem.The state-run Nile television channel said the blast struck the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in Tanta just before 10:00 am (0800 GMT).Provincial governor Ahmad Deif told the channel that at least 42 people were wounded and that the explosion occurred inside the church.”Either a bomb was planted or someone blew himself up,” Deif said, adding that security forces had searched the church and surrounding areas for additional explosive devices.There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s blast.Copts, who make up about one tenth of Egypt’s population of more than 92 million and who celebrate Easter next weekend, have been targeted by several attacks in recent months.Jihadists and Islamists accuse them of supporting the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which ushered in a deadly crackdown on his supporters.In December, a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group killed 29 worshippers during Sunday mass in Cairo.The bombing of the church within a compound that also holds the seat of the Coptic papacy was the deadliest attack against the minority in recent memory.A spate of jihadist-linked attacks in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, including the murder of a Copt in the city of El Arish whose house was also burned, have led some Coptic families to flee their homes.About 250 Christians took refuge in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya after IS released a video in February calling for attacks on the religious minority.Egypt’s army is waging a counter-insurgency against an IS affiliate in Sinai, which has claimed scores of attacks against police and army positions.President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief helped the military to remove Morsi, defended his security forces in a televised address soon afterwards.”(The attacks aim to) destabilise the fabric of Egypt… to give the impression that one group isn’t protected as it should be,” Sisi said at the time.Following Morsi’s ouster, mobs attacked dozens of churches and Christian properties.Pope Francis is due to visit Cairo on April 28-29 to show solidarity with Egypt’s Christian community.The pontiff will visit the site of the December church attack next to Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral — the seat of Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II.last_img read more

Youth beaten dead in Dohar

first_imgA young man was beaten to death allegedly by his rivals over previous enmity in Dohar upazila of Dhaka district on Wednesday, reports UNB.The deceased is Foysal Sheikh, 18, son of a certain Majnu Sheikh of Muksudpur Shantinagar.Foysal’s family had an enmity with his elder brother’s first wife Munni, said Dohar police station officer-in-charge Sazzad Hossain.As a sequel to that, Munni’s associates intercepted Foysal while he was going for a football match and beat him up, leaving him dead on the spot, he said.On information, police recovered the body and sent it to Mitford Hospital morgue, the OC added.last_img read more

Wreckage of Salas aircraft found

first_imgGeneral view of the front cover of the match day programme paying tribute to Emiliano Sala before a match on 2 February, 2019 Photo: ReutersThe missing plane carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot has been found, investigators said on Sunday.Sala, 28, was travelling from France to join up with his new club, Premier League side Cardiff City, in a light aircraft manned by David Ibbotson on January 21 when it disappeared close to the Channel Islands.Tributes were paid to the striker on both sides of the Channel over the weekend as hopes faded he would be found alive, and Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on Sunday told AFP the plane’s wreckage had been discovered.”I can confirm it has been found,” a spokesperson said, adding a statement would be issued on Monday.Sala’s father Horacio spoke of his shock from his home in Progresso, Argentina, telling Cronica TV: “I can’t believe it. It’s a bad dream.”Horacio was the only member of the Sala family to stay behind in Argentina as the others rushed to France to try to help with the search.”I talk to them every day. But since I don’t have WhatsApp it’s expensive to call them or for them to call me. But anyway, they kept saying days were going by, and that there had been zero word on Emiliano, or on the plane,” he said.Suspected debris from the plane washed up on the Normandy coastline in France last Wednesday.Sala was travelling in the Piper PA-46 Malibu plane after transferring from French team Nantes in a 17 million euro ($19.3 million) move — a record deal for the Welsh team.It vanished from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey, with pilot Ibbotson the only other person aboard.David Mearns, whose private company, Blue Water Recoveries, was hired by Sala’s family to search for the plane, said on Twitter that the wreckage was spotted early Sunday.”There’s a substantial amount of wreckage on the seabed,” he wrote, adding: “This is about the best result we could have hoped for the families.”Top footballers were among more than 4,500 contributors to a crowdfunding page that raised over 300,000 euros ($343,000) to look for the wreckage.Speaking after Cardiff’s match against Bournemouth on Saturday, manager Neil Warnock said Sala would have been “really proud” of the team after they won 2-0 in their first home match since the plane vanished.Programme notes, penned by owner Vincent Tan and the rest of the Bluebirds’ board, said events had shaken “Cardiff City to its very core” and that they were now playing for Sala and pilot Ibbotson.There were a series of heartfelt tributes before kick-off, with Sala’s photograph appearing on the front cover of the matchday programme and the two captains laid floral tributes on the halfway line before what the club called a “silent reflection”.Sala’s name, in the Argentina colours, was also spelled out behind one of the goals as supporters held cards aloft.last_img read more

United Way of Central Maryland Funds Programs Throughout Baltimore

first_imgThe United Way of Central Maryland announced $8.27 million in funding of grants and other community investment. The funding will be used to help families in Baltimore County, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties and Baltimore City. “Thanks to the generosity of local companies, foundations and individuals, we are able to continue our important efforts to change the odds for families and communities facing poverty,” said Mark Furst, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, in a statement.The money has already been earmarked for several initiatives across the region with a focus on connecting citizens to basic human services and putting families on the path to stability.The United Way of Central Maryland has awarded 59 operating grants, totaling approximately $1.36 million, to organizations delivering critical basic needs services throughout central Maryland, including emergency housing, quality afterschool programming, healthcare services and more.  Also an additional pool of $179,000 has been reserved to support nonprofit organizations that experience unanticipated surges in demand for services or experience emergencies during the fiscal year.Another $1.29 million has been allocated to the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline and the 2-1-1 Maryland system statewide. 2-1-1 is a confidential informational and referral service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 150 languages. The line can be called with requests for assistance with things like food, shelter,  healthcare, utility bills and tax preparation assistance.United Way also has committed $600,000 to its partner, the American Red Cross – Greater Chesapeake, to underwrite its year-round local disaster response efforts.  Another $150,000 has been allocated to this year’s Project Homeless Connect being held on September 24, where more than 1,500 clients experiencing homelessness are expected to receive services onsite help from 150 providers.United Way programs specifically targeting homeless and nearly homeless families include helping at-risk families stabilize before they become homeless, diverting homeless families from traditional shelters to permanent housing, accompanied by comprehensive case management and financial literacy, asset-building, budgeting and employment.Earlier this year the group announced grants for community groups helping Baltimore recover following the riots in late April. The programs funded included ones for male mentoring, summer employment, arts programs for children and literacy programs.last_img read more

WestJet updates travel agent and companion discount program

first_imgWestJet updates travel agent and companion discount program Share Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Agent Rates, WestJet, WestJet Vacationscenter_img CALGARY — WestJet is offering travel agents and one companion 50% to 75% off regular published Y fares, based on availability, for bookings made by Dec. 15 with no blackout dates.To take advantage of the special rates agents are asked to call WestJet’s Travel Support team at 1-877-664-3205, Monday to Sunday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. MT. Taxes and fees are extra.Fares and space are limited and subject to availability. The 75% discount on Y fares applies when G inventory is available. The 50% discount on Y fares applies when M inventory is available.Agents are asked to provide the following details at time of booking:Flight information (dates of travel and preferred/alternate flight numbers)Names and contact information of travellersAgency information (personal IATA/UFTAA code [VER# or ACTA#] and IATA/TIDS)A valid credit cardReservations are permitted any time prior to departure (based on availability) for domestic, transborder and international flights.A valid IATA/UFTAA and a valid 10 digit ACTA/verification number are required. The IATA/UFTAA ID card number is a mandatory field. “We will electronically verify your ACTA/verification number for validation. Please be prepared to show your IATA or UFTAA at the airport,” says WestJet.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upSome restrictions apply, including: travel agent bookings are non-commissionable and non-refundable; Plus fare seats may not be booked through the travel agent discount program; codeshare and interline bookings may not be booked through the travel agent discount program; and free seat selection is not included (but may still be purchased at the regular pre-reserved seat prices).WestJet Vacations has also sent out a reminder about its travel agent and companion (positive space) discount program, offering travel agents and up to three additional companions 20% off positive space air and hotel packages on one file (in one hotel room). Individual deviations are not permitted. The booking deadline for these special rates is also Dec. 15, with several blackout dates for the remainder of 2017, including: Sept. 4 – 5, 2017; Oct. 5 – 6, 2017; Oct. 9 – 10, 2017; Nov. 9 – 14, 2017; Dec.14 – 24, 2017; Dec. 26 – 31, 2017. Monday, August 28, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Vevos chief technical officer CTO Alex Nunes

first_imgVevo’s chief technical officer (CTO), Alex Nunes, has left the company, marking the music video firm’s latest big executive departure.Nunes’ exit comes after Vevo CEO Erik Huggers stepped down in December to “pursue new opportunities”.Head of product Mark Hall followed earlier this year, leaving to become vice-president of product and strategy at Bandcamp.Nunes, like Huggers, is a former BBC staffer, having held a number of roles at the company, including head of media services –  a role that saw him work on the iPlayer between 2008 and 2010.After this Nunes worked at YouView and then at social TV app Beamly – a service that was first known as Zeebox before it was rebranded. He joined Vevo in 2015.News of Nunes’ departure was reported first by Variety, which said that subsequent to his exit Vevo has also made cuts across its product and engineering teams.“This decision allows for greater focus to drive increased growth in the promotional and commercial value of videos,” a Vevo spokesperson told Variety.Vevo was founded in 2009 and is a joint venture between the big three record labels Universal, Sony and Warner Music Group. Vevo makes music video content available on YouTube and its own platform and apps and claims an average 25 billion video views per month.last_img read more

The inspiration arrived in a haze at a Paul McCart

first_imgThe inspiration arrived in a haze at a Paul McCartney concert a few years ago in San Francisco.”People in front of me started lighting up and then other people started lighting up,” says Matthew Springer, a biologist and professor in the division of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco. “And for a few naive split seconds I was thinking to myself, ‘Hey, they can’t smoke in AT&T Park! I’m sure that’s not allowed.’ And then I realized that it was all marijuana.”Recreational pot was not legal yet in the state, but that stopped no one. “Paul McCartney actually stopped between numbers and sniffed the air and said, ‘There’s something in the air — must be San Francisco!’ ” Springer recalls.As the visible cloud of pot smoke took shape, so did Springer’s idea to study the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke.He started thinking: San Franciscans would never tolerate those levels of cigarette smoke in a public place anymore. So why were they OK with smoke from burning pot? Did people just assume that cannabis smoke isn’t harmful the way tobacco smoke is?Springer was already researching the health effects of secondhand tobacco smoke on rats at his lab at UCSF. He decided to run the same tests using joints.”By the time I left the concert, I was resolved to at least try to make this happen,” he says.He knew it would be difficult. Marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law, and Springer’s research uses federal funds; so he has to purchase specially approved government cannabis for study. He also can’t test it on humans; hence, the rats.In the lab, Springer puts a cigarette or a joint in a plexiglass box. Then he lights it, and lets the chamber fill with smoke, where an anesthetized rat is exposed to the smoke.So far, Springer and his colleagues have published research demonstrating that secondhand smoke makes it harder for the rats’ arteries to expand and allow a healthy flow of blood.With tobacco products, this effect lasts about 30 minutes, and then the arteries recover their normal function. But if it happens over and over — as when a person is smoking cigarette after cigarette, for example — the arterial walls can become permanently damaged, and that damage can cause blood clots, heart attack or stroke.Springer demonstrated that, at least in rats, the same physiological effect occurs after inhaling secondhand smoke from marijuana. And, the arteries take 90 minutes to recover compared to the 30 minutes with cigarette smoke.Springer’s discovery about the effect on blood vessels describes just one harmful impact for nonsmokers who are exposed to marijuana. Statewide sampling surveys of cannabis products sold in marijuana dispensaries have shown that cannabis products may contain dangerous bacteria or mold, or residues from pesticides and solvents.California law requires testing for these contaminants, and those regulations are being initiated in three phases over the course of 2018. Because much of the marijuana being sold now was harvested in 2017, consumers will have to wait until early 2019 before they can purchase products that have been fully tested according to state standards.”People think cannabis is fine because it’s ‘natural,’ ” Springer says. “I hear this a lot. I don’t know what it means.” He concedes that tightly regulated marijuana, which has been fully tested, doesn’t have as many chemical additives as cigarettes.But even if the cannabis tests clean, Springer says, smoke itself is bad for the lungs, heart and blood vessels. Other researchers are exploring the possible relationship between marijuana smoke and long-term cancer risk.Certainly, living with a smoker is worse for your health than just going to a smoky concert hall. But, Springer says, the less you inhale any kind of smoke, the better.”People should think of this not as an anti-THC conclusion,” he says, referencing the active ingredient in marijuana, “but an anti-smoke conclusion.”So is the solution simply to avoid smoke from combustion? In other words, is it safer to eat cannabis-infused products, or use “smokeless” e-cigarettes or vaping devices?Springer still urges caution on that score because vaping, for example, can have its own health effects. Vaping devices don’t produce smoke from combustion, but they do release a cloud of aerosolized chemicals. Springer is studying the health effects of those chemicals, too.All this research takes time. Meanwhile, Springer worries that people might come to the wrong conclusion — that the absence of research means the secondhand smoke is OK.”We in the public health community have been telling them for decades to avoid inhaling secondhand smoke from tobacco,” Springer says. “We have not been telling them to avoid inhaling secondhand smoke from marijuana, and that’s not because it’s not bad for you — it’s because we just haven’t known. The experiments haven’t been done.”Antismoking campaigners say we can’t afford to wait until the research is complete. Recreational pot is already a reality.Cynthia Hallett is the president of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, based in Berkeley, Calif. The organization was established in 1976, before there was a lot known about the health effects of secondhand smoke from tobacco.Now that cannabis is becoming more common across the country — more than 20 cities or states have legalized it in some form — her organization is taking on the issue of secondhand marijuana smoke, too.Hallett says some of the arguments being made in support of cannabis remind her of the arguments made on behalf of tobacco decades ago.”I’m seeing a parallel between this argument that, ‘Gee, we just don’t have a lot of science and so, therefore, let’s wait and see,’ ” Hallett says. “The tobacco companies used to say the same thing about tobacco cigarettes.”In California, smoking cannabis is prohibited anywhere tobacco smoking is prohibited — including schools, airplanes and most workplaces. Hallett is worried that the legalization of pot could be used to erode those rules.It starts with the premise of decriminalization, she says, and then, over time, there’s “a chipping away at strong policies.”Some cannabis advocates want to see pot regulated like alcohol — cities would issue permits for specialized smoking lounges, similar to wine bars.But Hallett points out that smoke drifts, and it affects workers in a way that alcohol doesn’t.”The difference is, if I were to spill my beer on you in a bar, it wouldn’t affect your long-term health,” she says. “If I choose to smoke, it can affect the health of the person near me.”Pot is more like tobacco in that respect, and Hallett believes it should be regulated that way.She says this era of California culture brings to mind a similar period in the 1970s and ’80s, when Americans started demanding more regulations for secondhand smoke, and a new etiquette around smoking took form.When it comes to marijuana, Hallett says, “it is still polite for you to say: ‘Would you mind not smoking around me?’ “At Magnolia, a cannabis dispensary in Oakland, Calif., pot smokers talk about what responsibilities — if any — they should have when it comes to nearby nonsmokers.”This is the first time that I have heard secondhand smoke in reference to cannabis,” admits Lee Crow, a patient-services clerk at Magnolia. “I’ve tried to be courteous — just common courtesy, like with anything.”The dispensary’s director of clinical services, Barbara Blaser, admits she thinks a lot about secondhand smoke from cigarettes, but not pot.”Both of my parents died of lung cancer!” she says. “I will stop a stranger and say, ‘You shouldn’t be smoking. My dad died of that!’ “California’s Proposition 64, approved by state voters in 2016, requires that some of the state tax revenue from the sale of marijuana to be distributed to cannabis researchers. In addition, the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is examining workplace hazards that are specific to the cannabis industry.This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership, local member stations and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 KALW. To see more, visit KALW.last_img read more

The government failed to take any account of the i

first_imgThe government failed to take any account of the impact on disabled pupils of its “discriminatory” plans to expand grammar schools in England, say campaigners.A government consultation paper published this week, Schools That Work For Everyone, includes plans to remove the ban on opening new grammar schools in England.But there is not a single mention of disabled pupils in the consultation paper, and the Department for Education (DfE) has failed to carry out an equality impact assessment of its proposals.Inclusive education campaigners say that expanding grammar schools – secondary schools which select pupils via an entrance test – will discriminate against disabled children and lead to more segregated education in special schools.And they say the plans are a clear breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with new UN guidance making it clear that all segregated education should end and be replaced by “inclusive classroom teaching in accessible learning environments with appropriate supports”.There are currently 163 grammar schools in England, educating about five per cent of state secondary pupils, while 10 local authorities have wholly selective education systems and another 26 have one or more grammar schools in their area.Laws currently ban any new selective schools and prevent existing non-selective schools from becoming selective, but prime minister Theresa May – and education secretary Justine Greening – want to expand existing grammar schools, create new selective schools and allow non-selective schools to become selective.They say this will only be allowed if “action to expand existing selective schools or establish new selective schools is accompanied at the same time by support to ensure good quality non-selective places locally”.But The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE) said the policy of increasing selective schools, and the consultation paper itself, discriminate against disabled children.It highlighted DfE’s failure to carry out an assessment of the impact of the policy on disabled children and other groups protected under the Equality Act 2010.ALLFIE said the consultation paper was “an onslaught on disabled children and young people’s social mobility, and on their parents’ rights to choose a good mainstream school placement”.Simone Aspis (pictured), ALLFIE’s policy and campaigns coordinator, said the consultation paper was “obviously discriminatory”.She said: “They obviously have not thought about what the implications are for disabled children.“For disabled children and their families, it means less choice and more segregation.“What will happen is more and more disabled children are going to be forced into segregated education provision.”ALLFIE pointed out that disabled children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) or statements of special educational needs represent only 0.1 per cent of grammar school pupils, despite making up 1.8 per cent of the secondary school population.And disabled children without statements or EHCPs make up only 4.2 per cent of grammar school pupils, but 12.4 per cent of all secondary school pupils.ALLFIE said the government’s existing education policies over the last six years had led to a steady increase in the number of disabled children being educated in special schools.Aspis said: “If mainstream schools become selective, where will disabled children go?“They will have no choice other than to attend a special school against their own and their parents’ wishes, which is scandalous, especially if the prime minister talks about creating one nation.“This government has ratified the United Nations Convention on Persons with Disabilities, including article 24 that makes it clear that disabled children’s access to mainstream education is a human right and that an education system that separates and segregates disabled children is a violation of their right to mainstream education.”When a DfE spokesman was asked by Disability News Service about the failure to mention disabled pupils in the consultation paper, he said: “The top line is schools that work for everyone, that’s the point. When we talk about everyone we [mean] everyone.”He refused to answer a series of questions about the alleged discriminatory nature of the consultation paper, why DfE had failed to carry out an equality impact assessment, and whether the policy would lead to greater segregation of disabled pupils in special schools.Instead, he said the consultation paper “looks at how every child should have access to a good education. As such, that should be understood to include those with special educational needs and disabilities.”He added in a statement: “Every child, regardless of background or ability, should have access to an excellent education.“We know that grammar schools provide a good education for their disadvantaged pupils and we want more pupils from lower income backgrounds to benefit from that.“Our proposals will ensure that any new and existing selective schools will prioritise the admission of disadvantaged pupils and that they support other local pupils in non-selective schools to help drive up educational outcomes.“As set out in the consultation document, we are clear that relaxing restrictions on selective education can and should be to the betterment, not at the expense, of other local schools.”last_img read more

CONNOR Dwyer has joined Barrow Raiders on loan for

first_imgCONNOR Dwyer has joined Barrow Raiders on loan for a month.The 19-year-old back rower has played two games on dual registration this season and has made the move to gain regular game time.Connor signed from Portico, where he was coached by his dad – Saints legend Bernard Dwyer.last_img

3 Simple Steps to Meet Current GDPR Compliance

first_imgThe EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR as it’s widely known, fundamentally changed the handling, sourcing, and distribution of data collected about customers living within the European Union region. As professionals trying to engage with a global audience, it’s important for marketers to be aware of the GDPR Compliance, privacy and security responsibilities– all this help to avoid falling prey to breach of the international laws.With the GDPR,  an individual’s privacy rights are prioritized over a company’s right to access and use customer information. If a business relies on approaches like cold calls, or using cold mailing lists, it’s likely that company is not GDPR compliant, in the absence of gaining the explicit consent of the individual.As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the introduction of GDPR, it’s a good opportunity to review your data compliance policy and implementation of it, to ensure your company doesn’t find itself in breach of the ruling.Read More: Customer Experience 2020: Personalization is KeyHere are 3 key considerations when implementing a best-practice GDPR compliance strategy within your marketing teams:Set strong foundations in GDPR complianceThe GDPR demands significant accountability and obligation from companies, to the extent that the reversal of the burden of proof applies.  This means companies are responsible for proving they are complying with the GDPR laws, rather than authorities providing evidence of infringements. As a result, its necessary to continuously monitor and improve all GDPR processes.Because of this it’s vital to have a data protection and management system that maps all business processes to ensure they’re GDPR compliantOrganizations should document all data around the company processes company-wide, alongside the legal reasons for each process.How can this be done?The best way to monitor and document your GDPR requirements is by setting up a privacy management system that maintains a central repository of processing activities. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a complex system, but should record and map the processing of all customer data. This system should be updated to ensure it aligns with legal regulations for processing data, but should also contain guidelines around responsibilities, an overview of how data is collected and stored, any tech or internal measures that need to be taken to contain this data, and a risk management system to protect and deal with any potential security issues.Deploying a business process management (BPM) tool is the most effective way to do this, especially those that are cloud  based and can be customized to suit the business and its unique data.Many of our own customers have implemented Signavio’s BPM solution to create a data glossary, acting as both a register for various processes and data sets, as well as a dictionary for defining the GDPR category they relate to. Defining these processes and assets also allows them to easily check the legality of the processing of this data in accordance with GDPR, ensuring legal requirements are clear and staff aren’t guesstimating their responsibilities around data security.Understand the data you’re holding and how it’s used for GDPR complianceGDPR requires you to know and document the personal data your business holds, its origins and how it is shared. Establish an understanding of which data is collected, which data is stored, and where, as well as what responsibilities apply to each kind of data.Ensure responsibilities across your team are defined and documented in the process models, for example, identifying a compliance officer or other decision-makers for handling customer data.When you’ve established how data is collected and stored, you need to identify what kind of data it is and how you need to treat it. Thanks to technology advances, it’s easy to automate this process so decision makers can quickly evaluate and check that data is being processed in line with GDPR requirements.This is important because the GDPR requires a data protection impact assessment to be made wherever there is significant risk in the handling of sensitive data, which often, marketers deal with.If one does not already exist, creating a privacy statement that explains customers’ rights andthe business’ lawful responsibilities for processing information is a simple way to ensure companies are compliant with the requirements of the GDPR. A smarter approach would be to automate the way companies collect personal information, so that when a customer provides their data, companies can easily monitor when, how and the purpose for which it was supplied.Regularly and consistently monitoring this process is essential to stay afloat of compliance, and when automated, can be easily managed. The goal here is to achieve permanent GDPR compliance in a changing process landscape.Be cautious of consent obligations in GDPR complianceConsent is required to be explicit under the GDPR. Individuals need to opt-in to provide personal data to a company, using clear and unambiguous consent statements, specific to the information they are providing. This means blanket statements for general/ all data collection is not sufficient for GDPR compliance.Broader statements are enough when collecting non-sensitive data, however long, difficult to  read terms and conditions, fine print and opt-out ticked boxes are no longer acceptable. Companies are also required to give individuals a simple way to withdraw consent at any time, along with instructions about how to do so.Because companies are required to maintain proof of consent, here are a few questions you should consider when developing your GDPR consent strategy: How can you build trust to encourage customers provide consent, as well as engage with your business offering? How do you request, manage, and store consent? 3 Simple Steps to Meet Current GDPR Compliance Gero DeckerMay 17, 2019, 10:35 pmMay 21, 2019 Are new policies or processes required? Is data being collected from individuals under the age of 16? If so, how will parental consent be obtained to collect and use children’s data?center_img If you’re not currently doing this, what changes need to be made? How will these processes and systems be communicated to staff? Ensuring compliance officers and staff are equipped with answers to these questions is a good way to make sure they have a strong understanding of the GDPR requirements. Not only will this prevent organizational inefficiencies, it also enables staff to identify issues and act compliantly, protecting your organization from potential legal ramifications.Read More: Why Tone is Everything in Marketing! Business Process Managementcustomer datadata privacyGDPR ComplianceSignavio Previous ArticleAdoption of SymphonyRM’s AI-Powered “Next Best Actions” Soars as Company Doubles Revenue and Client Base and Raises $10 Million in Series A FinancingNext ArticleBiscuitville Chooses SiteZeus to Help fuel their Location Growthlast_img read more

MarTech Interview with Inbal Lavi CEO at Webpals Group

first_imgMarTech Interview with Inbal Lavi, CEO at Webpals Group Sudipto GhoshJune 11, 2019, 2:30 pmJune 11, 2019 About InbalAbout Webpals GroupAbout Inbal The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick. “Marketing technology can enable financial app developers to enrich users’ experience, providing quick and simple management solutions for customer’s financial needs.” Webpals Group is a leader in performance Marketing with offices in New York, Tel Aviv, and Seoul. Our sub-brands, Webpals Finance, Webpals Tech & Webpals Mobile, have been maintaining their strong position in a wide variety of verticals for over a decade. With a complete understanding that data is the force driving the industry, we exclusively own and operate over 2,000 content-rich websites while leveraging our own, cutting-edge technologies, SEO, Media, and Mobile Advertising solutions to drive high-value users to global online businesses and mobile apps. Inbal Lavi has led Webpals Group since 2014. Inbal was responsible for leading all three of the company’s major acquisitions; Dau-Up, MarMar Media and ClicksMob. Her career spans over a decade in the Online Marketing industry, with expertise in Marketing Strategy, Operations, and P&L management. She holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. with honors in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University.center_img About Webpals Group MarTech Interview Series Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to be part of the Webpals Group? My journey started during my Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University, where I wrote my thesis about Machine learning and Data Mining. There weren’t many companies that offered jobs relevant to my academic background, but I always knew the right job opportunity would present itself.Before joining Webpals Group, I held several executive positions at 888 Holdings, leading 888’s business unit to ultimately become the second largest poker brand in the world. My first commercial position in the online world was in Data Mining at 888. With time, I moved into a Business Management position at the company and realized that it is the direction I wanted to follow.Later, when the opportunity arose to become the CEO of Webpals Group, I jumped at the chance. My vision was to build a company with a solid infrastructure, enabling scalable growth, both organically and through acquisitions, in various verticals. From a niche company operating in the Scandinavian market, I have led Webpals’ drastic expansion by branching out into new markets and verticals while successfully leading dozens of multi-million-dollar M and As.Equipped with 15 years of experience in the Online Marketing industry, I have been the CEO of Webpals Group, a world-leading performance Marketing company, since January 2014. Since taking the helm, I have transformed the company from a small startup into a mature organization. During my five years as CEO, the company has grown exponentially and multiplied its revenues.What is Webpals Group and how does it fit into a modern CMO’s Marketing Technology stack?Webpals Group is a Performance Marketing company, specializing in driving high-value users to online and mobile businesses. Utilizing proprietary technology, thousands of exclusively managed web assets in over 18 languages, and with over 400 employees hailing from around the world, Webpals works with partners on a performance basis which means the company only succeeds when our partners succeed. Webpals Group is wholly owned by XLMedia (AIM: XLM).Webpals’ technology enables the company to give its users the most practical advice and suggestions, guiding them towards the products and services they want to see – ultimately saving customers precious time and money in the search for the perfect product.It integrates into a modern CMO’s marketing tech stack by acting as the technology supporting Content Management, helping companies scale and shorten time-to-market. With an abundance of information available, the challenge is to provide the most accurate and relevant information in the friendliest way (e.g. video, tools, etc.). Advanced technology together with creativity enables us to drive a higher audience and more importantly, increase the engagement of returning visitors. As a woman in tech, what are the biggest growth factors in your business that you have managed to scale successfully? Under my guidance, Webpals has been able to set a strong foundation for our expansion activities, from both the organizational and business perspective. We have leveraged the company’s central technology and Online Marketing know-how to build successful business units that integrated their acquisitions and managed to grow them significantly.Webpals’ acquisition methodology has proven successful in the North American personal finance sector, with our portfolio including leading financial websites such as Moneyunder30, Greedyrates.ca, DoughRoller, and more.According to you, which businesses are fastest in adopting Marketing Technology platforms for personalized Customer Experience? Beyond the obvious fit of retail and e-commerce, we are seeing other industries integrating MarTech platforms to improve Customer Experience with great success. A few of the industries that have seen rapid adoption and great ROI are Gaming, Food Delivery, Travel, and Finance. Despite being vastly different from one another, each of these industries is customer-centric and sees the great potential for Personalization.While most of the banks are committed to providing Digital Solutions to meet their customers’ financial needs, there is considerable room for growth. Marketing technology can enable financial app developers to enrich users’ experience, providing quick and simple management solutions for customer’s financial needs.Which data points do you focus on to uncover true intent and preferences behind Consumer Search behavior? To what extent this Customer Behavior can be personalized? We focus on Consumer Behavior by monitoring indicators such as time on site, interaction within the site (using the tools, answering surveys, etc.), heatmap, conversion rates along the funnel, and a number of times consumers return to the site.Using these data points, we analyze user behavior and intentions, providing customers with unique and creative personalized offers and experiences.We also create unique content, manufactured to meet users’ needs, wherever and whenever possible. For example, on greedyrates.ca, we developed calculators and tools that enable users to find the perfect product – enabling us to segment audiences by profile. Our proprietary technology allows us to target users on various occasions or on different sites, offering complementary information to their previous searches. The results show an increase in engagement and returning visitors, as well as a 30% increase in revenue. We leverage mobile vs desktop to get the right content into the right hands. For example, blogs are easier to read on the go (mobile), whereas credit applications need attention and focus (desktop). And lastly, in order to personalize consumer’s online experiences, we build videos that resonate with the target audience, taking advantage of special events and utilizing relatable figures to present their own experiences with the product.How much has the Search Intelligence commerce changed since the time you first started in the tech industry? Search Intelligence commerce has changed drastically since I first began in the tech industry. In the early 90s, Internet-wide search was still in its infancy. Today, retailers understand they must innovate to survive, but rapidly changing technologies and tastes make it hard to decide which innovations are worth pursuing. For marketers seeking to navigate this ever-evolving space, always staying one step ahead can prove a challenge.Amidst the ever-changing Digital Search landscape, two unassuming technologies have quietly proven themselves useful for retailers and marketers alike: Voice and Visual search. The Visual search began as a novel Computer Science demo, but as mobile cameras improve and AI gets smarter, tech giants are increasingly throwing their weight behind this unique approach to search. Forward-thinking retailers are already implementing visual search to invigorate their online presence and deepen their connection with tech-savvy shoppers.Voice search, on the other hand, is more complex as some opt for their mobile devices over smart speakers; however, optimizing Voice search will be vital for businesses in the near future as more and more searches on mobile are being conducted orally.Understanding the nuances of Voice search is essential to help searchers find exactly what they’re looking for when searching by Voice – and, correspondingly, it’s also how marketers can direct audiences to relevant content and identify appropriate targets for outreach. Both Voice and Visual search will be an interesting space to watch as retailers and marketers turn to new venues for e-commerce and advertising. What are the major challenges/pain points for businesses that fail to leverage Mobile Marketing/Automation technologies? How does Webpals Group solve these?Developing the tools that will enable scalable growth in all verticals is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today. Webpals is a leader and innovator in the Online Marketing sector, which is a crowded and constantly evolving market. Today’s consumers are inundated with information and want access to highly-tailored content across all media channels- to stand out, companies must have a unique value. Therefore, we must always remain ahead of the curve to engage users through a wide variety of platforms and niche sites. In order to do so, we have utilized our know-how to expand into new territories and new verticals, like Personal Finance.Webpals’ advanced technology provides accurate targeting and segmentation of audiences, helping businesses tap into the most relevant users, ultimately enabling scalable growth. Lastly, as businesses often face a highly competitive environment, automation of campaign management is critical to gaining profits.Which markets and geographies are you currently catering to? We operate worldwide in the mobile, tech, finance, and gaming sectors, from the United States to Europe, MENA, and Asia.Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use in your current roles? We use in-house tools for Content Management and Data Extraction, Data Analysis and Conversion Optimization. Additionally, I use several tools to keep track of the internal and external affairs at Webpals. I start each morning looking at managerial dashboards and BI to keep up to speed with the performance of the various sectors of our business and to track our targets. Rank ranger is another useful tool for me to see what’s going on outside of the business, tracking changes and trends in the Google rankings of the sites we operate (over 2,000). What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Data Management technology on Marketing and Sales for 2019-2020? I believe the most impactful disruptions on AI and Data management technology will come from Blockchain Technology and Augmented Data Management. What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now? I’m currently keeping an eye on Gong.io and GivingWay; I think both start-ups will make a large impact in the technology industry in the near future.How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a MarTech Business leader?Events should be trackable, with user behavior being mapped and tracked, enabling us to granularly collect the data and analyze a customer’s journey, from beginning to end.Moreover, Statistics and Data Modeling experts should turn data into algorithms. Marketers and Content teams have the tools to understand user intent. Now, they must come up with content plans to fulfill those users’ needs.  How do you inspire your people to work with technology? While I try to lead by example, my team at Webpals is truly remarkable. When I began my role at the company, it was important to me that we put together a group of people that are inclusive and gender-balanced, exemplifying the essence of our mission. Creating a team of diverse and talented experts pushes each member to show what they can bring to the table, constantly striving to improve our technology and customer services.One word that best describes how you work. Multitasking.What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Mobile apps: Facebook ads, Google ads, rank tracker (rank ranger) and email application of courseDesktop tools: Internal reporting tools with different management dashboards to present daily status and trendsWhat’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack? Looking ahead is always important to me, so one of the most helpful tools or ‘hacks’ is our bi-monthly roadmap reviews. These assessments allow me to understand what progress has been made so far, and plan for future technological developments, reprioritizing our projects when necessary. Internally, my business and corporate teams submit weekly and monthly reports regarding the progress of major tech projects, initiatives, and various business affairs. Each month my financial team submits a performance review, allowing me to understand where we are in relation to our budget; this enables our team to adjust our operations and targets accordingly. What are you currently reading? A book I highly recommend (from past reading) is ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely. This book forced me to look at my decision-making process and re-evaluate how and why we all make the decisions we do – a critical element to running a healthy organization. A Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Dan Ariely’s book changed the way I thought about thinking. By dissecting the science behind our decisions, Ariely exposes the emotions, expectations, and ethics we subconsciously refer to when making choices, in daily life and in business. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?You don’t get ahead without making mistakes. Something you do better than others – the secret of your success? Looking ahead.Every few months the heads of our business units present me with a quarterly business review to examine the previous quarter, highlighting key successes and challenges. This allows us to learn and grow from the past, taking those lessons into account when reviewing business plans for the next quarter.Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:I would love to read answers from Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, who led 100+ acquisitions when she took over as CEO. Or, from Mary T Barra, CEO of General Motors, who worked in every position possible at her company in order to relate to each employee and learn the ins and outs of her business.Thank you, Inbal! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon. AIaugmented dataBlockchain technologycontent managementInbal LaviinterviewsMarTech InterviewROIWebpals Group Previous ArticleMobiquity Technologies Releases AdTribute™ Real-Time Ad Effectiveness AttributionNext ArticleSalce-Garcia Brings 15 Years of Industry Experience in Customer Advocacy as Operative Extends Global Client Portfoliolast_img read more

Study uncovers important role of PRMT1 in dilated cardiomyopathy

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018In a study published in iScience, Professor Akiyoshi Fukamizu of the Life Science Center for Survival Dynamics, Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (University of Tsukuba, JAPAN) and the research group reported a new work on discovery of the important role of PRMT1 in dilated cardiomyopathy(DCM).The heart pumps blood to all organs and tissues of our body that need the oxygen and nutrients it carries. In the United States, the mortality rate due to cardiomyopathies is greater than 10,000 deaths per year. On the other hand, in one of the most common types of heart disease, DCM, the heart (cardiac) muscle enlarges and weakens, preventing the heart from pumping blood efficiently. Moreover, at the time of listing for heart transplantation, the median age is 4years (Ref. 1), and approximately over 10% of children affected with DCM have died at age 2(Ref. 2). While it is known that mutations in the alternative splicing regulator RBM20 gene have been shown to cause human DCM(Ref. 3), genetic information such as gene expression and alternative splicing related to DCMs remains unidentified.Arginine methylation is a posttranslational modification of proteins, and is catalyzed by protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). PRMT1, amajormethyltransferase active in mammalian cells, regulates various cellular functions such as gene expression, DNA replication, and cell proliferation. It is of note that these functions were identified by experiments with culture cells, while physiological roles of arginine methylation have been largely unknown.Previous studies showed the expression levels of PRMT1 were changed in the heart tissue of heart failure patients. However, we did not understand the role of PRMT1 in the normal or the failing heart. To address this question, researchers generated heart-specific PRMT1 knockout mouse, namely PRMT1-cKO mouse, which lacks PRMT1 in cardiomyocytes, the heart muscles. Interestingly, the PRMT1-cKO mice developed severe DCM from the juvenile stage and sudden death, suggesting that PRMT1 is critical for the proper cardiac function.Related StoriesNanoparticles used to deliver CRISPR gene editing tools into the cellRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairTo uncover the mechanism underlying the heart dysfunction in PRMT1-cKO mice, the researchers focused on messenger RNA (mRNA) alternative splicing, because some splicing regulators were known as methylation targets of PRMT1. Alternative splicing is a cellular system that produces a variety of proteins from a genome by selecting which part of the genes should be translated to proteins. Using a high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) for gene analysis, researchers found aberrant mRNA splicing patterns of multiple genes in the PRMT1-deficient heart, suggesting that dysregulation of alternative splicing is strongly linked to the defective cardiac function observed in PRMT1-cKO mice.Recently, a number of studies have suggested that abnormal mRNA splicing is related to the pathogenesis of DCM; however, its regulatory mechanisms are largely unknown. “Our findings may become a breakthrough for understanding the mechanism of DCM,” says Akiyoshi Fukamizu. “DCM has serious prognosis, especially in cases of patients at young ages, including infants. We hope our study will benefit the development of new treatments for DCM patients.” Source:http://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/en/last_img read more

UAB researchers identify possible mechanism of cognition that underlies ASD

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 31 2019Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have identified a possible mechanism of human cognition that underlies autism spectrum disorders, or ASD.Diagnosis for ASD is still behaviorally based. Psychologists and medical professionals with clinical expertise use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and the Autism Diagnostic Interview to diagnose autism — these two tests are considered the gold standard.However, getting a diagnosis can be a longer process due to several factors, including lack of resources and trained clinicians. This delays autism diagnosis, on average, until age 5 or 6.”Within ASD, two important research questions are: How can we minimize the delay in diagnosis, and what kind of intervention can we give the child?” said Rajesh Kana, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “Our findings primarily respond to the first question; but if study results can be replicated many times for external validity, they can also be used in finding answers for the latter question.”Related StoriesResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in childrenNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaUtilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, postdoctoral fellow Omar Maximo, Ph.D., and Kana examined 306 people from ages 8 to 39, with 138 individuals in the ASD group and 168 individuals in the typically developing group. They looked at functional connectivity, which refers to the synchronization of activity across different brain regions, on two types of networks, unimodal and supramodal, in areas of the brain underneath the cerebral cortex. The subcortical areas contain structures that receive inputs from and to the cortex and sensory organs, and play a large role in cognitive and social functions.”Think of the brain network as a system of interconnected highways that takes you to cities — the white matter connections take you to different parts of the brain,” Maximo said. “Unimodal areas are primarily involved in basic sensory processes occur, while supramodal areas — a collection of multiple brain regions — are in charge of higher cognitive processes.”Maximo and Kana found there was overconnectivity in the unimodal-subcortical connections and underconnectivity in the supramodal-subcortical connections for ASD individuals, as compared to the typically developing control group, suggesting a relationship between connectivity and the expression of ASD.The study is unique in its focus on subcortical regions of the brain. “We’re trying to find the signature of autism and why people with ASD are showing certain social and behavioral symptoms,” Kana said. “How the structure and function of the brain are affected can help us understand why ASD patients are different.”Finding biomarkers for ASD, Kana says, can greatly assist in early identification of individuals and initiate interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or teaching necessary social skills, ultimately mending connections between sensory and higher cognitive sensory processes. Source:https://www.uab.edu/news/research/item/10129-difference-in-brain-connectivity-may-explain-autism-spectrum-disorderlast_img read more

Doctors urged to prescribe woodland walks for mental health problems

first_imgHe adds that forest bathing should also be encouraged for children to help fight the “always on” culture prompted by social media.BBC presenter Kate Humble is calling for schools to conduct lessons outside, referring to how difficult she found education whilst surrounded by four walls: We do know that patients often benefit from non-medical interventions such as an exercise class, learning a skill or joining a community group. This is now referred to as ‘social prescribing,’ and ‘forest bathing’ is one of many activities that people might find beneficial for their overall wellbeing.”Helen Stokes-Lampard It’s about invigorating the senses by walking in the woods, smelling, listening to the sounds of the woods, touching the ground. We’re almost losing that as a society.”Stuart Dainton By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Jun 10 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)The Woodland Trust says the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” should be prescribed on the NHS to tackle stress and other mental health problems. According to the charity, hugging trees, listening to bird song and kicking through leaves are all activities that can boost mental health.Denis Costille | ShutterstockThe Trust is urging GPs to prescribe forest bathing for mental health conditions and direct patients to their nearest woodland.Head of innovation at the Woodland Trust, Stuart Dainton, say all family doctors should have the knowledge to point patients towards the nearest suitable woodland where they can absorb nature, informally or as part of a structured program. He is appealing to GPs to make use of the more than 1,000 sites covered by the Trust in the UK.Stemming from the Japanese art Shinrin-yoku, the practice was devised 40 years ago by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries as part of an initiative to tackle stress among men. The activity involves breathing deeply and absorbing the atmosphere of the forest as a way of yielding calming, rejuvenating and restorative effects.Participants are encouraged to immerse themselves in the environment and take in the sights, sounds, touch and smells of the forest. I find it stultifying and boring and I spent probably more of my school career going ‘How can five minutes feel like five hours?’ There is no reason why maths, English literature or any subject cannot be taught outside.”Kate Humble Dainton says that social prescribing through aspects of Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing, is a route to helping the nation destress: “One in four of us are potentially going to suffer from mental health problems. Part of the solution is just getting outside and enjoying nature.”Forest bathing “practitioner” Faith Douglas points out that forest bathing has been out there for years: “ This is something our ancestors did, this is something that cultures do all over the planet — it’s simply being mindful in a natural environment.”How many people could benefit from forest bathing?Millions of people are affected by mental health problems every year in the U.S. Statistics on the prevalence and impact of these conditions in the U.S. include the following: Forest bathing is now practiced by more than five million Japanese people and has quietly been gaining popularity in the UK. The therapy, which has become a cornerstone of preventative health care in Japanese medicine, has prompted a number of scientific studies that seem to prove its beneficial effects.Research mainly conducted in Japan and South Korea, has shown that two hours of time spent mindfully exploring a forest can lower blood pressure, reduce the stress hormone cortisol and improve memory and concentration. Studies have also found that trees release substances called phytoncides, which have anti-microbial properties and can boost the immune system.As a result of these findings, the Japanese government decided to introduce shinrin-yoku as a national health program and now forest therapy is an established practice throughout the world.An increasing number of companies are now offering structured forest bathing programs that last anything from between a couple of days through to week-long residential stays.The Forestry Commission, which is the largest proprietor of wooded land, has also announced that it plans to launch nationwide programs. In addition, it provides printable recommendations on how to practice the activity, including tips on how to breathe correctly.Health benefits of forest bathingBeneficial effects of forest bathing (that have been scientifically proven) include: Around one-fifth (46.6 million) of adults experience a mental health condition every year Each year, an estimated one in 25 (11.2 million) adults develop a serious mental health problem that significantly limits or disrupts day-today activities Around one in five (21.4%) individuals aged 13 to 18 years develop a severe mental health condition Around 13% of those aged 8 to 15 years develop a severe mental health condition The percentage of adults living with schizophrenia is 1.1% For bipolar disorder, the figure is 2.6% Almost 7% (16 million) adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year About 18% of adults developed an anxiety disorder such as phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Of 20.2 million adults who had a substance abuse problem, 10.2 million also had a mental health illness Helen Stokes-Lampard from the Royal College of GPs advises that getting outside can have a “really positive impact” on health: Increased natural killer cell count and improved immune system function Reduced blood pressure Improved sleep Higher energy levels Improved mood Increased concentration, particularly among children with ADHD Faster recovery from illness or surgery Decreased stress Want to give it a go? The National Trust has put together a beginner’s guide to forest bathing.last_img read more

Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway is sound even without him

At an annual shareholders’ meeting in his home town of Omaha, Nebraska, Buffett was peppered with questions about the future of the company without Buffett, who is a quasi deity among the investing public.He said Berkshire Hathaway’s success was not due to his celebrity status but rather to good business sense when it comes to sniffing out business opportunities and making sound investments.”The reputation belongs to Berkshire. Now, for somebody that cares about a business we absolutely are the first call and will continue to be the first call,” he said.Investors in America tend to turn to Buffett and see what he is doing with his billions during bad times, such as during the big financial crisis of the previous decade.If Buffett invests in a company, many people take it as a sign that you can trust the future of that firm.On Friday, for instance, shares in Apple rose four percent on news that he was increasing his stake in the company.Some in America are wondering if Berkshire Hathaway will remain such a bellwether once Buffett is gone.”If they care about where the business ends up being one way or another, we absolutely are the first call,” he said Saturday. “I don’t think they will hang up if I don’t answer, if they need the money.” Berkshire Hathaway has stakes in a wide variety of companies such as Coca-Cola, American Express, Wells Fargo and Delta Air Lines.In the first quarter of the year, it posted a rare loss—of $1.14 billion—according to a statement issued Saturday. That compares to a profit of $4.07 billion in the same quarter of last year.The company said the loss was due to billions in charges on estimated potential losses it must book because of new accounting rules. Investor guru Warren Buffett, 87, told shareholders Saturday that his holding company Berkshire Hathaway will continue to prosper after he is gone. Buffett’s firm buys 75 million more Apple shares in 1Q Citation: Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway is sound even without him (2018, May 6) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-buffett-berkshire-hathaway.html Investor Warren Buffett speaks on June 14 of last year in Washington © 2018 AFP 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 read more

Are we on the right road to driverless cars

first_img Citation: Are we on the right road to driverless cars? (2019, April 2) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-road-driverless-cars.html More information: Alexandros Nikitas et al. Examining the myths of connected and autonomous vehicles: analysing the pathway to a driverless mobility paradigm, International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management (2019). DOI: 10.1504/IJATM.2019.098513 Driverless cars are forcing cities to become smart Provided by Inderscience Alexandros Nikitas, Eric Tchouamou Njoya, and Samir Dani suggest that “Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) could become the most powerful mobility intervention.” Unfortunately, despite the paradigm-shifting impact on traffic safety, economics, the environment, social inclusion, and network performance, there are still many complications associated with acceptance by the industry, policymakers, drivers, and passengers to be addressed before this new transport becomes the norm.The team recognizes that there is a pressing need to frame an unproven, disruptive, and life-changing intervention, against the conventional automobile technologies without generating new misconceptions, overreaching expectations, and with sufficient room to accommodate predictive errors and avoiding hyperbole. If the benefits of this paradigm shift are to be wrought. They discuss 11 myths surrounding connected and autonomous vehiclesEnhanced traffic safety and accident preventionBetter security – more monitoring and control of the vehicles of the new travel eco-systemReduced traffic congestion due to more efficient mobility and parking management.Significant time savings – people can use in-vehicle time to be more productive.Smoother rides, more cabin space and more relaxed travelingEnvironmental benefits including less CO2 emissions due to CAVs eco-driving capacityDecreased noise nuisance – CAVs will have more noiseless engines and drive unobtrusivelyReduced energy consumption and fossil fuel dependence due to CAVs eco-driving capacityHuge car-sharing and demand-responsive public transport potential.Fewer layers of social exclusion – less age, disability and skill barriers in ‘driving’ a vehicleSmaller enforcing, policing, insurance premiums and road signage requirementsTheir paper tests these 11 myths that perhaps refer to an overly optimistic CAV development and adoption timeline. By taking this approach they have highlighted unresolved issues that need to be addressed before an inescapable transition can happen. They thus provide relevant policy recommendations on how it might ultimately become achievable. Explore further There is much ongoing research into autonomous road vehicles and experimental cars and heavy-goods vehicles have already hit the roads. A paper published in the International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management examines some of the myths associated with driverless vehicles and analyses the route that we might navigate to a new transport destination – the autonomous mobility paradigm. Credit: CC0 Public Domain 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

Uber launches electric bikes scooters in Paris

first_imgAn estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year Explore further Initially 500 of its Jump bikes and 500 scooters will be rolled out, before Uber extends the programme to Paris suburbs and other French cities.They will be so-called “dockless” rentals that can be picked up and left anywhere, a system that has proved a headache for residents who often find them blocking pavements or strewn across the city’s picturesque squares.An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.This month Paris said it would start imposing fines of 135 euros ($150) for riding scooters on pavements, and 35 euros for improper parking.Like the other nine scooter operators in the city, Uber will also have to pay an annual licensing fee of 50 to 65 euros per scooter, depending on the size of its fleet.And Uber said it had already signed the code of good conduct unveiled by Paris officials last week.Rental prices for both the bikes and scooters will be the same: a one-euro unlocking fee and then 15 cents per minute.The bikes will have a top speed of 25 km/h (15 mph), while the scooters can reach 20 km/h.Uber bought Jump, a fellow San Francisco-based start-up, last year. Its bright-red bikes are already present in several US cities as well as in Lisbon and Berlin.Uber had already announced Tuesday its plans to develop scooter offerings across Europe, beginning with Madrid. © 2019 AFP Uber Jumps into electric scooters in Europecenter_img US ride-hailing group Uber said Wednesday that it would start deploying electric bikes and scooters for rent on Paris streets as soon as this week, joining a crowded market which city officials have vowed to rein in. Citation: Uber launches electric bikes, scooters in Paris (2019, April 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-uber-electric-bikes-scooters-paris.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.last_img read more

TACC Ranch technology upgrade improves valuable data storage

first_img Users of advanced computing can likely relate to this. The exponential growth of data poses a steep challenge to efforts for its reliable storage. For over 12 years, the Ranch system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has provided long-term archiving of research data ranging from astrophysics to climate science to particle physics, and more. A new upgrade to hardware and software brings good news to over 52,000 users of TACC’s Ranch long-term mass data storage system.The archives are valuable to scientists who want to use the data to help reproduce the measurements and results of prior research. Computational reproducibility is one piece of the larger concept of scientific reproducibility, which forms a cornerstone of the scientific method.TACC strives to comprehensively support the data needs of scientists. The local compute systems such as Stampede2 and Lonestar provide a high-speed scratch space dedicated for temporary storage of data. Next up the ladder are the front-facing data collection systems of Stockyard and Corral, which provide a combined storage of 50 petabytes directly accessible through high speed web connections or the iRODS data grid. Ranch, on the other hand, allows long-term archiving of data for months to years. Provided by University of Texas at Austin There’s a joke by comedian Steven Wright that goes, “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” Another welcome change to Ranch comes from the company Quantum, which provided a Scalar i6000 tape library with the Quantum StorNext archival file system that coordinates both disk and tape storage. “We chose the Quantum system based on its capability and flexibility,” said Junseong Heo, senior systems administrator and manager, Large Scale Systems of TACC’s Advanced Computing Systems group. As of April 2019, Ranch stores over 70 petabytes, or 70 million gigabytes of scientific data. Over 52,000 users have uploaded close to 1.7 billion computer files on the old library of Ranch that’s being upgraded. Hypothetically, the new upgrades to Ranch could expand its storage to reach a mind-boggling exabyte, or 1,000 petabytes.”For users, more data will be more readily available, with 15 times more disk cache than what we had on the previous Ranch system,” said Tommy Minyard, director of Advanced Computing Systems at TACC. Fresh data that’s generated from TACC supercomputers such as Stampede2, Lonestar, or Maverick is staged first on Ranch’s spinning disk and flash drives, then later moved to tapes.Ranch has been upgraded with a block storage system supplied by DataDirect Networks, the DDN SFA14K DCR, which provides 30 petabytes of spinning disk cache, versus just two on the replaced hardware. “That means that we’ll be able to keep a lot more data staged on disks so that it’s more quickly retrievable and you don’t have to recall it from tape,” Minyard added. “Specifically, Quantum provides a quota control mechanism that enables TACC to provide an allocation-based project area for users,” Heo added. That means that users can have much easier access to data and oversee the usage of resources. “The project-based quota has been at the top of the wish list from users in the past,” Heo said.”TACC’s focus on constant innovation creates an environment that places tremendous stress on storage, and Quantum has long been at the forefront in managing solutions that meet the most extreme reliability, accessibility and massive scalability requirements,” said “Eric Bassier, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Quantum. “Combining Scalar tape with StorNext data management capabilities creates an HSM (Hierarchical storage management) solution that is capable of delivering under the demanding conditions of the TACC environment.””The new system provides some additional capabilities for us to be able to handle project data and tiers of storage better than the old system did,” Minyard added. This is especially good news for heavy Ranch users, whose allocation might change frequently. The heaviest 100 users combined have more than 20 petabytes on the current archive system.One of the big changes users will notice is the adoption of the Community Enterprise Operating System (CentOS) environment, which replaced the previous Solaris environment. As users navigate CentOS to migrate their files to the new Ranch libraries, TACC is providing 12 months of read-only access to data in the old library until the end of March 31, 2020. Users should inspect and migrate data in favorable sizes for the tape archives, preferably bigger than 100 gigabytes in individual file size.”Archival data isn’t glamorous, but it’s required,” said Minyard. “I don’t know how many times we’ve had somebody panic about accidentally deleting a file, where TACC was able to recall the file for them from Ranch. From their point of view, Ranch is a life-saver,” Minyard said. Citation: TACC Ranch technology upgrade improves valuable data storage (2019, May 22) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-tacc-ranch-technology-valuable-storage.html Ranch upgraded to the DDN SFA14K DCR block storage system, supplied by DataDirect Networks, which provides 30 petabytes of spinning disk cache. Credit: TACC Large Hadron Collider pushing computing to the limits TACC’s Ranch archival system includes a Quantum Scalar i6000 tape library with the StorNext archival file system that coordinates both disk and tape storage. Inside view (left) and outside (right). Credit: TACC New upgrade to hardware and software brings good news to over 52,000 users of TACC’s Ranch long-term mass storage system. Credit: TACC 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.last_img read more