HeartFlow Analysis shows highest diagnostic performance for detecting coronary artery disease

first_imgJan 18 2019HeartFlow, Inc. today announced the publication of the PACIFIC substudy showing that the HeartFlow FFRct Analysis demonstrates the highest diagnostic performance for detecting coronary artery disease (CAD) compared to other non-invasive tests. The HeartFlow Analysis is a non-invasive, personalized cardiac test that starts with a standard coronary computed tomography angiogram (CTA). The publication, titled “Comparison of Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography, Fractional Flow Reserve, and Perfusion Imaging for Ischemia Diagnosis,” was published online by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) on January 14, and will be in print in the January 22, 2019 issue of JACC. The PACIFIC study included 208 patients who each underwent a coronary CTA, SPECT, PET and three-vessel invasive fractional flow reserve (FFR) measurements. The HeartFlow Analyses were retrospectively obtained using data from the coronary CTA images. On a per-vessel basis, HeartFlow demonstrated significantly greater diagnostic performance (0.94 as measured by area under the receiver operating characteristic curve) compared to coronary CTA (0.83, p<0.001), SPECT (0.70, p<0.001) and PET (0.87, p<0.001). The HeartFlow Analysis demonstrated a diagnostic accuracy of 87%, sensitivity (or ability to correctly identify those with disease) of 90% and specificity (or ability to correctly identify those without disease) of 86% on a per vessel basis. The data were previously presented at the EuroPCR conference in May 2018. Related StoriesHow a simple MRI scan can help patients with anginaImaging beyond routine angiography may be helpful in women with suspected MI and no obstructive CADResearchers examine effects of prediabetes on cardiac risk of patients with CADThe HeartFlow Analysis leverages artificial intelligence and highly trained analysts to create a digital 3D model of the patient’s arteries using image data taken from a standard CTA. It then applies advanced algorithms to solve millions of complex equations to assess the impact any blockages have on blood flow to the heart. The HeartFlow Analysis is provided via a secure online interface to offer actionable information to enable clinicians to determine the optimal course of treatment.The HeartFlow technology has been demonstrated to reduce unnecessary invasive diagnostic coronary angiography procedures, which can be associated with bleeding, stroke, major blood vessel damage and other serious complications. It also significantly reduces healthcare costs.To date, clinicians around the world have used the HeartFlow Analysis for more than 25,000 patients to aid in the diagnosis of heart disease.Source: https://www.heartflow.com/center_img These findings should give physicians confidence in the diagnostic performance of the HeartFlow Analysis as it can identify disease that other non-invasive tests, such as SPECT, may overlook, and help better identify patients who require invasive treatment. The practical applicability of the PACIFIC study is profound. More and more centres around the world are incorporating a coronary CTA and HeartFlow Analysis-guided pathway into their clinical workflow as physicians appreciate having highly accurate and actionable information to ensure their patients receive the best possible care.”Campbell Rogers, MD, FACC, Chief Medical Officer, HeartFlowlast_img read more

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Women exposed to deepwater horizon oil spill continue to experience PTSD symptoms

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 26 2019A study led by LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health reports that women exposed to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (BP) Oil Spill continue to experience symptoms of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The results are published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, now available online.”This is the first investigation reporting trauma and PTSD in our Louisiana cohort, with findings suggesting that women in this study report notably high levels of trauma as well as a high prevalence of probable PTSD,” notes study senior author Edward Peters, DMD, SM, SM, ScD, Professor and Program Director of Epidemiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. “Unfortunately, less than half reported receiving past-year mental health treatment despite the high levels of PTSD symptoms, which suggests that many affected women may not be receiving needed mental health care.”Related StoriesOxidative stress could play key role in the spreading of aberrant proteins in Parkinson’s diseaseInternational study aims to more accurately describe mental health disordersUTHealth researchers investigate how to reduce stress-driven alcohol useThe research team, which also included researchers from Brown University, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, studied 1,997 women from seven coastal Louisiana parishes affected by the spill (Orleans, St. Bernard, Jefferson, Plaquemines, Lafourche, Terrebonne and St. Mary) who were enrolled in the Women and Their Children’s Health (WaTCH) Study. The researchers sought to better understand post-disaster symptomatology, particularly women’s mental health. They found five distinct types of PTSD symptoms – low, moderate without mood alterations, moderate with mood alterations, severe without risk-taking, and severe with risk-taking.Findings also include: Source:https://www.lsuhsc.edu/newsroom/LSU%20Health%20Study%20Reports%20Continued%20PTSD%20In%20Women%20Exposed%20To%20Deepwater%20Horizon%20Oil%20Spill.html The researchers’ analysis reveals that a sizable number of women in WaTCH study communities suffer from PTSD symptoms, with roughly 13% of their sample meeting or exceeding the score threshold for probable PTSD on the PTSD Checklist, and even more women reporting subthreshold levels of PTSD symptoms.”Our study continues to observe that women in southeast Louisiana have a high burden of mental health disorders,” adds Dr. Peters. “In addition to the current study, earlier publications by our team have also observed high levels of depression and mental distress in this population.”The authors conclude that addressing mental health and access to mental health care is important in the population highly affected by the BP Oil Spill. This population also experienced other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina. With a rising number of disasters, those living in southeastern coastal Louisiana, a particularly vulnerable region of the United States, are at higher risk for PTSD and other mental health disorders.The authors report that the study was limited by use of self-reported data and one-time assessment of PTSD symptoms.center_img Women with a low-symptom profile had fewer traumas and socioeconomic risk factors. Women with severe PTSD symptoms had more traumas and socioeconomic risk factors. Most women with severe PTSD symptoms had no prior PTSD diagnosis.last_img read more

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Physical activity starts to decline as early as age seven

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 8 2019Overall physical activity starts to decline already around the age of school entry. While the proportion of physically inactive individuals rises with age there still are groups of people who manage to increase their physical activity level in adulthood and old age.While the level of physical activity varies between individuals, it can also vary within individuals during the life course. A recent study, carried out in collaboration between the University of Jyväskylä and LIKES Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health, systematically reviewed scientific articles identifying distinct subgroups of physical activity and the factors related to these subgroups in the general population in different countries during different life phases.The proportion of the decreasingly active individuals was exceptionally high during childhood and adolescence. Drop-out from sport participation was prevalent in adolescence while the overall physical activity started to decline already around the age of school entry among highly, moderately and low active children. The studies using self-reported measures of physical activity reported the decline of physical activity to be initiated around the age of ten while studies using modern, objective measures of physical activity found the corresponding age to be as early as seven years of age.”However, it seems that the physical activity level of those decreasing their physical activity does not approximate to the level of the inactive ones before reaching mid-age or old age,” says PhD student Irinja Lounassalo from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä. “Thus, despite the common declining tendency of physical activity throughout the life course, being physically active in childhood and adolescence may be of high importance since it can postpone the time of becoming inactive later on.”The results support previous findings of the relatively high proportion of persistently inactive individuals at all ages, with this proportion increasing with age. Interestingly, subgroups of increasingly active participants were observed among adults and older adults.Related StoriesRegular physical activity can be effective in reducing pain from arthritisReview provides new recommendations to manage menopausal symptoms after breast cancerHigher levels of physical activity not linked to greater volume or activity of brown adipose tissue”In the future, special attention should be paid to these individuals who increase their physical activity, because it is important to understand how potential lifelong inactivity could be turned into activity,” Lounassalo suggests.Having parental support for an active lifestyle was associated with increasing physical activity among children and adolescents, low television viewing time with persistent activity among adolescents, smoking cessation with increased activity among adults, and no chronic illnesses, a low mortality rate and good physical functioning with persistent activity among older adults. Generally, male gender, being Caucasian and having higher socioeconomic status were associated with persistent activity.”Since physical activity behavior stabilizes with age and inactivity is more persistent behavior than activity, interventions should be targeted at children early in life before their habits become stable,” emphasizes Lounassalo. “Additionally, supporting schools and sport clubs is crucial for promoting an active lifestyle for all children. Since parents may have an effect on activating their children, parents would need support for finding ways to do that. Building publically available sport facilities and safe bicycling and walkways might help in increasing opportunities for being active regardless of age, nationality, gender or educational level.”Twenty-seven articles published between 2004 and 2018 were included in this systematic review. All of the included studies used the so-called trajectory approach for identifying the distinct subgroups (i.e. trajectory classes) from the data at hand.”Only in recent years has the number of studies identifying distinct physical activity trajectory classes increased,” Lounassalo explains. “In trajectory studies, the target behavior of individuals in the same trajectory class is expected to be similar, while it differs from that of the individuals in the other classes. The studies included in this review most commonly reported three or four physical activity subgroups describing either persistent, increasing or decreasing activity or inactivity.” Source:https://www.jyu.fi/en/current/archive/2019/04/decline-in-physical-activity-often-starts-as-early-as-age-sevenlast_img read more

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Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program

first_imgResearch shows that the majority of patients with cancer suffer from nutritional deficits.Up to 84% of patients with certain cancer types experience some form of weight loss and/or malnutrition during their cancer treatment1. The COPES™ program provides access to live, one-on-one nutrition counseling appointments, support groups, and classes tailored especially for the needs of patients with cancer, at any time—day or night. This resource also includes an on-demand media library featuring recipes and meal plans that may be filtered by symptom, as well as lifestyle modification and fitness classes. The COPES™ program is available exclusively through healthcare providers. We are eager to introduce our patients to this new platform. The COPES™ program will help us offer our patients access to nutrition specialists, as well as lifestyle and fitness support from the comfort of their own home, and is designed to help them throughout their course of treatment. This new program, which is accessible 24/7, is truly the first of its kind and I know our patients will appreciate having ongoing support after leaving the clinic.”Dr. Bruno Fang, Oncologist and Hematologist at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) Source:https://virtualhealthpartners.com/ The COPES™ Platform is not intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of diseases. Further, it is not intended to be a substitution, or replacement for a medical provider or referring provider, nor does it provide medical advice. Working with the doctors who treat patients with cancer and complementing their care with around-the-clock nutrition, lifestyle and fitness support is a priority for Virtual Health Partners. We have specifically designed the COPES™ program to help oncology patients meet their unique nutritional needs, while also being mindful of any side effects and nutritional challenges that they may be experiencing.”Jillian Cohen, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of VHP Our COPES™ platform provides patients with on-demand nutrition and wellness support after leaving the clinic and at every stage of their cancer journey. We are excited to launch this collaboration and bring forward our innovative solution which addresses key needs of oncology patients.”Dr. Mary Christ, Global Medical Leader of the e-Health Incubator at Nestlé Health Science May 2 2019Today, Nestlé Health Science (NHSc), a leader in science-based nutritional solutions, announced its collaboration with Virtual Health Partners, Inc. (VHP), a virtual health and wellness company. The companies have joined forces to launch the innovative COPES™ (Cancer Oriented Personalized Eating & Emotional Support) program, a revolutionary virtual platform designed specifically to provide nutrition and wellness support for patients with cancer.last_img read more

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Nerve stimulation therapy could help patients with the most common type of

first_img Source:UCLA Health The trial found that the new stimulation treatment can be safe and effective for people who are not eligible for clot-dissolving medication, Saver said. Future studies will determine the effectiveness of the new therapy when it is used with clot-dissolving medications and clot-retrieving devices. Stroke continues to be a major cause of death and disability in the United States and around the world, making it imperative that we develop new, effective treatments to complement existing therapies, including in the extended treatment window.”Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Centercenter_img Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)May 23 2019Research led by a UCLA scientist found that a new nerve stimulation therapy to increase blood flow could help patients with the most common type of stroke up to 24 hours after onset.A study of 1,000 patients found evidence that the technique, called active nerve cell cluster stimulation, reduced the patients’ degree of disability three months after they suffered an acute cortical ischemic stroke, which affects the surface of the brain.Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center, was the co-principal investigator of the study, which was conducted at 73 medical centers in 18 countries.”We believe this represents the advent of an entirely new treatment for patients with acute ischemic stroke,” said Saver, who also is senior associate vice chair for clinical research in neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The study is published today in The Lancet.Unlike the two currently approved therapies for acute stroke, which open blocked arteries by dissolving or removing a clot, the new approach applies electrical stimulation to nerve cells behind the nose, increasing blood flow in the brain by dilating undamaged arteries and bypassing the blockage to treat the threatened region of the brain.In previous studies to understand the mechanism by which the treatment would work, scientists found that the nerve cell cluster stimulation not only increases blood flow, but also preserves the blood-brain barrier, which prevents brain swelling. It also improved neurons’ ability to compensate for injury and form new connections.In a study subset of 520 people who had major deficits and confirmed injury to the cerebral cortex, 40% of those who did not have the stimulation had favorable outcomes, versus 50% of those who did have the stimulation. Although those results fell just short of statistical significance, when the data is combined with similar findings from an earlier trial, the cumulative statistics indicate that the therapy is effective when administered eight to 24 hours after the onset of a cortical acute ischemic stroke.Related StoriesNerve transfer surgery restores upper limb function in people with tetraplegiaPeople who worked long hours have higher risk of stroke, shows studyStem cell stimulation shows promise as potential stroke treatmentThe treatment uses a small neurostimulator electrode that is temporarily implanted through the roof of the mouth. (The implant requires only local anesthesia.) During the study, the electrode actively stimulated the nerve cell cluster four hours a day for five consecutive days.The first treatment for ischemic stroke, the clot-dissolving drug alteplase, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996. When administered soon after onset, the drug, which is also called tPA, can sometimes clear a blocked artery, restore blood flow and avert stroke damage. However, its effectiveness diminishes if treatment is delayed beyond three hours, it does not work for all patients, and some people have conditions that preclude its use.More recently, the FDA has approved clot-retrieval devices that are threaded through arteries to capture and remove blockages. Used alone or in conjunction with tPA, those devices have extended treatment time to 24 hours after the onset of stroke in some patients, although earlier treatment is more effective. But the devices require expertise that may be absent outside of major medical centers.last_img read more

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Researchers one step closer to unmasking the cause of familial MS

first_imgWe have treatments that address the symptoms of MS, but not the causes. People with MS take drugs that reduce the attacks, but the disease still progresses. Now, with knowledge of these mutations, which suggest a common biological process that leads to increased inflammation in MS families, we can try to address the root causes.”Carles Vilariño-Güell, Lead Author By Dr. Liji Thomas, MDJun 7 2019A new study has uncovered mutations in 12 genes that may be responsible for the familial type of multiple sclerosis (MS), helping to better understand the mechanisms behind this devastating and incurable disease.  Executioner | ShutterstockMS is an illness of the brain and spinal cord, caused by an autoimmune attack of the protective fatty myelin sheath that encircles and insulates the nerve axons. Axons are the long nerve projections along which nerve impulses travel. The disease process results in inflammation around the nerves, leading to their breakdown and loss of function. It presents with initial weakness, and can significantly reduce the quality of life.In the current study, the researchers traced 34 families with 3 or more members who had MS, for a total of 132 patients. They obtained samples of DNA from all family members and performed gene sequencing of all known MS genes, using a technique called whole exome sequencing (WES).Finally, they looked at the gene differences between family members who had and did not have any signs of the disease. This allowed them to come up with the 12 mutations that, they think, promote abnormal immune function, leading to myelin disruption.How do the mutations trigger MS?The researchers found that these families showed a high MS incidence, with more than one-fourth of the siblings in each family having the condition. There were no marriages between first-degree relatives, ruling out consanguinity, and the disease was found in males and females equally. Parents were frequently unaffected.These factors support their hypothesis that familial MS is caused by autosomal dominant mutations. This means that if one diseased copy of any of these genes is present, the individual is much more likely to develop the disease.The mutations that they found affect multiple genes that express various components of innate immunity including inflammasomes, fibrinolysin, and complement components, as well as nuclear receptors that regulate gene expression in many body processes.  Inflammasomes are protein complexes located in the cytoplasm, which initiate the inflammatory cascade. Fibrinolysis and complement pathways consist of step-wise cascading enzymatic reactions that are interlinked at numerous levels by cellular signaling molecules. The complement cascade promotes an immune attack on targeted cells resulting in their breakdown.Other mutations affect cation channels which regulate the ion concentrations within and outside the cells. Levels of ions like calcium, sodium, chloride, and potassium must be carefully balanced for cell health. Increased numbers of calcium and potassium channels have earlier been found in MS patients, and this triggers cell death with axonal breakdown.Overall, the mutations observed in the 132 MS patients suggest that the familial form of MS is due to a their disruption of interlinked inflammatory and immune system pathways. This initiates the chronic inflammatory process that causes demyelination.At the same time, not all members of the family who had these mutations developed the illness. Thus, the mutations create a genetic environment predisposing to the development of the condition, provided other specific genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors are present.Why is it important to identify mutations in MS?MS affects about 2 million people all over the world. Currently, scientists think that only about 13% of them have a genetic cause for the disease. Special genetic techniques like genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have uncovered over 200 genes which can increase the vulnerability to the condition. However, the new study shows that if any of the 12 newly discovered mutations are present, the individual has an 85% risk of developing MS over a lifetime.The researchers intend to study how the mutations interfere with normal biological processes to cause MS, in cell cultures and in animal models. In addition, identifying these mutations could lead to the development of genetic screening tests to confirm the diagnosis and to assess the risk of developing it in unaffected members of the patient’s family.More MS families need to be identified in order to understand better how the condition is triggered, so as to design effective preventive and treatment strategies. Journal referenceVilarino-Guell C. et al., (2019). Exome sequencing in multiple sclerosis families identifies 12 candidate genes and nominates biological pathways for the genesis of disease. PLoS Genetics. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008180last_img read more

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Study estimates health care costs of uncontrolled asthma in the US over

first_imgIn conducting their study, the researchers analyzed data for the entire U.S. population age 15 and older, using information from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey and Global Burden of Disease studies.The direct costs of uncontrolled asthma estimated in the study are for health care services over and beyond what patients with controlled asthma use. The indirect cost of uncontrolled asthma was based on the study’s estimate that the average person with uncontrolled asthma will lose about six-and-a-half more weeks of work each year compared with someone whose asthma is controlled.Related StoriesStudy provides new insight into development of asthmaNew app helps improve the lives of children with asthmaWorld Asthma Day: How climate change is increasing cases of asthmaAccording to the CDC, about 26 million Americans have asthma. During the next 20-years, the number of Americans with asthma is expected to grow by 10 percent. Sixty-two percent of those with asthma will be women, and 52 percent of all those with asthma will have uncontrolled asthma.The study also estimated the direct and indirect costs of uncontrolled asthma over 20 years for each state. The state with the highest average total cost of uncontrolled asthma was Connecticut ($6,132 per resident); the lowest was Arkansas ($2,209 per resident). State-specific estimates can be found using a web app the researchers developed: http://resp.core.ubc.ca/ipress/burdenofasthmainus.A limitation of the study was that it did not include children under the age of 15. Including the burden of uncontrolled asthma in children should further increase the estimates of costs and loss of quality of life, according to the authors.Still, the researchers write that their study highlights the sizeable potential for cost-saving and improvement in quality of life associated with better asthma control.Senior author Mohsen Sadatsafavi, MD, PhD, a health economist and an assistant professor of health outcomes at the University of British Columbia, said that the study results indicate that research into improving adherence to existing medications should be put on an equal footing with investments in novel asthma therapies.“While developing new therapies is important, especially for those whose asthma in not well controlled with current medications, we should also recognize the gaps in care that can be addressed with existing treatments,” he said. “Health care management organizations, patient groups, governments, and society at large will benefit from investing in better asthma management, which has the potential to improve the quality of life of millions of patients and reduce costs.” Source:American Thoracic Society After adding in the cost of lost productivity, Mohsen Yaghoubi and the co-authors of “The Projected Economic and Health Burden of Uncontrolled Asthma in the United States” calculate that the total costs of uncontrolled asthma during that time period will approach a trillion dollars ($963.5 billion in 2018 dollars). The authors also calculate that American teenagers and adults will lose more than 15 million quality-adjusted life years. A quality-adjusted life year is one year of perfect health, so it captures both the quantity and quality of years lived.The researchers write that several factors contribute to the high cost of uncontrolled asthma and the staggering loss of quality of life. Barriers to implementing evidence-based practices and the need for more effective medicines for people with severe or exacerbation-prone asthma contribute to uncontrolled asthma. As a clinician, I have seen hospitalization rates for acute asthma decrease, but this study shows the huge societal burden from what I call the ‘iceberg effect’ of uncontrolled asthma in the general population, which is not readily recognized.”Co-author J. Mark FitzGerald, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia in Canadacenter_img Jul 3 2019The health care costs of uncontrolled asthma in the United States are estimated to total $300 billion over the next twenty years, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.last_img read more

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Study uncovers new hunger pathway in the brain

first_imgFluorescent calcium imaging of neurons in the hypothalamus. Credit: Andrew Rau et al., JNeurosci 2019 Jun 25 2019A newly identified hunger pathway in the brain can quickly modify food intake in the presence of food, according to a study of mice published in JNeurosci. This pathway could be a future target for the treatment of eating disorders. Related StoriesHealthy blood vessels could help stave off cognitive declineDysfunctional neurons repaired in dementia mouse modelStudy reveals long-term behavioral deficits after developmental Zika infectionFood intake is modified by long-term signals such as hormones and molecules released during digestion, but a newly recognized circuit in the hypothalamus can change feeding behavior on a shorter timescale. Using fluorescent calcium imaging and electrophysiological recording, Shane Hentges and Andrew Rau at Colorado State University identified a pathway in the hypothalamus that affects food intake and body weight through release of the neurotransmitter GABA, which can occur due to the detection, rather than consumption, of food.The researchers found that food-deprived mice exhibited more GABA-related neuron activity, indicating that temporary energy states can directly affect feeding behavior. The knowledge of this pathway improves our understanding of how the brain controls energy balance. Source:Society for NeuroscienceJournal reference:Rau, A.R & Hentges, S.T (2019) GABAergic inputs to POMC neurons originating from the dorsomedial hypothalamus are regulated by energy state. Journal of Neuroscience. doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3193-18.2019.last_img read more

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The state of the US solar industry

For comparison, the coal industry only supports about 160,000 jobs. Electric power generation from solar and wind energy combined contributes about three times as many jobs as electricity production from fossil fuels.Why are most of the solar panels that are installed in the United States manufactured overseas? Is this pattern likely to change?About 80 percent of solar panels installed in the United States last year were built overseas. While the industry was invented here, China has poured up to $47 billion into tax breaks and incentives in order to develop what it views as a strategic capability. Along with an abundant supply of cheap skilled labor, these investments reduced the price of solar panels by 80 percent between 2008 and 2013. California has nearly half of all U.S. solar electricity generating capacity, followed by Arizona, New Jersey and North Carolina. Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states with less than one megawatt of small-scale solar photovoltaic capacity.How affordable is solar power for customers who aren’t affluent?Affordability can be a barrier to going solar, but there are ways to reduce it. For example, some utility customers can subscribe to community solar programs – projects that serve multiple customers in a single area – and even reduce their rates by doing so. Community solar projects do not usually require customers to own their homes, so renters can take part.There are also peer-to-peer networks that allow homeowners with solar to donate their excess energy to those in need. Instead of receiving credit from their utility for generating more electricity than they use in a given month, these households authorize the utility to apply that credit to a needy household’s bill. It is also important to note that utility-scale solar power can lower the cost of electricity for all of that utility’s customers. In Texas, where I live, adding wind and, soon, solar generation has kept wholesale electricity prices low as the price of renewable electricity has fallen. Keeping these prices low makes it harder for power companies to justify raising electricity rates, which directly helps lower-income customers. Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels Nearly half of utility-scale capacity installed in 2017 came from renewables, and about half of that was solar. Credit: DOE How big is the U.S. solar industry, and what is its growth trajectory?The U.S. solar industry generated US$154 billion in economic activity in 2016, including direct sales, wages, salaries, benefits, taxes and fees. Its revenues have grown from $42 million in 2007 to $210 million in 2017. About 25 percent of total new power plant capacity installed in 2017 came from solar. Total installed U.S. solar capacity is over 50 gigawatts – the equivalent generating capacity of 50 commercial nuclear reactors.Solar is projected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. However, recent events such as the solar trade tariff and tax code changes could dampen that trend. According to one estimate, the tariff alone will reduce solar installations by 11 percent from 2018 through 2022. The industry directly or indirectly employs about 370,000 people in the United States, of which 260,000 are full- or part-time. Solar photovoltaic installers make up about half of this workforce. In fact, solar PV installer is currently the fastest-growing job in the nation, with a median annual salary of nearly $40,000. On Jan. 22, 2018, the Trump administration announced plans to impose punitive duties on solar panels imported from abroad. This decision came in response to a complaint filed by two solar companies, but much of the industry opposes the action, which trade groups say will increase the cost of solar projects and depress demand. To illustrate what’s at stake, energy scholar Joshua Rhodes provides some context on the U.S. solar industry and its opportunities and challenges. Some foreign solar panel manufacturers are negotiating to open factories in the United States, much as foreign car manufacturers did during the Reagan administration. However, any new manufacturing is likely to be highly automated, so it might not generate major numbers of new jobs. Which sectors and states produce the most solar power today?About 60 percent of total U.S. solar generating capacity is in a relatively small number of very big projects owned by power companies. The rest is what’s known as distributed capacity, meaning small-scale projects that generate energy at many sites. It includes rooftop solar power on homes, community solar projects and commercial installations, such as solar panels on the roofs of big-box stores like Walmart. What are the biggest challenges that U.S. solar companies face today?There are signs that the residential solar market is slowing down. Some companies are shifting their focus from deploying as much capacity as possible to trying to maximize revenue by scaling back expansion, so that they can focus on a few states that offer the best returns on investment. In some major markets, such as California, bringing large amounts of solar generation online is depressing wholesale electricity market prices, which erodes the value of the electricity that these systems produce. This makes projects gradually less economic to install.The Trump administration’s solar tariff will be more challenging for utility-scale solar projects than for residential, because the modules account for a larger share of the total cost of large projects. A 30-percent tariff will likely increase the costs of solar installations by about 11 cents per watt, or roughly 10 percent, which could reduce the amount of solar installed over the next 4 years by five to eight gigawatts of capacity, mostly at the utility scale. In my view, the biggest challenge for U.S. solar companies – particularly installers – is uncertainty. Congress recently tried unsuccessfully to cancel tax credits for installing new solar capacity, and the tax cut bill that was enacted in December includes some changes that may affect credits for investing in solar. Companies need certainty to create value and jobs – and for solar and other renewable energy sources, certainty is in short supply at the moment. Citation: The state of the U.S. solar industry (2018, January 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-state-solar-industry.html Dedicating a 31-kilowatt photovoltaic array at Rainshadow Community Charter High School, in Reno, Nevada. Credit: BlackRock Solar, CC BY Provided by The Conversation 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. read more

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Huawei launches new tablet in flagship phone hiatus

Huawei takes aim at ailing Samsung with new smartphone Citation: Huawei launches new tablet in flagship phone hiatus (2018, February 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-huawei-tablet-flagship-hiatus.html The laptop, the Matebook X Pro, and the tablet, the MediaPad M5, were presented on the eve of the opening of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—the scene of previous major Huawei launches.But this year the company will instead present its new flagship smartphone—the P20—on March 27 in Paris, in what is seen as a bid not to be eclipsed by Samsung’s launch of its new top end phone later Sunday.”By launching the new P20 smartphones only a month later in Paris, Huawei will be able to fine tune its marketing message based on how the new Samsung S9 devices are perceived by consumers,” said Forrester analyst Thomas Husson.Both the new Huawei laptop and tablet feature long lasting batteries and quicker charge times and are available in grey and silver.The laptop’s power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which Huawei says will start and securely log into Windows in under eight seconds.Huawei also unveiled what it said is the world’s first commercial chipset that meets the standards of the super-fast 5G wireless networks which are poised to start being rolled out. 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. China’s Huawei launched a new laptop and tablet on Sunday as it seeks to cement its place among the world’s three biggest electronic device manufacturers. Explore further Huawei CEO Richard Yu presents the MateBook X pro laptop © 2018 AFP The company said the chipset can hit download speeds of 2.3 gigabits per second, significantly faster than speeds reached in current 4G networks.Huawei remained the world’s third biggest seller of smartphones in 2017, behind Samsung and Apple.It boasted a 10.4 percent market share, up from 9.5 percent, according to research firm IDC. Samsung had a 21.6 percent share while Apple held 14.7 percent. A man paints with the new Huawei MediaPad M5 read more

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Media professor says Facebooks business model is perfectly predatory

That sounds shocking, like, “Oh my gosh, what a big scandal, what a huge meltdown, what a huge hemorrhaging of our personal data.” But the sad fact was that was standard practice by Facebook for many years. From about 2010 to 2015, Facebook regularly encouraged developers – whether they were developing games or applications or quizzes – to take all of this data about Facebook users. This was how Facebook worked.And so now Congress is facing all of these different, competing narratives – none of which make Facebook look good. Q. What were your takeaways from Tuesday’s testimony?A. I watched the whole thing. On Facebook Live actually – I thought it would be appropriate (grinning).You know, Mark Zuckerberg is an extremely disciplined person. … I think what we saw were a series of stock and practiced answers to a series of fairly predictable questions.He didn’t seem flustered or surprised by anybody’s questions – except for Sen. [Dick] Durbin’s question about which hotel he stayed in. … He looked kind of shocked, like, “I can’t believe someone asked me for personal information,” which was kind of Durbin’s point, right?But I didn’t see any questions that demanded special insight and I didn’t hear any responses from Zuckerberg that struck me as new or insightful or even deeply apologetic. His apologies are fairly stock. He’s been apologizing, using the same language and tone, for more than a decade – because every couple of years Facebook gets in big trouble for violating trust with users and we tend to move on and forget.So I didn’t expect much out of the hearings. I think what we got out of it was a sign of a very mature and disciplined 33-year-old man who knows his business and also has a pretty good indication that his job was to suspend the feeding frenzy. He might have. The very fact that he showed up and spent five hours in the committee room meant that he let the senators have their say. Q. There has been a lot of debate about whether Facebook’s business model – which makes money by selling online ads based on what it learns about users on the platform – is flawed. What are your thoughts on that?A. I wouldn’t call Facebook’s business model flawed. I would call it almost perfect – in the sense that it’s perfect for Facebook. Facebook’s business model is that it will hook us, it will addict us, it will make us dependent on it. Without Facebook, I don’t get to see my nieces and nephews. … I know every sports competition. … That sort of rich engagement is what keeps us going back.The second step is that Facebook is tracking all of that interaction. It wants to discern patterns so that they can see what we like, who we care about, how passionately we care about certain things. And then, when it can mathematically distill those patterns, it can compare us to other people like us. That helps them put more things into our news feeds that are likely to generate interest, which hooks us even more.It’s the most effective advertising system ever created by our species. As a result, it’s making tremendous amounts of money.The business model is not flawed; it’s perfect.Q. During Tuesday’s testimony, Zuckerberg was asked if he thought Facebook is a monopoly. What do you think?A. That was interesting because he tried his best not to say that one or two companies are direct competitors.Right now, there are about five companies competing – you’ve got Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. They’re all looking to win this race.Facebook and Google do compete – and I think this should have been his answer – just to quiet everything. If I had briefed him, I would have said your immediate response should be Google. Google and Facebook are the two biggest market sources for online targeted ads – but they’re not the only ones. They’re just the giants.Beyond that, you have Comcast, you have AT&T, Sprint, Verizon. Comcast owns NBC and NBC sells ads – so he could have said our biggest competition is Comcast. That would have been a way for him to explain it. Facebook’s not the only company that participates in this data-surveillance practice. Facebook is just one of the two companies who have cracked the code and do it so well.So Facebook is part of a duopoly – with Google – that controls about 60 percent of the online ads market. And it’s growing.Q. Facebook’s stock price rose during Zuckerberg’s testimony. What do you think that says – if anything – about the public’s confidence in the company?A. I don’t think it says much. The stock price doesn’t reflect anything about what the public thinks because it’s not like we’re a country full of day traders watching the hearings on one screen and trading on the other screen and everybody starts buying Facebook.In one sense, it was a small group of highly influential people on and around Wall Street, who decided that the overall impression was that Zuckerberg had stemmed the bleeding.Q. What measures would you like to see Facebook take in the future? A. I have kind of a heterodox approach to this. I think companies should do what is good for the companies. I also don’t think that asking a company to self-regulate is proper. I actually think it’s counterproductive. For one thing, it can be inconsistent and unenforceable.Let’s say that Mark Zuckerberg decides that Facebook in the United States will obey the same sorts of restrictions that Facebook in Europe is soon to obey. In May, the European Union will start enforcing its new data protection regulations – and those regulations are going to be great for people in Europe. Companies won’t be able to take data and use it in a way that they have not explicitly gained our permission for.Right now, we sign a license to Facebook – and to Google – saying that you can take all of our data, track everything we do and use it for whatever you want to. That kind of grand license will not be allowed in Europe.That’s a really good idea. So I prefer the question of, “What should citizens demand of our leaders to demand of Facebook?” It should be that kind of protection – where no company can take our data [and] use it in some surprising and new way without getting our explicit consent. Because they experiment with us. They experiment with our mood. They experiment with our politics. And they’ve been very explicit about this.And we should not allow that in the same way that we do not allow it with psychological experiments and medical experiments. The same standard should be there because they’re being manipulative to people who are not being granted full respect as people. And that sort of thing can only happen through law.So I would like to see the United States do that.Q. Do you have any indication that Congress will move forward with a regulatory effort, and did anything in their questioning show that they have a firm enough grasp of the company and its practices to create efficient and effective regulations?A. On the second part of that, I would say mostly no – but that reflects the American situation. In a democracy, we’re not electing technologists. We’re not electing experts. In a democracy, we’re electing our fellow citizens.Senators are just Americans. The fact that they lacked basic understanding of how Facebook works is an indication of how Americans lack a basic understanding of how Facebook works.Sen. [Amy] Klobuchar asked questions related to the bill she would like to pass – the Honest Ads Act. Of all the things we might do to react to the plagues unleashed by Facebook, I think the Honest Ads Act is the most likely to pass. I would say it’s very likely to pass the Senate. I have no idea how it would work in the House. And who knows what the president – who owes his job to Facebook – would do with this anyway, whether he would even care.But this is a long game – and regulation is but one part of what we need to do to address Facebook. Citation: Media professor says Facebook’s business model is perfectly predatory (2018, April 12) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-media-professor-facebook-business-perfectly.html With all eyes on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony, UVA Today sat down Wednesday – ironically, in a Facebook Live chat – with University of Virginia media studies professor Siva Vaidhyanathan to break everything down. Provided by University of Virginia Facebook CEO defends advertising-supported business model 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. Vaidhyanathan’s new book, “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy,” comes out in September. Watch the video and read a partial transcript below.Q. For those who haven’t been following along from the beginning, how did we get to the point where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been brought in to testify in front of Congress?A. Frustration with Facebook has been building for a number of years, but it really started getting intense after the election of 2016 – not just the United States election, but there was a pretty controversial election in the Philippines in early 2016. President [Rodrigo] Roa Duterte rode to office on Facebook, basically. Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi was able to win election, handily, in India, again, by being “the Facebook candidate.” So it was pretty clear by 2015, early 2016, that Facebook was playing a strong role in politics around the world. Something serious was going on.That ended up exploding exponentially after two more events in 2016 – the Brexit vote in England and Donald Trump’s ascension [to the presidency] in November of 2016. In both cases, Facebook played a central role in motivating voters, and, in many cases, de-motivating other voters. In the post-election analyses of both moments, it was pretty clear that Facebook was perhaps the most important site for political motivation and communication in the world.The real meltdown came in early 2018. That’s when we start to see a pretty clear picture of the extent to which Russian-fueled and -funded propaganda worked its way through American Facebook pages.And then just a few weeks ago, the New York Times and the Observer in England broke a two-year investigation of Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica had managed to get ahold of 87 million files of mostly American voters. This was beyond anything anybody had expected.How did they do this? Facebook gave them the data. Facebook gave them to a Cambridge University researcher under the idea that this was being done for academic research, some sort of personality analysis going on in psychology labs, but in fact that researcher sold that data to Cambridge Analytica for political purposes. Explore further read more

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Chinas CATL to build first EU electric car battery plant in Germany

first_img Citation: China’s CATL to build first EU electric car battery plant in Germany (2018, July 9) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-china-catl-electric-car-battery.html Explore further Chinese firm CATL will build a battery factory in central Germany to supply the country’s key auto industry in its transformation toward electric cars, an investment hailed Monday by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “new step” in Sino-European cooperation. The factory will be the only such manufacturing site in all of Europe, noted Merkel at a press conference with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang following talks involving both countries’ cabinets. “It is therefore of course a qualitative new step for a Chinese company to come here with technology that we don’t have in Europe at the moment,” she said.One of the world’s largest battery cell producers worldwide, Ningde-based CATL is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange and already supplies large Chinese car firms like Saic Motor and Geely.The firm’s new factory will be based at Erfurt, in Thuringia, making the site “one of the most important European locations for battery technology,” regional economy minister Wolfgang Tiefensee told news agency DPA.Industrial workers’ union IG Metall also hailed the deal, which it said could create around 1,000 new jobs in the high-tech sector.Earlier Monday, luxury carmaker BMW had already announced that it had struck a 4.0 billion euro ($4.7 billion) deal to buy batteries from the Chinese giant, with 1.5 billion euros worth of sales in Germany and 2.5 billion in China.BMW said the Chinese battery manufacturer would supply the cells for the electric Mini and for BMW’s upcoming “iNext” electric limousine, slated for production from 2021.”CATL has the know-how needed to produce at scale… we haven’t had this know-how in Europe so far,” said BMW purchasing chief Markus Duesmann.Low-energy Europe?Politicians, industry leaders and worker representatives have frequently mooted a homegrown German option for battery production, but massive car parts supplier Bosch shied away earlier this year, calling it too risky an investment.And calls from the European Commission last year to create an “Airbus of batteries”—referring to the success of the pan-European firm—have thus far shown little effect.Merkel said the Chinese investment did not rule out the possibility that German companies could one day develop a competitor.But pending the lack of homegrown companies, it is better for foreign investments to be made in Germany than elsewhere, added Merkel.Carmakers are squeezed both by looming stricter European Union targets to reduce greenhouse gas output and years of scandal over cars built to cheat diesel emissions tests.German firms have been hard at work lining up their supply chains to produce massive volumes of electric vehicles, hoping to solve both problems at a stroke.While they work on motors and other components, top of the to-do list has been striking deals with battery makers and securing supplies of raw materials for the cells, especially cobalt.BMW’s Duesmann said the firm was investing 500 million euros in supplies of the mineral, which is often mined under poor conditions including child labour in Africa.”We buy the raw materials ourselves and then make it available to the parts supplier,” the car executive said.In a sector dominated by Asian firms, CATL and Panasonic, allied with California-based Tesla Motors, are slugging it out for the world’s battery top spot.As well as BMW, Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler is also weighing a deal with CATL according to German business daily Handelsblatt, while Volkswagen already has contracts with the Chinese firm as well as with South Korea’s Samsung and LG. BMW is to buy nearly $5 billion worth of batteries from CATLcenter_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. German automakers biggest spenders on electric cars: study © 2018 AFPlast_img read more

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Apple delivers strong profits but shares slip on outlook

first_imgApple CEO Tim Cook is seen during a launch event October 30 for a new iPad and Macbook Air © 2018 AFP Explore further Apple on Thursday delivered stronger than expected profits in the recently ended quarter, but shares slid on disappointing iPhone sales and the forecast going into the year-end holiday. The iPhone has been the key driver of Apple profit and revenue in recent years but the company is seeking to diversify by getting more from services Apple, which is the world’s most valuable company with an estimated value over $1 trillion, forecast that it would bring in between $89 billion and $93 billion in the current quarter.Challenges aheadThe latest report offers some positive news for Apple in growing its services such as streaming music and Apple Pay, allowing the company to diversify its revenue stream in a saturated smartphone market.However, the iPhone has been the key driver of revenue and profit for Apple, and also helps bring more consumers into the company’s ecosystem for apps and services. Apple said net profit climbed 32 percent to $14.13 billion on revenue that was up 20 percent to $62.9 billion with help from growing sales of digital content and services to of users and other Apple gadgetry.However, the market was disappointed by word that Apple fell short of expectations with iPhone sales of 46.9 million iPhones and its forecast for the key holiday season was not as robust as anticipated.Apple shares slipped 4.2 percent to $212.85 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.”We’re thrilled to report another record-breaking quarter that caps a tremendous fiscal 2018, the year in which we shipped our two billionth iOS device, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the App Store and achieved the strongest revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook.The average selling price for iPhones in the freshly updated product line was $793, indicating that Apple was able to deliver more of its priciest handsets.Apple offered no detailed breakdown of iPhone sales, but Cook said “the response has been powerful” to the new iPhone 10S models that sell for $1,000 and up.The results closed out Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter ending September 29 and set the stage for the crucial holiday period.Chief financial officer Luca Maestri said it was the California-based company’s best September quarter on record, with revenue growing double digits everywhere it does business around the world.”We set September quarter revenue records for iPhone and wearables and all-time quarterly records for Services and Mac,” Maestri said. Citation: Apple delivers strong profits, but shares slip on outlook (2018, November 1) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-apple-strong-profits-outlook.html Apple quarterly profit leaps, nears $1 trillion value Apple holds around 12 percent of the global smartphone market, with most of the rest sold by makers of Android-powered software.Analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies said it is possible Apple failed to anticipate consumer demand and did not have the right mix of devices in the past quarter.Another possibility, Bajarin said on Twitter, is that “Apple may be intentionally setting lower expectations for holiday.”Apple this week unveiled a new version of its MacBook Air laptop, this time made of recycled aluminum, as well as a new Mac Mini and an iPad Pro, all pricier than their predecessors.Apple also unveiled a new version of its iPad Pro tablet with a screen that looks nearly edge-to-edge and boasts a faster processor. It includes features from the latest iPhones. The changes are part of an effort to overhaul a product that has seen sliding sales in recent years. 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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Siri what is AI good for Expert explains why that is a

first_img Using AI to deduce bias in social media and news The reliability of information, whether the information comes from news outlets, social media posts, or government documents, may someday be determined by artificial intelligence, says Purdue computer science assistant professor Dan Goldwasser, who is working on tools that will do just that. Credit: Purdue University photo/John Underwood That’s a process that requires artificial intelligence, Goldwasser says.One common place where people encounter basic AI and machine learning is with personal assistant devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Google Home, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana, which all use the third technology Goldwasser researches—natural language processing—which he explains is the area of artificial intelligence that specifically focuses on replicating human judgments about to human language.Consider, for example, what would seem to be a simple question you might ask a co-worker: “Hey, did the Giants win last night?”For a computer, the question is enormously complex.”We make many inferences when we converse with someone, and these shortcuts that come very naturally for us without thinking, but when you have to make them explicit, you understand there is complex reasoning behind them,” Goldwasser says. “So, did the Giants win? Think about the space of possible worlds the system has to explore. There are the football New York Giants and the San Francisco baseball Giants. The system has to know this and reason about whether it is baseball season or football season, and did they have a game in the last 24 hours. But you can also imagine there is some military group that people refer to as the Giants, and did they just fight some battle? You can ground the meaning of that word in many different ways.”Even if you remove the ambiguity of the question and know that you are asking about a baseball team, the system still faces a complex problem, Goldwasser says. The system has to know what it means “to win,” and what information is relevant to the user. There may be a baseball team in South America called the Giants, but the system has to know whether you care about that result.”This sort of reflection and understanding of the user is really something that’s difficult to program these systems to do, and it’s not something that the system can accomplish by just pulling from data, without additional reasoning,” Goldwasser says.His AI research aligns with Purdue’s Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university’s global advancements made toward an advanced economy and planet as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.For Goldwasser’s own projects, he’s developing tools that use artificial intelligence to analyze the universe of data to provide insights about current issues.For example, one project analyzes social media posts and public comments of elected officials to predict when they will vote against their own political party.”We have used this with state legislators to predict how they will vote on health care,” Goldwasser says. “The legislators may never reveal their stance on Twitter, but we can predict by the way they frame the issue how they will vote when the time comes.”Another project, funded by Google, is creating a tool to look at a news source and use a variety of data points, such as how often various political viewpoints are used by the outlet and the social connections of people interacting with the outlet, to determine how biased the outlet is.A third project that’s an outgrowth of his research is a tool to analyze social media comments of a local population to look at how they are framing an issue in order to predict what the response to an action might be.”For example, if you are thinking about sending troops into a country to assist with a refugee crisis, would that be viewed by the locals as needed assistance or an aggressive act? We hope to be able to give decision makers tools to understand this as they make policies to avoid dangerous mistakes.”This research has analyzed social media posts and public comments of elected officials to predict when they will vote against their own political party.”Building on that, we started a collaboration with a political science professor, Eric Waltenburg, to analyze local government data,” Goldwasser says. “For this project, we were recently awarded funding as part of Purdue’s Integrative Data Science Initative.” Citation: Siri, what is AI good for? Expert explains why that is a difficult question (2018, December 4) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-siri-ai-good-expert-difficult.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. Purdue’s Dan Goldwasser is working to develop tools that harness these powerful new technologies so that they can improve the lives of individuals—and maybe improve society, too.Although you may think of artificial intelligence as a technology for that far-off Jetsons future, we interact with it every day, often without noticing, says Goldwasser, an assistant professor of computer science.”It used to be when typing on a computer or a smartphone, it would point out misspelled words, which is pretty simple for conventional computing to do,” he says. “Now, if you type ‘whether’ when what you meant was ‘weather,’ the app will let you know, ‘yes, that is a word, but it’s not the word you intended.’ This takes an understanding of the syntax of the sentence and the context, and this is done through artificial intelligence.”Goldwasser’s research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on machine learning and natural language processing. He says people often confuse the three technologies or simply don’t know what any of these terms mean.”Artificial intelligence, which is getting a lot of buzz and attention these days, is the set of methods, systems or approaches for computers that try to mimic human judgments and human decision making,” he says. “Machine learning is a set of methods that use data in order to accomplish a task.”If your task can be narrowed down into a straightforward mapping from input to output, then machine learning can help you with that.For example, predicting the odds that Purdue will win next Saturday: A machine learning algorithm can use information from the previous games, the opponent’s won-loss record and whether the game is a home game, run the collected data through an algorithm, and give you an answerBut, if you want the system to go beyond that and figure out the odds, for example, based on the mood of the players by scanning social media, it will need to weigh in many other variables and reason about their relationship to Saturday’s game. For example, a post indicating that one of the players will attend their sister’s wedding on Saturday would require the system to make an inference that the player would not be able to attend the game, changing the odds of winning. Provided by Purdue University Personal data collection, machine learning and artificial intelligence are encroaching in our lives at a pace that many of us find unsettling, if not downright scary. Not to mention that many of us can’t tell the difference in what these terms mean. Explore furtherlast_img read more

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NYC mayor defends Amazon deal at state budget hearing

first_img © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Explore further Citation: NYC mayor defends Amazon deal at state budget hearing (2019, February 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-nyc-mayor-defends-amazon-state.html NY gov raps Amazon critics amid report company’s rethinking De Blasio, a Democrat, told lawmakers at a state budget hearing on local government funding that the type of high-paying jobs the Amazon deal could bring to Queens are the kind the city needs to expand its technology sector. Amazon has said it would bring at least 25,000 and as many as 40,000 jobs to the Long Island City neighborhood over 10 to 15 years.”We never had a single plan, a single agreement that brought us that many jobs,” de Blasio said during his 2½ hours of testimony.The mayor and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year brokered the deal with Amazon, offering some $2.8 billion in city and state tax incentives and subsidies.De Blasio told lawmakers that the city expects its income tax revenues to drop $1 billion this year due to several factors, including December’s stock market volatility. Last week, Cuomo said overall state revenues are down more than $2 million for many of the same reasons.”We need those jobs,” de Blasio said at the hearing. “We need that revenue.”But the Amazon deal is facing staunch opposition from some fellow Democrats in the New York City Council and the state Senate, who say too much was given away to one of the world’s richest companies.Sen. Michael Gianaris, the No. 2 lawmaker in the Democrat-controlled Senate, is one of the leading opponents of the Amazon deal. Gianaris, whose Queens district includes Long Island City, has said the city and state incentives could have been spent on local programs such as public transit and housing.His opposition and that of others, including New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, has Amazon executives rethinking the New York location, according to a report last Friday by the Washington Post, which cited two unnamed people familiar with the company’s thinking.Speaking on public radio Monday, Gianaris said concerns that Amazon might abandon the deal haven’t prompted him to reconsider his opposition.”New York is bigger than Amazon,” he said. “We don’t have to do what they want, especially if it’s the wrong thing.”Cuomo on Friday accused the state Senate of “governmental malpractice” and siding with those who are “pandering to the local politics.” His comments came after Gianaris was nominated for a state board that might have sway over the Amazon project’s subsidies. Cuomo has the final say over board appointments but hasn’t said whether he’ll approve or reject Gianaris’ nomination.The Amazon debate has caused a rift among some Albany Democrats, with Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart Cousins, of Yonkers, accusing the governor of trying to divide the party after the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a series of progressive measures over the past month.Cuomo again defended the Amazon deal during a news conference in the state Capitol on Monday, saying the project will bring good jobs in a promising sector of the economy—as well as billions of dollars in new tax revenue. He said any project of its size would generate local opposition.”It’s the nature of the beast,” he said. It was “mission critical” for New York City to land one of Amazon’s second headquarters and the tens of thousands of jobs the company promises to create, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday, just days after a report said the company was having second thoughts because of opposition from some influential local politicians. 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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Highspeed 3D printer for highperformance plastics

first_img Device bonds metal and plastic within seconds Provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Explore further Citation: High-speed 3-D printer for high-performance plastics (2019, March 1) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-high-speed-d-printer-high-performance-plastics.html Three-dimensional printers that build small souvenirs layer by layer from melted plastic are often used at tradeshows. It can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized souvenir. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of components, as required by the automotive industry, for instance. A system from the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Chemnitz is now taking 3-D printing to a new level: The system’s high-speed technology takes only 18 minutes to produce a plastic component that is 30 centimeters high. A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer IWU has developed this technology for the additive manufacture of large-volume resilient plastic components. Tool manufacturers as well as the automotive and aerospace industries benefit from the innovative 3-D printer that achieves eight times the process speed. This printer uses the SEAM – short for Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing – process developed at the Chemnitz Institute.How does SEAM achieve these high process speeds? “By combining machine tool technology with 3-D printing,” says Dr. Martin Kausch, a scientist at Fraunhofer IWU. To process the plastic, the researchers use a specially designed unit that melts the raw material and ejects it at a high output rate. This unit is installed above a construction platform that can be swiveled in six axes by using the motion system of a machine tool. “So far, this combination is unique,” says Dr. Kausch. The hot plastic is deposited in layers on the construction platform. The motion system of the machine ensures that the construction panel slides along under the nozzle in such a way that the previously programmed component shape is produced. The table can be moved at a speed of one meter per second in the X-, Y- and Z-axes and can also be tilted by up to 45 degrees. “This enables us to print eight times faster than conventional processes, enormously reducing the production times for plastic components.” The 3-D printer processes cost-effective basic material Every hour, up to seven kilograms of plastic are pressed through the hot nozzle with a diameter of one millimeter. Comparable 3-D printing processes, such as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Modeling (FLM), usually achieve only 50 grams of plastic per hour. A unique feature is that, instead of expensive FLM filament, SEAM processes free-flowing, cost-effective standard plastic granulate into resilient, fiber-reinforced components that are several meters in size. This method allows material costs to be reduced by a factor of two hundred.SEAM allows researchers to implement complex geometries without supporting structures. The highlight is that the new system even makes it possible to print on existing injection-molded components. “As our construction platform can be swiveled, we are able to print on curved structures with a separately moving Z-axis,” says Kausch. “In tests, we were able to process a wide variety of plastics. They ranged from thermoplastic elastomers to high-performance plastics with a 50 percent content of carbon fiber. These plastics are materials that are particularly relevant to industry and cannot be processed with traditional 3-D printers.” The additive manufacture of large-volume plastic components is a time-consuming undertaking. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU have now developed Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM), a system and process that is eight times faster than conventional 3-D printing. Visitors will be able to see the ultrafast 3-D printer in action at the Fraunhofer Booth C22 in Hall 2 during the Hannover Messe from April 1 through 5, 2019. 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. SEAM can accelerate the additive manufacture of plastic components eightfold over conventional processes. The process achieves this ultra-fast production speed by combining 3D printing with the motion system of a machine tool. Credit: Fraunhofer IWU This experimental component is a hybrid of CFRP sheet metal and 3D printed structures – SEAM makes it possible to print on injection-molded components or sheet metal for the first time. Credit: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaftlast_img read more

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Deepfakes pose conundrum for Facebook Zuckerberg says

first_img Explore further Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday the leading social network is struggling to find ways to deal with “deepfake” videos which have the potential to deceive and manipulate users on a massive scale. 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. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the social network needs to develop a policy to deal with “deepfake” videos altered with artificial intelligence with the intention to manipulate people © 2019 AFPcenter_img Citation: ‘Deepfakes’ pose conundrum for Facebook, Zuckerberg says (2019, June 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-zuckerberg-company-deepfake-video-policy.html Facebook’s Zuckerberg is the focus of latest doctored video Zuckerberg said Facebook is trying to determine whether deepfakes are “a completely different category” of misinformation and added, “there’s a very good case that they are.”Speaking at an on-stage interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Zuckerberg said Facebook and others will face a challenge in dealing with deepfakes as they ramp up efforts to eliminate misinformation and that his company is still evaluating what to do.”I do think that saying deepfakes are different from misinformation, is a reasonable perspective,” he said.”It is likely sensible to have a different policy and to treat this differently than how we just treat normal, false information on the internet.”The comments come amid growing concern over deepfakes—which are altered by using artificial intelligence to appear genuine—being used to manipulate elections or potentially spark unrest.Earlier this month, Facebook’s Instagram network decided not to take down a fake video of Zuckerberg himself, saying the CEO would not get special treatment.Online platforms have been walking a fine line, working to root out misinformation and manipulation efforts while keeping open to free speech.Zuckerberg said this is a constant challenge, repeating his position that Facebook should not be an arbiter of truth on the internet.”I do not think we want to go so far towards saying that a private company prevents you from saying something that it thinks is factually incorrect to another person,” he said.Zuckerberg said Facebook has been stepping up efforts to combat manipulation efforts from governments including Russia but that its options are limited.”As a private company, we don’t have the tools to make the Russian government stop,” he said.”We’ve ramped up massively on the security side, but there’s very little that we can do on our own to change the incentives for nation states to act. That’s something that is a little bit above our pay grade.”last_img read more

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Chameleon Theory Could Explain Why the Universe Is Blowing Up

first_imgCan a chameleon build a galaxy? According to new computer models, yes. This isn’t a surrealist joke but rather the implication of recent simulations that aim to explain the inner workings of dark energy, a mysterious force that is driving apart everything in the universe. The findings, published July 8 in the journal Nature Astronomy, lend support to a model of dark energy known as Chameleon Theory. Hints of dark energy were first discovered in the late 1990s, when cosmologists measured the light from distant supernovas and realized that the stars were dimmer than expected, suggesting that the fabric of spacetime was not only expanding, but accelerating in its expansion. Physicists proposed the existence of a force that worked in opposition to gravity, pushing things away from one another, rather than pulling them together. [The Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65919-chameleon-theory-explains-dark-energy-maybe.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  Most researchers subscribe to the idea that dark energy is what’s known as the cosmological constant, a type of energy pent up in the vacuum of space itself, Baojiu Li, a mathematical physicist at Durham University in the United Kingdom, told Live Science. “This simple model works very well practically, and it is a straightforward addition to the cosmological model without having to modify the law of gravity,” he said. The problem is that leading physics theories predict that the value of the vacuum’s energy should be 120 orders of magnitude higher than what cosmologists observe from actual measurements of dark energy in the universe, said Li. So physicists have sought out alternate explanations, including Chameleon Theory. The theory proposes a new force, atop the four already known, mediated by a particle called the chameleon particle, according to an explainer in Sky and Telescope magazine. The chameleon force would act like dark energy, driving apart galaxies in the cosmos. But having an unexpected fifth force comes with its own dilemma — how come our instruments have never before seen such a particle? The theory suggests that chameleon particles, like their reptilian namesakes, can blend into their surroundings to evade detection. Rather than changing color, these particles change mass. In high-density environments, such as that near Earth, they have a high mass and are therefore difficult to detect. This is why we don’t see the effects of chameleon particles on our solar system, but rather only on extremely large cosmological scales, where, overall, matter is sparse, according to the theory. In order to test Chameleon Theory, researchers have run powerful computer simulations, spinning virtual dark matter — an as-yet-unknown substance vastly outweighing visible matter in the universe — with the four known forces plus chameleon particles to create celestial structures like our solar system, according to a statement. But until now, processing-power limitations have meant that the models could not include ordinary, visible matter, like protons and electrons. Li and his colleagues used supercomputers to finally include the ordinary particles alongside everything else and produce galaxy-scale structures. “The simulations show that realistic galaxies, like our own Milky Way, can form despite the complicated behavior of gravity in [Chameleon Theory],” Li said. The team hopes further modeling will reveal ways to distinguished the theory from other hypotheses about dark energy, he added. So do these ideas challenge Einstein’s theory of general relativity, as has been widely reported? “Challenge is a strong word,” Jeremy Sakstein, a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who was not involved in the work, told Live Science. To test general relativity, it’s useful to have competing theories, he added, and this new research represents a step toward making predictions about what these alternatives might see on cosmological scales. The 11 Biggest Unanswered Questions About Dark Matter Originally published on Live Science.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoGundry MD SupplementsTop Cardiologist: This One Thing Will Properly Flush Out Your BowelsGundry MD SupplementsUndoVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoDr. Marty3 Warning Signs Your Dog Is Crying For HelpDr. MartyUndoCity BeautyHow To: Lift Sagging Skin And Jowls (Do This)City BeautyUndoGundry MD Total Restore SupplementU.S. Cardiologist: It’s Like a Pressure Wash for Your InsidesGundry MD Total Restore SupplementUndo 11 Fascinating Facts About Our Milky Way Galaxy 8 Ways You Can See Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in Real Lifelast_img read more

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Man Goes Blind After Wearing Contact Lenses in the Shower

first_imgOur fantastic Fight for Sight supporter, Nick Humphreys, is raising awareness of the need for correct contact lens care and clearer information on contact lens packaging, after losing his sight in one eye to Acanthamoeba keratitis: https://t.co/ooUYXWlyYF #ContactLenses #AK — Fight for Sight (@fightforsightUK) July 9, 2019 Your daily shower isn’t usually a health risk, but for one man in England, it may have led to a serious eye infection that left him blind in one eye, according to news reports. The man, 29-year-old Nick Humphreys of Shropshire, England, typically left his contact lenses in while showering, without knowing that this practice can increase the risk of eye infections, according to PA Media, a U.K.-based media agency. In 2018, he contracted Acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare parasitic infection of the cornea, or the eye’s transparent outer covering. “If I’d have known how dangerous it was to wear contacts in the shower, I would never have got them in the first place,” Humphreys told PA Media. [‘Eye’ Can’t Look: 9 Eyeball Injuries That Will Make You Squirm] Don’t Flush Your Contact Lenses! Here’s WhyHere’s what happens when you flush contact lenses down the toilet or drain. Hint: It’s not good for the environment.Volume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65916-parasitic-eye-infection-showering-with-contact-lenses.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0001:0001:00  27 Devastating Infectious Diseases Acanthamoeba is a single-celled amoeba that’s commonly found in water, soil and air, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Contact lens wearers face a risk of contracting this infection if they engage in certain practices, such as disinfecting lenses with tap water or swimming or showering while wearing lenses, the CDC said. This amoeba has a particular affinity for the surfaces of contact lenses, meaning the lenses can be “a vehicle for the harboring, transmission and delivery of microorganisms to the eye,” according to a 2010 review paper on the topic published in the Journal of Optometry. But when Humphreys started wearing contact lenses in 2013 so he could play sports without glasses, he wasn’t aware of this showering risk. He would often hop in the shower with his contact lenses in after a morning workout. “I thought nothing of it at the time. I was never told not to wear contact lenses in the shower. There’s no warning on the packaging, and my opticians never mentioned a risk,” Humphreys said. After he was diagnosed with Acanthamoeba keratitis in early 2018, he was given eyedrops for his infection, but a few months later, he suddenly went blind in his right eye, according to PA Media. Humphreys was then prescribed a stronger medication, which needed to be applied to his eyes every hour, even at night. Humphreys became housebound and experienced severe pain in his right eye. “The pain in my eye was too much, and the only time I would leave was to visit the hospital,” Humphreys told PA Media. He would later undergo two operations in his right eye, the first to strengthen the tissue in his cornea and the second to protect the cornea with a graft of tissue from a fetal placenta. That procedure is known as an amniotic membrane transplant. Although his infection cleared up, Humphreys remains blind in his right eye. He is scheduled to undergo a corneal transplant in August. This operation replaces damaged corneal tissue with healthy corneal tissue from a deceased donor. Humphreys now works with the charity Fight for Sight to raise awareness about the risks of showering or swimming with contact lenses. “It’s crucial that people out there know this is a reality and it can happen because of something as simple as getting in the shower,” Humphreys said. Originally published on Live Science.center_img 8 Awful Parasite Infections That Will Make Your Skin Crawl 27 Oddest Medical Case Reportslast_img read more

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Cyclone alert yellow message issued for AP coast

first_imgRainfall predicted over coastal Andhra Pradesh and north coastal Tamil Nadu A ‘yellow message’ and cyclone alert have officially been issued for the Andhra Pradesh coast as a deep depression resumed its journey from last night’s brief stopover over South-East Bay of Bengal. It moved with a speed of 11 km/hr on a predicted north-west track and entered south-west and adjoining south-east Bay, slotting itself closer to the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coasts.Latest coordinatesIndia Met Department (IMD) locates the deep depression early this morning to 470 km east-north-east of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), the closest land feature as of now but which it is progressively moving away from 730 km east-south-east of Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 930 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh).Watch for its intensification as a cyclone (to be named ‘Phethai’) has been extended to this evening, thanks to last night’s brief stopover and into a sever cyclone Monday. It would then shift track slightly to north-north-west, taking it farther away from Chennai, to cross the Andhra Pradesh coast between Ongole and Kakinada on Monday afternoon.The IMD has said that rainfall to commence at many places over Coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas of North Coastal Tamil Nadu from tomorrow morning with heavy falls predicted at isolated places.High wind off Andhra coastOn Monday, the day of landfall of the severe cyclone, rains have been forecast at most places over Coastal Andhra Pradesh with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls (20 cm or more) at isolated places.In line with the predicted north-east movement of the remnant of the cyclone after landfall, rains would lash many places over South Chhattisgarh and Odisha tomorrow and the day after with heavy falls being forecast at isolated places.High wind warning of various intensities are valid for the Andhra Pradesh, North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with peak speed of up to 90 km/hr gusting to 100 km/hr likely along and off Andhra Pradesh coast on Monday morning. The sea condition would range from ‘very rough’ (wave heights of 20 ft) over South-East and adjoining South-West Bay of Bengal and may become ‘high’ (wave heights of 30 ft) Saturday morning. SHARE SHARE SHARE EMAIL December 15, 2018 weather news Deep depression over Bay to intensify into full-blown cyclone Published on Andhra Pradesh COMMENTS RELATED COMMENT Watch for its intensification as a cyclone (to be named ‘Phethai’) has been extended to this evening. File Photo   –  The Hindu forecastlast_img read more

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