Google faces Senate grilling over secret Nest Secure camera

first_imgFacebook can probably take a short breather thanks to Google. The search giant may be the latest target of scorn and inquiries over something that could have probably been easily avoided with a footnote or an inconspicuous line of text. Google has been sent a letter from the US Senate Commerce Committee demanding answers regarding the existence of a microphone on its Nest Secure system that remained undisclosed until earlier this month. Story TimelineNest Secure Google Assistant update makes Guard a smart speakerNest responds to home security hack reportsNest Secure had a mic Google told no one about for months This isn’t like a vulnerability that Google only recently discovered. It knew that when it shipped the Nest Secure system, the Nest Guard base contained a microphone that, according to Nest, remained unused until Google rolled out Google Assistant integration at the start of February. And that’s when the questions started rolling in.Nowhere in any official documentation did it inform users that there was a mic sitting silently in their homes. US lawmakers that make up the Senate Commerce Committee now want to know whether Google was actually aware of that and, if it wasn’t, when it became aware of what could have been a clerical error only. The Senators, however, also want to know what Google is doing to inform Nest Secure owners of that fact, presuming they haven’t read yet this scandal surrounding the product.Google and Nest, of course, would deny that the mics have ever been used before the update rolled out this month, perhaps expecting consumers and lawmakers to take their word for it. The questions, however, do bring up an interesting point. Google may have not used that mic, but what are the chances someone else has? Then again, if a hack discovered the existence of that mic in the first place, the news would have broken out earlier.AdChoices广告There seems to be a growing number of cases where recording components are being discovered in places where they either should not have been or have not been made apparent. Airlines such as Singapore Air, Delta, and United Airlines have confirmed that their in-flight entertainment systems now do have cameras built into their displays. All of them promise that the cameras have been disabled until they are enabled for future features. None of them, however, even disclose their existence to passengers.last_img read more

Windows Defender for Chrome and Firefox requires Microsoft Edge

first_imgMicrosoft has given its best, and sometimes its worst, to put its Internet Explorer past behind it and push Microsoft Edge to its users. It has failed and is reworking Edge to use Chrome’s engine instead. In yet another admission of defeat, it will be making its Windows Defender Application Guard browser extension, previously exclusive to Edge, available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The catch? You will still have to bear with using Edge when it determines you’re visiting an untrusted site. Application Guard, in a nutshell, creates an isolated instance of Microsoft Edge in order to protect the rest of the Windows 10 system from potentially harmful websites. Naturally, it makes use of features exclusively available to Microsoft Edge. Some users, even enterprise ones, prefer to use Chrome or Firefox, though, which leaves them vulnerable to Internet exploits. Rather than force them to switch browsers, Microsoft has come up with a compromise.In its latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build, Microsoft announced the development of Application Guard extensions for those two browsers. Once installed, users can continue using their favorite browser as normal. The difference is when they click on a link that has been deemed to be untrusted by the higher-ups.Instead of completely blocking access to that site, they will be redirected to Application Guard for Edge. In other words, Edge will open in an isolated session so that you can continue viewing the site as they please. Here’s where things can get interesting and probably a bit annoying. You can visit any untrusted site in that quarantined session as normal but if you happen to visit a trusted site, you will be thrown back to Chrome or Firefox.It will be a ping pong experience but it is perhaps the only way Microsoft can ensure the integrity of its enterprise systems. This upcoming feature, for better or worse, will be available only on Enterprise and Pro version of Windows 10, leaving Home edition users with the basics.last_img read more

Google Pay and Assistant team up to calm your commute

first_imgStory TimelineApple Pay, Google Pay now accepted at 7-ElevenTarget finally accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung paymentsGoogle Pay can now automatically pull loyalty cards and more from Gmail As with most new features to Google Pay, pay-per-ride functionality is arriving first as a pilot program on a limited scale. In this case, it’ll only go live in one city in the US: New York City. Google has teamed up with the Metropolitan Transit Authority to test its pay-per-ride feature, with the pilot kicking off on May 31st.In a blog post today, Google explains that once the pilot is live, you’ll be able to “use Google Pay to board all Staten Island buses and subway stations along the 4-5-6 lines between Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center.” Google also says that the pay-per-ride cost in Google Pay is the same as a single ride MetroCard, so you won’t be paying anything extra for the convenience of using NFC.You can now also use Google Assistant to check the arrival times for various subway routes. To find out when a train is arriving, you can ask Google Assistant things like “Hey Google, when is the next 4 train arriving?” to get its ETA and walking directions. This functionality works on Android phones, all smart speakers, and all smart displays, but again, it’s limited to just New York City for the time being.Finally, Google Maps will be updated at some point over the next few weeks to show which routes accept Google Pay. For routes that don’t accept Google Pay, you’ll even be able to add a debit or credit card from within Google Maps, which is a nice touch. Though this pilot is limited to New York City in the US, we’ll also see it launch for other transit systems around the world in the coming weeks, including London’s TfL and Melbourne’s myki transit system. It was more than a year ago that Google started rolling support for transit tickets into Google Wallet, and now it’s looking to further simplify the process of riding public transit. Today, Google announced a new “pay-per-ride” feature for Google Pay, meaning you can use your phone to pay for single-ride tickets instead of buying multi-ride passes ahead of time. Going hand-in-hand with this update to Google Pay are a new transit-related features for both Google Maps and Google Assistant.last_img read more

GM and Rivians electric truck talks run out of juice

first_imgStory TimelineRivian has a bold EV plan that Tesla could learn fromRivian rally-car planned to show EVs needn’t be dull For GM, a deal could have accelerated the addition of an electric model to its range. With industry mainstay Ford having already begun work on an all-electric version of its best-selling F-150 truck, and newer players like Tesla also planning to enter the utility segment, GM was forced to admit that it, too, was weighing the space. Although it currently has an electric platform, used for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the demands of a pickup or other truck form-factor would be considerably different to those of the compact hatchback. GM’s current thinking, it’s believed, is to use electrification for a luxury truck to sell under its GMC brand.One possibility is that talks between GM and Rivian could reopen, depending on how the startup’s negotiations with other players pan out. Rivian intends to begin production of the R1S and R1T at a facility in Illinois that it acquired from Mitsubishi in 2017. If all goes to plan, vehicles should start rolling off that line late in 2020, but further investment – beyond the roughly $1.15 billion apparently already raised – will be required to fully fund its ambitions beyond that. Rivian R1T Electric Pickup Truck and R1S SUV Gallery Electric vehicle startup and would-be Tesla rival Rivian won’t be getting an investment from General Motors after all, insiders suggest, after negotiations between the two reportedly stalled. Rivian came out of stealth to great fanfare late last year, with not one but two vehicles targeting arguably the most important segments in the US today. The Rivian R1T is an all-electric pickup truck, taking advantage of EV drivetrain technology to promise to be more flexible – yet no less capable – than gasoline or diesel powered models. Its sibling, the R1S, is a three-row SUV based on the same platform. With pickups and SUVs dominating US vehicle sales, it seemed like an eminently sensible place for Rivian to start. It also looked like the automaker would have some equally impressive backers. Amazon led a $700m investment round in Rivian in February of this year, making a bet not only on the two cars publicly revealed, but the company’s electrification platform in general. Known as a “skateboard” by Rivian, it’s the slice of drivetrain tech – including the electric motors, batteries, brakes, and other mechanical components – that all of its future vehicles will be based upon. The skateboard could also be a broader business opportunity. Rivian has been in talks with other companies about potentially licensing the technology, allowing would-be car-makers to build their own vehicles on top of the architecture. That had apparently caught the attention of GM, and the two firms were said to have been in negotiations around a potential stake in Rivian, and indeed the possibility of future GM electric trucks using the skateboard. Those talks, though, have broken down, sources tell Bloomberg. Privately-owned Rivian wanted to keep its “options open,” according to one insider, and is exploring possible deals with other companies. Neither Rivian nor GM have confirmed either the negotiations or the breakdown of those talks. last_img read more

Huawei users say phone lock screens have started showing ads

first_imgAs expected, users aren’t happy. The sudden appearance across so many devices and regions has users speculating whether Huawei has decided to mass deploy ads on its mobile devices, but there’s no confirmation of that at this time. Users can get rid of the ads by changing to a different wallpaper. Users claim they never saw any sort of announcement or warning that the advertisements were inbound, and that they were never prompted to opt into getting advertisements. Though lock screens ads aren’t unheard of, they usually only appear from either malware or third-party apps the user must deliberately install and enable. AdChoices广告In a statement to Digital Trends, Huawei said that it hadn’t initiated the advertisements and that users should follow ‘publicly available directions on how to remove lock screen ads.’ The company is suggesting the ads are caused by a third-party app or service, but users point out that they appeared at the same time, featuring the same ads, on the same preinstalled wallpapers. Wtf. https://t.co/Fv4RzUmM1D ads on my lock screen. Anyone else with a Huawei getting this? pic.twitter.com/ILI6vs6wVD— Ed Spencer (@efjspencer) June 13, 2019 Story TimelineHuawei’s Android replacement is a 7 year paranoia projectHuawei’s appeal to Android developers won’t work without these key factorsHuawei’s blacklisting just killed its first product Huawei phone owners have started sharing screenshots of the advertisements on their phone lock screens; each one involves a preinstalled landscape wallpaper and ads for the website Booking.com. Reports starting appearing on June 12 and have increased today. Impacted users are reporting in from countries all over the world, including in Europe and South Africa. Some Huawei smartphone owners have reported the appearance of advertisement on their handset’s lock screen. The unexpected ads, which seem to appear only on preinstalled wallpapers of landscape imagery, have been spotted on a number of models, including the P20 Pro and P30 Pro. All of the advertisements are for the same travel booking website.last_img read more

Calif Regulator Seeks To Bar Anthem From Small Business Health Exchange

first_imgCalif. Regulator Seeks To Bar Anthem From Small Business Health Exchange Meanwhile, Minnesota officials announce the opening of a call center Sept. 3 to answer consumer questions about the state’s online insurance marketplace, which will begin enrolling people a month later.Los Angeles Times: Regulator Wants To Bar Anthem From Small-Business Health ExchangeCalifornia Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones wants industry giant Anthem Blue Cross barred from the state’s new health exchange for small businesses because he says the company imposes excessive rate hikes. Jones said the state’s largest for-profit health insurer should be denied access to the state-run market where thousands of small employers will purchase health coverage for their workers (Terhune, 6/13).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: California Insurance Chief Wants To Bar Anthem From Selling Small Business Coverage Citing a pattern of ‘unreasonable rate increases’ for small business customers by Anthem Blue Cross, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Thursday he will recommend that the state’s new online insurance marketplace exclude the firm from selling small business coverage (Appleby, 6/13).The Associated Press: Minn. Health Insurance Call Center Opens In Sept.The call center for Minnesota’s new health insurance marketplace will be operational Sept. 3 to help prepare consumers for buying coverage when open enrollment begins a month later, officials said Wednesday. MNsure’s executive director, April Todd-Malmlov, updated board members on customer assistance plans for the exchange, where starting Oct. 1 about 1.3 million Minnesotans are expected to get their coverage, including 300,000 who don’t currently have health insurance (Karnowski, 6/13).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Preparing For Flood Of Consumer Questions On Insurance ExchangesOn Oct. 1, individual consumers and small businesses will be able to enroll in the online health insurance marketplaces known as exchanges. Minnesota, where the state is running the exchange, and Florida, where the federal government will be in charge, are preparing in different ways. Under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans who don’t already have health insurance through employers, Medicare or some other source are required to get it as of Jan. 1 or pay a fine. Subsidies will be available for people who earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to buy insurance (Girshman, 6/13). In other news related to health exchanges – Health News Florida: Prepare For Launch Of ‘Get Covered’ CampaignOn June 22, consumer-health groups across the nation will launch what they hope will be a massive education and enrollment campaign to find uninsured people and get them ready to sign up for health coverage. The campaign will be called “Get Covered, America!” Its official launch is June 22 because that marks 100 days until the opening of state and federal online “marketplaces” where the uninsured can shop for coverage (Gentry, 6/13). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

Longer Looks Immigrant Health Tied To Their Status

first_imgLonger Looks: Immigrant Health Tied To Their Status Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.The Atlantic: The Immigrant Healthcare ImperativeI didn’t know much about my patient, a young man originally from Tibet, other than that he worked in a restaurant in Queens.  For most of my patients, their coming-to-America story is an intrinsic part of their medical history. It’s certainly medically relevant in terms of what diseases they might have been exposed to, what nutritional, environmental and genetic factors might play a role in their health, but it’s also such a key part of who they are that it’s usually a central part of our initial interview. … As my patient’s story slowly unfurled from him I realized that there was so much I did not know about him. He was not a loner at all. He was married, with two young children. His parents lived with him, as well as an aunt. But no one was getting any medical care because they were undocumented and worried about deportation. … As immigration reform wends its way through a fractious and polarized House of Representatives, many are thinking about the implications for health care. From the medical perspective, bringing people into a primary care system is beneficial for our entire society, both from the public health standpoint and the moral standpoint (Danielle Ofri, 7/16).The New York Times: A Life-Or-Death SituationIf Margaret Pabst Battin hadn’t had a cold that day, she would have joined her husband, Brooke Hopkins, on his bike ride. Instead Peggy (as just about everyone calls her) went to two lectures at the University of Utah, where she teaches philosophy and writes about end-of-life bioethics. Which is why she wasn’t with Brooke the moment everything changed. Brooke was cycling down a hill in City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City when he collided with an oncoming bicycle around a blind curve, catapulting him onto the mountain path. His helmet cracked just above the left temple, meaning Brooke fell directly on his head, and his body followed in a grotesque somersault that broke his neck at the top of the spine. … Suffering, suicide, euthanasia, a dignified death — these were subjects she had thought and written about for years, and now, suddenly, they turned unbearably personal. Alongside her physically ravaged husband, she would watch lofty ideas be trumped by reality — and would discover just how messy, raw and muddled the end of life can be (Robin Marantz Henig, 7/17).Scientific American: Poem: AsymmetryWe met on my birthday andyour age trailed mine by a week.Your past medical history bare,you let me see you sick.You let me feel the marginsof your spleen,your sexual history,your confusion over why thisand why youand what nowand what next (Shara Yurkiewicz, 7/9).Kaiser Family Foundation: The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare: Health Insurance Changes Coming Your Way Under the Affordable Care Act2014 is coming–are you ready for Obamacare? Join the YouToons as they walk through the basic changes in the way Americans will get health coverage and what it will cost starting in 2014, when major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” go into effect. Written and produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Narrated by Charlie Gibson, former anchor of ABC’s World News with Charlie Gibson and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Creative production and animation by Free Range Studios (7/17).Time: Sick Before Their Time: More Kids Diagnosed With Adult DiseasesDiabetes, obesity and elevated blood pressure typically emerge in middle-age, but more young children are showing signs of chronic conditions that may take a toll on their health.  The latest report on the trend, from researchers at Harvard Medical School found that children and adolescents are increasingly suffering from elevated blood pressure. Published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, the study showed a 27% increase in the proportion of children aged 8 years to 17 years with elevated blood pressure over a thirteen-year period (Alexandra Sifferlin, 7/18).The New York Times: Talking Female Circumcision Out Of ExistenceLike every other girl of her era in her part of southern Ethiopia — and most girls in the country — Bogaletch Gebre was circumcised. …Today, however, cutting has vanished from Kembata-Tembaro, as have bride abduction and widow inheritance. A study done for the Innocenti Research Center, a research arm of Unicef, found that cutting had only 3 percent support in 2008 — down from 97 percent in 1999. This is a remarkable achievement. There is nothing more difficult than persuading people to give up long-held cultural practices, especially those bound up in taboo subjects like sex (Tina Rosenberg, 7/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

Viewpoints Shinsekis Efforts Havent Yet Solved VAs Problems Treating Children With Mental

first_imgViewpoints: Shinseki’s Efforts Haven’t Yet Solved VA’s Problems; Treating Children With Mental Illness Is Complicated; Abuse Of Painkillers This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Los Angeles Times: No Longer The Greatest Generation’s VA Just in time for Veterans Day, the embattled secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki, announced last week that his department had reduced its backlog of overdue disability claims from more than 600,000 in March to about 400,000. “The trend line is in the right direction,” Shinseki told reporters, noting that the VA had cut the number of claims older than a year by 93%. With hundreds of thousands of cases still unresolved, Shinseki hasn’t gotten much credit so far — but to the surprise of his critics, he’s on track to achieve his goal of eliminating the backlog by 2015. Still, that won’t solve all the VA’s problems; far from it (Doyle McManus, 11/10). The New York Times: Equal Coverage For The Mentally Ill A struggle over decades to force insurers to cover mental health and addiction services on the same basis as medical and surgical costs is headed for success under new rules issued on Friday by the Obama administration. The rules will cover most Americans with health insurance, including those in many employer-sponsored plans, in other group plans, in some but not all Medicaid plans, and in policies bought on the individual markets (11/8). The New York Times: After Mental Illness, An Up And Down Life Two decades later, we are now able to see inside the brain with startling precision, thanks to sophisticated imaging techniques. And we know a lot more about brain biology. But we have been unable to transform much of that knowledge into definitive treatments. Caring for the mentally ill adult is challenging. Children are considerably more complicated, because they are constantly changing and developing (Lee Gutkind, 11/9).USA Today: FDA Cracks Down, Finally, On Painkillers: Our View The deadliest drug problem in America is not heroin or cocaine or even crack cocaine. It’s the abuse of perfectly legal prescription pain medications — familiar names such as Vicodin and Lortab and generic hydrocodone. Last month, federal regulators finally got around to recommending stronger restrictions on access to these medications by limiting refills and mandating more frequent visits to doctors to obtain prescriptions. Now doctors, who helped create the problem, need to do their share to control it (11/10).USA Today: New Drug Rules Could Harm Patients: Opposing View Prescription drug diversion and abuse is a serious public health problem that has reached crisis levels across the U.S. At the same time, patients suffering from pain too often must go without adequate access to effective pain medications, resulting in needless suffering (Ardis Dee Hoven and Chris Hansen, 11/10).The New York Times: Dear Governor Christie In New Jersey, for instance, you’ve been able to successfully isolate public-sector unions, portraying them as drains on middle-class tax dollars and enemies of the common good. But in national budget debates, the biggest issues are popular entitlement programs, not teacher salaries or bureaucrats’ health benefits. And you probably aren’t going to win the presidency wagging your finger at Social Security recipients, or painting the poor and elderly as dangerous special-interest groups. You need a different way to convince voters that you’re on the middle class’s side (Ross Douthat, 11/9). The Wall Street Journal: Dr. Francis Collins: Politics On The Frontier Of Science If the early years of the 21st century often feel like a retread of the 1970s—economic anxiety, turmoil overseas, American leaders who don’t seem to understand what the problems are much less how to fix them—the geneticist Francis Collins suggests less dispiriting resemblances. The “arrow of progress that we’re riding in biomedicine” took flight 40 or so years ago but is traveling faster and further now (Joseph Rago, 11/8). The Wall Street Journal: You Can’t Predict Destiny By Designing Your Baby’s Genome It may seem like creating the perfect child will eventually be a matter of who can pay for it. But predicting whether a couple’s offspring will be the next Mozart or Einstein is about as easy as predicting the precise location and airspeed of a hurricane nine months in advance. Even if we know that a combination of genes might result in a 12% increase in musicality, parents have better odds just by signing a child up for piano lessons. That’s because our genes are too complex to predict (Megan Allyse and Marsha Michie, 11/8).last_img read more

Health Bill Would Cut Medicaid Which Candidate Trump Said He Would Not

first_img Reuters: Factbox: A Look At U.S. Healthcare Spending As Obamacare Repeal Looms Earlier KHN coverage: GOP Fix To Insurance Markets Could Spike Premiums For Older Customers Bloomberg: Trumpcare Has Seniors Rethinking Early Retirement  The Wall Street Journal: How Health-Care Coverage Would Change Under GOP Proposal The House Republican proposal to overhaul the Affordable Care Act would bring big changes to health-care coverage and funding for many Americans. Here are some of the important differences. (Armour and Hackman, 3/23) The legislation, dubbed the American Health Care Act, faces resistance within the House GOP from both moderates within the party and the most conservative faction. As a result, the bill’s authors have proposed to alter parts of the bill in ways to appeal to one camp or the other — and even offered a change specifically targeting a handful of representatives from Upstate New York. Here’s how the bill has changed. (Goldstein, Schaul, Soffen and Uhrmacher, 3/23) The House Republican leaders’ attempt early this week to steer more party members behind the proposed health care bill included some inducements they hoped would be hard to resist: tax cuts that take effect sooner. But four days later the attempt appears to have done little to persuade the staunchest conservatives to back the House bill (HR 1628) to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). House leaders abandoned their goal of a floor vote Thursday amid doubts that they could muster a majority. Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, as well as other Republican leaders were apparently trying to thread a needle in the manager’s amendment released Monday. (Ota,3/24) The Affordable Care Act struck a popular chord by allowing adult children to obtain health coverage through a parent’s plan until their 26th birthday. … The policy has proven to be a double-edged sword for the ACA’s online health exchanges because it has funneled young, healthy customers away from the overall marketplace “risk pool.” Insurers need those customers to balance out the large numbers of enrollees with chronic illnesses who drive up insurers’ costs — and ultimately contribute to higher marketplace premiums. (Heredia Rodriguez, 3/24) CQ Roll Call: GOP, Seeking Health Care Votes, Misses Target With Tax Cuts After decades of saving diligently, Dan Maize, 53, of Williamsburg, Va., made the decision last year to retire early. He stayed at his job, managing a grocery store, until February—just before Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a health-care bill that could make his early retirement much harder to afford. Under the American Health Care Act, the Obamacare overhaul that faced a congressional vote on March 23, costs could fall for many younger Americans. The majority of older people would pay much more, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and others who analyzed an early version of the legislation. (Steverman, 3/23) center_img Stat: Trump Pledged Not To Cut Medicaid. Is He Keeping That Promise? The Washington Post: Nine Health-Care Bill Changes Aimed At Wooing Moderates And The Far-Right From Americans’ retirement plans to the upcoming tax reform debate, there are other unexpected policy areas that will be impacted by the current legislative action — Kaiser Health News: Popular Guarantee For Young Adults’ Coverage May Be Health Law’s Achilles’ Heel It’s among his most famous campaign promises: Donald Trump pledged he would not cut Medicaid as president. But the legislation that Trump has aggressively promoted, and that Congress is expected to vote on … appears to do exactly that. It would reduce Medicaid spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years, compared with current law, while dramatically altering the financing of a program that covers 70 million Americans.The White House, however, says it is not “cutting” Medicaid. (Scott, 3/23) Health Bill Would Cut Medicaid, Which Candidate Trump Said He Would Not To Do The GOP measure would cut Medicaid spending by hundreds of billions of dollars over 10 years. News outlets also round up the other areas of health care that would be touched if the proposal becomes law. Following are some questions and answers about healthcare spending and health insurance coverage in the United States as Republicans try to throw out President Barack Obama’s signature piece of domestic policy, the 2010 Affordable Care Act. (3/23) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

Samsungs take on OLED TV encounters a production delay

first_img This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Sign up for the Mobile NewsletterSign Up Please keep me up to date with special offers and news from Goodtoknow and other brands operated by TI Media Limited via email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Samsung has a version of OLED TV panel technology in the works, but it looks like consumers will have to wait a while to see it. According to reports, the mass production of QD-OLED panels has been delayed.Samsung retains a number of interests across the TV market with its QLED displays currently in stores as well as an eye on the future with MicroLED technology. Despite producing a curved OLED TV for several markets back in 2013, it has not returned to it since.In the meantime Samsung has poo-pooed OLED TVs while bigging up its Quantum Dot displays, but there have whispers it has been pursuing and evaluating its own version of OLED technology.Related: MicroLED – everything you need to knowThis panel would be a hybrid of QLED and existing OLED technologies, and we assume this would be a marriage of OLED’s sumptuous contrast and QLED’s imperious brightness. A few months it was reported that conversion and trial production of hybrid QD-OLED panels was to start in the latter half of 2019 with mass production being ramped up in 2020.That no longer appears to be the case. According to a report by OLED-info, Samsung aims to proceed with the development of hybrid QD-OLED panels but at a slower pace than was initially expected. Trial production has been pushed back to 2020 with mass production expected to begin in 2023.The report also says that Samsung has decided to convert its 8-Gen fabrication line to focus on the production of 55−inch sizes and smaller. Considering LG is also looking to produce smaller OLED panels, could this signal a drive to bring OLED sizes and prices down to more accomodating and affordable levels? It seems we’ll have plenty of time to wait and see and how this will develop.Source: OLED-info We’d also like to send you special offers and news just by email from other carefully selected companies we think you might like. Your personal details will not be shared with those companies – we send the emails and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please tick here if you are happy to receive these messages.By submitting your information, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. Show More Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links.Tell us what you think – email the Editorlast_img read more

Lightspeed is writing a new chapter in the Canadian tech story

first_img The thinking is that economic and corporate policies must be adjusted to offset capitalism’s tendency to reinforce existing power structures at the exclusion of women and minorities. Grandees say from the stage that failure to change will cause confidence in the economic system to further erode, entrenching political instability. Companies and institutions that continue to populate their executive suites with white men from American and European business schools will suffer from having too many blind spots to keep up in a fast changing world.It’s an attractive theory, save for one thing: its main advocates tend to be rich and/or powerful white people. They know little to nothing of what they speak.Dasilva is a believer in the power of diversity, and he is a more authentic spokesman for the cause than many of its advocates in the Canadian liberal elite.He is the son of Goan parents who fled to Canada as refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1972. He was born in Vancouver; came out as gay in his teens while attending an all-boys Irish Catholic high school; participated in the protests at Clayoquot Sound that saved the old-growth rainforests from clear cutting; attended the University of British Columbia, where he studied religion and art history while doing computer work on the side; and then moved to Montreal in 2001 at 24 years of age.In 2005, he started Lightspeed and converted to Judaism. The original Lightspeed team was from the LGBTQ community. As he added people, Dasilva put an emphasis on ensuring he had a mix of backgrounds. He thinks it made the company stronger. You have to work harder to get an idea approved by a diverse table; if you succeed, the idea probably is a good one. All that arguing helped Lightspeed develop a “stronger sense of self,” which helped Dasilva and other executives push back against investors with “strong opinions” about how the company should be run.“We looked at difference as a teacher,” Dasilva said.Now, Dasilva plans to do some teaching. Earlier this year, he published Age of Union, a partial memoir that evolves into an explanation of his thinking about leadership, spirituality, and the environment.He also appears ready to involve himself in economic policy.Because size is an advantage in tech, and Canada is relatively small, governments will have to be a partner, Dasilva said. So far, they have been, he said, although he urged them to “stay attentive to the fact that we are competing globally for talent.”I asked Dasilva if he was talking about taxes, a sensitive subject with the current federal government and in his home province. He demurred.“We have to stay vigilant and we have to find ways to outdo our competition, outdo the U.S.,” Dasilva said.• Email: kcarmichael@nationalpost.com | Twitter: More Kevin Carmichael Share this storyLightspeed is writing a new chapter in the Canadian tech story Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Canada’s innovation policy needs radical rethink, Fraser Institute study finds Sponsored By: Twitter ← Previous Next → The Canadian Establishment needed some new blood. On March 8, it got some, when Montreal-based Lightspeed POS Inc. debuted on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Lightspeed’s shares closed 20 per cent higher, putting an exclamation point on the most successful initial public offering by a Canadian technology company in almost a decade. The surge pushed Lightspeed’s market value to about $1.7 billion, comfortably unicorn status. It also marked the arrival of Dax Dasilva, the founder and chief executive, as a national figure.If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will.“We’re in a new moment for the company,” Dasilva told me in an interview at the C2 conference in Montreal on May 24. “I’m in a new moment as a leader and I think that comes with a big responsibility to your tech ecosystem, to our small-business customers, to all of our customers, but also as a thought leader.” Canada’s technologists are having a moment — let’s hope our governments don’t wreck it Innovation Nation: Does Canada’s tech sector need a rebrand? ‘Everyone is at Collision’: Toronto’s tech scene set for coming out party as host of major conference There is something good happening in Canadian tech. But that’s not always a satisfying story, as it lacks protagonists. Shopify Inc. is a legitimate world beater, and probably the only digital-economy company that a casual reader of the Canadian business pages could name.Lightspeed, which sells point-of-sale software for restaurants and smaller retailers in about 100 countries, will help the narrative.Dasilva could have exited early like so many other founders. He scrounged money together for seven years and then partnered with venture capitalists to achieve scale. When the VCs wanted out, he negotiated a path to an IPO rather than sell to a bigger company.He broke with convention again by listing only in Toronto, ignoring warnings that the decision would alienate international investors. Lightspeed raised $240 million, almost twice as much as Ottawa-based Shopify, which was valued at about $1 billion when it listed in Toronto and New York in 2015. Shopify’s market cap is now around $42 billion.“I’ve had a lot of people in the ecosystem say that our IPO has opened new possibilities to what our tech companies are able to aspire to,” said Dasilva, who will host his first earnings call with analysts and investors on May 30. “We build these companies in Canada and then they evaporate as they get acquired by American or Asian companies,” he said. “I think we’ve reached a stage of maturity with our ecosystems that there’s growth capital available now, not just venture capital, but growth capital.”A popular subject on the conference circuit these days, whether in Davos at the World Economic Forum, in Washington at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund, or in Montreal at C2, is diversity and inclusive growth.Government needs to ‘stay attentive to the fact that we are competing globally for talent.’Lightspeed CEO Dax Dasilva Related Stories Email Reddit Dax Dasilva: “I’ve had a lot of people in the ecosystem say that our IPO has opened new possibilities to what our tech companies are able to aspire to.”Handout center_img If the government wants to know the right way to support business, it should look to Israel and Texas Lightspeed is writing a new chapter in the Canadian tech story Kevin Carmichael: Founder Dax Dasilva is bucking convention in many ways, from his atypical background to his outlook on investors Meet the banker, venture capitalist and eight others changing the way we think and work What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation 1 Comments May 28, 201911:01 AM EDT Filed under News Economy Featured Stories Comment Facebook advertisement Join the conversation →last_img read more

Qmerit Aims to Simplify EV Home Charger Installations

Simplicity is key.One of the pain points for many EV owners is the installation of their home charging station (EVSE). A quick search of some of the online electric vehicle forums and Facebook EV groups will uncover many threads with the poster asking for recommended installers and how much they should expect to pay.For some reason, it occasionally seems that some electrical contractors charge more to install an EVSE than they would for a similar device with the same power requirement. It’s not often that homeowners need a dedicated 40-amp or 80-amp circuit added to their garage. So, without any previous experience to compare the quote to, it’s natural to be concerned about possibly being overcharged.Qmerit has teamed up with eMotorWerks, among other EVSE makers, to provide installation services for their products.Enter Qmerit home EVSE installation services. By enabling customers to quickly get up to three competitive bids from experienced local EVSE installers, Qmerit aims to simplify the process, and help EV owners install their home charging equipment with confidence.Qmerit provides an online marketplace for EV charging station installations, which connects electric vehicle customers with pre-vetted and certified installers. By simply typing in their address, customers are provided with certified Qmerit installers in their area. They can select up to three contractors to receive installation quotes and then choose the installer that best meets their needs. We take care of the entire process, from start to finish. – Ken Sapp, General Manager, Energy & EV Solutions for Qmerit Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 4, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News The process starts with a visit to the Qmerit site where the customer requests installation quotes. They fill out some basic information like their address, whether it’s a single family home, apartment or condo and any special information relevant to the installation.If Qmerit has installers in their area, they receive a list (up to 3) of licensed, qualified and insured local EVSE installers. The installers were selected for them based on their “QCI” rating which includes feedback previous customers and responsiveness among other factors. This approach helps to weed out the contractors that don’t score high on quality installations and customer satisfaction.From Qmerit:Qmerit Energy & EV SolutionsExperience: The Qmerit’s management team was among the leadership who helped roll out the first national EV charging station installations for auto dealerships, parking garages and government buildings throughout North America and are now performing residential EV charging station installations for BMW, MINI, FLO, Jaguar, Land Rover, ChargePoint, eMotorWerks, Faraday Future and other manufacturers through its nationwide network of pre-qualified EV charging station installers.Qmerit streamlines the buying process for EV driving consumers through our Home EV Readiness Survey, which guides customers through a series of questions that eliminates the need for customers to answer the same questions from multiple contractors.The EV Readiness Survey shortens the time needed for installation quotes, reduces or eliminates the need for initial contractor site visits and ensures the home is well-suited for handling a Level 2 EV charger, all of which saves time and money for customers and contractors.Qmerit enables customers to get up to three competitive bids and are in full control to select their preferred installer. Customers contract directly with their installer of choice and Qmerit does not mark up their proposals.Qmerit’s industry-leading technology was developed to support and automate these national roll-outs. The sophisticated platform brings efficiency to EV buyers and contractors by ensuring a seamless and high-quality home installation experience.Qmerit helps ensure customers have a great experience from start to finish by digitally connecting them with local, qualified installers through our easy-to-use cloud-based platform.Qmerit-certified installers specialize in EV installations and are background checked, credentialed and insured.Qmerit Contribution Index (“QCI”) – Our QCI scoring system perpetually calculates a score for each contractor based on performance. It is an objective process computed based on a multitude of factors including: skills, responsiveness, compliance, customer feedback and service quality.InsideEVs was able to interview Ken Sapp General Manager, Energy & EV Solutions for Qmerit, and here’s some of the exchange:What are you most proud of accomplishing through Qmerit?“I’m most proud of our continual advances that help improve the EV industry through our platform. We’re already working on the next set of enhancements that will help consumers and overall EV adoption”.What was the driving force behind starting this service?“We recognize consumers struggle with finding a trusted contractor andeliminate uncertainty by pre-vetting EV specialists and making it a simpleprocess for finding a qualified installer.You said Qmerit will also save the customers time, how so?“We are fortunate to have great contractors in our network – they take care of the local customers and make us look good nationally. Also, our digital platform saves time and money for contractors and customers.”Qmerit recently added Jaguar & Land Rover to the list of OEMs including BMW, MINI and Faraday Future that use their service to assist their customers with home charging installations. EVSE manufacturers ChargePoint, eMotorWerks and FLO have also teamed up with Qmerit to help their customers install the equipment they purchase from them. read more

China Sets New PlugIn Electric Car Sales Record In October 2018

first_imgOctober brings a huge record for the BAIC EC-Series, which the new version (with 30 kWh battery) priced at around $25,000 before subsidies went through the roof. 20,648 were sold last month (a new record for a plug-in model in a single month).New highs were set by BYD Tang (6,037) and BYD Yuan (5,803). Fourth and fifth place in October were taken by the Hawtai EV160 (5,736 – new record) and Chery eQ (5,547 – best result in 2018).Plug-in electric car sales in China – October 2018Source: EV Sales Blog Total sales are expected to exceed 1,000,000 this year.China has not only set a new all-time record for plug-in electric car sales in October, but beat the previous one from September by a huge margin of 14% or about 14,500.The total result is roughly 119,400 (up 85% year-over-year) at very high 5.8% market share (also a new record)!Taking into consideration sales of almost 751,000 during the first 10 months of 2018 (at average 3.6% market share), there is a big chance to exceed 1,000,000 in 2018 (sales in the last months of the year are usually the highest in China).More from China China’s New Rules Will Punish Automakers Who Don’t Meet Electric Quota Tesla Model 3 Performance Pricing Announced For China Source: Electric Vehicle News In October 2018 BYD Set 5th Straight Plug-In Electric Car Sales Record Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 20, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle Newslast_img read more

Sole Source Procurement

first_imgSole source procurement generally refers to a contract executed without a competitive bidding process. Most governments, including the U.S., use sole source procurement in connection with certain goods and services.There is nothing inherently wrong with sole source procurement from a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act perspective. However, the bribery risk is that a government contracting official with discretion over the procurement process may request money or something of value to convert what would otherwise be a competitive bidding process into a sole source procurement. The end result may be that the company providing or offering money or something of value to the foreign official will get the contract – which is an FCPA issue.As highlighted below certain FCPA enforcement actions have involved – in some way – sole source procurement.United Industrial Corporation / Thomas WurzelIn this settled complaint, the SEC alleged that Thomas Wurzel (President of ACL Technologies, Inc., an indirect,wholly-owned subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation):“authorized multiple payments to an ACL foreign agent in connection with a military aircraft depot ACL was building for the Egyptian Air Force (“EAF”) in Cairo, Egypt, while he knew or consciously disregarded the high probability that the agent would offer, provide. or promise at least a portion of such payments to active EAF officials for the purpose of influencing such officials to obtain or retain business for UIC through ACL. As a result, ACL was awarded a Contract Engineering Technical Services (“CETS”) contract with gross revenues and net profit to ACL of approximately $5.3 million and $267,571, respectively.”As stated in the complaint:“In October 1999, the UI.S. Air Force awarded ACL a project by to build a F-16 combat aircraft depot for the EAF, and to provide, operate and train Egyptian labor to use the associated testing equipment for the depot (the “Egyptian F-16 Depot Project”). ACL was awarded the ‘Egyptian F-16 Depot Project as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s foreign “military sale (“FMS”) program, FMS contracts generally are purchases by foreign governments. from the U.S. Government of weapons and other defense items, services and military training, which the U.S. Government fulfills by entering into contracts with private-sector defense contractors. Accordingly, as the purchaser and ultimate end-user for the F·16 depot facility that would be built, the EAF directed when, to what extent and how money would be spent on the project. Moreover, the EAF could select a particular contractor for a project it desired through its use of “sole source” requests. A sole source request, if approved by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force, would avoid the competitive bidding process. In connection with the Egyptian F-16 Depot Project, the EAF submitted a “sole source” request for ACL’s services, and ACL in 1999 was awarded the contract for the Project.”Among other allegations, the SEC alleged that:“Wurzel had enlisted the assistance of a foreign agent, a retired EAF General (the “EAF Agent”), to act as a consultant to ACL to help influence the EAF in moving the Egyptian F-16 Depot Project forward. […] Wurzel also authorized monthly stipends of $4,000 to the EAF Agent~ although ACL did not maintain any due diligence files for the agent at that time and did not have a formal consulting contract with the agent until March 13, 1998 (at which time the agent’s monthly stipends were raised to. $20,000).”The SEC charged Wurzel with violating the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions, books and records provisions, and internal controls provisions. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Wurzel agreed to pay a $35,000 civil penalty. (See here).Based on the same core conduct, the SEC also brought this administrative action against UIC.Halliburton / Jeannot LorenzThe enforcement action against the company and its former Vice President Lorenz concerning conduct in Angola involved sole sourcing (albeit Halliburton’s existing internal controls concerning sole sourcing of vendors).At its core, the enforcement action concerned Halliburton’s efforts to partner with a local Angolan company sufficient to satisfy Angola’s local content requirements in connection with business with Sonangol.As explained in the SEC’s order:“As a result of the internal disapproval, Lorenz abandoned the idea of retaining the local Angolan company as a commercial agent. Lorenz then proposed to directly outsource some of Halliburton’s in-house functions to the local Angolan company without competitive bidding. However, in order to comply with the company’s internal accounting controls, Halliburton’s procurement personnel required a competitive bidding process to outsource real estate maintenance, travel and ground transportation services in which the preferred local Angolan company would compete.[…]Halliburton’s internal accounting controls required that the supplier qualification process begin with an assessment of the criticality or risk of a material or service, not with a particular supplier. Instead, Lorenz started with a particular supplier (the local Angolan company) and then backed into a list of services it could provide. Lorenz also violated Halliburton internal accounting controls by entering into the interim consulting agreement without either seeking competitive bids or providing an adequate single source justification. Lorenz failed to comply with an internal accounting control that required contracts over $10,000 in countries with a high risk of corruption, such as Angola, to be reviewed and approved by a Tender Review Committee.[…]By again selecting a particular supplier – rather than determining the critical services and then selecting the appropriate supplier – and doing so without competitive bidding or substantiating the need for a single source, Lorenz violated Halliburton’s internal accounting controls.[…]According to Halliburton’s internal accounting controls, using a single source is justified when “there is a significant advantage to the Company in soliciting a bid from only one supplier, although more than one supplier may be capable of supplying the product or service.” Halliburton’s internal accounting controls indicated that using a single source “typically occurs when a supplier is clearly preferred for quality, technical, execution or other reasons.” In this case, the supplier was not preferred for quality or technical reasons or its ability to execute. Instead it was chosen to fulfill Halliburton’s local content commitment to Sonangol. Halliburton internal accounting controls also mandated that when using a single source vendor without competitive bidding, the underlying reasons “should be clearly identified and justified by referencing an existing approved Single Source justification.” The purpose of this control is to provide needed information to company auditors in their effort to test whether transactions were undertaken for legitimate reasons and not due to improper considerations.”As highlighted in this prior post, Halliburton, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings that it violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions, agreed to pay $29.2 million. The SEC also found that Lorenz caused the company’s violations, circumvented internal accounting controls, and falsified books and records. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Lorenz agreed to pay a $75,000 penalty.In terms of risk management, business organizations confronted with sole source contracting issues should inquire about the justification for the sole source arrangement, whether the specifics of the sole source arrangement are written and transparent, and be particularly cognizant if a third party suggested or is otherwise involved in the sole source procurement. Learn More & Register FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. Learn more, spend less. CLE credit is available.last_img read more

Study Many gay and bisexual teenage boys use adult hookup apps to

first_img Source:https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2018/may/gay-male-teens-use-adult-hookup-apps-to-find-friends-partners/ May 18 2018Although hookup apps require users to be 18 or older, a new Northwestern Medicine study found that more than 50 percent of sexually active gay and bisexual boys ages 14 to 17 met male sexual partners on apps such as Grindr and Scruff.It also was common for these teens to use the apps to connect with friends and find new gay, bisexual and queer friends and boyfriends, which sheds new light on who uses adult male hookup apps and why.The study was published today, May 18, in the Journal of Adolescent Health. It is the first known study to document that gay and bisexual teenage boys use sex and dating apps designed for adult men to find male partners. The apps provide users with a virtual networking space specifically for gay and bisexual men and overcome the need to figure out a potential partner’s or friend’s sexuality.These features might be appealing to gay and bisexual adolescent boys who are not as open about their sexual identity, who have a smaller pool of potential partners compared to their heterosexual peers and who are navigating dating and sex with same-gender partners for the first time.”While this study points out that hookup apps pose some risks, we were happy to learn that there are many positive ways youth use these apps that help them feel more confident and comfortable in their sexuality,” said first author Kathryn Macapagal, research assistant professor of medical social sciences at the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “They can better learn about ways to protect their sexual health and feel less alone, which is important for gay and bisexual teens who are much more likely to feel isolated or depressed because of their sexual orientation or identity.”Teenage boys who used the apps were more likely seek out important sexual health services, such as HIV testing, the study found.It is common for adolescents, regardless of their sexual orientation, to use sexually explicit media such as apps or porn to explore their sexuality. However, young men who have sex with men are far more likely than other groups to be infected with HIV, and the study found that most boys who had had sex with partners they met on the apps didn’t always use condoms.Related StoriesHIV therapy leaves unrepaired holes in the immune system’s wall of defensePatients with HIV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid have high risk of experiencing cognitive deficitsResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repair”Gay and bisexual adolescent boys account for almost two-thirds of HIV infections among teenagers in the United States, but unfortunately sex education and HIV prevention tailored to their needs is almost nonexistent,” Macapagal said. “The sooner we understand the role these apps play in the lives of gay and bisexual teen guys, the sooner we will be able to tailor sex education and HIV prevention efforts for this population and help them live healthier lives.”In the study, 200 sexually experienced gay and bisexual adolescent boys ages 14 to 17, who were recruited from Facebook and Instagram, completed online survey questions assessing their use of apps to meet partners for dating and sex, as well as their sexual behavior and HIV risk. Overall, 52.5 percent of participants reported using hookup apps to find male partners.More than 80 percent of the youth reported using hookup apps such as Grindr – the most-downloaded app worldwide for men who have sex with men – and dating websites because they felt like they had few options for meeting gay, bisexual and queer partners in their neighborhoods. More than 30 percent of study participants said they used these technologies to prevent other non-LGBTQ people from learning about their sexual orientation. Thirty-four percent of participants said they used the apps to meet a new gay or bisexual friend.The study highlights just how little parents, educators and health care providers know about how teens spend their time on apps and online technology that is constantly changing.”It is difficult to prevent teens from using hookup apps altogether,” said Dr. Brian Mustanski, director of the Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing and co-director of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research. “So it becomes increasingly important for parents and others who work closely with teens to be proactive in having conversations with teens about online safety and sexual safety, especially on apps or websites they may not officially be allowed to use because of their age.”last_img read more

Scientists find key link between viruses and inflammatory bowel diseases

first_img Source:http://www.ucdenver.edu/ Jul 23 2018A study led by a researcher at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus reveals a key connection between viruses and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.Breck Duerkop, PhD, assistant professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and a team of scientists focused on viruses inhabiting bacteria in the intestine known as bacteriophages or simply phages.”Phage numbers are elevated at the intestinal mucosal surface and increase in abundance during inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggesting that phages play an unidentified role in IBD,” said Duerkop, lead author of the study published Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology.Related StoriesGene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene”Getting rid of chronic infections by waking up sleeping bacteriaStudy shows link between gut microbiome health and successful joint replacementIBD poses significant health burdens worldwide and has inspired intense investigation into the environmental factors causing persistent inflammation of the intestine. Microbial communities are critical in maintaining intestinal health but changes in the composition of these organisms may cause an inflammatory response by the body.According to Duerkop, most studies looking at how these microbial communities might spark inflammation have focused chiefly on bacteria rather than the viruses residing inside them.When inflammation occurs, Duerkop found that phage communities change randomly leading to a genetic signature indicative of the inflammatory environment.”We hypothesize that inflammation or other host defenses alter phage abundances during colitis,” the study said. “Such stresses could produce ecological disturbances in the intestinal environment, driving alterations within the viral community.”Those disturbances could be the result of the viruses killing off beneficial bacteria in the intestine and allowing for `bad actor’ bacteria to cause inflammation and bowel disease.The experiments were done with mice.”What we see in mice is consistent with what we see in humans with IBD,” Duerkop said.While the mechanics of how these phages operate will require further study, Duerkop said this discovery could lead to new kinds of treatment for these often debilitating diseases.Clinicians could target certain bacteria with viruses to eliminate bacteria that lead to inflammation. Bacteria could be manipulated to circumvent the development of disease.”We could promote the growth of good bacteria – a kind of phage therapy,” Duerkop said. “We could perhaps use phages as markers to identify someone predisposed to developing these diseases. While there is clearly more research to do, the potential is very exciting.”last_img

New survey reveals public attitudes towards commercial use of genetic data samples

first_img Source:Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 31 2018The almost 5 million people who paid to get their DNA analyzed by the company 23andMe recently found out that their genetic data and related health information might have been sold to a major drug company.That’s because 23andMe made a $300 million deal with pharmaceutical giant Glaxo SmithKline, to let it tap that genetic goldmine to help it develop new medicines. If 23andMe customers consented to allow their DNA samples to be used for research when they sent them in, their data can be sold in this way.Millions more people have samples sitting in very different kinds of biobanks: at universities and major teaching hospitals. When patients have surgery, biopsies, or blood draws at hospitals, those specimens may be kept for future research.A new University of Michigan survey documents public attitudes toward potential commercial use of these samples.A new survey reveals what members of the public think about such deals, and what they would want to know if their specimen were part of one, even if it didn’t have their name attached. The results are published in a new paper in the August issue of the journalOnly one in four of the 886 people surveyed nationally said they’d be comfortable with companies getting access to their leftover specimens from a university or hospital biobank.Two thirds of the survey respondents said that if such a deal happened, they’d want to know. If the specimens in academic biobanks don’t include patients’ identifying information, researchers don’t need informed consent from the patient in order to keep them for research. However, as Andrew Shuman, M.D., a head and neck surgeon and co-chief of the Clinical Ethics Service of the Center for Bioethics & Social Sciences in Medicine points out, “there are compelling reasons to ask for patient consent before we collect specimens for research–whether or not their identifiable health information is included.”Nonprofit institutions, like academic medical centers, usually use these samples for research. But often they need to look elsewhere for funding to support the upkeep of the biobank — and may sell access to private companies through a process called commercialization.Related StoriesMolecular switches may control lifespan and healthspan separately, genetic discovery suggestsGene modulation goes wireless hacking the “boss gene”Transobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinence”That’s a big part of the business model of the direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies” points out U-M faculty member and co-author Michele Gornick, Ph.D., but it was not the driving force behind the creation of academic biobanks.As more academic institutions seek to commercialize their biobanks, the U-M team asked survey respondents what universities and hospitals should do with the money they might get from such deals.Sixty-two percent said they should plow those funds back into more research. The U-M researchers argue in the new article that these findings demonstrate that when researchers are asking for informed consent to biobank donation, they should also disclose what the money will be used for in the future.The findings have real-world implications, says Jody Platt, PhD, the study’s senior author and assistant professor in the Medical School. Under the new regulations, public biobanks will often be required to disclose to patients if specimens will be commercialized in the future.”We found that if you disclose commercial interests, people are less likely to participate,” says Platt. “But if you also tell them that the money will be reinvested in research, this will reengage trust and encourage participation.”Their findings suggest that institutions should go above and beyond what the law requires, under the newly revised Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, or “Common Rule,” that takes effect in January.The survey, done as part of a larger one led by co-author Sharon Kardia, Ph.D. of the U-M School of Public Health, and also with U-M medical school faculty Raymond De Vries, Ph.D., included a nationally representative sample of adults who were presented a scenario about biobanking and commercialization, and then answered questions online.”The new disclosure laws are supposed to be a floor, not a ceiling,” says lead author Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D, MBE, who is Chief of the Research Ethics Service at CBSSM. “But it may be counter-intuitive for biobanks to disclose more information than legally required. Here we found that they should be doing just that.”last_img read more

Top stories A genetic link to gray hair a fungus that makes

first_img Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Scientists gear up to drill into ‘ground zero’ of the impact that killed the dinosaursThis month, a drilling platform will rise in the Gulf of Mexico, but it won’t be aiming for oil. Scientists will try to sink a diamond-tipped bit into the heart of Chicxulub crater—the buried remnant of the asteroid impact 66 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs, along with most other life on the planet.Budget crunch could dissolve Berkeley’s College of Chemistry The University of California, Berkeley, is considering disbanding the university’s College of Chemistry to help cope with a cash crunch at one of the country’s most prominent public universities. According to an article in the Daily Californian, the university’s flagship campus is $150 million in debt, and is facing flat income from tuition and rising costs.Study finds first genetic links for gray hair, beard thickness, and unibrowsEver wonder why your hair goes gray? Researchers have long known that a slowdown in the production of melanin, the pigment that colors hair, is to blame. But they don’t know precisely what starts the slowdown. Now, researchers have identified 18 genes that appear to influence hair traits, including the first ever to be associated with graying.What’s the face of U.S innovation? Don’t think Bill GatesThe archetypal U.S. innovator is not a young white college dropout building a startup in his garage, argues a wide-ranging new study of the demographics of U.S. innovators. Rather than Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, a middle-aged male Ph.D. toiling at a large U.S. firm—and perhaps born abroad—is more likely to be behind the next big thing.Fungus turns frogs into sexy zombiesA fungal disease that is killing amphibians worldwide may be spreading by making the mating calls of infected males more attractive to females. The finding—one of the first to show that the pathogen can alter a species’s reproductive behavior—could explain why frogs and related animals are continuing to disappear across the globe.Now that you’ve got the scoop on this week’s hottest science news, come back Monday to test your smarts on our weekly quiz!last_img read more

Taiwanese scientists fight construction of a new port they say would damage

first_img Taiwanese scientists fight construction of a new port they say would damage a unique reef TAIPEI—Taiwanese scientists and environmental groups are fighting to stop the planned construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal off the coast of Datan borough in the city of Taoyuan on Taiwan’s northwestern coast, which they say will damage a unique algal reef ecosystem. About 100 people gathered on the beach on 17 November to call for the project to be moved to another site.The proposed terminal will span 9 square kilometers and include a U-shaped port with a bridge connecting it to two LNG storage tanks to be built in an existing industrial park nearby.Taiwan’s new energy policy aims to phase out nuclear energy by 2025 and increase the share of natural gas in electricity generation to 50%. (Renewables will make up 20%, and coal the rest.) To meet those goals, a power plant in Datan will be expanded, and the only way to meet its demand schedule, according to the state-owned oil and gas firm CPC, is to build the LNG terminal nearby. Jusmin Peng By Andrew SilverNov. 21, 2018 , 12:10 PM A group of demonstrators gathered on the beach near the proposed project on Saturday. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email But scientists say construction will further damage a 27-kilometer reef along the Taoyuan coastline built up over 7500 years by a group of pink and purple algal species named crustose coralline algae. The reef is home to a wide variety of species, including hammerhead sharks, six species of moray eels, and the largest population of Polycyathus chaishanensis, an endangered coral species endemic to Taiwan that was first described in 2010.Changes in sand movement caused by cement structures elsewhere along Taiwan’s coastline have led to significant coastal erosion, says Allen Chen, a reef biologist at Academia Sinica here who attended Saturday’s protests. Chen is worried that sand dispersal caused by the new port could leave parts of the reef exposed and more vulnerable to strong waves, while other parts could become buried in the sand. The port could also stop marine animals from approaching the reef.CPC says the risk is minimal. In a statement emailed to Science, a spokesperson says the port is designed to reduce sand migration; surveys and computer simulations suggest breakwaters will divert sand-carrying waves and prevent the reef from being buried. To address environmental concerns, the terminal’s layout was redesigned in order to maintain the flow of nutrients, the spokesperson says. CPC will allocate funds annually toward conservation measures and set up a review committee that includes local authorities, residents, and scientists.In July, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) subcommittee at Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency rejected the project based on independent evaluations, according to the Taipei Times. But in October, the agency’s EIA grand assembly overruled that decision and approved the project. It is now awaiting approval from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, and the Taoyuan city government.Chen says by the time the proposed plant would be completed, expansions of existing LNG terminals in Taichung and Tainan will be completed, reducing Taiwan’s LNG requirements. And by 2030, the rising cost of natural gas and attractive prices of renewable energy could make LNG entirely obsolete. “How could our government have such a short-sighted vision to destroy the algal reef just for satisfying the temporary need for LNG for 3 years or 5 years?” Chen asks.“Who wouldn’t be convinced that we should try everything to fight for this habitat?” adds Hui-Chen Lin, a marine biologist at Tunghai University in Taichung who also attended the protest.last_img read more

Canadian telescope finds mysterious radio flashes from deep space

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe By Daniel CleryJan. 9, 2019 , 1:00 PM Andre Renard/Dunlap Institute/CHIME Collaboration FRBs were first detected in 2007 by telescopes in Australia. For years, skeptical astronomers dismissed them as local effects or instrumental glitches. Because FRBs are rare, only wide-field telescopes have a chance of catching one. But these survey scopes tend not to be sensitive enough to learn much about them. And because FRBs occur in the blink of an eye, it’s too late to bring another, more sensitive, telescope to bear on it.Astronomers began to take FRBs seriously when, earlier this decade, teams figured out that the pulses came from distant galaxies. That discovery was based on the structure of the pulses themselves: Among the range of frequencies that make them up, longer wavelength photons lag behind the shorter ones, thanks to the drag of intergalactic matter. The amount of lag in an arriving pulse is too great for the FRB to be from a source within the Milky Way. Previously, some scientists thought explosive events in our galaxy such as supernovae or neutron star mergers might be responsible for the bursts.But in 2012, an FRB was found by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that was later shown to repeat. This ruled out one-off sources like mergers or supernovae that would be consumed in the process—for that FRB at least. Further observations with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia told researchers that the burst, known as FRB 121102, came from a highly magnetic environment. In 2017 researchers used the Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, and the European VLBI Network—a continent-wide array—to pin down its location to a small star-forming galaxy 3 billion light-years away.But what spawns FRBs remains a mystery. There are almost as many theories as there are FRB detections. An online list now has 47 entries, including neutron star-white dwarf mergers, lightning on pulsars, and alien light-sails. But with only 60 FRBs, astronomers have little to go on. Finding more FRBs—and more repeaters—will let researchers statistically analyze them, and perhaps even determine which types of galaxies spawn them.CHIME, originally designed to map clouds of interstellar hydrogen to understand the mysterious dark energy that is accelerating the expansion of the universe, aims to help. The telescope, near Penticton in British Columbia in Canada, is comprised of four, fixed 100-meter-long parabolic troughs that look straight up and scan the whole visible sky more than 24 hours.Construction was finished in 2017. In July and August 2018, while parts of the system were still being tested, CHIME bagged 13 new FRBs over 3 weeks, including the second repeater. “It was a happy surprise, with an element of relief, too,” says Ingrid Stairs of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, one of the leaders of the CHIME FRB team. Previously, no FRBs had been found at frequencies below 700 megahertz (MHz), and scientists were worried that not many FRBs would be visible in CHIME’s 400- to 800-MHz range. Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, lead author of one of two CHIME papers published today in Nature, says they want to detect across as broad a range of frequencies as possible, both to catch more FRBs and to better understand what is producing them.Burke-Spolaor says the second repeater is exciting because it confirms their existence and heralds more discoveries. Researchers can’t yet tell whether repeaters are a distinct type of FRB or a stage in their long evolution: Single FRBs, for example, could actually be repeaters that have slowed with age and burst too rarely for us to see repeats. The two known repeaters show noticeable similarities, with more structure in their pulses—a series of subbursts—than all but one of the single FRBs. “The striations in the pulses are so rich in information,” Burke-Spolaor says. “Finding more repeaters is very important because they are easier to localize [to a source galaxy].” CHIME’s results support the idea that FRBs come from dense star-forming regions and perhaps from within old supernova remnants.Researchers are already looking forward to the haul that CHIME should return when it comes online later this year. Gajjar says: “We should get busy.” SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—A new Canadian radio telescope, not yet fully operational, has already detected more than a dozen of the mysteriously brief blasts from deep space known as fast radio bursts (FRBs). One is only the second known to flash repeatedly, researchers reported here today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The early results from the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) suggest the scope is well on its way to adding hundreds or even thousands of FRBs to the 60 or so already known—hopefully revealing the source of these powerful millisecondslong pulses in the process.“This really points to the fact that CHIME is set to revolutionize the field of FRBs,” says Sarah Burke-Spolaor of West Virginia University in Morgantown, who was not involved in the research.FRBs are one of the hottest topics in astronomy. Researchers not only want to figure out what they are, they also want to use them to gather information about the matter that resides in the vast reaches between galaxies. As they journey through deep space, FRB pulses get spread out by all the electrons they meet, revealing information about the density of the intergalactic medium. That would be valuable input for models of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. “FRBs could be a good way to understand the evolution of our universe,” says Vishal Gajjar of the University of California, Berkeley, also not a member of the CHIME team. Emailcenter_img Canadian telescope finds mysterious radio flashes from deep space A new Canadian radio telescope in British Columbia has already bagged 13 mysterious radio bursts. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more