Airtight box and plant experiment ends in blinding headaches

first_img Citation: Airtight box and plant experiment ends in blinding headaches (2011, September 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2011 Explore further New Miscanthus hybrid discovery in Japan could open doors for biofuel industry ( — Iain Stewart, a professor of geoscience at Plymouth University, spent the weekend carrying out an experiment in Cornwall at the Eden Project. Stewart was locked in an airtight chamber for 48 hours with nothing but plants to provide his oxygen. The experiment was filmed for a BBC series, How Plants Made the World. The idea of this experiment, according to Stewart, was to see if plants could really keep a person alive and stress the importance of photosynthesis, or the process of plants taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen by using light.The chamber that Stewart spent the weekend in was eight meters long, two meters wide and 2.5 meters tall and filled with 30 large plants and 120 small ones. Some of the plants included banana trees, miscanthus, maize and a variety of tropical herbs.The chamber was fitted both inside and out with a special lighting system to ensure that the plants received adequate energy for photosynthesis and the temperature and humidity levels were kept at the optimal range for the plants and not for Stewart.Inside the chamber, Stewart had a hammock to sleep in, an exercise bike and a laptop. The exercise bike was placed inside in case the carbon dioxide levels dropped too low for photosynthesis. If this were to happen, Stewart would be required to exercise.The experiment concluded on Saturday night and the oxygen levels remained high enough for Stewart to remain in the chamber for the full 48 hours, however, the oxygen levels dropped from 21 percent to between 10 and 12 percent. This level is similar to the atmosphere found at high elevations and is what causes altitude sickness.Specialists from the University College London’s Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine and the Royal Free Hospital were there to monitor Stewart for the duration of the experiment and also put him through various tests to look at the effects of the low oxygen levels. While Stewart did manage to stay in the chamber for the entire 48 hours, the reduced oxygen levels contributed to blinding headaches which he is recovering from. 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

Facebook sets engineers to work on grownup search

first_img Citation: Facebook sets engineers to work on grown-up search (2012, March 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( — Facebook is planning to get serious about its search engine. Sources tipped off reporters this week about Facebook plans to upgrade its search engine and run toward the money that can be gained from optimized search. Tongues are wagging about how, not when, and story headlines are pairing the Facebook plan with thoughts about Google, namely what the search surge can mean as a challenge to Google. Numerous sites that watch both Google and Facebook marvel at the two companies’ opposite moves; of Google moving toward social while Facebook moving toward search. © 2012 Google hoping other sites like recommendation tool Explore further Comparing the two giants as competing Goliaths is also tempting considering the fact that Facebook called in former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, the co-founder of Google Maps, to work on its freshened-search project. (Rasmussen left Google in 2010 to work for Facebook.) The news was bared this week in a report from Bloomberg Businessweek, in which people familiar with the project said Facebook gave the green light to a team of 24 to 25 engineers to enrich and refine the search function.Citing more confirmation of Facebook’s foray into search, news sites pointed to a photograph posted by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook wall, showing his desk and laptop display with an image of a Facebook page with a large white box. They said the box may be an image of the company’s prototype search display.But why should a social site go to so much trouble fixing the search engine? After all, Facebook’s search box can do a number of tasks including finding other members. General Web search results are powered by the Bing search engine from Microsoft. Some Facebook users say there is lots of room for improvement, however, in sifting through content. Bloomberg Businessweek said that a Facebook search for “Sonoma winery” resulted in a disorganized yield of wineries, people who work at wineries, unrelated banner ads, and a page for a wine-tasting iPhone app.Being able to carry a well-structured search engine is not only a way to please users but also a way to ensure monetization. As The Register less delicately put it, “Facebook – ahead of its IPO – is trying to get its advertising house in order because, like Google, that’s where it makes its bucks.” What’s more, one observer described Facebook’s unique search-engine potential as being able to cropdust the Web with ‘Like’ buttons. “Facebook has a huge set of data and information curated by all of us,’ wrote Drew Olanoff in The Next Web.Nonetheless, Google is not about to relax in maintaining search-engine supremacy. Google is working on a next-generation search where people can get answers to queries rather than just seeing Web links. Earlier this month, a report in The Wall Street Journal said that over the next few months, Google will present more facts and direct answers to queries at the top of the search-results page. People searching for Lake Tahoe would see key attributes about the lake, such as location, altitude, average temperature or salt content. This would be in contrast to getting just links to a visitor bureau, a Wikipedia page, and link to a map. The article noted that for a more complex question asking for the ten largest lakes in California, Google might provide the answer instead of just links to other sites. 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

Of mice and molecules In vivo photoacoustic imaging using semiconducting polymer nanoparticles

first_imgThe application of semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (SPNs) to an activatable nanoprobe for imaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) in an edema mouse model. Credit: Jianghong Rao Rao describes some of the paper’s interesting and important findings, starting with their fundamental demonstration that near-infrared light-absorbing semiconducting polymer nanoparticles can serve as an efficient and stable nanoplatform to allow photons to be used to generate ultrasound waves, permitting in vivo photoacoustic molecular imaging. “Semiconducting polymer nanoparticles can absorb a large amount of near-infrared light,” he explains. “The absorbed energy is then dissipated as heat to generate sound waves and these waves can be detected by the ultrasound transducer and in turn exploited for photoacoustic imaging. Addressing another result – that activatable molecular imaging probes can undergo an intrinsic signal evolution upon detecting molecular targets or events, providing a real-time correlation between probe activated versus non-activated states and pathological processes on a molecular level – Rao points out that in this study, the probe produces photoacoustic signals at two different wavelengths (700 nm and 820 nm) before activation by the ROS (reactive oxygen species) molecular target. “After activation,” he adds, “the signal at 820 nm is lost, and the signal at 700 nm remains. Thus this signal change reflects the presence and activity of the target. The imaging acquisition is fast, so the detection can be in real time. The imaging captures molecular change of the probe that reflects the activity of the ROS molecular target in the disease.”The paper emphasizes that full utilization of the potential of photoacoustic imaging at a depth and spatial resolution that is unattainable by fluorescence imaging requires new materials amenable to the construction of activatable photoacoustic probes. “Activatable probes can allow one to detect physiological and pathological molecular events,” Rao explains. “However, most current activatable probes rely on fluorescence, which doesn’t provide the deep imaging depth and high spatial resolution that photoacoustic imaging does.”Moving forward, Rao says, the scientists are continuing to explore their application for imaging – for example, photoacoustic imaging of cancer by attaching a tumor-targeting molecule to the nanoparticle. “Another area will be to explore more polymers that absorb at different near-infrared wavelength,” he adds, “allowing multiple target imaging to be done simultaneously. Moreover, while this work demonstrates the imaging of reactive oxygen species, other molecular targets, such as pH and enzyme species, may be similarly imaged.” Rao also points out that it may be possible for the new approach to be combined with drug delivery, effectively creating so-called theranostic nanoparticles for personalized healthcare applications by testing patients for possible reactions to a new medication, and then tailoring a treatment for them based on the test results.Rao lists a number of applications that will emerge as a result of their research. “Our research will most likely lead to the use of semiconducting nanoparticles for photoacoustic imaging on pre-clinical animal models, such as imaging ROS in deep tissue locations in diseases,” he says. “It could also lead to the development of other semiconducting polymer-based photoacoustic imaging probes, both targeting probes by conjugating a targeting ligand” (a small molecule that forms a complex with a biomolecule to serve a biological purpose) “and activatable probes signal activation by molecular targets other than ROS.”Regarding other areas of research that might benefit from their study, Rao tells that the new nanomaterial should enhance the ability to study cancer, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and many other diseases in animal models, and help uncover the role of aberrant RONS (reactive oxygen and nitrogen species) in these diseases and contribute to the development of novel therapeutics. “With the translation of photoacoustic imaging to clinics,” Rao concludes, “it may be applied to clinical research as well.” More information: Semiconducting polymer nanoparticles as photoacoustic molecular imaging probes in living mice, Nature Nanotechnology 9(3), 233–239 (2014), DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2013.302 Explore further Unwanted side effect becomes advantage in photoacoustic imaging Prof. Jianghong Rao discussed the paper that he, Dr. Kanyi Pu and their co-authors published in Nature Nanotechnology. “Firstly, there are several ideal properties a photoacoustic imaging probe should have,” Rao tells “These are no or low toxicity, high photoacoustic efficiency, excellent photostability and chemical stability, absorption in infrared or near-infrared wavelength to avoid the tissue background light absorption and achieve better light penetration, and –for a molecular imaging probe – the ability to generate target-specific photoacoustic imaging contrast.” However, Rao continues, current photoacoustic contrast agents generally do not meet all of these requirements, having either have poor photostability, poor oxidation stability, or toxicity concerns. While photoacoustic imaging promises to significantly advance molecular-level physiological and pathological visualization with deep tissue penetration and fine spatial resolution, photoacoustic molecular imaging probes must first be developed.On the other hand, Rao notes that semiconducting polymer nanoparticles offer a number of attractive features, including being a photoacoustic imaging contrast agent, no use of toxic metals, being biologically inert, having high photostability, are resistant against oxidation, and the ability to be made with high near-infrared light absorption. “The main question,” he explains, “was whether it was efficient for semiconducting polymer nanoparticles to produce acoustic signals after light excitation – and we had to examine the type of polymer to determine this. All this said, the big challenge for molecular photoacoustic imaging probes is whether they can produce a specific signal in response to their molecular targets. This requires a signal activation mechanism controlled by the molecular target.”In addressing these challenges, Rao says that their key insight was that a semiconducting polymer can be formulated into a water-soluble nanoparticle and, depending on its structure, the resultant nanoparticles can be highly efficient for photoacoustic imaging. “Our key innovation in designing semiconducting polymer nanoparticles into a phootoacoustic molecular imaging probe was to introduce ratiometric imaging widely used in fluorescence imaging,” he says. Ratiometric imaging techniques observe emission wavelength shifts of fluorophores (fluorescent chemical compounds that can re-emit photons upon light excitation) or by comparing the emission intensity of a fluorophore combination instead of measuring mere intensity changes. “By exciting the probe at two different wavelengths, the target activation leads to the change in the photoacoustic signal at one wavelength, so the ratio of the signals at two wavelengths will change accordingly. This allowed us to create a target-specific photoacoustic signal.” 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. Journal information: Nature Nanotechnology © 2014 All rights reserved. Citation: Of mice and molecules: In vivo photoacoustic imaging using semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (2014, March 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from ( —Photoacoustic imaging is a hybrid biomedical imaging modality, based on the photoacoustic effect, in which non-ionizing laser pulses are delivered into biological tissues. (More specifically, in the photoacoustic effect sound waves form due to pressure changes when a material absorbs varying-intensity modulated or pulsed light. These waves are then detected by, for example, microphones or piezoelectric sensors. The resulting photoacoustic signal is the current or voltage that provides the value indicating how the sound waves vary in time.) Recently, scientists at Stanford University developed a new class of contrast agents for photoacoustic molecular imaging – namely, near-infrared (NIR) light absorbing semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (SPNs) that produce a stronger signal than single-walled carbon nanotubes and gold nanorods – properties that allowed the researchers to perform whole-body lymph-node photoacoustic mapping on living laboratory mice. In addition, these semiconducting polymer nanoparticles possess high structural flexibility, narrow photoacoustic spectral profiles and strong resistance to photodegradation and oxidation – qualities essential to the designing the first near-infrared ratiometric photoacoustic probe for in vivo real-time imaging of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) that mediate many diseases. In short, the researchers say, their results show semiconducting polymer nanoparticles to be the perfect nanoplatform for the development of photoacoustic molecular probes.last_img read more

New mitochondriallyderived peptides show what they can do

first_img © 2015 More information: The Mitochondrial-Derived Peptide MOTS-c Promotes Metabolic Homeostasis and Reduces Obesity and Insulin Resistance, Cell Metabolism, … (15)00061-3/abstractAbstractMitochondria are known to be functional organelles, but their role as a signaling unit is increasingly being appreciated. The identification of a short open reading frame (sORF) in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that encodes a signaling peptide, humanin, suggests the possible existence of additional sORFs in the mtDNA. Here we report a sORF within the mitochondrial 12S rRNA encoding a 16-amino-acid peptide named MOTS-c (mitochondrial open reading frame of the 12S rRNA-c) that regulates insulin sensitivity and metabolic homeostasis. Its primary target organ appears to be the skeletal muscle, and its cellular actions inhibit the folate cycle and its tethered de novo purine biosynthesis, leading to AMPK activation. MOTS-c treatment in mice prevented age-dependent and high-fat-diet-induced insulin resistance, as well as diet-induced obesity. These results suggest that mitochondria may actively regulate metabolic homeostasis at the cellular and organismal level via peptides encoded within their genome. (—There is a whole lot more to the textbook mitochondrial genome then once was thought. A case in point is a multifunctional peptide named humanin that is dual-encoded deep within 16S ribosomal RNA gene in the mtDNA. Pinchas Cohen’s lab was one of three labs that simultaneously co-discovered humanin when screening for proteins that may be involved in Alzheimer’s, IGF-1 signaling, and apoptosis. Cohen’s group just published a report in Cell Metabolism where they described another mitochondrially derived peptide, this time encoded within the 12S RNA-c gene, which has also has some useful properties. A mere 16 amino acids in length, they have demonstrated that this MOTS-c peptide as they call it (mitochondrial open reading frame of RNA-c) has dramatic effects on obesity and insulin resistance. 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. Journal information: Cell Metabolismcenter_img Before barreling ahead about the wonders of MOTS-c, we should probably say a bit more about humanin and mitochondrial translation in general. The final working length of humanin depends on where it was produced. If it was made inside the matrix using mitochondrial translation hardware its ends up being 21 amino acids long. If made outside mitochondria in the cytosol it will be 24 amino acids long. Both the tRNAs and rRNAs from mitochondria can end up getting transported into the cytosol, however, the mechanism and logic behind these processes is not yet understood. In a previous post we noted that there are similarities between some nuclear encoded tRNAs (like met-tRNA) and the analogous met-mt-tRNAs, and therefore asked what it would take for mitochondrial to utilize nuclear tRNAs, and similarly vice-versa. The authors recognized the possibility that short peptides, like MOTS-c in particular, might be of nuclear origin due to the well-known phenomenon of nuclear mtDNA transfer (NUMT). After doing so-called BLAST searches they were not able to find any putative NUMT-derived peptides with complete homology to MOTS-c, but a search using human expression sequence tags (EST) found several hits for homologous mRNA sequences to the mitochondrial 12S rRNA locus. This is a somewhat confusing state of affairs to say the least. Rats, for example, don’t have any NUMT sequences for MOTS-c, making mtDNA its exclusive source. For the case of humanin (which in rats the homologous peptide is called, as you may have anticipated, ‘rattin’ ), other research has turned up at least 10 nuclear-encoded ‘humanin-like’ peptides expressed in human tissues. For short length peptides it may be difficult to conclusively say that these are cases of mitochondrial transfer, ie NUMTs, or just sequence convergence effects.As for the question of where MOTS-c is made, its translation obligatorily occurs in the cytoplasm via the standard genetic code. This is because translation using the mitochondria-specific genetic code would yield tandem start and stop codons—hardly a useful message. The authors therefore reasonably suggest that the MOTS-c polyadenylated transcript is exported from the mitochondria. As for how MOTS-c is involved in obesity and diabetes, they point to altered gene expression of enzymes involved in the folate-methionine cycle and de novo purine synthesis. These results came from their microarray analysis and metabolomics profiling studies.The full complexity of the mtDNA code, now unravelling before us, reflects the unique genetic systems of the mitrochondrion’s bacterial ancestors. As we begin to comprehend the entire mitochondrial transcriptome, including its many small RNAs, we will be better equipped to evaluate potential fertilization outcome for issues like mitochondrial transfer in the creation of three parent embryos. Inclusive in any such discussion of effectively editing an entire mitochondrial genome in this blunt way would be consideration of the effects of new and contentious genome-editing techniques as they would be applied to mitohcondria themselves.When we raised the question above about the potential for internexed mito- and nuclear- translation, we also noted recent research on the historically deep multi-read sequences of ribosomal subunits themselves which keynotes aspects of overlapping RNA codes. Although not fully vetted, nor rejected, it may be worthwhile to take a deeper look into that particular ribosome model, where the ribosome itself is a microcosm encoding a complete set of tRNS and accessory proteins, to better understand the origins of the larger genetic system we possess. Citation: New mitochondrially-derived peptides show what they can do (2015, March 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Credit: Conspicuous tRNA lookalikes riddle the human genomelast_img read more

Researchers find a way to identify key nodes in illegal wildlife trade

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences More information: Quantitative methods of identifying the key nodes in the illegal wildlife trade network, Nikkita Gunvant Patel, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1500862112AbstractInnovative approaches are needed to combat the illegal trade in wildlife. Here, we used network analysis and a new database, HealthMap Wildlife Trade, to identify the key nodes (countries) that support the illegal wildlife trade. We identified key exporters and importers from the number of shipments a country sent and received and from the number of connections a country had to other countries over a given time period. We used flow betweenness centrality measurements to identify key intermediary countries. We found the set of nodes whose removal from the network would cause the maximum disruption to the network. Selecting six nodes would fragment 89.5% of the network for elephants, 92.3% for rhinoceros, and 98.1% for tigers. We then found sets of nodes that would best disseminate an educational message via direct connections through the network. We would need to select 18 nodes to reach 100% of the elephant trade network, 16 nodes for rhinoceros, and 10 for tigers. Although the choice of locations for interventions should be customized for the animal and the goal of the intervention, China was the most frequently selected country for network fragmentation and information dissemination. Identification of key countries will help strategize illegal wildlife trade interventions. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Researchers find a way to identify key nodes in illegal wildlife trade network (2015, June 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2015 South Africa weighs legal rhino horn tradecenter_img Most people are aware of the underground wildlife trade network, animals around the world are caught or killed and are sent whole or in parts to other places where they are highly valued. Such trafficking has resulted in reducing the numbers of many species, many to the point of extinction. Unfortunately, efforts by many people and organizations to stop the illegal trade have not been very successful. In this new effort, the researchers describe a new tool to help win the war.To gain a better perspective on the geographic location of all the players involved, the researchers used the HealthMap Wildlife Trade database to gather data about illegal trade location details. The database was originally built to help track diseases spread by animals, but offered data on details such as animals found dead due to poaching or resale market raids by police. The team used the data to create a network that revealed the country locals of various players involved in the illegal trade. And that allowed them to identify those countries that play a crucial role in maintaining the network—the thinking is, if the activities in just those countries could be curtailed, the network might fall apart.The team divided activities into two main sections—six countries that had the most illegal activity going on for three main animals—tigers, rhinos and elephants, and six countries that had the most connections. As an example, they found that disrupting such activity in the United Kingdom, Mozambique, China, Vietnam, South Africa and Thailand would cause a significant disruption of trade in rhino horns.The team notes that adding data to the networks as it becomes available should make the reports more accurate and thus more useful, both as a tool in slowing illegal wildlife trading and for studying the spread of diseases, particularly, those that jump to humans from animals. Satellite imagery of Africa. Credit: Public Domain (—A team of researchers with affiliations to several institutions in the U.S. has found a new way to track import, export and connecting countries in the illegal wildlife trade network. As they describe in their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, their work may help identify ways to reduce such trade in order to help protect the animals involved. Explore furtherlast_img read more

More musicians more music and more options

first_imgIn bollywood obsessed India, it is very tough for independent artists or bands to carve their niche. But Agnee managed not only to break through the norm, but also establish themselves in the mainstream. Millennium Post caught up with the band ahead of their performance today. Here are excerpts: What kind of music do you like to explore and create?We don’t really have any specific ideas when we create music, we find it better to go with the flow. We do believe that the song is king, so whatever melody comes to us at that point, we try and just make it the best sounding that we can. In case we’re composing for films, of course, we compose to a brief. We’re inspired by a lot of great musicians like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Saa’b, Sting, David Gilmour, and so many classical musicians, but we try our best to not get influenced in our creation by what we’ve heard. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’How do you go about ideating a new song? Enlighten us.We try to keep it honest and go with the flow. We’re always going to try and achieve the sublime and always not really get there, so the journey’s the most rewarding when you think you’ve gotten close. Song creation for us usually happens together, both Koco and I don’t like to see a song to the end individually. If I get a song idea, I wait for Koco to sit with me so we can take it forward, and he does the same when an idea comes to him. We’ve realised that the song typically becomes better when Koco and I sit together to compose. The composition is typically reactionary, where we just react to the other’s idea and take it forward in a natural way, and if that doesn’t work well, we try again till we think we’ve gotten the song to sound the way we want it to. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixLive performance versus album recording?Live performance, any day. The feeling you get when thousands of people are singing your songs back to you and giving you their energy is without parallel.How have reality shows and the internet changed the industry?More musicians, more music, more choices. That’s what the internet and Youtube and Facebook have given the listener. The musician now has more options on how to release music. However, it is more difficult now to be able to leverage these channels as there are so many musicians out there. Now, more than ever before, a musician needs to be very good and have very good songs to be able to create an impact. It’s a double edged sword, really. We’ve had a good run thanks to reality TV. We hope there will be other artists who will use these platforms wisely. What was your best tour?This one’s very difficult to answer. Baroda, MSU in 2009 was fabulous, as this was the first place we saw 8,000 people listening to us at our show and we spent three hours in a conference room after the show just giving out autographs and posing for pictures. This was the first time we really thought we might have reached people with our music. Tips for youngsters?Always be to remain honest in what you do. Believe in your music, be honest again and again (specially when you feel you don’t know where your music is going) and do not give up halfway. And do not ever be ashamed of promoting your own music.What is in stock for Delhi?This is our first time at Gurgaon. We’ll be playing some of our popular favourites and some stuff from our upcoming Punjabi film, Sarsa.DETAILAt: Lemp Brewpub and Kitchen, DLF Star Mall, 2nd floor, NH-8, Exit 8, Sector 30, Opp. 32nd Milestone, Gurgaon  When: 2 February Timings: 9 pm onwards  Entry: Rs 1,000 per personlast_img read more

Essence of Punjab

first_imgDelhi Tourism thrives to celebrate cultures and has specially designed festivals to give an expression to the multi-cultural identity of Delhi. This time again, the Baisakhi Mela will mark a grand celebration at Delhi Tourism’s Garden of Five Senses.Food stalls and cultural performances will lure the visitors and the serene venue will present an opportunity to explore nature at its best. The 20 acre venue for Garden of Five Senses corresponds to the essence of this four-day festival and presents itself as an apt venue for the gala. Having more than 325 species of plants, the venue had various attractions such as court of palm, court of cacti, herbal gardens, tree museum, topiary gardens, Zen gardens, aromatic gardens and butterfly zone. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The garden is designed to stimulate one’s sensory responses to the environment by evoking the awareness of touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.During the evening hours, the Baisakhi Mela will witness colourful cultural programs and artistes from academies like Sahitya Kala Parishad and Punjabi Academy will showcase their talent. These entertaining performances can be enjoyed at the amphitheatre in the Garden premises will enthrall the visitors with their mesmerising presentations.When: On till April 13Where: Garden of Five Senseslast_img read more

S Korea reports 3 new MERS cases

first_imgSouth Korea on Sunday reported three more cases of MERS as health authorities remained vigilant about the spread of the virus whose pace had slowed down in recent days.The three new cases in the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, including two medical workers, put the total number of those infected at 169, the health ministry said. The number of deaths remained unchanged at 25.The two medical staff include a doctor who treated a MERS patient at Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul, seen as the epicentre of the outbreak where more than 80 were infected. Another was a medical worker who took X-rays of a MERS patient in another hospital in Seoul. A total of 43 people have so far recovered and were released from hospital, including seven from Friday to Saturday (yesterday), the ministry said.The latest numbers came a day after South Korea reported no new cases, raising guarded hope that Seoul was winning the battle to contain the virus.The number of new patients had been falling for three straight days from eight on Tuesday to none on Saturday.last_img read more

Northeast Untapped Region

first_imgGen (Dr) VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs and MOS (IC) Statistics and Programme Implementation, released the book authored by Dr D Bhalla, IAS, Secretary Lok Sabha Secretariat recently in the national Capital.The author has brought out the long history of political unrest, neglect, under-development and insurgency in the Northeastern region — all issues impacting the security of the country and the economic well-being of the Northeast.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’One aspect that makes the region strategic from the security point of view, is that most of the states have international borders with other countries. Besides the geography, people and commercial potential of the region, Dr Bhalla has dwelt at length about insurgency, various facets of strategic importance and suggested future policies to bring out the full potential of the region.Gen Dr VK Singh said, “There was no doubt that India’s foreign policy and relations with neighbouring countries will have a profound effect on the future of the Northeast, primarily because the neighbouring countries have common borders and affinities with one or more states.” The book is a fresh attempt, with a practical approach towards Northeast.last_img read more

Tens of thousands attend Bengals mega antiBJP rally

first_imgKolkata: Tens of thousands of enthusiastic workers and supporters, including a man on a wheelchair, attended the mega anti-BJP rally at the historic Brigade Parade ground here on Saturday raising their voices against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the venue almost an hour before the scheduled time while party leaders, MPs MLAs took their seats on the side stage. Amidst elaborate security arrangements, the enthusiastic participants gathered waving giants flags. People were seen donning party symbols on hats and clothes. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash Bengal Most of their sloganeering were centred around Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah and about the party’s rule “finishing” in 2019. Kamaludddin Khan came on a wheelchair came with a placard greeting the TMC chief and wished that she keeps moving ahead indirectly sharing his desire to see Banerjee as the next Prime Minister. Finally, their wait was over as the rally, which is expected to kick-start the Opposition’s campaign ahead of the upcoming general election, got going. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed “We want to hear didi,” Atish Chandra Bagdi, an avid supporter of the Trinamool supremo from Murshidabad district said. He painted himself in his party’s colours. Some people like Amzad Hossain from Coochbehar district donning dresses printed with the party’s symbol, had arrived in the city on Friday. “Let us take the pledge of building a progressive, strong and United India” read the backdrop of the main stage, where a number of Trinamool flags fluttered.last_img read more

Arjun Singh removed from post of Bhatpara municipality chairman

first_imgKolkata: Arjun Singh, who recently joined the BJP from Trinamool Congress and will contest on the saffron party’s ticket from Barrackpore in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, has been removed from the post of municipal chairman at Bhatpara after a no-confidence motion was passed against him through secret ballot.After he joined BJP, Trinamool Congress leaders had decided to issue a no-confidence motion in the 34-member Bhatpara Municipality in North 24-Parganas. The no-confidence motion was passed against Singh on Monday through secret ballot, where he lost 21-11. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThis may be a major cause of concern for Singh ahead of the elections. He was a four time Trinamool Congress MLA from the Bhatpara Assembly constituency and had been the chairman of the Bhatpara Municipality since 2010. He shifted his political allegiance towards BJP after being denied ticket from Barrackpore. Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi has been pitted against Singh in Barrackpore, which will go to poll on May 6. Singh has, however, claimed that the process in which the no-confidence motion was brought is totally undemocratic. “The people of Bhatpara will give a befitting reply to TMC in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls,” Singh maintained. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateSenior TMC leaders in the district said the people do not want a “corrupt person” as their municipality chairman and the councillors were reluctant to continue under his leadership. Hence, they removed Singh from the post. Soon after the no-confidence motion was passed, a party office of BJP in Bhatpara was ransacked and some BJP leaders were injured in the incident. The party has alleged that Trinamool Congress backed goons were behind the attack. The matter has, however, been brought to the notice of the Election Commission, which has instructed the District Election Officer (DEO) of North 24-Parganas to take stringent action against those found guilty. A report has also been sought from the DEO in this regard. The DEO has also been asked to ascertain who had ransacked the party office and with what intention.last_img read more

Samurai Sword Steel to be Used for Cracking Open Asteroids

first_imgWhat does a samurai sword and space probe both have in common? You will probably think nothing. Until the moment you learn that the steel used for manufacturing katana–the name of the long, single-edged and lethal samurai sword–is so strong it can crack open a supersolid asteroid rock.A group of four researchers has been working on the case for over a decade now, trying to adapt the katana making process for hi-tech sampling technology that can retrieve geological samples from asteroids in space. The team consists of three engineers and one master swordsmith from Japan, reports the BBC.Japanese katana showing a horimono (blade carving), Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by El Pablo CC By 2.0Their effort is aimed to support the future Hayabusa missions of Japan. Past missions of this space program have already reached out to asteroids orbiting close around our home planet.Currently, the Hayabusa 2 is due to spend the next two years on the near-Earth asteroid known as 162173 Ryugu; by 2020, it should return to Earth with samples from it. That is one of the main objectives and challenges of the mission.Master swordsmith fashioning a katana blade (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)Hayabusa 2 is set to use multiple rovers that will use explosives to reach beneath the asteroid’s rocky crust and collect the material needed for analysis. The mission builds on the original Hayabusa mission, which in 2010 brought to Earth samples from the asteroid 25143 Itokawa, but managed to do so very limitedly.Our appetites for obtaining substantial quantities of asteroid samples are big and for very valid reasons. However, harvesting geological samples from small rocks traversing deep space is exceptionally hard.Artist’s impression of Hayabusa2. Photo by Go Miyazaki CC BY-SA 4.0The outer layer of an asteroid is very thick as it is directly exposed to the crude conditions of space. They also have little gravitational pull which makes it all the more difficult for man-made crafts to remain stable on the surface. These are some of the reasons why researchers are pushing the limits with technology.The next Hayabusa mission of the 2020s might well use devices that will rely on the traditional Japanese knowledge of sword making. Symbolically, this gives the feeling that samurais are suddenly conquering space.The type of steel used for katana producing is known as tamahagane. Genrokuro Matsunaga, aged 70, has been working with this type of steel for most of his life. As a master in the field, Matsunaga knows how to consolidate iron sand that is found on Japanese beaches into a more coherent mass, by using a traditional Japanese tatara furnace.Tamahagane. Photo by Loulasedna CC BY 3.0Under the heat of the furnace, which can go over 1500 degrees F, the iron sand hardens, transforming itself into tamahagane. Charcoal is also used in the process. The master then uses the distinctive steel to smith a samurai weapon.Matsunaga was eventually called by the team of Takeo Watanabe, who teaches at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Atsugi, Japan. He accepted the invitation without hesitation after learning that Watanabe with two other engineers is focused on devising a breakthrough technology that will benefit the asteroid sample collecting missions.Forge scenes, print from an Edo period book, Museum of Ethnography of Neuchâtel.Together they indeed aimed at exploiting the same processes used for creating the admirable samurai weapons to devise to core through asteroids with the sharp cutting edge blades. Having such a device at disposal can potentially allow them to progress much deeper below the asteroid’s surface. That can further allow obtaining a more substantial quantity of samples, says the team.At the National Institute of Technology at Omuta city’s Ariake College, the team processed the tamahagane into cylindrical forms. “Its polished cutting edge, which is 25 millimeters in diameter and 20-30 millimeters in length, was tempered by Matsunaga to increase its strength with the yaki-ire process, in which it was heated to high temperatures and then cooled quickly,” writes the Japan Times.Three sizes of swords a samurai could use. The katana is the longest one.Dozens of different cutting edges have been developed by the team this way. A different temperature was used for each prototype and they have been all tested in simulations.“I feel the cultural significance of aiming for space exploration by employing traditional Japanese technology,” said Watanabe, according to the Japan Times.For Matsunaga, the entire effort feels like venturing into “an unknown world.” He has commented this is very “interesting” for him as traditional Japanese sword maker.Blacksmith scene, print from an Edo period book, Museum of Ethnography of Neuchâtel.The team of four proposes that the tamahagane-supported corer should be deployed on the asteroids with great velocity. “In theory, it will dig into the asteroid and allow for a sample to be scooped up. A tether back to the mothership spacecraft could then reel the device and asteroid fragments in,” writes the BBC.The reasons why such big efforts are focused on advancing the hi-tech mining technologies for asteroids are multiple. One is that “there is keen interest in going to asteroids in the near-earth belt,” NASA’s Carol Raymond has said, according to“They could be sources of valuable metals. To investigate the feasibility of such operations, we need to know more about asteroid composition and the technical aspects of traveling to them,” he is noted as saying.Replica of Hayabusa’s sample-return capsule (SRC) used for re-entry. Hayabusa2’s capsule is of the same size, measuring 40 cm in diameter and will deploy a parachute. Photo by Mj-bird CC BY-SA 3.0Moreover, scrutinizing the composition of asteroids is of exceptional interest for both science and humanity. Seeing what exact elements reside deeper inside the space rocks can support us with many answers on how the Solar System developed. Potentially, it can help us learn more about how life began on Earth.Asteroids are noted as potential holders of water and other organic elements within. The theory goes that when our planet was still just another desolate stop in the Solar System, falling asteroids seeded organic matter on Earth’s crust which eventually stimulated life to happen.Read another story from us: Epic Saga of the Greatest Samurai Sword Ever MadeWith sharpened-tamahagane blades and a samurai-strong determination, space explorers now seem to be one step further in providing more in-depth answers. It feels like a mission greater than life, and perhaps the key to success lies exactly in a cross combination of distinct disciplines we previously never thought might work together… like engineering space probes and smithing samurai swords.last_img read more

Barbra Streisand and Elvis Presley Almost Starred and Sang Together

first_imgWhat is it about some movies that make them ripe for remakes? Take A Star Is Born, currently going through its fourth interpretation, with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in the starring roles. The original was a 1937 tearjerker with Fredric March and Janet Gaynor. The second go-round, in 1954, was a musical starring Judy Garland and James Mason.US director and actor Bradley Cooper poses on the red carpet during the premiere of the film ‘A star is born’ in Paris, France on October 1, 2018. Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP/Getty ImagesBut perhaps the most intriguing (and controversial) adaptation was the 1976 film, staring Barbra Streisand — who co-produced the movie with her then-boyfriend Jon Peters and singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson. But what some may not know is that Streisand’s first choice for the role of John Norman Howard was none other than Elvis Presley.That’s right. The world’s greatest diva and The King almost appeared together in the now-famous story of a star on the skids who falls in love with an up-and-coming talent. According to those close to Presley, he wanted to do the movie. His movie career had stalled and his recording career was in a slump, with his last top ten single being Burning Love, three years earlier.Presley in a publicity photo for the film The Trouble with Girls, released September 1969.The two superstars met (at least) twice. The first time was when Streisand was performing at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Elvis came to her show and afterward went backstage, surprising the singer in her dressing room.A nervous Streisand was painting her fingernails so she didn’t have to look Presley in the face. In a commentary track for the DVD release of A Star Is Born, Streisand mentioned that Presley, incredibly, took the bottle of nail polish, got down on his knees, and started painting her nails.Autographed posed publicity photo of Barbra Streisand for film Hello Dolly.They would meet up again in 1975 when Streisand and Peters came to Presley’s dressing room, after one of his Vegas shows, to pitch the part. Jerry Schilling, then a member of Presley’s entourage, “The Memphis Mafia,” and one of his closest friends, was present at the time.In a 2002 interview, Schilling recalled that he was surprised to see Streisand because when he and Presley had gone backstage to her dressing room a few months earlier, and Streisand asked Presley what he thought of her show, he replied, “You’ve got a great voice Barbra, but you keep putting your hand in front of your face while you sing, and it’s very distracting.”The invitation and news clipping about the premiere of Barbra Streisand’s A Star Is Born, 1976. Photo by Alan Light CC-BY 2.0No hard feelings, apparently: Here she was to talk about the movie. “After they left, I could tell [Elvis] wanted to do it,” said Schilling. “But, as with so many of the things he wanted to do at that point in his life, he expected people would try to stop him.”He was right. Some believe that Presley turned the role down because he didn’t want to play second fiddle to Streisand or because the subject matter hit a little too close to home. The real story: Presley’s longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, took over the negotiations and overplayed his hand. First, he reportedly asked Streisand and Peters for $1 million upfront, plus 50 percent of the profits.Elvis Presley is shown during a karate workout, as seen in the film ‘This Is Elvis’, 1981. Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty ImagesBut there was no way the film’s budget could cover two superstar salaries. (Instead, they offered points — a percentage of the movie’s profits — which was a better deal in the long run.) Parker also demanded star billing. (With Oscar-winner Streisand? Not likely.) Finally, he asked that all drug references be removed (impossible since drugs were one of the reasons for the character’s demise).Presley didn’t care about any of that. He knew the role would give him a chance to show off his acting chops and help him find his way back into movies. But, as predicted, Parker would end up talking him out of doing the movie.When A Star Is Born was released in November 1976, the critics weren’t kind, pointing out that it was impossible to buy Streisand (then 34) as an unknown ingénue hitching her wagon to a star.Still, Streisand and co-star Kristofferson would win Golden Globes for Best Actress and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture. The song Evergreen won an Academy Award for Best Song. What’s more, A Star Is Born would make an impressive $37 million at the box office.Related Video: Elvis Presley’s 40th Anniversary – He Would Have Been 82As the 1970s went on, Presley seemed resigned to following Colonel Parker’s uninspired lead, recording subpar material he wasn’t all that jazzed about.How sad. Taking Streisand’s offer might have motivated and energized Presley, shaking him out of the stupor of his final years, and may even have given him a new lease on life. “This was not a man who waited for challenges,” said Schilling, “but a man who looked for them, even at this point in his career.”Actually, Barbra Streisand and Elvis Presley would end up working together — in a sense — when Streisand released the 2014 album Partners, which included a posthumous duet with Presley.Read another story from us: Sparks Flew when Draft-Dodging George Hamilton Dated a President’s DaughterIn an interview with Billboard to promote the album, Streisand talked about A Star Is Born and The King. “His career was slightly in decline, he was overweight, and I thought he was perfect to play that part,” she recalled. Leaving the rest of us with one of the great “What Ifs” in movie history.last_img read more

Judy Garland was Called a Pig in Pigtails and Forced to Starve

first_imgWe’ll always remember Judy Garland as the beautiful, round-faced Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film, the Wizard of Oz. Her astounding performance has been preserved in the minds and hearts of millions of people throughout generations, making the Wizard of Oz a household classic. But behind the cheerful facade lies an odd juxtaposition — a heartbreaking story of abuse that would change the course of Garland’s life. At the ripe age of 13, Garland tried her luck when she auditioned in front of Louis B. Mayer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM.Garland won the role of Dorothy despite substantial competitionThe film producer was astounded by her soothing, silky, powerful voice and decided to cast her without trying to put her in for a screen test first. Although that didn’t mean he didn’t care about her looks, which he would make apparent over years of abuse and horrific trauma that he would impose on the young hopeful.AdChoices广告inRead invented by TeadsThe Gumm Sisters, also known as the Garland Sisters, c. 1935: Top row: Mary Jane and Dorothy Virginia Gumm; bottom: Frances Ethel (Judy Garland) GummGarland was cast in her first film in 1936 when she was only 14 years old. During the production of Pigskin Parade, Mayer and his fellow producers didn’t shy away from telling Garland how she looked like “a pig in pigtails” when they viewed her through cameras. It was then that they put her on a strict diet, restricting her calorie intake to near starvation.The young girl who had only just entered her teens would then soon start her habits of starving herself and then bingeing as she tried to satisfy the hungry producers who had unrealistic standards for her.Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in ‘Love Finds Andy Hardy’ (1938)The harsh treatment would soon spread throughout production. In 1938, even managers would pass notes among themselves about Garland’s eating habits and figure. According to The Independent, a director who worked closely with Garland called her the “ugly duckling” of the industry simply because she looked a little different compared to other actresses her age.Related Video: Quotes From Legends Of Hollywood’s Leading LadiesThey would use this to treat her harshly. She would be presented food which would be taken away before she could have a bite, they would put her on a variety of drugs to speed her up or slow her down, and they even put her through obscene sexual abuse at the young age of just 16 years.Billie Burke as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North and Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in ‘The Wizard of Oz’According to Gerald Clarke — author of Garland’s biography — the young star was subjected to sexual harassment during her time with MGM. In her unfinished memoir, she wrote: “Don’t think they all didn’t try.”This went on for years until finally, the young actress put her foot down and quit — a decision that sent Louis Mayer to tears, claiming that he had fallen in love with the star.Press photo of Louis B. Mayer and Mrs. Lorena Danker shortly after their marriageEven in her personal life, the effects of abuse would leave their mark. Judy Garland married five times — four of which ended in divorce. During her first marriage, she became pregnant. However because of how it might affect her image, MGM and her mother decided to have the baby aborted, according to Vanity Fair.The procedure was kept hush because it was widely illegal during the time. Garland was said to have suffered severe mental and emotional trauma because of it.Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’Unfortunately, the years of abuse had left a lasting mark on Garland. Even in her adulthood, drug abuse had become a major aspect of her life which ultimately caused her demise. According to The New Yorker, Judy Garland would find herself in and out of mental institutions after having mental breakdown after mental breakdown on top of her several suicide attempts.Promotional image for ‘Presenting Lily Mars’ (1943)By the time she reached the twilight years of her life, her daughter described her to be “homeless broke” according to a report issued by The List. Liza Minnelli, her oldest daughter, would help her through the financial turmoil. Rightly so, as Garland had only been making $100 dollars a night, singing in dingy bars a few nights a week.Her untimely death rolled around when she had accidentally overdosed on barbituates — an addiction she developed thanks to her years in the industry.Read another story from us: The Political and Economic Symbols Hidden Inside the Wizard of OzDespite her tragic end, the Los Angeles Times had recorded her claiming how happy she was just three months prior when she married her fifth husband. “Finally, finally — I am loved,” the star beamed. So perhaps her marriage was short-lived, but we find comfort knowing she found her Yellow Brick Road before the curtains closed.last_img read more

LeBrons the real MVP

first_imgTim Tebow is getting a harsh lesson in baseball realityAfter hitting 2 home runs in 2 games in Single A, Tim Tebow is hitting under .200 and is learning the same hard lesson that Michael Jordan learned when he took a shot at playing professionally. Baseball players are professionals, singularly focused on mastering their trade. You can’t just show up and succeed.Colin thinks the idea of Tebow dropping into a new sport and thinking he can excel is insulting to the players that have put in the time, and countless hours in hopes of getting a shot at the major leagues. Tebow hasn’t put in the work, and won’t. He doesn’t deserve it.“He doesn’t deserve to play major league baseball, or be a franchise quarterback.”Guests:Frank Isola – Knicks beat writer for the New York Daily News joins the show to talk playoffs; his take on the Knicks retaining Phil Jackson; his hatred for the Triangle; and if the Bulls can beat the Celtics without Rondo.Sam Farmer – L.A. Times NFL writer joins the show to take a look at the NFL schedules; the log jam of L.A. home games, and how it will affect the battle for Los Angeles fans.Chris Broussard – FS1 NBA Insider is in-studio to give his thoughts on Rondo’s injury; if the Celtics have a chance to win the series; his thoughts on LeBron’s performance in the 25-point comeback. LeBron’s the real MVPLast night, LeBron James led the largest second half comeback in NBA history, and did it with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sitting on the bench. It was more evidence of what Colin has been saying all year, LeBron is an exponentially better player than anyone in the league, including Russell Westbrook and his 700 triple-doubles. LeBron’s the real MVP.Colin has said that Westbrook is a Top-5 player, but in a boring NBA regular season, devoid of compelling storylines, he’s been elevated to James’ level. He’s not close.Also, Colin doesn’t buy the excuse that Westbrook can’t win in the playoffs because he has no one around him. When James was 23, he took a Cavs team with Sasha Pavlovic, Ira Newble and Larry Hughes to the Finals. Two years ago he extended the Warriors to six games in the Finals with Matthew Dellevadova as a sidekick.“LeBron’s floor in this league is the Finals, his ceiling is a parade.”last_img read more

How Many Bytes Do You Need for Your DataStorage Buck

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Q: How do I manage the plethora of storage options that are available for my small business?Suddenly, digital storage isn’t so simple. These digital days, businesses have almost too many places to put their gigabytes of files, contacts, presentations and other virtual assets.There are cloud-based storage tools that put data on internet-connected services like Apple’s iCloud, Google Apps and Microsoft SkyDrive. There is a full range of low-cost, on-premise hard drives and backup options. Cheap USB drives now show up on keychains. Heck, even mobile devices like iPhones, Droids and BlackBerrys offer serious file-storage capacity.To get the inside scoop on the best way to manage this new portfolio of storage options, we sat down with a serious storage geek: Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates, which provides consulting and strategic advice to firms hoping to prosper in the digital storage game. His work is respected by executives at such storage giants as Toshiba, Iomega, Hitachi and many others. Coughlin spoke with us over the phone from his office in San Jose, Calif. We covered the gamut of storage issues.How much: About half a terabyte–or roughly 500 GB–should be more than enough for most firms, if most of your files are simple Word and Excel documents, Coughlin says. If you have more complex assets (say you are editing corporate footage or complex presentations), many terabytes of storage could be needed. But for average use, what comes readily available on most work computers is enough.Web-based options: Don’t fall in love with the internet, Coughlin warns. Compared to the cost for subscriptions to cloud-sharing services, storing data on hard drives in your office can get the job done for pennies on the dollar. “You have to decide what you put on the web and what you store locally,” he says. “Ultimately, local storage is going to be cheaper.”Reliability: No matter what you do, make sure there is a second copy of critical data elsewhere. Access to the web is still remarkably unstable, particularly when traveling, Coughlin says, so data will still need to be stored close at hand. And you should have a second local storage option that backs up your main local storage for important photos and documents. It may take a while, but hard drives eventually fail.The personal cloud: Considering that most users are looking at some sort of mix of storage options, a smart trick is to build a local “personal cloud” using the wireless capabilities of your business networks in a new generation of hard drives. Readily available Wi-Fi networks easily can be connected to properly enabled drives, which can without much fuss back up files with little manual assistance. Better yet, if you make that background storage option a rugged hard drive that can survive a fire, you have an additional level of disaster recovery built in.But the facts remain that in this complex digital age, there are no easy storage answers. “I don’t see any universal solution,” Coughlin says. “One needs to put together a plan.” 3 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » This story appears in the December 2011 issue of . Subscribe » December 13, 2011last_img read more

Google Is Developing an Ingestible CancerDetecting Pill

first_imgOctober 29, 2014 Enroll Now for Free Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 3 min read Google may be best known for search and its crazy employee perks, but the company is constantly cooking up far-out, big-picture, enormously ambitious projects. Self-driving cars? Check. Face computers (i.e. Google Glass)? Double check. Contact lenses that measure glucose levels in a wearers’ tears? Google’s on it.Now comes word of another moonshot project from the company’s Google X division: an ingestible disease-detecting pill containing thousands of microscopic magnetic particles that course through a person’s bloodstream in search of malignant cells, according to the Associated Press. If the nanoparticles find an early indication of a disease, they send out signals that can be picked up by a wearable device.Related: Google Wants to Build a Model of Perfect Human HealthWhile the pill is still in its experimental stage – the company has said it could take up to 10 years for the pill to be prescribed, the AP reports – this technology has the potential to dramatically transform the way we diagnose and treat a host of diseases, most notably cancer.Think about it. Many times, a pathogen is deadly because it goes undetected until the damage is widespread enough to cause noticeable side-effects. Early alerts that can identify malignant cells as they form have the potential to stop serious diseases in their tracks, before they have the time to wreak irreversible havoc.Related: If You Could, Would You Want to Live Forever? Google Thinks You MightIn an interview with Medium Andrew Conrad, head of life sciences at Google X, explained why our current strategy for treating serious diseases, particularly cancer, is fundamentally backwards:Some cancers have ninety percent success rate if you diagnose them in early stage one. But most cancers have a five or ten percent survival rate if you diagnose them in stage four. We’re diagnosing cancer at the wrong time. It’s analogous to only changing the oil on your car when it breaks down. If you think of airplanes or cars or any complex entity, preventative maintenance has been proven without a doubt to be the better model.Google’s pill aims to change the strategy from reactive to proactive — adopting a “preventative maintenance” approach – by continuously monitoring the body for disease triggers, so they can be identified and treated as soon as they appear. “Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” Conrad said yesterday at the WSJD Live Conference.  “That is our dream.” It’s a beautiful one. For now, however, the project remains exactly what its name implies: a moonshot, although one that has the potential to save many, many lives.Related: Novartis, Google to Develop Contact Lenses to Monitor Blood Sugar This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Nowlast_img read more

Meet Spruce a Telemedicine App Designed to Stop Acne in Its Tracks

first_img 5 min read Baring your acne to a dermatologist in person can be a painful and embarrassing experience. Painful because there’s almost always some wince-inducing poking and prodding of problem spots involved. Embarrassing because society — and confidence-killing skin care marketers — excel at shaming people with acne vulgaris.But a clever new app called Spruce seeks to help acne sufferers avoid face-to-face dermatologist visits, allowing them to seek treatment quickly and relatively easily from the privacy of their own phone.Founded by Ray Bradford, a former partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, Spruce has raised $2 million in seed funding and officially launched in the App Store in September, with plans to expand to Android soon. The free-to-download telemedicine tool, which is available only for residents of California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, digitally connects users with board-certified dermatologists. (There is a per virtual doctor visit cost, which we’ll explain in a moment.)Related: This Smart Skin-Scanning App Could Save Your LifeWith the FDA estimating that 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using health care-related apps by 2015, apps like Spruce are only the beginning.Here’s how it works:The basicsTo use Spruce, start by snapping selfies of the parts of your body where you have acne. Following the app’s helpful prompts and visual guidelines, you can take close up photos of your face, chest, back and any other affected areas. These are the pics that will be shared with a Spruce-contracted board-certified dermatologist, 10 of whom are listed on Spruce’s website.You’ll then be asked a pretty long list of questions, starting with basic Qs about how your face looks in comparison to the pics you provided. Do you have more or fewer blemishes? Is your skin normal, oily, combo, etc.? What do you think is making your acne worse (stress, hormonal changes, makeup, etc.)?Related: This Health App Does Everything But Go Jogging For YouThen you’ll be asked which acne medications you’ve ever taken, if any, and how effective they were or if they caused adverse reactions. Hang in there because up next are yet more questions about which over-the-counter acne treatments you’ve used and how they fared.Once you jump through Spruce’s acne history hoops, it’s time to clear a few medical history hurdles, too. Which skin-related and other conditions have you been diagnosed with in the past? Are you allergic to any medications? Imagine answering the same kinds of questions you’d see on a basic medical history form at a doctor’s’ office and you’re there, minus the pen and paper. While the Q&A process is a bit tedious, it’s critical to your diagnosis and treatment.Finally, to seal the deal, you’ll be asked to pay with your credit card and click “Submit Visit.” And, voila, within 24 hours, you’ll receive a step-by-step personalized treatment plan “with appropriate prescriptions.”Related: Stay Healthy With These 3 Free iPhone and iPad AppsYour detailed skin care instructions are all neatly tucked into the app, complete with morning and nighttime regimens and prescription directions. If you have any questions about your plan, or experience any issues with your medication, simply fire up the app and ask your care team via message.The fine printWhile the app itself is free, the cost of a Spruce doctor “visit,” plus comprehensive acne care, will put you back $40, which you’ll be asked to pay within the app via credit card. Unfortunately Spruce doesn’t accept health insurance, so it’s an out-of-pocket deal. The company explicitly states that it won’t process insurance claims and neither do its dermatologists. So, it’s on you to check with your insurance provider to seek reimbursement for the $40 fee, if applicable.Also, should your Spruce doc prescribe medication, you’ll be responsible for paying for it upon pickup at your local Spruce-contracted pharmacy. You can find and select one using the app’s GPS-enabled map. Spruce says your prescription coverage for drugs prescribed through the app “will be the same as if the same drugs had been prescribed at the doctor’s office.”Related: Just How Long Has ‘Selfie’ Been Around, Anyway?  Finally, users have to agree to the usual — and not so usual — fine print privacy policy stuff. After all, you’re dealing with a bleeding edge telehealth app. When you check the box, you’re saying that you’re at least 18 years old (anyone younger need not apply). You understand that Spruce isn’t for 911-worthy medical emergencies and you’re okay with your Spruce health-care provider making decisions about your medical skin care and treatment. You’re also perfectly fine with electronically sharing your medical records, personal health information and images, etc.Signing up also means providing identifying information such as your name, birthdate, phone number and gender.To see how Spruce works for yourself, check out this video walkthrough:Related: How a Biomed Tech Company Raised $35.7 Million Before Going to Market November 3, 2014 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalscenter_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now »last_img read more

5 Fundamentals for Protecting Your Identity and Your Privacy

first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now 6 min read If you’re like me, you’re an entrepreneur. We are so busy growing our businesses that we may not think about the risk of identity theft. After all, hackers go after big corporations. Right? Wrong! We are at greater risk of identity theft than large corporations. Yet, we have all seen company after company hacked putting Americans’ private information at risk.Identity theft is the number one complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with 15 million victims each year at a cost of $50 billion annually. Identity theft is growing at such a rate, that many people believe there is nothing they can do. Not true. The following personal stories and tips should help you protect your business and yourself.Related: Don’t Despair, ID Theft Is Not Inevitable1. Beware public Wi-Fi spoofs.“Can you help me? My identity has been stolen.” That was an email I received from a TV show producer. He had been hacked. I told this victim how I believed his identity was stolen. He had been surfing the Internet using public Wi-Fi. This is very risky.Public Wi-Fi spots found on airplanes, airports, cafes, or malls are completely insecure, and anyone using them should think of everything they type as being broadcast to a billboard in Times Square. Wi-Fi is dangerous because anyone can “spoof ” a Wi-Fi spot and then access your data.When my wife and I moved to Utah, we lived in a townhouse community. When I first logged onto the Internet there were almost a dozen different Wi-Fi spots that popped up. Well, a criminal will do the same and create a Wi-Fi spot and name it. People nearby have no idea that they’re not real as these names could be Starbucks or a person’s name. As they login and use their passcodes, the criminal downloads all of their information.One reporter from USA Today had his identity hacked and authorities traced it back to the GoGo Inflight Internet he used. Someone had spoofed the GoGo Wi-Fi and the reporter used the fake spot instead of the real one.Related: Make Your Businesses Invulnerable to Corporate Identity Theft2. Virtual private networks.Protect yourself with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet.VPN enables users to send/receive data across share/public networks as if their devices were directly connected to the private network.There are many VPNs which easy to obtain and use,  including TunnelBear which costs about $50 a year. Do your research and find the one you like best. Download it onto your computer and smart phone.3. Credit freeze.Next, put a freeze on your credit, I’ve had mine for about 15 years. This is something I highly recommend and it’s one of the smartest moves you can make to protect your identity and privacy. A credit freeze blocks companies from running your credit without your permission. No one will be able to buy a car or take out a mortgage with your credit.Here’s how to put a freeze on your credit report: Contact all three credit-reporting agencies separately. Send a letter by certified mail requesting a freeze be placed on your credit.Here are the links to each credit agency:Transunion — PH: 888-909-8872 — PH: 888-397-3742 freezeEquifax  — PH:800-685-1111 you request a freeze, the credit agencies provide you with a (PIN) to use when providing access to your credit. Every state charges different fees for placing a credit freeze. This may sound like a lot of work,  but just imagine how many hours you would spend on the phone undoing the damage of being hacked. Also carry an Identity Protection card in your wallet. This protects people from hacking your credit cards. For full details on why these cards are so important and to get one for free, click here.4. Cross shred documents.Shred everything and only use a crosscut shredder. Don’t use a shredder that cuts the paper into strips as these can be put back together.Related: Your Data Breach Doesn’t Have to Produce Identity Theft5. Bank statement monitoring.Spend 10 minutes each month reviewing your bank/credit card statements to ensure nothing fraudulent has taken place. If you’re still not convinced about the importance of protecting your identity and privacy, here’s a horror story about a former Miss Teen USA.Cassidy Wolf was on her computer when she received an anonymous and threatening email stating that the sender had thousands of pictures of her, including many of her nude, and that he’d been watching her for over a year. The sender was planning to put the pictures all over social media unless she got on Skype with him and agreed to do a series of inappropriate things. It turns out that the sender had hacked her webcam as well as many as 40 other women, some of whom actually gave in to his blackmail demands.In an interview with Business Insider, Cassidy said, “Your bedroom is your most private and intimate space. To think that someone was watching me for a year, had seen my most intimate moments, heard conversations I had with my mom and my brother, and knew everything about my life — someone can have access to all of that by your computer.” Unfortunately, in the future, there will be even more programs and ways for criminals to hack people’s webcams and other computer devices.I recommend taping a piece of paper over the camera. This is such a simple thing to do and it ensures that nobody can watch you. Also, don’t bring your computer into the bedroom. Store your computer in another room or in a laptop bag. And, don’t forget about all those other devices that have cameras too, such as your phone and iPad.In this special report I’ve given you several ways to better protect yourself. Please start implementing them today so you don’t become one of the millions of victims of identity theft this year. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. June 6, 2016last_img read more

Oculus to Scale Back Rift Demos at Best Buy

first_img Register Now » This story originally appeared on PCMag Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Facebook-owned Oculus is curtailing an experiment that let Best Buy shoppers try out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset before buying one, the company told Business Insider this week.The demonstrations began last May and were available in as many as 500 Best Buy stores nationwide. That number will now be scaled back to around 300, according to an Oculus spokesperson, who attributed the reduction to a change in seasonal demand.”We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets,” the spokesperson told Business Insider.If you’re hoping to test drive a Rift before you buy one, you can check the Oculus website for a list of Best Buy stores that are still participating. The site allows you to schedule an appointment for your demo, which includes VR vignettes with Oculus Dreamdeck, rock climbing in The Climb and a brief tour through the alien worlds of Farlands.For those who can’t get to a participating Best Buy, Oculus still plans to do “regular events and pop ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year,” according to the spokesperson.The move to scale back retail demonstrations comes one week after Oculus was ordered to pay $500 million in damages to video game publisher ZeniMax Media, which sued it for misappropriating technology that was later used in the Rift. ZeniMax initially leveled multiple charges against Oculus, including putting its trade secrets and copyrighted computer code at risk, but the jury cleared Oculus of most of them.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who testified in the ZeniMax trial, is still bullish about Oculus and VR in general. At the Oculus developers’ conference last year, he said he believes that in 20 years, VR will become the main form of computing. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 2 min read February 9, 2017last_img read more