JK Prohibitory orders imposed at Pakal Dul hydel project site in Kishtwar

first_img Advertising Related News Victory processions banned in Muzaffarnagar as precautionary measure Advertising Imposing prohibitory orders under section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, DM Angrez Singh Rana said that this has been done following complaints from Project authorities regarding some miscreants creating law and order problems thereby causing hindrance in smooth execution of works.Pointing out that the construction of Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project has been allotted to M/S AFCON JAL JOINT VENTURE & M/S JP ASSOCIATE Ltd. by the concerned Chenab Valley Power Project (CVPP) authorities, the order read that “there are frequent complaints from the Executing Agencies that some miscreants are misleading and instigating the concerned youth /Zamindars/public of the area to get ready for agitation/strikes against the management of the Project and as such are creating hindrances in construction work of the power Project at specified places”.“The management of the Project has reported that some misled local youth/locals have created a sense of insecurity and fear in minds of management and have vitiated the peaceful environment in the area, as a result of which the construction work of the Power Project has been withheld,” it added. By Express News Service |Jammu | Published: July 17, 2019 10:53:00 pm It identified the sites where prohibitory orders have been issued as Pakal Dul Dam site F-con Colony, Power Project area (Arzi and Tenji), colony to New Power Project site and Dangduroo Dachhan. Further, carrying of procession, weapons, lathis, stones etc. has also been prohibited at the above-stated places, it added.The DM remarked that administration will not tolerate any kind of illegal disturbance at project sites and whoever try to vitiate the environment at project sites shall be dealt with firmly.In another order, the DM imposed a complete ban on the extraction of stones in and around Zundil and Shalimar Nallah In Kishtwar. He directed SHO Kishtwar to ensure the implementation of the said order in letter and spirit. Post Comment(s) Fearing clashes at ‘masjid’ site today,Gurgaon imposes prohibitory orders Terror threat: Police want info on buyers of old vehicles,servants The DM remarked that administration will not tolerate any kind of illegal disturbance at project sites and whoever try to vitiate the environment at project sites shall be dealt with firmly. (Representational Image)Kishtwar District administration on Wednesday banned the assembly of five or more persons and carrying of weapons including lathis and stones at Pakal Dul hydro-electric project site till further orders.last_img read more

I cant breathe case No charges against NY police in 2014 choking

first_img Trump says ‘will take a look’ at accusations over Google, China ‘Truth, justice have prevailed’: PM Modi on Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict Jharkhand court drops ‘donate Quran’ condition for bail to Ranchi woman over offensive post Post Comment(s) Related News Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, said the officer “is gratified that the Justice Department took the time to carefully review the actual evidence in this case rather than the lies and inaccuracies which followed this case from its inception.”Pantaleo’s union president, Pat Lynch, said: “scapegoating a good and honorable officer, who was doing his job in the manner he was taught, will not heal the wounds this case has caused for our entire city.”Garner’s death _ after he refused to be handcuffed for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes _ came at a time of a growing public outcry over police killings of unarmed black men that gave impetus to the national Black Lives Matter movement. Just weeks later, protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.When a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo on state charges in December 2014, demonstrations flared in New York and several other cities. Advertising 'I can't breathe' case: No charges against NY police in 2014 choking death of black man Emerald Garner, center, daughter of chokehold victim Eric Garner, reacts during a prayer at the National Action Network headquarters, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in New York (AP)After years of silence, federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they won’t bring criminal charges against a white New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black man whose dying words _ “I can’t breathe” _ became a national rallying cry against police brutality.The decision to end a yearslong civil rights investigation without charges was made by Attorney General William Barr and was announced the day before the five-year anniversary of the deadly Staten Island encounter, just as the statute of limitations was set to expire. More Explained Garner’s family was incensed by the decision, the latest from a Justice Department under President Donald Trump that has scaled-back use of consent decrees aimed at improving local police departments found to have violated civil rights.“This should have been taken care of years ago,” said Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, a vocal police reform advocate since her son’s death. “This should have been taken care of under the Obama administration. Then we would have had a fairer playing ground.”The Rev. Al Sharpton renewed his calls for the New York Police Department to fire the 34-year-old Pantaleo, who’s been on desk duty since Garner’s death and is awaiting the results of a disciplinary hearing that could lead to his firing. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said it expects a decision by Aug. 31.“Five years ago, Eric Garner was choked to death,” Sharpton said. “Today, the federal government choked Lady Justice, and that is why we were outraged.” Salve hails verdict, says ICJ protected Jadhav from being executed Amid those demonstrations, a man angry about the Garner and Brown cases ambushed and fatally shot two New York City police officers as they sat in their cruiser, further shocking the city and leading to the creation of the pro-police Blue Lives Matter movement. People attend a news conference with Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, following the decision to not prosecute NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo at City Hall in New York, U.S., July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidProsecutors in Brooklyn repeatedly watched video of the confrontation between Garner and police, Donoghue said, but weren’t convinced Pantaleo willfully violated the law in using a chokehold, which is banned under police department policy.Pantaleo initially tried to use two approved restraint tactics on Garner, much larger at 6-foot-2 and about 400 pounds, but ended up wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck “in what was, in effect, a chokehold” for about seven seconds as they struggled against a glass storefront window and fell to the sidewalk, Donoghue said.“Significantly, Officer Pantaleo was not engaged in a chokehold on Mr. Garner when he said he could not breathe, and neither Officer Pantaleo nor any other officer applied a chokehold to Mr. Garner after he first said he could not breathe,” Donoghue said.Garner could be heard on bystander video crying out “I can’t breathe” at least 11 times before he fell unconscious. The medical examiner’s office said a chokehold contributed to Garner’s death.The federal probe resulted in two sets of recommendations.The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn recommended no charges, while civil rights prosecutors in Washington recommended charging the officer. Barr, who watched the video himself and got several briefings, made the ultimate decision, a senior Justice Department official said.The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations and investigative matters.Donoghue announced the decision not to charge Pantaleo after meeting with Garner’s family, but the news was reported in the media beforehand, angering advocates.At the news conference, Donoghue said he expressed his and Barr’s condolences. He said Garner’s death was a tragedy and that “for anyone to die under circumstances like these is a tremendous loss.” He also apologized for the length of the investigation, calling the delay “entirely inappropriate and unacceptable.”In the years since Garner’s death, the NYPD has made a series of sweeping changes on how it relates to the communities it serves, ditching a policy of putting rookie officers in higher-crime precincts in favor of a neighborhood policing model that revolves around community officers tasked with getting to know New Yorkers.De Blasio, who is touting his leadership on police-community relations on the presidential campaign trail, said the city is not the same as it was five years ago.“Reforms over the last five years have improved relations between our police and our communities,” de Blasio said in a statement, adding that crime was at record lows and 150,000 fewer people were arrested last year than the year before he took office.But some activists, including Garner’s family and relatives of others killed by police, have argued the changes aren’t enough.De Blasio also said that it was a mistake for the city to wait for federal prosecutors to finish investigating Garner’s death before the police department began disciplinary proceedings. But there is no rule requiring the NYPD to do so.Police reform advocates said the decision not to charge Pantaleo was upsetting but to be expected.Joo Hyun-Kang, the director of Communities United for Police Reform, said it was “outrageous but not shocking.” Hawk Newsome, the head of the New York area Black Lives Matter chapter said, “It’s America, man.” Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Civil rights prosecutors in Washington had favored filing criminal charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, but ultimately Barr sided with other federal prosecutors based in Brooklyn who said evidence, including a bystander’s widely viewed cellphone video, wasn’t sufficient to make a case, a Justice Department official told The Associated Press.Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, said at a news conference that while Garner’s death was tragic, there was insufficient evidence to prove that Pantaleo or any other officers involved in the confrontation on a Staten Island sidewalk had willfully violated his civil rights.“Even if we could prove that Officer Pantaleo’s hold of Mr. Garner constituted unreasonable force, we would still have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of the law,” Donoghue said. Express daily briefing: Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict out today; SC to rule on Karnataka MLAs’ plea; and more “As a black man in America I have no expectation that we will receive justice in court without radical change in this country,” Newsome said. Best Of Express Advertising By AP | Published: July 17, 2019 9:15:48 am US mulls increasing merit-based immigration to 57% Advertisinglast_img read more

New effort aims to study brain diseases in AfricanAmericans

first_imgiStock.com/Highwaystarz-Photography Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Earlier this week, the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, a nonprofit housed at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, announced a new neuroscience research initiative that aims to tackle a gaping hole in medicine: the interplay between brain diseases and their genomic drivers among African-Americans. The goal is to better understand how brain diseases play out in this population, which has been profoundly underrepresented in neuroscience research. To build trust among African-Americans in Baltimore and eventually beyond, the venture includes a partnership with the African-American Clergy Medical Research Initiative, a group of clergy leaders in the city. African-American scientists at Lieber are already involved, but project leaders hope to engage those at other institutions as the work expands.The effort builds on Lieber’s rapidly growing brain bank, which now stands at about 3000 brains, with more than 400 new brains collected each year, all donated by next of kin. Many are from young and middle-aged people who die suddenly of suicide, drug overdose, or other causes. Although most of the brains are from people of European ancestry, more than 700 are from African-Americans. Despite growing recognition that African-Americans are underrepresented in medical research—and face discrimination and other hardships that can heighten health risks—study of brain diseases in this population have lagged behind, says Daniel Weinberger, the institute’s director.ScienceInsider spoke with Weinberger, a psychiatrist and schizophrenia researcher who came to the Lieber Institute in 2011 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity. By Jennifer Couzin-FrankelMar. 22, 2019 , 2:50 PM New effort aims to study brain diseases in African-Americans Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email 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 Q: Why is it important to study brain diseases in African-Americans in particular?A: In general, data suggest that all neuropsychiatric diagnoses are 20% more frequent in African-American communities than they are in communities of European ancestry. Alzheimer’s disease is about twice as common. Psychiatric disorders, in particular, show differences in frequency, response to treatment, and in how they manifest themselves. The [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recently came out with a report that [showed] suicides among African-American children had become more frequent. That was a huge surprise.And the other thing that became clear, as these large GWA [genome-wide association] studies began to emerge—they were based almost completely on individuals of European ancestry. They’re much, much less relevant [for African-Americans]. In the schizophrenia world, which I’ve been a big part of, we can predict somewhere close to 20% [of risk based on genetics among Europeans]. But in the African-American population, it’s less than 5%. We’ve known that APOE4 [an important Alzheimer’s risk gene] is much less of a risk factor in the African-American population, even though Alzheimer’s is much more common. In many ways, the brain is the most challenging problem but it’s the one that’s least represented in this effort [to include African-American samples in medical research].This is the submerged part of the iceberg that has been left unexplored, basically.Q: If African-Americans are more likely than whites to suffer from serious mental illness, what about social factors like discrimination?A: We do extensive history taking on every donation to the repository. The team talks to the next of kin. We acquire all records that are available on the deceased—school records, hospital records. We speak to their doctors. It takes weeks. We get a lot of information about the life of the individual.There’s a lot of information now that early childhood toxic stress, however that’s defined, creates increased risk for many, many medical disorders, not just psychiatric disorders. The assumption is that this is changing the [gene expression] in many cells in the body. There’s good reason to believe that individuals who were exposed early in life to tremendous stress, that that leaves a footprint in their genome. We theoretically will be able to look at this, and how that affects gene processing in particular cells in the brain. And then—this is the holy grail—this might lead to some idea of how to rescue [others].Q: Do you feel that you have all these brains but not the resources to study them?A: That is for sure. In Nature Genetics, there was a landmark paper of sequencing from 900 African-American genomes. The take-home message there was mind-boggling: Ten percent of the African-American DNA sequence is missing from the reference sequence of the human genome, which is what’s used in every human study today.We want to catch up with a lot that has already been done in [the brains of people of European-American descent]. We want to do a lot of RNA sequencing. We’re increasingly focused on trying to identify different cells that mediate these risk-specific genetic effects. It’s a huge project.We have African-American brains from prenatal life, from early childhood. Prematurity is much more common in the African-American community. We need to explore this whole question of development in the context of genetic variation.And we have many brains with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, drug abuse. There’s a wealth of questions to be asked.Q: What about the money? You’re asking for $5 million from the state of Maryland to help get this off the ground.A: The ask of the state is $2.5 million a year for 2 years. That would jump-start the generation of a lot of deep data, and I think also attract much more interest in this project.Q: Are there unique challenges in running brain genomic studies versus, say, genomic studies of the heart?A: The phenotype [what’s visible] has different levels of analysis. One is the age of the person. Another might be the diagnosis. The third level is the expression, the splicing, the altered regulation of a gene—the expression of a gene in the brain, which is the blueprint of how you build the brain and how the brain responds to the environment. There are so many parts to the brain, [so] many cells in it. We collect living cells from the people whose brains we have, and collaborate with stem cell groups around the country. There are parts of the [brain], like the dura mater [the membrane surrounding the organ], that survive for days after death. We do have living [cell] lines from these brains.There have been huge abuses of the African-American community by the biomedical community. As a result, there is a lot of distrust in the African-American community. Every brain that we get is donated by the next of kin. Getting consent and donation has to be done within 24 hours of the death. We have basically the same frequency of donation—70%—from African-American families [who are approached] that we have from European-American families. That speaks to one of the issues that has dogged this research for a while.Q: It sounds like the partnership with Baltimore clergy leaders is one way to address this. How does that work?A: [The goal is] building trust. It’s to improve possibilities for precision medicine. This train, which has left the station, may be leaving [African-Americans] behind. We convened a group of community leaders of the African-American faith-based community [in Baltimore], led by Alvin Hathaway [principal of the African-American Clergy Medical Research Initiative], an extraordinary man. We had a meeting with 23 leaders. Our hope is to put together an advisory group, which would include community leaders as well as scientists from around the country.last_img read more

Waterlogging in Punjab cities Minister says all sewers drains will be cleaned

first_img Punjab: Congress MLAs say pvt hospitals fleecing patients, pitch for govt-run facilities In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Even as Mohindra made tall claims about urban local bodies working to tackle waterlogging, many areas in the city remained inundated during his visit after heavy rainfall Saturday morning.Prior to his visit, the gullies near the LIT office were being cleaned with a machine and manually to clear the accumulated water whereas other areas including posh ones like Aggar Nagar, Sarabha Nagar, BRS Nagar, and Ferozepur road remained waterlogged. Advertising Shunned by service voters, Punjab’s Congress govt fast-tracks regularisation policy brahn mohinder, brahm mohinder punjab minister, punjab minister brahm mohinder, waterlogging in punjab, punjab waterlogging issue, india news, Indian Express Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra offers sweets to Raman Balasubramiam as the latter takes charge as chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)Punjab local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra Saturday said that he has set a deadline of 10 days for the civic bodies in state to complete cleaning of sewers, drains and other pipelines to control waterlogging. “The Punjab government will bring back the ‘one time settlement policy’ for illegal buildings after redressing the shortcomings of the old policy,” he said.He said that the government had sought feedback, objections and suggestions from different departments and from the citizen of the state on the earlier policy, introduced on March 5. Under the earlier policy, only 1018 online and 138 offline applications were received till June 4, he said adding that because of this, the government has decided to reintroduce the policy after taking into consideration the objections and suggestions of the citizens.The minister said that the fire safety system in big cities such as Ludhiana was being strengthened for swift mobility of the fire tenders in the affected areas and to attend the calls within few minutes.He said Rs 9 crore have been issued for the uniforms of the firemen. Ludhiana has 23 fire tenders at present and smaller fire tenders are been inducted into the existing fleet so that they could swiftly move into the narrow streets of the city. Post Comment(s) Poor pay keeps us away from govt service, say doctors center_img By Express News Service |Ludhiana | Published: July 14, 2019 8:52:34 am Best Of Express NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Related News He said that strict instructions have been issued to ensure that stagnant rain water is pumped out from the affected areas. All cities in state will soon be covered under storm water sewage system, he added.Mohindra, who was in city to preside over the joining of new chairman of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) Raman Balasubramaniam, further said that he has asked the officials to complete the cleanliness works and removal of garbage in the urban areas within one month.The minister said that they will soon reintroduce the one-time settlement policy for illegal buildings. Karnataka: SC to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook Advertisinglast_img read more

Donald Trump backs away from barriers on foreign uranium

first_img Donald Trump and Democrats clash over President’s ‘racist’ tweets “We are down to where we are effectively producing nothing when it comes to newly mined uranium,” said Mark Chalmers, the president of Energy Fuels. “That should shock people.”“We’re basically chucking our car keys at the Chinese and the Russians and saying go ahead and produce our uranium for us,” he said.Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy say they have had to cut their workforce because of falling global prices. They claim that Russia and Kazakhstan have heavily subsidized their production, and China has been buying up uranium mines around the world, threatening the supply of uranium from the United States and close allies like Canada and Australia.But those who criticized the petition — including foreign uranium miners and domestic utilities — viewed the request as a transparent grab for protection of a struggling domestic industry. They say mining uranium has not been economical in the United States for a decade, and note that the country maintains a strategic reserve of uranium that can supply the military for many years.The Ad Hoc Utilities Group, which runs a majority of the nuclear generators in the United States, said in comments submitted to the Trump administration last September that restricting imports would endanger the viability of nuclear plants and the entire industry. The quota that the petitioners had requested would effectively tax nuclear generators by $500 million to $800 million a year, the utilities group said, risking thousands of jobs in the industry. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Explained: Trump’s immigrant policy; what the ICE planned, and why NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump US, US Uranium imports, Uranium import US, US uranium import quota, world news After several months of deliberation, the commerce secretary determined that the high volume of uranium imports do pose a threat to national security. Trump rejected that finding. (The New York Times)(Written by Ana Swanson) The Trump administration has used similar national security-related investigations to levy tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, and it has threatened to do the same with imported automobiles and auto parts. Foreign leaders from Canada, Mexico, Europe and elsewhere have bristled at being branded a national security threat and imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products in return.Unlike the investigations in foreign metals and cars, which the Trump administration initiated on its own, two American uranium mining companies, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels, had requested the inquiry into uranium. Both businesses claimed that subsidized foreign products had flooded the U.S. market, putting them at a competitive disadvantage, forcing them to cut jobs and putting the domestic supply of uranium at risk.But in seeking protection, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels found themselves at odds with American nuclear power plants and the utilities that depend on that power, which would face higher material prices and operating costs if quotas were put into place. Nuclear plants generate about one-fifth of the country’s electricity, but they are rapidly losing market share to cheaper electricity from shale gas and wind turbines.The United States is the world’s largest consumer of uranium. But it imported 93% of the uranium it used in 2017, with the vast majority coming from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan and Russia. In its report, the Commerce Department said that imports had risen from satisfying 85.8% of the domestic market in 2009 as a result of increased production by foreign state-owned enterprises that distorted global prices and made it difficult for American miners to compete. “Although I agree that the secretary’s findings raise significant concerns regarding the impact of uranium imports on the national security with respect to domestic mining, I find that a fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain is necessary at this time,” the president said in a statement.The potential for trade barriers on foreign uranium stemmed from an investigation into whether imported uranium ore and related products, which are essential components for the United States’ nuclear arsenal, submarines, aircraft carriers and power plants, were a security threat.Trump’s decision means that the United States will not impose the quotas that the domestic uranium industry had requested, which would have limited imports to guarantee that American miners supply one-quarter of the uranium used domestically. Instead, the president said he would establish a working group to develop recommendations in the next 90 days for reviving and expanding domestic nuclear fuel production.The announcement was a rare instance in which the Trump administration chose not to exercise the full extent of its powers to give American companies a trade advantage over foreign competitors. Related News Best Of Express Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Advertising Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook They’re not afraid US President Donald Trump said he would not impose quotas on imports of uranium, backing away from one of many trade confrontations the administration has threatened as it tries to protect US industry.Trump, in an announcement late Friday night, said that he did not agree with the commerce secretary’s findings that foreign uranium poses a threat to national security. It was a rare dissent for a president who has determined that foreign metals, autos and auto parts are a threat to America’s national security and should be restricted.After several months of deliberation, the commerce secretary determined that the high volume of uranium imports do pose a threat to national security. Trump rejected that finding. Advertising By New York Times |Washington | Published: July 14, 2019 9:18:05 am More Explained Advertising “Maintaining nuclear plants is a cornerstone of the present administration’s policy,” the utilities company said. “However, this investigation’s potential impact on restricting nuclear fuel imports would do just the opposite.” Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Intels Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary

first_imgNoon Light Switches Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has undergrad degrees in merchandising and manpower management, and an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob. I’m fascinated by the Qualcomm vs. Apple/Intel war for a lot of reasons — not the least of which is that it seems incredibly tactical with a very low upside and massive downside, particularly for Apple.Apple has been fighting a delaying game, but the collateral damage of being nearly locked out of Qualcomm’s engineering assistance is clearly having an adverse impact on its ability to execute. In addition, the animosity between the two firms is such that Apple likely realizes that the only way this doesn’t come back to bite it hard in a few years is if it can kill Qualcomm.This has many of us speculating that Apple is behind the Broadcom hostile acquisition, which is intended either to distract Qualcomm massively or to allow Broadcom to dismantle Qualcomm.In the wireless world, Qualcomm is the 500-pound gorilla, and while Apple is incredibly powerful, it hasn’t had a hit product since last decade. In addition, it is only able to hold its profits and revenue growth through increased prices and through pounding on its suppliers. At some point that no longer will work, as there is a limit to how much people will pay for an iPhone, and suppliers can’t live off nothing. In other words, there is hard limit on driving down costs.Eventually, Apple is going to go through a massive correction. Not being timely on 5G could be the trigger, as it is doubtful that people will be willing to fork over a 30 percent to 60 percent premium for a phone that is seen as old and slow. That’s what will happen if the 5G boat arrives and Apple isn’t on it. Without Qualcomm, it is off that boat — and right now, it is off that boat. I’ve been following home automation since the late 1970s. It mostly has been a frustrating process defined by firms that didn’t want to create products that would work reliably.My last home and my current home are Insteon homes. Insteon works great but it is hardwired and often requires switch upgrades (technology changes) and I’ve been shocked so many times doing that, that I now have serious issues just touching the switches. I’ve argued for some time that these things need to be modular so that they can be replaced easily. Also, I’ve long felt that they needed to look cool, so visitors could see you had something special.One of the big advantages of home automation is that your home looks occupied even when you aren’t there. Lights come on when you need them and are off the rest of the time. If you need light you can light the entire house up, and when you go to bed, one button turns everything off.You also can really piss off your spouse by controlling the lights remotely (wait — maybe that isn’t an advantage).If you have streaming security cameras, you can fire up lights to capture images, scare, or just annoy folks around your home when you aren’t there. More huge positives: You save power, you are more secure, you gain far more convenience, and you can freak folks. (Yes, I’m twisted, sue me.)The Noon Switch, developed by some folks out of Nest, does all of this. It also addresses both of my concerns. While you initially must wire it in, it has a modular base that can be upgraded by snapping in a new control module. Certainly, the strategy I’ve laid out could work. Qualcomm is very light with marketing. Although it has reversed its recent foolish policy of not having a CMO, the new CMO is not yet up to speed.Also, I don’t think Qualcomm fully understands the threat; it certainly hasn’t resourced an adequate response, given the terminal risk.On the other hand, Intel’s strongest CMO was Dennis Carter, and even at its strongest Intel was never in the same league that the old marketing team at IBM was. No tech company ever has been, with the exception of Apple under Jobs.If I know about this, virtually every analyst that covers 5G knows about this, and most of us are on social media — so expect the calls of foul to be numerous and impressive. (I just left a huge meeting of my peers and this was mostly what we were talking about.)So, the likely outcome is that Intel’s efforts at the Olympics — an event that is about as anti-cheating you can get — will overwhelmed by industry experts screaming foul. I don’t see how that ends well for Intel. If Qualcomm’s new CMO spins up, well, it could get worse.It will be an interesting week — but between you and me, I kind of wish tech firms would go back to bringing out great products and not be defined by litigation, insider trading, and fake news. Just saying… Bigger Problem I, and a great many of my peers, have been watching 5G very closely, so when Intel announced it was bringing 5G to the Olympics, some of my peers who are in country are looking at what Intel is setting up, and it isn’t 5G at all. Much of it is WiFi, and while Intel will be able to use this technology to emulate some of the experiences — which Intel does well, by the way — it has nothing to do with 5G.I’ve seen this done very successfully in the past. IBM, back in the 1990s, had the best marketing organization in tech. Its CEO, the only one hired from outside the company, came from Nabisco. While he didn’t know squat about technology, he really understood that perception Trumped reality.So, when he saw the coming wave of e-commerce and found out that HP had a solution but IBM was years behind, he rolled out a massive marketing program, broadly stating that IBM was the leader in e-commerce. That stalled the market long enough for IBM to deliver, and HP, which actually had a product, was screwed.That was before the social media era, when most analysts worked for a few large firms or for companies, so there weren’t a lot of folks who could yell foul. Even when we did, it went to a small number of subscribers and not the world. I think that dynamic is important here, but it is hard to believe that Intel doesn’t know that.Unlike HP, Qualcomm faces an underfunded hostile takeover. Qualcomm also has been undervalued significantly, particularly against this massive 5G opportunity.If Intel can convince the market — even for a few months — that it has bypassed Qualcomm, then Qualcomm’s stock should drop enough for Broadcom to execute and shut it down. That would shift both the short- and long-term threats from Qualcomm to Apple.However, Broadcom then would move into Qualcomm’s space and likely would replace it, making Apple happy but leaving Intel flapping in the wind. It would be another outcome that would make Andy Grove’s advice to run from Apple like your life depended on it extremely relevant. The Gambit In addition, the primary switch has a display and sensor on it, so it both looks cool and will work as an occupancy sensor. Sadly, it doesn’t interoperate with Insteon, and I’m not yet motivated to replace the switches I have (about 80 of the damn things). However, were I starting from scratch, I’d seriously consider Noon as a better alternative, mostly because it is more easily upgraded.It is clear this technology hasn’t settled, so there likely will be a number of options in the future. However, because the Noon Switch is the best home automation switch I’ve seen yet, it is my product of the week. If only it interoperated with Insteon… . If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality (capital T intended), this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn’t. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I’m worried that too many people don’t realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.There isn’t anyone at his level at the moment, suggesting that much of the activity I’m seeing will end badly. A case in point is Intel’s obvious fake news of 5G at the Olympics. 5G is more than a year out, which means that Intel is clamoring for massive media attention in an effort to convince the world that it is the leader in the next-generation network.Given the huge focus on cheating — well, stopping it — at the Olympics this year, Intel’s move is either incredibly gutsy or incredibly suicidal, depending on how it plays out. I’ll grant you that from big risks come big gains, but given how Intel has been executing of late, the odds of this ending well aren’t good.I’ll focus on Intel’s fake 5G Hail Mary and close with my product of the week: The Noon Switch, which is one of the most interesting home automation switches I’ve seen yet. Wrapping Up: Will It Work? To address the 5G problem, Apple needs Intel to give it 5G. However, Intel is at least a year behind Qualcomm, by my estimate, and Qualcomm seems to be moving faster. Of course, much as we’ve seen with the Olympics, when there is a ton of pressure on winning, and the athlete or team isn’t competitive but desperately needs a win, many are tempted to get “creative” and hope they don’t get caught.Allow me to digress for a bit to explain how I got here. I’ve been following 5G closely because it will be massively disruptive. The massive jump in wireless cellular speed is expected to impact everything from cars (which will use it to accelerate autonomous car viability) to wired connections for their PCs because wireless finally will be fast enough.You may no longer need your cable company, for instance, and new high-end TVs may start to ship with built-in 5G — you just plug them in, and all your streaming stuff magically appears.The change could wipe out Intel’s dominance in PC space, because a pervasive 5G connection could allow access to nearly unlimited cloud power (a direction that Microsoft is exploring with its Connected PC initiative and Apple is exploring with the iPad Pro, even before 5G launches next year).While both Apple and Intel likely have at least 12 months, and maybe 24, both firms will be screwed if they don’t massively change this dynamic. I’m having trouble seeing how, even in a best-case scenario, Intel can go from a processor company to a modem company in 24 months. The hole it is in is really deep. Background of the Storylast_img read more

Brain regions process concrete and abstract concepts differently

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 1 2019Review of imaging studies finds specific brain regions process types of word meanings separatelyA new review explores the different areas of the brain that process the meaning of concrete and abstract concepts. The article is published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurophysiology (JNP).The words that make up our language can be divided into two categories of concepts: concrete and abstract. Concrete words refer to things that exist in reality (e.g., animals, books, food) and that are experienced through the five senses. Abstract words (e.g., love, fear) tend to be more emotionally charged, not experienced through the senses and defined through other associated words rather than physical features. “Although it is clear that different brain areas are involved in semantic processing of abstract and concrete words, it is still a matter of debate which brain areas encode the different types of information underlying the meaning of abstract and concrete words,” wrote Maria Montefinese, PhD, author of the review.Montefinese analyzed three studies that identified and observed specific regions of the brain that organize abstract and concrete concepts. The volunteers in all of the studies were assigned language-related tasks while undergoing imaging tests of the brain:* A group of native English speakers completed two tasks involving a set of 40 concrete words. The first task instructed the volunteers to answer questions about the visual aspects of the words (i.e., “is it round?”). The second task required them to answer questions about general, more abstract characteristics of the words, such as “is it living?” The researchers found that the perirhinal cortex, an area of the brain associated with memory and recognition, processed the information from both tasks. However, the parahippocampal cortex, a brain region associated with memory formation, only responded to the second tasks involving non-visual questions.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to help* In a separate study, native Chinese speakers were asked to judge the familiarity of a series of words. The words represented more than 300 abstract concepts. The results showed that a network of several brain regions, including the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the middle temporal gyrus (MTG), worked together to organize abstract information. The IFG is a brain region associated with language processing. The MTG is a region involved with the retrieval of word meaning.* In the third study, a group of native Italian speakers were asked to decide whether strings of letters formed real words. One half of the words given were either concrete or abstract words and the other half were made up words. Results showed that the left IFG acts as a “neural crossroads” to differentiate between abstract and concrete words.”Together, these studies shed new light on how abstract and concrete concepts are represented in the brain [across] different languages,” Montefinese wrote. This research helps identify a “left-lateralized semantic network” that promotes better understanding of word-meaning structure in the brain.Source: http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/2019/8.htmllast_img read more

Singapore researchers find that a third of eczema apps do not comply

first_imgMatthew Gass from the British Association of Dermatologists said: Smartphone apps have emerged as a novel approach to support the self-management of conditions that require long-term care, such as eczema. Our research shows that there is a large variance in the quality of eczema apps. While the assessed eczema self-management apps had shortcomings, certain apps did provide appropriate functions with accurate information and comprehensive tracking of eczema-related factors.” It is important that researchers continue to test the accuracy and safety of health apps. There has been an enormous boom in the number of dermatology apps available to the public, and with this comes the risk that some will be inaccurate, and even unsafe. Similar concerns have been raised in the past regarding skin cancer apps.App developers should clearly label the sources of their information and should make use of existing resources such as published National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines in the UK. There is no doubt that apps will play a big role in the self-management of skin conditions, but we should have high standards for any health apps.” Related StoriesComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchBridging the Gaps to Advance Research in the Cannabis IndustryResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairIn this study, the NTU-led team assessed 98 apps for eczema management – 67 in English, 22 in Chinese, and 9 in Spanish. The researchers evaluated these apps using international eczema guidelines from Singapore, UK, US, Argentina and China to assess eczema educational information, eczema-specific tracking functions, and compliance with health information principles.Of the apps assessed, 84 per cent provided educational information, 39 per cent tracking functions, and 13 per cent both. Among 38 apps with a tracking function, 82 per cent measured specific symptoms, disease severity or current skin condition and 89 per cent helped users to record medication usage including application of topical treatments. 34 per cent recorded environmental or dietary allergens.In addition to the 34 per cent of apps providing information that was not in agreement with international guidelines, only 15 per cent provided information supported by international guidelines on pharmacological therapies and 16 per cent on non-pharmacological therapies. None of the included apps complied with all criteria for educational information, tracking functions or health information principles. 11 per cent of the apps failed to mention mainstay therapies such as the use of emollients and moisturisers.Assoc Prof Car, who is also Director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at NTU, said, “Perhaps the most useful way to address this issue would be to publish a list of recommended apps to aid clinicians in suggesting the appropriate options for eczema patients and caregivers.”Source:Nanyang Technological UniversityJournal reference:Car, J. et al. (2019) Eczema apps conformance with clinical guidelines: A systematic assessment of functions, tools and content. British Journal of Dermatology. doi.org/10.1111/bjd.18152. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 11 2019A third (34 per cent) of eczema management mobile applications provide information that does not agree with international treatment and condition guidelines, a study led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has found.While many of the apps studied came with features such as information on the available therapies and a disease tracking function, a team led by Associate Professor Josip Car from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) at NTU Singapore found that none of them fulfilled the complete set of criteria for educational information, tracking functions or health information principles, as set out by international eczema management recommendations such as the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines.The study, published online this week in the British Journal of Dermatology, highlights the need for mechanisms and guidelines to ensure app quality, and to guide personalized app selection for patients, caregivers and doctors. This is crucial for long-term conditions such as eczema, which are often managed in the community.Eczema, characterized by itchiness and red, inflamed skin, is the top skin condition seen at the National Skin Centre in Singapore. Half the eczema patients in Singapore have to manage the condition throughout their lives . There is currently no cure for eczema, but maintenance treatments of daily moisturizing can keep it under control.Associate Professor Josip Car, who chairs the Health Services and Outcomes Research Programme at NTU’s LKCMedicine, said the field of mobile health has great potential to lead to better patient care and self-management of eczema, provided that appropriate measures are taken to improve the quality standards of eczema management apps.He said:last_img read more

First treatment approved by FDA for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps

first_imgRelated StoriesProtein found in the eye can protect against diabetic retinopathyStudy estimates health care costs of uncontrolled asthma in the U.S. over next 20 yearsBariatric surgery should be offered to all patients who would benefitDupixent is given by injection. The efficacy and safety of Dupixent were established in two studies with 724 patients, 18 years and older with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps who were symptomatic despite taking intranasal corticosteroids. Patients who received Dupixent had statistically significant reductions in their nasal polyp size and nasal congestion compared to the placebo group. Patients taking Dupixent also reported an increased ability to smell and required less nasal polyp surgery and oral steroids.Dupixent may cause serious allergic reactions and eye problems, such as inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the cornea (keratitis). If patients experience new or worsening eye symptoms, such as redness, itching, pain or visual changes, they should consult their health care professional. The most common side effects reported include injection site reactions as well as eye and eyelid inflammation, which included redness, swelling and itching. Patients receiving Dupixent should avoid receiving live vaccines.Dupixent was originally approved in 2017 for patients 12 and older with eczema that is not controlled adequately by topical therapies or when those therapies are not advisable. In 2018, Dupixent was approved as an add-on maintenance treatment for patients 12 years and older with moderate-to-severe eosinophilic asthma or with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma.The FDA granted this application Priority Review. The approval of Dupixent was granted to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Source:U.S. Food and Drug Administration Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 26 2019The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Dupixent (dupilumab) to treat adults with nasal polyps (growths on the inner lining of the sinuses) accompanied by chronic rhinosinusitis (prolonged inflammation of the sinuses and nasal cavity). This is the first treatment approved for inadequately controlled chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. Nasal polyps can lead to loss of smell and often patients require surgery to remove the polyps. Dupixent provides an important treatment option for patients whose nasal polyps are not adequately controlled with intranasal steroids. It also reduces the need for nasal polyp surgery and oral steroids.”Sally Seymour, M.D., Director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Rheumatology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Researchlast_img read more

Study provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated

first_imgThe human brain contains functionally segregated neuronal networks with dense internal connections and sparse inter-connectivity. Aging is thought to be associated with reduced functional specialization and segregation of these brain networks.Joint senior authors Assoc Prof Zhou and Prof Michael Chee, Director of Duke-NUS’ Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, led the research team, collecting data from neuropsychological assessments and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans from a cohort of 57 healthy young adults and 72 healthy elderly Singaporeans. Each elderly participant was scanned two to three times during a period of up to four years. The neuropsychological assessments tested participants’ ability to process information quickly, focus their attention, remember verbal and visuo-spatial information, and plan and execute tasks. The fMRI scans measured how brain regions are functionally connected based on low-frequency blood oxygenation level fluctuations over time. Participants were asked to relax with their eyes open and remain still as these were performed.Related StoriesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsDr Joanna Chong, first author of the paper and a PhD graduate from Assoc Prof Zhou’s lab at Duke-NUS, developed approaches to convert the fMRI images into graphic representations that depict the inter- and intra-network connectedness of each individual’s brain. She then compared differences in brain functional networks between the young and elderly participants, and in the elderly over time.The team tracked changes in brain functional networks that affected specific cognitive abilities, such as goal-oriented thought and action, and choosing where to focus attention. As one ages, these networks associated with cognition are less efficient in information transfer, more vulnerable to disturbance, and less distinctive.”Overall, our research advances understanding of brain network changes over time, underlying cognitive decline in healthy aging,” said Assoc Prof Zhou. “This can facilitate future work to identify elderly individuals at risk of aging-related disorders or to identify strategies that can preserve cognitive function.”Commenting on the study, Prof Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean for Research at Duke-NUS, stated, “Aging is a significant risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases in people, including neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases. Governments worldwide are concerned about the public health implications of increasingly aging populations. Basic research such as this plays a vital role in informing efforts to help us stay healthy longer as we live longer lives.”The researchers aim to next examine how various factors, such as genetic and cardiovascular risks, might influence aging-related changes in brain networks. By studying a larger group of healthy young, middle-aged and older adults, they hope to develop better ways to predict cognitive decline. Source:Duke-NUS Medical SchoolJournal reference:Chong, J.S.X. et al. (2019) Longitudinal Changes in the Cerebral Cortex Functional Organization of Healthy Elderly. The Journal of Neuroscience. doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.1451-18.2019. We currently live in a rapidly aging society. Compared to cross-sectional studies, it is vital to understand brain changes over time that underlie both healthy and pathologic aging, in order to inform efforts to slow down cognitive aging.”Study’s corresponding author, Associate Professor Juan Helen Zhou, neuroscientist from the faculty of Duke-NUS’ Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders program Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 14 2019Functional regions within the brain become less distinct and inter-connected in the elderly over time, especially in those networks related to attention span and cognition. The finding, published by researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School in The Journal of Neuroscience, adds to current understanding of longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with aging.last_img read more

Your next pilot could be drone software

But stories of pilot drunkenness, rants, fights and distraction, however rare, are reminders that pilots are only human. Not every plane can be flown by a disaster-averting pilot, like Southwest Capt. Tammie Jo Shults or Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. But software could change that, equipping every plane with an extremely experienced guidance system that is always learning more.In fact, on many flights, autopilot systems already control the plane for basically all of the flight. And software handles the most harrowing landings – when there is no visibility and the pilot can’t see anything to even know where he or she is. But human pilots are still on hand as backups.A new generation of software pilots, developed for self-flying vehicles, or drones, will soon have logged more flying hours than all humans have – ever. By combining their enormous amounts of flight data and experience, drone-control software applications are poised to quickly become the world’s most experienced pilots.Drones that fly themselvesDrones come in many forms, from tiny quad-rotor copter toys to missile-firing winged planes, or even 7-ton aircraft that can stay aloft for 34 hours at a stretch. When drones were first introduced, they were flown remotely by human operators. However, this merely substitutes a pilot on the ground for one aloft. And it requires significant communications bandwidth between the drone and control center, to carry real-time video from the drone and to transmit the operator’s commands. Many newer drones no longer need pilots; some drones for hobbyists and photographers can now fly themselves along human-defined routes, leaving the human free to sightsee – or control the camera to get the best view.University researchers, businesses and military agencies are now testing larger and more capable drones that will operate autonomously. Swarms of drones can fly without needing tens or hundreds of humans to control them. And they can perform coordinated maneuvers that human controllers could never handle.Whether flying in swarms or alone, the software that controls these drones is rapidly gaining flight experience. Citation: Your next pilot could be drone software (2018, April 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-drone-software.html Could humans control these 1,218 drones all together? Importance of pilot experienceExperience is the main qualification for pilots. Even a person who wants to fly a small plane for personal and noncommercial use needs 40 hours of flying instruction before getting a private pilot’s license. Commercial airline pilots must have at least 1,000 hours before even serving as a co-pilot. On-the-ground training and in-flight experience prepare pilots for unusual and emergency scenarios, ideally to help save lives in situations like the “Miracle on the Hudson.” But many pilots are less experienced than “Sully” Sullenberger, who saved his planeload of people with quick and creative thinking. With software, though, every plane can have on board a pilot with as much experience – if not more. A popular software pilot system, in use in many aircraft at once, could gain more flight time each day than a single human might accumulate in a year. As someone who studies technology policy as well as the use of artificial intelligence for drones, cars, robots and other uses, I don’t lightly suggest handing over the controls for those additional tasks. But giving software pilots more control would maximize computers’ advantages over humans in training, testing and reliability.Training and testing software pilotsUnlike people, computers will follow sets of instructions in software the same way every time. That lets developers create instructions, test reactions and refine aircraft responses. Testing could make it far less likely, for example, that a computer would mistake the planet Venus for an oncoming jet and throw the plane into a steep dive to avoid it. The most significant advantage is scale: Rather than teaching thousands of individual pilots new skills, updating thousands of aircraft would require only downloading updated software.These systems would also need to be thoroughly tested – in both real-life situations and in simulations – to handle a wide range of aviation situations and to withstand cyberattacks. But once they’re working well, software pilots are not susceptible to distraction, disorientation, fatigue or other human impairments that can create problems or cause errors even in common situations.Rapid response and adaptationAlready, aircraft regulators are concerned that human pilots are forgetting how to fly on their own and may have trouble taking over from an autopilot in an emergency. In the “Miracle on the Hudson” event, for example, a key factor in what happened was how long it took for the human pilots to figure out what had happened – that the plane had flown through a flock of birds, which had damaged both engines – and how to respond. Rather than the approximately one minute it took the humans, a computer could have assessed the situation in seconds, potentially saving enough time that the plane could have landed on a runway instead of a river.Aircraft damage can pose another particularly difficult challenge for human pilots: It can change what effects the controls have on its flight. In cases where damage renders a plane uncontrollable, the result is often tragedy. A sufficiently advanced automated system could make minute changes to the aircraft’s steering and use its sensors to quickly evaluate the effects of those movements – essentially learning how to fly all over again with a damaged plane.Boosting public confidenceThe biggest barrier to fully automated flight is psychological, not technical. Many people may not want to trust their lives to computer systems. But they might come around when reassured that the software pilot has tens, hundreds or thousands more hours of flight experience than any human pilot.Other autonomous technologies, too, are progressing despite public concerns. Regulators and lawmakers are allowing self-driving cars on the roads in many states. But more than half of Americans don’t want to ride in one, largely because they don’t trust the technology. And only 17 percent of travelers around the world are willing to board a plane without a pilot. However, as more people experience self-driving cars on the road and have drones deliver them packages, it is likely that software pilots will gain in acceptance.The airline industry will certainly be pushing people to trust the new systems: Automating pilots could save tens of billions of dollars a year. And the current pilot shortage means software pilots may be the key to having any airline service to smaller destinations. Both Boeing and Airbus have made significant investments in automated flight technology, which would remove or reduce the need for human pilots. Boeing has actually bought a drone manufacturer and is looking to add software pilot capabilities to the next generation of its passenger aircraft. (Other tests have tried to retrofit existing aircraft with robotic pilots.)One way to help regular passengers become comfortable with software pilots – while also helping to both train and test the systems – could be to introduce them as co-pilots working alongside human pilots. Planes would be operated by software from gate to gate, with the pilots instructed to touch the controls only if the system fails. Eventually pilots could be removed from the aircraft altogether, just like they eventually were from the driverless trains that we routinely ride in airports around the world. Explore further Would you be – or feel – safer if one of these people were a robot? Credit: Skycolors/Shutterstock.com Would you get on a plane that didn’t have a human pilot in the cockpit? Half of air travelers surveyed in 2017 said they would not, even if the ticket was cheaper. Modern pilots do such a good job that almost any air accident is big news, such as the Southwest engine disintegration on April 17. Provided by The Conversation This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. 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. UK pilots warn of disaster, seek tougher rules for drones read more

Why this summer might be a test for the Texas electric grid

Credit: University of Texas at Austin 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. Summer is fast approaching here in Texas, and even if it is a mild one, it will be hot. Once again we’ll walk from our air-conditioned houses to our air-conditioned cars to our air-conditioned parking garages to our air-conditioned places of work. Americans ramp up use of solar, wind energy Provided by University of Texas at Austin Citation: Why this summer might be a test for the Texas electric grid (2018, April 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-summer-texas-electric-grid.html All that AC comes at a cost, however. A big cost. During the hottest parts of the summer, nearly 50 percent of the total output from all power plants in Texas goes toward powering air conditioners. About this time each year, some people question whether the Texas grid will be able to supply the power we need to get through another tortuous summer. This year, some are worrying more than wondering.There is a lot of change happening right now: coal plants retiring, solar panel tariffs delaying solar projects, constrained capacity leading to higher prices. Should we be concerned about it? Maybe, maybe not. Coal is on the decline in Texas. There is not a single new coal plant under construction. Certain environmental regulations make it more difficult to build new ones, but we wouldn’t be building them even if those regulations didn’t exist. In fact, we are moving the opposite direction and retiring a significant portion of the Texas coal fleet. The average coal plant in Texas is more than 30 years old, and many in the fleet were built in the 1970s. Some are likely to soon need substantial capital investment just to keep running. Other technologies available today—natural gas and wind—have established themselves as lower-cost options. In fact, some of the biggest coal utilities in Texas are heavily invested in these new cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Just as the Texas summer is inevitably on its way, so is Texas solar. The grid is expecting to triple the amount of large-scale solar during the next few years. A few projects might be delayed because of the solar tariffs that President Donald Trump has imposed, but the overall effect will be minimal, perhaps raising the cost of solar electricity by one-tenth of a penny.The prime locations for wind and solar in Texas are out west, with the best wind near Lubbock and the best solar close to Big Bend. Lucky for Texas, the state completed a massive transmission line project in those areas a few years ago. In doing so, it allowed us to build so much wind that we now rank No. 1 in the U.S., and No. 7 in the world, in terms of overall renewable energy production. Recent coal plant retirements mean that supply will go down, and thanks to our booming Texas economy, electricity demand will be up. Our modeling projects higher yearly average prices this year but also show that trend reversing next year, as more wind and solar come on line. So, high prices shouldn’t be a long-term problem. In fact, prices have been at historical lows for years because of the low cost of natural gas, and, to a lesser extent, large amounts of wind.Long term, the era of large centralized power plants appears to be drawing to a close. The market is changing, and other technologies—such as wind and solar, and soon, energy storage—are lining up to play every larger roles.This summer might be the toughest test our grid has faced in a while, but early analysis indicates we will get by. The high prices will send a signal to the market for what kinds of resources need to be developed, and that is how the market is supposed to work: out with the old and inefficient, and in with the new. read more

Tesla chief defends selfdriving cars after new crash

Citation: Tesla chief defends self-driving cars after new crash (2018, May 15) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-tesla-chief-defends-self-driving-cars.html Musk lamented on Twitter about what he portrayed as an unfair focus on mishaps rather than benefits of autonomous vehicles with the potential to make roads safer.”It’s super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the (approximately) 40,000 people who died in US auto accidents alone in past year get almost no coverage,” Musk said in a tweet.”What’s actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60mph and the driver only broke an ankle.”Whether an Autopilot feature was engaged when a Model S collided with the rear of a stopped fire truck in the US state of Utah on May 11 remained to be confirmed.According to local media, police said the woman at the wheel of the car claimed it was in a self-driving mode and that her attention was on her phone.Musk complained in a recent earnings call that accidents involving self-driving cars get sensational headlines while the potential for the technology to save lives is downplayed or ignored.Among accidents to make headlines was a fiery March 23 crash in California that involved its “Autopilot” feature.The US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, which led to the death of a 38-year-old father of two, Walter Huang. Tesla has released several statements on the accident, including a March 30 blog post that expressed sorrow for the family but defended its technology and pointed responsibility for the crash on the driver.Huang’s hands were “not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision,” Tesla said in the blog.While its cars have Autopilot capabilities, people in the driver seats are called on to be paying attention and ready to take control of steering wheels.The NTSB is also investigating a Tesla Model S crash that left two people dead and another injured in Florida.The 2014 Tesla was reportedly traveling at high speed when it hit a wall then caught fire last week, the NTSB said in a release.Autopilot self-driving capabilities of the Tesla were not expected to be involved, the NTSB said. The NTSB had yet to announce whether they will be looking into the Utah crash. Tesla chief Elon Musk defended self-driving car technology on Tuesday after reports about the latest crash involving one of the electric carmaker’s vehicles. Explore further © 2018 AFP US investigating battery fire in fatal Tesla crash Tesla CEO Elon Musk lamented reports focusing on the dangers of autonomous driving technology instead of the safety benefits This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Crash test dummies based on older bodies could reduce road fatalities

first_imgEurope’s population is ageing rapidly, yet the majority of car safety equipment is tested using dummies modelled on people under the age of 65. Now researchers are developing vehicles and equipment designed specifically for the physical attributes and abilities of older bodies. When looking at the bare statistics, Europe’s roads seem to be getting safer. Over the past seven years, the overall number of road fatalities has gone down by 20%, yet, at the same time, the proportion of older people injured or killed on the roads has risen. With the percentage of people over the age of 80 expected to increase to almost 30% by 2080, this high rate of road accidents involving older people is likely to become a growing problem.But safety testing by the automotive industry currently does not take into account the distinct physical differences older drivers tend to have compared to those who are younger. Crash test dummies stand in for human drivers and passengers in safety tests are usually based on people between the ages of 20-65 years old.This means that many devices and pieces of equipment designed to make cars safer are potentially unable to provide optimal protection for a group of people who currently account for almost a fifth of the population in Europe.But a project called SENIORS is hoping to tackle this problem by developing a crash test dummy that perfectly replicates the bodies of older people.’There’s bone differences, geometric differences and weight differences, so restraint systems really need to be adapted for older people to protect them better,’ said Mark Burleigh of crash test dummy manufacturer Humanetics Europe and design engineer for SENIORS. ‘Their muscles aren’t as strong, and they move in different ways before and during an accident.’Organ positionsTo create their senior citizen crash test dummy, Burleigh and his colleagues collected data to determine the statistically average person, and scanned the bodies of real people. MRI scans were used to further determine organ positions. Provided by Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine Explore further They then combined this information to create a 3-D-printed replica of a 70-year-old woman with a BMI of 29 and 1.61m in height, representing the average traits of the older people most commonly injured in road accidents. The dummy is currently being used for research, but Burleigh and his team hope that in the future it will be a requirement that all cars are tested using their dummy.Adria Ferrer, of multinational engineering firm Applus+ IDIADA, who is the project manager for SENIORS, said: ‘We are protecting younger people better than older people at the moment. If you look at the rate in elderly fatalities, you can see that it is increasing, and the safety systems installed in the vehicles must be able to provide the same protection to older and younger people.’The project is also testing seatbelts that are specifically designed to protect the older body. The most commonly seen injuries in older motorists and passengers are in the chest, so the researchers looked at creating new kinds of seatbelts to prevent this.Generally, seatbelts are designed to follow the skeletal bone structure of the wearer, resting along the clavicle, ribs and the pelvis bones. In the event of an accident, the belt will put pressure on the bone, which will resist that pressure without causing internal damage. However, in overweight older people the belt can sit on the belly instead, and in the event of an accident will put pressure on their soft abdomen. One design the SENIORS team are investigating uses two straps criss-crossing over the body. They are also examining the effects of load limiters – devices used in most seatbelts to minimise injuries caused by the webbing – with different restraint systems to see what would work best for an older person’s body, without compromising on protection for everybody else.’The challenge is to make vehicles safer for older people while maintaining the high level of safety for younger people,’ said Ferrer. ‘The same seatbelt must be able to protect an 18-year-old football player, who is sporty and physically fit, and a 70-year-old.’Everyday drivingBut the physical differences that separate older people from the rest of the population are not just important in the event of an accident – they can also inhibit everyday driving. As people get older, their eyesight and hearing become poorer, they have slower reactions to unexpected incidents and they cannot move as nimbly as a younger driver. To date, many systems in a car are not developed with older users in mind, and those people will often quit driving, limiting their independence.’Ergonomic design studied in collaboration with senior drivers is key,’ said John Reiner, director of public-funded research projects for German company Infineon Technologies. ‘We have to implement technologies to compensate for the fact that younger drivers have better physical abilities and can move more easily, and also are less scared in stressful traffic situations.’He coordinates a project called SILVERSTREAM, which has developed an electric car that caters to the unique needs of older drivers. Comfort is vital, according to Reiner, as even getting into a car can be a painful experience.To address this, the SILVERSTREAM car has a front passenger seat that rotates around its centre and exits the car, coming to rest facing the driver. They can then sit into it with ease, without having to bend and twist their bodies. Once a person is sitting in the seat, it rotates and re-enters the vehicle.The boot of the car contains a crane-lift device to help motorists load heavy items. ‘As you become older, you need to have a little bit more comfort to get seated into the car, you want to carry your bags easily if you go shopping, said Reiner. ‘The car allows you to live your normal life, you can visit your friends and run your household.’DashboardInstead of a ream of buttons bristling from the dashboard, the car also has a system that allows the driver to make hand gestures to interact with the onboard computer. It means the driver can simply wave in the air instead of reaching out to push tiny buttons or prodding and pulling switches.To reduce cognitive stress for the driver, it also includes only the barest essentials – providing the needed control information, but avoiding features like Bluetooth connectivity and USB chargers. According to the research carried out by the SILVERSTREAM team, older drivers don’t use the majority of such gadgets. By eliminating them, the price of the car can be reduced, and the aim of SILVERSTREAM is to have the car on the market for an affordable price – in the range of €8,000 – by 2021. When do problems with memory and decision-making affect older adults’ ability to drive? 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. Because safety needs change as drivers’ bodies age, researchers have created a new type of crash test dummy based on people over the age of 65. Credit: Calspan Corporation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, licensed under public domain Citation: Crash test dummies based on older bodies could reduce road fatalities (2018, June 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-dummies-based-older-bodies-road.htmllast_img read more

Departing Apple engineer stole autonomous car tech FBI

first_img Citation: Departing Apple engineer stole autonomous car tech: FBI (2018, July 11) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-departing-apple-stole-autonomous-car.html © 2018 AFP Xiaolang Zhang was in custody for stealing trade secrets from the Apple project, according to a copy of the criminal complaint posted online.The charge is punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.”Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously,” the California-based internet titan said in response to an AFP query.”We’re working with authorities on this matter and will do everything possible to make sure this individual and any other individuals involved are held accountable for their actions.”Zhang was hired by Apple in December of 2015 to be part of a team developing hardware and software for self-driving vehicles, a project that was a “closely-guarded secret,” according to the complaint filed by the FBI.Zhang took paternity leave in the month of April, going with his family to China.Upon his return to Apple at the end of April, he told a supervisor he was quitting to return to China to be near his ailing mother.Zhang mentioned he planned to go work for a Chinese self-driving vehicle startup called Xiaopeng Motors, or XMotors, in Guangzhou, according to the complaint.The supervisor thought Zhang “evasive” and brought in an Apple product security team, which had Zhang turn in all company devices and walked him off campus, according to the filing.Apple security found that Zhang’s activity on the company network surged “exponentially” in the days before he returned from paternity leave.Zhang did searches of confidential databases, and downloaded technical files, the criminal complaint said.Documents downloaded by Zhang included some on topics such as “prototypes,” according to the case against him.Apple also had closed-circuit camera recording of Zhang going into autonomous driving tech team labs late on a Saturday night while he was on paternity leave, according to the filing.Zhang later admitted to taking circuit boards and a Linux server from the hardware lab, and to transferring some Apple files to his wife’s computer, the FBI said in the complaint.Zhang was “voluntarily terminated” from Apple in early March, and FBI agents searched his home in June as part of their investigation.Zhang told the FBI at that time he was working at XMotors offices in Silicon Valley, according to the complaint.Zhang was heading to China with a “last-minute round-trip ticket” when FBI agents arrested him at an airport in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose, the filing said. Explore further An ex-Apple engineer on Monday was charged with stealing secrets from a hush-hush self-driving car technology project days before he quit to go to a Chinese startup.center_img An ex-Apple engineer was charged with stealing secrets from a self-driving car technology project days before he quit to go to a Chinese startup Charges in Silicon Valley secrets theft 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

Google unveils new virtual reality experience at SIGGRAPH 2018

first_imgA team of leading researchers at Google, will unveil the new immersive virtual reality (VR) experience “Welcome to Lightfields” at ACM SIGGRAPH 2018. Credit: Google/Overbeck Google has unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) immersive experience based on a novel system that captures and renders high-quality, realistic images from the real world using light fields. Created by a team of leading researchers at Google, Welcome to Light Fields is the tech giant’s splash into the nascent arena of light fields VR experiences, an exciting corner of VR video technology gaining traction for its promise to deliver extremely high-quality imagery and experiences in the virtual world. Disney Animation to premiere first VR short at SIGGRAPH 2018 Among other things, explains Overbeck, “The processing pipeline uses computer vision to place the images in 3-D and generate depth maps, and we use a modified version of our vp9 video codec to compress the light field data down to a manageable size.” To render a light field dataset, he notes, the team used a rendering algorithm that blends between the thousands of light field images in real-time.The team relied on Google’s talented pool of engineers in computer vision, graphics, video compression, and machine learning to overcome the unique challenges posed in light fields technology. They also collaborated closely with the WebM team (who make the vp9 video codec) to develop the high-quality light field compression format incorporated into their system, and leaned heavily on the expertise of the Jump VR team to help pose the images and generate depth maps. (Jump is Google’s professional VR system for achieving 3-D-360 video production at scale.)Indeed, with Welcome to Light Fields, the Google team is demonstrating the potential and promise of light field VR technology, showcasing the technology’s ability to provide a truly immersive experience with a level of unmatched realism. Though light fields technology has been researched and explored in computer graphics for more than 30 years, practical systems for actually delivering high-quality light field experiences has not yet been possible.Part of the team’s motivation behind creating this VR light field experience is to invigorate the nascent field.”Welcome to Light Fields proves that it is now possible to make a compelling light field VR viewer that runs on consumer-grade hardware, and we hope that this knowledge will encourage others to get involved with building light field technology and media,” says Overbeck. “We understand that in order to eventually make compelling consumer products based on light fields, we need a thriving light field ecosystem. We need open light field codecs, we need artists creating beautiful light field imagery, and we need people using VR in order to engage with light fields.” Explore further Citation: Google unveils new virtual reality experience at SIGGRAPH 2018 (2018, July 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-google-unveils-virtual-reality-siggraph.html Provided by Association for Computing Machinery Google released Welcome to Light Fields earlier this year as a free app on Steam VR for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The creators will demonstrate the VR experience at SIGGRAPH 2018, in the Immersive Pavilion, a new space for this year’s conference. The Pavilion is devoted exclusively to virtual, augmented, and mixed reality and will contain: the Vrcade, a space for VR, AR, and MR games or experiences; the VR Theater, a storytelling extravaganza that is part of the Computer Animation Festival; and the well-known Village, for showcasing large-scale projects. SIGGRAPH 2018, held 12-16 August in Vancouver, British Columbia, is an annual gathering that showcases the world’s leading professionals, academics, and creative minds at the forefront of computer graphics and interactive techniques.Destinations in Welcome to Light Fields include NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery, delivering to viewers an astronaut’s view inside the flight deck, which has never been open to the public; the pristine teak and mahogany interiors of the Gamble House, an architectural treasure in Pasadena, CA; and the glorious St. Stephen’s Church in Granada Hills, CA, home to a stunning wall of more than 14,000 pieces of glimmering stained glass.”I love that light fields in VR can teleport you to exotic places in the real world, and truly make you believe you are there,” says Ryan Overbeck, software engineer at Google who co-led the project. “To me, this is magic.”To bring this experience to life, Overbeck worked with a team that included Paul Debevec, senior staff engineer at Google, who managed the project and led the hardware piece with engineers Xueming Yu, Jay Busch, and Graham Fyffe. With Overbeck, Daniel Erickson and Daniel Evangelakos focused on the software end. The researchers designed a comprehensive system for capturing and rendering high-quality, spherical light field still images from footage captured in the real world. They developed two easy-to-use light field camera rigs, based on the GoPro Hero4action sports camera, that efficiently capture thousands of images on the surface of a sphere. Those images were then passed through a cloud-based light-field-processing pipeline. 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

Sensitive robots feel the strain

first_imgThe leg of the action figure was coated in a strain-sensing artificial skin to demonstrate the material in action. Credit: Wiley-VCH Scientists make new ‘green’ electronic polymer-based films with protein nanowires 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. Provided by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology An artificial soft skin imbued with flexible electronics could enhance the way robots sense and interact with their surroundings, KAUST researchers have shown. The team has discovered how to program electrical conductivity and strain sensing into a single material embedded in a stretchy polymer skin. The discovery could also have applications in wearable electronic devices.When an animal stretches a limb, a network of nerves and sensors within the skin provides feedback that help it orient the limb in space and interact with its surroundings. Embedding a network of strain sensors and connective wiring into a flexible artificial skin would give soft robots similar sensory feedback, helping them autonomously navigate their environment, says Gilles Lubineau, who led the research.Until now, researchers have used different materials for the sensing and conductive wiring components, adding cost and complexity to the fabrication process, explains Ragesh Chellattoan, a Ph.D. student in Lubineau’s team. “Our objective is to get both sensing and wiring connectivity in the one material,” he says.The team developed an artificial material comprising a flexible polymer embedded with silver nanowires. Individually, each nanowire is conductive, but high resistance at the junctions between the them limits overall conductivity through the material. The resistance increases markedly when the material is flexed and the nanowires are pulled apart such that the nanowire network acts like a strain sensor.But that behavior can be altered, the team showed. Applying a DC voltage made the nanowire network very hot at the points of high resistance, where the nanowires meet. This localized heating acts to weld neighboring nanowires together, forming a highly conductive firmly bonded network that is impervious to stretching and flexing. “Electrical welding joins thousands of junctions in the network within 30 seconds,” Chellattoan says. Changing how the current is introduced controls which parts become conductive.The researchers created a stretchy skin for a toy action figure to demonstrate their material. They coated one of the figure’s legs with the artificial skin and then applied DC voltage only to the leg’s left side before flexing the leg at the knee and observing what happened. On the right side, the nanowire network acted as a strain sensor that could detect leg position as the figure’s knee was bent and straightened; the left side showed high conductivity regardless of leg position.The next step, Chellattoan says, is to gain greater control over where nanowire welds form. This would give researchers the ability to draw precise conductive patterns into the artificial skin. More information: Ragesh Chellattoan et al. Toward Programmable Materials for Wearable Electronics: Electrical Welding Turns Sensors into Conductors, Advanced Electronic Materials (2018). DOI: 10.1002/aelm.201800273 Explore further Flexible skin for soft robots, embedded with electrical nanowires, combines conductivity with sensitivity within the same material. Citation: Sensitive robots feel the strain (2018, December 11) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-sensitive-robots-strain.htmllast_img read more

Germany sees surge in new solar power as prices drop

first_img 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. Picture taken 24 April 2017 shows cells of a solar power plant in Herdwangen, Germany, (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP) Germany added almost 3 gigawatts of new solar power generation in 2018, about 68 percent more than the previous year amid a drop in prices for new systems. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.center_img But the country’s solar industry association, BSW, said Thursday that Germany needs 7.5 GW of new photovoltaic systems annually to meet long-term energy demand.Germany plans to switch off its nuclear plants by 2022 and the government is considering a proposal to stop burning coal for electricity by 2038 at the latest in a bid to curb greenhouse emissions.Europe’s biggest economy depends heavily on reliable electricity supplies. Solar contributed about 8 percent of Germany’s electricity last year.At 46 GW, Germany has the fourth largest installed solar capacity behind China (174 GW), the United States (63 GW) and Japan (60 GW). Citation: Germany sees surge in new solar power as prices drop (2019, January 31) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-germany-surge-solar-power-prices.html Germany should phase out coal use by 2038: commission (Update)last_img read more

Icelands WOW Air budget carrier collapses cancels all flights

first_img Explore further © 2019 AFP The closure of WOW Air, which transports more than a third of those travelling to Iceland, comes after buyout talks with rival Icelandair collapsed earlier this week.”All WOW Air flights have been cancelled. Passengers are advised to check available flights with other airlines,” the carrier said in a statement. “Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances. Information on those airlines will be published, when it becomes available.”Iceland’s government said it estimated that 4,000 travellers were stranded, including around 1,300 currently in transit. At Reykjavik airport, hundreds of passengers were left without planes to board as 30 WOW Air flights to Paris, New York and Montreal were cancelled.Two Portuguese tourists, Cristiana and Nuno Barrocas, were in Iceland as part of a trip around the world and rushed to the airport after hearing the news.”Our dream is to go around the world but the start of our adventure is turning out worse than expected,” the couple told AFP after their flight from Copenhagen to Reykjavik was delayed on Wednesday.A 28-year-old Canadian university exchange student in Belgium, Charles Ouellet, was due to fly home to Montreal on a WOW flight via Reykjavik on April 3. “I’m going to see if I can get refunded,” he told AFP.Almost 10 low-cost airlines collapsed in 2018, including Belgium’s VLM Airlines, Denmark’s Primera Air and Cyprus’ Cobalt Air.In February, Berlin-based airline Germania cancelled its own flights and filed for bankruptcy, and other budget airlines such as British Flybe have narrowly escaped folding this year.Fierce competition in Europe has led airlines to slash prices, pushing their profit margins lower.Companies have also faced stiff competition from low-cost subsidiaries set up by big operators such as British Airways parent company IAG.Founded in 2011, WOW Air exploited Iceland’s location in the middle of the North Atlantic to offer a low-cost service between Europe and North America as well as tapping into a tourist boom to the volcanic island.However it had flown into financial trouble in recent years due to heightened competition on transatlantic low-cost flights and rising fuel prices, and had been searching for an investor for months.Blow to Iceland economyOn Monday WOW said it was in talks to restructure its debt with its creditors after Icelandair ended brief negotiations over buying a stake in the no-frills airline.WOW Air was left needing $42 million to save the company, according to the Frettabladid newspaper.The privately-owned airline had undergone major restructuring after posting a pre-tax loss of almost $42 million for the first nine months of 2018.It reduced its fleet from 20 to 11 aircraft, eliminating several destinations, including those to the US, and cutting 111 full-time jobs.In 2018, WOW Air, which employs 1,000 people, transported 3.5 million passengers.A report by a governmental work group has warned that a WOW Air bankruptcy would lead to a three percent drop in Iceland’s gross domestic product, a fall in the value of the krona and rising inflation.”I’ll never forgive myself for not acting sooner, because it is clear that WOW is an unbelievable airline and that we were going to do bigger and better things,” the company’s founder and chief executive, Skuli Mogensen, wrote in a letter to staff on Thursday. WOW Air seeks debt restructuring as Icelandair quits talks Iceland’s Wow Air has cancelled all flights after failing to find investors interested in saving the troubled airlinecenter_img Iceland’s troubled budget carrier WOW Air said it had ceased operations and cancelled all flights on Thursday, stranding thousands of passengers in the low-cost airline industry’s latest collapse. Citation: Iceland’s WOW Air budget carrier collapses, cancels all flights (2019, March 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-iceland-wow-air-carrier-collapses.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Adding satnav to turn power grids into smart systems

first_img“The power distribution system was never built to handle these technologies,” he adds. “It’s a big concern among electric companies that power is being taken in and out in ways that the grid was not designed to do.”The Enersyn project is developing a standardised monitoring platform for subsystems and power lines, designed to take snapshots of electricity current and voltage some hundred times per second when brief power surges occur – anomalies that might not cause problems in their own right but could be early clues of more serious issues. 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. Four years ago an apparent fire from nowhere forced the evacuation of 5 000 people from central London. Thick black smoke and choking fumes emerged from manhole covers as power was cut off to the Holborn neighbourhood. The local London Underground station was shuttered, along with West End theatres and law courts.This 36-hour blaze at the start of April 2015 was eventually traced to faulty electrical cables in an underground tunnel, which went on to damage an adjacent gas pipe. In the event, firefighters had to borrow a bomb disposal robot from Scotland Yard to pinpoint the fire’s source.”Power grids are still operated in a very traditional way,” comments David Brain of UK company Powerline Technologies, participating in a new ESA project called Enersyn.”There is literally no instrumentation in most local low-voltage substations – the first time a distribution company knows about a power outage is when a customer rings them up. And there are more than a million of these substations across the UK alone.”Making this lack of data an urgent issue is the fact that more is being asked of power grids than ever before. The traditional uni-directional electricity flow from power generating plant is no longer the case, in favour of a ‘smart grid’ model where consumers can also generate power with household solar panels or wind turbines – and unprecedented power flows are required for items such as electric vehicles. Citation: Adding satnav to turn power grids into smart systems (2019, May 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-adding-satnav-power-grids-smart.html Explore further Provided by European Space Agency Key to making Enersyn work is a resilient timing source for monitoring, enabling accurate time stamping of the data the system gathers, to capture a truly accurate snapshot for follow-up data analysis.The shoebox-sized sensors recording waveform data will therefore make use of multiple timing sources, combining satellite navigation signals – precise to a matter of a few billionths of a second thanks to atomic clocks in space and a world-spanning ground segment for error detection and correction – backed up by signals from the UK’s terrestrial eLoran (short for Low-frequency, enhanced Long-Range Navigation) longwave radio system which could also be relayed underground as required, plus additional sources including national broadcaster BBC Radio 4.Having completed a prototype timing unit, the Enersyn consortium is now developing machine learning algorithms and designing monitoring sensors. This project is supported through ESA’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP), applying ESA’s hard-won expertise from Galileo and Europe’s EGNOS satellite augmentation system to new satellite navigation and – more widely – positioning, navigation and timing challenges.”We’re building on a previous project looking at the application of machine learning and signal processing techniques to power grid data, to provide electrical distribution companies with the fullest possible situational awareness,” explains David. “We want to provide a fine-grain picture that can then be analysed in various different ways, taking a multi-application platform model, equivalent to the way your smartphone works.” Underground fire in central London. Credit: Merlin Fox The Enersyn project is developing a standardised monitoring platform for subsystems and power lines, designed to take snapshots of electricity current and voltage some hundred times per second when brief power surges occur – anomalies that might not cause problems in their own right but could be early clues of more serious issues. Credit: Powerline Technologies The April 2015 fire in Holborn, central London, was eventually traced to to faulty electrical cables in an underground tunnel, which went on to damage an adjacent gas pipe. Credit: Camden Council Hybrid electricity system would reduce rates, improve service An ESA-backed project is harnessing satnav to insert an intelligent sense of place and time to power grids, to provide early warning of potentially dangerous electricity network failures.last_img read more