Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Arizona Cardinals’ Andre Ellington, left, is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles’ Nigel Bradham during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The remaining inactives are running back D.J. Foster, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, offensive lineman Daniel Munyer, defensive lineman Olsen Pierre, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and wide receiver Chad Williams.Pierre missed last week was limited in practice this week because of an ankle injury.There is good news along the Cardinals defensive line and that is Robert Nkemdiche. For the first time since Week 3 and only the third time all season, the former first-round draft pick will be in uniform. Nkemdiche has been dealing with a calf injury.Also, Xavier Williams is good to go. He had been slowed by a knee issue.For the Rams, safety Cody Davis (thigh) is out due to injury and among the listed inactives.The others not in uniform for Los Angeles include quarterback Brandon Allen, running back Justin Davis, linebacker Ejuan Price, wide receiver Mike Thomas plus offensive linemen Andrew Donnal and Cornelius Lucas. 2 Comments Share Perhaps it was too optimistic to believe Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington would be able to play in Week 7 after missing practice Thursday and Friday with a quadriceps injury. And in fact, he will not.Ellington is inactive and thus will be on the sidelines when the Cardinals play the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London on Sunday.Ellington’s absence likely means more touches for Kerwynn Williams, especially on third down, and maybe Elijhaa Penny. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires
The retaining walls of the planters are made of thin fiber-reinforced concrete modules, precast on the ground and tilted up into place.A backhoe excavates the ground for the lower level greenhouse terraces and widens the road for more parking spaces. [photo: Nadia Begin]This report continues on 9/8/2010. September 6, 2010Planning Coordinator for the first phase of the energy apron construction, Nadia Begin, explains the function of the survey equipment to planning intern Alex Dahlman.The site to be surveyed is the slope below the Guestrooms. [photo: Anita Baker]Alex sets up the builder’s level to survey the slope of the planned greenhouse terraces. [photo: Anita Baker]
Some 70% of US households and 40% of UK homes now subscribe to at least one video streaming service, according to research by nScreenMedia for Amdocs, which also found that ‘involuntary cancellation’ presents a serious challenge for OTT TV provider.According to the Keep My Customer – Why Consumers Subscribe To, Stay With, Cancel, and Come Back to Online Video Services, the average US subscriber views 3.4 services and pays an average of US$8.53 per service.The report found that involuntary cancellation as a result of credit card expiry or insufficient funds in an account is a big and largely unreported problem for providers.It found that over a quarter of US subscribers and a third of UK online video users have had subscriptions to SVOD services cancelled due to credit card problems. Of those who left a service involuntarily, some 30% did not return, the report found.Overall, 38% of US users surveyed had cancelled one or more services in the past year, with two thirds cancelling one service only and one in 10 cancelling three or more services. Reasons for voluntary cancellation include not finding enough content and not regarding a service as good value for money.Those surveyed expressed a strong tendency to take up discount offers. The report found that a 20% discount for a three-month commitment was attractive to 66% of US and 57% of UK consumers. Discounts greater than 20% had little incremental impact.nScreenMedia also found that 49% of US and 62% of UK online video users had cancelled a streaming service within a free-trial period, but only a small minority of users repeatedly sign on and cancel services within a free trial period.The study found that one third of UK and US Amazon Prime Video customers had purchased an add-on service. In the US, the most popular add-ons were HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax, while in the UK, the top spots went to Eurosport Player, Discovery, ITV Hub+ and FilmBox.Of the 64% of US subscribers and 55% of UK subscribers that stayed with a service for more than a year, most cited choice of content as the chief reason for remaining, followed by value for money and ease of use.
My car dealer is driving me crazy with phone calls!Last year I went out of my way to get a good deal on a car, heading to one of those mega-dealerships in a state more populated than my own Vermont. Ever since then, I’ve been getting cheery phone calls from my dealer inviting me for service visits, requesting that I answer surveys, even wishing me a happy birthday. It’s nonstop, and it is starting to drive me bonkers.If it were human beings calling me, I’d simply remind them, perhaps in my most colorful language, that I live 635 miles from where I bought my car and am unlikely to come in for an oil change or a 1,726-point inspection. But it’s not a human – it’s a computer. Working from its sales database, this robotic dialing system calls all of the dealer’s customers in an attempt to drum up repeat business and service visits. To me, it’s just plain annoying. With no options presented to stop the intrusive calls (which have a tendency to interrupt my work day), I’ve taken to just never answering calls from that area code (that my parents share the same area code is simply a bonus).Sure, there are laws to prevent these spammy phone calls – like the Do Not Call registry – but enforcing them is a challenge beyond our law enforcement’s capabilities. Calls can originate from anywhere – buried in big call-routing networks, from overseas, or just from your local computer with a couple of modems purchased at Best Buy.With such ease of deployment, I am not the only one dealing with a “robocall” nuisance. From presidential candidates to lawn-care companies, it seems everyone these days is using auto-callers to try to break through the marketing noise and reach customers directly. With simple cloud-based programs like IfByPhone (and countless competitors) enabling you to write a script, upload it to the web, and start dialing, it’s no wonder the practice is proliferating rapidly. For many the problem has gone from annoying to costly, as it is a favorite hunting ground for scammers.Besieged with complaints about the rapidly growing practice, the Federal Trade Commission last fall decided to take up the mantle and ask the Internet community to help them develop new techniques for putting the kibosh on robocalling. They even offered up $50,000 in prizes for the best submissions.Last week I got the good news. Problem solved. The challenge was over, and winners had been announced. The FTC had spent countless hours – and tax dollars – reviewing the potential solutions, and selected three winners.The only problem with the winners: none of the solutions will eliminate unwanted robocalls.Complaints about the quality of the challenge have been rampant since it premiered in October 2012: lack of clear documentation on the technical challenges; failure to involve any of the nation’s telephone companies in the process; and most troubling, a lack of transparency in judging. Despite being a public contest run by a public agency, none of the entrants is available for the public to view. The judging process is opaque, and nothing will be announced but those winners.So, if I cannot download the papers, how do I know they won’t work? Admittedly, the seeds of real solutions may be hidden in the details of the papers. But based on the abstracts and comments made available to the public, along with supporting websites that document some of the proposed solutions in decent depth, one can understand the basics of each approach.And the problem is that they all turn to the world of spam emails and “phishing” sites for their solutions.You can stop email spam. In fact, I don’t think I’ve gotten a piece of email I haven’t explicitly opted into in my corporate junk mail box. You can stop it for two simple reasons:There is no such thing as emergency email. It’s an asynchronous communication medium. Your boss might expect you to answer it in milliseconds, but otherwise the contract between parties is that you get it when you next get to your inbox. There is no incentive for the company delivering your email to let you be spammed. To ISPs like Comcast, spam messages are little more than an annoyance to customers and a potential liability. Even to the free, advertising-supported email providers like Google and Yahoo, spam is a business hardship. If you get too much of it, you stop using their service. You stop using their service, and they sell fewer ads to surround that email. For those who’ve given up on ads and just give away email as a loss leader, too much spam means you come to dislike the company and it loses your business elsewhere.Telephone spam is a much harder problem to solve.First, there is a much lower tolerance for false positives. No one wants to find out that a reverse-911 call about a meteor hurtling their way or the call telling them they’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes went into a spam box to be reviewed later. Phone calls are an attempt at synchronous communication, and sometimes that attempt is meant to interrupt whatever else is happening. In the modern world – at least in the circles I travel – the phone call has gotten rarer (supplanted by email, Facebook, IM/text, etc.), but at the same time when it is used legitimately, it is generally higher priority than all alternatives. Phone calls are important, and blocking the wrong ones could have serious consequences – doubly bad since many of the proposed solutions don’t even put them into a lower-priority queue for later review.At the same time that we don’t want to accidentally block calls that are legitimate, we have much less data with which to make decisions about illegitimate calls. There is no “spam” button on the phone to report offenders after a call is received. Until such a thing arrives, there are only heuristics to rely on – things like the volume of calls coming from a particular line and the duration of those calls – and those guesses are bound to be wrong at times. Compounding the problem are the widely known issues with Caller ID spoofing, which allows those who want to remain hidden to mask their identity from the receiving exchanges and appear to be someone else. Traditional phone calls carry little information with them other than that caller ID signal – none of the detailed information about sender and receiver embedded in email messages is there to rely on. It’s a legacy of the 100-year-old analog design of the telephone networks, and any solution designed to get past those limitations will require in-depth cooperation of the telephone companies.But, most tellingly, the companies whose customers receive these spam phone calls are the same ones who most profit from delivering them. In the Internet’s Wild West world, the burden of delivering email to clients has been taken on by far more than just Internet service providers. Academic institutions were among the first email server operators. Businesses run their own systems. Other businesses make money providing email service alone. Some individuals even run their own mail systems. And, of course, Internet service providers offer email as well in most cases – though their numbers are far outweighed by the other providers. Each carries the weight of delivering their email, and is directly affected by the productivity and happiness of its end users. But only a small portion of them are also making money helping spammers send email out. Thus, email hosts are generally adversarial, and require detailed information from each other to be willing to pass messages. This information is used to help make decisions about delivery and clue users to the identity of senders. It’s not perfect, but innovation in the space has put a serious dent in spam email, as the companies which take delivery of all this email have the interests of their customers high on the list.Incentives drive behavior, and in the world of telephony – especially with the increasing commoditization of the phone call for consumer (unlimited minutes, unlimited features, free long distance…) – providers are highly incentivized to take as many of those premium business phone calls as they can. It’s the hard-dialing salespeople and politicians who pay the big bucks for voice time, and they are customers of the same companies. Thus, the adversarial nature of the email delivery system, which breeds competition and innovation, is supplanted with the still relatively oligopolic telephony structure, where one group decides how both the spammers and spamees are treated. And, with international tolling one of the few remaining high-margin parts of the commoditized voice services sector, it’s clear to see why even the scammers – many of whom are located internationally – aren’t much of priority to shut down. It’s so for much the same reason that the ratio of junk to real mail in your postal box is probably much higher than in your email inbox: because it’s in the postal service’s best interest to deliver as much junk as will be tolerated.However, with the increasing proliferation of VoIP services that connect to the plain old telephone system – like Skype and Google Voice – there is some hope to be found in companies primarily driven by consumer happiness, with the ability and incentive to innovate on the individual’s behalf.For the FTC’s winning solution – Nomorobo – to work effectively, it must be able to definitively determine the calling party’s status. To do so, it relies on a mix of call frequency throttling (using Caller ID numbers as the identifying information, to make sure it works across various telephone networks which exchange little other detail). However, there are numerous fatal flaws in the proposed design that make it untenable in the real world:The human verification solution proposed is easily circumvented. In this proposal, when a large volume of phone calls from a single ID is detected, the call is pushed first to an automated attendant that asks the caller to verify they are not a robot. The problem is that the “CAPTCHA,” as these tests are called, is so simple – entering a number – that a program could be devised in a matter of minutes to answer it automatically.Every interactive voice response platform worth its salt can easily recognize spoken numbers and dial touch-tones. Stepping up to math problems and most other ideas would have no effect on computers, yet make it harder for legitimate calls to get through. Any system simple enough to work over audio only and be accessible to the average person is easily cracked by computer. Unlike vision, where human beings still have a discernible edge over computers (one that anyone who has struggled with those harder and harder to read computer-screen CAPTCHAs knows is rapidly being eroded), there is no such exploitable advantage in audio.The system also relies on the flawed Caller ID system as the identifier. As stated before, the system is easily spoofed – it was designed to allow businesses to have multiple lines identified as a single switchboard number to keep things like customer service centers orderly in the age of human operators. In essence it was designed to be fooled. And that has made it very easy for rogue operators to co-opt false identities when desired.Any system that relies on Caller ID as its main identifier will punish the legitimate companies following the rules, while doing little to stop the illegal users. Even worse, rogue dialers will simply rotate through false identities at will and cause resulting havoc for the legitimate owners of those numbers that end up blocked.It is the owner of that block list that is the most problematic aspect of the winning solution. Let it be no surprise to see a regulator choose as its winner one of the proposals that aims to place that very regulator as traffic cop at the center of every call to phones seeking protection… and which would require massive capital expenditure and labor to build and maintain a system of managing millions of phone calls a day, appropriated to the department’s budget indefinitely.In order for the proposed setup to work, a powerful regulator sits at the heart of it, logging every phone call to numbers that seek its protection. Then, it applies rules to those phones, which decide which calls are legitimate and which are not. Repeat offenders are then blocked from making additional calls. In the case of false identification (thanks to our Caller ID problems), legitimate people or businesses are likely to find themselves shut out of the telephone system and dependent on contacting a government agency to get operational once again. And you can be sure there would be some high hoops to jump through lest they accidentally re-enable a spammer.The solution just substitutes another set of headaches for citizens, at considerable cost to them as well. One way around that is that the system could be maintained by any number of private operators instead. This would limit the damage any one regulator could cause to a business, and put those running block lists in a position of answering legitimately to the courts. Many technical challenges would still face the system, but the central flaw would be averted.If this is a feature consumers desire, as the challenge implies, then those who want the service would happily pay for it – and those who don’t mind a few annoying calls would not be forced into helping foot the bill. Winners all around (except for the bureaucrats, of course).I do not mean to pick on the author of the winning submission – I am sure “Aaron F.” was very well-meaning. And he has obviously put some serious time and effort into presenting his idea well. In fact, the presentation is slick enough and the writing good enough that if he came looking for a job or internship with me, I’d definitely be interested. Nor do I begrudge him a well-earned cash prize – like the tax breaks, if the government puts it in the rules, taking it is fair game. So, congrats to him.Rather, the lesson that can be learned from this is one that well-intentioned bureaucrats everywhere should learn: You cannot regulate a complex system without major repercussions. And doing so without deep technical understanding of the system is even more dangerous.If the FTC really wants to stop robocalling, it might instead consider opening up the telephone networks to more competition and thus more innovation, and enforcing simple rules with the aim of transparency and cooperation – the kind of openness that would enable consumers to easily report violating calls so existing anti-abuse laws can be enforced, or that would enable any company to register as a virtual call handler and offer an innovative solution to the market.But I fear we won’t get that. Instead, we’ll likely get a “solution” to the spreading robocalling problem that does more to hurt legitimate business than to stop crooks… as well as yet more dogs chasing their tails: government contests spending taxpayer dollars to award the authors of proposals that advocate the government takes on more regulation and expense.More regulation and more government insertion into private activities is not a recipe for anything good. Thankfully, there are excellent private companies out there dreaming up innovative solutions to life’s biggest problems. From cleaner water to cures for cancer and diabetes to a better way to enjoy games and videos on the go, you’ll find the best of the private sector’s most ambitious young technology companies in Casey Extraordinary Technology. Find out how Alex Daley’s team has beat the market every year since we began publishing, and how you can get a look at the full portfolio of technology stocks absolutely risk free.Bits & BytesPC Shipments Post Steepest Decline Ever (IDC)According to research firm IDC, worldwide PC shipments saw “the steepest decline ever in a single quarter” in the first quarter of this year, down 13.9% from the same quarter of last year to 76.3 million units. The decline was attributed to tablets and smartphones diverting consumer spending, as well as lackluster mini notebook shipments, which have taken a chunk out of the low-end market, and a failed Windows 8 launch.For some context, IDC previously reported that the fourth quarter of 2012 marked the first time in more than five years that the PC market had seen a year-on-year decline during the holiday season. During Q4 2012, a total of 89.8 million PCs were shipped worldwide, which reflected a decline of 6.4% from the same period in 2011. [Ed. Note: PCs include desktops, laptops, mini notebooks, and workstations, but do not include handhelds or tablets, even those with detachable keyboards.]Faster Data Transmission Without Adding More Equipment (MIT Technology Review)By using a novel approach to modulating light and new algorithms to speed up the processing of data carried in that light signal, researchers at AT&T have devised a way to increase the distance that large amounts of data can travel through a fiber-optic connection. The technique should allow 400-gigabit-per-second signals to travel for a distance of 12,000 kilometers – four times the previous distance possible – and it promises faster ocean-crossing transmission without adding more equipment.Sonic Lasso Catches Cells (University of Bristol)Researchers at the University of Bristol’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and University of Dundee’s Institute for Medical Science and Technology have demonstrated a “sonic lasso” that can grip microscopic objects, such as cells, and move them around to allow their careful positioning. Possible applications of the new technology include assembling human tissue from a collection of cells and assembling nanomaterials.
http://news.rice.edu/files/2012/11/1109_SCAFFOLD-2-web.jpgAt top, a graphic shows multidomain peptide self-assembling into a nanofiber. The scanning electron microscope image at bottom left shows formed nanofibers; at bottom right, a histological section of cells (blue dots) grows in a dentin cylinder, where they mimic the desired dental-pulp regeneration. (Credit: Hartgerink Lab/Rice University) http://news.rice.edu/files/2012/11/1109_SCAFFOLD-1-web.jpgA team at Rice University is creating an injectable scaffold that can repair damage inside the body. From left, postdoctoral researcher Vivek Kumar, professors Rena D’Souza and Jeffrey Hartgerink, and graduate student Marci Kang. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for “best value” among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf. AddThis ShareSUMMARY: Smart scaffolding that can guide cells, proteins and small-molecule drugs to make new tissue and repair damage inside the body is in development at Rice University with support from the National Institutes of Health.David Ruth713email@example.comMike Williams713firstname.lastname@example.orgSmart scaffolding aims to rebuild tissue from the insideNIH funds tissue engineering project at Rice University to test peptide hydrogels, starting with teethHOUSTON – (Nov. 12, 2012) – Smart scaffolding that can guide cells, proteins and small-molecule drugs to make new tissue and repair damage inside the body is in the works at Rice University.Scientists at Rice and the Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry received a $1.7 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a hydrogel that can be injected into a patient to form an active biological scaffold.Rice bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink and co-investigator Rena D’Souza of Baylor won the grant to continue their groundbreaking work on self-assembling, multidomain peptide hydrogels that not only physically support but also encourage the growth of specific kinds of tissues.Bioengineers use scaffolds to mimic the body’s extracellular matrix, which supports the growth and maintenance of living cells. Synthetic scaffolds are used as frameworks to form replacement tissues and, perhaps someday, regenerate entire organs from a patient’s own cells. Once their work is done, the scaffolds are designed to degrade and leave only natural, healthy tissue behind.While much of the work to date has focused on creating tissue in the laboratory for implantation, Hartgerink’s aim is to inject scaffolds infused with living cells that will allow the repairs to happen inside the tissue’s natural environment.The peptides designed and prepared at Rice self-assemble into nanofibers that can be triggered to form a hydrogel. “We can then deliver cells, small-molecule drugs and proteins to bring everything together properly in one place,” said Hartgerink, an associate professor of chemistry and of bioengineering at Rice. Hydrogels could be designed to interact with stem cells and “get them to do what we want them to do,” he said.Hartgerink and D’Souza, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor currently on a working sabbatical at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative, have been pursuing the project for five years. The NIH grant will allow them to focus on the regeneration of the dentin-pulp complex found inside every tooth. The pulp, D’Souza said, is the soft tissue in the roots and crown that keeps the tooth vital and responsive to injury. “If you have a toothache, it’s the tissue that’s inflamed and has no place to expand. That’s why it hurts so much,” she said.Currently, dentists remove inflamed pulp and replace it with an inert rubber-based filler, she said. But injecting stem cell-seeded hydrogels would allow natural pulp to regenerate into the chamber while stimulating new dentin formation. “Hydrogels have key advantages,” D’Souza said. “We can deliver them in a syringe to small spaces that are difficult to access, and the material does not get damaged. Developing this material as a restorative therapy is advantageous to patients as, unlike all other dental materials, this one is biologically active.”The researchers reached a milestone in 2010 when they found a way to have the fibers degrade rather than stay in the body. With the new grant, they hope to start trials of their dental hydrogel within two years, D’Souza said. “I can see potential applications for hydrogel, for example, for spinal cord regeneration or for various eye conditions, where we can restore the vitreous humour,” she said.Hartgerink is glad to have the NIH on board, but noted the grant would not have been possible without initial support from the Welch Foundation. “I’ve had Welch funding since the day I got here, and it has allowed me to do the preliminary work for all the grants we ended up getting,” he said. “It’s good to have them in Texas.”D’Souza said the seed grant money provided by the International Association for Dental Research in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline enabled her laboratory to perform proof-of-concept stem cell experiments. “This is a great example of the huge benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration where, by combining expertise, we can push the frontiers of translational and clinical research forward.”The NIH grant is administered by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.-30-This news release can be found online at news-network.rice.edu/news.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsRelated Materials:Hartgerink Group: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~jdh/A Customized Self-Assembling Peptide Hydrogel for Dental Pulp Tissue Engineering: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ten.tea.2011.0222Images for download:
7 Amazon Initiatives Driving Its $59.7 Billion Sales Figure in Q1 2019 Sudipto GhoshApril 26, 2019, 7:00 pmApril 26, 2019 AIAlexaAmazonAmazon Fire TV Stick 4KAmazon PrimeAmazon Web ServicesblockchainPrime Video ChannelsYouTube TV Previous ArticleCheetah Digital Announces Bill Ingram as Chief Product OfficerNext ArticleVendasta adds MyCorporation to Marketplace Amazon initiatives continue to maintain strong financial growth in the competitive technology space. In its recently published financial report, Amazon confirmed that its sales grew by 17% to touch $59.7 billion in Q1 of 2019. The company is currently guided by its principle of customer obsession, vast scale of innovation and operational excellence across its operations. In this article, we tell you about the seven exciting Amazon initiatives from the last few months that have directly driven sales, enabling the tech giant to sustain its leadership position in the industry.The Drum Beat of Being the Fastest Provider of Machine Learning and AI CapabilitiesIn the past eighteen months, Amazon has launched more than 200 significant Machine Learning capabilities.Machine Learning capabilities and AI-driven commerce are key to Amazon’s continued financial success in Q1 of 2019. Recently, Amazon announced 13 new Machine Learning Services and Capabilities, including a custom chip for Machine Learning inference, and a 1/18 scale autonomous race car for developers. This demonstrates the company’s commitment to diving deeper into the new realm of Cloud, Quantum Computing and Deep Science. These announcements continue the pace of Machine Learning innovation from AWS.Customers using these new services and capabilities include Adobe, BMW, Cathay Pacific, Dow Jones, Expedia, Formula 1, GE Healthcare, HERE, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Kia Motors, Lionbridge, Major League Baseball, NASA JPL, Politico.eu, Ryanair, Shell, Tinder, United Nations, Vonage, the World Bank, and Zillow.Read More: Millennial E-Commerce Shopping Trends and Their Connection with Amazon PrimeThe Success of Amazon Fire TV Stick 4KIn October 2018, Amazon announced the launch of Fire TV Stick 4K. Amazon Fire Stick 4K is branded as a powerful 4K media streaming device for TV and Alexa Voice. Today, Amazon Fire TV has over 30 million active users already. Currently, Fire TV Stick 4K plays thousands of HD channels, apps, and Alexa skills. In addition, users can watch more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes on Fire TV.Alexa, Alexa, and more Alexa in Your Language!!!Amazon managed to grow its sales further in Q1 by expanding Alexa features internationally. The company launched Echo Show in France, India, Italy, and Spain.In addition, the launch of Echo Input in India and Australia further expanded the horizon for existing Alexa users. With Skype calling coming to Alexa, users in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico took an instant liking to the product. By exploring voice search and AI in regional languages such as French in Canada, Amazon grew its base of French Canadian customers significantly.In the coming weeks, Amazon also plans to release Alexa in Brazil later this year. Amazon Developers are already revving up their app development models to build skills using the Brazilian Portuguese voice model.Read More: Amazon Web Services Announces AWS BackupAmazon and Google’s Partnership Amazon initiative to partner with Google is focused on Primer Video customers. Together, the partners are launching the official YouTube app on Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire TV Edition smart TVs. The partnership will also provide the Prime Video app for streaming to Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices. In addition, Prime Video will also be broadly available across Android TV device partners, and the YouTube TV and YouTube Kids apps are also slated to come to Fire TV later this year.Popular broadcasting initiatives such as the launch of MLB.tv as a subscription on Prime Video Channels offered Prime customers seamless streaming access to regular season out-of-market baseball games, both live and on-demand.The Prime Membership and Holiday Season SalesPrime membership has changed the way people shop and buy online. Amazon and Whole Foods Market announced a series of price cuts, offering new lower prices on fresh produce for all customers and expanded Prime benefits with more exclusive weekly deals on popular products across departments. By offering an unmatched pace of delivery and services at low cost during regular and during sale season, Amazon managed to reach more than a million Prime members in the US alone.A majority of Prime members in the U.S. have access to free one-day shipping or faster, and Amazon today announced that Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery and Prime FREE One-Day Shipping expanded this year to more than 10,000 cities and towns coast-to-coast. Plus, Prime members in more than 30 cities have access to free ultrafast delivery through Prime Now, where customers can shop many of the same products and deals that are available on Amazon.com and receive them in as little as an hour.Amazon announced Shipment Zero, the company’s vision to make all customer shipments net zero carbon, with the goal of making 50% of all shipments net zero by 2030. To track this progress, Amazon will share its company-wide carbon footprint as well as related goals and programs later this year.Serpentine Rise of Amazon Web Services as a Preferred Digital Transformation PartnerAnd, Blockchain is Included here!Amazon Web Services (AWS) business has evolved its approach toward enabling partners and customers with better platforms. Today, AWS offers over 125 fully featured services for computing, storage, databases, networking, analytics, Machine Learning and AI. It also provides featured services for Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR), media, and application development at relatively lower costs. Recently, National Australia Bank (NAB) selected AWS as a long-term strategic cloud provider, with a goal of migrating more than 300 applications, including some core banking systems, to AWS by the end of 2019.AWS announced several new customer commitments and major migrations during the quarter. Their new customers include Gogo, Inc., Lyft, Second Spectrum, L.A. Clippers, Standard Bank Group and Vertafore, the Guinness Six Nations Championship, and Volkswagen.In fact, Volkswagen is joining forces with AWS to transform automotive manufacturing, powering the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, and integrating more than 30,000 facilities and 1,500 suppliers and partners in Volkswagen’s global supply chain over time; and Ford and Autonomic, creators of the Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC), selected AWS to power TMC and become the standard connected car solution for Ford vehicles, giving automotive manufacturers and software developers the cloud infrastructure needed to build innovative connected vehicle services at scale.New AWS innovations such as the Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive, Open Distro for Elasticsearch, Amazon WorkLink, Concurrency Scaling for Amazon Redshift and Amazon EFS Infrequent Access (IA) are slated to further boost Amazon’s sales for businesses of all sizes and scale.The company also officially launched its blockchain roadmap by announcing the Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and Amazon Managed Blockchain.Read More: HubSpot Announces Three-Year Collaboration with Amazon Web Services to Support the Startup EcosystemWhat is Amazon QLDB?Amazon QLDB provides a high-performance, immutable, cryptographically verifiable ledger for applications where multiple parties work with a centralized, trusted authority to maintain a complete, verifiable record of transactions.What is Amazon-Managed Blockchain?Amazon-Managed Blockchain is a fully managed blockchain service that makes it easy and cost-effective to create, manage, and scale blockchain networks for multiple parties to transact in a decentralized manner without the need for a centralized, trusted authority.Global Initiative to Reduce Carbon FootprintThough not directly related to sales, Amazon’s environment-friendly initiatives can’t be missed today.As part of its long-term goal to power all AWS global infrastructure with renewable energy, Amazon announced three new renewable energy projects. These projects — in Ireland, Sweden, and the U.S. — are expected to generate over 670,000-megawatt hours of renewable energy annually. The new projects are part of Amazon’s long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy powering the AWS global infrastructure. From being the leading force driving AI innovation to enable the development of Smart Cities, Amazon’s current Sales growth is a positive sign for the Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service industries.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 16 2018New algorithms take advantage of multiple smart watch sensors to accurately monitor wearers’ sleep patterns.As well as obtaining rich information on wearers’ sleep, the software, called SleepGuard, can estimate sleep quality and provide users with practical advice to help them get a better night’s snooze.SleepGuard tracks a combination of different non-biomedical factors – including body movements, sounds related to sleep disorders and ambient lighting.Developed by researchers from Lancaster University in the UK and Northwest University in China, SleepGuard has been tested on 15 study participants. Results show that SleepGuard can estimate sleep-quality at a similar accuracy to consumer-grade sleep monitors. Crucially, it is also able to capture key information about the factors behind sleep quality and can help wearers identify the root causes of their poor sleep.The research team hope the technology can help users to have a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of their sleep and enable them to take informed actions to improve the quality of their sleep and, as a result, their health.Simple recommendations for getting improved sleep could involve altering the lighting in the bedroom, addressing noise, changing postures and also hand positions.Dr Zheng Wang, Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University and co-author of the research, said: “Sleep quality has been shown to depend on a wide range of factors, such as ambient light, noisiness as well as breathing patterns, sleeping postures and bedtime routines.”Without details of the sleeping environment and the individual’s postures and movements across sleeping stages, the root cause of poor sleep cannot be captured and therefore addressed.Dr. Petteri Nurmi, Lecturer from Lancaster University and co-author of the work, said: “Our project aims to unlock the full potential of off-the-shelf consumer smartwatches, taking advantage of their sophisticated suite of sensors to gain a fuller understanding of a wearer’s sleep patterns.”Related StoriesNovel bed system with VR brainwave-control for sleep blissTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerSleepGuard captures physical activities rather than biomedical signals. It cannot be compared to the accuracy of medical grade technology, though its advantages are that it would be inexpensive to use and easy to use at home.Researchers discovered that sleep quality is strongly linked to characteristics in body movements, health-related factors that can be detected through sounds and the sleeping environment itself.Sensors within a smartwatch, such as the accelerometer, gyroscope and orientation sensor, were used to identify body and hand movements during sleep. The watch’s microphone captures ambient noise, as well as wearer’s snoring and talking during sleep. In addition a light sensor captures illumination in the sleeping environment.SleepGuard is able to capture four basic sleep postures, such as sleeping on back, front and sides, as arm position is strongly linked to posture.The technology is also able to recognise three common hand positions that can help identify sleeping issues. For example, placing a hand on the abdomen can indicate discomfort. Placing a hand on the chest can cause nightmares due to pressure on the heart, and placing a hand on the head can put excess pressure on shoulder nerves and cause arm pain due to restricted blood flow.SleepGuard can also count the number of times the wearer rolls over during sleep – another indicator of sleep quality with excessive rollovers potentially indicating disturbed sleep.Dr Liqiong Chang, Assistant Professor at Northwest University and co-author of the research said: “When compared to existing sleep monitors on the market, SleepGuard is able to report a wider range of sleep events and provide wearers with a better understanding for the causes of their sleep problems.” Source:http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/
Using stem cellsThe project hopes to solve another barrier to cell-transplantation treatment, which is the need for large amounts of pancreatic cells from deceased donors. It has been using human stem cells that are driven to become insulin-producing cells.Researchers studied both encapsulated pancreatic islets and encapsulated human induced pluripotent stem cells to determine their behavior and functionality after implantation in preclinical models. These preclinical studies are also being finalized.The project’s multidisciplinary approach draws on synthetic biology, nanobiotechnology and molecular and cellular biology.The smart, bioengineered materials to be used in the ELASTISLET capsules are named elastin-like recombinamers and have not been tried before to treat diabetes. They are inspired by a natural protein, elastin, that is found in the body’s connective tissue. It can be manipulated to have multifaceted chemical, physical and biological properties.Related StoriesUranium toxicity might have caused obesity and diabetes in Kuwait, finds new studyOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplantThese advantages allow the capsules to mimic the natural tissue environment to ensure they do not provoke an immune response. The capsules are designed to allow the recipient’s blood vessels to grow on to them – but not into them, which would trigger an immune response.Other applications‘The smart biomaterials at the core of our therapeutic solutions have been emerging with extraordinary strength, not only in the field of cell therapy, but also in many different areas of biomedicine, such as regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and drug delivery,’ says Rodríguez-Cabello. ‘Our efforts thus contribute to provide further evidence of their versatility and extraordinary potential to impact on other diseases and conditions.’Type 1 diabetes leads to increased risk of developing an array of life-threatening problems, in the long term. Incorrect levels of glucose can result in damage to a variety of tissues and organs, in particular blood vessels, the heart and kidneys, the eyes and nerves.According to the project, the number of people with diabetes in Europe is expected to reach 38 million by 2030, increasing the financial burden on the health care system. Recent studies found that the overall cost of diabetes is estimated to exceed EUR 188 billion in the UK, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. A cost-effective solution such as the one the project is offering could help significantly reduce this.The project developed a maze game – Discover the Isle of Elastislet – as a part of a range of communication materials to spread the message about the disease and encourage learning while playing. The game is an educational project designed to reach teachers, pupils, parents and children with diabetes as well as the general public. Players answer simple questions about diabetes, while trying not to get lost, as they discover how the research is addressing cell transplantation treatments for the disease. Source:European Commission Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 4 2019Transplanting insulin-producing pancreatic cells into people with type 1 diabetes has emerged as a ground-breaking treatment for millions of patients over the past few decades. However, one of the barriers to its effectiveness is the body’s natural auto-immune response, which results in the death of the implanted cells.In response, the EU-funded ELASTISLET project developed a semi-permeable and biocompatible material to encapsulate and protect the implanted cells from immune attack while it is being integrated into the patient’s body.While impermeable to immune cells, antibodies and other unwanted visitors, the bio-coating allows oxygen, nutrients and glucose into the protective capsule, and insulin to enter the bloodstream. This project represents the preclinical phase of developing this bioengineered solution and we have been working on the bioproduction, chemical modification and characterization of the smart materials at the core of our encapsulation strategy. The project is in the process of finalizing these preclinical studies. Building on the success of this phase, we will soon be ready to start first-in-man clinical studies in type 1 diabetes patients.”José Carlos Rodríguez-Cabello, Project Coordinator, University of Valladolid, Spain
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 20 2019A new type of treatment for osteoarthritis, currently in canine clinical trials, shows promise for eventual use in humans.The treatment, developed by Cornell University biomedical engineers, is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring joint lubricant that binds to the surface of cartilage in joints and acts as a cushion during high-impact activities, such as running. When the production of that specific lubricant goes down, it creates higher contact between the surfaces of the joint and, over time, it leads to osteoarthritis.”David Putnam, a professor in the College of Engineering with appointments in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering and the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Related StoriesGlucosamine supplements could benefit the heartUGR scientists design new hydrogel that aids in cartilage regenerationScientists move a step closer to developing targeted therapies for inflammatory diseasesThe study focuses on a naturally occurring joint lubricant called lubricin, the production of which declines following traumatic injuries to a joint, such as a ligament tear in a knee.The knee is lubricated in two ways – hydrodynamic mode and boundary mode.Hydrodynamic mode lubrication occurs when the joint is moving fast and there isn’t a strong force pushing down on it. In this mode, joints are lubricated by compounds like hyaluronic acid (HA) that are thick and gooey, like car oil. There are numerous HA products on the market, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, for treating hydrodynamic mode lubrication disorders.But HA is ineffective when strong forces are pushing down on the joint, such as those that occur during running or jumping. In these instances, thick gooey HA squirts out from between the cartilage surfaces, and boundary mode lubrication is necessary. Under these forces, lubricin binds to the surface of the cartilage. It contains sugars that hold on to water, to cushion hard forces on the knee.In the paper, the researchers describe a synthetic polymer they developed that mimics the function of lubricin and is much easier to produce. “We are in clinical trials, with dogs that have osteoarthritis, with our collaborators at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine,” Putnam said.”Once we finalize the efficacy study in dogs, we will be in a very good position to market the material for veterinary osteoarthritis treatment,” Putnam said. From there, the human market for a lubricin substitute should follow, just as HA has been made available for human use, mainly in knees. Source:Cornell UniversityJournal reference:Putnam, D. et al. (2019) Boundary mode lubrication of articular cartilage with a biomimetic diblock copolymer. PNAS. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1900716116.
Explore further Schrems had initiated a case against Facebook Ireland, claiming the subsidiary of the U.S. social media giant breached EU privacy rules.Schrems said that the “good news” was that he could finally get Facebook into an EU court after trying for a decade to do so in Ireland and Austria. He says that Facebook is far too invasive in the lives of its users and that the company tracks users where it should not.Schrems says he is disappointed, though, that “there is no possibility to bring a class action in Austria.” Austrian activist can sue Facebook: EU court adviser 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. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: EU top court rules privacy campaigner can go after Facebook (2018, January 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-eu-court-privacy-campaigner-facebook.html The European Union’s top court says that Austrian privacy campaigner Maximillian Schrems can bring a case against Facebook Ireland as an individual but there cannot be a class action suit.
Published on December 10, 2018 3 (from the left) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and other party leaders during a press conference – PTI COMMENT national elections elections SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE politics Mamata, Naidu architects of meet; Mayawati, Akhilesh stay away A day ahead of the announcement of election results to five State assemblies, over a dozen Opposition parties met here on Monday to chart the future course. They resolved to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While 21 Opposition parties attended the meeting, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — allies in Uttar Pradesh — decided to stay away without citing any reason.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who usually keeps off such meetings, attended, giving a boost to the efforts of other Opposition parties. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu were the key architects of Monday’s meeting.Addressing reporters after the meeting, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the combined goal is to defeat the BJP and protect India’s institutions. Opposition unity is a process, he added, hinting that more parties would join the bandwagon in the near future. Naidu said democratic compulsions have brought the parties together.A senior leader who attended the meeting said there was a clamour among a section of political parties that Rahul be projected as the leader of the Opposition camp. Steadfast resolveA statement issued by the Opposition parties reaffirmed their “strong and steadfast resolve to confront and defeat the forces that are subverting our Constitution and making a mockery of our democracy.” “India needs a government that cares for the working class, kisans and khet mazdoors and is always sensitive to the enormous pain that they and their families are going through. India needs a government that makes education accessible and affordable to all sections of the people and fulfils the aspirations of youth for decent and secure jobs that provide fair wages to the employed,” the resolution said.“India needs a government that empowers the weaker sections of society — scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs, women and minorities — to lead a life of complete security and dignity,” it added.The statement further said India needs a truthful government that does not propagate falsehoods and does not make bogus claims and that will banish the current all-pervasive atmosphere of fear and intimidation.The parties said India needs a government that is committed to faster economic growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable and growth that does not sharpen inequalities among people and among states. “India needs a government that is not mired in rank corruption and loot of people’s resources, a government which does not attack the entire banking system through insurmountable NPAs benefiting crony capitalists. India needs a government that does not put a conspiratorial lid over multiple corruption scams like Rafale, nor becomes an abettor to the escape of bank defaulters,” the statement said.Batting for enterprise“We need a government where harassment of businessmen and industrialists would end and the spirit of enterprise must be allowed full freedom,” it said.The statement urged all liberal, progressive and secular forces to join the Opposition in the battle to save the Constitution. “It is in the interests of safeguarding and strengthening our Constitutional Republic and people’s livelihood that this RSS/BJP government is ousted,” it said. COMMENTS