Preferred partners members recognized at TDC Leadership Conference

first_img Posted by Preferred partners & members recognized at TDC Leadership Conference Travelweek Group Friday, May 26, 2017 Sharecenter_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Transat CANCUN — A delegation of 250 Transat Distribution (TDC) owners and managers made their way to Cancun recently for the company’s 2017 National Leadership Conference, a major undertaking that took more than a year to plan.Taking place from May 11-15 in Cancun, the conference was opened by keynote speaker Bruce Poon Tip, who addressed the issue of tourism sustainability, consumer trends and the impact of travel on the global economy. And closing out the conference was Nicolas Duvernois, President and Founder of PUR Vodka, who highlighted his journey to becoming a world-class entrepreneur.TDC also welcomed leaders from Atman and its Transat Human Resource Team who shared tools to recruit the right people for the job as well as consulted on HR managerial know-how. Also, Annick Guerard, President Transat Tours, was on hand to highlight the company’s plans and strategies, while Sam Patel, founder of AirNets and a TDC network member, shared his insights on the state of the airline industry, with special focus on how to make money selling airline tickets through TDC’s exclusive consolidator program.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJ“Our mission is the financial health of our network. This forum delved into products and strategies designed to meet the evolving consumer demands with a focus on agency profitability,” said Joe Adamo, President TDC. “To that end, we bring together leaders from our industry and external speakers who can add unique perspectives and insights. The members also shared best practices, one of our most appreciated sessions.”Over 40 experts from 27 travel partners joined this year’s conference, all of who Susan Bowman, Vice President Marketing and Industry Relations, referred to as “preferred” partners. “It’s not just a label,” she said, “we commit to having win-win relationships.”To recognize the ongoing commitment made by such partners, a celebration was held in their honour at the Dreams Playa Mujeres where they were presented with awards and prizes. TDC members with the highest support for the company’s preferred partners were also recognized.Here are this year’s winners:Distinguished Preferred Partner Support:More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionQUEBECMulti-Office: Club Voyages DumoulinIndividual Office: Club Voyages MarinairONTARIOMulti-Office: Goliger’s TravelPlus WaterlooIndividual Office: Marlin Travel BrantfordWESTMulti-Office: Marlin Travel VictoriaIndividual Office: Marlin Travel BurnabyThe Conference ended with a birthday party celebrating Transat’s 30th at the Paradisus La Perla Resort. Hosted by the Transat team, the party included trip giveaways and special recognition of TDC members.Transat 2016 High Achievement AwardsHighest Sales – National: Club Voyages DumoulinHighest Group Sales – National: Club Voyages OrfordHighest Sales Ontario: Goliger’s Travel Plus Waterloo, ONHighest Sales Increase Ontario: Marlin Travel, Bowmanville, ONHighest Sales Western Canada: Marlin Travel, Regina, SKHighest Sales Increase Western Canada: Transat Travel, Abbotsford, BCHighest Sales Quebec: Voyages Transat Carrefour LavalHighest Sales Increase Quebec: Voyages Mille et une nuit, Mascouche, QClast_img read more

Builder Confidence in 55 Market Reaches Record High in Q1

first_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand Homebuilders Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers 2013-05-14 Tory Barringer May 14, 2013 403 Views The “”National Association of Home Builders'””:http://www.nahb.org/default.aspx (NAHB) 55+ single-family Housing Market Index (HMI) jumped year-over-year for the sixth consecutive quarter in Q1, the association reported.[IMAGE]As of the end of March, the index rested at 46, 19 points above the same period last year and the highest first-quarter number recorded since the inception of the index in 2008.””Builders and developers for the 55+ housing sector continue to report increased optimism in the market,”” said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. “”We are seeing an increase in consumer demand for homes and communities that are designed to address the specific needs of the mature homebuyer.””There are two separate 55+ HMIs to represent two segments of the market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each index measures builder [COLUMN_BREAK]sentiment based on a survey gauging current sales, prospective buyer traffic, and anticipated six-month sales. A number below 50 indicates more builders view conditions as “”poor”” than “”good.””According to NAHB, all of the components of the 55+ single-family HMI showed significant growth on a yearly basis. Present sales climbed 19 points to 46, expected sales increased 21 points to 53, and traffic of prospective buyers rose 15 points to 41.The 55+ multifamily condo HMI posted a gain of 23 points to rest at 38, the highest first-quarter reading since the index was created. All 55+ multifamily condo HMI components increased compared to a y ear ago: The present sales component was up 23 points to 37, expected sales climbed 23 points to 43, and prospective buyer traffic rose 23 points to 38.In addition, the 55+ multifamily rental indices showed strong gains in the first quarter. Present production increased 12 points to 43, expected future production rose 13 points to 48, current demand for existing units rose 14 points to 56, and future demand increased 13 points to 58.””The strong year over year increase in confidence reported by builders for the 55+ market is consistent with year over year increases in other segments of the home building industry,”” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “”While demand for new 55+ housing has improved due to a reduced inventory of homes on the market and low interest rates, builders’ ability to respond to the demand is being limited by a shortage of labor with basic construction skills and rising prices for some building materials.””center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Builder Confidence in 55+ Market Reaches Record High in Q1last_img read more

July 27 1999 Paradox Director Ron Anastasia and D

first_imgJuly 27, 1999Paradox Director Ron Anastasia and Dr. Chris King from New Zealand exchange ideasin the Paradox Lab. Photos by: Doctress Neutopialast_img

July 14 2017We are working on a project to improv

first_imgJuly 14, 2017We are working on a project to improve the area behind Unit 9 and 10 by adding ADA parking spaces. Here is a drawing from our planning department that shows the anticipated installation of a new permanent shade structure for the east facing entrances to Unit 10 and ADA Unit 9 of the East Crescent.[photos and text by Sue Kirsch]The crew is excavating for a u-shaped slab for wheelchair accessability.View of the areaA view taken from the Unit 8 staircase. In the background we can see camp and the agua fria river valley.Excavation and preparation is complete. The ground has been evened, rebar cut and installed on little blocks to keep it elevated. Here we see workshop participant Jesse Fernandez.More to come.last_img read more

Bill cosponsored by Bumstead honoring Trooper Butterfield signed into law by Gov

first_img10Feb Bill co-sponsored by Bumstead honoring Trooper Butterfield signed into law by Gov. Snyder State Rep. Jon Bumstead joined Rep. Ray Franz in honoring State Trooper Paul K. Butterfield at a recent bill signing with Gov. Rick Snyder that named a portion of M-116 in Mason County after the fallen trooper.House Bill 5257, now Public Act 441 of 2014, was introduced by Franz and co-sponsored by Bumstead to honor the fallen trooper, who was shot in the line of duty on Sept. 9, 2013. After serving in the Army, Butterfield joined the state police in 1999 and transferred in 2011 to Hart Post #66, located in Oceana County.“Paul was a kind-hearted man who bravely served our community by protecting us and upholding our state’s laws,” said Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to take part in honoring this officer for giving the ultimate sacrifice while serving our state.“By memorializing him with this highway, we celebrate his life and his profound influence on the lives of all who knew him.”Trooper Butterfield’s fiancé, Jennifer Sielski, and his mother, Pat Butterfield, were also present at the bill-signing ceremony, along with members of the Mason County sheriff’s department and state police troopers.The Trooper Paul K. Butterfield II Memorial Highway is located on M-116 in Mason County, beginning at Lincoln River and stretching north to Big Sable River.### Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rovi has signed two Chinese DivX deals that will s

first_imgRovi has signed two Chinese DivX deals that will see the video technology integrated into Changhong digital TVs and Philips-branded TVs set for distribution in the country.The deal with consumer electronics manufacturer Changhong means that Rovi has now signed DivX agreements with each of the top five digital TV manufacturers in China. Changhong TVs will have DivX HD video certification as well as offer support for DivX streaming.The Philips distribution will result from a new deal Rovi has reached with TVP Technology Limited, a display solutions provider that plans to add add DivX Plus HD certification into Philips-branded TVs in China.Rovi, which announced both deals today, hailed the Changhong deal as a “significant milestone” for the company as it continues to gain momentum in the country with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) – companies that design products that are then branded by another firm.The TVP Technology comes after Rovi in January announced a deal with Mei Ah Digital and China Mobile Hong Kong to use DivX Plus Streaming to deliver premium entertainment services to mobile users.“As a premier ODM, TVP’s support for DivX technology further reinforces Rovi’s momentum in this rapidly growing market and highlights the universal value and appeal of the DivX Certified Program,” Rovi senior VP, sales and marketing, Simon Adams.“Philips TVs will add to the already expansive DivX ecosystem and increase the number of options for consumers who want to access and enjoy a growing catalog of Hollywood entertainment available in the DivX format.”The DivX Certified Programme lets consumer electronics manufacturers differentiate their products and guarantee reliable DivX video playback across all devices that bear the DivX logo. The format can be read on devices including phones, tablets, televisions and other digital media players.DivX Plus Streaming is an end-to-end solution for secure adaptive streaming for over-the-top content service providers on multiple platforms.last_img read more

The project was funded by Council The National Lo

first_imgThe project was funded by Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department for Communities (DfC) and has been a resounding success with the public to date.The ‘Spring Open Day’ will be a celebration and appreciation of Brooke Park which has provided an invaluable green space for recreational and leisure activities since 1901 – and will include fun wildlife workshops, mucky fingers, tepees, arts and crafts, storytelling and much more!Speaking at the launch event, Mayor Boyle said he was delighted to be hosting the ‘Spring Open Day’ in the beautiful grounds of the recently regenerated park.“Brooke Park has undergone a major transformation recently and I can think of no better location for a family fun day,” he said. BROOKE Park will be the place to be this month as the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle invites local children along for some family fun with a whole host of activities on the menu.The ‘Spring Open Day’ is taking place at Brooke Park on Saturday 23rd March from 12 noon – 4pm. There will also be an opening of the ‘Gate Lodge Exhibition’ displaying the history of the park to the public.Brooke Park was reopened to the public in September 2016 following an extensive £5.6m regeneration of this historic landscape. ShareTweet “I’d like to invite as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the family-friendly activities.“The transformation of the park into a state of the art facility for leisure, play and relaxation has enriched the lives of so many people by providing a hub for social and leisure activity.“I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Communities without whose financial support this project wouldn’t have been possible.”Anna Carragher, Chair of the NI Committee of The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We’re delighted to see the launch of the ‘Spring Open Day’ and to attend the opening of the ‘Gate Lodge Exhibition’ at Brooke Park to the public.“Since its reopening, the park has been enjoyed by people of all ages, offering a place to socialise, play, relax and unwind. “We were delighted to have been able to use National Lottery player’s money to help bring this historic park back to life via this fabulous project. “We are so pleased to see so many people using the restored park, getting out in the fresh air and reconnecting with nature”Paul McNaught of the Department for Communities added: “I have no doubts that this event will be a fantastic day out for the whole family to enjoy.“Brooke Park has been a great success and the Department is delighted to have contributed to its regeneration.”In keeping with Council’s aim to create a zero waste Council area, there will also be a number of fun activities to raise awareness about protecting and enhancing the environment. Parks Manager Emma Barron said the ‘Spring Open Day’ is a great opportunity for children and parents to find out how they can make a difference.“Throughout the day we will providing a range of environmental activities for children, including badge making, building bird boxes, environmental art and planting seeds and plants to take home” she said.“Indeed, the ‘Spring Open Day’ will be a great way of promoting Brooke Park’s natural environment. “It will also help children and parents develop a better understanding and appreciation of the history of the park, its importance in terms of wildlife and environment, and the positive role they can play in safeguarding its future for generations to come.”Mayor launches ‘Spring Open Day’ at Brooke Park was last modified: March 15th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: Brooke ParkDerry and Strabane CouncilMayor John BoyleMayor launches ‘Spring Open Day’ at Brooke Parklast_img read more

Last month a group of Australian scientists publi

first_imgLast month, a group of Australian scientists published a warning to the citizens of the country and of the world who collectively gobble up some $34 billion annually of its agricultural exports. The warning concerned the safety of a new type of wheat. As Australia’s number-one export, a $6-billion annual industry, and the most-consumed grain locally, wheat is of the utmost importance to the country. A serious safety risk from wheat – a mad wheat disease of sorts – would have disastrous effects for the country and for its customers. Which is why the alarm bells are being rung over a new variety of wheat being ushered toward production by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia. In a sense, the crop is little different than the wide variety of modern genetically modified foods. A sequence of the plant’s genes has been turned off to change the wheat’s natural behavior a bit, to make it more commercially viable (hardier, higher yielding, slower decaying, etc.). Franken-Wheat? What’s really different this time – and what has Professor Jack Heinemann of the University of Canterbury, NZ, and Associate Professor Judy Carman, a biochemist at Flinders University in Australia, holding press conferences to garner attention to the subject – is the technique employed to effectuate the genetic change. It doesn’t modify the genes of the wheat plants in question; instead, a specialized gene blocker interferes with the natural action of the genes. The process at issue, dubbed RNA interference or RNAi for short, has been a hotbed of research activity ever since the Nobel Prize-winning 1997 research paper that described the process. It is one of a number of so-called “antisense” technologies that help suppress natural genetic expression and provide a mechanism for suppressing undesirable genetic behaviors. RNAi’s appeal is simple: it can potentially provide a temporary, reversible off switch for genes. Unlike most other genetic modification techniques, it doesn’t require making permanent changes to the underlying genome of the target. Instead, specialized siRNAs – chemical DNA blockers based on the same mechanism our own bodies use to temporarily turn genes on and off as needed – are delivered into the target organism and act to block the messages cells use to express a particular gene. When those messages meet with their chemical opposites, they turn inert. And when all of the siRNA is used up, the effect wears off. The new wheat is in early-stage field trials (i.e., it’s been planted to grow somewhere, but has not yet been tested for human consumption), part of a multi-year process on its way to potential approval and not unlike the rigorous process many drugs go through. The researchers responsible are using RNAi to turn down the production of glycogen. They are targeting the production of the wheat branching enzyme which, if suppressed, would result in a much lower starch level for the wheat. The result would be a grain with a lower glycemic index – i.e., healthier wheat. This is a noble goal. However, Professors Heinemann and Carman warn, there’s a risk that the gene silencing done to these plants might make its way into humans and wreak havoc on our bodies. In their press conference and subsequent papers, they describe the possibility that the siRNA molecules – which are pretty hardy little chemicals and not easily gotten rid of – could wind up interacting with our RNA. If their theories prove true, the results might be as bad as mimicking glycogen storage disease IV, a super-rare genetic disorder which almost always leads to early childhood death. “Franken-Wheat Causes Massive Deaths from Liver Failure!” Now that is potentially headline-grabbing stuff. Unfortunately, much of it is mere speculation at this point, albeit rooted in scientific expertise on the subject. What they’ve produced is a series of opinion papers – not scientific research nor empirical data to prove that what they suspect might happen, actually does. They point to the possibilities that could happen if a number of criteria are met: If the siRNAs remain in the wheat in transferrable form, in large quantities, when the grain makes it to your plate. And… If the siRNA molecules interfere with the somewhat different but largely similar human branching enzyme as well. Then the result might be symptoms similar to such a condition, on some scale or another, anywhere from completely unnoticeable to highly impactful. They further postulate that if the same effect is seen in animals, it could result in devastating ecological impact. Dead bugs and dead wild animals. Luckily for us, as potential consumers of these foods, all of these are easily testable theories. And this is precisely the type of data the lengthy approval process is meant to look at. Opinion papers like this – while not to be confused with conclusions resulting from solid research – are a critically important part of the scientific process, challenging researchers to provide hard data on areas that other experts suspect could be overlooked. Professors Carman and Heinemann provide a very important public good in challenging the strength of the due-diligence process for RNAi’s use in agriculture, an incomplete subject we continue to discover more about every day. However, we’ll have to wait until the data come back on this particular experiment – among thousands of similar ones being conducted at government labs, universities, and in the research facilities of commercial agribusinesses like Monsanto and Cargill – to know if this wheat variety would in fact result in a dietary apocalypse. That’s a notion many anti-genetically modified organism (GMO) pundits seem to have latched onto following the press conference the professors held. But if the history of modern agriculture can teach us anything, it’s that far more aggressive forms of GMO foods appear to have had a huge net positive effect on the global economy and our lives. Not only have they not killed us, in many ways GMO foods have been responsible for the massive increases in public health and quality of life around the world. The Roots of the GMO Food Debate The debate over genetically modified (GM) food is a heated one. Few contest that we are working in somewhat murky waters when it comes to genetically modified anything, human or plant alike. At issue, really, is the question of whether we are prepared to use the technologies we’ve discovered. In other words, are we the equivalent of a herd of monkeys armed with bazookas, unable to comprehend the sheer destructive power we possess yet perfectly capable of pulling the trigger? Or do we simply face the same type of daunting intellectual challenge as those who discovered fire, electricity, or even penicillin, at a time when the tools to fully understand how they worked had not yet been conceived of? In all of those cases, we were able to probe, study, and learn the mysteries of these incredible discoveries over time. Sure, there were certainly costly mistakes along the way. But we were also able to make great use of them to advance civilization long before we fully understood how they worked at a scientific level. Much is the same in the study and practical use of GM foods. While the fundamentals of DNA have been well understood for decades, we are still in the process of uncovering many of the inner workings of what is arguably the single most advanced form of programming humans have ever encountered. It is still very much a rapidly evolving science to this day. For example, in the 1990s, an idea known simply as “gene therapy” – really a generalized term for a host of new-at-the-time experimental techniques that share the simple characteristic of permanently modifying the genetic make-up of an organism – was all the rage in medical study. Two decades on, it’s hardly ever spoken of. That’s because the great majority of attempted disease therapies from genetic modification failed, with many resulting in terrible side effects and even death for the patients who underwent the treatments. Its use in the early days, of course, was limited almost exclusively to some of the world’s most debilitating, genetically rooted diseases. Still – whether in their zeal to use a fledgling tool to cure a dreadful malady or in selfish, hurried desire to be recognized among the pioneers of what they thought would be the very future of medicine – doctors chose to move forward at a dangerous pace with gene therapy. In one famous case, and somewhat typical of the times, University of Pennsylvania physicians enrolled a sick 18-year-old boy with a liver mutation into a trial for a gene therapy that was known to have resulted in the deaths of some of the monkeys it had just been tested on. The treatment resulted in the young man’s death a few days later, and the lengthy investigation that followed resulted in serious accusations of what can only be called “cowboy medicine.” Not one of science’s prouder moments, to be sure. But could GM foods be following the same dangerous path? After all, the first GM foods made their way to market during the same time period. The 1980s saw large-scale genetic-science research and experimentation from agricultural companies, producing everything from antibiotic-resistant tobacco to pesticide-hardy corn. After much debate and study, in 1994 the FDA gave approval to the first GM food to be sold in the United States: the ironically named Flavr Savr tomato, with its delayed ripening genes which made it an ideal candidate for sitting for days or weeks on grocery store shelves. Ever since, there has been a seeming rush of modified foods into the marketplace. Modern GM foods include soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and a number of squash and greens varieties, as well as products made from them. One of the most prevalent modifications is to make plants glyphosate-resistant, or in common terms, “Roundup Ready.” This yields varieties that are able to stand up to much heavier doses of the herbicide Roundup, which is used to keep weeds and other pest plants from damaging large monoculture fields, thereby reducing costs and lowering risks. In total it is estimated that modern GM crops have grown to become a $12 billion annual business since their commercialization in 1994, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). Over 15 million farms around the world are reported to have grown GM crops, and their popularity increases every year. They’ve brought huge improvements in shelf life, pathogen and other stress resistance, and even added nutritional benefits. For instance, yellow rice – which was the first approved crop with an entirely new genetic pathway added artificially – provides beta-carotene to a large population of people around the world who otherwise struggle to find enough in their diets. However, the race for horticulturalists to the genetic table in the past few decades – what could be described accurately as the transgenic generation of research – has by no means been our first experiment with the genetic manipulation of food. In fact, if anything, it is a more deliberate, well studied, and careful advance than those that came before it. A VERY Brief History of Genetically Modified Food Some proponents of GMO foods are quick to point out that humans have been modifying foods at the genetic level since the dawn of agriculture itself. We crossbreed plants with each other to produce hybrids (can I interest you in a boysenberry?). And of course, we select our crops for breeding from those with the most desirable traits, effectively encouraging genetic mutations that would have otherwise resulted in natural failure, if not helped along by human hands. Corn as we know it, for example, would never have survived in nature without our help in breeding it. Using that as a justification for genetic meddling, however, is like saying we know that NASCAR drivers don’t need seatbelts because kids have been building soapbox racers without them for years. Nature, had the mix not been near ideal to begin with, would have prevented such crossbreeding. Despite Hollywood’s desires, one can’t simply crossbreed a human and a fly, or even a bee and a mosquito, for that matter – their genetics are too different to naturally mix. And even if it did somehow occur, if it did not make for a hardier result, then natural selection would have quickly kicked in. No, I am talking about real, scientific genetic mucking – the kind we imagined would result in the destruction of the world from giant killer tomatoes or man-eating cockroaches in our B-grade science-fiction films. Radiation mutants. Enterprising agrarians have been blasting plants with radiation of all sorts ever since we started messing around with atomic science at the dawn of the 20th century. In the 1920s, just when Einstein and Fermi were getting in their grooves, Dr. Lewis Stadler at the University of Missouri was busy blasting barley seeds with X-rays – research that would usher in a frenzy of mutation breeding to follow. With the advent of nuclear technology from the war effort, X-rays expanded into atomic radiation, with the use of gamma rays leading the pack. The United States even actively encouraged the practice for decades, through a program dubbed “Atoms for Peace” that proliferated nuclear technology throughout various parts of the private sector in a hope that it would improve the lives of many. And it did. Today, thousands of agricultural varieties we take for granted – including, according to a 2007 New York Times feature on the practice, “rice, wheat, barley, pears, peas, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers, peanuts, grapefruit, sesame, bananas, cassava and sorghum” – are a direct result of mutation breeding. They would not be classified as GM foods, in the sense that we did not use modern transgenic techniques to make them, but they are genetically altered nonetheless, to the same or greater degree than most modern GMO strains. Unlike modern GM foods – which are often closely protected by patents and armies of lawyers to ensure the inventing companies reap maximum profits from their use – the overwhelming majority of the original generations of radiation-mutated plant varieties came out of academic and government sponsored research, and thus were provided free and clear for farmers to use without restriction. With the chemical revolution of the mid-20th century, radiation-based mutations were followed by the use of chemical agents like the methyl sulfate family of mutagens. And after that, the crudest forms of organic genetic manipulation came into use, such as the uses of transposons, highly repetitive strands of DNA discovered in 1948 that can be used like biological duct tape to cover whole sections the genome. These modified crops stood up better to pests, lessened famines, reduced reliance on pesticides, and most of all enabled farmers to increase their effective yields. Coupled with the development of commercial machinery like tractors and harvesters, the rise of mutagenic breeding resulted in an agricultural revolution of a magnitude few truly appreciate. In the late 1800s, the overwhelming majority of global populations lived in rural areas, and most people spent their lives in agrarian pursuits. From subsistence farmers to small commercial operations, the majority of the population of every country, the US included, was employed in agriculture. Today, less than 2% of the American population (legal and illegal combined) works in farming of any kind. Yet we have more than enough food to feed all of our people, and a surplus to export to more densely populated nations like China and India. The result is that a sizable percentage of the world’s plant crops today – the ones on top of which much of the modern-era GMO experiments are done – are already genetic mutants. Hence the slippery slope that serves as the foundation of the resistance from regulators over the labeling of GM food products. Where do you draw the line on what to label? And frankly, how do you even know for sure, following the Wild-West days of blasting everything that could grow with some form or another of radiation, what plants are truly virgin DNA? The world’s public is largely unaware that many of the foods they eat today – far more than those targeted by anti-GMO protestors and labeling advocates – are genetically modified. Yet we don’t seem to be dying off in large numbers, like the anti-RNAi researchers project will happen. In fact, global lifespans have increased dramatically across the board in the last century. The Rise of Careful The science of GM food has advanced considerably since the dark ages of the 1920s. Previous versions of mutation breeding were akin to trying to fix a pair of eyeglasses with a sledgehammer – messy and imprecise, with rare positive results. And the outputs of those experiments were often foisted upon a public without any knowledge or understanding of what they were consuming. Modern-day GM foods are produced with a much more precise toolset, which means less unintended collateral damage. Of course it also opens up a veritable Pandora’s box of new possibilities (glow-in-the-dark corn, anyone?) and with it a whole host of potential new risks. Like any sufficiently powerful technology, such as the radiation and harsh chemicals used in prior generations of mutation breeding, without careful control over its use, the results can be devastating. This fact is only outweighed by the massive improvements over the prior, messier generation of techniques. And thus, regulatory regimes from the FDA to CSIRO to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are taking increasing steps to ensure that GM foods are thoroughly tested long before they come to market. In many ways, the tests are far more rigorous than those that prescription drugs undergo, as the target population is not sick and in need of urgent care, and for which side effects can be tolerated. This is why a great many of the proposed GM foods of the last 20 years, including the controversial “suicide seeds” meant to protect the intellectual property of the large GM seed producers like Monsanto (which bought out Calgene, the inventor of that Flavr Savr tomato, and is now the 800-lb. gorilla of the GM food business), were never allowed to market. Still, with the 15 years from 1996 to 2011 seeing a 96-fold increase in the amount of land dedicated to growing GM crops and the incalculable success of the generations of pre-transgenic mutants before them, scientists and corporations are still in a mad sprint to find the next billion-dollar GM blockbuster. In doing so they are seeking tools that make the discovery of such breakthroughs faster and more reliable. With RNAi, they may just have found one such tool. If it holds true to its laboratory promises, its benefits will be obvious from all sides. Unlike previous generations of GMO, RNAi-treated crops do not need to be permanently modified. This means that mutations which outlive their usefulness, like resistance to a plague which is eradicated, do not need to live on forever. This allows companies to be more responsive, and potentially provides a big relief to consumers concerned about the implications of eating foods with permanent genetic modifications. The simple science of creating RNAi molecules is also attractive to people who develop these new agricultural products, as once a messenger RNA is identified, there is a precise formula to tell you exactly how to shut it off, potentially saving millions or even billions of dollars that would be spent in the research lab trying to figure out exactly how to affect a particular genetic process. And with the temporary nature of the technique, both the farmers and the Monsantos of the world can breathe easily over the huge intellectual-property questions of how to deal with genetically altered seeds. Not to mention the questions of natural spread of strains between farms who might not want GMO crops in their midst. Instead of needing to engineer in complex genetic functions to ensure progeny don’t pass down enhancements for free and that black markets in GMO seeds don’t flourish, the economic equation becomes as simple as fertilizer: use it or don’t. While RNAi is not a panacea for GMO scientists – it serves as an off switch, but cannot add new traits nor even turn on dormant ones – the dawn of antisense techniques is likely to mean an even further acceleration of the science of genetic meddling in agriculture. Its tools are more precise even than many of the most recent permanent genetic-modification methods. And the temporary nature of the technique – the ability to apply it selectively as needed versus breeding it directly into plants which may not benefit from the change decades on – is sure to please farmers, and maybe even consumers as well. That is, unless the scientists in Australia are proven correct, and the siRNAs used in experiments today make their way into humans and affect the same genetic functions in us as they do in the plants. The science behind their assertions still needs a great deal of testing. Much of their assertion defies the basic understanding of how siRNA molecules are delivered – an incredibly difficult and delicate process that has been the subject of hundreds of millions of dollars of research thus far, and still remains, thanks to our incredible immune systems, a daunting challenge in front of one of the most promising forms of medicine (and now of farming too). Still, their perspective is important food for thought… and likely fuel for much more debate to come. After all, even if you must label your products as containing GMO-derived ingredients, does that apply if you just treated an otherwise normal plant with a temporary, consumable, genetic on or off switch? In theory, the plant which ends up on your plate is once again genetically no different than the one which would have been on your plate had no siRNAs been used during its formative stages. One thing is sure: the GMO food train left the station nearly a century ago and is now a very big business that will continue to grow and to innovate, using RNAi and other techniques to come. The Casey Extraordinary Technology team has been tracking the leading lights of the RNAi medical industry for some time. Recently, one of our small biotech upstarts struck a potentially massive, exclusive deal with an agricultural giant to seed its own RNAi research program. Success could mean billions for both firms. If you’d like to know what company we believe will profit most from the next generation of GM food development, subscribe to CET. Bits & Bytes Last Chance for RIM? (CNN Money) Few companies have been written off as frequently as Research in Motion, whose Blackberry was once state of the art and which now finds itself fighting for its life. Its stock just soared 9% merely because it said release of the new Blackberry 10 is still on schedule for early next year. Whether the 10 will be able to put a dent into the Apple/Android monolith remains to be seen, but for RIM it could be the last, best hope. Giant Media Merger (LA Times) What do you get when you mate Han Solo with Minnie Mouse? We’re about to find out – fiscally, if not physically – with Tuesday’s announcement that Disney is acquiring Lucasfilm for a cool $4 billion. Disney is projecting it’ll get its money back within three years, while George is, well, retiring – as he is now well able to do. Google Settles Final AdWords Dispute (Ars Technica) Several companies have taken Google to court over AdWords, saying Google shouldn’t be allowed to key advertisements to their names, which are protected trademarks. The last and one of the most persistent has been Rosetta Stone, a language-software maker that sued Google in 2009, but lost in federal court. However, its case was revived on appeal, and yesterday it finally was settled on confidential terms. How Easy Is a Tablet to Use? (TechCrunch) Pretty damn easy, as it turns out. In a remarkable experiment, OLPC (One Laptop per Child) researchers in Ethiopia handed a Motorola Xoom tablet to each of a group of illiterate village children aged four to eight. Click the link to learn the amazing results.last_img read more

Leaders can have many different styles — just comp

first_imgLeaders can have many different styles — just compare President Donald Trump to Malala Yousafzai to your boss or the coach of your kid’s soccer team.But a study published Thursday suggests that people who end up in leadership roles of various sorts all share one key trait: Leaders make decisions for a group in the same way that they make decisions for themselves. They don’t change their decision-making behavior, even when other people’s welfare is at stake.That may come as a bit of surprise, given that most lists of key leadership qualities focus on things like charisma and communication skills.”Previous research has mostly focused on these kinds of either personality characteristics of a leader, or situations where individuals are likely to lead,” says Micah Edelson, a neuroscientist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. “But we don’t know much about the cognitive or neurobiological process that is happening when you are choosing to lead or follow — when you’re faced with this choice to lead or follow.”He notes that the decisions of leaders can affect the lives of many others. “It’s not always that easy to make such a choice, and it’s something that could be even a little bit aversive to you, to make a choice that impacts other people,” says Edelson. “And there are some people that seem to be able to do it; some people don’t. So we were interested in looking at that.”He and his colleagues had volunteers come to the lab, and gave them questionnaires that are widely used to predict whether someone is likely to be in a position of leadership. They also collected information about people’s real-world leadership experience, such as what rank they’d achieved in the military (which is compulsory for men in Switzerland) or in the popular Swiss Scouts organization.Then they put the participants into small groups and had them play a series of games in which individuals had to make choices about whether to take a risky action to get a reward.”These are choices about uncertain gambles that have some probability of success and potential gains and losses,” Edelson explains.The player could choose to either make the choice alone, or defer the decision to a majority vote.The games were played under two conditions: Sometimes the decision affected only the individual player’s winnings and other times the decision affected what the entire group received.What the researchers found is that people in general tended to avoid taking responsibility for what happens to others; deferral rates were the highest when decisions affected other people’s pocketbooks.But the people who changed their decision-making behavior the least were the ones who generally served as leaders in the real-world and scored high on leadership questionnaires. Unlike others, they did not require more certainty before being ready to personally make a decision that would affect the whole group.”On average, people tend to increase the certainty threshold when the choices affect the entire group. But higher-scoring leaders just keep their thresholds almost constant,” says Edelson, who says preliminary work using MRI brain scanning supports the idea that leaders and followers differ in how their brains process information about gains, losses, and risk in the context of thinking about others.Other neuroscientists say the work, published in the journal Science, is fascinating.”It seems a very reasonable finding,” says Tali Sharot, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London. “It works with our intuition, but in the same way it’s not something that you’d necessarily think about that distinguishes leadership.”Sharot cautions that it’s not clear whether this decision-making behavior is what led people to their leadership position, or if they’ve developed it as a result of real-world leadership experience.And this study doesn’t say anything about who ends up being a “good” leader, either.But Sharot says the researchers have identified something about leadership that can hold true regardless of a leader’s style.”You can have authoritarian leaders who like to have the ultimate control,” she says. “You can have democratic leaders who want to lead according to the will of the people. You have leaders who are risk-takers, leaders who are risk-adverse and conservative and so on.”But what’s really interesting about this work, she says, is that these different types of leaders’ decision-making behavior stays the same regardless of whether the outcome affects only themselves or other people. “What this paper shows is that all these types of individuals, all these types of leaders, have something in common.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

A disabled campaigner who is battling to protect t

first_imgA disabled campaigner who is battling to protect the rights of wheelchair-users to travel on buses has won permission for his appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court.Doug Paulley (pictured) has been told by the court that it will hear his discrimination case – which is backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – against transport company First Bus.Paulley, from Wetherby, took the case against First Bus following an incident in February 2012.He had been planning to travel to Leeds, but was prevented from entering the bus because the driver refused to insist that a mother with a pushchair should move from the wheelchair space.He told Disability News Service that he was “relieved” and “really glad” about the Supreme Court’s decision, although it is unlikely to be heard until the latter part of 2016 at the earliest.He said: “It would have been a travesty if they had not [agreed to hear the appeal], given the huge support from lots of disabled people and that [the appeal] is being bank-rolled by the EHRC.”Paulley said the case wouldn’t have got so far “without so many disabled people sticking their necks out and campaigning around it and making it such a public issue”.And he said the case going to the Supreme Court would “certainly make a lot of people think and talk about it”.He said he now rarely used buses because of the effect the “extra layer of stress” caused by the incident – and the uncertainty he now feels when he uses a bus – had had on his mental health problems.Disabled campaigners were left “appalled” in December when three court of appeal judges found in favour of First Bus, and against Paulley.That judgement over-turned a county court ruling that wheelchair-users should have priority in the use of dedicated wheelchair spaces over parents with pushchairs, and that the “first come, first served” policy of First Bus breached the Equality Act.Instead, the court of appeal said that a bus driver needs only to request – and not demand – that a buggy-user vacates the space if it is needed by a wheelchair-user.A First Bus spokesman said today (Thursday): “The court of appeal decision in 2014 gave our customers, drivers and the wider industry much-needed clarification around the priority use of the wheelchair space on board buses.“The court’s judgment endorsed our current policy, which is to ask other passengers in the strongest polite terms to make way for wheelchair-users.“We note Mr Paulley has been given permission to appeal the court of appeal decision.  We will continue to make the case that our current policy both complies with the law and remains the most practical solution for all concerned.”The importance of Paulley’s case was highlighted this week when it was mentioned several times in the first evidence session of a committee set up by the House of Lords to examine the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people.The Conservative peer Lord Northbrook was one of those who mentioned the Paulley case, when he questioned whether the law on service-providers’ duties to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people was “sufficiently precise”.Meanwhile, on the same day that the Supreme Court announced its decision, campaigners revealed that another transport company, National Express, had scrapped its own “first come, first served” policy on its buses, and replaced it with a wheelchair priority policy.The move followed a question asked by disabled athlete Susan Cook at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on 6 May, after which she had secured a meeting with two of the company’s top executives.Cook was supported by the user-led, campaigning charity Transport for All, and ShareAction, which helps people attend company meetings and raise issues with directors.Cook said: “It was great to use my power as a shareholder to secure a meeting with the company and persuade them to change their policy.“I’m glad National Express saw sense on this issue and I’m looking forward to going to more AGMs to raise disability rights issues in future.”Lianna Etkind, campaigns and outreach coordinator at Transport for All, said: “Being able to use public transport is an essential part of a full and active life, getting to work, having access to healthcare and education, or a social life, with freedom and independence.“We’re pleased National Express listened to reason and have decided to change their policy on wheelchair priority. It was great to work with Susan and ShareAction to bring about this change.”National Express has already announced plans to introduce a “turn up and go” service on its c2c train services in Essex from September, so disabled people needing assistance will be able to arrive at stations and have staff help them, without needing to book in advance.National Express will be the first private train company to offer this service in the UK and has also pledged to be the first train operator to make a route completely accessible.last_img read more

Picture by DPAC

first_imgPicture by DPAC Disabled activists were locked inside the Department for Work and Pensions’ headquarters by security guards as they delivered thousands of copies of a newspaper that feature “deliberately misleading” DWP adverts which “whitewash” the truth about universal credit.Protesters from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were unable to leave Caxton House in Westminster for several minutes yesterday (Wednesday) when security guards locked the building’s front doors behind them after they entered the main lobby.They had entered the building to deliver a letter to work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, in which they asked her to explain why she had spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on an advertising campaign in the free Metro newspaper that features “one-sided adverts whitewashing the disastrous Universal Credit policy”.They also delivered about 10 boxes of copies of yesterday’s Metro (pictured), which features the latest Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) advertising feature on universal credit (UC), and which activists had removed from distribution points at train stations and on buses across the capital.Soon after their arrival, DWP security guards locked the front entrance and threatened to call the police, even though the action had been peaceful and focused only on delivering the newspapers and the letter to Rudd.The doors were eventually unlocked several minutes later after one of the activists had a panic attack.The letter to Rudd was finally accepted, and although DWP initially refused to accept the boxes of newspapers, they were later taken inside after being left outside the department’s front entrance.In the letter, DPAC and allies from Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group asked Rudd “why, when Universal Credit is causing so much suffering and distress, your department chose to throw money at this shameless exercise”.They added: “We hope that the enclosed materials will provide food for thought as you prepare your response to claimants staring into empty cupboards trying to work out how they can feed themselves and their children, and all those who are wondering why the taxes we pay for collective provision of services are being used in such an inappropriate attempt to rewrite the story of this disastrous policy.”Paula Peters, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, who took part in the action, said: “They are discrediting people’s real testimonies of going through universal credit.“I have been outside jobcentres and have spoken to claimants who have been driven to prostitution, destitution and homelessness by universal credit.”She added: “We will continue to expose their lies and total fabrications and we have to get the truth out there with thorough research and with people’s personal testimonies.”Yesterday’s action, including the hire of a van to deliver the newspapers, was paid for through a crowdfunding effort launched by Sheffield DPAC, which is set to pay for further such actions.As DPAC was delivering its copies of the Metro to DWP in London, disabled activists and allies in other parts of the country, including Sheffield and Bristol, posted photographs of copies of the Metro being removed from their distribution points, as part of the ongoing #DumpMetroDWPLies campaign.A spokesperson for Sheffield DPAC – which has played a significant role in the national campaign – said anger about the Metro adverts was growing, and she thanked those who had donated to the fund.She said the Metro adverts were “propaganda” and “a deliberate attempt to manipulate public perception” of universal credit.She said: “I implore people, whether they are claimants or not, to support the #DumpMetroDWPLies campaign against the DWP advertorials.“People have to be aware that once the government have done targeting us that they will move on to someone else.“We need to act, we need to stand up, we need to stop this, and we absolutely must do it together.”Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has confirmed that it is investigating the way the DWP advertising features have been published by the Metro.Disability News Service (DNS) confirmed last month that DWP breached Civil Service guidelines when it decided to launch the nine-week series of “unethical and misleading” Metro advertorials without including a government logo.And this week DNS passed a screen shot to ASA showing the home page of the Metro’s website, which featured several UC adverts designed to look like a newspaper investigation and which disguise their DWP origin.None of the adverts on the website mentioned they were designed and paid for by DWP, which appears to be a breach of ASA rules.Leaked DWP documents have revealed that the adverts were always designed to be misleading and not to “look or feel like DWP or UC”.An ASA spokesperson said: “We’re currently assessing a number of complaints relating to these ads, including complaints that challenge whether the ads are obviously identifiable as marketing communications.“We will establish whether there are grounds for further action in due course.”Meanwhile, the Disability Benefits Consortium of charities has written to ASA to complain about the “deliberately misleading” advertising features.The letter dismantles several of the claims made in the adverts, including the claim that it is a “myth” that “Universal Credit doesn’t work”, telling ASA: “These statements omit the thousands of claimants universal credit does not ‘work for’ but instead has driven them into debt, rent arrears, foodbanks, and homelessness.”A DWP spokesperson told DNS: “Our position is that all our advertising is factual and designed to increase understanding of Universal Credit.“We consulted the Advertising Standards Authority prior to launching the partnership and have reflected their advice.“We’ve not got anything further to add.”On the DPAC action at Caxton House, she said: “You can understand that we’re in a government building, so a group of non-staff members quickly entering the building with large parcels is an obvious security concern.“Security dealt with the incident quickly and the activists were able to leave the parcels outside the front door, without the need for further action.”She had already declined to comment when asked what DWP planned to do with the thousands of Metros delivered to Rudd. A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

3 Things To Know

3 Things To Know

The Web is the New PC

first_img Mike Hogan November 1, 2007 Next Article Interesting new PC shapes and concepts promise to accelerate our drive toward virtual computing. They’re desktops, portables, even memory sticks with names like FlipStart, iMac, MojoPac and Zonbu. Invariably thin and light, they’re not meant to operate as lone computing devices. Rather, they rely on the web for much of their functionality.Meet your new PC–the endpoint. The net has finally become the PC, an idea some superrich somebodies had a decade ago and lost a bunch of money on. So? PC users didn’t live with one foot in the virtual world then, and web infrastructure and computer subsystems weren’t anything like they are today.Component miniaturization, free open source software and logarithmic growth in web services combine in new PCs like the paperback-size Zonbu. Relying on the web for its hard drive, the 5-pound brick fits in the palm of your hand. But mobility isn’t its primary goal; Zonbu’s creators wanted to build a PC that was both cheap and green. Add your own keyboard, display and mouse to the CPU-only Zonbu, which costs as little as $99 with a two-year online storage contract (as low as $13 a month for 25GB). Zonbu’s Linux OS is housed on a 4GB CompactFlash card, along with 20 open source applications like the OpenOffice.org productivity suite and a Firefox browser.Instead of the standard 200-watt gulps, Zonbu takes 9-watt sips of electricity and is religiously carbon-emission neutral. Ohhhhm. But even we major carbon consumers can appreciate Zonbu’s complete silence (no hard drive or fan) and reduced levels of Windows’ hassle emissions. There’s no system configuration, license management, drive defragmentation or constant updating of multiple layers of malware protection–no Windows Mega-Patch Tuesdays!Only Skin-DeepBut Zonbu is a squat little box. If it’s style you’re looking for–and you have $1,200 to spend–where else to turn but Apple Inc.? Its newest line of iMacs are the sleekest desktops ever and will run Windows software. A CPU, hard drive and more are somehow poured into a 20- or 24-inch display balanced on a wire-thin L stand. Add Apple’s new wireless keyboard and mouse, and you have a computer that barely casts a shadow on your desk.Want web access to go? New feather-weights like the OQO model 02 and FlipStart can keep you connected wherever you roam at speeds of up to 1.4Mbps and 3.1Mbps, respectively. Weighing in at a pound and some change, each squeezes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and even wide-area EV-DO into handhelds that measure less than 6 by 5 inches. They slide easily into a pocket or purse but include displays large enough for a full-size web browser. The heaviest part of either is the price tag: $1,299 and up.Still too much PC to carry? How about a USB 2.0 memory stick packing the new MojoPac virtual PC environment and a copy of your entire Windows desktop? Plug the MojoPac stick into any PC and compute from MojoPac’s secure environment without changing a single setting on the host. It’s very similar to the U3 environment with one critical difference: MojoPac works with the Microsoft Office Suite.Still too heavy for you? If you can lift a user ID and password, you can keep all your files on a virtual application site like Zoho. Log into its Microsoft Office-compatible suite from any broadband PC you can find.Traditional PCs aren’t going away– they’re just becoming terminals into that ultimate virtual PC in the sky: the web.Mike Hogan is Entrepreneur’s technology editor. Magazine Contributor This story appears in the November 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » PC functions are moving onto the web. Here are the tools you need to make the leap. Add to Queue The Web is the New PC Technology 3 min read –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »last_img read more

Can Zuckerbergs media blitz take the pressure off Facebook

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes—but no apology (Update) At another point, the Facebook chief seemed to favor regulation for Facebook and other internet giants. At least, that is, the “right” kind of rules, such as ones requiring online political ads to disclose who paid for them. In almost the next breath, however, Zuckerberg steered clear of endorsing a bill that would write such rules into federal law, and instead talked up Facebook’s own voluntary efforts on that front.”They’ll fight tooth and nail to fight being regulated,” said Timothy Carone, a Notre Dame business professor. “In six months we’ll be having the same conversations, and it’s just going to get worse going into the election.”Even Facebook’s plan to let users know about data leaks may put the onus on users to educate themselves. Zuckerberg said Facebook will “build a tool” that lets users see if their information had been impacted by the Cambridge leak, suggesting that the company won’t be notifying people automatically. Facebook took this kind of do-it-yourself approach in the case of Russian election meddling, in contrast to Twitter, which notified users who had been exposed to Russian propaganda on its network.In what has become one of the worst backlashes Facebook has ever seen, politicians in the U.S. and Britain have called for Zuckerberg to explain its data practices in detail. State attorneys general in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey have opened investigations into the Cambridge mess. And some have rallied to a movement that urges people to delete their Facebook accounts entirely.Sandy Parakilas, who worked in data protection for Facebook in 2011 and 2012, told a U.K. parliamentary committee Wednesday that the company was vigilant about its network security but lax when it came to protecting users’ data.He said personal data including email addresses and in some cases private messages was allowed to leave Facebook servers with no real controls on how the data was used after that.Paul Argenti, a business professor at Dartmouth, said that while Zuckerberg’s comments hit the right notes, they still probably aren’t enough. “The question is, can you really trust Facebook,” he said. “I don’t think that question has been answered.”Cambridge Analytica headquarters in central London was briefly evacuated Thursday as a precaution after a suspicious package was received. Nothing dangerous was found and normal business resumed, police said. But it’s far from clear whether he’s won over U.S. and European authorities, much less the broader public whose status updates provide Facebook with an endless stream of data it uses to sell targeted ads.On Wednesday, the generally reclusive Zuckerberg sat for an interview on CNN and several more to other outlets, addressing reports that Cambridge Analytica purloined the data of more than 50 million Facebook users in order to sway elections. The Trump campaign paid the firm $6 million during the 2016 election, although it has since distanced itself from Cambridge.Zuckerberg apologized for a “major breach of trust,” admitted mistakes and outlined steps to protect users following Cambridge’s data grab.”I am really sorry that happened,” Zuckerberg said on CNN. Facebook has a “responsibility” to protect its users’ data, he added, noting that if it fails, “we don’t deserve to have the opportunity to serve people.”His mea culpa on cable television came a few hours after he acknowledged his company’s mistakes in a Facebook post , but without saying he was sorry.Zuckerberg and Facebook’s No. 2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, had been quiet since news broke Friday that Cambridge may have used data improperly obtained from roughly 50 million Facebook users to try to sway elections. Cambridge’s clients included Donald Trump’s general-election campaign. The offices of Cambridge Analytica (CA) in central London, after it was announced that Britain’s information commissioner Elizabeth Denham is pursuing a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica’s computer servers, Tuesday March 20, 2018. Denham said Tuesday that she is using all her legal powers to investigate Facebook and political campaign consultants Cambridge Analytica over the alleged misuse of millions of people’s data. Cambridge Analytica said it is committed to helping the U.K. investigation. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA via AP) Chief Executive of Cambridge Analytica (CA) Alexander Nix, leaves the offices in central London, Tuesday March 20, 2018. Cambridge Analytica, has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts. It denies wrongdoing. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP) In this June 21, 2017, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during preparation for the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago. Zuckerberg embarked on a rare media mini-blitz Wednesday, March 22, 2018, in the wake of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) Citation: Can Zuckerberg’s media blitz take the pressure off Facebook? (2018, March 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-zuckerberg-media-blitz-pressure-facebook.html That audit will be a giant undertaking, said David Carroll, a media researcher at the Parsons School of Design in New York—one that he said will likely turn up a vast number of apps that did “troubling, distressing things.”But on other fronts, Zuckerberg carefully hedged otherwise striking remarks.In the CNN interview, for instance, he said he would be “happy” to testify before Congress—but only if it was “the right thing to do.” Zuckerberg went on to note that many other Facebook officials might be more appropriate witnesses depending on what Congress wanted to know. Explore further In the wake of a privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg embarked on a rare media mini-blitz in an attempt to take some of the public and political pressure off the social network. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Facebook shares have dropped some 8 percent, lopping about $46 billion off the company’s market value, since the revelations were first published.While several experts said Zuckerberg took an important step with the CNN interview, few were convinced that he put the Cambridge issue behind hm. Zuckerberg’s apology, for instance, seemed rushed and pro forma to Helio Fred Garcia, a crisis-management professor at NYU and Columbia University.”He didn’t acknowledge the harm or potential harm to the affected users,” Garcia said. “I doubt most people realized he was apologizing.”Instead, the Facebook chief pointed to steps the company has already taken, such as a 2014 move to restrict the access outside apps had to user data. (That move came too late to stop Cambridge.) And he laid out a series of technical changes that will further limit the data such apps can collect, pledged to notify users when outsiders misuse their information and said Facebook will “audit” apps that exhibit troubling behavior. 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

Cloud firm Dropbox surges in Wall Street debut Update

Dropbox shares surged Friday as the cloud data storage firm made its Wall street debut following a public offering raising some $750 million. Citation: Cloud firm Dropbox surges in Wall Street debut (Update) (2018, March 23) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-cloud-firm-dropbox-surges-wall.html Dropbox raises price range ahead of stock debut Explore further Shares trading under the symbol DBX rallied 35.6 percent to close at $28.48, with intraday gains as much as 50 percent, following the offering price of $21.The initial public offering was the biggest in the technology sector since Snapchat’s in 2017 and is among the few “unicorns”—venture-funded startups worth more than $1 billion—to go public.The strong demand suggested not all tech companies have been hit by the events of this week, when big players, especially in social media, have seen their shares dive following reports that a data analysis firm hired by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign misused personal information of some 50 million Facebook users.Created in 2007, Dropbox is one of a number of tech firms centered around the internet “cloud,” allowing users to store data for remote access by any internet-linked devices.Storing digital data from music and films to documents, presentations and images has become big business with the lifestyle shift to accessing content and services online.Its market value for the initial public offering was some $8 billion. © 2018 AFP 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

Nod for Bill to replace insolvency ordinance

Rahul Gandhi quits as Congress President

first_img COMMENT SHARE SHARE EMAIL July 03, 2019 SHARE Urges party to find successor At the receiving end of fervent appeals to stay on, with a worker even attempting suicide to this end, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday publicly underlined his resolve to quit and released the letter he had written to the Congress Working Committee accepting responsibility for the party’s defeat in the just-concluded general elections.The Wayanad MP told reporters that he has urged the CWC to select his successor at the earliest. Discussions are reportedly veering around Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mallikarjun Kharge as frontrunners for the post. The CWC is likely to meet soon to elect the president, which will have to be ratified by a session of the All India Congress Committee.Gandhi, meanwhile, told reporters that there is no question of him continuing any longer than it is absolutely necessary.“I am no longer the Congress president. I have already resigned. The CWC should convene a meeting immediately and decide on the new Congress president,” he said.In the four-page letter released to the media through Twitter, Gandhi said it is essential to fix accountability for the losses suffered by the Congress under his leadership.It is an honour for me to serve the Congress Party, whose values and ideals have served as the lifeblood of our beautiful nation. I owe the country and my organisation a debt of tremendous gratitude and love.Jai Hind pic.twitter.com/WWGYt5YG4V— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 3, 2019“As President of the Congress Party, I am responsible for the loss of the 2019 election. Accountability is critical for the future growth of our party. It is for this reason that I have resigned as Congress President,” he said in the letter. He said rebuilding the Congress requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. “It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as President of the party,” he said.He also ruled out the suggestion that the next Congress President should be his nominee. He said in the letter that the party will make the best decision regarding who can lead it with courage, love and fidelity.The idea of IndiaGandhi urged the party to transform radically to fight the Sangh Parivar. “I have no hatred or anger towards the BJP but every living cell in my body instinctively resists their idea of India. This resistance arises because my being is permeated with an Indian idea that is and has always been in direct conflict with theirs. This is not a new battle; it has been waged on our soil for thousands of years. Where they see differences, I see similarity. Where they see hatred, I see love. What they fear, I embrace,” he said.He maintained that his fight has never been a simple battle for political power. He said an election will not be free if one party has a complete monopoly on financial resources.“It is now crystal clear that our once cherished institutional neutrality no longer exists in India. The stated objective of the RSS, — the capture of our country’s institutional structure — is now complete. Our democracy has been fundamentally weakened. There is a real danger that from now on, elections will go from being a determinant of India’s future to a mere ritual,” the Wayanad MP saidcenter_img Congress President Rahul Gandhi   –  Bloomberg Indian National Congress Published on COMMENTSlast_img read more