23 things everyone who has played Touch Football will relate to!

first_imgPopular news and list website, Buzzfeed has featured Touch Football this week, creating a post titled ’23 things everyone who has played Touch Football will relate to’. The post lists plenty of relatable scenarios to anyone who has taken the Touch Football field, from slipping over, attempting to score a touchdown on the wrong line and making lifelong friends. To read the story, please click on the link below: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tahliapritchard/23-things-all-aussie-kids-who-played-touch-football-growing#.qdQgDJv5Qj Is there anything you’d add to this post? Let us know on our social media channels:Facebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyausInstagram – www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustralia Related LinksBuzzfeed storylast_img read more

Video: Duke Basketball Releases Cool Video Celebrating All Of Coach K’s NBA Draft Picks

first_imgGrant Hill of Duke on draft day.Grant Hill DukeKentucky is the college basketball program that gets most of the love these days for producing NBA talent, but Duke has been pretty great at it, too. Since Mike Krzyzewski took over the Blue Devils’ program in 1980, he’s had 51 players get selected in the NBA Draft. Thursday night, he’ll add to that number, as Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones are all projected to get picked in the first round, with Quinn Cook a potential second-round pick. In anticipation of the draft, Duke has released a cool video celebrating all of Coach K’s NBA players.last_img read more

Fly to NYC to Hang Backstage with Nas

first_imgOmaze.com and hip-hop legend, Nas have come together to offer one lucky winner, and a guest, VIP passes to the Governors Ball Music Festival.Until May 31st, anyone can enter to win a chance to be flown to NYC and hang with Nas backstage, then galavant around summer’s hottest music festival with VIP artist passes – so after you wake up from your dream experience with Nas, you can also check out Kanye, Kings Of Leon, and the rest of the all-star line-up.The best part? Its all for an amazing cause: UNICEF’s efforts to save and improve children’s lives world wide. Anyone can enter to win this dream day by visiting Omaze.com and making a $10 donation to UINCEF.Hang with Nas in New York CityOmaze offers everyone the opportunity to engage in once-in-a-lifetime experiences with celebrities, athletes and the world’s greatest thinkers with the proceeds benefiting a social cause. The process works similar to a charity raffle. The user-friendly site allows anyone to enter to win an Omaze experience of their choice by donating just $5 or $10. Once the deadline to enter for the experience passes, Omaze collects all the entries and selects the winners through a third party computer-generated random selection process. The proceeds are delivered to benefit a specific social cause. The goal of the campaign is clearly quantified and they track the impact overtime so participants can see how their donations are impacting lives.last_img read more

The Latest Canada gets access to exdiplomat in China

first_imgWASHINGTON — The Latest on talks between the U.S. and Canada (all times local):11:47 a.m.Canada’s ambassador to China has received consular access to detained ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig four days after he was arrested in China.Canada’s Global Affairs Department says Ambassador John McCallum met with Kovrig in Beijing on Friday.The department says they are continuing to press for access to another Canadian, entrepreneur Michael Spavor, who was also detained in China on Monday. The two were arrested in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive on behalf of the United States.Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecommunications giant Huawei, on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States. The U.S. wants her extradited to face charges that she and her company misled banks about the company’s business dealings in Iran. A Canadian judge released Meng on bail Tuesday.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis were meeting their Canadian counterparts on Friday for discussions expected to be dominated by the arrests.__11:04 a.m.The U.S. and Canada are holding high-stakes talks amid an escalating dispute with China that threatens to further complicate ties between the North American neighbours.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis were meeting their Canadian counterparts on Friday for discussions expected to be dominated by Canada’s arrest of a Chinese tech executive at Washington’s request. China has detained two Canadians in apparent retaliation.The case has set off a three-way diplomatic furor in which Canada is stuck in the middle.Canada arrested the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei (WAH’-way) on Dec. 1. The U.S. wants her extradited on charges she and her company violated sanctions on Iran. But a Canadian judge released her on bail Tuesday.The Associated Presslast_img read more

City encouraging residents to get out and vote during upcoming municipal election

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City’s Legislative Services Director Janet Prestley says the City wants more Fort St. John residents to get out and vote during this fall’s municipal election.Speaking at the Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon today, Prestley spoke about some of the outreach the City will be doing to help bolster some of the lowest municipal election voter turnout stats in Northern B.C. According to the City, Fort St. John municipal election voter turnout has consistently lagged at least 19 percent behind the provincial average.During the 2008 municipal election, Fort St. John recorded a voter turnout of 23 percent while the average across B.C. was 43 percent. In 2014, the provincial average voter turnout was 41 percent, while Fort St. John’s voter turnout dropped to 15 percent. Some of the factors that have been blamed on the drop in turnout during election include the acclamation of the Mayor and a lack of controversial issues. Prestley said that many residents often forget that they interact with their local municipal government much more often than with their provincial or federal counterparts. She added that many residents also might not know that voting can often take less time than ordering a cup of coffee at a fast food restaurant.According to Prestley, residents will have three ways to vote during the upcoming municipal election: in person, at the curbside, and by mail. She said that the polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Fort St. John Legion on the day of the election, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 20th. Residents can also vote from the curbside in the comfort of their vehicles outside the polling station, or can request a mail-in ballot from the City ahead of the election.For more information about the upcoming municipal election, contact Janet Prestley at City Hall at (250) 787-8150.last_img read more

Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme an extraordinary step Sheila Dikshit

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi president Sheila Dikshit welcomed the historic announcement made by Congress president Rahul Gandhi to uplift the living standards of the poorest people in the country through the Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme, which she termed was an “extraordinary step”.Sheila Dikshit expressed her view that Rahul Gandhi made the announcement that under the Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme (Nyuantam Aay Yojna (NYAY)) for 5 crore poorest families of India, i.e 25 crore people, Rs 72,000 per annum would be deposited directly in the bank account of the woman of the family. She said that this scheme will apply both to the Urban and Rural poor families. She said “this is the biggest scheme for the poor by the Congress party” after the highly successful MANREGA. She said that this is probably the world’s first such scheme to ameliorate the woeful condition of the poorest people.last_img read more

Joel Edgerton joins Barry Jenkins series

first_imgLos Angeles: Actor Joel Edgerton has signed on for a role in the Barry Jenkins series “The Underground Railroad”. Edgerton will play the part of Ridgeway, a slave catcher. He joins previously announced cast members Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon and Aaron Pierre, reports variety.com. The role will mark Edgerton’s first regular TV role in some time. He previously starred in the series “The Secret Life of Us”, in his native Australia early in his career in addition to a handful of other TV roles. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka Nowadays, Edgerton is known for his film work. He most recently starred in, wrote, and directed the film “Boy Erased”, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. He made his feature directorial debut in 2015 with the thriller “The Gift”, in which he also starred and wrote. His other film roles include “Loving”, “Red Sparrow”, “Bright”, “Jane Got a Gun” and “Midnight Special”. Based on Colson Whitehead’s book of the same name, “The Underground Railroad” chronicles young Cora’s (Mbedu) journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumoured Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Jenkins will direct all 11 episodes of the one-hour series in what will be his first attempt at directing a TV series in its entirety.last_img read more

Soon rain respite for South Bengal

first_imgKolkata: There seems to be some respite in sight for South Bengal that may get the much-awaited relief from the scorching summer heat early next week as the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore has predicted thundershowers for a couple of days from Tuesday onwards.The Nor’wester is likely to hit various South Bengal districts on Tuesday bringing moderate rainfall accompanied with gusty winds. The entire South Bengal has been under intense heat spell for the past few days with the mercury touching 42 degree Celsius in the Western districts. A heat wave has also been sweeping through districts like Purulia, Bankura, West Burdwan, Birbhum, West Midnapore, Jhargram and East Midnapore. The poll-bound districts where elections will be held in as many as eight constituencies on Sunday may continue to burn on poll day, the MeT office warned. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”Rain and thundershowers are likely to take place in various South Bengal districts including Kolkata during the afternoon hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. Rains will push the mercury down by a few notches. People will have some respite from the excessive heat in the later half of the week,” a senior official of the Alipore MeT office said. The districts including West Burdwan, Birbhum, West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia were among the others to have registered highest temperature on Saturday with mercury hovering over 40-43 degree Celsius. In case of other South Bengal districts, the mercury remained between 35-37 degree Celsius. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayMeanwhile, two poll personnel including a presiding officer fell ill in Bankura and East Midnapore respectively on Saturday. A polling person who went to the distribution centre at Bankura Christian College to collect the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) fell ill. He was admitted to Bankura Sammilani Hospital. On the other hand, another presiding officer also complained of heat-related discomfort at the distribution centre in East Midnapore’s Tamluk. He was taken to the Tamluk district hospital for treatment.last_img read more

Finnish operator DNA has tapped Harmonic to provid

first_imgFinnish operator DNA has tapped Harmonic to provide it with a complete OTT solution for its DNA TV multiscreen service.Harmonic said its multiscreen processing and delivery solutions allow DNA to deliver live TV channels and VOD content to more than 200,000 subscribers on a wide range of devices.“Harmonic’s multiscreen processing and delivery solutions enable DNA to deliver live TV channels and VOD content to more than 200,000 subscribers on a wide range of devices, with pristine video quality, at a low total cost of ownership,” said DNA’s head of broadband and entertainment services, Pekka Jääskeläinen.last_img read more

Liberty Global senior technologists Mark Burns and

first_imgLiberty Global senior technologists Mark Burns and Ade Brittain used a presentation at the Cable Next Gen Europe event in London yesterday to reveal details of the cable giant’s access network technology roadmap for the next few years.Mark Burns, HFC architect, who heads access network strategy roadmaps at Liberty Global, said that the company’s roadmap fell into ‘business as usual’ activities such as increasing bandwidth, investing in CCAP and investing in node segmentation, on one hand, and investment in new technologies including DOCSIS 3.1, a converged internet network, the creation of a distributed access architecture via investment in Remote PHY, and virtual segmentation of the network, on the other.Burns said that Liberty is migrating its headend infrastructure to a single CCAP platform capable of delivering DOCSIS 3.1.He said that the company’s plans for bandwidth expansion means upgrading bandwidth-constrained networks to 1.2GHz downstream., switching off analogue TV and FM radio to enable a higher split between downstream and upstream traffic, and improving encoding efficiencies for TV.Burns said that the company is looking at Extended Spectrum DOCSIS – a technology that involves using Full Duplex DOCSIS chipsets to raise the spectrum ceiling occupied by upstream traffic to 492MHz or 684MHz while keeping upstream and downstream in separate blocks of spectrum – as an ‘innovation’ project – meaning that this technology is being evaluated but is not currently on the company’s roadmap.Regarding prospects for the deployment of Full Duplex DOCSIS, the combination of downstream and upstream spectrum to enable symmetrical services, which requires networks to have no amplifiers between the node and the home – the so-called N+0 architecture – he said that Liberty’s current network topology ranges from N+1 to N+10, suggesting that migration is some way off. Liberty is however deploying fibre and using RFOG technology to address enterprise markets where symmetrical services may be called for.Burns said that DOCSIS 3.1 is now live in a number of Liberty Global markets including Germany and Poland where the company is offering 1Gbps service. DOCSIS 3.1 will become to a ‘business as usual’ technology for the operator in the next reporting period, he said. He said that Liberty was currently testing Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) – a key part of the DOCSIS 3.1 spec for upstream bandwidth – and would deploy this by 2020.He said that plans for a migration to a distributed access architecture or Converged Interconnect Network are underway, involving digitising analogue optics and replacing analogue fibre nodes with Remote PHY devices. The company is focusing on Remote PHY, which Burns said would be rolled out with second-generation silicon in a European-friendly compact node form-factor from 2020.“This is about the convergence of multiple services onto a single network as well,” said Burns, who added that the Converged Interconnect Network will be deployed from 2019.While shying away from the alternative Remote MACPHY technology promoted by a number of technologists, Burns said that Liberty Global is evaluating the more recent development of a flexible MAC approach that allows for the deployment of nodes that can be used for either Remote PHY or Remote MACPHY configurations.Ade Brittain, senior manager, access network innovation at Liberty Global, accompanying Burns, said that the flexible MAC architecture “breaks down arguments and provides an opportunity to deploy technologies that match needs”. He said there was no need for “more debate between R-PHY and R-MACPHY”.“We want to leverage all the work done on R-PHY that will allow operators to deploy the hardware that matches use cases with standardised north and southbound interfaces,” he said.As a next step beyond Remote PHY, Burns said that Liberty Global is looking at the concept of the Virtual CCAP, moving away from purpose-built hardware to make use of commodity processors. “This gives improved agility and scalability and improved time to market,” he said, adding that the company is looking to initiate trials next year ahead of a potential rollout in 2020.He said that virtual segmentation – the deployment of Ethernet over Coax technology to overcome the pain of pulling in new fibres when nodes are split, which involves considerable expense in terms of public works where fibre is buried – is also being considered.Burns said that the combination of virtual segmentation with Remote PHY, establishing a point-to-point data link over existing coax cables – can enable operators to deliver faster broadband speeds without pulling in new fibre. He said Liberty Global had used this technique to deliver up to 7Gbps downstream and 1.7Gbps upstream depending on the quality of the plant in tests. The technology is at “an advanced stage of evaluation in Germany today and could be expanded to other markets”, he said.Burns said Liberty was also evaluating Virtual PON, a technology that enables operators to move to PON as an overlay on their exisiting HFC network.Other near term technology advances likely to be deployed include CCAP VOD, meaning converging VOD onto the CCAP platform being build by the company while still using DVB-C technology to deliver the on-demand stream. Burns said that as the operator moves to split nodes in the network it still needs to deliver VOD but wants to move that to CCAP to avoid investing in new Edge QAM devices, while paving the way for migration to IP VOD. “This will be rolled out shortly,” he said. Liberty Global already delivers IP VOD to its new advanced EOS set-top boxes, which are being deployed across its footprint.Burns said that Liberty was also looking to migrate more TV channels to DOCSIS, moving the long tail of content to IPTV. “This is about reclaiming spectrum from DVB and moving it to DOCSIS and reducing the need for costly node splits,” he said.last_img read more

Back in the 1960s a clever but financially disadv

first_imgBack in the 1960s, a clever but financially disadvantaged fellow placed a small ad in a national magazine that read something like: Money needed. Please send $1 to the address below. Do it today! No specific need was given, and nothing was promised in return, so that fraud could not later be charged.Yet within a few months, thousands of dollars arrived in his mailbox, a considerable sum in those days. Or so the urban legend goes.P2P MoneyA half-century later, many things have changed, but one thing remains unchanged: People still need money, and they have not ceased to innovate ways in which to get it.We have written extensively in this space about many of the P2P Internet connections that are transforming the planet… in commerce, in education, in the job market, and with business and social networking. The list of possibilities is truly endless. For yet another example, the world of money has been given a Red-Bull jolt by a fast-growing phenomenon known as “crowdfunding.”Previously, if you had a grand scheme for a new product or service and you needed seed money to get your project off the ground, you had to save it yourself, borrow from friends and relatives, or go with begging bowl to your local bank, which was unlikely to see you as the next Steve Jobs. If it was a big enough idea, you might even attract the attention of a venture capital (VC) company, but there you had to be prepared to offer many pounds of flesh in return. And still, those ideas that didn’t meet with bank criteria (there’s no collateral for a software startup) yet weren’t large enough for the VC crowd often fell into a no man’s land, scraping out some funding from unorganized, so-called “angel” investors, or never getting funded at all.More recently, we’ve seen the rise of for-profit Internet alternatives to traditional lending, such as Prosper, Zopa, and the market leader, LendingClub. These P2P companies specialize in small loans – LendingClub’s limit is $35,000. They don’t originate loans – they facilitate them, cutting out the banks and creating a situation that allows individuals with spare cash directly to invest in other people’s dreams, while the dreamers can borrow based on the public responses to their particular (hopefully compelling) stories. For each loan, there is a multitude of lenders, not just one.It’s a win-win proposition. Borrowers receive below-market rates with less hassle than is usually encountered at a traditional financial institution. Investors get an excellent rate of return, and can attenuate risk by building a portfolio spread across multiple loans. And LendingClub prospers by taking a cut. The site claims a very low default rate of less than 3% since its inception in 2007, and it has been a monster success. To date, LendingClub has negotiated nearly a billion dollars in loans, a meteoric ascent from about $175 million just two years ago.Other, more philanthropically oriented organizations either are or function a little more like nonprofits. They solicit donations in order to make very small micro-loans to budding entrepreneurs, primarily in the developing world. Donors either simply get their money back, or the principal plus a small amount of interest. Those that work this way include Kiva, Zidisha, Fundable, PayPal’s MicroPlace, GlobalGiving, FirstGiving, CreateaFund, Calvert Foundation’s Community Impact Investing, and the Grameen Foundation, which received tremendous worldwide publicity when its partner organization Grameen Bank shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Muhammad Yunus in 2006.At the other extreme – if you’re an upscale investor looking outside of the traditional markets for greater risk/reward potential – there are alternatives for you as well, in the form of secondary markets. Sites such as SharesPost and SecondMarket provide access to participation in private placements and the purchase of already existing, pre-IPO shares in privately held companies. These opportunities are generally only open to accredited investors, i.e., those who can verify that they are high-net-worth individuals and attest that they’re comfortable with assuming a high degree of risk.No quite so well-heeled? You can still play the game. MicroVentures was the first Internet broker/dealer to help startups in the US raise capital in exchange for equity. Companies can apply for up to $500,000, and individuals can buy in with an investment as low as $1,000. There’s also MediaShares, which offers companies the opportunity to crowdfund IPOs, and investors the chance to buy as little as a single share of stock. The stock can be sold online, with or without an underwriter. A new US law (H.R.1070) has been passed by Congress that will allow for advertising the sale of stock to the general public and selling to non-accredited investors; this is expected to greatly expand these types of online offerings. Crowdcube, Grow VC, and Symbid also finance business startups. SeedUps specializes in tech.Clearly there are a lot of new and imaginative ways of moving money around that vie for our attention. Many of them would be considered crowdfunding (derived from the general term “crowdsourcing,” which has traditionally referred to works like Wikipedia driven by large numbers of amateur contributors), since the definition of this term still tends to be on the loose side. It can be applied very widely, as Wikipedia does, calling it any “collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”Crowdfunding, if thought of merely as the pooling of resources for a common cause, is as old as human groupings. Neighbors pitching in to help someone who’s had a house fire, supporting the local rescue squad, sending truckloads of canned goods to disaster areas – all of these cooperative efforts represent crowdfunding of a sort.But that isn’t the way it’s thought of nowadays. In fact, the very term “crowdfunding” is just six years old, with Word Spy attributing its first official appearance in print to blogger Michael Sullivan on his fundavlog of August 12, 2006. And the first book on the subject – Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom’s The Crowdfunding Revolution – wasn’t published until October, 2010.In contemporary usage, “crowdfunding” is generally defined as an ongoing money-raising effort organized through the Internet. As such, it is intimately related to and initiated by online communities and social networks. However, while a given crowd might pre-exist as a community, it can also arise completely spontaneously, from disparate groups around the world which happen to share an interest in funding a person, project, or whatever. And it can be brought together by a website whose purpose is just that. These are the characteristics that distinguish crowdfunding from traditional co-ops.Funding the ArtsEarly crowdfunding efforts often involved musical groups that needed cash to advance their careers. A British rock group, Marillion, wanted to tour the US in 1997, but the band lamented on a newsgroup that they couldn’t hack it financially themselves, and their record company wasn’t prepared to pony up the support money.Marillion’s fans then took it upon themselves to raise the necessary bucks. Word went out via the Net, and the money poured in. With just a live CD promised in return, the band raised $60,000 from all over the world. Later, Marillion went on to tap its Internet fan base to fund the production and distribution of subsequent albums, cutting out the record company entirely.ArtistShare, founded in 2000, formalized the concept, becoming the first fully crowdfunded website for music. In 2005, American composer Maria Schneider’s Concert in the Garden became the first album in history to win a Grammy Award without being available in retail stores. The album, funded through ArtistShare, received four nominations that year and copped the Grammy for “best large jazz ensemble album.” Since then, ArtistShare projects have received several other nominations and taken home four additional Grammies.Other music-centric crowdfunding sites followed ArtistShare’s lead, including SellaBand (2006) and PledgeMusic (2009).Music and the arts have always been logical targets for crowdfunding and, with barriers to entry in the movie business historically so high, film was a natural. Movie crowdfunding was initiated by French entrepreneurs and producers Benjamin Pommeraud and Guillaume Colboc in August 2004, when they launched a public Internet donation campaign to fund their film, Demain la Veille (Waiting for Yesterday). Within three weeks, they managed to raise $50,000, allowing them to make the picture.Spanner Films has been a centrally organized pioneer in this area, and has even published a guide titled How to Crowdfund Your Film, just in case you have any great cinematic ideas. Spanner crowdfunded a film called The Age of Stupid, set in 2055 and starring Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite. Further taking advantage of the Internet, the company in September 2009 pulled off a gala global premiere, satellite-linking to more than 700 cinemas and other venues in 63 countries, with a total audience of more than a million people.Many, many other sites – including RocketHub, Sponsume, My Show Must Go On, AKA Starter, inkubato, and A Swarm of Angels – have set up shop to service the creative arts.One of them, Indiegogo, originally focused on fundraising for independent film, and was launched at Sundance in 2008. But the site soon branched out into all sorts of creative projects, whose breadth is confirmed by a quick look at the projects currently listed: game development; a graphic novel; a documentary film; a gender-transition calendar; a Canadian comic-book anthology; an asthma education app; traveling dramatic performances; and some kind of knitting endeavor (which you can back if you read German), among others.As an example of how these things work, here’s Indiegogo’s model: Entrepreneurs create a page for their funding campaign, set up an account with PayPal, make a list of “perks” for different levels of donation, set a fundraising goal in dollars (or euros, pounds, etc.), then create a social-media-based publicity effort. They publicize the projects themselves, through Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Postings are free, and users have 100% ownership of their campaigns.In the end, Indiegogo collects 4% if you reach your goal, but allows you to keep money raised even if you don’t, minus 9% (to encourage people to set “reasonable” goals). If you fail to reach your goal, you may also elect to return all money to contributors, and you will owe nothing.Kick It into GearThen there is the current king of the hill, Kickstarter. Launched in April of 2009, the site has been a massive success. At the moment, Kickstarter says that over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, successfully funding more than 31,000 creative projects “in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.”The bulk of Kickstarter-funded projects – 68% – were in the $1,000-10,000 range. But 300 raised between $100,000 and $1 million, and 13 raised in excess of $1 million. Of those that are posted, about 45% fully meet their goals, and about 12% end without having received any pledges. 82% of those that reach 20% of their goal go on to attain full funding.Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” proposition. Project creators make their pitch, set a funding goal, and a deadline by which the full amount must be raised. If they succeed, donors’ credit cards are charged at that time; if they don’t make it, no one is charged anything. Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of successful fundraisers, and payment processing fees can claim another 3-5%. Outside of that, creators keep 100% of the money and retain all rights to their projects.Backers receive no equity or financial payback, but are promised “rewards,” depending on one’s pledge level. Mostly, people participate in good faith, contributing to something they believe in. Kickstarter’s “Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.” But there are no legal guarantees.If a Kickstarter project really tickles people’s fancies, the results can be stunning. For instance, a modest project currently listed on its start page began with a goal of $5,000 and, with the deadline still two weeks away, has pulled in almost $110,000.Where To from Here?So, is crowdfunding the future capital source for every new venture under the sun? Well, probably not… although we can’t say for sure, because it does sometimes seem that way. In no particular order, some current and projected applications include:Journalism – With Spot.us and Global for me, the public provides suggestions and tips for stories. When a journalist accepts a suggestion, he creates a pitch, which is then funded by those who are interested. Whether this will gain any traction with readers accustomed to free Internet news content remains to be seen.Politics – Democratic candidates can benefit from ActBlue, a crowdsourced fundraising site that allows anyone to be part of a PAC. Since 2004, ActBlue has raised over $300 million. Across the aisle, Ron Paul ran his campaign for the presidential nomination largely through crowdfunding.Public projects – Want those bike lanes but your town is out of money? You can turn to CivicSponsor.Fashion – Milk and Honey Shoes allows customers to design their own shoes. Several other sites that will let consumers participate in designing new fashions are currently under development.Personal wants and needs – GoFundMe specializes in fundraising for individuals, for everything from weddings to funerals, and medical expenses to high-school trips. Greedy or Needy aims to fund make-a-wishes without the necessity of going through a big foundation. Kapipal teams up with PayPal to finance just about anything.Science – Still in its infancy, science crowdfunding has many researchers excited about the possibilities. RocketHub’s #SciFund Challenge was the first crowdfunding initiative to support science projects, while Petridish invites donors to “fund science & explore the world with renowned researchers.”Biotech – On October 1, biopharmaceutical antibacterial drug-discovery company Antabio, and WiSEED, the French crowdfunding platform dedicated to technologic startups, announce the successful completion of their seed round of financing. Initially funded by more than 200 small investors, Antabio was able to finance a key step in the validation of its drug-candidate molecules, bringing it to the attention of some major players in the drug-discovery arena.Cars – According to Gizmag, Local Motors “is a small Phoenix, Arizona-based automotive firm that uses crowd sourcing for brainstorming, designing, refining and developing vehicle ideas. They work with an Internet community of more than 20,000 designers, engineers, auto enthusiasts and other passionate minds toward developing unique, customer-centric offerings.” They’re currently working with BMW to crowdsource the Beamers of the future.DIY – Launcht claims it “empowers universities, nonprofits, startup crowdfunding portals and others” to design and implement “their own custom white label crowdfunding & voting platforms.”Brewskies – BeerBankroll is your destination if you want to help fund a small brewery.And so on.It’s difficult to overstate how fast and furious crowdfunding has grown (but it pales in comparison to the growth potential of a new technology in replication).  So red-hot is the sector that a whole secondary support network has popped up out of nowhere, largely as a result of the 2012 passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which effectively lifted a previous ban against public solicitation for private companies raising funds. Among the nascent bureaucracies there is now a National Crowdfunding Association (NLCFA), National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, World Crowdfund Federation, Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, and Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), all of which sprang into existence subsequent to the passage of JOBS. The CfPA offers a course in Crowdfunding 101 and sponsors a Crowdfunding Bootcamp to teach entrepreneurs how to master the process.While crowdfunding does not yet have the Web presence of some other services, it’s headed up with a bullet. Alexa, a leading Web information company, ranks some 30 million websites worldwide, according to the amount of traffic users of its toolbar generate. Its statistics are considered one of the most accurate yardsticks by which site popularity can be measured.As of August 2012, crowdfunders were nowhere near challenging the top 10 megasites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter, and Amazon. But Kickstarter was in 748th place, followed by Indiegogo (#1,798). Rounding out the ten most-visited crowdfunders were GoFundMe (10,892), ChipIn (28,394), RocketHub (47,424), GiveForward (52,383), Fundable (60,149), Crowdtilt (133,246), crowdfunder (105,447), and appbackr (125,977).Pros and Cons… and ConsThe pros of crowdfunding – the Internet’s P2P ability to unite worthy projects with seed capital, in the absence of conventional funding sources, and bring dreams to life – are obvious. But what of the cons?Well, there’s fraud, for one. Though crowdfunding sites claim to do detailed background checking before clearing a project to be posted, in reality this is fertile new ground for scam artists. In fact, in August the Massachusetts Securities Division charged a Lowell man in a crowdfunding scam, alleging that he had bilked 20 investors – who thought they were putting money into a gaming site – out of more than $150,000.Regulation of securities issuance is another sticky topic. Questions about crowdfunding campaigns involving unaccredited investors and private companies are being closely examined in Washington. Complicating the matter is that due diligence can be very hard if not impossible for a prospective investor to do prior to offering startup money for a new company, and that the stock those companies are offering is often not intended to be traded on any recognized exchange. Private offerings for oil and gas drilling, which are not SEC-registered, are another area of concern.Though the SEC has yet to set any hard-and-fast rules in place regarding equities, it is widely expected to stick some fingers into this rapidly baking pie as soon as the next few months.Further, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) publishes an annual list of emerging threats to investors. This year, NASAA included crowdfunding on its list of worries, warning that fraudsters could use it in new scams involving such unexplored territory as precious metals, real estate, and promissory notes.Although not overtly fraudulent, there are also going to be ideas (including possibly some great ones) for which the funding goal is unrealistic. A September Reuters article discussed a Kickstarter project called Lifx, which intends to develop a dimmable, WiFi-enabled, multicolor, energy efficient, 25-year LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android… and to start shipping finished product by next March. Talk about ambitious. So far, the bulb is a monster Kickstarter hit, and the project is oversubscribed. Backers have thought so highly of it that they’ve ponied up more than $1.3 million, in return for which they’ll get… well, some bulbs. Once they’re in production.Unfortunately, as the Reuters piece pointed out, “Coming up with a truly worthy LED bulb is enormously complex, requiring expertise in physics, chemistry, optics, design, and manufacturing.” One of the early entrants into the space, the Switch bulb, has received an eight-figure investment from one VC company alone; it was promised in October of 2011 and still hasn’t arrived. Phillips, which won a $10-million government prize by marketing the first LED bulb, spent much more than that in development. So maybe Lifx can deliver the goods for $1.3M, and good for them if they can. But investors should probably be at least a little skeptical that they’ll ever be dimming the room lighting with their phones.If, instead of bulbs or other manufactured goods that may not show up, you’re looking for a return on capital – i.e., investing in a startup that’s offering stock – you are also likely to be disappointed, since more than half of all new small businesses fail within five years. Should you wish to make such an investment, it would seem sensible to find one in your immediate area, so you can check it out with your own boots on the ground.Then there is intellectual-property theft. Most basement innovators probably haven’t patented their ideas before presenting them to the waiting world, which means there’s nothing to prevent someone with deeper pockets from stealing the idea, producing the product, and getting it to market first.The reverse is also possible. Someone may, knowingly or unknowingly, post a project that infringes on someone else’s patent or intellectual-property rights. According to a recent story in Wired, this has happened on Kickstarter at least five times since April.On balance, though, we’re optimistic. All of these potential drawbacks will eventually work themselves out in the marketplace, we’re sure, provided that forthcoming government regulations don’t make it too difficult for these sites to thrive.Investment ImplicationsCrowdfunders may facilitate transfers of newly minted stock to investors, but they don’t sell stock in themselves, so there are no opportunities here, at least for the time being.However, there are some income-producing sites, like Lending Club, that have been very successful at returning a decent yield. Some Casey Research employees are invested in them, and they may interest readers who are willing to do their homework. By all means, check them out for purposes of portfolio diversification if you’d like to – or crowdfund your own pet project.As promising as crowdfunding is for investors, its profit potential pales in comparison to a new technology that could change everything from people’s shopping habits to the way diseases are treated.  When you hear about it, it may well seem like science fiction, but it’s already working on a number of fronts. You can learn more about it here.last_img read more

In 2014 Nadia Murad a member of the Yazidi minor

first_imgIn 2014, Nadia Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, was taken captive by ISIS members and sexually enslaved for three months before escaping. In 2016, at the age of 23, she was named the U.N.’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Today, she became the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who treats victims of rape.The pair were named for their work to highlight and eliminate the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Murad was honored for her refusal “to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected,” the committee said. At age 25, she is the second-youngest peace prize recipient; Malala Yousafzai was the youngest at age 17.NPR profiled Murad in August. This story has been updated.In August 2014, Nadia Murad was one of thousands of Yazidis who were captured by ISIS and forced into sexual slavery. Three months later, she escaped through a door that one of her captors left unlocked.Murad has shared her painful story with international media outlets over and over to show the world what happened to Yazidis. She has become a voice for captive women and girls in the process.She urges women who have faced sexual violence to reclaim their lives. “The hope of ISIS was to break the Yazidi community,” she says. “But for survivors especially, going back to their lives and getting married and making a life and working, it’s basically making sure ISIS did not succeed.”When she was named the U.N.’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised her courage.”Nadia survived horrific crimes. I cried when I heard her story. But I didn’t only cry out of sadness,” he said. “I was also moved to tears because Nadia has so much strength, courage and dignity. She rightly calls for a world where all children live in peace.”Yazidi women and girls who have escaped ISIS or are rescued face an array of problems, Pari Ibrahim, founder and executive director of the Free Yezidi Foundation, tells NPR. “A lot of the women have difficulty trying to build a new future. They don’t have a boyfriend or get engaged; they are living in the past. It’s not easy for them to switch back to the here and now and to live daily life.”Murad, who has tried to loosen shackles of the past, announced in August her plans to be married.Her fiancé, Abid Shamdeen, is a former interpreter for the U.S. Army and a human rights activist. “Despite all the difficulties that we were going through, he was always there. He was supportive,” Murad tells NPR.Shamdeen says of Murad: “Obviously she’s a very brave woman. She is courageous, she’s smart, she’s strong. And she’s a fighter.”Murad says their engagement shows Yazidi survivors that “it’s possible to live their lives again and to not believe the propaganda of ISIS — that they will not be accepted back into the community.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Two ministers have refused to apologise after they

first_imgTwo ministers have refused to apologise after they both misled MPs about the impact of the government’s new disability benefit on disabled people.In the space of just 20 minutes, work and pensions secretary Damian Green and minister for disabled people Penny Mordaunt both misled the House of Commons about how personal independence payment (PIP) was affecting disabled people.The first House of Commons work and pensions questions after the break for party conferences saw about 20 questions from MPs across the main parties with concerns about the way PIP was operating, far more than for any other issue.In one answer, Mordaunt (pictured) told MPs that under PIP – compared with disability living allowance (DLA), which it is replacing for working-age claimants – “more people are entitled to use the Motability scheme”.But Motability’s own figures show that of their customers who have been reassessed for PIP so far, 44 per cent have lost their entitlement to the scheme and have had to hand their vehicles back.Responding to another question on PIP, Green told MPs on Monday that “many more people are eligible to receive PIP than were eligible to receive disability living allowance”.But the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) own figures from June showed that only about seven in 10 disabled people who were previously claiming DLA were being found eligible for PIP.The DWP figures showed just 71 per cent of DLA recipients who applied for PIP were successful with their claim in April 2016, once withdrawn claims were excluded.PIP was introduced with the intention – announced by chancellor George Osborne in his 2010 emergency budget – of cutting the number of working-age claimants by 20 per cent.A DWP spokesman appeared to accept that the two statements were not true*, arguing in a statement that the ministers were trying to make completely different points about PIP.He has so far refused to say whether the ministers stand by their statements or whether they will be apologising to MPs, but insisted that “the comments should be considered in the context of the exchanges made during DWP Oral Questions and the wider discussion of which they formed a part”.Among MPs who raised concerns about PIP, the SNP’s Martyn Day told Mordaunt that for the fourth year in a row “the Infrastructure and Projects Authority has said that the roll-out of the personal independence payment project is ‘in doubt with major risks… apparent in a number of key areas’”.Mordaunt claimed that PIP was “a vast improvement on what went before” and was “a more targeted benefit”.Another SNP MP, John Nicolson, then told her of a disabled constituent who had had her Motability car removed after a PIP assessment.He said: “She had to use public transport, which she was unable to do, and she lost her job as a result.“Does the minister really think that government policy is delivering compassionate outcomes in such cases?”After asking for Nicolson to write to her with details of the case, Mordaunt claimed that more people were entitled to use the Motability scheme under PIP, although “clearly we want to make sure that any decision taken on a PIP assessment is the right one”.Tory MP Peter Bone told Mordaunt: “I do not know whether it is just in my area, but at every weekly surgery I will have one person who has been refused PIP who is clearly entitled to it.“I had a lady this week with multiple sclerosis; she is clearly entitled to it and will get it when she goes to the independent tribunal, but why do such people have to wait until then?“Surely this can be corrected at an earlier stage.”Mordaunt said she understood Bone’s frustration, and told him that DWP was “looking very closely at those cases that have gone to appeal and been overturned to see why the right decision was not taken earlier in the process”.She pointed to an earlier answer in which she had said that DWP was working to address such problems, “including giving a bit more flexibility for certain cases at that early stage, with the hope that the evidence we need will then be submitted at that stage”, work that she said was currently being rolled out.She told Bone that there would be more announcements on PIP in the department’s forthcoming green paper on employment support for disabled people, which is due to be published before the end of the year.*In full, the DWP spokesman said: “There are more people using Motability now than when PIP was first introduced, including a number who are newly entitled to Motability under PIP, which is the point the minister was making. “PIP recognises both physical and non-physical conditions, such as mental health problems, much more effectively than DLA did. “For example, under DLA some people with mental health conditions were not eligible for support or were on much lower rates than they are under PIP, which is what the secretary of state was referring to in his remarks.“Overall, 66 per cent of PIP recipients, whose main disabling condition is a mental health condition, are getting the enhanced rate of the daily living component, compared to only 22 per cent of working age mental health recipients receiving the highest rate of the DLA care component.“24 per cent of PIP recipients, whose main disabling condition is a mental health condition, are getting the enhanced rate of the mobility component, compared to only nine per cent of working age mental health recipients receiving the higher rate of the DLA mobility component.”last_img read more

When Your Virtual Assistant Goes MIA

first_img President of Keener Marketing Solutions The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Guest Writer –shares What would you do if someone you worked with just disappeared? Image credit: Georgijevic | Getty Images Next Article Apply Now » Virtual Assistant February 16, 2017 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List When Your Virtual Assistant Goes MIA It was like any other morning. I fired up my computer, checked email and started prioritizing the day ahead. Despite my usual sense of optimism, I couldn’t help but feel a little concerned. It had been several days since I heard from my virtual assistant — we’ll call her Jessica — which was definitely not like her. For more than a year, we had worked closely together on practically everything. Although she was not an employee, I thought of Jessica as an extension of my brand. She helped me keep things organized, took excellent meeting minutes, collaborated on new ideas and even shared a laugh or two. Her prompt service and rapid turnaround was one of her greatest strengths. Now, after a few days of no response, I was beginning to question everything.More time passed. I never heard another word from Jessica. It’s like she just disappeared. I’ll occasionally see her chat status as “online,” but I’ve stopped trying to contact her. In this article, I’ll share four lessons learned from this experience.Related: 7 Ways to Gain Self Discipline and Strive Towards Greatness1. Don’t ignore the warning signs.In hindsight, I should have seen the situation coming. Unfortunately, I’m often too forgiving and willing to overlook minor annoyances. A forgetful moment here, an oversight there — everyone makes mistakes, right? Of course, no one is perfect; however, when examined in their entirety, a pattern of events had developed that I failed to notice.Be on the lookout for these warning signs from your virtual assistant(s):Forgets simple instructions. By definition, a virtual assistant should be someone who is highly organized. His or her job is to make your life easier, not complicate matters. A reliable virtual assistant will be proactive and make detailed notes, rather than constantly asking how things are to be done.Unexpectedly misses meetings. Scheduling conflicts do occur, although very few happen due to real emergencies. When a calendar overlap is identified, your virtual assistant should offer plenty of forewarning and seek a new date that works for everyone. Waiting until the last minute, or after the fact, is simply unacceptable.Makes excuses. There are only so many pet crises that actually impact one’s work schedule. It’s OK to be compassionate with your virtual assistant, but, on the other hand, it’s also possible that you’re on the receiving end of an excuse.2. Be strategic when giving system access.I was either too trusting or too lazy when I hired Jessica. Within a week of starting her contract, I had made her an administrator on several of my company’s most important systems, including my project management software. I later found out that she was also an “owner” of several important Google Docs folders, which was especially difficult to unwind upon her mysterious departure.Before hiring another virtual assistant, pause to consider your approach to freelancer onboarding and offboarding. If you needed to, could you flip a switch and instantly restrict access to outgoing contractors? Of your existing assistants, which of them have more access than is actually needed? Spend time reviewing each user’s permission levels and adjust accordingly.To further limit your risk, it can also be wise to take a staggered approach to onboarding. Rather than giving access to everything on day one, share only those systems necessary to get work done. As you build trust with the contractor, you can then expand his or her access to include additional systems or administrative privileges.Related: When to Hire Virtual Assistants and Outsource Help3. Formally review your virtual assistants.Virtual assistants are usually freelancers who serve multiple clients. Although they’re not your employees, it’s still a good idea to provide regular feedback by means of a formal review process. Doing so provides an important forum to express concerns or warning signs you’ve observed and to drill down into the root causes.To structure your review process, it can be helpful to do the following:Create an assessment form for your virtual staff.Schedule an hour-long, review session twice a year for each virtual assistant.As the annual review approaches, s invite the virtual assistant to submit the form as a self-assessment.Also submit the assessment from your perspective.At the review meeting, compare notes and share candid feedback.Save the assessment data and meeting notes in a drive for safekeeping.The review process is your opportunity to objectively examine the situation. If you realize that a virtual assistant is actually making your life more complicated, then it’s probably time to move in a different direction.Related: How Inefficient Processes Are Hurting Your Company4. When you start to beg, something is wrong.The best virtual assistants are motivated by accomplishment and your total satisfaction. Therefore, when you find yourself begging for simple updates, you know something is seriously wrong.For example, I probably said things like this to Jessica before she vanished:”Did you ever enter that one task I sent you last week?””Are you going to send the meeting invite we discussed? I never saw it come through.””Can you post the link to the meeting minutes? I needed that yesterday.”Remember, your virtual assistant should keep you organized — not the other way around. Stop begging for things you could do yourself in a matter of minutes. 5 min read Matt Keener Add to Queuelast_img read more

Start Saving Michael Phelps The IRS Is Taxing Your Olympic Medals

first_imgRio Olympics 2016 Start Saving, Michael Phelps. The IRS Is Taxing Your Olympic Medals. August 15, 2016 Image credit: Michael Regan | Getty Images Entrepreneur Staff Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business 1 min readcenter_img Next Article Entrepreneur Staff Hey aspiring Olympians, if you dream of taking home the gold, start training … and get a good accountant.As reported by Americans for Tax Reform, the United States Olympic Committee awards monetary prizes to those athletes who medal: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.Related: Serena Williams and the 9 Most Successful Entrepreneur AthletesSo with five golds and one silver around his neck, doggy paddle specialist Michael Phelps is set to swim home with $140,000 in his pockets. (Speedos have pockets, right?) But don’t go blowing all of that in the arm floaties section of Wal-Mart, Michael. Your pals at the IRS are going to want to take a bite of your historic medal count.Americans for Tax Reform unhappily notes that using a tax rate of 39.6 percent, “victory tax” would be $9,900 for gold, $5,940 for silver and $3,960 for bronze.Those numbers could be smaller for athletes in lower tax brackets, but given Phelps’ net worth of $55 million, it looks like the human fish will be on the hook for the full $55,440 tax bill.  Register Now » Add to Queue –shareslast_img read more

New cause of serious aortic disease discovered

first_imgReviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 4 2019Researchers have discovered that a family of lipids (fats) contribute to the development of a serious aortic disease, by driving clotting in the blood vessel wall.The findings could lead to the development of new treatments for this potentially life threatening condition.The team, led by researchers at Cardiff University, in collaboration with colleagues at Oxford and Erlangen, discovered that the lipids, called eoxPL, promote the development of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) – a disease of the aorta where inflammation causes damage and can ultimately lead to rupture.When AAA ruptures, uncontrolled internal bleeding can lead to death within minutes; only about 2 in 10 people survive. Many aneurysms are not detected until they rupture, and for those that are, treatments to stop them progressing are limited. Men aged 65 and over are most at risk of developing AAAs.Related StoriesScientists turn type A blood into universal type O, potentially doubling blood transfusion stocksSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchProfessor Valerie O’Donnell, Co-Director of Systems Immunity Research Institute at Cardiff University, who led the research, said: “After discovering new lipids that promote blood clotting we wondered if they also played a part in AAA, as we know the condition is linked to blood clotting.”Our research found that these lipids in circulating blood cells did promote AAA formation in the vessel wall, because they directly regulate blood clotting.”Unexpectedly, when administered into the blood system, the same lipids were also found to have preventative properties because rather than being made by circulating blood cells in the vessel wall they instead mop up clotting factors, causing them to be removed from circulation and preventing disease.”Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, added: “An AAA is not usually found before a life-threatening rupture occurs, and there is no routine treatment to prevent them. However, screening is offered to men from 65 years of age, which involves a simple 10-15 minute ultrasound scan.”This research gives us a new understanding of the biological links between blood clotting and the development of an AAA. The findings also suggest that to stop blood clotting from happening, whether directly or by blocking the formation of these lipids, could be an effective way to reduce the risk of rupture in people where screening reveals an AAA.”The study ‘Phospholipid membranes drive abdominal aortic aneurysm development through stimulating coagulation factor activity’ is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and a review article on the new lipids was also published this month in Science Signaling. Source:https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/view/1472495-researchers-uncover-new-cause-of-abdominal-aortic-aneurysmlast_img read more

An accurate estimation of the overall cost of bacterial resistance in French

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 19 2019A team of researchers from Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University (UVSQ), Inserm and Pasteur Institute (Unité Mixte de Recherche 1181 Biostatistique, biomathématique, pharmacoépidémiologie et maladies infectieuses – B2PHI) has been able to provide for the first time an accurate estimate of both the incidence (annual number of new cases) and added direct cost of infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in patients hospitalised in French hospitals during 2015 and 2016.The results of these studies, conducted by Mehdi Touat and by Marion Opatowski under the direction of Laurence Watier, in collaboration with Prof. Christian Brun-Buisson within the research group conducted by Prof. Didier Guillemot, appeared respectively on 3/12/2018 in Applied Health Economics and Health Policy and on 12/3/2019 in Epidemiology & Infection.Related StoriesGrowth problems in preterm infants associated with altered gut bacteriaStudy: Surveillance for antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to be core focus for healthcare facilitiesIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyIn 2016, close to 140 000 new cases of infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria were identified, accounting for 12% of all bacterial infections needing hospitalisation. Infections of the urinary tract, of the respiratory tract and intra-abdominal infections represented about two-thirds of such cases. Most antibiotic-resistant infections were caused by third-generation cephalosporin-resistant E.coli, meticillin-resistant S.aureus (MRSA) and P.areuginosa.Compared to infections caused by antibiotic-susceptible bacteria, infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria were associated with a 20% higher in-hospital death rate.The researchers estimated that, from the payer’s perspective, the mean added cost of hospital stay associated with infection due to resistant bacteria amounted to € 1100, leading to an overall population-based estimate of up to € 290 million in French hospitals.Based on diagnosis coding information routinely collected during each and every hospital stay in France, and using data collected on over 10 millions annual hospital stays, these studies are based on data of outstanding comprehensiveness (French Health Data System). Initiated 3 years ago, these studies were made possible through grants from the French Ministry of Health and the social security system (Assurance Maladie).The algorithms created for these studies will be made publicly available. This will now make it possible to quickly carry out the analyses for the following years and the years to come.Source: https://www.pasteur.fr/en/home/press-area/press-documents/overall-annual-cost-infections-due-bacterial-resistance-french-hospitals-now-estimated-290-millionlast_img read more

Amid blackout scare stories remember that a grid without power cuts is

first_imgAs part of this exercise, AEMO forecasts the expected unserved energy in each region over the coming decade. Importantly, the base forecast only assumes “existing and committed projects.” Committed projects are essentially new generation assets that are fully financed. It also doesn’t include the temporary diesel generators installed in SA last summer, or the efforts to procure emergency reserves through the “Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader”. These measures further reduce the likelihood of involuntary load shedding. Simply put, the statement forecasts the expected unserved energy over the next decade, if there is no further investment and the market operator fails to procure emergency reserves. Granted, this year’s report does shows an increased risk of unserved energy, compared with last year. In Victoria, this is primarily due to an increase in the forced outage rate assumptions for ageing brown coal plants.But the report also notes that AEMO expects the reliability standard to be maintained in NSW, Victoria and SA every year for the next decade, in the neutral scenario of its “Integrated System Plan” (ISP).The level of unserved energy in Victoria is forecast to fall to within the reliability standard. AEMO says this is due to the substantial volume of additional new intermittent generation developed in Victoria to meet the state’s renewable energy target, and additional interconnection called for within the ISP scenarios.What about blackouts?The media and politicians have seized on the “one-in-three chance of a blackout.” And it’s true: AEMO did indeed report a one-in-three chance of unserved energy in Victoria this summer. Citation: Amid blackout scare stories, remember that a grid without power cuts is impossible… and expensive (2018, August 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-blackout-stories-grid-power-impossible.html Forecast USE outcomes – ISP Neutral development plans. AEMO 2018, Electricity Statement of Opportunities Forecast USE outcomes – neutral demand, only existing and committed projects. AEMO 2018, Electricity Statement of Opportunities Sources of supply interruptions in the NEM: 2007-08 to 2015-16. AEMC 2017, Reliability Frameworks Review, Interim Report (page 54) Last Friday the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released its annual Electricity Statement of Opportunities. This was widely (and inaccurately) reported as predicting widespread blackouts. Explore further Unserved energy in the NEM: 2007-08 to 2016-17. AEMC 2018, 2017 Annual Market Performance Review (xvii) 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.center_img Let’s have a look at what the reliability requirements actually are, and what AEMO’s Electricity Statement of Opportunities does and doesn’t say about the situation.Leaving aside the majority of blackouts due to faults or incidents, there are also some relatively rare times when there is simply not enough generation or transmission capacity to meet demand. This leads to “involuntary load shedding,” which is where certain customers’ energy demands go unmet – which they would experience as a blackout. This unmet energy demand is referred to as “unserved energy.”In the National Electricity Market, we have a reliability standard which specifies that expected unserved energy should not exceed 0.002% of total energy consumption in any region in any financial year. In other words, the system is expected to deliver at least 99.998% of the energy demanded by consumers. Historically, our grid has generally passed this standard with flying colours. Anyone who’s ever suffered the frustration of a power cut might ask why the reliability standard isn’t 100.000%. But building an infallible system – to the extent that it is even possible – would be hugely expensive. To do it, we would need enough capacity to supply every conceivable power demand scenario, no matter how outlandish. What does AEMO’s statement say?The annual Electricity Statement of Opportunities is intended to inform the market about when and where new generation is expected to be needed. This allows project developers to sharpen their pencils, develop and commit to new power projects. As the title of the report suggestions, it reveals opportunities for new investment. Provided by The Conversation Musk’s record-breaking battery officially launches in Australia But this figure is misleading when taken out of context. While there is a fair chance that some energy demand will go unserved, AEMO’s report also predicts that it will be below 0.002%, thus meeting the reliability standard.There is actually always a chance of some unserved energy. As discussed above, the aim isn’t to have no power cuts at all, but to keep them to an economically acceptable level. The fevered commentary misses this crucial nuance. But if it sells a few more newspapers, what’s the harm, right?Well, here’s the harm. Beating up the likelihood and significance of blackouts has real cost implications, as we have seen over the past decade through the gold-plating of “poles and wires.” Last month the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released a report that specifically said “large cost increases in NSW and Queensland were due to the imposition of high network reliability standards on distributors in those states.” These high reliability standards were imposed after a series of minor blackouts in 2004-05.The Productivity Commission also addressed this issue in its 2013 review of network regulation, which blamed rising power bills on “political responses to isolated major blackouts, rather than systemic problems.” At a time when electricity prices are front-page news, unfounded hysteria about the risk of blackouts risks subjecting customers to yet more gold-plating. The community deserves to know the actual costs of improving our already highly reliable electricity system, rather than being fed fearful stories about the lights going out. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. The Sydney Morning Herald reported “a one in three chance of power failure in Victoria unless immediate action is taken,” a prospect described by Victoria’s opposition energy spokesman David Southwick as “completely unacceptable”. In Adelaide, The Advertiser reported that South Australia faces a one-in-ten chance of forced blackouts this summer.Unfortunately, the commentary around AEMO’s annual statement has become increasingly misleading and irresponsible over time. The media reporting and public comments are tacitly or even explicitly advocating for the generation system to be “gold-plated,” which would come at great expense to consumers. Reliability and “unserved energy”Reliability, as defined in the National Electricity Market, is a measure of the ability of the grid and its associated electricity generation infrastructure to meet consumers’ demand.But the vast majority of power outages experienced by customers do not fall under this definition. Some 97% of blackouts are caused by faults or other incidents on the network, rather than a failure to install enough capacity to meet reliability standards. The blackouts that hit customers in New South Wales and Victoria over the weekend were perhaps inevitably described in parts of the media as a “dramatic reminder” to new Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the importance of addressing energy policy. But of course it is hard to legislate against lightning, which in this case triggered two interstate interconnector cables to trip and cause blackouts.last_img read more

Apple on the environment Doing right for the planet is good for

first_img Citation: Apple on the environment: Doing right for the planet is good for business (2019, April 12) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-apple-environment-planet-good-business.html Apple is all in on addressing climate change. ©2019 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Ahead of Earth Day, Apple announced progress on some of its latest green initiatives, notably that it has nearly doubled the number of suppliers that have committed to run their Apple production on 100% clean energy, bringing the total number of those suppliers to 44.This means Apple will exceed its goal of bringing 4 gigawatts of renewable energy into its supply chain by 2020, with more than an additional gigawatt on the grid projected within that timeframe.For context, 5 gigawatts of clean energy powers about 1.5 million homes in the U.S., says Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, who had been administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama.A year ago, Apple announced that all of its global facilities are powered by 100% renewable energy. For the third year in a row, it has reduced its carbon footprint.Apple also said it has achieved major progress to address environmental solutions by allocating all $2.5 billion in its previously announced green bonds. Through such allocations, Apple has contributed to 40 environment initiatives around the world, including includes projects it has created to cover its entire electricity load. As of this past January, around 66 percent of the renewable energy Apple uses comes from these endeavors.The green bonds support various projects like solar rooftops in Japan, an aquifer to conserve water in Oregon and the creation of a custom alloy made of 100 percent recycled aluminum ore that is now found in Apple’s latest MacBook Air and Mac mini computers.Shortly after the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord in 2017, “we wanted the world to know that we, Apple, are still in and still committed to tackling the challenge of climate change,” Jackson says. She added that there is increased urgency by people, many who are younger, to tackle climate issues.”We need to demonstrate that this is doable, possible and done and not keep talking about why it can’t happen. And I think we’re going to see more and more of that as climate change starts to take a toll on communities around the world.”Activism is already on display elsewhere.On Wednesday, for example, more than 4,200 Amazon employees calling themselves Amazon Employees for Climate Justice wrote an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos asking the company to adopt a shareholder resolution and release a company-wide climate plan. Among other principles, the group wants Amazon to completely move away from fossil fuels and to prioritize climate impact when making business decisions.”In our mission to become ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company,’ we believe our climate impact must be a top consideration in everything we do. We have the power to shift entire industries, inspire global action on climate, and lead on the issue of our lifetimes,” the letter read.Amazon has not yet responded to a USA TODAY email request for comment.For her part, Jackson of Apple believes the private sector has a role and that governments need to move faster. She says one of the toughest sectors to move on climate issues is manufacturing.”We think we have a unique opportunity to move the planet forward by using our voice and lending support of strong climate action and working to send a clear message to lawmakers that renewable energy is good for business,” she says. “We find ways for companies to do this where it’s fine for their bottom line. (And) to dispel this notion that somehow doing right by the climate and the planet is somehow bad for business. It’s not.” Apple turns green, claiming ‘100% clean energy’center_img Credit: CC0 Public Domain 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. Explore furtherlast_img read more