Worlds biggest bird might have been as blind as a bat

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) World’s biggest bird might have been as blind as a bat The small optic lobes and the enlarged smell centers resemble the brain anatomy of the kiwi and the endangered kakapo, another nocturnal New Zealand bird. That suggests that, like the kiwi and the kakapo, elephant birds were active only at night, the scientists say. If true, such behavior could help explain how elephant birds were able to survive so long after humans invaded Madagascar. The world’s biggest bird—which went extinct some 300 years ago—weighed half a ton and towered over lesser creatures in its home forests of Madagascar. Now, thanks to new evidence from skull scans, scientists think the 3.5-meter-tall elephant bird may not have been a daytime forager as previously suspected, but was instead a sightless creature of the night.Not much is known about Madagascar’s elephant birds, whose skeletons—poorly preserved in the island’s swamps—are mostly in pieces. Until recently, scientists assumed their closest relative was the giant moa from New Zealand. They also assumed that, like the moa, elephant birds were active during the day. But recent DNA analysis has suggested the elephant bird may have an even closer cousin: the flightless, nocturnal kiwi.To learn more about how elephant birds lived, researchers obtained skulls from two elephant bird species and measured their interiors using a computerized tomography scanner. The scans revealed that the optic lobes—which process what the eye sees—were almost nonexistent, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. That means the massive birds could barely see, the scientists say. The olfactory bulbs, the brain’s smell centers, were much larger than expected in one species and slightly larger than expected in the other—which would make sense because forest-dwelling birds tend to have better senses of smell. 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Life savings put in flats ordered razed these Kochi residents have nowhere

first_imgWritten by Shaju Philip | Kochi | Updated: July 13, 2019 8:11:15 am Taking stock of monsoon rain Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Noor Muhammed, a representative of the residents, said they were meeting Saturday to decide the next step. “Since the apex court has rejected the review petition, we are afraid to speak on the issue,’’ he said.Kerala Local Self Government Minister A C Moitheen said the government wants to protect the families: “The flats will not be demolished in haste because that will also lead to environmental issues. IIT-Madras has been entrusted the task of studying the environmental impact of the demolition. The government will act only after getting that report.Alfa Serene, Holy Faith H2O, Golden Kayaloram and Jain Housing projects were granted building permits in 2005-06 when the Maradu local self-governing body was a panchayat. At that time, the High Court, in another matter, had stated that the coastal zone mapping of Maradu was wrong. Since the order was still standing, the builders went ahead with construction.Subsequently, the vigilance wing of the local self-government department detected anomalies in building permits and wanted the permits cancelled. In 2012, the matter reached the Kerala High Court which observed that permit holders cannot be taken to task for the failure of local authorities in complying with statutory provisions and notifications. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan kerala, supreme court, kerala, kerala apartments, Kochi flats, SC on kerala flats, kerala apartment complexes demolition, kerala coastal regulation zone, indian express 4 apartment complexes are to be razed for CRZ violation.For two decades, engineer Joyson E Pallen toiled in the shipping sector, setting aside money for a home in Kochi. Twelve years ago, he bought an apartment in an all-new complex in Maradu, part of the Kochi urban conglomeration, and moved in with his family. This was where he would spend the rest of his life. Or, so he thought. 13 Comment(s) More Explained Top News Advertising Advertising When the state Coastal Zone Management Authority moved the Supreme Court, the apex court noticed that there was no categorical finding recorded on whether the area in question was in CRZ Category III, Category II or Category I. The builders claimed that the area fell within CRZ Category II whereas the Coastal Zone Management Authority said the area was in CRZ Category III.Subsequently, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee which said that the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) of Kerala currently applicable was the one approved in 1996. Under that CZMP, Maradu had been marked as a panchayat area and, therefore, was in CRZ Category III. Therefore, construction could not be allowed up to 200 metres from high tide line. The four apartment complexes are home to elderly couples, widows, even young professionals who took heavy loans from banks.Ever since the court order, many have not even stepped out of their homes. “All of us are under severe mental agony. You see people breaking down. Many don’t have the courage to address this predicament,” said 38-year-old Biyoj C who has been in one of the apartments since 2014. “We purchased the flats through legal routes and have been paying tax to the local body after occupying the houses. If government officials have furnished wrong reports, we should not be punished,’’ he said.Explained: Coastal Regulation Zone: How rules for building along coast have evolvedAnother resident, who did not want his identity revealed, said he had spent 30 years in Kuwait before purchasing an apartment for Rs 70 lakh. He had also sold his family property in Pathanamthitta district. “I sold my property to marry off two daughters. With the remaining money and the bank loan, I bought this flat. If it is going to be demolished, I don’t know what to do. Even five-star hotels have come up close to water bodies. But action is being taken only against these flats only. The builders have got their money and the government agencies their tax, but we are not allowed to live here. Is this justice?’’ he said. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Two days ago, when the Supreme Court rejected petitions seeking review of its May 8 order to tear down five apartment complexes in Maradu for violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, Joyson’s world started falling apart.Like Joyson, uncertainty has gripped residents of some 350 apartments of Alfa Serene, Holy Faith H2O, Golden Kayaloram and Jain Housing — the fifth developer never built the complex though he had the initial go-ahead — who say they have nowhere to go because most had put their life savings in these homes.“The order was totally unexpected. I don’t know where to go with my wife and two children, both in college. We have no other place to go. If we are thrown out, there is no other option but to… Before buying the flats, we all took legal opinion and examined all documents. Even the bank which financed my flat did not find any fault. I invested Rs 65 lakh. Who gains if these houses are demolished?’’Joyson said. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Best Of Express last_img read more

Google Neutralizes Docs Phishing Scam

first_imgRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard. This week’s Docs attack was an effective approach to luring users before Google clamped down.People got an email from someone they knew inviting them to click on a link to collaborate on a Google Doc.Clicking on the “Open in Docs” link redirected them to a Google OAuth 2.0 page to authorize the Google Docs application, which was a fake.The application stated that Google Docs would like to read, send, delete and manage the recipient’s email and manage their contacts — requests common to several applications that use Google as an authentication mechanism.Once the permission was granted, the attacker gained access to the victim’s address book, which allowed the attack to go viral swiftly. Google is gradually rolling out the new feature to all G Suite users. The OAuth Vulnerability How the Docs Attack Went Down With software vendors increasingly putting their applications in the cloud, how great a risk do OAuth’s vulnerabilities pose for end users?”Most cloud services are pretty secure, and OAuth-based attacks likely will not be successful if services depending on the protocol are otherwise secured,” said Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.OAuth authentication “is bigger than just online apps,” he suggested. “It’s also a basic establishment protocol that could become important in social media efforts to become more akin to common carriage operations for communications.”OAuth “has to be done right, or there’s no future for social media-mediated communication services,” Jude warned. Anti-Phishing Security Checks The attack leveraged OAuth, “a ubiquitous industry standard protocol [that provides] a secure way for Web applications and services to connect without requiring users to share their account credentials with those applications,” said Ayse Firat, director of analytics and customer insights at Cisco Cloudlock.”Because it’s so universally adopted by almost all Web-based applications and platforms — including consumer as well as enterprise applications such as Google Apps, Office 365, Salesforce, LinkedIn and many others — it provides a broad attack surface,” she told TechNewsWorld.OAuth 2.0 is highly sensitive to phishing because every website using it asks end users for the username and password of their master identity. Cisco CLoudlock has identified more than 275,000 OAuth apps connected to core cloud services, such as Office 365, compared with only 5,500 three years ago.OAuth-based attacks “bypass all standard security layers, including next-generation firewalls, secure Web gateways, single sign-ons, multifactor authentication and more,” Firat cautioned. The Ramifications of Using OAuth Organizations need to develop a high-level strategy as well as a specific application use policy to decide how they will whitelist or ban applications, and share this vision with their end users, Firat suggested.Individual users should go into their Google account security settings and revoke permissions to applications they don’t know or trust, she recommended. They also “should never grant permissions to applications that request excessive access.”Efforts have been launched to incorporate stricter security requirements into OAuth, Frost’s Jude said, “but I haven’t heard of any particular availability.” A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users.However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company.Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion.Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said, through both automatic and manual actions. It removed the fake pages and applications, and it pushed updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail and other anti-abuse systems.Users did not need to take any action on their own in response to the attack, Google said, but those who wanted to review third-party apps connected to their account could do so at its Security Checkup site. Coincidentally, Google this week introduced a new anti-phishing security feature to Gmail on Android. The new tool delivers a warning when a user clicks on a suspicious link in an email message, alerting them that the site they’re trying to visit has been identified as a forgery. Users can back away or continue to the site at their own risk. Protecting Against OAuth-Based Attackslast_img read more

Researchers develop model that predicts transmissibility of viral zoonoses

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 20 2018Researchers have developed a model that predicts which of the viruses that can jump from animals to people can also be transmitted from person to person–and are therefore possible sources of human diseases.The study, published recently in PLOS One, identified several viruses that are not yet known to spread among humans but may have that potential, suggesting possible targets for future disease surveillance and research efforts.”When we get new pathogens that we look at as new human diseases, most of the time they come from pathogens that were previously circulating in animals,” said John Drake, Distinguished Research Professor of Ecology and director of the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia. “As ecologists, that makes us think that there must be something about the ways parasites and pathogens interact with their hosts or the environment that confers the propensity to this process.”To understand these interactions, Drake and his team compiled the most comprehensive list to date of viruses known to infect humans and the biological characteristics of those viruses.”We were looking to identify the features of viruses that are associated with transmissibility between humans,” said lead author Joseph Walker, a statistics major working under Drake’s direction through the UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.The team identified several traits that were most common among the viruses on their list that are known to spread among humans. These included the ability to infect nonhuman primates such as monkeys and apes, the lack of an encasing envelope of lipids around the virus, and the presence of the virus in the human liver, central nervous system or respiratory tract. Those traits–characteristics indicative of the virus’s ability to survive in different environments and to evolve–accurately predicted 84 percent of the viruses known to spread from human to human.Related StoriesCommon cold virus strain could be a breakthrough in bladder cancer treatmentComplement system shown to remove dead cells in retinitis pigmentosa, contradicting previous researchVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyThe next step was to analyze viruses not known to spread among humans and rank how likely they were to be transmissable based on their traits. They found 47 viruses that ranked higher than the least-likely virus known to be transmissable. Of these, the most likely to spread among people were Carnivore amdoparvovirus 1, Hendra virus, Cardiovirus A, Rosavirus A, HTLV-3, HTLV-4 and Simian Foamy virus.The researchers warned that although the model predicted human-to-human transmissibility with high accuracy, it did miss some viruses known to spread among people. These tended to belong to five families containing many species. And because the study considered viruses at the species level, it was not able to account for differences in human transmissibility between subtypes of viruses. They recommended that future research focus on understanding transmissibility at this finer scale.The ability to predict which viruses are capable of spreading among humans, and therefore have the potential to cause human epidemics, has practical implications.”Public health workers could use our model as a tool to prioritize disease surveillance and inform their response to emerging pathogens,” said co-author Barbara Han of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. “Our data-driven framework was 84 percent accurate in identifying virus species with potential for human-to-human transmission.” Source: read more

Study finds increase in preconception health coverage after Medicaid expansion

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 27 2018The number of low-income women enrolled in Medicaid before becoming pregnant rose substantially in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility through the Affordable Care Act, according to researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The results are published online in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.”This study suggests that the ACA Medicaid expansion was associated with improved continuity of Medicaid coverage from the preconception to prenatal period,” said Jamie Daw, PhD, assistant professor of Health Policy and Management at the Columbia Mailman School. “Higher rates of health insurance before pregnancy may improve access to preconception care, which can help women to appropriately plan their pregnancy and optimize their health before conceiving. Interventions in the preconception period such as disease screening, disease management, and exposure avoidance counseling reduce pregnancy risks and are associated with improved maternal and fetal outcomes.”Related StoriesData collected by ESHRE show rise in use of IVF in infertility treatmentWomen’s pre-pregnancy obesity changes breast milk contents which can affect infant growthCannabis use during pregnancy may cause premature birthThe study focused on women with family incomes 138 percent of the federal poverty level or less who participated in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System from 2009 to 2015. The study sample included 30,495 women from eight states that expanded Medicaid on January 1, 2014, under the Affordable Care Act and 26,561 patients from seven states that did not.The researchers found rates of preconception Medicaid coverage (the month before conception) increased from 31 percent to 36 percent in non-expansion states, and rose from 43 percent pre-policy to 57 percent in expansion states after the policy was implemented. Adjusting for maternal characteristics and unemployment rates, preconception Medicaid coverage rose by an additional 9 percentage-points in expansion states relative to non-expansion states. This represents a 20 percent increase from baseline in expansion states. Before the ACA, an estimated 25 percent of reproductive-aged women in the U.S. reported no insurance in the past year and the income eligibility for Medicaid for non-pregnant women varied widely by state.About half of the increase in Medicaid coverage was driven by a decrease in the number of women with private insurance. The other half of the increase in Medicaid was among uninsured women. Prior research by Daw and colleagues showed that before the ACA more than half of women with pregnancy-related Medicaid were uninsured prior to pregnancy.”The U.S. has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate among high-income countries,” said Daw. “More research is needed to explore the extent to which the increases in preconception Medicaid found in this study led to improvements in health outcomes for mothers and children.” Source: read more

Activating gene that helps excite neurons reverses depression in male mice

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 18 2019Directly activating a gene important to exciting our excitatory neurons and associated with major depression may help turn around classic symptoms like social isolation and loss of interest, at least for males, scientists report.They looked in the prefrontal cortex, a brain area involved in complex behaviors like planning, personality and social behavior and known to have an important role in the pathogenesis of major depression, and found that making the SIRT1 gene inactive in excitatory neurons there created symptoms of depression in male mice, they report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.When, like in real life, stress not direct gene manipulation caused depression, a drug that activated SIRT1, reversed the symptoms in the males, says molecular behavioral neuroscientist Dr. Xin-Yun Lu.”It has an antidepressant-like effect,” says Lu, the study’s corresponding author, a professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Translational Neuroscience.That means drugs that activate SIRT1 and enable the usual high level of activity of these excitatory neurons might one day be an effective therapy for some with major depression, says Lu. Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting nearly 7 percent of adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.The firing of excitatory neurons is definitely decreased in depression, and neurons are not communicating as they should. “It’s like they are disconnected,” says Lu. Problems like manic behavior and seizures, on the other hand, indicate excessive firing.It’s hard to get excited without energy, and another of SIRT1’s known roles in brain cells is regulating cell powerhouses, called mitochondria. The scientists found that at least part of the way knocking out SIRT1 in males impacted the excitability of these normally excited neurons was by reducing the number of cell powerhouses and the expression of genes involved in powerhouse production.The depressed behaviors they saw as a result are another indicator of SIRT1’s importance in that region to mood regulation and how without it, there is insufficient excitation of neurons. So was the resolution of stress-induced depression in male mice when they activated SIRT1 that had been deactivated by stress, the scientists say.They note surprise at the lack of impact in female mice since the SIRT1 variant was first identified in a large gene study of depressed women. They suspect physical differences in this front region of the brain, like differences in the numbers of neurons and synapses between males and females, could help explain the sex differences they found. Lu is already looking to see if she finds similar sex disparities in the hippocampus, another brain region important in depression as well as other conditions like Alzheimer’s.Related StoriesNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingSocial media use and television viewing linked to rise in adolescent depressive symptomsResearchers capture high-resolution, 3D images of gene-editing enzymesStill, depressed mice and humans act similarly, Lu says, which includes an impaired ability to feel pleasure called anhedonia. So they used the mice’s usual high preference for a sweet, sucrose solution, as one way to gauge their depression.”You give them a choice and they will drink that,” she says. “But if you stress them, they won’t lose their preference necessarily but it will reduce their interest.” Males also forego their normal social nature and instead become loners. They even lose their interest in sex and in sniffing the females’ pheromones.Lu, who is also a pharmacologist, plans to look at existing drugs, including some older drugs never used for depression, to see if any have an impact on SIRT1 like the research drug they used.Depression is generally considered caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Lu says some individuals likely are born with the SIRT1 variant identified in genome-wide association studies, which predisposes them to depression, although environmental factors must also come into play for depression to happen. She notes that the SIRT1 variant is likely rare and only associated with depression rather than considered causative.The prefrontal cortex is known to have a role in emotional responses and involved in controlling neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which are key to mood regulation. The severity of depression correlates with the degree of inactivity of that brain region, Lu and her colleagues write.A 2015 study in the journal Nature reported genome-wide studies of 5,303- Chinese women with major depressive disorder and 5,337 controls identified a variant of the SIRT1 gene as one of two variants associated with the disorder. Those scientists later replicated the finding in males.Lu notes the magic of finding it in the females in the large human study was likely because of the consistent severity of the disease and the fact that all the women were from a similar region.last_img read more

Government warnings about potential drug safety risks vary a lot across countries

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Apr 30 2019Government warnings about potential drug safety risks vary significantly across countries, according to a new international study co-authored by researchers at the University of British Columbia.In a study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed how often drug regulators in four countries–Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia–issued safety advisories about the potential health risks of medications.After analyzing 1,441 advisories over a 10-year period, covering 680 drug safety concerns, the researchers found that regulators in the four countries were only consistent in the decision to warn 10 per cent of the time–suggesting a need for better consistency in communication of important drug safety notices.”Between 2007 and 2016, Health Canada issued safety warnings for only 50 per cent of the drug safety issues identified by regulators in Australia, the United States and United Kingdom,” said the study’s primary investigator Barbara Mintzes, affiliate associate professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and associate professor at the University of Sydney in Australia.”While Australia’s regulator issued the fewest warnings of the four countries, it’s concerning that there is so little consistency between countries regarding how they communicated emerging health risks of medicines,” Mintzes added.Differences in regulatory decisions to warnBefore new medicines hit the market, each country’s regulator approves them for use often based on limited safety evidence collected during clinical development. However, once a drug enters general use, other safety issues can become apparent including rarer or longer-term effects – prompting regulators to issue safety advisories on how to avoid these risks.Related StoriesNutritional supplements offer no protection against cardiovascular diseases, say researchersExperts release scientific statement on predicting survival for cardiac arrest survivorsIT Faces the Digital Pathology Data TsunamiFor example, in January 2013, Health Canada issued a warning that commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs (also known as statins) were associated with a “risk of increased blood sugar levels and a small increased risk of diabetes among patients already at risk for the disease.” Regulatory warnings about this risk appeared almost a year earlier in the U.S. and Australia.”Clearly if a drug has a safety advisory issued in one country, the same drug sold in another country should also come with similar warnings,” said Mintzes. “We really need better understanding of how decisions to issue safety warnings are made, to ensure emerging risks of medicines are effectively communicated to doctors and other prescribers as well as the public.Call for better resourcingStudy co-author Joel Lexchin, professor emeritus at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University (currently a visiting researcher at the University of Sydney), said the research highlights a need for more resources to evaluate and communicate drug safety.Adverse drug reactions are estimated to account for up to two-thirds of drug-related emergency department visits and hospital admissions, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.”Around half the time, this harm is preventable,” said Lexchin. “We would like to see much more attention paid to ensuring that doctors and patients are informed of new evidence of harmful side effects of medicines, and what to do to prevent them.” Source: read more

Disney seeks new frontiers as more people watch video online

Disney is seeking new frontiers. Will Disney’s streaming service roar – or squeak? In this Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Disney is seeking new frontiers. The media company launched its $5-a-month sports streaming service, ESPN Plus, in April 2018, and it signed a deal with Twitter a month later to create Marvel, ABC and ESPN content on that service. Meanwhile, Disney is trying to buy much of 21st Century Fox, including the Fox television network and the X-Men movie franchise. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) Explore further Citation: Disney seeks new frontiers as more people watch video online (2018, May 8) retrieved 18 July 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The media company launched its $5-a-month sports streaming service, ESPN Plus, last month, and it signed a deal with Twitter this month to create Marvel, ABC and ESPN content on that service. Meanwhile, Disney is trying to buy much of 21st Century Fox, including the Fox television network and the X-Men movie franchise.The moves come as Disney seeks ways to extend beyond the traditional cable-bundle format as more people watch TV online. Sports network ESPN was once a jewel in Disney’s crown but subscriptions have been falling as people drop cable services.But the company has found strength elsewhere, notably its movie studio and theme parks.Disney’s franchises such as Marvel’s Avengers and “Star Wars” have been raking in money. “Avengers: Infinity War” has grossed over $1 billion since it opened April 27.In a statement, CEO Bob Iger said Disney was “very well positioned for future growth” because of its ability to take advantage of such franchises across all businesses and “the unique value proposition” it’s creating with direct-to-consumer streaming services.Net income rose 23 percent $2.94 billion, or $1.95 per share, from $2.39 billion, or $1.50 per share a year ago. Excluding one-time items such as a benefit from the U.S. tax overhaul, net income totaled $1.84 per share.The fiscal second-quarter results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.68 per share.Revenue rose 9 percent to $14.5 billion, from $13.3 billion a year ago. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $14.2 billion.To prepare for the future, Disney launched a sports streaming service with video not available on the regular ESPN channels. This includes additional baseball and soccer games, and the entire “30 for 30” documentary series on demand.The Walt Disney Co. is also working on an entertainment streaming service with classic and upcoming movies from the Disney studio, shows from Disney Channel, and the “Star Wars,” Marvel and Pixar movies. That service will launch in late 2019 and will include movies leaving Netflix once its deal with Disney expires.If the $52.4 billion Fox deal goes through, Disney could supplement the entertainment service with Fox properties—such as X-Men movies and National Geographic programming. Disney is still awaiting regulatory approval, and published reports say Comcast is mulling a counter bid.J.P. Morgan analyst Alexia Quadrani expects the service to break even by 2021 with about 13 million subscribers. Until then, Quadrani said, Disney might lose some licensing fees and see spending increase to acquire content.Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne said in a client note that the direct-to-consumer businesses like its streaming services could add $6.5 billion to revenue by 2020. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. read more

First music festival turns to blockchain

first_img Bitcoin and cryptocurrency for n00bs Called the OUR Music Festival, or OMF, the inaugural edition will take place on October 20 in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza with a lineup to include electronic artist Zedd.Organizers said that the festival would be the first to operate on blockchain, the system that moves chunks of data securely through an online ledger. Blockchain has been put to growing uses from medical records to banking and most prominently as the tool behind crytocurrency Bitcoin.For the festival, fans will use a mobile app and see all ticket purchases on an open ledger, which the promoters hope will completely eliminate the resale market that artists and venues have struggled to tame.”The way ticketing works now, it is just sort of accepted by everyone and there are obvious problems from scalping to counterfeiting to fraud to insane fees,” said Justin Blau, a financier turned DJ with the stage-name 3LAU who conceptualized the festival.”The reason why these systems haven’t been changed is that up until now there really hasn’t been a better way,” he said.”You won’t have Craigslist selling paper tickets to Coachella anymore once ticketing is on the blockchain,” he said.Blau, who will also perform at OUR Music Festival, said that blockchain will open up a new field of incentives as fans will earn cryptocurrency for everything from early ticket purchases to encouraging friends to come.Fans can spend the cryptocurrency on perks such as VIP upgrades, food and drink. Blau sees the specialized currency much like airline miles, with frequent customers obtaining elite status.Blau believes that blockchain can ultimately rebalance the relationship between audience and promoters with fans, led by those holding more cryptocurrency, creating their own lineups.”Right now it’s one or two people sitting behind a desk saying this is the artist who’s going to make us the most money in this place. But they don’t even ask the fans. It’s very inefficient,” Blau said.Acknowledging that hucksters have been drawn to blockchain, Blau said that the festival was determined to run smoothly by starting small and gradually fine-tuning. He said tickets for the inaugural OMF would start at around $19, highly economical for a US festival.Blau, who is working with festival promoter Prime Social Group and blockchain entertainment studio SingularDTV, hopes to bring OMF in the next two years to Japan and Barcelona. Citation: First music festival turns to blockchain (2018, June 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from Explore further © 2018 AFP A music festival will for the first time run on blockchain, tapping the fast-growing technology as an innovative way to address longstanding issues such as ticket scalping and fan engagement. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Walmart speeds up delivery in race with Amazon

first_imgRetail colossus Walmart on Tuesday began offering free next-day deliveries of online purchases, aiming to counter rival Amazon in the race to get orders to consumer doorsteps. Explore further Amazon to bring 1-day delivery to Prime members © 2019 AFP Citation: Walmart speeds up delivery in race with Amazon (2019, May 14) retrieved 17 July 2019 from One-day delivery option became available for an array of merchandise for sale at to customers in Phoenix and Las Vegas, and will extend to Southern California in the next few days, according to e-commerce chief Marc Lore.The move ramps up Walmart’s efforts to keep pace in electronic commerce with Amazon, which offers speedy deliveries to its Prime subscription members.Walmart planned to roll the feature out gradually, making it available to about 75 percent of the people in the US this year. Unlike Amazon, Walmart won’t require a membership fee.”Contrary to what you might think, it will cost us less—not more—to deliver orders the next day,” Lore said in an online post.”That’s because eligible items come from a single fulfillment center located closest to the customer.”Such orders are consolidated in boxes and travel short distances by ground, making them less costly than delivering items from multiple locations, according to Lore.Walmart said eligible items will include some 200,000 of the items most frequently purchased, ranging from diapers and laundry detergent to toys and electronics, and will be shipped free on orders of $35 or more.A free two-day shipping benefit offered to Amazon Prime subscribers is evolving into a one-day shipping perk that the company expects to boost shopping and membership, executives at the e-commerce titan said on an earnings call last month.Amazon figured to spend $800 million this quarter on shortening delivery times to a single day for Prime buyers, with shoppers in North America expected to be the first to benefit.Amazon Prime subscriptions cost $119 annually and include benefits such as streaming television and music. Walmart will be offering free one-day deliveries for some merchandise, matching rival Amazon in the race for speedy electronic commerce This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Final draft of NRC to be released tomorrow amid security

first_imgVillagers wait outside the National Register of Citizens (NRC) centre to get their documents verified by government officials, at Mayong Village in Morigaon district, in the northeastern state of Assam, India July 8, 2018. Picture taken July 8, 2018.   –  REUTERS SHARE SHARE EMAIL National Register of Citizens: First draft with 19 million names released July 29, 2018 Assam NRC issue: SC extends deadline to submit final draft till July 30 RELATED Published on COMMENTcenter_img justice and rights SHARE Assam No need to worry if name not in first NRC draft: Sonowal The stage is set for the release of the second and final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) amid tight security tomorrow. The draft will be published at noon at all the NRC Sewa Kendras (NSK) across the state and applicants can check their names in the list which will include the applicant’s name, address and photographs, NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela said. The NRC will include the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971. Meanwhile, security has been beefed up across the state to maintain law and order, with district deputy commissioners and superintendents of police being directed to maintain a strict vigil, a senior police official said. Vulnerable areas have been identified by superintendents of police in their respective districts and the situation is closely monitored to prevent any untoward incident, specially those arising out of rumour-mongering. The Centre has despatched 220 companies of the central armed police forces to gear up security in Assam and the neighbouring states. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a high level meeting recently on the NRC draft release and directed officers to remain alert and to help and explain the process of claims and objections to people whose names would not appear in the draft. He has also directed the officials not to refer any case to the Foreigners Tribunal based on the NRC draft list. Hajela has pointed out that there will be enough scope for claims by people whose names do not appear in the draft and “genuine citizens should not panic if their names fail to figure in the document.” If a person’s name does not appear in the draft then he or she will have to apply in prescribed forms in their respective Sewa Kendras and these forms will be available from August 7 to September 28 and the authorities will inform them about reason for their names being left out. The next step will be to file the claim in another prescribed form which will be available from August 30 to September 28 next and these claims will be finally disposed of after proper hearing. The applicants can check their names in the draft by visiting their respective designated NRC Sewa Kendra (NSK) which will be available on all working days from 10 AM to 4 PM from July 30 to September 28. The applicants can also call 24×7 toll free numbers 15107 from Assam and 18003453762 from outside Assam by referring to their 21-digit Application Receipt Number (ARN). The applicants can also check their names by visiting the NRC website and also through SMS. The NRC is being updated under the Supreme Court’s supervision. The first draft of the ongoing NRC process was released on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, wherein the names of 1.9 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated. COMMENTSlast_img read more

Gujarat pulls out all stops to fight Cyclone Vayu

first_imgSHARE weather COMMENTS cyclones Cyclone Vayu set to intensify, mar rainfall in West, South SHARE SHARE EMAIL weather news RELATED June 11, 2019 Cyclonic storm likely to make landfall in the early hours of Thursday in Saurashtra Published on Personnel from 6th National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) check emergency and rescue material at a camp in Chiloda , some 40 kms from Ahmedabad on Tuesday   –  SAM PANTHAKY Gujarat is bracing up for a cyclonic storm– named Vayu– that is likely to make a landfall in Saurashtra in early hours of Thursday.“As per the IMD predictions, the landfall of the cyclone is likely on Thursday morning between Veraval and Diu in the Saurashtra region. The deployment of the NDRF rescue teams has already begun and we have asked for additional 10 NDRF teams from the Centre. A total of 35 NDRF teams will be made available by Wednesday at districts likely to be affected,” said Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue Department, Gujarat, on Tuesday.High alertThe State has been put on alert after the prediction of heavy rainfall and cyclonic storm. The NDRF teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters and telecom equipment have taken positions.Additionally, two companies from the BSF will be deployed in Kutch, while 11 teams from State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) will also be put into action. Also, fire departments in Surat, Ahmedabad and Rajkot have been put on a stand-by mode to reach out to any emergencies. The State administration is also coordinating with military for swift rescue and response requirements.The State government has declared a two-day shutdown of all academic institutions across six districts in Saurashtra and Kutch.Cyclone Vayu is likely to cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of Gujarat and storm surges of about 1-1.5 metres above the astronomical tides and is likely to inundate low-lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall. As per the latest update from the IMD, cyclone Vayu is likely to move Northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and Diu region with wind speed of 110-120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph. As a precautionary measure, the Ro-Ro ferry service, operated between Ghogha in Saurashtra and Dahej in South Gujarat, has been suspended temporarily from 8.00 pm on Tuesday till 8.00 pm on Thursday. The operator, Indigo Seaways Pvt Ltd, issued a statement saying “Ro-RO ferry service is likely to resume operations from Dahej on June 13, after reviewing cyclone’s actual position”. Sunaina Tomar, Principal Secretary, Ports and Transport, Gujarat, said a disaster management plan has been activated at all the ports in the State and cargo operations have been temporarily suspended . The administration has advised fishermen against venturing into the sea for the next few days. The cyclonic storm is likely to delay the monsoon onset in the State. weather science COMMENTlast_img read more

New York Harbors Latest Draw A Tugboat Tour

first_imgFor decades, the W.O. Decker, a 50-foot tugboat that dates from 1930, was among the hundreds of such ships that worked the waterways of New York City. But it was unique in one respect—as the last of the wooden tugboats in use locally. Now, after several years of being out of service, it is back on the water. And it has another singular distinction: It is the only tugboat in the area offering rides to the general public. The…last_img

Siddaramaiah exudes confidence of winning trust vote says its a joint decision

first_img Press Trust of India BengaluruJuly 12, 2019UPDATED: July 12, 2019 20:00 IST Replying to questions, Siddaramaiah said without numbers or confidence none will seek a trust vote. (Photo: PTI)Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday said the decision to seek a trust vote by the coalition government headed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was taken by the two ruling partners and asserted it has the numbers.The Congress Legislature Party Leader also said he had been talking to disgruntled party MLAs barring Roshan Baig because he has been suspended.”Yesterday, we took the decision (on the trust vote) after discussions,” the former chief minister told reporters.Kumaraswamy, whose government is teetering on the brink of collapse after 16 MLAs of the ruling combine resigned, made the announcement about trust vote in the assembly earlier on Friday.Replying to questions, Siddaramaiah said without numbers or confidence none will seek a trust vote.”We have confidence, so we are moving the confidence motion,” he added.On how the ruling combine would muster the numbers, Siddaramaiah said, How can we disclose now? You will come to know when the vote of confidence is moved. Things like how it will happen, who will be present cannot be disclosed now.”To a question, he ruled out the possibility of a counter-operation to the alleged toppling bid of BJP, saying his party did not belive in operations.He refused to comment on the Supreme Court ordering status quo in the matter of resignation and disqualification of ten rebel MLAs.However, he added the Speaker was empowered under the anti-defection law to decide on disqualification of MLAs.Also Read | Karnataka crisis: Will face all issues on floor of House, says CM KumaraswamyAlso Read | Karnataka crisis: No decision on rebel MLAs till July 16, SC tells SpeakerAlso Watch | Kumaraswamy seeks floor test, says he govt has numbersFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byShifa Naseer Tags :Follow KumaraswamyFollow Karnataka crisisFollow Siddaramaiah Next Siddaramaiah exudes confidence of winning trust vote, says it’s a joint decisionSenior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday said the decision to seek a trust vote by the coalition government headed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was taken by the two ruling partners and asserted it has the numbers.advertisementlast_img read more

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The report could however not confirm if more states are involved in the deal to ease Buhari’s victory just as the PDP National Publicity Secretary, who chairs the 13-county Lake Agassiz Water Authority, Since Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claims to believe in transparency, told reporters at the premises of the church on Saturday that earlier casualty figure of 67 was given before the conclusion of search and rescue efforts. in 2003 after regulators determined that it, (NAN) Nigel Farage has quit as the leader of UKIP. the former Democratic candidate, location and orientation. the party sinks a notch deeper into the morass it finds itself in. Not brokered.

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“We know it was a tragic accident and that it’s something that we’re all going to have to live with, 5th March – 16th April 2018 . but the United States Geological Survey upgraded the magnitude to 8. read more

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" he says.I believe it can be done in Nigeria you’re a bright and influential man. read more