November 2 2016Here are a few more photos of this

first_imgNovember 2, 2016Here are a few more photos of this years Halloween costums.[photos by Sue Kirsch]Lana and RobPart of the Foundry crew and ZakDevron and RachelZeb, Ryan, Travis, Melissa, Aimee and DannyDr. SparksEllen and Nadialast_img

Dutch telecom operator TMobile Netherlands is to

first_imgDutch telecom operator T-Mobile Netherlands is to launch an OTT TV service in the spring of next year. The service, Knippr, will make a range of Dutch channels and on-demand offerings available to both T-Mobile customers and non-customers as an alternative to cable and other offerings.T-Mobile said there will be no obligation for Knippr customers to sign up to its broadband and telephony services as part of a triple- or quad-play bundle.Tisha van Lammeren, T-Mobile Netherlands’ director of consumer marketing, said that the service was designed to offer an alternative for consumers who were frustrated with obligations to sign up to big basic packages, bundled offerings and long-term contracts. Knippr subscribers will be able to sign up for a month with no further obligations.The company said it would beta-test Knippr early next year. T-Mobile said it could offer most of the main channels, including online catch-up services. Pricing and details of the offering will be announced at launch.last_img read more

The reason a dog has so many friends is he wags hi

first_img The reason a dog has so many friends is he wags his tail and not his tongue. (Unknown) Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are a wonderful person. (Ann Landers) If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise. (Unknown) And my favorite: There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. (Ben Williams) Until next week… Eight percent is not good news. Last week I shared some reader feedback from our inflation survey, and in case you missed it, the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate is 8%. But what does that number really mean for us – seniors and savers trying to protect our buying power? It’s time to read the tea leaves and find out.Up to Your Ass in Alligators You may remember the old poster that read, “When you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s tough to remember the goal was to drain the swamp.” You may have felt overwhelmed during the last few years, as the investment options for your retirement portfolio changed. You might read about the benefits of gold and silver one day, then CDs, dividend-paying stocks, and annuities the next. It’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly when you cannot afford to put too much of your life savings at risk. One of our readers really drove home the challenges we all face: “Anyone who has been living on SS checks since 2000 will tell you the same thing. They cannot live on those checks alone, and [have] depended on the interest they receive from their savings accounts or CDs. They cannot do this any longer. They now need to withdraw principal or redeem some CDs just to make ends meet. … [We are] on fixed incomes with no hope of getting a raise. These people understand the effects of inflation more than any other group. These people live with fear every day, understanding they have little control over their financial future, while watching their life savings slowly vanish every year.” Of the readers who responded to our poll, 1.6% think the inflation rate is 2% or less. On the flip side, the remaining 98.4% must think the government is lying (or in need of a new statistician). My dear friend Toots, whom I often quote, wrote, “Did we prove once again the world is not flat?” Perhaps, but there’s more to it. Certainly, I’ve made that point before, but that doesn’t negate the need to highlight these phony government numbers. We shouldn’t accept falsehoods with a nod and a wink; that’s how they become immutable “facts” of life in many people’s minds. Some folks want to debate the methodology used by Shadow Government Statistics, but that misses the point. The bottom line is: 98.4% of us agree that the real inflation rate is higher than the rate reported by the BLS. That is the reality of our readers – at the grocery store, the gas pump, and today at the flower shop (gentlemen, don’t forget roses for your sweetheart). Anyone living on a fixed income already knows this. The real issue is that we are getting squeezed! At least, 98.4% of us think so. There’s no need to dwell on whether it’s 6%, 7% or 8%, etc. What really matters is how this affects your life. If the price of my favorite snack doubled, and the price of broccoli dropped 50%, my costs are rising. The price of broccoli could drop 99%, and I still wouldn’t buy it. While planning for retirement, most of us planned for a 2% inflation rate and anticipated earning 6% on our portfolio. That was a nice retirement plan while it lasted, but it won’t do much good for anyone now. Another old-line “rule” was: a retiree could safely use 4% of his portfolio every year to supplement Social Security, and still be fine for the rest of his life. Where did the math come from? If your portfolio grew 6% every year and you took out 4%, the remaining 2% covered any loss to inflation. It was really that simple, and it worked just fine for me in my early retirement years. We have all heard the old rule, “Live off the interest and never touch the principal.” That is exactly what we were doing, while also protecting that principal from inflation. Now comes the scary part. If the real rate of inflation is anywhere near the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate of 8%, how much can we take out of our portfolio every year without losing buying power? The math is still simple, but with a frightening answer: nothing, unless you earn more than 8%. The problem is easy to understand, but the solution is tough to implement. If we want that same 4% to supplement our Social Security checks, we need to earn 12% on our portfolio every year – 8% for inflation and 4% for income. And this does not even factor in taxes. Those of us with a traditional IRA who are over 70.5 years old are required to take a minimum distribution, which can come with a nice tax bill. Imagine that you have a $1 million portfolio, and your goal is to keep up with the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate and earn 4% income to supplement your Social Security checks. That’s $120,000. To maintain a somewhat conservative posture, we recommend 30-33% of your portfolio be in cash, which pays little if any interest; let’s assume cash pays 0% for the moment. That means you must earn 17.1% on the remaining $700,000 to reach your goal of $120,000. That return can come in the form of an income check, dividends, and stock appreciation. Whatever the source, that’s a pretty tall order. And it’s particularly daunting when you consider that anyone close to retirement age should make minimal high-risk investments. We can’t bet it all on a speculative stock, hoping to catch the next Internet startup success story.Finding the Strength to Strangle the Nemean Lion The Money Forever team is on the lookout for solid companies that not only pay dividends, but also have a history of regular dividend increases. In the last quarter, three of the stocks in the Money Forever portfolio increased their dividends. It is highly unlikely that most of us will live long enough to see our dividends equal 50% of our investment (which is what Warren Buffett receives from Coca-Cola, according to what I’ve read). However, if a company is currently paying 4%, it won’t take too long to see an 8% yield. Once our dividend yield is at or above the inflation rate, we can factor in appreciation and start gaining ground on the inflation monster once again. While dividend-paying stocks will get us on the right track, there’s still more work ahead. Dividends alone are not enough; we also need stock appreciation. If you subscribe to our premium publications, it may be a good time to review our special report, Money Every Month, where we discuss this in great detail. As of today, over half of the stocks in our portfolio have double-digit gains. While we are proud of what we have accomplished to date, we also understand that the current market could change any minute. We have to remain vigilant. Stocks with a long history of increasing their dividends plus a good history of appreciation are hot tickets. Perhaps this is part of the reason why the stock market is doing so well in a tough economy. Alternative sources of income can also help. Two of our recent Money Forever premium issues focused on annuities and reverse mortgages. Under the right circumstances, as we outline in our reports, these can be valuable alternatives for filling your cash-flow gap. Nevertheless, please consider all of the risks and cautionary tales included in our reports before purchasing an annuity or signing a reverse mortgage. One seemingly simple mistake – like neglecting to put your spouse on a reverse mortgage – can be devastating. So can it be done? Can we really build a portfolio that will stand up against the current rate of inflation? Sure; but we have to stay on top of our investments and continue to educate ourselves. “Set it and forget it” won’t work.From the Stadium to the Golf Course For many of us, cutting back on expenses is very difficult. It can feel like part of our retirement dream is going up in smoke. We have friends who planned to take summer and winter cruises every year after they retired. They thought they had the money to do it, but now they have to cut back. They do not enjoy their driving trip to the local state park nearly as much as they do a cruise. One of the respondents to our survey mentioned that he cut back on golf from three days to two days a week. Our good friend Phil addressed his golf situation in a unique manner. For several years he had volunteered during spring training for a major league baseball team. Then the local golf course advertised for part-time help. He inquired; the job sounded like fun, and he negotiated complimentary greens fees as part of his package. For him it is the best of both worlds. Now he has a little extra income, his golf expenses are radically reduced, and he still is able to golf regularly, something he really enjoys. And yes, the baseball team is going to have to recruit another free laborer. Somehow, I think they’ll manage! I’m realizing we all have to come to grips with the reality described by our reader at the beginning of today’s article. While it may be difficult for all of us, we are old enough to know that putting things off only makes problems get worse faster. It’s like our own personal fiscal cliff, but we can’t keep running the printing press and ignoring the real problem. My oldest daughter, also a baby boomer, went to a class on personal financial management about ten years ago. I asked her what she thought the biggest lesson was. Her response surprised me: “The first thing to deal with is your expectations. If you want a lot of stuff, and currently do not have the income to pay for it, you must find ways to increase your income. If that is not possible, then you must learn to adjust your lifestyle and be happy with what you have, living within your means. Dad, they stressed that part of being truly happy is the realization that your neighbor may have more or less than you do and it makes no difference. Personal financial management is as much an adjustment of your attitude as it is an adjustment of your spending habits.” In retrospect, that class had a major effect on her life. She is a grandmother now, and she and her husband have a truly happy family. I believe it was philosopher William James who said, “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.” That sentiment certainly rings true. OK, you get the point, but you may not like it. Neither do I, and neither do the millions of our peers in the same predicament. So what should we do? To start with, everything I just mentioned, which is quite a task. Become an active investor, learn, and adjust to the new market. We must protect our nest eggs and look for solid income opportunities. We must look at our spending habits and see where we can cut back. Every dollar we save takes a little pressure off our portfolio and the need for it to produce income. Also, don’t discount finding other sources of income. Write the book you’ve been dreaming about – turn your hobbies into a profit. I have a buddy who worked in the auto industry. Dealers often sell a car they do not have in inventory if there is one at a nearby dealer they can trade for. He set up a business helping dealers move vehicles around. He loves it because he stays active, and he says he had to learn zero new skills. His comment was, “Where else can I get a part-time job where I get paid to drive around listening to a ball game?” You, dear readers, drove home the point for me with your feedback to our survey. If we need 12% or so to protect our nest eggs, then we all have to accept that challenge. If we have a really good year, we can grow our nest eggs and increase our buying power. If we fall short, we must keep erosion to a minimum. The last time I ran a retirement-planning computer program, it said I would be fine as long as I passed away before age 125. In a bad year that may slip to 115. We are all in this together, and I’m committed to making sure Miller’s Money Forever lives up to its name. One final thought… My overriding point is that we have to take control of our retirement finances. Like I said earlier, the days of “set it and forget it” are gone. The upside here is that we can actually secure our retirement. Together with thousands of subscribers to Money Forever premium issues and special reports, we’re doing just that. And with Money Forever, we’re not just talking about stocks and investments, although those are important. We’re exploring other financial topics as well. For example, in last month’s issue we took a close look at real-estate investing and REITs. With some help from Dr. Ron Christner, one of the country’s foremost real-estate experts, we explored how retirees can invest in real estate without taking on a second career. And for our subscribers who are still working, we outlined how to select the right mutual fund from your employer-sponsored plan. In this month’s issue – due out on February 19 – we’re showing our subscribers how to choose the right financial advisor. You won’t want to miss out. I invite you to give Money Forever a risk-free try with our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Try it for 90 days (that’s three new issues, all of the monthly issues in our archives, plus our library of special reports), and if you find you have to cancel, that’s fine. Just call or email and get 100% of your money back during your first 90 days. We earn our keep at Money Forever. Click here to find out more about our story and how you can get started today… and be on the list for this month’s issue on financial advisors.On the Lighter Side I have to thank my editor, Ann, who slipped in the earlier comment about remembering roses. Today is Valentine’s Day. In my previous life, I trained adults for over 35 years, so you can imagine the funny stories I heard throughout my career. One of my students shared a story about the absolute wrong thing to do on Valentine’s Day: It was Valentine’s Day morning and I was in a hurry. It was a typical workday – coffee, piece of toast, quick glance at the morning paper, and out the door. I went to kiss my wife goodbye and she asked, “Do you know what today is?” I had no clue, and the first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “Pitchers and catchers have to report to spring training.” That was not the right answer. I compounded my problem by grabbing the sports section and showing the article to my wife. So she grabbed the paper and showed me the front page with a big Valentine on it. Later that evening, I came home from work with a card, flowers, and a huge box of candy. It didn’t get me out of the doghouse. The pork and beans I got for dinner were as cold as the reception when I sheepishly forked over the gifts. This student did mention that he has never, ever forgotten a Valentine’s Day since. And finally… Last week I mentioned that many readers shared stories about how the price of pet food is increasing. Our friend Phil sent along some wonderful sayings about dogs, which of course many folks look to for unconditional love. My dog is worried about the economy, because Alpo is up 99 cents a can. That’s almost $7 in dog money. (Joe Weinstein) The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. (Ambrose Bierce)last_img read more

Yes I know that there are some churches and indiv

first_imgYes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. Listening to them, you’d think that Christianity and war were natural bedfellows. If you’ve spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean. Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today. Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong. This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil. Red State Religion as a Mix of Christianity and War Philosophy Red State Christianity has become a State Religion, a Warfare Religion. So, since “judgment begins at the house of God,” let’s be harsh: These churches are sucking up to the state for tax breaks, to follow a popular course, and to get lots and lots of members. It’s the new successful pattern, and they are following it without hesitation… to the point where they invent reasons to justify the killing of children. (“Collateral damage,” that is, not “killing.”) A huge number of Red State churches have become whores to the US military culture, paying endless obeisance to uniformed state agents. According to them, all agents of the state are noble, are to be respected, and are most definitely to be obeyed without question. (Tell that to Sam Adams or Tom Jefferson!) All opinions to the contrary are discarded, condemned or ridiculed, without serious consideration. This War Christianity is definitely at odds with the New Testament, which treats both war and state as barbaric relics. I am not, by the way, opposed to stopping actual killers. What I am opposed to is telling someone to kill another person that he knows nothing about, guided by a superstition that “we’re automatically the good guys.” And yes, I know that no one, in the midst of fire and confusion, has enough skill to avoid accidentally shooting an innocent. My complaint is with worshiping a government that places 18 year old boys in that position. These kids are being told to kill strangers, without any real evidence that the people they kill deserve it. Is “because a politician said so” really sufficient? These boys are coming home in pieces, or with pieces missing – and committing suicide in droves – for what? To magically turn Afghanistan into a western state? Does anyone seriously think that will happen? And as someone who cares about history and theology, I am especially opposed to Jesus’ name being abused – yet again – by credentialed shepherds who are devoted – first and foremost – to gathering the largest flock possible, while not giving a damn that distant brown people die. At this point in American history we are being treated to a continuing and twisted spectacle: Defenders of indiscriminate death pretending that they care about “love.” They lie. So says me and so says John the Apostle. Let me be clear about this: Christianity is an anti-state religion. It always was. So was the Judaism that came before it. All arguments to the contrary are fallacious, at least if we are to take the Bible as a serious reference. But it will change… Sooner or later, some American Christians will remember that theirs is an anti-state religion. It will doubtless begin with meetings in living rooms, barns and job sites, and will include a lot of good and talented young people. But they will make themselves despised outsiders, opposed by the current generation of Christian leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the state and haven’t any inclination to admit their errors. In other words, the new, honest Christians will become the next link in a long and proud chain of heretics. They will be brave and committed people who are right, while all the institutions are wrong. Are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain indiscriminate death upon foreign people… at funerals? (Look it up!) Must we really defend repetitive torture as being righteous? Now, to be honest, the Red State Christians don’t say these things. Actually, they avoid facing them altogether. And that is the problem. Many of them have become, as Jesus’ friend Simon Peter said, “willingly ignorant.” The US war machine is killing and torturing, and American preachers are straining their every muscle to thank them for it, in the name of Christ. I’ve read Jesus’ words too many times to be suckered by this game, and I don’t think Jesus is pleased with it either. Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together. They never have and they never will. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com Christianity and War: Do they go together?last_img read more

Richard Klein switched doctors last year The new

first_imgRichard Klein switched doctors last year. The new doctor put him on a new blood pressure drug. But it didn’t help. The failure was entirely predictable.Klein, an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami, realized later that he had tried the same medicine unsuccessfully a few years before, but he hadn’t remembered that fact during the appointment.It was an understandable mistake for Klein and his doctor.Klein’s prescription history was hidden somewhere in the hundreds of pages of medical records his new doctor had to go through.”If I had been able to go into an app sitting in his office and look through my prescription history, I would have known that, yeah, we tried that a couple years back and it didn’t work well,” he says.A feature like that will soon be available for some patients with iPhones.In the upcoming release of Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhones this spring, the Health app will include health records, so patients can take information about their immunizations, medications, lab results and more with them.The feature will first be available to patients of medical providers who partnered with Apple, including Johns Hopkins Medicine; OhioHealth; Ochsner Health System in Jefferson Parish, La.; and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. It won’t cost those patients anything to use this feature, assuming they’re already iPhone users.Apple’s announcement says more medical facilities will offer this feature in the coming months.Some doctors hail it as a big shift away from patients having to handle a big pile of paper records every time they see a new doctor. But Google offered a similar service before and it failed. The search giant shut it down in 2012.Can Apple succeed where Google didn’t?Dr. Jonathan Slotkin says yes; he is a medical director handling digital patient engagement at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, one of Apple’s partners. Unlike even a few years ago, a lot more people now use smartphones and the phones are more secure. There’s now also a technical standard for transferring electronic medical records.”Even if I get care at three different places and maybe they use three different electronic systems, now in one place that I possess in an encrypted way, I have all of that information at my fingertips,” he says.He adds this will make transferring information easier for patients who have to move, or go to a specialist.The health records feature could also change doctors’ habits in some ways, says Dr. Isaac Kohane, chair of the department of biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and a professor of pediatrics.”For some reason, and I say this as a physician, most physicians, if they don’t actually know how a test was done, somehow imagine it was done wrongly, and therefore repeat a test, not only at a cost but at some pain to the patient,” Kohane says. “If you have a reliable authoritative description of the test and its results, that uncertainty goes away and that excuse to repeat tests goes away as well.”Kohane called Apple’s new feature a “tectonic shift” in a commentary for member station WBUR’s CommonHealth.But Apple will have to address one big problem that Google had with Google Health, a similar health records service: It was popular with only a niche audience — tech-savvy patients and their caregivers, and fitness enthusiasts. The product didn’t attract a wide base of users.This time will be different, says Dr. Ida Sim, a co-director of biomedical informatics at the University of California, San Francisco Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. Why? Because unlike with Google Health, patients no longer have to do the heavy lifting of entering or scanning their own data. Also, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 pushed federal agencies and providers to use electronic health records, and now there is a data standard for personal health records, which wasn’t the case in 2011.However, she writes in an email that wider adoption will still be an issue.”We’ll probably see huge numbers of people getting their initial Health Records populated. The issue is, then what?… The value will come from third party apps that use Health Records to provide meaningful value to patients, and until this value is demonstrated, I think Health Records uptake will be large but retention and continued engagement of patients will be challenging.”Alan Yu reports for The Pulse, WHYY’s health and science show. Copyright 2018 WHYY. To see more, visit WHYY.last_img read more

The new coleader of the Green party has told Disa

first_imgThe new co-leader of the Green party has told Disability News Service (DNS) that he will make support for inclusive education a key focus of his new role.Jonathan Bartley was elected alongside Caroline Lucas (pictured with Bartley) last week to lead the party in a job-share arrangement.And he revealed that he first spoke to Lucas at a parliamentary lobby in January last year against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), when he talked to her about his passion for disability issues.Bartley is a long-standing campaigner for inclusive education, and a former chair of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.He first secured significant public attention shortly before the 2010 general election when he challenged Conservative leader David Cameron in front of television cameras on the Tory manifesto pledge to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools”.He joined the Green party soon after that meeting.Bartley was only able to stand for leader on a job share basis because of his caring responsibilities for his 14-year-old disabled son, Samuel, who was pictured next to his father in the 2010 footage.He told DNS that the Greens’ commitment to inclusive education was the reason he had joined the party, and he pointed to the huge number of disabled pupils now being excluded from schools, both those that showed up in official statistics and those in which young disabled people were excluded from mainstream schools “by the back door”.And he said he welcomed the “emphatic” and “absolutely wonderful” guidance published late last month by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which stresses that all segregated education should end, and should be replaced by “inclusive classroom teaching in accessible learning environments with appropriate supports”.He said the government’s policies to create more special school places were being carried out “under the guise of choice, but more and more parents are not experiencing that choice but are being pushed into segregated education”.Bartley said he hoped that his party’s election of co-leaders would increase the momentum towards allowing job-share MPs, something many disabled people are campaigning for.He said: “This is why we have done it. [We want to see] a more inclusive form of politics.“Civil service actively practices [job-sharing]. It is happening in the charity sector. Political parties in Germany have done it for decades.“I have responsibilities at home that I want to fulfil and I am passionate about the issues. The only way I can bring that experience to politics is through a job share.”But he said it would be “a battle” to secure the change in the law necessary to allow job-share MPs because “people are waiting to see what happens” with the Greens’ experiment.Bartley also defended his party’s position on assisted suicide, which although it is supported by some disabled people, is fiercely opposed by the disabled people’s movement.He acknowledged that his party’s support for legalisation of assisted suicide had been raised as a concern by disabled campaigners.He said: “I think we need to listen to it. I have heard people say they don’t support the Green Party because of it.”He said he supported the party’s position “provided all the appropriate safeguards are in place”, but he suggested that legalisation was difficult to justify in a climate of austerity in which disabled people’s support was being cut.He said: “In the context of cuts and misery when we seem to be going backwards in disability rights I can entirely understand why people have concerns.“It’s about showing that it can’t work and that there will be pressure [on people to ask to take their own lives].”Speaking before the launch of Inclusion London’s report on the impact of the ILF closure, he said that the decision to abolish the fund was inevitably going to lead to cuts in support, which was what the report showed.Although his son – who has been ill in hospital for four weeks – was never an ILF recipient, the family do receive direct payments to fund his support, and he said: “I know what it’s like to battle against a social worker who should be your ally and your champion… they are under huge pressure to cut budgets.”One of the themes of the speech he and Lucas delivered after they were elected as co-leaders was the need to “take back control”, which he said was a key concern for disabled people, who are often too scared to speak out against their local authority about their social care.He said: “They are fearful and they are scared, they feel they have no control.”He said the Greens were the only party to oppose the closure of the ILF at the last election and pledge to reopen it, and he backed all of the report’s recommendations, including a new national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities, to administer independent living support, which would be free at the point of delivery and funded by taxation.He also backed the call for the government’s ILF grant – it has pledged to provide non-ring-fenced funding to local authorities in England until 2019-20 – to be ring-fenced for former ILF recipients and for that to continue until a national, independent social care system could be set up.Speaking at the Inclusion London meeting, which was held as part of the Rights Not Games week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts, he said he was scared by watching his son’s fight for the support he needs, and added: “You’re going to be a prisoner in your own home [and] I fear that’s what’s going to happen to my son.”He also secured a pledge from Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, to write to Labour-run local authorities to ask them to ring-fence the government grants for former ILF recipients.last_img read more

What you need to know about UCCs directive to stop sale of

first_imgPhoto credit: New Vision Advertisement Following their ban on the sale of SIM Cards recently, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued yet a new directive, this time to stop the sale of airtime scratch cards, by June 30th, in favor of electronic points of sales and distribution.Little is known why UCC has come up with this directive, but speculation is going that it comes after airtime vendors illegally increased retail prices for airtime scratch cards last year in November. The Commission, then, did not take any actions against this move by the vendors. Telecom Operators, however, reacted promptly to this and downplayed any involvement in it, and encouraged their subscribers to opt for airtime recharge methods through Mobile money or via the Agent’s Easy Load option.During a meeting held on March 19th, UCC directed all telecom companies in Uganda to submit details of airtime scratch cards in stock. – Advertisement – “It was agreed further that each telecommunications operator would by Wednesday 21 March 2018 submit to the commission the details of the current stock of scratch cards including but not limited to the stock of scratch cards already purchased en-route to Uganda,” UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi said in an official release.1. Street vending of airtime scratch cards is completely banned, effective June 30th Retailers have been given up to two months, until June 30th. After which any person found selling or distributing airtime scratch cards will be doing so unlawfully and will be a punishable offense by the authorities.2. Retailers are advised to return airtime scratch cards and get compensated Any person involved in street vending/hawking of scratch cards are advised to stop and return unused, unsold, stock to their distributor or stockist for a refund.3. Subscribers encouraged to take up electronic means to recharge their airtime UCC encouraged customers to purchase airtime using electronic means and or via Mobile Money.Subsequently, Telecom Operators have started to issue notices to their subscribers to let them know of this directive and offer available electronic means to recharge.[related-posts]Telecom providers have shortcode options for their respective subscribers to use in order to purchase airtime via Mobile Money. Other available options include PayWay, Mula App, and Pebuu.last_img read more

STARTERS ORDERS Sunday 24 March

first_imgWelcome to Starters Orders. Star Sports update with our key market movers for the day and sign up specials.Sunday 24 March2.25 CarlisleCaptain Zebo 11/4 > 13/82.40 ExeterAlmost Gold 9/2 > 7/23.50 DownpatrickOut Sam 4/1 > 9/4LIVE FOOTBALLUEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier14:00 S4C / Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event11/10 Wales14/5 Slovakia9/4 DRAWUEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier17:00 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event66/1 San Marino1/33 Scotland16/1 DRAWUEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier19:45 Sky Sports Mix / Sky Sports Premier League29/20 Netherlands15/8 Germany5/2 DRAWUEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier19:45 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event3/4 Northern Ireland9/2 Belarus12/5 DRAWSTAR PROMOTIONSlast_img read more

Insights About Leadership Happiness and the Future From Arianna Huffington William and

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Insights About Leadership, Happiness and the Future From Arianna Huffington, Will.i.am and Other Global Thought Leaders –shares Cynthia Johnson Project Grow Co-founder and CEO of Bell + Ivy, marketer, speaker and author 6 min read Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Guest Writer Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Visionaries gathered at the World Government Summit in Dubai grappled with how to harness the power of technology without letting it overpower our humanity. Image credit: Paul Morigi | Getty Images The way we work has changed and as a result, the way we lead must, too. People have more communication tools but less time free from distraction. We are all constantly consumed by work and tasks, which results in many employees working themselves into depression and exhaustion. This has to change. It’s not healthy, it doesn’t contribute to a more effective workday and data shows that it’s bad for business.Early this month I attended the World Government Summit in Dubai. The summit had some amazing leaders in various industries speaking and hosting workshops about happiness, mindfulness, leadership and creating the workplaces of the future. Here are 10 insights from summit speakers:Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global “We are working in a world where to be constantly “switched on” is rewarded, where burnout equals success, where we forget to recharge ourselves but not our phones, where we take better care of our devices than ourselves, a world where we are losing sleep and our humanity — and this is clearly not working. The idea is to fundamentally change the culture we have created that glamorizes people who are all the time switched on and connected rather than those that have their priorities right and prefer to spend time with their children or themselves; and let’s face it, who knows how best to create such a world better than women.”Related: Arianna Huffington: Talk to Your Children About Your StrugglesWill.i.am., founder of the band Black Eyed Peas and STEM education advocate“Creating lifelong learners is critical in this century when it is predicted that 65 percent of current students will go into jobs that do not currently exist. We can overcome the issue of access through the use of smartphones. In India, almost 70 percent of students have access to a smartphone. When it comes to addressing personalization, we need to look at how each student learns. This is not possible in the classroom but can be captured on a platform, on which a student profile can be built. Finally, we need to gift students a love of learning, rather than learning through fear of exams, by developing high-quality, engaging and accessible education.”Related: Will.i.am, ‘Dumb-thumbing,’ and the Perils of Tech AddictionNisha Jagtiani, Group Director and board member of Landmark Group, exclusive partner of the Global Dialogue for Happiness“Whether you’re a small or large organization, you have an obligation to make a difference in the community — it all starts with a purpose. This is how companies can really succeed in making a difference. The happiness movement lies in its ability to connect with every employee. That is the biggest challenge for us at Landmark Group since we’re spread across so many regions. But it is also a beautiful reason for us to come together since the pursuit of happiness is for everyone. This is why we call it a movement because we truly believe in its multiplier effect.”Related: How to Redesign Your Life for Success and HappinessAndy Schwartz, Principal Investigator in the World Well-Being Project (WWBP)“Social media tools not only have predictive value but increase our understanding of well-being. The World Well-Being Project analyzes millions of Facebook and Twitter posts to predict geographic variations in personality, life satisfaction and mortality rates. By measuring the quality of life through social media, we have been able to create the Well-Being Map, an interactive demographic map of the United States that was generated by analyzing more than 37 billion publicly available tweets.”Related: Researchers Find That Social Media Can Make You Happier or MiserableKazuo Yano, Corporate Chief Scientist at Hitachi Ltd.“A happy organization is a more productive organization. Small interventions that improve happiness in the workplace have been proved to increase productivity by up to 30 percent. AI allows us to move from rule-oriented processes to outcome-oriented processes.”Related: 18 Ways to Become a Happier PersonProfessor Jeffrey Sachs, renowned economist and Chair of the World Happiness Council“Work provides a purpose, establishes social relationships, structure and routine in our daily lives. There are four ways in which you can increase your job satisfaction and engagement: by improving work-life balance, by getting essential skills training, by gaining autonomy and, most importantly, by improving the relationship with your superiors.”Related: The Secret to Happiness at Work Is the Right Job for Enough MoneyGoldie Hawn, actress and founder of The Hawn Foundation”You have a choice to look at the glass half full or the glass half empty…If you look at the potential of that glass half full and think about it for a minute, it would change the way your brain fires — and change how your neurons wire together. So, the more you look at the glass half full, the happier you’ll be.”Related: Entrepreneurs: Your Irrational Optimism Is NecessaryDr. Saki Santorelli, Director of Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts“To do our jobs well, to take care of our children, to meet our colleagues, to develop teams at work and get the job done — all of this requires us to be present [in the now]. One of the characteristics of the digital age is the sense of virtual instantaneous connectivity that we have. There is a lot of data that suggests that being ‘out there’ is so appealing, that you are losing some capacity to really touch base with what is ‘here’.”Related: 5 Ways You Can Use Mindfulness to Fix Your Brain, Decrease Stress and Improve PerformanceFred Kofman, Vice President of LinkedIn“True leaders have no followers. A true leader is simply the first one heading towards his/her purpose. People don’t follow leaders, they follow the purpose. It is not about what happens to individuals, but the way they choose to respond in a difficult situation and the conscious choices they make for a greater purpose rather than simply reacting — this is what makes the difference. Being mindful is about always asking what am I going to do, and why.”Related: How Emotional Intelligence Can Boost Your Career — And Save Your LifeSultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy “Leaders should not be going against open free trade for their own political gain — and hence trade should not be politicized. In the United Arab Emirates, there are a lot of challenges arising. Going forward, to ensure the best possible movement of trade, we need to focus on building superior infrastructure and framework. We also have the responsibility as a nation to help less developed countries.” Add to Queue March 19, 2018 Register Now »last_img read more

TechSavvy and FashionForward A Look at Todays Stylish Startups

first_img Guest Writer Add to Queue Small Business Heroes Tech-Savvy and Fashion-Forward: A Look at Today’s Stylish Startups 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (left) and Katie Finnegan. The fashion business is notoriously tough to break into.Even Gianni Versace spent years working as a dress-maker’s apprentice before starting up his own eponymous and uber-famous fashion house Gianni Versace.But the newest crowd of fashionista entrepreneurs aren’t sweating it out over sketchbooks and dress samples. Between rewarding users for style advice and supplying them with their own virtual closets, today’s fashionable young founders are using technology to tap into customers’ penchant for new looks. And they’re not heading for the runway either; they’re launching where their customers are: online.We checked in with some of the most innovative — and stylish — startups around. Here’s how three of them are standing out in the ever fickle-fashion world:Pramod Dabir and the inspiration for Boutine, his wife.image credit: FashinvestBoutineHQ: San FranciscoFounded: Aug., 2012Like most businesses, social-shopping site Boutine started with a personal experience. Founder Pramod Dabir, 28, lived with his fiancé — along with six other women — while she was studying at Stanford. These women would run into each other’s rooms and ask each other ‘How does this look?’ ‘Does it match,’ he recalls. One girl was more fashionable and would be doling out a lot of advice. When Dabir noticed that the women were making purchasing decisions based on what the fashionista friend advised, he began building a platform that would enable users to be financially rewarded for sharing their style and sartorial savvy.Related: Website Makes Boutique Fashions Available AnywhereToday, users receive a 10 percent commission on the sale of whatever products they recommend. We have a robust back end system that allows us to handle all of the splitting of commissions and processing of sales, he says. I wanted to create a place for women to share their voice about fashion and be compensated for it, says Dabir.But the other element that sets Boutine apart from traditional fashion companies? Engagement. The site allows users to become stylists — creating their own virtual boutiques and recommending designers and apparel pulled from the site’s inventory. It also offers users the ability to style outfits, dragging and dropping different items into their boutique, rotating them and adding embellishments. Users don’t have to necessarily buy the products, but they can engage with them, he says.Rohan Deuskar, co-founder of StyliticsStyliticsHQ: New York CityFounded: Nov., 2011How well brands and retailers know their customers is top of mind for Rohan Deuskar, 30, the co-founder of Stylitics, a tracking and organization service for consumers’ closets. As we talked to merchants and designers in the fashion space, we found that the tools they were using to know what’s in their customer’s closet or shopping bag was very old-fashioned, says Deuskar. It was all focus groups and surveys.Deuskar immediately recognized an opportunity: to allow users to create a virtual closet — through which they could list clothes they’d like to buy, as well as plan their outfits for the week. They could also analyze how much they’re paying per wear (a.k.a., the justification for paying top dollar for jeans) and make sure they don’t wear anything twice.Related: David Segal on DAVIDsTEA: North America’s Next Starbucks?But brands can also bank on the service. Users’ data are gathered and delivered, anonymously, to brands and retailers who pay for the information. We can get a clear picture of everyday clothing choices and the patterns that are emerging, says Deuskar. My vision is that in a couple of years, when you walk into your favorite store, you’ll get a personal experience around patterns, style and price points that you care about.Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (left) and Katie Finnegan.image credit: WSJHukksterHQ: New York CityFounded: Dec., 2011It’s well known that online shoppers break for bargains. So, it would seem upstart fashion-deals site Hukkster is bound to strike a chord.When consumers find a product online that they want to buy, they simply ‘hukk it’ and then they’ll get a notification by email or text when the price of that item drops by at least 25 percent. The concept for the company came from the co-founders’ collective love of fashion — the duo met in 2007 while working as merchandisers at J. Crew — and the fact that they felt bombarded by special offers and deals piling up in their in-boxes, says co-founder Erica Bell, 27. Bell and her co-founder, Katie Finnegan, 29, wanted to offer users the ability to be alerted to deals at their favorite stores, like the Gap and Bloomingdale’s, in one email. In turn, the startup receives a fee whenever a sale is made via Hukkster.Related: Silicon Valley’s Best Dressed (Photos)Like their fashionable counterparts, Hukkster’s founders say the site also relies heavily on engaging with users. Right now, we’re focusing on apparel and accessories, but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg, says Bell. Our end goal would be for people to be able to ‘Hukk everything on the web.Why do you think fashion startups are becoming so tech savvy? Let us know in the comments section below.center_img Lambeth Hochwald –shares Next Article October 25, 2012 Image credit: WSJ Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »last_img read more

Basket Manufacturer Longabergers Is Leaving Its BasketShaped Headquarters Behind

first_img Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends. Basket Manufacturer Longaberger’s Is Leaving Its Basket-Shaped Headquarters Behind Next Article 2 min read Add to Queue Moving is stressful. Stressful enough, in some instances, it can turn relocating employees into a bunch of basket cases.  But imagine if you literally had to leave the Big Basket?In the coming weeks, that’s exactly what employees at Longaberger Co. will have to do, according to The Columbus Dispatch.Related: Market Basket’s Family Feud Risks a Loss of Its Loyal FollowingFittingly for a company that has manufactured and distributed baskets for decades, Longaberger’s seven-story, 180,000-square-foot Newark-based headquarters is built in the shape of a giant basket. CEO John Rochon Jr. told the outlet the decision to move on wasn’t an easy one, but consolidating all employees at the company’s manufacturing plant in Frazeysburg is the right decision.The move may also have something to do with taxes, as the company has gotten behind on payments. If the delinquent taxes aren’t paid off soon, it could lead to foreclosure.Despite the $570,000 backlog, a potential deal is underway to donate the building to its city, Newark, Ohio.Related: Business Idea Center, Basket WeavingIn the meantime, if anyone wants a really big basket building, it’s possible you could have your very own with a bid worth less than $600,000. Apply Now » The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. February 29, 2016center_img Lindsay Friedman Family Businesses Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Image credit: Longaberger | Twitter Longaberger Headquarterslast_img read more

OpenText Streamlines the Way Enterprises Digitally Communicate with Customers

first_imgOpenText, a global leader in Enterprise Information Management (EIM), announced version 16.6 is generally available now and will be launched in July 2019 at its annual user conference, OpenText Enterprise World. Innovations in its market-leading customer communications management solution, OpenText Exstream, are being previewed at Document Strategy Forum 2019 (DSF ’19). The conference is held May 7-9 in Anaheim, Calif.OpenText Exstream 16.6 introduces self-service, browser-based design, authoring and interactive editing, which helps free marketing, business and other non-technical users to compose and edit their own HTML5 templates without technical assistance or additional coding. Marketers will be able to eliminate process bottlenecks and save time in creating and deploying high-quality, responsive and compliant digital communications to customers, while reducing the burden on enterprise IT departments.Organizations that rely on Exstream will also benefit from new customer journey modeling. Users who own the customer journey may graphically model the creation and delivery steps for all communications using an intuitive, web-based drag-and-drop visual interface. Line of business process owners, who have the greatest understanding of their customers, may now define what type of outputs to produce, how to deliver those outputs across all channels and what to do if delivery fails.Marketing Technology News: Amazon or Alibaba: Freedonia Compares These Global E-Commerce Leaders“The ability to quickly and effectively communicate with customers via their preferred digital channels is critical to marketers responsible for customer experience,” said Guy Hellier, Vice President of Product Management for Customer Experience Management (CEM) at OpenText. “Demand for technical assistance with digital communication often outpaces IT resources. With Exstream, business users are able to design HTML5 responsive communication flows that help them meet regulatory requirements and accommodate all devices. This enables faster time to market for new offers, reduces operational costs and optimizes customer engagement.”Exstream 16.6 innovations will be launched at Enterprise World in Toronto July 9 – 11. The conference helps businesses address the power of enterprise information management (EIM) to gain the information advantage.Marketing Technology News: China’s Most Valuable Brands Grow a Record 30% to $889.7 Billion in 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands Ranking – With Alibaba the New Number OneOpenText CCM solutions help businesses build better customer experiences across all touchpoints. Exstream is used by more than 5,000 enterprises worldwide to drive profitable lifetime customer relationships. Exstream was recognized as a leading CCM solution in the 2018 Aspire Leaderboard for Customer Communications.OpenText will also be showcasing innovations in its Intelligent Forms Automation solution, OpenText LiquidOffice, and latest advances in Content Services at DSF ’19. These solutions reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to helping enterprises deliver rich and streamlined digital experiences for customers.Marketing Technology News: Persistent Systems Joins Siemens’ MindSphere Partner Program to Bring Industrial IoT Solutions to Market OpenText Streamlines the Way Enterprises Digitally Communicate with Customers PRNewswireMay 8, 2019, 1:11 pmMay 8, 2019 customer experience managementDocument Strategy ForumEnterprise information managementIntelligent Forms AutomationMarketing TechnologyNewsOpenText Previous ArticlePipeliner Partners With Daniel Strunk of DePaul University to Release Sales Strategy & Technology Online CourseNext ArticleSAP Offers Partners Free Access to Test and Demo Systems on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP C/4HANA Suitelast_img read more

CloudJumper Announces Partnership with CNE Direct To Ease OnPremise Migration to Windows

first_imgCloudJumper Announces Partnership with CNE Direct To Ease On-Premise Migration to Windows Virtual Desktop Globe Newswire4 days agoJuly 19, 2019 cloudCloudJumperMarketing Technology NewsNewsPartnershipVirtual Desktop Previous ArticleLegends To Acquire MainGate, A Leading Event Retail And Merchandising CompanyNext ArticleSubmittable Raises $10 Million Series B to Transform the Application Submission and Review Process Data Center Equipment Reseller to Assist with Customer Computing Asset Acquisition for CloudJumper Customers Moving to the CloudCloudJumper, a Microsoft named leading partner1 for Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), announced its partnership with CNE Direct to support customers migrating from legacy desktops and on-premise applications to Windows Virtual Desktop powered by Cloud Workspace for Azure. The new arrangement, made today at Microsoft Inspire 2019, streamlines the migration to the Cloud as customers end their use of on-premise computing hardware.Marketing Technology News: BlueVenn Wins ‘Data-Driven Product of the Year 2019’ at London DataIQ AwardsCNE Direct helps the world’s most recognized brands recover maximum value from their IT assets securely and responsibly. The ITAD (IT Asset Distribution) Services company maintains a wide distribution network and is focused on supporting companies globally. The four-time Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing company is rapidly gaining market share in the soon-to-be $40 Billion ITAD marketplace where CNE helps organizations safely remove computing systems and recycle IT equipment in an environmentally friendly and secure manner. Headquartered in the United States, the company also has locations in mainland China, India, Europe, and the Middle East.“Technological advances in the Cloud and the shift toward a cloud-first computing strategy that includes Windows Virtual Desktop and Cloud Workspace for Azure, is reducing the lifespan of IT equipment,” said Sam Segura, Director of Channel Sales for CNE Direct. “We support this IT modernization by CloudJumper customers and their need for ITAD services.”Marketing Technology News: WebCEO, the Agency Oriented Marketing Platform, Launches a New Local SEO ModuleCloudJumper Cloud Workspace® for Azure is a complete cloud-based platform for cloud desktop and application enablement. The platform provides an automated framework to orchestrate Windows Virtual Desktop deployments, delivering a multi-user Windows 10 experience that includes compatibility with Microsoft Store and existing Windows line-of-business applications. WVD administrators retain complete control, security and auditability for compliance through an intuitive browser-based management system that reduces support costs, increases service quality and improves responsiveness.“The adoption of Windows Virtual Desktop and Cloud Workspace® for Azure will see many thousands of organizations worldwide become more agile and efficient as they move away from self-managed infrastructure,” said Max Pruger, Chief Revenue Officer for CloudJumper. “Our partnership with CNE helps customers with the recycling of their legacy systems, improving the economics of the move.”Marketing Technology News: Progress Named a Leader in the New 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Multiexperience Development Platformslast_img read more

ICF Next Named a Strong Performer Among Loyalty Service Providers

first_imgAgency Among Top Scorers in Loyalty Strategy, Insights, Privacy and Security, Change Management and Account ManagementICF Next, the integrated marketing and communications services group of ICF, announced that it was named a “Strong Performer” among loyalty service providers by leading global research and advisory firm Forrester Research in The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3 2019.“Clients are very satisfied with ICF Next’s insights services and account teams, offering high praise for its intelligence, consistency and investment in client success,” the report stated. One reference shared that [ICF Next] “exceeded our expectations on every count.”Marketing Technology News: Mono Solutions Joins Bauer Media Group to Strengthen SME Marketing Services Across the GlobeThe agency was evaluated across multiple criteria and received the highest possible rating in five: loyalty strategy services, customer insights services, privacy and security, account management and change management tools and services.Earlier in 2019, ICF Next was recognized as a “Leader” in another loyalty report focused on technology platforms, The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Technology Platforms, Q2 2019. The agency believes that placement in both reports underscores its ability to provide both an industry-leading loyalty technology platform as well as strategic guidance and services to clients that establish and enhance the customer experience. ICF Next’s loyalty technology, Tally, drives emotional and behavioral brand loyalty through personalized interactions and powers programs for some of the world’s leading hospitality, travel, retail and restaurant brands.“We are proud of these recent Forrester designations and believe they validate our loyalty technology, services and strategy, and the value we bring to brands,” said John Armstrong, president of ICF Next. “We are in the position to work with brands based on their needs as both a comprehensive partner and a partner in key areas such as strategy or technology.”Marketing Technology News: Paysafe Announces YouTube PartnershipThis recognition by Forrester is the latest in a series of awards, recognitions and accolades secured by ICF Next in the last eight months alone. The agency was recently named a Top 10 Agency by customer loyalty association Loyalty360, and was awarded Digital PR Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report. ICF Next was also credited with 12 Cannes Lions, and was named a “Strong Performer” in The Forrester Wave™: Midsize Digital Experience Agencies, Q4 2018.ICF Next brings together ICF’s global award-winning marketing, communications and associated technology expertise, offering clients a full set of capabilities in strategy and transformation, insight and analytics, creative engagement, technology and channels, and loyalty and customer marketing.Marketing Technology News: Gartner Survey Shows Inside Sales Organizations Risk Losing 24% of Employees This Year Customer MarketingICFLoyalty Service ProvidersMarketing Technology NewsNews Previous ArticleGlassbox Announces Strategic Partnership with MicrosoftNext ArticleTapcart Fuels the Future of Mobile Commerce with $4 Million in Funding from Greycroft ICF Next Named a Strong Performer Among Loyalty Service Providers PRNewswire3 hours agoJuly 23, 2019 last_img read more

Experts in Parkinsons research propose roadmap for drug trials targeting alphasynuclein

first_img Source:https://www.iospress.nl/ios_news/parkinsons-disease-experts-devise-a-roadmap-for-developing-drugs-targeting-alpha-synuclein/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 20 2018Issued in conjunction with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, important consensus guidelines for running proof of concept preclinical and clinical trials of drugs targeting alpha-synuclein to slow or arrest the progression of the disease published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease A recently discovered protein, alpha-synuclein, has become one of the most attractive targets for developing new drugs with the potential to slow down or arrest the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Experts in the field of Parkinson’s research have now proposed a roadmap for preclinical and clinical trials investigating compounds targeting alpha-synuclein. Their consensus white paper is published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.Alpha-synuclein is of key interest to PD researchers because it is a major constituent of Lewy bodies, protein clumps that are the pathological hallmark of PD, and mutations in the gene that encodes alpha-synuclein cause PD. Not surprisingly, intensive efforts have been underway to study the normal and pathological role of alpha-synuclein as well as its potential as a target for neuroprotective therapies. There are at least five alpha-synuclein–targeted therapeutics currently under investigation. These have the potential to slow or arrest the progression of PD and other synucleinopathies, such as Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Multiple System Atrophy and Pure Autonomic Failure.”With alpha-synuclein undoubtedly playing some role in PD pathogenesis, and there being such a diverse portfolio of experimental therapies that target the protein, one can be optimistic and hope that one of the approaches will eventually be successful in slowing disease progression,” says Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, Associate Director of Research, Professor and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.In 2017, The Michael J. Fox Foundation convened the Alpha Synuclein Clinical Path Working Group comprised of PD research leaders from across academia and industry. This group was tasked to develop a strategic consensus and make recommendations in preclinical and clinical research directed at alpha-synuclein–targeted therapies for PD.Related StoriesMice cured of HIV in an experiment sparks new hopeScientists discover how resistance to the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil arisesAntibiotic combination effective against drug-resistant PseudomonasIn this consensus white paper, experts provide a translational framework of de-risking the development of alpha-synuclein–targeted therapies. Specifically, the paper discusses the use of fit-for purpose animal models, biomarkers that inform clinical trial design, such as doses and dosing regimen, as well as patient enrichment strategies. Finally, the authors discuss considerations for the design of clinical proof of concept trials that integrate not only pathophysiologic endpoints, but also the emerging technology of wearable devices to monitor clinical outcomes.”Multiple therapeutics have recently entered clinical trials, and critical human data that will inform all alpha-synuclein–based therapeutic development programs are on the horizon,” says lead author Kalpana M. Merchant, PhD, of Vincere Biosciences, Inc. and the Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL. “Although these efforts face many profound challenges, including the lack of key tools such as an alpha-synuclein–based imaging agent and the inherent difficulty of demonstrating clinical efficacy in slowly progressive neurodegenerative diseases, we remain optimistic that meaningful strides toward the ultimate identification and approval of alpha-synuclein–based disease-modifying therapeutics will be made in the near future.”PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting approximately 1.2 percent of the world population over the age of 70. Although several new therapies that address motor or non-motor symptoms of PD have been approved, none of these are able to slow disease progression. In the US alone, an estimated 630,000 people had PD in 2010. With anticipated demographic changes due to an aging population, and if no disease-modifying treatment is found, the prevalence is expected to reach 930,000 by 2020 and 1.24 million 40 by 2030.last_img read more

A short bout of exercise improves brain function study reveals

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 3 2019Most people know that regular exercise is good for your health. New research shows it may make you smarter, too.Neuroscientists at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, working with mice, have discovered that a short burst of exercise directly boosts the function of a gene that increases connections between neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory.The research is published online in the journal eLife. Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustPrevious research in animals and in people shows that regular exercise promotes general brain health. However, it’s hard to untangle the overall benefits of exercise to the heart, liver and muscles from the specific effect on the brain. For example, a healthy heart oxygenates the whole body, including the brain.”Previous studies of exercise almost all focus on sustained exercise,” Westbrook said. “As neuroscientists, it’s not that we don’t care about the benefits on the heart and muscles but we wanted to know the brain-specific benefit of exercise.”So the scientists designed a study in mice that specifically measured the brain’s response to single bouts of exercise in otherwise sedentary mice that were placed for short periods on running wheels. The mice ran a few kilometers in two hours.The study found that short-term bursts of exercise – the human equivalent of a weekly game of pickup basketball, or 4,000 steps – promoted an increase in synapses in the hippocampus. Scientists made the key discovery by analyzing genes that were increased in single neurons activated during exercise.One particular gene stood out: Mtss1L. This gene had been largely ignored in prior studies in the brain.”That was the most exciting thing,” said co-lead author Christina Chatzi, Ph.D.The Mtss1L gene encodes a protein that causes bending of the cell membrane. Researchers discovered that when this gene is activated by short bursts of exercise, it promotes small growths on neurons known as dendritic spines – the site at which synapses form.In effect, the study showed that an acute burst of exercise is enough to prime the brain for learning.In the next stage of research, scientists plan to pair acute bouts of exercise with learning tasks to better understand the impact on learning and memory. Source:Oregon Health & Science UniversityJournal reference:Chatzi, C. et al. (2019) Exercise-induced enhancement of synaptic function triggered by the inverse BAR protein, Mtss1L. eLife. doi.org/10.7554/eLife.45920. Exercise is cheap, and you don’t necessarily need a fancy gym membership or have to run 10 miles a day.”Co-senior author Gary Westbrook, M.D., senior scientist at the OHSU Vollum Institute and Dixon Professor of Neurology in the OHSU School of Medicinelast_img read more

Rush University Medical Center offers new FDAapproved treatment for brain aneurysms

first_imgAn aneurysm is an enlarged, weakened area of an artery that is bulging or ballooned. If left untreated, it may rupture, often resulting in severe disability, cognitive loss or death.An estimated six million people in the United States have an unruptured brain aneurysm.Wide-necked bifurcation aneurysms occur at a point in an artery where it branches into two arteries and account for 35 percent of all brain aneurysms.The WEB device is made from ultra-fine wires braided together to form a flexible, self-expanding mesh that effectively plugs the aneurysm.During the WEB system procedure, a small catheter is threaded through a tiny incision in the groin area and threaded through the patient’s arteries to the aneurysm site.Using fluoroscopy imaging, the surgeon deploys the WEB device into the sac of the aneurysm where the flexible mesh conforms to the aneurysm walls, minimizing blood flow inside the aneurysm. In comparison to the current mainstay of endovascular treatment in which multiple coils are placed inside the aneurysm, only one WEB is required for an aneurysm.Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpStudy offers clues about how to prevent brain inflammation in Alzheimer’sIn most cases, over time, the body seals off the neck of the aneurysm, essentially curing it.”If we can fix the aneurysm before it ruptures, then the threat of this aneurysm bursting and the patient dying from it essentially goes away,” said Crowley.The WEB device allows doctors to treat wide-necked aneurysms without the need for placing stents in the brain, which keeps patients off of post-procedure blood thinning medications, such as Plavix, that are used for stents. The new device also shortens endovascular procedure time in treating aneurysms compared to alternative therapies.In clinical testing, the WEB system was shown to be highly effective and safer than other options.The minimally invasive nature of the procedure means most patients are able to go home the next day.In addition to unruptured aneurysms, the WEB system may be used in some cases in which the aneurysm has already ruptured, potentially providing more desirable options for treatment.”Before this device was available, ruptured wide-necked aneurysms often required open-brain surgery to clip the aneurysm as a stent is not ideal in those patients because of the need for blood thinners,” said Crowley. “This device will let us endovascularly treat a much larger number of aneurysms than we ever have before, and fewer patients may need surgical clipping of their aneurysm”. Source:Rush University Medical Center This new device is a game changer for patients with complex brain aneurysms. Prior to this major advent in endovascular therapy, treatment was often more risky and difficult for a substantial number of those patients.”Dr. Webster Crowley, chief of cerebrovascular and endovascular neurosurgery at Rush Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 12 2019Rush University Medical Center is offering a newly FDA-approved treatment for brain aneurysms that is safer for patients and has a shorter recovery period than other treatments.Rush is the first academic medical center in Illinois and the first comprehensive stroke center in the state to offer the Woven EndoBridge (WEB) Aneurysm Embolization System, a minimally invasive option for treating wide-neck bifurcation aneurysms in certain areas of the brain.last_img read more

Neural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to help

first_imgIf we are able to vividly imagine helping someone, then we think we’re more likely to actually do it. Imagining the scenery surrounding the situation can also prompt people to take the perspective of the people in the situation who need help, which in turn prompts prosocial action.”Liane Young, Associate Professor of Psychology, director of the Morality Lab, Boston College Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 12 2019In those split seconds when people witness others in distress, neural pathways in the brain support the drive to help through facets of imagination that allow people to see the episode as it unfolds and envision how to aid those in need, according to a team of Boston College researchers.The underlying process at work is referred to as episodic simulation, essentially the ability of individuals to re-organize memories from the past into a newly-imagined event simulated in the mind.Neuroimaging helped the researchers identify multiple neural pathways that explain the relationship between imagination and the willingness to help others, researchers from Boston College and the University of Albany, SUNY, reported recently in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.The team explored two separate brain regions with different functions: the right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ), a key brain region thought to be involved in representing the minds of other people, also known as “perspective-taking”; and the medial temporal lobe (MTL) subsystem, a set of brain regions that support the simulation of imagined scenes.The study discovered evidence for the direct impact of scene imagery on willingness to help, according to Boston College Associate Professor of Psychology Liane Young, a co-author and the principal investigator on the project. While study participants imagined helping scenes, neural activity in MTL predicted overall willingness to help the person in need, according to the article, “A role for the medial temporal lobe subsystem in guiding prosociality: the effect of episodic processes on willingness to help others,” which was published in the journal’s April 14 edition. This may be because of a phenomenon known as imagination inflation, where humans use the vividness of their imagination as a kind of cue to estimate the likelihood of an event, according to the co-authors, which also included former BC postdoctoral researcher Brendan Gaesser, now an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Albany, SUNY, research assistants Joshua Hirschfeld-Kroen and Emily A. Wasserman, and undergraduate research assistant Mary Horn.Related StoriesPosterior parietal cortex plays crucial role in making decisions, research showsRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaThe team set out to learn how the capacity to simulate imagined and remembered scenes of helping motivate individuals to form more altruistic intentions. The goal was to uncover the cognitive and neural mechanisms that explain the relationship between episodic simulation and the enhanced willingness to help those in need.In the first experiment, which allowed the team to look at both brain regions, the researchers collected functional brain images as people imagined and remembered helping others in hypothetical scenarios. In the second experiment, while people were imagining helping another person, the team used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to disrupt activity in their right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ), a key brain region thought to be involved in representing the minds of other people.Neuroimaging revealed that the willingness to help was also predicted by activity in the RTPJ, a critical node that’s involved in taking the perspective of other people, according to the researchers. However, in the second experiment, when the team used TMS to temporarily inhibit activity in the RTPJ, they found that the altruistic effect of vividly imagining helping remained significant, suggesting that this effect doesn’t depend exclusively on perspective-taking.”We had initially expected that higher neural activity in the medial temporal lobe subsystem would be associated with a greater willingness to help,” the team reported. “Surprisingly, we found the opposite: the more activity a person had in their MTL subsystem while they were imagining helping scenes, the less willing they were to help the person in need.”This contradiction may be explained by lower MTL activity reflecting greater ease of imagining episodes, and that ease of imagination means that participants are more willing to help. Consistent with this account, the team found that when participants reported finding it easier to imagine or remember helping episodes, they also tended to report being more willing to help the person in need.Young and Gaesser recently found in a separate study, led by BC postdoctoral researcher Jaclyn Ford and Professor Elizabeth Kensinger, that vividly remembering helping was associated with making more generous donations in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Next steps in the research will further connect the lab’s neuroimaging approach with measures of real-world altruistic behavior. Source:Boston CollegeJournal reference:Gaesser, B. et al. (2019) A role for the medial temporal lobe subsystem in guiding prosociality: the effect of episodic processes on willingness to help others. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsz014.last_img read more

Maker of fearsome animal robots slowly emerges from stealth

first_img Walking robots, a YouTube sensation, get ready for market The firm’s previous military projects included a four-legged robotic pack mule that could haul supplies across deserts or mountains—but which sounded like a lawnmower and was reportedly deemed too noisy by the U.S. Marines.The bigger question of just what Boston Dynamics hopes to accomplish remains murky—and that may be by design. Interviews with eight former Boston Dynamics employees and some of Raibert’s former academic collaborators suggest that that the company has long brushed aside commercial demands, not to mention outsiders’ moral or ethical concerns, in single-minded pursuit of machines that mimic animal locomotion.Former employees say the company has operated more as a well-funded research lab than a business. Raibert’s vision was kept alive for years through military contracts, especially from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA. A federal contracting database lists more than $150 million in defense funding to Boston Dynamics since 1994.Boston Dynamics said only it believes a quarter-century of work on robots will “unlock a very high commercial value.” It did not answer when asked if it ever entertained proposals to weaponize them.Building robots that can jump, gallop or prowl like animals was a fringe field of engineering when Raibert and his colleagues began studying kangaroo and ostrich videos in their Carnegie Mellon University research lab nearly 40 years ago. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert shows the SpotMini robot during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. For nine years, the secretive firm, which got its start with U.S. military funding, has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. For nine years, the secretive firm—which got its start with U.S. military funding—has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators.In one, a life-size robotic wildcat sprints across a parking lot at almost 20 miles an hour. In another, a small wheeled rover nicknamed SandFlea abruptly flings itself onto rooftops—and back down again. A more recent effort features a slender dog-like robot that climbs stairs, holds its own in a tug-of-war with a human and opens a door to let another robot pass.These glimpses into a possible future of fast, strong and sometimes intimidating robots raise several questions. How do these robots work? What does Boston Dynamics intend to do with them? And do these videos—some viewed almost 30 million times—fairly represent their capabilities?Boston Dynamics has demonstrated little interest in elaborating. For months, the company and its parent, SoftBank, rebuffed numerous requests seeking information about its work. When a reporter visited company headquarters in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Massachusetts, he was turned away.But after The Associated Press spoke with 10 people who have worked with Boston Dynamics or its 68-year-old founder, Marc Raibert, the CEO agreed to a brief interview at a robotics conference in late May. Raibert had just demonstrated the machine that will be the company’s first commercial robot in its 26-year history: the dog-like, door-opening SpotMini, which Boston Dynamics plans to sell to businesses as a camera-equipped security guard next year.The company hasn’t announced a price for the battery-powered robots, which weigh about the same as a Labrador retriever. Raibert said it plans to manufacture 1,000 SpotMinis annually. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert smiles as he responds to a question during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. For nine years, the secretive firm, which got its start with U.S. military funding, has unnerved people around the world with YouTube videos of experimental robots resembling animal predators. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. But the secretive firm, which for nine years has unnerved viewers with YouTube videos of robots that jump, gallop or prowl like animal predators, is starting to emerge from a quarter-century of stealth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Citation: Maker of fearsome animal robots slowly emerges from stealth (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-maker-fearsome-animal-robots-slowly.html But agile robots aren’t so sci-fi anymore, even if they can still seem that way. Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, for instance, is a hulking humanoid machine that can be seen hiking across broken ground, jumping onto pedestals, and even performing an ungainly backflip . (The company’s robot videos have not been independently verified.)In videos, the company’s robots wander through a variety of locales—in and around the company’s single-story headquarters, a New Hampshire ski lodge and across the secluded meadows and woodlands near Raibert’s home. In some videos, humans kick the robots or jab them with hockey sticks to test their balance.Michael Cheponis, who worked with Raibert at CMU’s pioneering robot laboratory in the 1980s, calls his former colleague an “American hero” for sticking with a vision that could prove useful to the world. “Marc doesn’t have the slightest Dr. Evil in him,” Cheponis said.The defense contracts began winding down in 2013 when Google bought Boston Dynamics and made clear it wanted no part in defense work. Andy Rubin, then Google’s chief robotics executive and architect of the acquisition, swept into the firm’s lunchroom to give a pep talk to employees shortly after the deal was announced in December 2013.Attendees later said they felt a sense of relief and cautious optimism. “He was talking about really ambitious goals,” said one former employee, who asked not to be identified because of concerns it could hurt career opportunities in the small and tight-knit U.S. robotics community. “A robot that might be able to help the elderly and infirm. Robots that work in grocery stores. Robots that deliver packages.”But the Google honeymoon soon soured. Rubin left the company the following year and his replacements overseeing Boston Dynamics grew increasingly frustrated with Raibert’s approach, according to several people familiar with the transition. Among the concerns: Boston Dynamics’ lack of focus on building a sellable product.Google also grew concerned that “negative threads” on social media about the firm’s “terrifying” robot videos could hurt its image, according to leaked emails from its public relations division obtained by Bloomberg in 2016. Inside the company, the idea that its robots could be turned into weapons occasionally inspired casual workplace chatter, chuckles or discomfort, several former employees said. But few took it seriously.”They’re definitely aware that people are frightened by them,” said Andrew String, a former Boston Dynamics engineer. “The company regularly gets hate mail and other weird stuff.” But he said Raibert never felt a need to explain himself, and instead wanted the technology to speak for itself.By 2016, Google was looking to sell the firm—eventually finding an interested buyer in Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which already has a robotics portfolio that includes the cute humanoid Pepper. The deal closed earlier this year.SoftBank declined to say anything about its plans, but Boston Dynamics’ latest job postings reveal a heightened emphasis on finding something that sells. One posting seeks a “robot evangelist” to help find “market-driven” applications for the machines in logistics, construction and commercial security.Raibert credited Google for pushing the firm forward to perform the “best work we ever did,” but said under SoftBank his team is acting as a “standalone company” again.”We have a very strong plan,” he said. “We’re all digging in and working hard on it.” In this Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo a Boston Dynamics SpotMini robot is walks through a conference room during a robotics summit in Boston. It’s never been clear whether robotics company Boston Dynamics is making killing machines, household helpers, or something else entirely. But the secretive firm, which for nine years has unnerved viewers with YouTube videos of robots that jump, gallop or prowl like animal predators, is starting to emerge from a quarter-century of stealth. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Speculation about Boston Dynamics’ intentions—weapons or servants?—spikes every time it releases a new video. The SpotMini straddles that divide, and Raibert told the AP that he doesn’t rule out future military applications. But he played down popular fears that his company’s robots could one day be used to kill.”We think about that, but that’s also true for cars, airplanes, computers, lasers,” Raibert said, wearing his omnipresent Hawaiian shirt as younger robotics engineers lined up to speak with him. “Every technology you can imagine has multiple ways of using it. If there’s a scary part, it’s just that people are scary. I don’t think the robots by themselves are scary.” 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