Monday, February 27, 2017 Tags: Sunwing Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — The Sunwing Travel Group has been named one of Canada’s 300 Best Employers by global media company Forbes.Forbes surveyed over 8,000 Canadian employees, including 81% full-timers, working for companies with at least 500 people, to rate their willingness to recommend their own companies on a scale of one to 10. Those who took part in the survey were consulted anonymously through several online access panels.“We believe investing in our employees is vital and are extremely pleased to be included in this list,” said Stephen Hunter, President and CEO of Sunwing Travel Group. “The Sunwing Travel Group has grown and expanded dramatically over the years and we attribute this growth and success to the passion and dedication of our team.”The Sunwing Travel Group now employs almost 17,000 people internationally and has been included on the PROFIT 500 list for the last 12 years consecutively.The company recently launched a new user-friendly HR portal to provide employees access to their payroll and benefits. Employees working at the company’s headquarters in Toronto, recently extended and refurbished, get free parking and a subsidized staff restaurant and coffee house. Sunwing is also the only airline to reward employees with confirmed flight passes for travelling to and from any of Sunwing’s destinations domestically and internationally, plus staff members receive discounted rates at certain hotels and resorts, as well as selected excursions. Friends and family members of Sunwing employees also benefit from travel promotions. Share Forbes names Sunwing Travel Group one of Canada’s top employers Travelweek Group
May 6, 2015This continues our report form 5/4 about the fifth annual BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL this past Saturday.This was a very well organized and executed event. Lots of vendors, good food, very good music, the weather was wonderful and a good time was has by all.On the stage is JAM PAK BLUES’N GRASS NEIGHBORHOOD BAND, a terrific group of youngsters. They have been part of this festival here at Arcosanti since its beginning and delight the audience every year.[photos by Colleen Connery]NEAMIAHCISCO AND THE RACECARSGREENWOOD SIDEEThe event was organized by the AZ Highway 69 Chamber of Commerce.A special Thank You goes to Chamber President Ben Satran, who cast the original vision for this event and has supported this festival since its inception.
Huddled at a computer screen at the Denver Recovery Group, counselor Melissa McConnell looks at the latest urinalysis results for her client, Sara Florence.Last fall, it lit up like a Christmas tree. Now it’s all clean. Florence says she stopped using heroin five months ago; she stopped using methamphetamine not long after that.”Shooting it, smoking it, snorting it,” Florence says. “It’s horrible, just made me feel like crap, you know. But I’d still did it. Just makes no sense, you know. It’s just really addicting.”Meth is particularly insidious, she says, because it’s cheap, readily available and “very common. Everybody does it.”Her assessment is in line with drug-overdose numbers from Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment, which show meth’s enduring presence in the state. The drug was found in the systems of 280 Coloradans who died of overdoses in 2017 — up sharply from the year before. That number was more than five times that recorded in 2012.Denver Recovery Group’s executive director, Denise Vincioni, says her organization still sees “rampant use of methamphetamine.” It’s very difficult to treat on an outpatient basis, she says.Admissions for the use of methamphetamine to what was once the state’s largest drug treatment facility — the now-closed Arapahoe House — almost doubled from 2013 to 2017. Statewide figures for meth-related treatment admissions have also risen steadily over the last five years. And there’s a new twist, Vincioni says: In the past, users mainly seemed to stick to one drug — opioid pills or heroin or cocaine. Now, they’re using those along with meth.”They’re almost going hand in hand,” says Vincioni.McConnell says once people come in for treatment, “They start to get off the opiates, but their meth use increases.”Contrary to the portrayal of meth production in popular TV dramas, the meth in Colorado these days is rarely cooked up in neighborhood basements from local drugstore ingredients. Instead, it’s mostly imported, often along the same routes as heroin.”I would say almost 100 percent of our meth comes from Mexico,” says Tom Gorman, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Much of it is mass produced there, he says, in “superlabs.”The drug’s continued impact shows up in police statistics. Denver arrests for possession of meth nearly tripled in 2017 compared to 2013. The amount of methamphetamine seized by HIDTA-funded drug task forces across Colorado, as well as by Colorado state patrol officers, went up sharply from 2016 to 2017.Meth has been overshadowed by opioids and marijuana in news headlines in Colorado recently, Gorman says, but “we’ve had a meth problem in this area for a long time.”Are more people using the drug now?”Maybe,” he says. “But it’s always been our number one problem.”Sara Florence at the Denver Recovery Group is a 36-year-old mother of three. Her reliance on drugs started early, she says — at age 15, when her parents gave her pain pills for a toothache. Just like that, she was hooked.”I grew up around it, you know,” Florence says. “It was around me, my environment. Both my parents were addicts, and so, you know, it was kind of rough not to be one.”Those troubles eventually led to heroin and an eight year struggle with meth. The day she got arrested for stealing a Subaru was when she hit bottom, Florence says.”I was homeless and had nowhere to live, and driving the stolen vehicle and sleeping in it.” The ultimate charge, Florence says, was “aggravated motor vehicle theft.”Then it was off to drug court and eventually to the Denver Recovery Group. After seeing her drug test come back clean, counselor McConnell gave Florence a big hug.”It’s just so much better quality life now that I’m not doing anything,” Florence says. “This is the cleanest I’ve been since I was 15 years old.”Still, Vincioni worries about the impact of this latest meth surge — how it could affect her clients. People with a dependency on more than one drug are that much harder to treat, and that limits their chances of “continued sustained recovery,” she says.Her facility treats clients on an outpatient basis, but Vincioni knows that many would need more intensive inpatient services to deal with a meth addiction.”It’s very difficult to stabilize patients who continue to use meth,” Vincioni says.If a client drops out of the treatment and counseling program at Denver Recovery Group, the staff often doesn’t know what happens to them. The worry is they might not survive.This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with Colorado Public Radio and Kaiser Health News. Copyright 2018 CPR News. To see more, visit CPR News.
Tom Brant What to Expect From Google I/O 2017 Add to Queue Google CEO Sundar Pichai once downplayed his company’s efforts to make its own smartphones. But then he announced the Pixel last fall — a “phone by Google” — which quickly vaulted to the top of many a “best Android phones” roundup, including PCMag’s.In fact, the Pixel was just one of several new hardware offerings Google launched last year. You can now buy Google-branded products to automate your home, fix your spotty Wi-Fi, beam your browser window to the nearest TV and even escape to a virtual world. And since consumer electronics are relentlessly killed off and reincarnated, many of the devices Google announced last year will likely be updated onstage at this year’s Google I/O developers conference, set to begin on Wednesday near the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif.Like any Silicon Valley giant, Google — often via its Alphabet parent company — also has its hands in a dizzying array of projects beyond hardware and the internet tools on which it originally staked its claim to fame. So Pichai and his fellow Googlers could reveal more about the company’s initiatives in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and more at this year’s conference. Here’s what to expect.Android OGoogle released the developer preview of the next version of its Android OS in late March, codenamed Android O. It has spent the two intervening months in a feedback phase, still rough around the edges (here’s what we know so far). That could change on Wednesday, when we’ll likely get more details about the new operating system’s headline features.Some of what we expect to hear about Android O is related to artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality. The preview doesn’t have much in the way of support for VR or AR, but since Google makes its own Daydream View VR headset, that will likely change in the finished version.As for AI, Android O will likely have deeper integration with the Google Assistant, the company’s answer to Siri and Amazon Alexa. At only a year old, the Google Assistant is relatively young as personal voice assistants go, which means there’s lots of room for standalone growth and integrations with Android. To get the Assistant into the hands of as many consumers as possible, Google will likely make it easier for OEMs to implement it on Android O. It currently works with phones running Marshmallow or Nougat, but only if they use Google Play and have 1.5GB of memory and 720p or higher screen resolution.We also expect to hear about some back-end improvements to Android: Google has already promised improvements to get new versions of the OS onto existing devices faster, which should help solve the chronic rollout delays that are one of Android’s chief weaknesses compared to Apple’s fast-updating iOS. Watch for Google to boost Android’s security features, too, and maybe even announce a moniker (“Oreo,” perhaps?) that follows Google’s convention of naming OS versions after confectionary treats.Pixel and DaydreamA new OS version deserves new hardware, so Google is reportedly planning to update the Pixel and the Pixel XL, as well as roll out an entirely new phone. Details on the Pixel updates are scarce, but Android Police reports they’ll stick to roughly the same screen sizes. A third handset, codenamed “Taimen,” is also in the works, according to Droid Life, and it could have a display that’s even larger than Pixel XL’s 5.5-inch screen.As for virtual reality, I/O probably won’t bring major updates to Google’s Daydream View VR headset, which just went on sale last November. But it could offer more details on Google’s plans for a new standalone VR or AR headset, the likes of which are already in development or production at Oculus, Qualcomm and other companies. Google has been working on such a device for more than a year, according to a Wall Street Journal report in February 2016.Google Home and the Google AssistantSince Google is a relative latecomer to voice assistants, it has been churning out incremental updates over the past year, from selling Google Home in more countries to adding skills to the Google Assistant, including the ability to have it start your Benz and read you recipes in the kitchen. There are now more than 200 of these skills, but that still pales in comparison to the thousands available for Amazon’s Alexa.Google will likely use I/O to announce a major update beyond additional skills, like new developer tools for building the assistant into more devices. We could even see a new Google-branded speaker or other device, such as a speaker-and-router combo, especially since Amazon now has a handful of devices powered by Alexa, like the new Echo Show and Echo Look.I/O will also feature demos of further Assistant integration with cars, including a standalone version of Android Auto that doesn’t require you to plug in your phone to access Assistant and other features, according to Bloomberg.Android TV and Android WearThis one’s a gimme: we know there will be some updates to the versions of Android that power home entertainment devices, thanks to an I/O session that will cover “new APIs, features and upcoming platform enhancements” for Android TV.There’s a similar session for developers to learn about features in the next version of Android Wear. The current version, Android Wear 2.0, hit the first smartwatches and fitness trackers in February.Allo and other softwareGoogle’s Allo chat app has languished somewhat since its unveiling last year, due in part to security concerns as well as the dominance of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and other more established competitors. If Google intends to revive it, I/O would be a good opportunity for some new feature announcements, but the company could just as easily abandon Allo, especially as it focuses on its other communication apps like Duo and Hangouts.On the operating system front, Google has a few tricks up its sleeve that we could learn more about, including plans to integrate the Chrome and Android operating systems so that Android apps can run on PCs. There’s also the Fuscia OS, still in the very early planning stages — so early, in fact, that it’s unclear what sort of devices Google intends it to power.The futureGoogle’s parent Alphabet is working on a ton of technology that won’t show up for download on the web or on the shelves of your local Best Buy any time soon. From self-driving cars to algorithms that can beat the world’s best Go players, there are a ton of geeky and futuristic endeavors that could show up in the spotlight this week. PCMag will be in Mountain View this week to bring you the latest from I/O, and you can also live stream Wednesday’s keynote address. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business –shares Next Article This story originally appeared on PCMag Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Image credit: via PC Mag Google News reporter Thousands of software and hardware developers will descend on the Googleplex to hear about the company’s latest products. Here’s what they might be. Register Now »
Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuters Cuba Add to Queue Image credit: REUTERS | Stringer Reuters The United States on Friday dramatically eased restrictions on imports of goods and services from private Cuban entrepreneurs as part of Washington’s rapprochement with Havana after more than half a century of enmity.The U.S. State Department said the import of all goods and services was now permissible except in certain broad categories, which include arms, live animals, tobacco, vehicles, mineral products, machinery, and some textiles and base metals.”The administration had made it very clear they are changing the thrust of U.S. policy to allow the private sector in Cuba to blossom,” said Pedro Freyre, chair of law firm Akerman LLP’s international practice. “Of course there are two ends to this. We are still waiting to see how it is going to play out in Cuba.”Under Cuban law, private sector entrepreneurs cannot independently import and export products or services without a government license. However, artists are allowed to sell their work to foreigners, and there is also an exotic bird cooperative that obtained a license in 2013.The goods that can now be imported exclude those specified in the following sections of the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule:Section I: Live Animals; Animal Products (all chapters);Section II: Vegetable Products (all chapters)Section III: Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils and their Cleavage Products; Prepared Edible Fats; Animal or Vegetable Waxes (all chapters)Section IV: Prepared Foodstuffs; Beverages, Spirits, and Vinegar; Tobacco and Manufactured Tobacco Substitutes (all chapters)Section V: Mineral Products (all chapters)Section VI: Products of the Chemical or Allied Industries (chapters 28-32; 35-36, 38)Section XI: Textile and Textile Articles (chapters 51-52)Section XV: Base Metals and Articles of Base Metal (chapters 72-81)Section XVI: Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Electrical Equipment; Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and Parts and Accessories of Such Articles (all chapters)Section XVII: Vehicles, Aircraft, Vessels, and Associated Transportation Equipment (all chapters)Section XIX: Arms and Ammunition; Parts and Accessories Thereof (all chapters).(Reporting David Adams, Marc Frank, Arshad Mohammed and Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Sandra Maler) –shares February 13, 2015 2 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Next Article U.S. Eases Restrictions on Imports From Private Cuban Entrepreneurs
Volkswagen German automaker Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay more than $15.3 billion in a settlement with U.S. regulators over pollution caused by its diesel vehicles, according to a source briefed on the matter.The settlement stems from VW’s admission in September that it intentionally misled regulators by installing secret software that allowed U.S. vehicles to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution. It covers 475,000 2.0-liter vehicles.The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree that confirms VW will set aside $10.033 billion to cover buybacks and fixes, $2 billion to invest in green energy funds and $2.7 billion to offset diesel emissions.Shares of VW were up 4.6 percent at 111 euros.A source briefed on the matter said VW would announce a separate settlement with at least 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that will cost at least $600 million.The actual amount VW will spend on buybacks could be significantly less if regulators approve fixes and owners opt to get vehicles repaired. Most owners will get at least $5,100 in compensation in addition to the pre-scandal value of the cars and up to $10,000, documents filed on Tuesday said.Volkswagen expects to begin buying back vehicles in October, when a U.S. judge is expected to give final approval to the settlement and is to start proposing fixes in November. Some vehicles will require significant mechanical fixes.VW cannot resell or export the vehicles bought back unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves a fix, the documents said. Volkswagen must repair or buy back 85 percent of the 475,000 vehicles by June 2019 or face penalties of $100 million for every percentage point it falls below that figure.The settlement does not cover fees for the lawyers of owners suing VW or address 80,000 larger polluting 3.0 liter Porsche, Audi and VW diesel cars. Also to be decided later is the amount of any civil fine VW faces under the U.S. Clean Air Act for emissions violations.(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn) Volkswagen Agrees to $15.3 Billion Settlement in Diesel Pollution Case Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business –shares Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Reuters Next Article 2 min read June 28, 2016 Image credit: Reuters | Suzanne Plunkett Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Reuters Register Now »
EMEAFionnuala MeehangoogleGrow My StoreMarket FinderMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleSlalom and Amperity Partner to Help Brands Get More Value from Their DataNext ArticleBlueVenn and London Research Release Customer Data Platform Maturity Model Google launches Grow my Store for Europe MTS Staff WriterMay 14, 2019, 7:04 pmMay 14, 2019 Google launches a new tool today to help retailers improve their customer online and omnichannel experiences. As users become more demanding about the information and service they expect online – and as retailers across Europe struggle to meet these expectations – Grow My Store scores retailers’ websites and generates bespoke reports with recommendations to help retailers improve the online experience they offer and grow their business.This could include clear pricing and intuitive navigation, personalising the experience for shoppers, providing live chat support or making sure the site is mobile-friendly. Grow My Store tests retailers against up to 22 metrics based on in-depth studies into customer experience best practices.The site will initially be available in English, French, German (DACH region) and Spanish with other European countries to follow in 2019.Google created the tool as consumers become more demanding about the information and service they expect from retailers online. Building on the success of the International Growth platform Market Finder, a free tool which helps businesses to go global by guiding them along the export journey step by step, it became clear that a similar tool would be helpful for retailers to grow their businesses. Grow My Store will also direct users to relevant Google products and services that can move their business to the next phase of growth.Marketing Technology News: Outdated Technology Preventing Banks from Investing in Disruptive Technologies, According to Fenergo SurveyFionnuala Meehan, VP EMEA, Google Customer Solutions, said: “For retailers of all sizes, their website is their digital flagship store, so Google wants to help retailers to make their online and omnichannel customer experience as appealing as possible to customers. That’s why we have built a tool that brings together all this valuable insight into one place and then uses that insight to create bespoke recommendations for retailers providing clear support and advice.”Retailer websites should be a number one priority for both online and multichannel retailers, with 90% of EMEA shoppers who visited a store in the last week saying they used online search prior to going in-store. Despite rising customer expectations many retailers across EMEA are failing to provide a best in class experience with 23% of retailers not publishing any contact information of their stores on their website.Retailer recommendations in the Grow My Store tool are market specific and based on country-level research.For example, almost two thirds (63%) of UK consumers say that clearly displayed prices are important for a good online shopping experience – and 77% of them want the search and filtering tools to feel intuitive and familiar.Marketing Technology News: RainFocus Recognized as Account-Based Marketing Thought LeaderIn Spain, 40% of customers list next day delivery as something that would most increase their likelihood of buying a product, while 81% say that free delivery is important for them to have a good online shopping experience.In France, most shopper research occurs on mobile, while purchases still tend to happen on desktop.More than half (58%) of German consumers say an easy returns policy would increase their likelihood of buying a product online.Marketing Technology News: The Measurement Advantage: Marketing Leaders Are Four Times As Likely As Laggards To Exceed Business Goals, Grow Revenue, And Gain Market Share
AkamaiEdge Cloud SolutionIn-Application MessagingIoTNewsQuality of Service Previous ArticleTranslations.com Debuts Four New Salesforce Cloud Integrations For GlobalLink Translation Management SystemNext ArticleEpos Now Launches Shopify Integration to Simplify Offline and Online Business Management IoT Edge Connect, the newest product in the Edge Cloud solution line, enables real-time messaging and reliability to millions of IoT and application endpointsAkamai, the intelligent edge platform for securing and delivering digital experiences, unveiled Edge Cloud, a solution line that leverages the power of the Akamai edge platform to streamline and secure the delivery of data to connected devices and in-application messaging at scale. Edge Cloud is designed to serve the needs of businesses bringing billions of endpoints online as part of the IoT connected device revolution and further boost the adoption and power of in-application messaging.Solves Critical Scale and Operational Challenges According to IoT Analytics Research, by 2025, approximately 22 billion connected devices will be sending data across the Internet. In addition, billions of application instances will be sending trillions of messages, and these endpoints represent both vast opportunities and challenges for businesses in terms of harnessing, distributing and protecting the data.From car makers to hotel operators, virtually every industry is incorporating endpoints in the form of connected devices and applications into their business strategies, capitalizing on the ubiquity of Internet access. However, building and managing the infrastructure required to support, scale and secure these experiences can be incredibly time-, cost- and resource-intensive for organizations and not a part of their core competency.“Akamai is investing to extend its network capabilities with the goal of meeting the unique needs of the growing IoT device and application messaging markets,” said Craig Adams, senior vice president and general manager, Web Performance and Security, Akamai Technologies. “Delivering massive amounts of data across the globe securely is in Akamai’s DNA. We are focused on developing technology designed to scale, simplify and secure the way IoT and application data is delivered to endpoints.”Marketing Technology News: Nami ML Emerges from Stealth to Unveil the Future of Mobile App SubscriptionsOffers Global Scale and Connectivity for Data Management The Edge Cloud solution line provides global scale that other data platforms for IoT and messaging lack. Most vendors designed their networks to serve the early adopters where scale, manageability and performance were not necessarily a concern. As more use cases emerge for IoT and in-application messaging, such as Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), the need to offer connectivity for billions of devices, real-time data delivery and capabilities that allow for easier data management are a requirement.IoT Edge Connect, a new product within the Edge Cloud solution line, tackles these challenges head on by offering a secure framework. Both resource-constrained IoT devices and applications using MQTT for messaging can send or publish information about a given topic to a server that functions as an MQTT message broker.IoT Edge Connect offers:Scalability: IoT Edge Connect is architected to scale to support hundreds of millions of endpoints and 10-times more messages than other IoT or in-app messaging cloud solutions. The service reduces device battery drain and optimizes data delivery speed and volume.Ease of use: Because the service is designed as one continuous global service (logical service) and is fully integrated with an all-in-one data stream, distributed database and a key value store, operations are simplified across the globe.Security: End-to-end mutual authentication is designed to ensure secure communication between connected endpoints and the Akamai Edge Cloud, while the fully-managed solution also supports data isolation requirements.Reliability: Businesses can easily and efficiently take advantage of MQTT. In fact, the service is the only International Standard Organization-compliant cloud broker of the major cloud providers with all three levels of Quality of Service (QoS).Marketing Technology News: Intertrust and Vewd Partner to Introduce Next Generation Content Protection for HbbTVWith IoT Edge Connect, developers can enable low-latency interactions with millions of endpoints and process data in real-time. Customers using the service can reduce network, compute and database build out, reduce security breaches and improve manageability, avoiding the need to develop and maintain proprietary and costly IoT and in-app messaging networks.“Akamai believes that we are offering the next generation of messaging with scalability, operational simplicity and security, providing a turn-key solution that allows customers to focus on their core business rather than integrating and managing discreet but necessary components for messaging,” said Lior Netzer, vice president and CTO, IoT, Akamai. “With the launch of IoT Edge Connect, we’re harnessing the power of the Edge and bringing it to the next frontier of connected devices and applications.”Marketing Technology News: Loyalty Brands Announces Partnership with Textellent To Deliver Innovative SMS Sales & Marketing Capabilities Akamai Introduces the Edge Cloud Solution, Designed to Scale, Secure and Simplify IoT Connected Device and In-Application Messaging PRNewswireJune 17, 2019, 2:31 pmJune 17, 2019
Researchers have known for decades that mice — unlike humans — can regenerate hair follicles after a deep wound. Recent studies by Garza and others found that loose pieces of RNA, called self-noncoding double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) can spur this regeneration. They hypothesize that this may be because dsRNA is released by damaged cells at the site of a wound. Garza and his colleagues were curious whether dsRNA also played a role in skin rejuvenation treatments such as laser therapy, microneedling and facial abrasion, which all involve temporary damage to skin cells. Although these treatments are well-established among dermatologists, researchers haven’t been clear why they work.The team collected biopsies from 17 patients being treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital with conventional laser skin rejuvenation to electively erase sunspots and wrinkles. All patients were Caucasian women with an average age of 55, and treatments were performed on their faces and arms. Skin biopsies were collected before the laser treatment and one week after the procedure.Garza and his colleagues analyzed the expression levels of genes in each sample and discovered that genes involved in sensing dsRNA as well as genes involved in producing the skin’s natural retinoic acid were all expressed at higher levels after the laser treatment. Next, the researchers treated isolated human skin cells with loose dsRNA — mimicking the effect of the laser treatment. The amount of retinoic acid inside the cells increased by more than tenfold. Commercially produced retinoic acid is already used to treat acne, wrinkles and sunspots. Understanding the biology behind how cellular damage can lead to this type of regeneration can harness a new generation of therapeutics”Luis Garza, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Related StoriesScientists unravel how DNA organizes and preserves genetic informationSmarter, more educated people get a cognitive ‘head start’, but aren’t protected from Alzheimer’sOne-fifth of U.S. surgeons still ‘overusing’ riskier method to create kidney dialysis access, study findsTo further strengthen and understand the connection, the researchers turned back to mice. They knew that in both mice and humans, a protein called toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) senses dsRNA. When Garza’s group engineered mice to lack TLR3, the animals could no longer regenerate hair follicles after a wound. But when the researchers gave these mice retinoic acid, they regained the ability to regenerate the follicles. The results point toward a pathway involving TLR3 that senses double-stranded RNA and turns up the synthesis of retinoic acid.“In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense because retinoic acid is already a mainstay of wrinkle reduction and nobody knew what turned it on,” says Garza. “Now we know that damage leads to dsRNA, which leads to TLR3 activation and retinoic acid synthesis.”The findings could lead to novel strategies to reduce wrinkles and sunspots by combining retinoic acid and laser treatments in new ways, Garza says. And they could also lead to ways to regenerate hair follicles, as mice do when there’s an increase in dsRNA after a wound.“After a burn, humans don’t regenerate structures like hair follicles and sweat glands that used to be there,” says Garza. “It’s possible in light of these new findings that double-stranded RNA may be able to improve the appearance of burn scars.” Source:Johns Hopkins MedicineJournal reference:Kim, D. et al. (2019) Noncoding dsRNA induces retinoic acid synthesis to stimulate hair follicle regeneration via TLR3. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10811-y. It’s not an accident that laser rejuvenation and retinoic acid have both been successful treatments for premature aging of the skin from sun damage and other forms of exposure. They’re actually working in the same molecular pathways and nobody knew that until now.”Luis Garza Jul 16 2019Want to smooth out your wrinkles, erase scars and sunspots, and look years younger? Millions of Americans a year turn to lasers and prescription drugs to rejuvenate their skin, but exactly how that rejuvenation works has never been fully explained. Now, Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered that laser treatments and the drug retinoic acid share a common molecular pathway. Moreover, that pathway — which lets skin cells sense loose RNA molecules — is also turned up in mice when they regenerate hair follicles. Results are described in the June 26 issue of Nature Communications. Credit: Getty images
Lawyers for Martin Tripp filed a counterclaim in federal court in Reno on Tuesday alleging that any damages Tesla incurred were caused or contributed to by Tesla’s “own negligence, acts or omissions.”Tripp alleges that up to $200 million worth of battery module parts for Tesla’s Model 3 vehicle were incorrectly categorized as scrap earlier this year. He said more than 700 dented and/or punctured modules were not discarded and instead were being shipped or were in the process of being shipped to customers.Tesla officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press on Thursday. 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. A former Tesla Inc. employee at the electric car maker’s battery plant in Nevada is seeking at least $1 million in defamation damages after it accused him of hacking into computers and stealing confidential information leaked to the media. Tesla sues ex-employee alleging data theft, leaks to media Explore further Citation: Ex-Tesla worker accused of hacking seeks $1M in counterclaim (2018, August 2) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-ex-tesla-worker-accused-hacking-1m.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Provided by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne Credit: CC0 Public Domain Creating and modifying a virtual reality environment just got a lot easier thanks to software being released today by Imverse, an EPFL spin-off. The secret behind Imverse’s program, which works much like a photo editor, is a three-dimensional rendering engine based on 3-D pixels called voxels. The rendering engine can be used for other virtual reality applications as well, such as depicting real people. The startup’s initial target market is the movie and video game industry. Imverse is also aiming high for another reason: the technology on which its software is based can be used for many other applications. The company’s powerful voxel-based rendering engine obviates the need for those notorious polygon grids so familiar to video-game and animated-film makers. Voxels are not new, but until recently they required too much computing power to be feasible for real-time rendering.”This technology was developed over the past 12 years at EPFL’s Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, for use in neurology research. It lets us create smarter tools, processes and approaches for connecting hardware and software,” says Bello, a virtual reality expert. Bello, together with colleague and co-founder Robin Mange, sees broader implications – and thus a particularly bright future – for their technology. “And not just in virtual reality – we started with that field to show the high level of precision it can attain,” he adds.Shaking a friend’s hand in the real and virtual worlds at the same timeThe startup is also hard at work on bringing real-time representations of users’ bodies – and of other people around – into the virtual reality environment. Their mixed-reality technology has already been used by an artist to make a short film called Elastic Time. They showcased their system at Sundance, giving industry professionals a chance to try it out. “The ability for people to interact in real time in both the real and virtual worlds will lead to ever more possibilities,” concludes Bello. Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne A voxel-based, high-potential technology Wearing a virtual reality headset and using manual controllers, you can use Imverse’s new software to select tools that let you bring depth, cut, paste, paint and zoom in and out – much like in a photo editor. Your virtual environment can therefore respond to your creative flourishes, even from a 2-D or 360 photo: in an instant, your surroundings can change as you push back walls, create space here and there, add furniture and experiment with colors. The beta version of this software program will be available online starting today.Creating a 3-D scenario 10 times fasterImverse’s time-saving technology could come in handy in a wide range of fields, such as real estate, architects, graphic designers, decorators and photgraphers – engineers could even use it for certain kinds of modeling. But the EPFL spin-off is initially setting its sights on the movie, medias and video game industry, where its software could be used for such tasks as sketching out scenarios in 3-D, previewing movie sets and how they could change during a film and mapping out the locations of cameras and actors. “Producers can use it to take a photo of a real set, convert the 360 degrees image into a 3-D environment and then, using virtual reality, edit it in order to visualize the scene before they film it. And they’ll be able to do these things 10 times faster than with conventional programs,” says Javier Bello, the startup’s co-founder and CEO.Setting its sights on the movie industry from the start may seem ambitious, but the company has done its homework. Imverse’s founders have already begun feeling out the industry and making contacts, including at Sundance – the largest independent film festival in the US – early this year, and then later at the Cannes Film Festival. “Our first target market is the entertainment industry, because people who work there are already familiar with the types of software used for visual effects and motion capture. They can quickly grasp how our program can simplify their work and save them time,” adds Bello. What’s more, going after the movie and game industry will put them into contact with heavyweights like Intel, Microsoft and Oculus. Immersive virtual-reality creation software for everyone Explore further Citation: Modifying a virtual environment in just a few clicks (2018, October 17) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-virtual-environment-clicks.html 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.
© 2019 AFP The US tech giant said profit was $8.4 billion in the fiscal second quarter to December 31, compared with a loss in the same period a year ago on funds set aside for one-time charges,Revenues in the period rose 12 percent to $32.5 billion, Microsoft said in results a shade below most market forecasts, prompting a drop of some 3.5 percent in after-hours trade.Chief executive Satya Nadella said Microsoft continues to see gains from its cloud services after having shifted away from many of its consumer offerings.”Our strong commercial cloud results reflect our deep and growing partnerships with leading companies in every industry including retail, financial services and healthcare,” Nadella said.”We are delivering differentiated value across the cloud and edge as we work to earn customer trust every day.”The transformation of Microsoft has brought it back to the ranks of the world’s most valuable companies after years of lagging behind the likes of Apple and Google.Microsoft ended the day in a virtual tie with Amazon, with a market valuation of more than $800 billion for each of the companies.Microsoft said revenues rose 11 percent from a year ago for its Office commercial software and cloud operations, and one percent for the Office consumer versions.LinkedIn, the professional social network acquired by Microsoft in 2016, saw a 29 percent jump in revenues and “record levels of engagement.”Revenues jumped 20 percent for Microsoft’s “intelligent cloud” services, the business and artificial intelligence unit that has become a core for the company.The company saw a five percent drop from revenue in Windows, the dominant software for personal computers, but a 39 percent gain from Surface, its hardware division that makes tablets and other devices.Gaming revenue edged up eight percent led by Xbox software and services growth and search advertising saw a 14 percent gain in revenues. Microsoft said Wednesday it swung to profit in the past quarter on gains in cloud computing and business services, but shares took a hit on disappointing revenue growth. Explore further 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. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Citation: Microsoft delivers robust profit, but shares take a hit (2019, January 31) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-microsoft-robust-profit.html Microsoft gets earnings boost from ‘cloud’
CSIS spokesman Andrew Schwartz told the AP that “no one named Katie Jones works for us.”Jones also claimed to have earned degrees in Russian studies from the University of Michigan, but the school said it was “unable to find anyone by this name earning these degrees from the university.”The Jones account vanished from LinkedIn shortly after the AP contacted the network seeking comment. Messages sent to Jones herself, via LinkedIn and an associated AOL email account, went unreturned.Numerous experts interviewed by AP said perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Katie Jones persona was her face, which they say appears to be artificially created.Klingemann and other experts said the photo—a closely cropped portrait of a woman with blue-green eyes, copper-colored hair and an enigmatic smile—appeared to have been created using a family of dueling computer programs called generative adversarial networks, or GANs, that can create realistic-looking faces of entirely imaginary people. GANs, sometimes described as a form of artificial intelligence, have been the cause of increasing concern for policymakers already struggling to get a handle on digital disinformation. On Thursday, U.S. lawmakers held their first hearing devoted primarily to the threat of artificially generated imagery.Hao Li, who directs the Vision of Graphics Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, reeled off a list of digital tells that he believes show the Jones photo was created by a computer program, including inconsistencies around Jones’ eyes, the ethereal glow around her hair and smudge marks on her left cheek.”This is a typical GAN,” he said. “I’ll bet money on it.” Russia expert Keir Giles poses for a portrait during an interview at London’s St. Pancras Station on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Giles, who is affiliated with Britain’s Chatham House think tank, was one of the people who was targeted by a LinkedIn user calling herself Katie Jones earlier this year. (AP Photo/Raphael Satter) More information: Test your ability to tell a real face from a fake one at: www.whichfaceisreal.com/Generate your own deepfake faces at: thispersondoesnotexist.com Last month, retired CIA officer Kevin Mallory was sentenced to 20 years in prison for passing details of top secret operations to Beijing, a relationship that began when a Chinese agent posing as a recruiter contacted him on LinkedIn.Unlike Facebook’s friends-and-family focus, LinkedIn is oriented toward job seekers and headhunters, people who routinely fire out resumes, build vast webs of contacts and pitch projects to strangers. That connect-them-all approach helps fill the millions of job openings advertised on the site, but it also provides a rich hunting ground for spies. And that has Western intelligence agencies worried. This image captured on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 shows part of a LinkedIn profile for someone who identified themselves as Katie Jones. The Associated Press has found it is one of many phantom profiles that lurk on the social media platform. (AP Photo) Citation: Experts: Spy used AI-generated face to connect with targets (2019, June 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-experts-spy-ai-generated.html But Katie Jones doesn’t exist, The Associated Press has determined. Instead, the persona was part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on the professional networking site LinkedIn. And several experts contacted by the AP said Jones’ profile picture appeared to have been created by a computer program.”I’m convinced that it’s a fake face,” said Mario Klingemann, a German artist who has been experimenting for years with artificially generated portraits and says he has reviewed tens of thousands of such images. “It has all the hallmarks.”Experts who reviewed the Jones profile’s LinkedIn activity say it’s typical of espionage efforts on the professional networking site, whose role as a global Rolodex has made it a powerful magnet for spies.”It smells a lot like some sort of state-run operation,” said Jonas Parello-Plesner, who serves as program director at the Denmark-based think tank Alliance of Democracies Foundation and was the target several years ago of an espionage operation that began over LinkedIn .William Evanina, director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said foreign spies routinely use fake social media profiles to home in on American targets—and accused China in particular of waging “mass scale” spying on LinkedIn.”Instead of dispatching spies to some parking garage in the U.S to recruit a target, it’s more efficient to sit behind a computer in Shanghai and send out friend requests to 30,000 targets,” he said in a written statement. LinkedIn says it’s working to combat Chinese spy accounts “I literally accept every friend request that I get,” he said.Lionel Fatton, who teaches East Asian affairs at Webster University in Geneva, said the fact that he didn’t know Jones did prompt a brief pause when he connected with her back in March.”I remember hesitating,” he said. “And then I thought, ‘What’s the harm?'”Parello-Plesner noted that the potential harm can be subtle: Connecting to a profile like Jones’ invites whoever is behind it to strike up a one-on-one conversation, and other users on the site can view the connection as a kind of endorsement.”You lower your guard and you get others to lower their guard,” he said.The Jones profile was first flagged by Keir Giles, a Russia specialist with London’s Chatham House think tank. Giles was recently caught up in an entirely separate espionage operation targeting critics of the Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab. So when he received an invitation from Katie Jones on LinkedIn he was suspicious.She claimed to have been working for years as a “Russia and Eurasia fellow” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, but Giles said that, if that were true, “I ought to have heard of her.” This image captured on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 shows part of a LinkedIn profile for someone who identified themselves as Katie Jones. The Associated Press has found it is one of many phantom profiles that lurk on the social media platform. (AP Photo) Katie Jones sure seemed plugged into Washington’s political scene. The 30-something redhead boasted a job at a top think tank and a who’s-who network of pundits and experts, from the centrist Brookings Institution to the right-wing Heritage Foundation. She was connected to a deputy assistant secretary of state, a senior aide to a senator and the economist Paul Winfree, who is being considered for a seat on the Federal Reserve. 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. © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. British , French and German officials have all issued warnings over the past few years detailing how thousands of people had been contacted by foreign spies over LinkedIn.In a statement, LinkedIn said it routinely took action against fake accounts, yanking thousands of them in the first three months of 2019. It also said “we recommend you connect with people you know and trust, not just anyone.”The Katie Jones profile was modest in scale, with 52 connections. But those connections had enough influence that they imbued the profile with credibility to some who accepted Jones’ invites. The AP spoke to about 40 other people who connected with Jones between early March and early April of this year, many of whom said they routinely accept invitations from people they don’t recognize.”I’m probably the worst LinkedIn user in the history of LinkedIn,” said Winfree, the former deputy director of President Donald Trump’s domestic policy council, who confirmed connection with Jones on March 28.Winfree, whose name came up last month in relation to one of the vacancies on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, said he rarely logs on to LinkedIn and tends to just approve all the piled-up invites when he does. Russia expert Keir Giles poses for a portrait during an interview at London’s St. Pancras Station on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Giles, who is affiliated with Britain’s Chatham House think tank, was one of the people who was targeted by a LinkedIn user calling herself Katie Jones earlier this year. (AP Photo/Raphael Satter) Explore further