CNET Book Club Infinite Detail asks what if the internet dies

first_img Culture Share your voice CNET Book Club Tim Maughan (right) and Scott Stein (left) at the podcast studio. CNET Cast your mind forward, five, 10, 30 years. What will the future of the ultra-connected smart city be like? Glad you asked, because Infinite Detail is as good an exploration of the promises and fears of the next decade as you’re likely to read.Tim Maughan, a journalist for Vice/Motherboard, New Scientist and the BBC, joins us on the podcast to discuss his novel Infinite Detail. We talk about what scares him about smart cities, the possibilities and pitfalls of augmented reality, and a lot more.Subscribe: CNET RSS | iTunes | FeedBurner | Google Play | TuneIn | Stitcher See Infinite Detail on Amazon9780374175412Infinite Detail. Tim Maughan/FSG Set in both a creepily frictionless New York City of the deep-surveillance near-future and a rebellious anti-surveillance community in Bristol, UK called The Croft, Infinite Detail also jumps back and forth in time. Half of the book takes place in a near future fully immersed in AR smartglasses and information-collecting infrastructures. The other half lives in an even farther-off future where the internet as we know it, and much of the global infrastructure, has collapsed.I won’t spoil anything else in between, but the politically-charged book follows the spirit of Cory Doctorow’s 2017 novel, Walkaway, and in some ways, Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel: It’s both pre- and post-apocalyptic, and yet also oddly optimistic. I swear. About CNET Book Club The Book Club is hosted by a pair of self-proclaimed book experts: Dan Ackerman (author of the nonfiction video game history book The Tetris Effect), and Scott Stein, a playwright and screenwriter. We’ll be announcing our next Book Club selection soon, so send us your suggestions and keep an eye out for updates on Twitter at @danackerman and @jetscott. Previous episodes Borne by Jeff VanderMeerWalkaway by Cory DoctorowArtemis by Andy WeirDown the River Unto the Sea by Walter MosleyTen Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron LanierCNET Book Club: Holiday 2018 gift guide specialTeam Human by Douglas RushkoffGiraffes on Horseback Salad by Josh Frank, Manuela Pertega, and Tim Heidecker Subscribe to CNET Book Club: CNET RSS | iTunes | FeedBurner | Google Play | TuneIn | Stitcher 0 Tags Post a commentlast_img read more

When Pranavi Acharya threatened to slap director with slipper for seeking sexual

first_imgSinger Pranavi AcharyaInstagramSinger Pranavi Acharya is the latest Telugu celeb to speak about casting couch. She recently revealed that she had threatened a director to slap him with slipper after he asked for sexual favours.In an interview, Pranavi Acharya opened up about facing casting couch in the Telugu film industry in the initial phase of her career. She said that a director had asked her for sexual favours in order to give her a chance to sing in his films. She said that she indicated to him that his advances were not welcome, but he insisted.Pranavi Acharya said that she took a stand and gave him a strong warning. She revealed that she had said “Cheppu tho kodatha” (Will slap you with my slipper) when he insisted. She also revealed that a few others had invited her to have sex and even blackmailed that she would get offers, only if she compromises.Pranavi Acharya is one of the popular playback singers, anchors and dubbing artists in the Telugu film industry. She had participated in Doordarshan singing competition before starting her career as a singer with the song “Shuddha Brahma” from the movie Sriramadasu in 2006. Pranavi Acharya with her husband Raghu MasterInstagramShe has now sung about 200 songs in 70 movies. She is known for her songs from films like Sri Ramadasu, Happy Days, Yamadonga and Lion. She has also worked as a singer of TV serial title song. She won the Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for the serial Turpu velle railu and Bharatamuni Award for the film Happy Days and Navayuvagalam for the film Yamadonga.Pranavi Acharya entered the wedlock with choreographer Raghu Master in 2016 and they were blessed with a daughter. Raghu hogged the limelight with the dance show Dhee and later he became dance master for many movies. He is known for his work in some popular movies like Arya 2, Mirchi, Jil and Akhil.last_img read more

Report Sen Franken Groped Army Veteran During USO Tour

first_imgWikimedia CommonsMinnesota senator Al Franken.Embattled Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is facing a new allegation of inappropriately touching a woman after an Army veteran accused him of groping her during a USO Christmas tour in the Middle East more than a decade ago.Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, told CNN in report Thursday that Franken had cupped her right breast when she stood next to him for a photo in December 2003. Kemplin, who was deployed to Kuwait at the time, is the fifth women in two weeks to accuse Franken of sexual misconduct.Franken’s office released the same statement it provided CNN late Wednesday.“As Sen. Franken made clear this week, he takes thousands of photos and has met tens of thousands of people and he has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct. He remains fully committed to cooperating with the ethics investigation,” the statement said.Kemplin did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment. She is the second woman to accuse Franken of inappropriate behavior during a USO tour. He personally apologized earlier this month to Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio host, who said he forcibly kissed and groped her during a 2006 tour. Tweeden released a photo showing the comedian turned senator posing in a joking manner with his hands on her chest as she naps wearing a flak vest aboard a military plane.Franken personally apologized to Tweeden and said he welcomes an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee of the other allegations against him.Three other women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks while posing with them for photos during separate campaign events in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Sharelast_img read more

Weighing The Costs of Pay Parity for Houstons Firefighters

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Andrew Schneider/Houston Public MediaOne of the biggest decisions facing Houston voters next month falls at the bottom of the ballot. Proposition B would require the city to start paying its firefighters the same as its police officers. The issue has driven a wedge between the firefighters and the mayor they once considered their ally.“The city of Houston has had pay parity between the fire department and police department since 1975,” says Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. “That was broken by the ex-police chief and then-Mayor Lee Brown in 2001.”Since then, the pay gap has grown wider under successive mayors. Houston is currently the largest city in the United States in which firefighters and police do not have pay parity. Lancton says his union campaigned hard for Mayor Sylvester Turner because they thought he’d change that.“We had a longtime, 26-year friend in [then-State] Representative Sylvester Turner,” Lancton says. “We went out and we helped Mayor Turner get elected. We put 1,200 firefighters on the streets, block walked 75,000 homes, just so that we could get somebody that would equally value the service and sacrifice. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.”Turner spent much of his first two years as mayor working to overhaul the city’s pension system to keep Houston out of bankruptcy. The mayor argues all that work will be undone if Proposition B passes.“You cannot add another $100 million to the bottom line under the revenue cap and expect to absorb this particular item,” Turner says.Lancton says Turner is just trying to scare voters. He points to the Fiscal Year 2016 budget on the city’s website. It’s the last budget that includes a breakdown for the fire department’s payroll. The firefighters haven’t had a raise since.“The mayor talks about a 20 percent base salary increase, 5 percent incentives,” Lancton says. “If you take what the mayor is out there telling the public, and you do the math, it’s nowhere near what the mayor is saying it costs.”The City Controller’s office, which acts as Houston’s financial watchdog, prepared its own analysis. Controller Chris Brown presented it to the City Council earlier this month.“We demonstrate the annualized cost due to pay parity could be as high as $85.1 million beginning in Fiscal Year 2020, and this $85 million does not include the proposed 7 percent raise for the Houston Police Department,” Brown said. Later that day, the council approved the raise negotiated with the police, driving up the projected cost of pay parity to more than $100 million a year.The cost argument is a familiar one for Lee Adler of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Adler advises firefighter unions from upstate New York to Los Angeles.“It just gets tiring to see these explanations advanced all over the country – north, south, east, and west – about why people who risk their lives every day are not entitled to get a wage that they believe they’re entitled to,” Adler says.Jay Aiyer disagrees. Aiyer teaches public affairs at Texas Southern University and served as chief of staff to former Mayor Lee Brown. He says that concept of fairness must account for the changing nature of what firefighters do.“About 85 percent of what [Houston firefighters] do now is EMT calls for service,” Aiyer says. “They spend as much time doing rescue work as they do fighting fires. So from a public safety perspective, they’ve changed dramatically. Police have largely stayed the same.”That’s one reason Houston police oppose Proposition B as strongly as the firefighters support it.“This is a self-imposed crisis on their part,” says Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union. “They voted down a 4 percent raise in 2014. They now refuse to accept a 9.5 percent raise from this mayor. So they have been treated fairly. They just refuse to accept the pay raises because they don’t want to take any concession.”Both Mayor Turner and Controller Brown say the only way to meet pay parity will be to lay off thousands of city employees. That’s what worries Gamaldi the most.“They’re going to have to lay off a minimum of 850 firefighters,” Gamaldi says, “and then they’re going to have to start laying off our cadets and our young police officers, and we simply cannot afford to lose a single police officer.”Police officers and firefighters both have critical, life-saving roles in Houston, but voters will decide next month whether their pay should be equal. Listen X 00:00 /03:58last_img read more

Miss USA to Keynote Wealth Health and Fitness Expo

first_imgDeshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016 and captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, is scheduled to serve as a guest speaker at the Wealth, Health & Fitness Expo on Sept. 30 at Freedom High School, 15201 Neabsco Mills Road. The Expo is a community event hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Omicron Chi Omega chapter in order to foster good health, encourage an active lifestyle, help prepare the next generation for college, and promote sound money management. Capt. Deshauna Barber will also highlight her own personal story dealing with low self-esteem and how she was able to persevere through the traumatic loss of her mother to succeed. There will be health and nutritional workshops, Zumba and fitness workout sessions, and financial aid sessions on how to pay for college. There will be free blood pressure and liver screenings, and vendors from local businesses.  For more information, visit omicronchiomega-aka.com.last_img read more

Researchers question Apolloera evidence for the Late Heavy Bombardment

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Application of laser microprobe technology to Apollo samples refines lunar impact history Explore further Citation: Researchers question Apollo-era evidence for the Late Heavy Bombardment (2016, October 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-10-apollo-era-evidence-late-heavy-bombardment.html Late Heavy Bombardment. One interpretation of lunar soil analysis suggests that four billion years ago the inner solar system was a violent place, gravitational perturbations of the orbits of the gas giants initiated a comet shower which in turn deflected many asteroids into the paths of the Earth and Moon. Erosion has removed most of the craters from the Earth but the Moon’s ancient landscape still bears the scars. Credit: Australian National University But these results are controversial—Apollo lunar samples represent only about 4 percent of the lunar surface and could thus have resulted from a single impact event rather than a more widespread bombardment episode. And due to lunar magnetism and overprinting from successive impacts, all of the Apollo-era lunar samples show evidence of 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum disturbances—in other words, the apparent ages of samples could have been “reset” by later impact events.So two researchers from the Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently reanalyzed the age spectra data from the Apollo samples in order to test the uniqueness of their impact histories. To do so, they used a physical model describing 40Ar* diffusive loss that accounted for age resetting of samples by subsequent impacts. The point of this reanalysis wasn’t to confirm or disconfirm the existence of the Late Heavy Bombardment, but rather to determine whether 40Ar/39Ar can even act as evidence for impact spikes. Their results, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, strongly suggest that episodic crust formation occurring more than 4 billion years ago, combined with 40Ar* loss due to a decrease in impact flux can create a bias in age compilations toward the illusion of an impact spike. “Our modeling shows that, due to the nature of declining impact rates and the early but episodic nature of crust formation on extraterrestrial bodies, apparent bombardment episodes can be a common artifact in 40Ar/39Ar plateau age histograms,” the authors write.They note that although the most widely cited evidence in favor of the LHB likely yields unreliable impact histories, their modeling does not preclude the occurrence of such events. However, determining impact histories will rely on future studies incorporating such techniques as in situ 40Ar/39Ar modeling and quantitative thermochronologic modeling. “Until such evidence is gathered,” the authors write, “we conclude that a monotonic decrease in impactor flux explains all existing 40Ar/39Ar data from both lunar and meteoritic samples.”center_img (Phys.org)—Many scientists believe that a cataclysmic series of impact events called the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB) occurred around 4.1 to 3.9 billion years ago, during which there was a spike in asteroids colliding with the planets of the inner solar system. Among the possible explanations for the LHB is the migration of large planets to the outer solar system, disrupting objects in the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt and flinging them toward the inner solar system.The Earth is constantly resurfaced by erosion and cratonic growth, and as a result, can’t contribute much geologic data about the existence of the LHB. Much of the evidence is therefore derived from the moon—specifically, from Apollo-era lunar samples returned to Earth in the 1960s and 1970s. Researchers used argon dating to determine age spectra of lunar rocks found in three major lunar basins. The so-called “plateau ages” of these rocks, as determined from 40Ar/39Ar age spectra, suggest a cluster of impacts approximately 3.9 billion years ago. More information: Illusory Late Heavy Bombardments. PNAS (2016). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1611535113AbstractThe Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), a hypothesized impact spike at ∼3.9 Ga, is one of the major scientific concepts to emerge from Apollo-era lunar exploration. A significant portion of the evidence for the existence of the LHB comes from histograms of 40Ar/39Ar “plateau” ages (i.e., regions selected on the basis of apparent isochroneity). However, due to lunar magmatism and overprinting from subsequent impact events, virtually all Apollo-era samples show evidence for 40Ar/39Ar age spectrum disturbances, leaving open the possibility that partial 40Ar* resetting could bias interpretation of bombardment histories due to plateaus yielding misleadingly young ages. We examine this possibility through a physical model of 40Ar* diffusion in Apollo samples and test the uniqueness of the impact histories obtained by inverting plateau age histograms. Our results show that plateau histograms tend to yield age peaks, even in those cases where the input impact curve did not contain such a spike, in part due to the episodic nature of lunar crust or parent body formation. Restated, monotonically declining impact histories yield apparent age peaks that could be misinterpreted as LHB-type events. We further conclude that the assignment of apparent 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages bears an undesirably high degree of subjectivity. When compounded by inappropriate interpretations of histograms constructed from plateau ages, interpretation of apparent, but illusory, impact spikes is likely. © 2016 Phys.org 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

Flow apparatus samples up to 1500 chemical reactions a day

first_img Testing device for performance-enhancing drugs provides immediate results © 2018 Phys.org More information: Damith Perera et al. A platform for automated nanomole-scale reaction screening and micromole-scale synthesis in flow, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9112AbstractThe scarcity of complex intermediates in pharmaceutical research motivates the pursuit of reaction optimization protocols on submilligram scales. We report here the development of an automated flow-based synthesis platform, designed from commercially available components, that integrates both rapid nanomole-scale reaction screening and micromole-scale synthesis into a single modular unit. This system was validated by exploring a diverse range of reaction variables in a Suzuki-Miyaura coupling on nanomole scale at elevated temperatures, generating liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry data points for 5760 reactions at a rate of >1500 reactions per 24 hours. Through multiple injections of the same segment, the system directly produced micromole quantities of desired material. The optimal conditions were also replicated in traditional flow and batch mode at 50- to 200-milligram scale to provide good to excellent yields. A team of researchers at Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, has developed an automated flow chemistry system that is capable of carrying out 1500 reactions over a 24-hour period. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes the system, how well it tested and its limitations. Citation: Flow apparatus samples up to 1500 chemical reactions a day (2018, January 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-apparatus-samples-chemical-reactions-day.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.center_img Schematic depiction of the flow system. Credit: Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9112 Developing new drugs to treat human ailments is both expensive and profitable—researchers at pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer are constantly looking for ways to develop new drugs that cost less which, in turn, will increase profits. In this new effort, the team at Pfizer built a machine that allows researchers to carry out and sample reactions every 45 seconds.At its most basic level, a lot of what pharmaceutical researchers do involves optimizing chemical reactions to discover which is best for scaling up for testing and producing commercial drugs—a process that is notoriously expensive because it is so time consuming. To speed things up, the researchers devised a platform that supports continuous flow of chemicals through a reactor coil for precise control of residence time, rate of flow, pressure and temperature. It also hosts two ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography devices, one for analyzing reagents, the other for analyzing the reagents as they emerge. The setup allows for pipetting reagents into solvent samples at nanoliter volumes prior to analysis with the chromatography devices.The researchers select a carrier solvent to flow through the device and then engage the sample device, which injects tiny amounts of reagents into similarly tiny samples of the solvent, and then test it to see what happens. They tested the system by carrying out 5,760 Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reactions with a host of reagents under varying conditions in just four days.The researchers note that while useful, the device is not suitable for use in commercial applications, in part because it cannot handle heterogeneous or biphasic mixes. They will continue to work with the device, hoping to expand its capabilities, and suggest other researchers might want to build similar systems for testing of their own ideas. Journal information: Science Explore furtherlast_img read more

Fbd Metro lines overbridges to have solar panels

first_imgDelhi Metro on Friday decided to install solar power panels on the foot-overbridges at the Faridabad corridor stations (Sarai to Escorts Mujesar), which will produce solar power of 225 KW.“These foot– overbridges (FOBs) have been constructed at all the nine Metro stations of the Faridabad corridor for the convenient movement of the pedestrians. These solar power panels will be positioned atop the FOBs and will also provide shade to the pedestrians. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airport“The FOB solar panels will produce 225 KW (kilowatt) power in total (25 KW at each station’s FOB). The installation of these panels will be completed in next few months,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director, corporate communications, DMRC. “DMRC has so far installed solar power plants at all the stations of the Faridabad corridor and Ajronda depot with a total generation capacity of 1.9 MWp. The power generated is being used for the lighting and other auxiliary requirements of the station and depot buildings,” he added. The DMRC has so far commissioned solar power facilities generating approximately 2,800 KWp with plants at Dwarka Sector 21, Anand Vihar, Pragati Maidan, Metro Enclave, Yamuna Bank station, Yamuna bank depot, and ITO.last_img read more

Murder of TMC worker Prime accused arrested

first_imgKolkata: The prime accused in connection with the murder of a Trinamool Congress worker in Cooch Behar was arrested on Saturday night from an area near the Indo-Bhutan border.Police said the arrested person, Avijit Barman, was behind the murder of Trinamool Congress worker Majid Ansari. It may be recalled that Majid was shot dead from a point black range on July 13. The police had earlier arrested five persons in this connection, but Avijit was at large. He was moving from one place to another. Finally, he had taken shelter in a hideout at the bordering Kumarganj area. He had chosen the bordering area to stay so that he could easily flee if police conducted raid to arrest him. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeActing on a tip off, a team comprising senior police officers went to Kumarganj and conducted a raid at the hideout. They found Avijit present there and arrested him. It may be recalled that Majid was attacked when he was returning from college. He was stopped at Chowpathy area by some people and shot at from a point blank range. Two bullets were fired at him. The first bullet had missed the target. But the second bullet hit him in the stomach. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedLocal people went to the spot hearing the sound of firing and found Majid lying in a pool of blood. Police went to the spot and took Majid to a hospital. He was finally admitted to a nursing home at Siliguri. He succumbed to his injuries after two weeks from the incident. Trinamool Congress leaders had demanded the arrest of the people involved in the incident and also organised a rally protesting against the murder of Majid. Police had initiated a case in this connection under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including murder (302 IPC) and criminal conspiracy (120B IPC). Police initiated a probe and names of six persons including that of Avijit had cropped up, who was at large since the incident. They had arrested five persons and continued their investigation in search of Avijit.last_img read more

Indias first Print Biennale opens at the Lalit Kala Akademi

first_imgIn keeping with its role as the country’s National Academy of Art, the Lalit Kala Akademi is hosting the first ever ‘International Print Biennale’ in the country with a record number of 17 countries participating in it. The exhibition which opened on March 25 at the Rabindra Bhavan Galleries, had eminent artist and printmaker, Shakti Barman as the Chief Guest along with the Biennale commissioner, Anupam Sud and its steering committee members: Ananda Moy Banerji, Dattatraya Apte, R.S. Sham Sunder, Paila Sen Gupta and Vijay Bagodi. The ceremony also witnessed the launch of ‘Samkaleen Kala’, a Lalit Kala Akademi journal. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”It was around the 1980s that I first happened to get introduced to the lithography medium of printmaking. All of a sudden, lithography had become very popular. But with time, its trend, as well as practising spaces and studios got demolished and now, we have very few of them. I believe, that this grand endeavour by the Akademi will help it gain back its popularity,” said Barman at the inauguration. Culture Minister of India, Dr Mahesh Sharma couldn’t attend the inauguration function due to personal reasons, but he sent his best regards through a message, which said, “Printmaking is a means of fine expression. I appreciate the outstanding effort of the Akademi to contribute towards and make us aware of the contemporary trends in art.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveCS Krishna Setty, Administrator LKA, in his welcoming address on the Biennale stated, “The aim behind conducting such an event is to endeavour a quest for discovering new artistic trends in printmaking nationally, as well as globally, and to explore new ideas in the field. The Lalit Kala Akademi is creating history once again today; in its 64 years of history, the Akademi is organizing this first ever Print Biennale of India, for the first time.”With countries like USA, UK, Sri Lanka, Italy, Mexico, China, Israel, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Argentina, Greece, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Mauritius participating in this exhibition, the Biennale has elicited global interest.last_img read more

What DDoS Attacks Are and How to Survive Them

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Illustration from Shutterstock.comNever heard of a DDoS attack? Small companies that do business online ought to learn about this growing online threat — and figure out how they’ll respond should one ever hit them.Consider what happened to Los Angeles-based business-planning publishing and advisory company Growthink. Last September, a surprise flood of bogus traffic knocked its website off the internet for several days. Growthink turned to its hosting firm for help, only to have its website sidelined so other sites wouldn’t be collateral damage. It finally recovered by hiring a DDoS-protection firm, BlockDos, to filter out the bad traffic. Then it moved to a new hosting service, Rackspace, so it would be better prepared next time.”It was pretty intense,” says Kevin McGinn, Growthink’s IT director. “We had no idea why we were being singled out.”Growthink had suffered a “distributed denial-of-service” attack. In a DDoS attack, legitimate site visitors are denied access by hackers who immobilize the site either with a flood of bogus internet traffic or a surgical strike that exhausts the resources of a specific web application. Successful attacks can cripple business operations. Growthink estimates its website outage erased $50,000 in revenue.Related: Why You Might Need to Rethink Your Internet Security — NowAs Growthink discovered, it isn’t always clear who’s out to get you. Experts say e-commerce outfits and other businesses that rely heavily on the web for their livelihoods are most at risk. Smaller companies are most often attacked by unscrupulous competitors and extortionists, although disgruntled former employees, vandals and “hacktivists,” or hackers with a political agenda, are also known culprits.With both the number and ferocity of attacks rising, DDoS incidents are a growing threat. In the last year, CloudFlare, a San Francisco cloud-based web performance and security firm, said it has seen a 700 percent rise in DDoS traffic.Small companies are increasingly finding themselves in the crosshairs, experts say, as the cost of mounting attacks drops and large companies get better at stopping them. Attackers can rent “botnets” of 1,000 hijacked malware-infected home PCs capable of taking down sites of most small-to-medium-sized businesses for only $400 a week, according to Incapsula, a competitor to CloudFlare that’s a subsidiary of security firm Imperva, both of Redwood Shores, Calif.Even modest extortionists can profit. Australian e-commerce company Endless Wardrobe received an email in May demanding $3,500 via Western Union. When the firm didn’t comply, its site was knocked offline for a week by a torrent of bogus visits. The downtime cut revenue by at least the amount of the demanded ransom.Here are tips on how to survive if you find your business under a DDoS attack, too.Related: How to Make Your Website Hacker-ProofFind a hosting service or ISP that will help. Many hosting services put large numbers of small websites on the same servers to boost efficiency. That’s fine until one site is attacked and the hosting company takes it offline so other customers on the server aren’t hurt as well.Check your contracts and speak with your hosting service or internet service provider, or ISP, to find out what it will do if you come under attack. Will it help you stop the attack and recover, and if so, at what cost? Will it send you a giant bill because an attack generated a ton of extra traffic to your site?A growing number of these service providers are offering security features, including DDoS protection, as a way to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Such companies, which often employ technology from specialists such as Arbor Networks, include Firehost, Rackspace and iWeb.Hire help.Companies that provide website acceleration services also often help fend off DDoS attacks. For instance, CloudFlare provides a free basic level of DDoS protection that it says will stop most attacks, and two tiers of service at $20 and $200 a month that can stop larger attacks. Incapsula includes DDoS protection as part of its Enterprise tier of service for an undisclosed fee.If you’re targeted with a highly sophisticated attack, however, you may want to consider hiring a DDoS-protection specialist, such as Prolexic, a cloud-based security company based in Hollywood, Fla.Investigate ways to fortify your site.CloudFlare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince suggests using nginx web server software — favored by the likes of Netflix and WordPress — because it can be more resistant to DDoS than other programs. He also recommends using the latest versions of your web software, such as WordPress and shopping carts, to prevent some application-based attacks.Related: How to Determine If Cyber Insurance Coverage Is Right for You August 2, 2012 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »last_img read more

Why does the C programming language refuse to die

first_imgAs a technology research analyst, I try to keep up the pace with the changing world of technology. It seems like every single day, there is a new programming language, framework, or tool emerging out of nowhere. In order to keep up, I regularly have a peek at the listicles on TIOBE, PyPL, and Stackoverflow along with some twitter handles and popular blogs, which keeps my FOMO (fear of missing out) in check. So here I was, strolling through the TIOBE index, to see if a new programming language is making the rounds or if any old timer language is facing its doomsday in the lower half of the table. The first thing that caught my attention was Python, which interestingly broke into the top 3 for the first time since it was ranked by TIOBE. I never cared to look at Java, since it has been claiming the throne ever since it became popular. But with my pupils dilated, I saw something which I would have never expected, especially with the likes of Python, C#, Swift, and JavaScript around. There it was, the language which everyone seemed to have forgotten about, C, sitting at the second position, like an old tower among the modern skyscrapers in New York. A quick scroll down shocked me even more: C was only recently named the language of 2017 by TIOBE. The reason it won was because of its impressive yearly growth of 1.69% and its consistency – C has been featured in the top 3 list for almost four decades now. This result was in stark contrast to many news sources (including Packt’s own research) that regularly place languages like Python and JavaScript on top of their polls. But surely this was an indicator of something. Why would a language which is almost 50 years old still hold its ground against the ranks of newer programming language? C has a design philosophy for the ages A solution to the challenges of UNIX and Assembly The 70s was a historic decade for computing. Many notable inventions and developments, particularly in the area of networking, programming, and file systems, took place. UNIX was one such revolutionary milestone, but the biggest problem with UNIX was that it was programmed in Assembly language. Assembly was fine for machines, but difficult for humans. Watch now: Learn and Master C Programming For Absolute Beginners So, the team working on UNIX, namely Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, and Brian Kernighan decided to develop a language which could understand data types and supported data structures. They wanted C to be as fast as the Assembly but with the features of a high-level language. And that’s how C came into existence, almost out of necessity. But the principles on which the C programming language was built were not coincidental. It compelled the programmers to write better code and strive for efficiency rather than being productive by providing a lot of abstractions. Let’s discuss some features which makes C a language to behold. Portability leads to true ubiquity When you try to search for the biggest feature of C, almost instantly, you are bombarded with articles on portability. Which makes you wonder what is it about portability that makes C relevant in the modern world of computing. Well, portability can be defined as the measure of how easily software can be transferred from one computer environment or architecture to another. One can also argue that portability is directly proportional to how flexible your software is. Applications or software developed using C are considered to be extremely flexible because you can find a C compiler for almost every possible platform available today. So if you develop your application by simply exercising some discipline to write portable code, you have yourself an application which virtually runs on every major platform. Programmer-driven memory management It is universally accepted that C is a high-performance language. The primary reason for this is that it works very close to the machine, almost like an Assembly language. But very few people realize that versatile features like explicit memory management makes C one of the better-performing languages out there. Memory management allows programmers to scale down a program to run with a small amount of memory. This feature was important in the early days because the computers or terminals as they used to call it, were not as powerful as they are today. But the advent of mobile devices and embedded systems has renewed the interest of programmers in C language because these mobile devices demand that the programmers keep memory requirement to a minimum. Many of the programming languages today provide functionalities like garbage collection that takes care of the memory allocation. But C calls programmers’ bluff by asking them to be very specific. This makes their programs and its memory efficient and inherently fast. Manual memory management makes C one of the most suitable languages for developing other programming languages. This is because even in a garbage collector someone has to take care of memory allocation – that infrastructure is provided by C. Structure is all I got As discussed before, Assembly was difficult to work with, particularly when dealing with large chunks of code. C has a structured approach in its design which allows the programmers to break down the program into multiple blocks of code for execution, often called as procedures or functions. There are, of course, multiple ways in which software development can be approached. Structural programming is one such approach that is effective when you need to break down a problem into its component pieces and then convert it into application code. Although it might not be quite as in vogue as object-oriented programming is today, this approach is well suited to tasks like database scripting or developing small programs with logical sequences to carry out specific set of tasks. As one of the best languages for structural programming, it’s easy to see how C has remained popular, especially in the context of embedded systems and kernel development. Applications that stand the test of time If Beyoncé would have been a programmer, she definitely might have sang “Who runs the world? C developers”. And she would have been right. If you’re using a digital alarm clock, a microwave, or a car with anti-lock brakes, chances are that they have been programmed using C. Though it was never developed specifically for embedded systems, C has become the defacto programming language for embedded developers, systems programmers, and kernel development. C: the backbone of our operating systems We already know that the world famous UNIX system was developed in C, but is it the only popular application that has been developed using C? You’ll be astonished to see the list of applications that follows: The world desktop operating market is dominated by three major operating systems: Windows, MAC, and Linux. The kernel of all these OSes has been developed using the C programming language. Similarly, Android, iOS, and Windows are some of the popular mobile operating systems whose kernels were developed in C. Just like UNIX, the development of Oracle Database began on Assembly and then switched to C. It’s still widely regarded as one of the best database systems in the world. Not only Oracle but MySQL and PostgreSQL have also been developed using C – the list goes on and on. What does the future hold for C? So far we discussed the high points of C programming, it’s design principle and the applications that were developed using it. But the bigger question to ask is, what its future might hold. The answer to this question is tricky, but there are several indicators which show positive signs. IoT is one such domain where the C programming language shines. Whether or not beginner programmers should learn C has been a topic of debate everywhere. The general consensus says that learning C is always a good thing, as it builds up your fundamental knowledge of programming and it looks good on the resume. But IoT provides another reason to learn C, due to the rapid growth in the IoT industry. We already saw the massive number of applications built on C and their codebase is still maintained in it. Switching to a different language means increased cost for the company. Since it is used by numerous enterprises across the globe the demand for C programmers is unlikely to vanish anytime soon. Read Next Rust as a Game Programming Language: Is it any good? Google releases Oboe, a C++ library to build high-performance Android audio apps Will Rust Replace C++?last_img read more

Facebook opensources PyText a PyTorch based NLP modeling framework

first_imgLast week, the team at Facebook AI Research announced that they are open sourcing  PyText NLP framework. PyText, a deep-learning based NLP modeling framework, is built on PyTorch. Facebook is outsourcing some of the conversational AI techs for powering the Portal video chat display and M suggestions on Facebook Messenger. How is PyText useful for Facebook The PyText framework is used for tasks like document classification, semantic parsing, sequence tagging and multitask modeling. This framework easily fits into research and production workflows and emphasizes on robustness and low-latency to meet Facebook’s real-time NLP needs. PyText is also responsible for models powering more than a billion daily predictions at Facebook. This framework addresses the conflicting requirements of enabling rapid experimentation and serving models at scale by providing simple interfaces and abstractions for model components. It uses PyTorch’s capabilities of exporting models for inference through optimized Caffe2 execution engine. Features of PyText PyText features production-ready models for various NLP/NLU tasks such as text classifiers, sequence taggers, etc. PyText comes with a distributed-training support, built on the new C10d backend in PyTorch 1.0. It comes with training support and also features extensible components that help in creating new models and tasks. The framework’s modularity, allows it to create new pipelines from scratch and modify the existing workflows. It comes with a simplified workflow for faster experimentation. It gives an access to a rich set of prebuilt model architectures for text processing and vocabulary management. Serve as an end-to-end platform for developers. Its modular structure helps engineers to incorporate individual components into existing systems. Added support for string tensors to work efficiently with text in both training and inference. PyText for NLP development PyText improves the workflow for NLP and supports distributed training for speeding up NLP experiments that require multiple runs. Easily portable The PyText models can be easily shared across different organizations in the AI community. Prebuilt models With a model focused on NLP tasks, such as text classification, word tagging, semantic parsing, and language modeling, this framework makes it possible to use pre-built models on new data, easily. Contextual models For improving the conversational understanding in various NLP tasks, PyText uses the contextual information, such as an earlier part of a conversation thread. There are two contextual models in PyText, a SeqNN model for intent labeling tasks and a Contextual Intent Slot model for joint training on both tasks. PyText exports models to Caffe2 PyText uses PyTorch 1.0’s capability to export models for inference through the optimized Caffe2 execution engine. Native PyTorch models require Python runtime, which is not scalable because of the multithreading limitations of Python’s Global Interpreter Lock. Exporting to Caffe2 provides efficient multithreaded C++ backend for serving huge volumes of traffic efficiently. PyText’s capabilities to test new state-of-the-art models will be improved further in the next release. Since, putting sophisticated NLP models on mobile devices is a big challenge, the team at Facebook AI research will work towards building an end-to-end workflow for on-device models. The team plans to include supporting multilingual modeling and other modeling capabilities. They also plan to make models easier to debug, and might also add further optimizations for distributed training. “PyText has been a collaborative effort across Facebook AI, including researchers and engineers focused on NLP and conversational AI, and we look forward to working together to enhance its capabilities,” said the Facebook AI research team. Users are excited about this news and want to explore more. To know about this in detail, check out the release notes on GitHub. Read Next Facebook contributes to MLPerf and open sources Mask R-CNN2Go, its CV framework for embedded and mobile devices Facebook retires its open source contribution to Nuclide, Atom IDE, and other associated repos Australia’s ACCC publishes a preliminary report recommending Google Facebook be regulated and monitored for discriminatory and anti-competitive behaviorlast_img read more

Rep Sheppard introduces plan to help decrease car insurance costs

first_img Categories: News,Sheppard News 19Apr Rep. Sheppard introduces plan to help decrease car insurance costs State Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance today introduced legislation to help drivers and families financially saddled by Michigan’s exorbitant automobile insurance rates.“Michigan residents deserve to have choices when it comes to automobile insurance so they have the opportunity to lower costs for their families,” Sheppard said. “When we’re dictated what the level of coverage is instead of given a marketplace of varying rates and options, that is a problem which must be addressed.”Sheppard’s legislation will allow consumers to choose a level of coverage, up to the current standard of unlimited coverage, and create a fraud authority to address unlicensed drivers and other illegal behavior.One of the key reasons for the high cost of Michigan auto insurance is a mandate that forces drivers to purchase unlimited lifetime medical benefits, the most generous benefits in the country.Sheppard’s bill makes reforms aimed at decreasing insurance rates for the state as a whole and for Michigan families.“My constituents and residents across the state have made it clear that reforming Michigan’s auto insurance system is a priority to them,” Sheppard said. “Since I came to Lansing, I’ve made it my priority to work on this. We need to have automobile insurance on the same level as health and home benefit plans, where we have options for coverage. Let the consumers choose what is best for themselves and their families.”House Bill 4488 has been assigned to the House Insurance Committee for consideration.last_img read more

Total virtual reality revenues will reach US72 b

first_imgTotal virtual reality revenues will reach US$7.2 billion globally by the end of 2017, according to new research by Greenlight Insights.The virtual and augmented market intelligence company said it anticipates modest industry growth in the short term, but expects the VR industry to reach US$74.8 billion in global revenues and become a “major global marketplace” by 2021.Of this year’s anticipated VR revenues, Greenlight said it expects head-mounted displays to account for US$4.7 billion. By 2021 it said it expects revenues to be driven in part by the increased spending in several enterprise sectors and in the location-based entertainment industry.“We saw mixed results in the global VR industry in 2016 — initial sales volume by some high-end manufacturers didn’t quite live up to the hype, while PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, and low-cost headsets continued to gain traction,” said Greenlight Insights CEO, Clifton Dawson.“There are turbulent times ahead, but our analysis points to VR achieving critical mass in many markets by 2019, building to a considerable global marketplace five years from now.”last_img read more

A simple question at the pharmacy could unlock sav

first_imgA simple question at the pharmacy could unlock savings for millions of Medicare beneficiaries.Under a little-known Medicare rule, they can pay a lower cash price for prescriptions instead of using their insurance and doling out the amount the policy requires. But only if they ask.That is because pharmacists say their contracts with drug plans often contain “gag orders” forbidding them from volunteering this information.As part of President Trump’s blueprint to bring down prescription drug costs, Medicare officials warned in a May 17 letter that gag orders are “unacceptable and contrary” to the government’s effort to promote price transparency.But the agency stopped short of requiring insurers to lift such restrictions on pharmacists.That doesn’t mean people with Medicare drug coverage are destined to overpay for prescriptions. They can get the lower price, when it’s available, simply by asking, says Julie Carter, federal policy associate at the Medicare Rights Center, a patient advocacy group.”If they bring it up, then we can inform them of those prices,” says Nick Newman, a pharmacist and the manager at Essentra Pharmacy in rural Marengo, Ohio. “It’s a moral dilemma for the pharmacist, knowing what would be best for the patient but not being able to help them and hoping they will ask you about the comparison.”For consumers inclined to price-shop, details may be hard to find: Medicare’s website and annual handbook don’t mention it.”If you don’t know that there are a bunch of different prices that could be available at any given pharmacy, you don’t know what you don’t know,” says Leigh Purvis, the AARP Public Policy Institute’s director of health services research.Researchers analyzing 9.5 million Part D prescription claims reported in a research letter to Journal of the American Medical Association in March that a patient’s copayment was higher than the cash price for nearly one in four drugs purchased in 2013. For 12 of the 20 most commonly prescribed drugs, patients overpaid by more than 33 percent.Although the study found that the average overpayment for a single prescription was relatively small, Newman says he has seen consumers pay as much as $30 more than the cash price.And many beneficiaries may not know that if they pay a lower cash price for a covered drug at a pharmacy that participates in their insurance plan and then submit the proper documentation, insurers must count it toward their out-of-pocket expenses. The total of those expenses can trigger the drug coverage gap, commonly called the doughnut hole. (This year, the gap begins after the plan and beneficiary spend $3,750 and ends once the beneficiary has spent a total of $5,000.)Daniel Nam, executive director of federal programs at America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, agrees that “patients should have access to the lowest price possible at the pharmacy.” But, he says, Medicare’s warning takes aim at an increasingly rare occurrence. Gag order clauses are “not something they are incorporating into their contracts,” he says.UnitedHealthcare, whose popular prescription drug plans dominate the market, does not include such clauses in any of its Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance contracts, says Matt Burns, a company spokesman.Pharmacy benefit managers also say gag orders are not typical. “If it is happening, it is very much an outlier,” says Mark Merritt, president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.Some pharmacists disagree. Kala Shankle, policy and regulatory affairs director for the National Community Pharmacists Association, which represents 22,000 independent pharmacies, says insurers have punished pharmacists who violate gag orders by dropping them from the plan’s network.In Ohio, one of several states that have banned gag orders in insurance contracts, including some Medicare drug plans, officials responded to complaints about the problem.”The Department has received inquiries related to entities withholding cost-saving information from consumers, which sometimes results in an insured paying more for pharmacy benefits than the actual cost of such pharmacy benefits,” the Ohio Department of Insurance wrote last month.Illinois and Ohio state legislators are considering bills making these restrictions illegal, and similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.”If we didn’t have these gag clauses, there would not be a need for the legislation and policy changes movement that’s going on in the country,” says Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association.Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service and editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You’ll find Susan Jaffe on Twitter: @SusanJaffe Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Many American teenagers try to put in a full day o

first_imgMany American teenagers try to put in a full day of school, homework, after-school activities, sports and college prep on too little sleep. As evidence grows that chronic sleep deprivation puts teens at risk for physical and mental health problems, there is increasing pressure on school districts around the country to consider a later start time. In Seattle, school and city officials recently made the shift. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the district moved the official start times for middle and high schools nearly an hour later, from 7:50 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. This was no easy feat; it meant rescheduling extracurricular activities and bus routes. But the bottom line goal was met: Teenagers used the extra time to sleep in. Researchers at the University of Washington studied the high school students both before and after the start-time change. Their findings appear in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. They found students got 34 minutes more sleep on average with the later school start time. This boosted their total nightly sleep from 6 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 24 minutes. “This study shows a significant improvement in the sleep duration of students, all by delaying school start times so they’re more in line with the natural wake-up times of adolescents,” says senior author Horacio de la Iglesia, a University of Washington researcher and professor of biology. The study also found an improvement in grades and a reduction in tardiness and absences.Seattle’s switch to later start times is still unusual for school districts around the country, where school typically starts around 8 a.m. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement calling on school districts to move start times to 8:30 a.m. or later for middle and high schools so that students can get at least 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night. But according to the National Center For Education Statistics, only 17 percent of public middle and high schools, including some school districts in Minnesota and Kentucky, start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Getting a little extra sleep in the morning can be vital for teens, explains de la Iglesia. Once children reach puberty, their biological clock changes. “They fall asleep later than older adults and young kids,” he says. Teens’ biological bedtime is more like midnight, he says, and if parents expect them to go to sleep at 10 p.m., it often doesn’t work. “They’ll just lay in bed and not fall asleep,” he says. Of course, this means teens need to sleep later in the morning. “To ask a teen to be up and alert at 7:30 a.m. is like asking an adult to be active and alert at 5:30 a.m.,” says de la Iglesia.In the study, researchers compared two separate groups of sophomores enrolled in biology classes at two Seattle high schools, Franklin High School and Roosevelt High School. The first group of 92 students, drawn from both schools, wore wrist monitors to track their sleep for two-week periods in the spring of 2016, when school still started at 7:50 a.m. The wrist monitors collected information about light and activity levels every 15 seconds so researchers could determine when students were awake and when they were asleep. In 2017, after schools changed start times to nearly one hour later, researchers looked at a group of 88 students taking the same biology classes. They also wore wrist activity monitors and kept a sleep diary. You might think that when school starts later, teens will just stay up later. But that’s not what researchers found. Bedtimes stayed relatively constant and kids caught some extra sleep in the mornings. “We’ve put them in between a rock and a hard place where their biology to go to bed later fights with societal expectations,” says lead researcher Gideon Dunster, a graduate student studying sleep at the University of Washington. “Thirty-four minutes of extra sleep each night is a huge impact to see from a single intervention,” says de la Iglesia. The study also shows a link between getting more sleep and better academic performance. Students who took the biology class after the later start time got final grades that were 4.5 percent higher than students who took the class when it started earlier. That could be the difference between an A and a B, says de la Iglesia. He says sleep deprivation makes it more difficult to learn and to retain new information. Even though researchers can’t be sure that more sleep gave students an academic edge, the school’s biology teachers say the difference was striking. “When we started at 7:50 a.m. there would always be stragglers who were having a hard time getting here,” says Cindy Jatul, who teaches biology at Roosevelt High School. Students were groggy and noticeably different from students who took her class later in the day. “For example, if I gave them a project in the lab, they would be the most likely class to mess up,” she says. Franklin High School science teacher A.J. Katzaroff says “there was lots of yawning” when school started at 7:50 a.m. Students had a hard time engaging in the work or in brief discussions, which is extremely unfortunate. “Some of the best practices in science education have students talk, discuss and investigate together and those are all very hard when the brain is not fully powered,” Katzaroff says. After the time switch, many more kids were able to engage in deeper thought and scientific discourse. Katzaroff says. The number of students who were tardy or absent also decreased significantly, putting Franklin High School — which is in a low-income neighborhood — on par with students from a higher-income neighborhood. The later school start time gave them a better opportunity to make it to school on time. “We need to give every bit of equity we can for kids in lower socio-economic families,” says Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Breuner was not involved in the study.Breuner calls the findings “exciting” and says that while an extra 34 minutes of sleep might not sound like a lot to the average person, when it comes to sleep “every minute counts.” Breuner says that while only a handful of school districts nationwide have switched to later start times, that is changing “as counties and cities like Seattle make changes and see positive benefit.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

A note from the editor Please consider making a v

first_imgA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… User-led organisations have played a key role in two major new projects that aim to improve access for disabled tourists and ramblers.In Oxfordshire, Natural England has opened the National Land Access Centre (NLAC), which will provide training for landowners, farmers and rights of way officers on how to ensure that gates and other countryside obstructions are accessible to disabled people.And in Lancashire, Blackpool-based disabled people’s organisation (DPO) Disability First is celebrating a government grant of nearly £1 million for a project that will improve access to the Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool coastline.NLAC, based at Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve, will offer training courses that show how to use, maintain and install fences, barriers and stiles that meet a new British Standard, which was published in February.Natural England, the government’s advisers on the natural environment, has worked closely on the plans with the user-led charity Disabled Ramblers, and project partners The British Horse Society, the specialist gate supplier Centrewire and the Pittecroft Trust.John Cutherbertson (pictured at the new centre), chair of Disabled Ramblers, told Disability News Service (DNS): “There is a huge swathe of the population who cannot clamber over stiles.“What we found is the main thing that stops people accessing the countryside is the lack of understanding by those people who are putting these gates in.“Some of them still think that the less able would prefer to stay at home and watch the telly.“They don’t realise that people want to get out there and need to get out there for their mental health as well as their physical well-being.”He said Disabled Ramblers was trying to educate these groups, such as farmers, landowners and rights of way officers, about the “least restrictive” way to enclose land, and ideally install gates that disabled people can open and close on their own, without needing someone with them.He said he hoped that the selection of gates and barriers on show at the centre would grow and would be joined eventually by accessible versions of other equipment, such as bridges and boardwalks.Disabled Ramblers has provided an off-road mobility scooter to the centre so people who take the courses can use the vehicle to see how difficult it can be to manoeuvre through such obstacles.Cuthbertson said that Centrewire, which was founded by Tom Bindoff, a non-disabled member of Disabled Ramblers, had been keen to modify its products to make them more accessible.Bindoff has even designed a “kissing gate” that can be opened by a scooter-user using a RADAR key, he said.The disabled Tory peer Lord Blencathra, deputy chair of Natural England, said: “Improved access will help to connect more people with their natural environment, giving them a chance to enjoy our countryside, its open space and fascinating wildlife – all key aspects of the government’s 25 year environment plan.”Meanwhile, funding of £985,000 has been awarded to a consortium led by Disability First through the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.Alan Reid, chief executive of Disability First, said his organisation was “thrilled and very proud” to be awarded the funding in its 25th year as a charity.He said he wanted the Fylde, Blackpool and Wyre coast to “strive to become a more truly inclusive resort”.The Access Fylde Coast project is supported by Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre councils, Blackpool Transport, Marketing Lancashire, Lancaster University, the access information provider DisabledGo, Blackpool’s Coastal Community Team and the area’s local Volunteering Centre.Reid said the project, which will last nearly two years, was “exciting and unique”.He told DNS the scheme would improve access for both visitors and residents by offering free access audits and disability awareness training to local shops and businesses.The project will also develop a culture and heritage mobile phone app, linked to existing apps offered by Blackpool Transport and DisabledGo, and which will include a British Sign Language interpretation service.He said: “This will support people with a variety of disabilities with tram and bus access once they step off the train station in Blackpool and venues will have details of their particular disabled facilities and heritage information on the app.”The project also plans to showcase professional disabled performers at Blackpool Opera House theatre and disabled artists in a local art gallery, and improve access at existing events including the Blackpool Illuminations switch-on and Lytham Festival.He said there was also the possibility that a disabled performer could perform at, or even switch on, the illuminations next year.On a visit to Lytham Saint Annes, coastal communities minister Jake Berry said: “It’s really exciting to see money from the Coastal Communities Fund help kick-start these shovel-ready projects, which have the potential to unlock the barriers to development and growth in our coastal communities.”The Coastal Communities Fund was established to support coastal projects in the UK to deliver sustainable growth and jobs.Picture by Annette Venterslast_img read more

Touch and Go

first_img Add to Queue This story appears in the June 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe » Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand May 17, 2010 Touch-based technology isn’t just for the iPhone and iPad. –shares Magazine Contributor Next Article 2 min read Jonathan Blum Touch, and Go Apple’s iPhone and iPad are not the only things that work with a touch of the finger. Touch-based technology is finding its way into everything from laptops to printers to once-forgettable desktop PCs–some of which fill critical niches for the smaller enterprise.Take the Acer Aspire Z5600, a 23-inch all-in-one touch-enabled desktop PC.The unit packs a hefty 2.33GHz processor, as much as 8GB of RAM and a full terabyte (1000GB) of storage in a single silver enclosure. Reminiscent of the Apple iMac in appearance, the Aspire Z5600’s functions can be operated with either a traditional keyboard and mouse or your–or your customer’s–fingers.That opens the box to myriad business possibilities: For example, the PC, which retails for $999, could be set up as a low-cost informational kiosk in retail shops or offices. John Karabian, a product manager at Acer, said touch-enabled desktops are being used as data entry points where customers can order food or view high-end cosmetics options at a retail store.And for all of its marketing prowess, Apple is far from being today’s top end of touch: Windows 7 has touch technology built into its core operating system, and third-party software vendors are lining up to offer value-added tools for touch.”The iPad and Apple are only the beginning,” says Francois Jenneau, sales and business development director for Stantum, a European multitouch display application developer. “Customers now want to touch their data. There is no going back.” Technology Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

USPS to Deliver 7 Days a Week During Holiday Season in Fight

first_imgDelivery Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. USPS to Deliver 7 Days a Week During Holiday Season in Fight With FedEx, UPS –shares Phil Wahba Next Article This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine 2 min read Add to Queue The United States Postal Service said on Thursday it would offer delivery seven days a week in major cities at the height of the holiday season, even on Christmas Day, as it looks to compete with FedEx and United Parcel Service for its share of the increase in package volume caused by the surge in e-commerce.The National Retail Federation’s Shop.org last month forecast e-commerce sales would rise as much as 11% this holiday season. UPS has doubled the number of seasonal hires this year to handle the expected jump in package volume, seeking to avoid last Christmas’ debacle when it was overwhelmed by an unpredictably large number of packages right before Christmas and couldn’t deliver thousands of them in time for the big day. FedEx has similarly ramped up hiring.USPS will delivery packages every day, including Sundays, beginning Nov. 17 through Christmas Day and is expecting the number of packages it handles to range between 450 million and 470 million packages, up 12% over last year’s holiday season..“That’s crunch time for us,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. “E-commerce package business continues to be a big player now more than ever.”FedEx and UPS have each announced price hikes going into effect at the end of December, and UPS last month told Reuters it may charge retailers a premium for last minute deliveries. But USPS said it lowered some of its prices for businesses and frequent shippers.The Postal Service’s expanded delivery to compete with the large package shipping companies comes as USPS tries to stanch enormous losses: in the quarter of ended June 30, 2014 alone, the service lost $2 billion, its 21st money-losing quarter of the last 23 periods. November 6, 2014 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more