Today Dell Technologies joins with the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), industry companies, and academic partners to launch a new blockchain research lab: BlockLAB. SDSC’s BlockLAB Director and Lead Scientist Dr. Jim Short explains the need for primary research on blockchains, distributed ledgers, and smart contracts.“One of our primary goals is to work closely with industry partners to provide foundational knowledge that helps science-based and industrial companies evaluate the potential benefits and risks of applying these new technologies to critical, large-scale transaction and data-intensive business processes.”This is not the first time that Dell Technologies has sponsored research at SDSC. For the past four years Dell EMC has worked with Dr. Short on groundbreaking research into the topic of data valuation. The partnership resulted in the publication of the article What’s Your Data Worth in the Spring 2017 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review.Dell EMC CTO John Roese explained the natural progression of the data valuation research to focus on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies:“Our data valuation research showed that our customers needed to better quantify the relative value of their digital assets to focus on the most important areas driving business results. Blockchain and distributed ledgers, as a new and potentially trusted data exchange platform, show promise in better leveraging enterprise data assets in new ways. BlockLAB will serve as a hands-on lab where our customers and partners can develop strategies to explore and implement new approaches to the data monetization process.”Steve Todd, a Dell EMC Fellow, will coordinate the research on behalf of six strategically-aligned sponsors from the Dell Technologies family of companies: Dell EMC, VMware, Virtustream, RSA, Boomi, and Pivotal. Todd highlighted that the mission of BlockLAB aligns well with the portfolio capabilities of Dell Technologies:“The BlockLAB will focus on two areas: business use cases for ledgers and evaluation of technology stacks. VMware has built an enterprise-class blockchain stack that integrates with multiple offerings from Dell EMC, RSA, Boomi, and Virtustream. We hope to not only demonstrate interoperability with other industry stacks, but also enable developers to quickly write and deploy blockchain applications for various use cases with our Pivotal framework.”The outcome of this research will assist BlockLAB in creating a state of the art, end-to-end solution through the deployment of the VMware blockchain stack in a hybrid cloud environment that will leverage Virtustream Enterprise Cloud.Details of BlockLAB’s research program and events this year can be obtained online at https://www.clds.info/blocklab.html. BlockLAB’s 2018 summary of research progress will be presented at SDSC’s annual Data West technology conference December 5-6 at SDSC. More information is at www.datawest.org.
In Vermont the annual direct costs to the economy attributable to smoking were in excess of $652 million, including workplace productivity losses of $138 million, premature death losses of approximately $221 million, and direct medical expenditures of $293 million, according to a new study by the American Lung Association.While the retail price of a pack of cigarettes in Vermont is on average $6.54 ($5.60 New Hampshire; $7.89 New York; $7.23 Massachusetts), the combined medical costs and productivity losses attributable to each pack of cigarettes sold are approximately $24.52 per pack of cigarettes. The ratio of benefits to cost varies from $0.90 to $2.62 saved per dollar spent on smoking cessation programs, depending upon the type of intervention. Nicotine replacement therapies, generic bupropion and varenicline showed substantial benefits to costs from the societal perspective across the sensitivity ranges used for treatment effectiveness. Only brand name bupropion did not have a positive benefits to cost ratio at the low end of the range.The American Lung Association concludes that for most smoking cessation treatments, the benefits of smoking cessation programs statewide greatly outweigh the cost to implement them. The study was conducted by Pennsylvania State University. The report’s Executive Summary says in part:”Cigarette smoking is the single leading cause of preventable disease and preventable death in the United States (US), leading to more than 400,000 deaths annually. The CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have both issued guidelines on smoking cessation to help people to quit smoking that include: access to counseling, access to all FDA-approved over-the-counter and prescription medications; multiple quit attempts; and reduced or eliminated co-pays. However, access to these aids is limited since many payers do not cover these treatments. The objective of this study was to determine whether the cost of making such smoking cessation programs available at the state level could be justified by the benefits.”We performed a cost-benefit analysis of access to smoking cessation programs using a societal perspective using state specific data. Smoking cessation programs based on three treatment alternatives were studied: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline. Each approach was evaluated with and without individual counseling. Benefits were estimated as reductions in medical expenditures, premature deaths and increased workplace productivity. Costs were estimated as direct cost of the smoking cessation programs, the lost tax revenue to the public sector and the lost revenue to retailers and distributors, since smokers who quit will no longer purchase cigarettes. Other model parameters included how many smokers take advantage of the programs and the programs’ effectiveness in helping smokers to quit. The cost-benefit model was parameterized using data from CDC, and various national surveys, including the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Survey and the Current Population Survey.”Source: American Lung Association. 9.16.2010 Detailed results and the full report can be found here: REPORT.
By Dialogo August 09, 2012 MIAMI, U.S.A. – The Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Underwood (FFG 36), recovered 49 bales of narcotics with a combined weight of 1,225 kilograms (2,700 pounds) from the Caribbean Sea during Operation Martillo on Aug. 3. The seized drugs had estimated street value of US$27.5 million, according to law enforcement agents. Operation Martillo is an international operation that gathers Latin American, Western Hemisphere and European nations and the United States in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. The USS Underwood pursued a “go-fast” speedboat that dumped its load before law enforcement agents were able to board it on Aug. 2. A Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft flying overheard reported the speedboat’s crew was dumping packages into the sea and informed the Underwood, which marked the position of the debris so the packages could be located in daylight. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Miguel Aponte, a member of the bridge watch team, spotted the first bale in the water around 8:15 a.m. Underwood sailors manned the boat deck and loaded a team, including two members of an onboard U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET), into a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB). During the next few hours, sailors aboard Underwood used binoculars to search the surrounding area for bales while the RHIB team recovered anything spotted in the water. “Right off the bat, we just start picking up bales that were floating in our area,” said a member of the LEDET. “After that, the ship vectored us in to different sections that they could see from a further distance and then also the [helicopter] vectored us in.” Led by Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, a component of U.S Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Operation Martillo (Spanish for “Hammer”) is a coordinated interagency regional security strategy to thwart transnational organized crime. The USS Underwood is deployed to Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Our C-suite began discussing the potential impact that the altered back-to-school plans could have on our organization a couple of months ago and, in the beginning, there were a lot of “what if” scenarios. Getting decisive information from our schools on their plans was tough, as many school systems in our area seesawed on their decisions up to the last minute. So while we waited for final plans from the schools, we decided to get a better understanding of what employees and departments would be most impacted across our credit union.We have been utilizing our HR information system, Paycom, to survey employees throughout the pandemic, so it made a lot of sense to turn to that tool for getting more information about the back-to-school issue. (Most of our employees use Paycom on a daily basis, which makes it easy for them. It is also simple for our HR team to use to create, distribute and monitor the surveys.)We began by asking employees if they had children in school, the ages of their children and the schools those children would be attending. We tracked all of these responses and, as those schools of concern began announcing their official plans, we added that information to our master list. That allowed us to have a clearer picture of the potential impact to our staffing.From there, we considered what resources we could provide our employees. It became obvious that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Every family is different and every situation is unique. Again, we found that we needed a little more information from our staff. This time we sent out an all-employee communication explaining our concerns and desire to assist our employees, noting that flexibility and understanding across our credit union would be required to get us through this next phase. We asked all employees with children to fill out a form that walked them through their available options (such as employer-paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Act, credit union paid time off, etc.), captured which of those options they might need to utilize, and asked for their feedback on alternative options not currently in place that would be helpful for their particular situation. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Michael BakshandehAs summer leads to autumn and leaves change color, the orchards of Long Island welcome the return of apple-picking season because their sweet, delicious bounty has ripened to fruity perfection. In celebration of the harvest, 10DC local growers that open their farms to the eager pick-your-own-apples crowd also host activities ranging from corn mazes to wagon rides that make for lifelong family friendly memories. And what’s not to love about delectable apple cider, savory caramel apples or good old-fashioned apple pie?What follows is our annual list of must-see apple picking orchards to visit this fall. Apple picking on Long Island couldn’t look better this year, but remember always to call ahead and make sure these popular orchards haven’t already been picked clean! You want to go out on a limb for something, not nothing.Davis Peach FarmHulse Landing Rd., Wading River. 631-929-1115. Call for times.This orchard doesn’t just have peaches, they also open their farm to annual apple picking, not to mention all the other fruits and vegetables available at their farm stand. They expect to open for apple picking season on Saturday, Sept. 3, but anticipate being picked clean by the end of the month, so act fast!Fort Salonga Farm30 Meadow Glen Rd., Northport. 631-269-9666. fortsalongafarm.com $20 per bushel. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday-Sunday.These growers are well-known not only for their apple varieties, but also for their delicious raspberries. This farm has “dwarfed” apple trees in which apples sit only 18 inches from the ground, the ideal size for the little ones to join in on the fun. Fort Salonga is a small orchard, and as a result, will sometimes close temporarily when there is no ripe fruit, so call in advance. This orchard has Paula Red and Akane available as of Aug. 26, and Fuji apples ready to pick in October.Harbes Family Farm and Orchard5698 Sound Ave., Riverhead. 631-369-1111. harbesfamilyfarm.com $8. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. every weekend in September and October.This 15-acre orchard’s apples are low enough for even the littlest pickers to reach. They open to apple pickers on Saturday, Sept. 3. The farm also has a handy apple-ripening schedule detailing when their two dozen varieties are available here. While you’re at their farm stand, don’t forget to try their wines, apple turnovers and homemade apple-cider donuts!Lewin Farms812 Sound Ave., Calverton. 631 929-4327. lewinfarm.com 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, except Tuesday.These farmers expect their apples to be available to pick from late August through October, but they encourage pickers to call or visit their website first. The farm is also open to self-picking a large selection of other crops, including raspberries, peaches, peppers, eggplants and pumpkins. Their magnificent 5-acre corn maze is redesigned every year to challenge even their repeat customers.MORE: Long Island Farmers’ Markets 2016Milk-Pail Farm and Orchard1346 Montauk Hwy., Watermill. milk-pail.com $47 per 20-lb. bag. 9:30 a.m. -5: 30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday-Saturday. 10 a.m.-5: 30 p.m. Sunday.This orchard kicks off their apple-picking season on Saturday, Sept. 3. The farm’s variety of “dwarf” apple trees allows kids of all ages to pick apples without difficulty. The Milk-Pail Farm also offers pick-your-own pumpkins with gourds ranging in size. Don’t forget to check out their fresh market, where they serve their famous apple cider!Seven Ponds Orchard65 Seven Ponds Rd., Watermill. 631 726-8015 facebook.com/Seven-Ponds-Orchard 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Thanksgiving.Besides apples, Seven Pounds Orchard is an entirely you-pick farm with berries and vegetables. Ginger Gold and Red Free apples opened for picking Aug. 21, and Red Delicious, Macintosh and Honey Crisp are expected in September, plus Granny Smith in November. The kids will be entertained for hours with a hayride, corn maze and toy land!The Apple Orchard at Hank’s Pumpkintown240 Montauk Hwy., Watermill. 631-726-4667. hankspumpkintown.com $23 per 10-lb. bag. 9:30-6 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day.Hank’s Pumpkintown has it all. Here, visitors can pick pumpkins, berries and 14 varieties of apples available from early September through late October. In addition, visitors can also get lost in a corn maze, ride a corn train, milk a cow, watch a duck race, and enjoy much more. Plus, their farm stand sells fresh-baked pies, cookies, cup cakes, candy apples, apple cider donuts and lots more! See their apple ripeness schedule here.Wickham’s Fruit Farm28700 Main Rd., Cutchogue. 631-734-6441. wickhamsfruitfarm.com 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.Wickham’s fruit is grown on some of the oldest cultivated land in the country, dating back to 1661. Besides apples, their you-pick farm lets families harvest strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches and pumpkins. Wickham’s also has Long Island’s oldest cider press, delicious baked goods—including apple cider donuts—specialty cheeses as well as homemade pies and jams. The apples are available in September and October.MORE: 43 Fun Things To Do With Your Kids On Long IslandWindy Acres Farm3810 Middle Country Rd., Calverton. 631-727-4554. facebook.com/Windy-Acres-Farm 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Sunday.This family farm boasts a fantastic apple selection as well as other fruits and vegetables. Known to be a great place to get all your local produce needs, Windy Acres also has fresh baked pies and hot apple cider donuts. They also have a playground and a tractor ride for the kids.Woodside OrchardsAquebogue: Route 25; Jamesport: Manor Lane. 631-722-5770. woodsideorchards.com $15 per peck, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at Aquebogue location; same time on Saturday and Sunday at Jamesport location.Woodside Orchards has nearly 30 varieties of apples, including some that even regular apple aficionados may not have heard of. The orchard’s dwarf trees allow apple pickers of all sizes to avoid struggling for those annoyingly hard-to-reach apples. Besides the apples, they also offer delicious local honey, baked goods and the only full-time hard cidery on Long Island. Both locations are open for you-pick apples from Sept. 17 through October while supplies last.
“Of course without the funding by the voters, then it has an impact on student programs,” said Andrews. That’s along with a cut in state aid schools are already facing because of the pandemic. Districts like Maine-Endwell and Windsor say it’s led to a higher voter turnout than usual. “What we’re seeing is a significant increase, in our case, already just about double the typical number of voters,” said Windsor Central School District Superintendent Jason Andrews. But the absentee ballot change makes it unclear as to what happens if a budget doesn’t pass. All of that combined makes a budget failing even more concerning to districts this year. But districts are staying positive, hoping voters will still cast their ballots while making an informed decision. Governor Cuomo says school budget absentee ballots can be accepted by hand delivery through 5 p.m. on June 9 and received by mail through June 16 by the school district. Without a revote, districts would have to move straight into a contingency budget. “A contingency budget for Maine-Endwell would require an additional reduction of $474,000,” said Van Fossen. “When you make tough decisions, students are going to be impacted one way or the other.” “State funding was reduced. There was reduced, there’s a possibility, a likelihood, of additional reductions in state funding moving forward,” said Andrews. “It does not appear to be, the governor’s executive order does not speak to a revote. Typically you would have the option for a revote,” said Andrews. “We’re very concerned that a no vote is going to be devastating to Maine-Endwell,” said Van Fossen. (WBNG) — School budget voting looks different this year. Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order for all districts in New York to conduct school budget voting through absentee ballots to avoid person-to-person contact. “We’re optimistic that our community will continue to support the school budget, especially because it is the lowest tax levy increase in over a decade,” said Andrews. “For us, on average, around 800 to 1,000 typically come out to vote. This year, with absentee ballots, we’ve already received over 2,500,” said Maine-Endwell School District Superintendent Jason Van Fossen.
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DNB said MN’s new IT upgrade “didn’t yet instill confidence”In 2014, MN had started an ambitious €70m plan for operational improvement, called MN 3.0. Three years later, it became clear that MN had written off €15m on the project as it had largely failed to deliver.At the time, both metal schemes said they were satisfied with the provider’s decision.PMT and PME have more than 2.2 million participants, pensioners and deferred members in total, affiliated with 35,400 employers.MN also services the €4bn industry-wide pension fund for the merchant navy (Koopvaardij).In a response, an MN spokesman said the introduction of the new mid-office had been delayed due to an “additional complexity of linking new and existing systems”, and that the provider expected to deliver the upgrade no later than early next year.He said that MN would start developing the back office upgrade this year, and highlighted that it was a multi-phased project that would take up several years to complete.He added that the project would be assessed for the impact of the new pensions agreement while it was being carried out.MN declined to provide details about the project’s budget.ReturnsSeparately, PMT said it returned 18.4% on investments in 2019, largely thanks to the 16.1% yield on its large fixed income holdings of 61.5% of its assets and a 24% profit on its equity portfolio of 29.4%.However, it noted that the effect of declining interest rates on its liabilities was damaging, as its funding level had dropped by 4.7 percentage points to 97.6% at year-end.It said its investment returns reflected an underperformance of 2.8 percentage points. Its investment policy targets additional returns of 1.5 percentage points relative to its liabilities.The surplus yield – 1.4% on average since 2014 – is primarily destined for indexation, but has been used for improving the scheme’s financial buffers during the past years, PMT explained.It said its inflation compensation in arrears had increased to more than 20% for active participants.As for PME, it posted an annual return of 18.3%. Its 47% matching portfolio generated 15.3%, with long-duration government bonds and investment grade emerging market debt delivering more than 10% and 5.9%, respectively.It said it had decided on a new strategic investment policy for the period 2020-2025, aimed at decreasing its fixed income holdings from 50% to 40% in favour of high yield and real estate investments, which are to be increased to 15% and 10%, respectively.It will also gradually raise the interest hedge of its liabilities from 40% to 60%.The pension fund added that it had started building a portfolio for short-duration government bonds and credit, meant for “quick and cheap” availability of liquidity for collateral as well as temporarily absorbing surplus liquidy.PME also said it will increase its allocation to real assets from 1.3% to 5%, in part through investments in clean energy. It already has stakes in forestry and infrastructure.The metal scheme closed the year with a funding level of 96.9%, falling further to 95% at the end of March.Both metal schemes could avoid rights cuts this year, following social affairs’ minister Wouter Koolmees’ decision to grant pension funds with a coverage ratio of more than 90% a temporary exemption from a mandatory pensions reduction in 2020.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here. However, PMT noted that, despite a successful test in October, no new functionality had become operational yet.The €80.3bn pension fund for the metal-working and mechanical engineering industry, said it was thoroughly monitoring the progress as well as the quality of the upgrade.It added that it had intensified its contacts with the provider about the delivery of the final products, risk management as well “MN’s ability to actually carry out the upgrade”.Last year, PMT paid MN €43m for pensions management.According to the metal scheme, supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) had also announced that it would step up its supervision of the upgrade process.The €52bn PME, in turn, said it was “seriously worried” about MN’s ability to deliver, adding that it deemed affiliated risks as “high”.The scheme for metal and electro-technical engineering said DNB had concluded that the IT upgrade “was still short of expectations, and didn’t yet instil confidence in a controlled and sound pensions administration”. PMT and PME, the Dutch pension funds for the metal sector, said they were worried about the development and timely delivery of a new system for pensions administration by MN, their joint provider and asset manager.In their respective annual reports for 2019, the schemes indicated they weren’t entirely convinced whether MN would be able to successfully complete the project, a slimmed down version of a much grander scheme that failed to deliver three years ago.Since then, MN has started developing a fundamental upgrade aimed at an agile and modern system for tailor-made services for both pension fund participants and employers.The first part – a “mid office”, with systems for basic administration – was scheduled to be launched this summer. It is to be followed by a new back office in the coming years.
Image courtesy of AIDA CruisesCarnival Corporation, AIDA Cruises’ parent company, said the second LNG-powered ferry, the AIDAperla arrived in Barcelona. The vessel, delivered by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in April, will be christened in Palma de Mallorca at the end of this month.AIDAperla will dock 31 times in the port of Barcelona where it will be supplied with liquefied natural gas (LNG).AIDAprima, the company’s first vessel in the LNG-powered series has already been provided with LNG in all five ports of her Northern Europe cruises since May 2016. AIDAperla will be the second cruise ship that will be able to produce onboard power from LNG while docked.However, the requirement for this is the availability of LNG in the respective port, and AIDA Cruises is also discussing this issue with other Mediterranean ports.Carnival Group is investing a total of around €30 million ($33.5 million) in a cruise terminal in Barcelona, which has an area of some 12,500 m² and is specifically geared to the operation of the next generation of ships that are entirely powered with LNG. The first ship of this generation, AIDAnova, will be commissioned in fall 2018.
Olis Robotics has entered into an agreement with iCsys, part of the Envirex Group, for sales, distribution and support of Olis Robotics machine-learning ROV controllers.“We’re excited to continue to see rapid adoption of our technology which provides a major evolutionary leap beyond the 1990’s manual control electronics underpinning current ROV’s.” stated Olis Robotics CEO Don Pickering, “The technology we put into play makes operations safer, provides new levels of clarity and control for operators, and can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per mission by eliminating the need for multiple robots.”The Olis Master Controller (OMC) is based on iCsys’ hardware design and is equipped with key software features of the Olis Robotics CoreOS software platform.The CoreOS software platform is robot agnostic with the ability to switch control between multiple, different robots and can incorporate future machine perception and machine learning capabilities being developed by Olis.“Our team extensively tested this technology via multiple sea trials in raw North Sea environments. Through data collected by our test pilots, we know the innovative software and hardware products significantly improves ROV pilot efficiency with manipulation tasks,” iCsys spokesperson Vidar Haus stated. “We’re pleased to see interested ROV operator customers already filling a significant pipeline to harness the value and cost-savings of the new OMC.”Olis Robotics launched sales of the OMC in the third quarter of 2019. Additional capabilities through the Digital Workspace application for the CoreOS is projected to be released in the first quarter of 2020. The new application enables enhanced 3D machine perception to produce a live 3D work environment and supports further machine-learning capability integration.