Online sales interactive displays as lottery agencies vie for customers

first_imgWINNIPEG — Like many millennials, Sarah Rogalsky doesn’t go out of her way to buy lottery tickets.The 32-year-old is part of an office pool and chips in $2 a week at her Winnipeg workplace, primarily for the social aspect of playing with others.“I’ve never bought a lottery ticket on my own.”She is part of a countrywide trend that lottery agencies are trying to reverse. By upgrading technology and making gambling more readily available, they are hoping to attract and retain more young adults — a generation that has grown up with seemingly infinite entertainment options available at the click of a mouse or a swipe of the finger.There are many ways to be entertained, Rogalsky said, and the long odds of scoring big in a lottery are not enticing.“For example, my parents would buy lottery tickets because they thought there was a chance they would win, whereas someone like me, I know how low those chances literally are.”In 2014, the Interprovincial Lottery Corp., which represents all provincial and territorial lottery agencies, issued a request for proposals for a new lottery game that would be similar to Lotto 6-49 and appeal to adults under 35. The number of young adults buying national lottery tickets was declining at “historic” levels, the document said.The Western Canada Lottery Corp., which represents the prairie provinces and three northern territories, reported a $150-million drop in lottery revenues in 2017 from the previous year. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. cited a “diminishing core player base” in its most recent annual report.In recent years, lottery agencies have moved to make gambling more tech-friendly and easier for people to gain access. More provinces have opened online gambling sites, on which players can engage in casino-style games or buy lottery tickets. Lottery terminals at corner stores are going high-tech and interactive.Last September, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. introduced a new instant lottery ticket that combines the traditional scratch requirement with an animated spinning wheel that appears on the lottery terminal display screen. The agency is also making some products available at grocery store checkout lanes.The corporation is “improving the customer experience and ensuring it is responsive to changing customer expectations by investing in digital technology and product solutions,” spokesman Tony Bitonti wrote in an email.It’s a tough battle to attract younger adults who have grown up with a vast array of entertainment options, said Prof. Kelley Main, head of the marketing department at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.From immersive video games at home to fast-action apps on mobile devices, millennials are used to having their senses fully engaged, she said.“Our expectations about how quickly things happen have changed, and … our expectations about how interactive these games are have also changed,” Main said.“The traditional paper format (of lottery tickets) doesn’t engage our sense the same way as technology could allow some of the other options.”Steve Lambert, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Ontario wont meet 2020 electric vehicle target analysts say

first_imgTORONTO – Ontario is envisioning a future in which millions of electric vehicles are on the roads, but analysts predict consumer uptake will remain far off the government target for 2020, despite tens of millions of dollars in subsidies.The Liberal government has been encouraging electric vehicle sales by doling out $75 million in rebates to vehicle owners, offering various other incentives and programs, installing a network of charging stations and spending $1 million to open an electric vehicle education centre.But that so far hasn’t translated into vast numbers of vehicles. The official data for 2017 isn’t yet available, but at the end of last year, electric vehicles represented less than one per cent of all passenger vehicle sales in Ontario.In just two years, by 2020, the government hopes to see that number increase to five per cent.It can’t be done, analysts say.“The chances of meeting it aren’t low, they’re zero,” said auto industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers. “In the auto sector all roads lead to electric, it just happens to be that the road to serious acceptance of them is probably at least 2030 and more likely 2040, 2050.”Tony Faria, an auto industry analyst at the University of Windsor, agrees that Ontario won’t meet its goal by 2020.“We will almost assuredly get to five per cent electric vehicles purchased or on the road at some point in time, it’s just not going to be in the next couple of years,” he said. “We’re really wedded to our gasoline-driven vehicles because of the flexibility they give us distance wise, amazing availability of where you can fill up and so on.”Range anxiety — a fear that an electric vehicle would run out of charge somewhere far from a charging station — is cited by analysts, the industry and government as one of the main reasons more people haven’t yet switched to electric vehicles.The government announced in July 2016 that it would spend $20 million to build a network of 500 public charging stations along highways and at public places across the province by March 31, 2017.But now, more than eight months after that self-imposed deadline, just two-thirds of the stations are in use.Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said that timeline was “ambitious” and there have been challenges around the locations of some of the chargers, permits and construction delays, but he still believes the target can be met.“We see what the numbers are currently, but again when you look at not only the demand we’ve seen over the last few months, but the forecasted demand for the next three or four years we do see and certainly do predict fairly sharp increases in people’s appetite for (electric) vehicles,” he said.It takes time to get people to change their behaviours, Del Duca said.“People get very comfortable in their patterns, both as commuters and when they’re making their product selections when they’re looking at cars,” he said. “I think there was always going to be the need for some time for a cultural shift.”FleetCarma, a company that promotes electric vehicles, reports on quarterly sales numbers and found that in Ontario those numbers are up 96 per cent year-over-year for the first nine months of 2017.In the second quarter, they reported electric vehicle sales represented about 0.7 per cent of the market.“While these numbers may seem small compared to the total number of auto sales the thing to take note of here is the trajectory of the numbers,” they wrote.The president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association said those numbers bode well and he believes there is a good chance of hitting the five per cent target in 2020. The industry itself is doing a lot to encourage sales, but for now the market demand is still very small and manufacturers are losing money on their production, said Mark Nantais.“There’s a good deal of literature out there by independent parties to suggest that at this point in time vehicle manufacturers are losing anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000 per vehicle,” he said.That will change over time as demand increases, he said.“Sometimes we proceed with costly technologies that — while we might be losing money on them — we ultimately think that the market will improve, that the number of vehicles will increase, that the cost of the technology will come down,” Nantais said.To increase sales, the government offers rebates of up to $14,000 for electric vehicles that cost up to $150,000.In order to encourage customers to choose electric vehicles, auto dealers will often give buyers the rebate out of their own funds, but that has left some out hundreds of thousands of dollars, they say.Frank Notte, with the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, said many dealers are waiting up to five or six months for the government to reimburse them. One dealer is owed more than $400,000, he said, and GM dealers in the Greater Toronto Area alone are owed about $2.3 million.The Ministry of Transportation wouldn’t confirm those numbers, but said it is working to streamline the process so dealers can get reimbursed more quickly.The province has also put $1 million toward the Plug’n Drive Electric Vehicle Discovery Centre in northern Toronto, where people can learn about and test drive electric vehicles. The centre said it has seen 1,600 test drives with more than 4,000 visitors since it opened this spring.last_img read more

Facebook still hosting NZ shooting footage Report

first_imgSan Francisco: Despite Facebook’s claim that the livestreaming video of the March 15 Christchurch shooting that killed 50 people was removed from its platforms, sections of the raw footage are still available for users to watch, the media reported. According to a report in Motherboard on Friday, certain videos on Facebook and Instagram show sections of the raw attack footage. “The world’s biggest and most well-resourced social media network is still hosting copies of the violent attack video on its own platform as well as Instagram,” the report claimed. Some of the videos are slices of the original 17-minute clip — trimmed down to one minute or so — and are open to be viewed by anyone. In one instance, instead of removing the video, which shows the terrorist shooting and murdering innocent civilians from a first-person perspective, Facebook has simply marked the clip as potentially containing “violent or graphic content”. One of the clips shows the terrorist walking up to the first mosque he targeted, and opening fire. The video does not show the full attack, and stops at the 01:15 mark. A Facebook spokesperson, however, said “the video did violate our policies and has been removed”. The Facebook livestreaming of the New Zealand terror attack sparked global outrage. The video was viewed over 4,000 times before it was removed. The video was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube. Facing flak, the social media giant is now exploring restrictions on who can use its “Facebook Live” feature. Earlier this month, New Zealand’s privacy commissioner John Edwards labelled Facebook as “morally bankrupt pathological liars” after the social media platform’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to play down the Facebook livestreaming of Christchurch shooting.last_img read more

Three UNAfrican Union peacekeepers killed in ambush in Darfur

11 October 2011Three blue helmets serving with the joint United Nations-African Union force (UNAMID) in Sudan’s Darfur region were killed last night in an ambush at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), the mission confirmed today. The soldiers were part of a regular night patrol that was ambushed by a group of unidentified armed men about 8:15 p.m. in Zam Zam, a large IDP camp just beyond the outskirts of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.The names and nationalities of the slain peacekeepers have not yet been released, but UNAMID said two were soldiers and one was a police adviser. Six other peacekeepers were injured in the ambush, three of them seriously, while one of the assailants was also killed.Ibrahim Gambari, the head of UNAMID, strongly condemned last night’s attack, noting that the peacekeepers had been trying to ensure security at Zam Zam. He called on Sudanese authorities to launch an immediate investigation to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.“An attack on international peacekeepers is a war crime and we will ensure that justice will be served,” he said. “This deplorable incident will not deter UNAMID’s strong commitment to its mission to protect the people of Darfur.”In a separate statement issued by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the killings and offered his sympathies to the families of those killed.Security Council members also voiced outrage, with Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, reading out a press statement in which the 15-member panel “stressed that there must be an end to impunity for those that attack peacekeepers.”Yesterday’s attack occurred only two months after another UNAMID peacekeeper was slain, that time following an ambush in South Darfur. Thirty-three personnel from the mission have died as a result of hostile actions since it took over from an earlier AU peace force at the start of 2008, and many humanitarian workers have also been targeted in attacks by bandits or armed groups.Darfur has been wracked with conflict since 2003, pitting Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups. Millions of civilians have been either internally displaced or forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. read more

On The NCAA Bubble Heres The Number To Watch

Kansas State6041324561.9 Clemson6333354915.7 TEAMRPIBPIKENPOMSTRENGTH OF RECORDCHANCE OF MAKING TOURNEY Syracuse7931445312.2 Bubble teams are drawn from Joe Lunardi’s bracketology classifications.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group, KenPom.com Wake Forest34303033>99.9% Illinois586368581.5 USC3958614376.4 Rhode Island4239515458.1 Marquette5529284188.6 California565255692.8 Illinois State3160494685.7 Indiana8132465719.1 College basketball season is in its final sprint toward Selection Sunday, and that means it’s panic time for teams on the men’s NCAA Tournament bubble. But not all bubble teams are created equal. For instance, Wake Forest, which ranks 30th in ESPN’s BPI power rankings, ought to feel relatively good about its tourney chances, while Syracuse, which ranks 31st, should be in a state of full-blown terror. Why the difference? It all comes down to how each school did in a metric that best predicts the NCAA selection committee’s picking tendencies.The selection committee has struggled for a while with how to pick the teams for the NCAA tournament. Should they be the best teams? Or simply the most deserving teams? The former may not have the best record, while the latter may not have the best talent. (In January, the NCAA even met with several analytics experts to help sort out this quandary.)Stats, too, have to figure out which of these two questions they’re trying to answer. ESPN’s BPI and KenPom.com’s ratings are examples of predictive rating systems, meant to tell fans who the “best” teams are. Other rating systems such as ESPN’s new Strength of Record (SOR) are meant to rank “deserving” teams, grading a team’s resume according to how hard its record was to achieve. The two approaches can yield very different results, and my research shows that Strength of Record aligns more closely with what the committee looks for in a tournament team.As the man behind updating ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index (BPI) before this season, I studied the Selection Committee’s historical behavior, to help build a system that assigns each team a probability of making the NCAA Tournament. I looked at many variables, including resume rankings such as Strength of Record and the NCAA’s official Ratings Percentage Index, predictive rankings such as BPI and KenPom, and simpler measures such as a team’s win-loss record.1Including its overall record and its record in conference and nonconference play.Most of these variables are highly correlated with each other, and in many cases they tell the same story about a school’s season. But Strength of Record has the highest correlation, and using it alone to select teams would help you agree with the committee 90 percent of the time. Plugging Strength of Record into a model (which includes other metrics, but weights them less2Specifically, here’s how the model works: We use BPI to simulate the rest of the season (including conference tournaments) 10,000 times, and in each simulation both automatic and at-large bids are selected. For the latter, we use a data-augmentation Bayesian Probit Regression model that includes SOR, RPI, BPI and an estimation of KenPom.com ratings to rank each team by its likelihood of grabbing one of the tourney’s 36 available at-large slots. A team’s chance to make the tournament, then, is a combination of their chance of winning their conference’s tournament and their chance of being selected as an at-large team if they don’t win the conference tournament.), we can assign tournament probabilities to teams considered “on the bubble” by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Because of differences in resume quality (as measured by SOR), some bubble teams are quite likely to be favored by the committee, while some should be worried if they fail to win their conference tournaments. CURRENT RANKING AMONG D-I TEAMS Xavier3336433799.9 Providence5255534063.0 Houston5035415917.2 Iowa727767640.5 Chance of bubble teams making the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN Stats & Information’s model Vanderbilt4449405665.6 So if your team is sweating things out on the bubble Sunday, keep an eye on its Strength of Record — not its RPI or its predictive ratings. read more

Tsoulis awarded for her work with migrants

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Eugenia Tsoulis won the outstanding achievement award at the Governor’s Multicultural Awards at Government House this week for her work with migrants. When the primary school teacher first migrated to Adelaide from Greece, she automatically began work on helping other Greek migrants settle in Australia. “I learnt English very fast because I had great support from the school system,” Ms Tsoulis told the City Messenger. “Once a week, it was usually on a Monday, I would take a group of young men to Holden or Actil or Clipsal down on Port Rd, and come back and attend school at Hindmarsh Primary School.“They needed a job as soon as they got here because there were no social services and I was the only one who could speak to the bus conductor and tell him where to go.” Ms Tsoulis arrived in Australia in the 1950’s aged eight. She said her parents “different type of reception” to how migrants are welcomed to the country today. “In those days, one was on their own trying to work through settlement,” Ms Tsoulis says. “We were very well looked after at school but there were no support systems and very little English tuition. In half a century, so much has changed in Australia. “When I came to the Migrant Resource Centre, it was one small office on Henley Beach Rd,” she says. “We now settle around 1500 new arrivals a year and have over 300 volunteers from over 80 ethnic and language groups. I feel very privileged to work with the people I work with.”last_img read more

OrigamiInspired Artificial Muscles Are Here to Pump Robots Up

first_img Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain Stay on target In order to defeat the human race and take over the world, robots require dexterity as well as strength.Increased flexibility, however, often means reduced durability; softer materials just aren’t as resilient as hard ones.Researchers at MIT CSAIL and Harvard’s Wyss Institute have created origami-inspired artificial muscles that allow soft robots to lift objects up to 1,000 times their own weight.One of the team’s 2.6-gram muscles, for instance, can lift a 3-kilogram item. That’s the equivalent of a duck lifting a car (and no, its ducklings are not trapped underneath).“We were very surprised by how strong the muscles were,” CSAIL director Daniela Rus said in a statement. “We expected they’d have a higher maximum functional weight than ordinary soft robots, but we didn’t expect a thousand-fold increase. It’s like giving these robots superpowers.”Now that’s just cool (via MIT CSAIL/Harvard Wyss Institute)Even more impressive, individual muscles can be constructed in about 10 minutes using materials that cost less than $1.Each bundle of faux tissue consists of an inner compressible “skeleton,” surrounded by air or water and sealed inside a bag of “skin” made from various materials (like thermoplastic polyurethane, silicone rubber, or nylon fabric—not human flesh).Now, imagine placing a spoon (the skeleton) inside an inflated balloon (the skin), and sucking all the air out of the balloon until you’re left with only a latex-covered utensil. That’s basically what happens when the artificial muscle contracts.No power source or human input is required; movement is determined entirely by the shape and composition of the skeleton.“One of the key aspects of these muscles is that they’re programmable, in the sense that designing how the skeleton folds defines how the whole structure moves,” MIT postdoc and paper lead Shuguang Li explained. “You essentially get that motion for free, without the need for a control system.”This allows scientists to shrink artificial muscles to an appropriate size for use in mobile or body-mounted systems.Early models were constructed using materials ranging from metal springs to packing foam to sheets of plastic. The team experimented with different skeletal shapes to create muscles that contract to 10 percent of their original size, and complete tasks like lifting a delicate flower or twisting into a coil.“In addition to their muscle-like properties, these soft actuators are highly scalable” Robert Wood, professor of engineering and applied sciences at Harvard, said. “We have built them at sizes ranging from a few millimeters up to a meter, and their performance holds up across the board.”Future applications include everything from minimally invasive surgery and transformable architecture to deep-sea research and space exploration (via MIT CSAIL/Harvard Wyss Institute)Researchers are already eyeing the muscles’ use in future applications, such as minimally invasive surgery, transformable architecture, deep-sea research, and space exploration.The use of water-soluble polymer PVA, meanwhile, opens even more possibilities. Just think, one day we might swallow tiny robots that can navigate through the body and dissolve to release a drug.“The possibilities really are limitless,” Rus said. “But the very next thing I would like to build with these muscles is an elephant robot with a trunk that can manipulate the world in ways that are as flexible and powerful as you see in real elephants.”Dream big.Read more about the study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.last_img read more

Fire damages Felida home

first_imgNo cause had been determined Friday night for a fire that left the home of a Felida family uninhabitable.Sandra Scovil, who was the only person at home Friday afternoon, left for 20 minutes, said Dawn Johnson, spokeswoman for Clark County Fire District 6. When she returned home from the store at about 2 p.m., she found the house filled with smoke.Scovil went to a neighbor’s house to call 911, Johnson said.The first unit from Fire District 6 that arrived found the house at 3405 N.W. 122nd St. filled with smoke.“The smoke alarms were sounding when they arrived,” Johnson said.“It started in the living room,” Johnson said. “That’s where the fire damage was. There was heavy smoke damage throughout the house. They won’t be able to get back in right away.”The house was occupied by Scovil, her husband, Eddie, and their daughter. Firefighters also rescued a pet gecko from the house, Johnson said.Northwest 36th Avenue was shut down as the firefighters worked in the split-level home in a cul-de-sac about two blocks west of Thomas Jefferson Middle School.Fire District 6 was assisted by units from Clark County Fire & Rescue and the Vancouver Fire Department.The family is being assisted by the American Red Cross, Johnson said.A damage estimate was not available Friday night.last_img read more

Man uses plastic water bottle wrapping as disguise to burglarize store

first_imgA burglary suspect who police called a “craftily disguised gent” was captured after he was caught on surveillance video wearing plastic wrap on his head, officials said.Kerry Hammond, 22, is accused of robbing a GameStop in St. Mary’s, Georgia, while wearing a clear plastic bottled water wrapper as a mask.“DID YOU EVER give any thought to what your disguise was going to be when you decided the life of crime was your bag of water? Well this guy did! And YES he used a plastic bag used to package bottle water. This puts new meaning to the term WaterHead!” police said in a Facebook post. “You can help us catch him, once you stop laughing.”It didn’t take long for police to track Hammond down, since the unique disguise was completely see through. It did little to hide his identity.Hammon is charged with burglary and criminal damage to property. He has since been released on bond. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Tello is doubling its data plans free for 6 months

first_imgSign up for Tello within the next few days and get double the regular amount of LTE data for the next six months. Tello One of my missions in this Cheapskate life is to encourage folks to look beyond the Big Four phone carriers. Why? Simple: You can save big by switching to an MVNO — a smaller carrier that leases the same cell towers used by the big ones.I’m talking Cricket, Mint Mobile, Ting and Tello, to name just a few. In fact, Tello just kicked off a promotion that’s worth a look: Double the data for six months.See it at TelloAvailable for new subscribers only, this applies to all of the carrier’s current plans — but I’ll focus mainly on the unlimited ones. These start at $14 per month, a price that would normally get you unlimited talk, text and data, with 1GB of high-speed data. With the promotion, you’ll get double that: 2GB of high-speed data per month for the next six months.Likewise, at $19 per month you’d normally get 2GB, but here you’ll get 4GB. I think the sweet spot here, for many people, is the 3GB plan at $24: You’ll get 6GB for that first six months.What happens after that? According to a Tello rep, it’s back to the regular data allotments — though I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers increased permanently by then. Maybe not double, but higher. (That’s entirely a guess on my part, but industry-wide, it seems like high-speed data allotments continue to increase while prices remain steady.) Phones Mobile Accessories Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: 2:00 12 awesome cheap phones you can buy right now tzumi-steadygo Tzumi Bonus deal: I’ve written before about smartphone gimbals, which help you shoot much steadier video, especially when you’re moving around. Usually a good three-axis gimbal runs at least $100.Not today. For a limited time, and while supplies last, Daily Steals has the Tzumi SteadyGo three-axis gimbal for $34.99 shipped when you apply promo code CHPSKTGIMBAL at checkout. Cheapskate exclusive!See it at Daily StealsWhy is this model so much less than others? Most likely because the body is made of plastic, not metal. That means it’s lighter (which strikes me as a good thing), but also less durable. If you happen to drop it, well, it could be game over.Indeed, I’ll note that the very mixed user reviews on Amazon give me pause. But the smattering of ratings I found elsewhere were much more positive, and this YouTube review helps you get a real feel for how the device performs.My take: If you’ve been wanting something like this but just couldn’t swing a $100-or-more price tag, it’s definitely worth a look.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter! Either way, that’s July’s problem. The beauty of the unlocked phone (which you’ll need to take advantage of this) and the no-contract service is that you can easily jump around to whatever carrier is offering the best deal.Because Tello is a Sprint-based MVNO, you’ll need to have an unlocked Sprint-compatible phone. Check the FAQ page to see what models (including those from other carriers) will work. Tello supports tethering at no extra charge, and also allows free calls to Canada, Mexico and China.If you’re already a Tello user (or you were in the past), hit the comments and let your fellow cheapskates know what to expect from the service. The Cheapskate 3 ways to save money using your phone Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. 14 Photos Tags Comments 13last_img read more

Firsttime cosplay is terrifying complicated and exhilarating

first_img Adam Savage, Jim Lee and more insiders on how to have your best con yet SDCC at nearly 50: The biggest convention ever had a very small start Stan Lee sang to me: 10 crazy Comic-Con moments I’ll never forget Share your voice See the best cosplay from Disney’s D23 Expo 41 Photos 62 Photos 1 The coiffureOn a Saturday afternoon, I meet up with my friend Hannah Stoppel to chat about cosplay and down a couple of desserts from a local bakery. cosplay2.jpgAbout 20 bobby pins are digging into my scalp.  Erin Carson/CNET I’m unbelievably lucky to have Hannah as a pal, for many reasons, including that she 1) studied costuming in college 2) works at a wig-making company 3) can seemingly sew anything, from Regency-era clothing to Daenerys Targaryen’s dress from when she arrived at Dragonstone Landing. Hannah even made her own wedding dress. We talk about how she learned to costume, and what to look for in wigs. We start perusing websites looking for something blond, medium-length, wavy and roughly $30.But when I find a wig from a company Hannah doesn’t know,  I turn to the ORCs’ Facebook group in search of the amped-up cosplay community spirit I keep hearing about. The ORCs don’t disappoint. They freely give and receive help with everything from props to makeup and more. So when I ask if anyone knows anything about Big Epic Cosplay wigs, multiple people chime in. One person tells me she’s bought several from the company. Another actually has the exact model I’m looking into and tells me I might have to trim it a bit for Sabrina. When the wig arrives a week later, I slide it out of its mailing envelope — this soft blond thing, tucked in a ziplock and nestled in netting. I handle it like someone who’s never picked up a cat before. It sits on my coffee table for a few days until Hannah can tell me what to do with it.  Now playing: Watch this: The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises More Comic-Con 2019 3:00center_img Comic-Con The very best cosplay we saw at Comic-Con 2019 When Hannah comes over, she shows me how to gather my hair atop my head with pin curls and braids. She demonstrates how to don the net wig cap, which involves putting the whole thing over the top half of my face for a moment, like I’m about to rob a bank, and then taming flyaway hairs using a pen to prod. Finally, we actually put on the wig, starting at the back. Somehow, my mass of wavy hair all fits beneath this groovy new artificial coif. I breathe a sigh of relief and think about the 20-some-odd bobby pins digging into my scalp. The coutureWeeks before I make the three-hour trek home to Nashville so my mom (maker of all my childhood Halloween costumes) can help me sew my dress, I descend into a black hole of dress patterns and lace collars and cuffs. Though you can find generic-ish patterns specifically for cosplay — I’m looking at you, medieval fur cape — there’s not an existing, available pattern for Sabrina’s red dress. What I have to go on are some screen shots from the show, and a dim sense from childhood of how my mom and I used to adapt patterns to fit our purposes. After two afternoons of searching, I find a pattern for a dress with long sleeves and a crew neck. The seams aren’t exactly where I need them, but I remind myself I’m not going for screen-accurate, I’m going for good enough, given it’s my first time cosplaying. Finding the collar and cuffs is a similar challenge. Etsy fails me. And even if I can find a collar, I can’t find matching cuffs. I just can’t seem to find anything that works. But then my mom, being a problem-solver extraordinaire, texts me a photo — she’s diced up a paper doily to fit around the crew neck of a T-shirt. For a first-timer, good enough basically means perfect. So, I hop on Amazon and order a six-pack of white, 10-inch crocheted doilies.  And … the catIt essentially takes from Wednesday night to Friday morning (with breaks and brunches in between) to cut out the pattern, pin the pieces together, sew them, sew the zipper, adjust the hem, attach the collar and cuffs and sew on buttons. Overall, it goes well.  cosplay3The product of many days of hard work. Erin Carson/CNET Except for the presence of our cat Piper, a creature who’s been described on multiple occasions as a “threat to humanity.”From the get-go, Piper tries to nap on the fabric, launches herself onto the dining room table where we’ve got the pieces laid out, steals one of the pattern pieces and nearly shreds it, claws at the box for the sewing machine. Crafting with Piper in the house is like sitting on a raft while a shark circles in the water.Despite Piper’s best efforts, we finish the dress. My mom and I are gleeful.When I get back to Louisville, my neighbor greets me as I’m getting the dress and my luggage out of the car: “Hey, Sabrina!”Here’s the full breakdown:Wig: $32.99.Wig cap: Donation from Hannah.Fabric: $22.48 for 2.5 yards.Thread: $5.99.Buttons: $1.99 x 2.Zipper: $4.99.Doilies: $16.99.Black tights: I already own.Black shoes: I already own.Lipstick: $4.99.Originally published July 13. Update, Aug. 29: Adds reference to Dragon Con, taking place this weekend.  No, that’s not me in my cosplay outfit. It’s Piper. She’s a menace.  Erin Carson/CNET It’s 8:30 p.m. on a summer Wednesday, and my mom and I are walking through the fabric aisle of a Joann craft store, looking for a bolt in a specific shade of red. It’s not fire engine red, or candy apple red or even ruby red. We’re looking for blood red. With minutes to go before the store closes, we walk out with a few yards of fabric, thread, a 22-inch zipper and an urgency to get home and start cutting out a pattern for a dress that’s going to be my first attempt at cosplaying at none other than San Diego Comic-Con. At this point, you’ve probably heard about cosplay. Folks dress up as characters from TV, movies, comics, anime or even as characters from their own imaginations. Some outfits are more elaborate than others. You’ll often find cosplayers showing off their latest creations at conventions around the world, like SDCC, Disney’s D23 and Dragon Con, which takes place this weekend in Atlanta.  Comment Though people have always dressed up in costume for one reason or another, the word “cosplay” is relatively new. The University of Montana traces the word back to 1984, as an anglicized version of the Japanese word “Kosupure” and a fusion of the words “costume” and “play.”Cosplaying has grown in popularity over the years, in much the same way there’s been a boom in geek culture and a burgeoning of conventions on everything from comics to sci-fi to horror.After attending SDCC for the first time last year, (and watching members of two different groups of Justice League heroes come face-to-face in the convention center, and receive each other with glee) I decided maybe it was something I wanted to try. Tags The characterEarlier in the summer, I’m sitting in one of our office conference rooms, on the phone with Yaya Han. One of the best-known cosplayers out there, Han’s a 17-year cosplay veteran who’s dressed up as everyone from Catwoman to Jessica Rabbit. I ask her for the advice she’d give to a cosplay newbie. Han, who’s expanding her brand into the creation side of cosplay by making patterns, resources and tools for cosplayers, gives me a starting point: “The first thing is to choose a character you connect with,” she tells me. This ends up being the easiest part of the whole process. I’m going to be Sabrina Spellman, from Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. It’s a reboot of the ’90s ABC comedy starring Melissa Joan Hart, based on Archie Comics’ Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I’m mostly anti-reboot these days, but I loved Sabrina as a kid and even read the comics for a few years. Netflix’s version is vastly different, with about 3,000% more Satan than the original, drawing from a dark update to the comics from 2015. 1Sabrina is all about red.  Diyah Pera/Netflix Sabrina, now played by Kiernan Shipka, still speaks to me. Modern-day Sabrina isn’t just trying to make it to the dance on time, she’s questioning the unquestioned gender roles of her belief system, raising the dead and taking on the Devil himself. May every teenage girl have that kind of confidence. The communitySo, I have an idea, but where do I start?After work, I meet up with Ryan Gatsinger and Kim Baker Taylor, who run the Ohio River Valley Cosplayers and Prop Builders group (or ORCs, for short.) Gatsinger founded ORCs in 2015, and it boasts about 2,800 members, including people from well outside the Ohio River Valley.”Make a list. What does that character wear? Or what are the pieces you have to create?” Gatsinger advises. He and Taylor, who each make about 10 costumes a year, tell me about their planning processes and why they bother with the foam,  wigs, makeup, props and whatever else. “I like the psychology of the character, and I like to take and translate that character visually,” Taylor tells me, describing past projects, such as a rockabilly Harley Quinn and Lily Munster. About that list, though. Here’s how I break it down:Blond wig.Long sleeve red dress with lace collar and cuffs.Black headband.Black tights.Black shoes. Comicslast_img read more

Facebook helps reuniting Telangana family with missing boy after 8 years

first_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:02/1:14Loaded: 0%0:02Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-1:12?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Close REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File PhotoA man was dramatically reunited with his parents after eight years with the help of the social networking platform, Facebook, that helped his parents trace him. The boy from Telangana, who ran away from home when he was 13, was discovered eight years later that he was in Punjab and was working in a field for a landlord. According to news reports, he was missing since January 26, 2011.In January 2011, 13-year-old Dinesh had a huge fight with his brother over who will bat in a cricket game. Angry, he took Rs 2000 from his home and left in Moula Ali in Hyderabad.”I was batting for a long time and Dinesh wanted to bat. I refused to let him bat and he started throwing the ball very fast. I got angry and hit him. He ran away from there and did not return,” Deepak, Dinesh’s brother told Times of India after he was discovered.Dinesh found himself in Delhi a few days later where he met a man from Punjab with whom he shared a room. The man took him to Amritsar and let him work on his agricultural land there. According to TOI, Dinesh, who was just a teenager began to miss his family. In 2015, he attempted to meet them and even came to Telangana but developed cold feet and ran back to Punjab.”I was afraid for what I had done, so I returned to Punjab after my first attempt. But I then created my profiles on Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, hoping that my family members would notice and contact me,” Dinesh said.Fate opened its eyes in August 2018 when Dinesh’s brother came across his profile on Facebook. Deepak then approached the cyber cell of the Hyderabad police who helped track the boy back to Amritsar in Punjab.While Dinesh wanted to continue his studies (he was in class eight when he left home), he couldn’t because he did not have his certificates on him. “Subhraj Sir allowed me to stay with his family. For one year, they did not ask me to do anything and I used to play with the children and stay in their house,” Dinesh was quoted as saying by TOI.”So, I dropped the idea of going to school and attended Spoken English classes on the advice of well-wishers who promised to get me a job abroad,” he continued saying.Dinesh, who now goes by Dinesh Jena Lima, drives the tractor and works on the fields in Amritsar. TOI reports that he is also fluent in Hindi, Punjabi and knows English as well.center_img Facebook Charged With Racial Discrimination In Targeted Housing Adslast_img read more

Miscreants open fire on BNPbacked KCC councillor candidate

first_imgBNP-backed councillor candidate Sultan Mahmud Pintu. Photo: UNBSome unidentified miscreants opened fire on a BNP-backed councillor aspirant for Khulna City Corporation (KCC) election near Jamuna Road in Khalishpur on Saturday night.Three miscreants riding on a motorcycle fired two rounds of bullets and hurled three handmade bombs on word no.7 councillor aspirant Sultan Mahmud Pintu around 10:00pm, said Khalishpur police station officer-in-charge Sardar Mosharraf Hossain.However, Sultan Mahmud remained unhurt fortunately, he said, reports UNB.Police were trying to spot the offenders, he added.The KCC election is scheduled to be held on 15 May.last_img

Judge Orders Trump Administration To Remove 2020 Census Citizenship Question

first_imgAndrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesCommerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, approved adding a question about U.S. citizenship status to the 2020 census.A federal judge in New York has ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ordered the administration to stop its plans to include the controversial question on forms for the upcoming national head count “without curing the legal defects” the judge identified in his opinion released on Tuesday.Furman’s decision marks a significant milestone in a legal battle that began shortly after the Trump administration announced last year that the 2020 census would include a controversial question about U.S. citizenship status. The added question was: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” All U.S. households have not been asked such a question on the census since 1950.Furman has noted that he does not expect his order to be the final word on the question’s fate. The district court ruling in New York is expected to be appealed to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Supreme Court.In addition to the two lead cases before Furman at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the administration is fighting five more lawsuits across the country filed by dozens of states, cities and other groups that want the question removed. A second trial over the question began earlier this month in California, and another is scheduled to begin in Maryland on Jan. 22.The Supreme Court has already agreed to weigh in on a dispute over the evidence that can be considered for the lawsuits. The justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments in February on that issue, as well as on whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, can be questioned under oath by the plaintiffs’ attorneys about why he approved adding the question.The administration has maintained that the citizenship question was added because the Justice Department wants to use the responses to better enforce Voting Rights Act provisions that protect racial and language minorities from being discriminated against.The lawsuits’ plaintiffs, however, have argued that the administration has been misleading the public. Ross, the plaintiffs insist, misused his authority over the census and, by adding the citizenship question, discriminated against immigrant communities of color. Research by the Census Bureau suggests asking about citizenship status in the current political climate will scare households with noncitizens from participating in the head count. That, in turn, could jeopardize the constitutionally mandated head count of every person living in the U.S.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. Sharelast_img read more

Researchers use Doppler Effect for computer gesture control

first_img © 2012 Phys.Org (Phys.org) — Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington have together created a system whereby a computer user can use hand gestures to instigate a limited set of computer commands such as scrolling and mimicking mouse double-clicking, that uses nothing but inaudible sound and doesn’t require any hardware other than a standard computer microphone and speakers. PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen The system is based on the now famous Doppler Effect, whereby the frequency of sound waves changes as an object making noises passes by another that hears it. In the real world, most recognize it as the way sirens appear to change the way they sound when an emergency vehicle passes by. With this new system, the engineers record the change in frequency of a tone (20 and 22 kilohertz, beyond normal hearing range) generated by the computer’s speaker using the computer’s microphone, when an object, such as a hand passes by. Software, the team calls SoundWave analyzes the frequencies and converts them to computer commands. It can also be used with a Smartphone. 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. More information: SoundWave: Using the Doppler Effect to Sense Gestures (research paper)Project page: research.microsoft.com/en-us/u … roups/cue/soundwave/ Microsoft Kinect makes moves on computers Explore further Play Video credit: Dan Morris and Desney Tan Thus far, the team has managed to capture five basic variables involved with the change in frequency: velocity, direction, proximity, the size of the object and time variation. By capturing and measuring these variables when hand gestures are made in front of a computer, SoundWave is able to perform scrolling, recognize tap and double tap (mimic mouse clicks) perform a two handed seesaw (to turn objects on screen) and recognize sustained motion. The result is a system that is good enough to allow a computer user to play a game of Tetris without ever touching the computer. It also can be made to recognize when a person approaches a computer, causing it to wake up, or to go back to sleep as soon as the person leaves.The team has tested the software on a multitude of different kinds and brands of computers using existing hardware and has found that no tweaking was necessary to perform basic functions and overall commands were executed correctly ninety percent of the time. They also tested the system using a variety of users and in several environments, including a noisy cafeteria and found the software worked reliably in virtually every scenario.At this point, it appears the team is positioning the SoundWave software as an add-on to computers, serving to fill in some of the gaps in other gesture based systems (such as Microsoft’s Kinect) that rely on cameras and other sensors. They are set to submit a paper for review describing the SoundWave system at the upcoming ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing. Citation: Researchers use Doppler Effect for computer gesture control (2012, May 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-05-doppler-effect-gesture.html SoundWave allows non-contact, real time in-air gesture sensing on existing commodity computing devices.last_img read more

AYUSH Ministry to clamp down on permits to state govts for opening

first_imgKolkata: Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has decided not to give permission to the state governments to open any AYUSH medical college and hospital for the next two years.The Centre, however, claimed that the move has been made to carry out a comprehensive drive to enhance existing infrastructure of the AYUSH medical colleges.For the next two years, the AYUSH Ministry will not accept any applications from any state government. The director of Ministry of AYUSH has already written to the chief secretaries of the states in this regard. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsState governments need to take no-objection certificate from the Centre for setting up an AYUSH medical college. The Union ministry has also decided not to construct any medical institutions under its fold for the next two academic years, as they will concentrate more on the development of existing infrastructure of all these hospitals. In a recent notification issued by the Ministry of AYUSH, all the state governments and universities have been urged not to give consent of affiliation to any institution which is under construction. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe restrictions will be imposed only for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. The Centre has also requested the states not to receive any fresh application, as the Centre would not entertain any such application.According to sources, there are around 626 AYUSH medical colleges across the country, among which around 17 are in Bengal. According to the ministry of AYUSH, there are areas which require some infrastructural revamp and hence it is the priority of the ministry to put in place adequate infrastructure so that people coming to the hospitals can avail best quality treatment. The ministry, during its inspection of colleges, will examine and assess if they maintain the prescribed standards. There will be a reform in the education system at all the AYUSH medical colleges in the country. According to the sources, the reforms will improve the quality of education, which will have an impact on providing quality healthcare delivery system rendered by the AYUSH system of medicine.The existing AYUSH medical colleges will, however, be able to admit candidates in various undergraduate courses for the next two academic years. The admissions will be made only through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).The notification also mentions that AYUSH National Teachers Eligibility Test is to be conducted for appointment of all teachers in AYUSH institutions and an unique verification code for such teachers will be allotted before their appointment.The main purpose of the initiatives is to bring transparency and improvement in the quality of all the AYUSH institutions. The ministry also takes up initiatives to achieve standards in AYUSH medical education in the country.last_img read more

This Female Tech Entrepreneur Is Inspired By Forging a Path for the

first_img Editor’s Note: Inspire Me is a series in which entrepreneurs and leaders share what motivates them through good times and bad, while also sharing stories of how they overcame challenges in hopes of inspiring others.Jessica Rovello says she often finds the loneliness of running a business a challenge. Staying connected to her mission and peers in the same position isn’t easy for the CEO and co-founder of Arkadium, an interactive content and gaming company that has big-name clients like Comcast and The Washington Post. The company has developed more than 300 mobile games, including one you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time procrastinating on, Microsoft’s collection of Solitaire.Seventeen years ago, Rovello was in her mid 20s, working in a tech company that was hemorrhaging money. She met and started dating her future husband and co-founder at the job, but while they were planning their future, she realized that she didn’t see a company in the landscape that would allow her to grow and feel inspired to go to work every day, while also allowing her to raise her family and be in Rovello’s words, “a total kickass career woman executive.”“[It] just didn’t seem like they were possible given the structures that were in place in large organizations,” Rovello told Entrepreneur. “So I said, I think that we’ve got to go and make this. If I can’t have it, I’m not going to just complain about the fact that I can’t have it. I’m going to go do something about it.”Rovello says even nearly two decades later, there are still days she feels overwhelmed and second-guesses what she is doing. She fears that she’ll let her staff of 100-plus people down.Related: LittleBits Founder Ayah Bdeir Wants to Ignite the Inner Inventor in Us AllIn those situations, she seeks out inspiration from words of wisdom from her loved ones, fellow entrepreneurs and people she admires. She also remembers why it was so important to her to create an environment to help other women in the industry thrive.“It’s easy to forget that there are many, many other people who are in similar situations. When you’re doing it, it can feel very lonely,” says Rovello. “I get really inspired when I speak about the business. When I can speak about our vision and where we want to go, whether I do that when I’m interviewing people or when I’m speaking to staff, all of those things inspire me.”Today, she has built Arkadium into a company that works with more than 500 publishers and employs 84 staffers in the U.S. and Russia. Of those employees, Arkadium has executive and management teams that are 50 and 60 percent women, respectively. Rovello shared her insights about what has helped her establish herself as a leader in this predominantly male industry.Who is a woman that inspires you, and why?My mom is a journalist, and she really inspires me. She started working at tabloid newspapers in New York City in the ’80s, when there were not a lot of women reporters. And she was always one of the only women in the newsroom. She didn’t let it stop her. Nothing about the industry she worked in or her very small percentage place in it ever stopped her from doing her job or growing or kicking ass. That’s very inspirational to me. I grew up being surrounded by a woman who didn’t let any of the numbers stop her. And so that’s very inspiring to me, and that keeps me going when I think about it. I have no excuse.What has inspired you to be a better person?Being in technology industry and part of what we do in the history of the company is make games and engagement tools — those are typically very male-dominated industries. And as we’ve seen very publicly for the last few years, there are many companies that tend to be hostile environments. There’s just too many stories about how tech companies have operated, and so that has been inspiring to me, because I feel as a woman who’s running a technology company, I can really stand up for doing things a different way. I’ve always made choices that made sense for the women in the company. That’s why 50 percent of our executive team is female, and 60 percent of our management team is female. We’ve always been very well-balanced, but I guess it’s especially top of mind for me knowing that I’m privileged that I can carve a path here for the women to have a different experience.What is a quote that inspires you, and why?Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s really easy when you are building a business to look around and see stories of these massive unicorn companies and constantly compare yourself, especially in the technology space. Why don’t I have a 50,000-square-foot office? Why do I not have this perk or that perk? Why has my revenue not grown 20,000 percent? Because those are the stories that get written about a lot. Less so are the 99 percent of businesses that are complete and utter failures. They go bankrupt within the first year. You just don’t really read or see those stories that much. So it’s very easy to compare yourself to these rocket ships to the moon that maybe not are the reality of the day-to-day existence of most of the entrepreneurs in the United States. So I think about that one a lot, and I try to have that temper my competitiveness, which I never want to go away. But I also don’t want to have it essentially eat away at my soul.Another one I like is from C.S. Lewis: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” I think when you’re in the business-building process, and I’ve been at this for 17 years now, to go through your daily routines, to have your meetings, to go through the day-to-day to-dos and wonder what it is that you’re building toward. Then, when you really look back even a month or two months, you can see the massive amount of changes that have taken place.You just need the perspective of time to be able to understand. The [quote] helps me remain inspired on a day where I may feel like I’m just kind of grinding it out a little bit.Related: Refinery29’s Christene Barberich on How All the No’s Pushed Her ForwardWhat is a book that inspires you, and why?The Power of intention, by Wayne Dyer. It just reminds me that things are within my control and that I have the capacity to live an intentional life. For me it’s really understanding what it is that I want — and by want I don’t mean materially, I mean want from my life and then designing my schedule and where I focus my energy. So for me it’s being an amazing mom and spending really quality time with my kids. It’s being a great wife to my husband. It’s being a good daughter and a good friend. It’s building my business, and it’s being an inspiration to the women who are around me who will be the next generation of leaders.For those women who are looking to start a business or have begun one but are feeling discouraged, what advice do you have for them to keep going?Everybody has different circumstances, and so there’s usually no one-size-fits-all answer. I will say what really has helped me: Number one, when I was just starting my business and I didn’t have any money or employees, and I didn’t know what necessarily I was doing, I would read Entrepreneur and would envision myself being in the pages of the magazine. I would visualize and let myself dream that dream. I wouldn’t allow all the negative thoughts of why it wasn’t going to happen or how ridiculous that would sound to get in the way. I would mentally place myself in the article about the person who grew their business or who is doing millions of dollars in revenue or who had figured it out. And I wouldn’t get too lost in the details of how it was going to happen. I would just allow myself to think that way. So that was really helpful for me personally.Another thing that I found really helpful is having a peer group, people who are in similar situations to you whether they be just starting a business or have already grown a business. There are many organizations that exist for people to have a peer group of other CEOs or other entrepreneurs and getting together on a monthly basis and just having open discussions about the challenges you’re going through or the triumphs you’re having is really helpful. Because as I mentioned earlier, it’s really easy to feel like you’re alone on an island when you’re building a company. To know that other people are doing it, to hear their experiences, to share ideas and to just feel less disconnected is really helpful. Enroll Now for Free Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now 9 min readcenter_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. June 25, 2018last_img read more

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first_imgFeature | July 06, 2015 | Jeff Zagoudis MRI Brings New Vision to Radiation Therapy Several efforts are underway to bring MRI-guided radiation therapy into widespread clinical use for improved visualization and real-time, adaptive treatment response News | Neuro Imaging | August 16, 2019 ADHD Medication May Affect Brain Development in Children A drug used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to affect development of the brain’s… read more Each institution is conducting its own research projects related to MRI-guided radiotherapy, with smaller cross-institutional working groups focusing on technical aspects – pulse sequences, workflow, appropriate imaging sequences, etc. – and potential applications – i.e., anatomies best suited for MRI radiotherapy. At press time, there are two operating systems, both at the UMC Utrecht (one was an initial experimental version and the second is a pre-production model) using a 1.5T magnetic field strength. Eventually each institution will have its own system, according to Jill Stief, director of product development, oncology systems for Elekta. As the initiative progresses, Elekta and Philips will incorporate the sum total of all research findings into development of their commercial system, dubbed the Atlantic. On the current course, the partnership hopes to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CE mark approval in 2017 and begin shipping the first units in the United States and Europe in 2018. The Atlantic will employ Elekta’s Monaco treatment planning system, including the Monte Carlo dose algorithm for more precise dose calculations. Getting the linear accelerator and the MRI scanner to cooperate has proven successful thus far through two major modifications to the MRI scanner. The key, said Greg Trausch, senior product manager for Elekta, has been reducing the strength of the magnetic field where the linac is positioned, thereby improving the strength of the photon beam. Philips also designed new coils for the scanner that are resistant to the photon beam and allow more space for it to pass through. To further enhance performance, Elekta redesigned the gantry on the linear accelerator so that it is actually outside the treatment room and therefore cannot disrupt the magnetic field. “It’s not just about technology for the sake of technology,” said Stief. “It’s about the clinical practice and techniques that customers would use it for.” Cobalt Offers Alternatives When the Atlantic enters the market in a few years, it will join ViewRay’s MRIdian system, which debuted in May 2012 following FDA approval. MRIdian eliminates the linear accelerator from the equation, opting instead for three Cobalt-60 teletherapy heads. Cobalt generates gamma rays, which offer many of the same benefits as X-ray photons without the problems with the magnetic field.ViewRay also made adjustments on the other side of the equation, using a 0.35T field strength magnet in the MRI scanner. This is significantly lower strength than most MRI scanners on the market, which are usually 1.5T or 3.0T. “The lower field strength avoids distortion to the radiation dose, while allowing for continuous imaging,” said ViewRay CEO Chris Raanes. The Future in ActionViewRay has made three installs at present, all three of which are in the U.S. The first patients were treated at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis in January 2014; the other two systems are at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and the University of California Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We’ve been treating pretty much every part of the body,” said Jeffrey Bradley, M.D., director of the S. Lee Kling Center for Proton Therapy at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Bradley’s team has been using MRIdian to deliver both fractionated and stereotactic radiotherapy, with the potential to perform intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) as well. Bradley estimated the center has treated 150 patients since bringing MRIdian online. Adaptive treatment usually lasts roughly one hour and non-adaptive treatment takes about 30 minutes. While treating patients, Siteman Cancer Center is also conducting a pair of clinical trials to further evaluate the technology. The first trial is studying the use of adaptive fractionated radiotherapy followed by a stereotactic boost for patients with lymph node-positive lung cancer; the second trial is focusing on stereotactic therapy for patients with a limited number of metastases who are also receiving chemotherapy and systemic treatment. Both trials are about halfway through their accrual period, according to Bradley.  “We think it’ll change radiation therapy,” he said of the technology.These clinical trials are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of what could be possible with MRI-guided radiation therapy, according to Raanes, who added that other MRIdian users are currently exploring the technology’s ability to treat breast and liver cancer. “With breast cancer especially, it’s nearly impossible to see the tumor bed on X-ray or CT, which is why many institutions do whole-breast irradiation therapy,” he said, “But with MRI you can see much better, so you don’t have to irradiate the entire breast.”  One day, Oelfke believes it may even be possible to use MRI scans to assess the biological processes associated with tumor growth, identifying areas of greatest growth or resistance to combat cancer on a whole other level. “So after we have gained enough experience to control the anatomy, we can look inside the tumor and say, “˜Well, it’s not the whole prostate; there’s a dominant lesion in there,'” he said, “and we know exactly at the time of treatment where it is and we can give it the appropriate dose that it requires.”  Following radiation, the bone marrow shows nearly complete loss of blood cells in mice (left). Mice treated with the PTP-sigma inhibitor displayed rapid recovery of blood cells (purple, right). Credit: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications Related Content Catalyst PT image courtesy of C-RAD Related Articles on MRI-guided Radiation Therapy:MRI-guided Radiation Therapy (2017)First Patients Treated with ViewRay’s MRIdian Linac at Henry Ford Health SystemEarly Clinical Experience with ViewRay’s MRIdian Linac Presented at AAPM 2017Elekta Begins MR-Linac Installation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences CentreMRI-Guided Radiation Therapy (2016)Dutch Medical Center Begins Installation of World’s First High-field MRI-guided Radiation Therapy System FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Technology | Neuro Imaging | August 07, 2019 Synaptive Medical Launches Modus Plan With Automated Tractography Segmentation Synaptive Medical announced the U.S. launch and availability of Modus Plan featuring BrightMatter AutoSeg. This release… read more Technology | Interventional Radiology | August 16, 2019 Profound Medical Receives U.S. FDA 510(k) Clearance for Tulsa-Pro Profound Medical Corp. announced it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to… read more News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 Mevion and C-RAD Release Integration for Improved Proton Therapy Treatment Quality Mevion Medical Systems and C-RAD announced the integration between the C-RAD Catalyst PT and the Mevion S250i proton… read more The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Rendering courtesy of Stantec. News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | August 06, 2019 Canon Medical Introduces Encore Orian MR Upgrade Program Canon Medical Systems USA Inc. is helping to provide low-cost patient care solutions for its customers with the launch… read more News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more ViewRays MRIdian system directly tracks tumor motion continuously during treatment.Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) affords greater accuracy of dose distribution during cancer treatment, allowing the radiation oncologist to see how a tumor is responding over the course of treatment. This has traditionally been accomplished with computed tomography (CT) or X-ray scans, which requires extra radiation exposure for the patient, with relatively poor contrast in soft tissue due to uniform electron density. Since treatment is only as good as the images provided, efforts are under way to find a better modality – and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may hold the answer. Benefits of MRI MRI-guided radiotherapy directly solves both of these problems, requiring no radiation for imaging while providing much greater viewing contrast in soft tissue – especially beneficial for imaging of the pelvic region. Beyond these solutions, the technique provides a number of other benefits. Because there is no additional radiation dose to the patient, radiation oncologists can image more frequently, allowing real time viewing of treatment progression. In contrast, cone beam CT imaging is done in larger time intervals, so by the time treatment resumes, the images could be a few days old. This capability also makes it easier to track moving tumors in areas such as the lungs and stomach. Taken together, these allow radiation oncologists to practice truly adaptive radiation therapy for the first time. “We can only treat what we see at the time of the treatment,” said Prof. Uwe Oelfke, MCCPM, FInstP, head of the Joint Department of Physics at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London. “And if you don’t see what you treat … then you are shooting into the dark, basically, because we’re trying to hit an invisible target with an invisible beam.”Taking the Linear PathWhile MRI would seem to have numerous advantages over CT for image-guided radiotherapy – and those advantages seem to be understood in the radiology and radiation oncology communities – the technology has really only come into development in the last decade, with one company offering a system commercially to date. The difficulty, largely, has been getting the two technologies – MRI scanners and the linear accelerators most often used in radiation therapy – to interact successfully without negating each other. In simple terms, the photons used during radiation therapy treatment generate their own electrons, whose path can be impacted by the magnetic field of the MRI scanner. This reaction can also occur within the soft tissue, and while not harmful can negate the effect of the treatment. Getting around this problem has been the main focus of those developing the technology, and several solutions have been found. Elekta and Philips have been working to create an MRI-guided radiotherapy system that can still utilize a linear accelerator, since it is the current standard of care for radiation therapy. In 2012, the two companies formed the Elekta MR Linac Research Consortium, an international research initiative to develop a working MRI-guided radiotherapy system for clinical applications. The consortium includes an international cadre of research institutions, including Oelfke’s team at the ICR in London, plus:  Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center (Milwaukee);MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston);Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Toronto);The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital (Amsterdam);University Medical Center Utrecht (Utrecht, The Netherlands);Christie National Health System (NHS) Foundation Trust (Manchester, England); andThe Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust (London). News | Proton Therapy | August 08, 2019 MD Anderson to Expand Proton Therapy Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled plans to expand its Proton Therapy Center during a… read more Images of regions of interest (colored lines) in the white matter skeleton representation. Data from left and right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR) were averaged. Image courtesy of C. Bouziane et al. News | Radiation Therapy | August 16, 2019 Drug Accelerates Blood System’s Recovery After Radiation, Chemotherapy A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem… read more News | Proton Therapy | August 06, 2019 IBA Signs Contract to Install Proton Therapy Center in Kansas IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) recently signed a contract and received the first payment for a Proteus One solution… read morelast_img read more

Android 9 pies Smart Linkify How Androids new machine learning based feature

first_imgLast week, Google launched Android 9 pie, the latest machine learning based Android operating system after Android Oreo. One of the features in Android 9 pie, named, smart linkify, a new version of the existing Android Linkify API adds clickable links on identifying entities such as dates, flights, addresses, etc, in content or text input via TextClassifier API. Smart linkify Smart linkify API is trained in TensorFlow which uses a small feedforward neural network.  This enables it to figure out whether or not a series of numbers or words is a phone number or address, just like Android Oreo’s Smart Text Selection feature. But, what’s different with this new feature is that instead of just making it easier to highlight and copy the associated text manually, it adds a relevant actionable link allowing users to immediately take action with a just a click. How does smart linkify work? Smart linkify follows three basic steps: Locating entities in an input text Processing the input text Training the network Let’s have a quick look at each of the above-mentioned steps. Finding entities in an input text The underlying process for detecting entities within texts is not an easy task. It poses many problems as people follow different ways to write addresses and phone numbers. There can also be confusion regarding the type of entity. For instance, “Confirmation number: 857-555-3556” can look like a phone number even though it’s not. So, to fix this problem, an inference algorithm with two small feedforward neural networks was designed by the Android team. The two feedforward neural networks look for context surrounding words and perform all kinds of entity chunking beyond just addresses and phone numbers. The first input text is split into words and then all the possible combination of entries, named “candidates”  are analyzed. After analyzing the candidates, a score is assigned on a scale of validity. Any overlapping candidates are removed, favoring the ones with the higher score. After this, the second neural network takes over and assigns a type of entity, as either a phone number, address or in some cases, a non-entity. Smart Linkify finding entities in a string of text Processing the input text After the entities have been located in the text, it’s time to process it. The neural networks determine whether the given entity candidate in the input text is valid or not. After knowing the context surrounding the entity, the network classifies it. With the help of machine learning, the input text is split into several parts and each is fed to the network separately. Smart linkify processing the input text Google uses character n-grams and a binary capitalization feature to “represent the individual words as real vectors suitable as an input of the neural network”. Character n-grams represent the word as a set of all character subsequences of a certain length. Google used lengths 1 to 5. The binary feature indicates whether the word starts with a capital letter. This is important as the capitalization in postal addresses is quite distinct, thereby, helping the networks to differentiate. Training the network Google has a training algorithm in place for datasets. It involves collecting lists of addresses, phone numbers and named entities (such as product, place, business names, etc). These are then used to synthesize the data for training neural networks. “We take the entities as they are and generate random textual contexts around them (from the list of random words on Web). Additionally, we add phrases like “Confirmation number:” or “ID:” to the negative training data for phone numbers, to teach the network to suppress phone number matches in these contexts”, says the Google team. There are a couple of other techniques that Google used for training the network such as: Quantizing the embedding matrix to 8-bit integers Sharing embedding matrices between the selection and classification networks. Varying the size of the context before/after the entities Creating artificial negative examples out of the positive ones for classification network. Currently, Smart Linkify offers support for 16 languages and plans to support more languages in the future. Google still relies on traditional techniques using standard regular expressions for flight numbers, date, times, IBAN, etc, but it plans to include ML models for these in the future. For more coverage on smart linkify, be sure to check out the official Google AI blog. Read Next All new Android apps on Google Play must target API Level 26 (Android Oreo) or higher Android P Beta 4 is here, stable Android P expected in the coming weeks! Is Google planning to replace Android with Project Fuchsia?last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Taj Hotels Resorts a

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces has announced the opening of its luxury hotel Taj Santacruz, Mumbai. Strategically located just off the Western Express Highway, the hotel is close to the city’s financial and entertainment centres as well as the domestic and international airports.“We are delighted to extend the legendary Taj hospitality with the opening of Taj Santacruz in Mumbai. With its distinctive design, spacious rooms and warm service, Taj Santacruz is a luxurious new addition that is symbolic of the cultural melting pot that is quintessentially Mumbai. The hotel captures the spirit of the city and offers curated experiences to its guests, deep rooted in its culture,” said Mr. Pankaj Sampat, General Manager, Taj Santacruz, Mumbai.Taj Santacruz’s architecture mirrors the city’s unique sensory blend with colours and styles to reflect Mumbai within its walls. Jali-esque pattern, layering and colour – all integral to the Indian design ethic – give Indian overtones to the contemporary styling. Throughout the hotel, paintings and traditional sculptures by Indian artists provide local accents to reception spaces.Farhat Jamal, Senior Vice President – Operations (West-India) & Africa, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, said: “Taj Santacruz will set a benchmark for luxury in North Mumbai, with its unparalleled Taj service, elegantly appointed rooms and contemporary restaurants. It will be an oasis for business and leisure travellers alike. It is the new jewel in the Taj crown.”The hotel comprises 279 rooms and suites which are among the largest in the city and blend contemporary elegance with touches of traditional Indian style. The Taj Club Rooms, located on the dedicated Taj Club Floor, are designed to meet the specific needs of the international business traveller, with a 24 hour cyber butler, high speed Wi-Fi and private check-in service. The two lavishly appointed grand suites—the Presidential Suite and Grand Luxury Suite—each have their own separate living spaces and kitchenette.Taj Santacruz reflects Mumbai’s spirit and essence through its exceptional dining experiences. Local meets global at Tiqri, Rivea offers guests a refreshing take on the famed French and Italian Riviera palate and Enoteca offers guests a taste of exquisite table wines paired with cheese, bread and antipasti.Designed to rejuvenate the senses, the hotel features a Beauty Salon, outdoor swimming pool and a Fitness Centre.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more