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Just hours after the Arizona Cardinals announced t
Just hours after the Arizona Cardinals announced t

first_imgJust hours after the Arizona Cardinals announced that they had fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves, names started surfacing for the job openings.At a Monday press conference, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill confirmed three candidates that will be interviewed for the head coaching position: Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, who was also fired Monday morning. Comments   Share   The news of McCoy’s interview was broken earlier in the day by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.“We’ve reached out to Mike McCoy and I’ll be speaking to him in the next several days,” Bidwill said. “I’ve also reached out and gotten permission to speak with Andy Reid, so we’ll be speaking to Coach Reid in the next few days as well.”Reid coached 14 years in Philadelphia, racking up a .583 winning percentage, guiding the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and one trip to the Super Bowl.But after the Eagles spent big money in free agency prior to the 2011 season, expectations galore were heaped on the team and they failed to respond. Philly went 12-20 over the next two seasons which led to Reid’s departure.Bidwill failed to give any other names that are being considered by the Cardinals at this point.“There will be further updates, I’m sure, as we get through the next couple days. We are dealing with the holiday and some of the other limitations such as playoffs and things along those lines,” Bidwill said. Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

Rep LaSatas water beautification program legislation making waves
Rep LaSatas water beautification program legislation making waves

first_imgRep. Kim LaSata delivers testimony in support of her legislation to assign administrative duties of state water beatification projects to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources during the Nov. 27 House Tourism and Recreation Committee meeting.Legislation introduced by state Rep. Kim LaSata to streamline rules regulating Michigan’s Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs was approved today by the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee.In 2009, then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed Executive Order 45, which combined the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) into the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. In 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Executive Order 1, which split the two departments back into separate agencies. Confusion caused by these two orders impacted various departmental functions, and a lack of clarity in the law created a situation where the Adopt-a-River and Adopt-a-Shoreline programs were not being administered by any state agency.“It’s unfortunate because many Michiganders are interested in helping out with our state’s rivers and shorelines, but they don’t know it’s an option to do so at Michigan state parks,” said LaSata, of Bainbridge Township. “The programs give people a chance to do their part to clean up litter from the places they love, but before anyone can utilize the programs, we must first clean up the laws that govern them.”After working with the DNR and the DEQ to determine a solution, LaSata’s bills call on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to administer the programs and offer information to the public about how to become involved.“I want to see these programs prosper,” LaSata said. “Not only keeping our rivers and shorelines clean, but also fostering an appreciation for nature.”House Bills 5155 and 5156 now move to the House floor for further consideration.### Categories: LaSata News 06Dec Rep. LaSata’s water beautification program legislation making waveslast_img read more

Click on image to enlarge And now for gold

first_img (Click on image to enlarge) And now for gold. What the June Bank Participation Report shows was that ‘3 or less’ U.S. bullion banks are now net long the gold market to the tune of 29,622 contracts [2.96 million ounces].  The May report showed these same three U.S. banks were net short the Comex futures market in gold by 16,610 contracts [1.66 million ounces].  That’s a change of 46,232 Comex gold contracts in less than a month! Also in gold, there were 21 non-U.S. banks that were net short 25,040 Comex gold contracts [2.54m oz] between them.  That’s an increase from the 22,474 Comex gold contracts [2.25m oz] they held short in the May report.  Once again, the lion’s share of that 25,040 contracts I believe to be held by Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia.  And if you divide up what remains between the other 20 non-U.S. banks that hold short positions in the Comex future market, you’ll see at a glance that their short positions are immaterial in the grand scheme of things. Here’s gold’s Bank Participation Report in graphic form courtesy of Nick Laird… (Click on image to enlarge) In palladium, ‘3 or less’ U.S. banks are short 8,970 palladium contracts…and 14 non-U.S. banks are short 3,485 palladium contracts.  Once again, it’s a good bet that almost all of the Comex short positions held by the U.S. bullion banks are held by JPMorgan Chase…and the 14 non-U.S. banks are short, on average, 250 contracts apiece…which is also immaterial. (Click on image to enlarge) Here’s the longer-term chart that puts Friday’s activity in some sort of perspective. (Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 132 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery on Tuesday…and it was, once again, “all the usual suspects”.  JPMorgan Chase as the only short/issuer of note, with 131 contracts out of its client account.  HSBC USA was the long/stopper on 76 contracts…and Barclays took delivery of 52 contracts.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. There was a tiny withdrawal out of GLD yesterday…19,333 troy ounces.  This was probably a fee payment of some kind.  And as of 10:13 p.m. EDT last night, there were no reported changes in SLV. Joshua Gibbons, the Guru of the SLV Bar List, updated his Internet site with the bar information over at SLV for the week ending Wednesday, June 5th.  Here is part of his brief comments…”Analysis of the 05 June bar list, and comparison to the previous week’s list…1,110,225.2  troy oz. were removed (all from Brinks London), no bars were added or had a serial number change.”  The link to his website…and the rest of his comments…is here. The U.S. Mint had a smallish sales report yesterday.  They sold 5,000 ounces of gold eagles and 1,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes.  So far this month, the mint has sold 17,000 ounces of gold eagles…4,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 782,000 silver eagles.  Based on this data, the silver/gold sales ratio is a bit over 36 to 1. It was a fairly busy day in silver over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday.  They reported receiving 1,223,933 troy ounces…and shipped out a smallish 16,792 troy ounces.  The link to that activity is here. In gold, the received 24,626 troy ounces on that day…and didn’t ship any out.  All of it went into Scotia Mocatta.  The link to that activity is here. As far as the Commitment of Traders Report…there’s nothing to report.  There were no meaningful changes in the Commercial net short position in silver…which still sits at 42.0 million ounces…and in gold, the Commercial net short position increased by about 240,000 ounces…and now sits at 6.17 million ounces. The under-the-hood corrections from the prior week’s ‘screwy’ COT Report that Ted Butler was sort of expecting, did not materialize…and I just know he’ll have more to say about it in his commentary later today.  I’ll steal what I think I can get away with and post it in my Tuesday column. I’m not even going to bother posting Nick Laird’s most excellent “Days to Cover” chart because it looks the same as the one I posted last week. However, the June Bank Participation Report [for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday, June 4th] was a horse of an entirely different colour.  For the last month or so, Ted has been going on about the fact that JPMorgan has now positioned itself on the long side of the gold market…and lo and behold, that was proven to be the case [in spades] in yesterday’s BPR…as they are now mega-long gold in the Comex Futures market.  But silver comes first. In silver, what the report showed was that ‘3 or less’ U.S. banks were net short 18,924 Comex silver contracts [94.6m oz]…an improvement from 21,873 silver contracts [109.4m oz] held short in the May report.  Based on this data, Ted has revised his estimate of JPMorgan’s silver short position down to about 15,000 contracts [75m oz].  Of the approximately 4,000 contracts [20m oz] remaining in the June report…and held by the other two U.S. banks…I’d bet that HSBC USA holds [at minimum] 3,000 contracts [15m oz] of that amount all by itself.  The remaining short position would be held by Citigroup…and in the grand scheme of things, it’s immaterial. As I’ve always said…there are only two U.S. banks involved in the silver price management scheme…and that is JPMorgan and HSBC USA.  This report proves that nothing has changed, except that JPM is heading for the exits as quickly as it can. Also in silver, there were 14 non-U.S. banks that collectively held 12,163 Comex contracts net short in the June report.  This is up slightly from the 11,168 Comex contracts they held net short in the May report.  I’d bet serious money that well over 50 percent of that 12,163 contract figure is held by Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia.  The remaining contracts, divided up between the other 13 non-U.S. banks, are immaterial.  Here’s the chart… (Click on image to enlarge) For fun, I thought I’d do the same exercise for both platinum and palladium…but only for the month of June. In platinum, there are 4 U.S. Banks short 11,971 Comex platinum contracts…and 15 non-U.S. banks are short 1,422 Comex platinum contracts between them. Most of the short position held by the 4 U.S. banks would be JPMorgan as well…and the short positions of the 15 non-U.S. banks, divided up equally, is less than 100 contracts per bank. The gold stocks gapped down at the open…and drifted quietly lower from there, with the low of the day coming at 3:00 p.m. EDT.  From that point, the gold equities rallied a hair into the close.  The HUI got smoked to the tune of 4.26%. Palladium got hit the same time as platinum, but recovered most of its losses by the close of trading. As the Kitco chart below indicates…silver, JPMorgan’s problem child…got singled out for special attention.  After trading in a tight 20 cent trading range through all of the Far East and most of the London session, silver got smoked at the release of the jobs report.  Silver low [around $21.50 according to Kitco] didn’t occur until around 3:45 p.m. in electronic trading, more than four hours after the low price tick was in for gold. Also, according to Kitco, the high tick shortly after 8:30 a.m. EDT was $22.80, so silver had an intraday price move of $1.30…almost 6 percent. Silver closed in New York at $21.69 spot…down 90 cents from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was very chunky at 59,500 contracts. Platinum traded in a 20 dollar range in overnight trading…and was basically flat by the Comex open.  The funny thing about platinum was that the price didn’t get smacked until just before 9:00 a.m. EDT…not at the release of the jobs report.  Platinum got hit for over 40 bucks in New York trading, but recovered a chunk of that as the day wore on. It was no different with silver, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index got crushed for 4.34%. For the Friday trading session, gold closed down 2.06%…silver was down 3.96%…platinum closed down 1.70%…and palladium was off 0.66%. The dollar index closed in New York late Thursday afternoon at 81.59.  From there it traded lower…hitting its low in the Far East [81.25] during the Hong Kong lunch hour.  From there it recovered a bit before rolling over once again, with a quick spike down at the release of the jobs report at 8:30 a.m. in New York.  The low tick was 81.14.  But someone was there to catch a falling knife…and by the 9:30 open of the equity markets, the index was back at 81.70…and traded pretty flat after that.  The dollar index closed at 81.66…up 8 ticks on the day. It should be obvious that the goings-on in the currency markets had zero to do with the happenings in the precious metals.  This was strictly a JPMorgan et al affair from start to finish. Well, I was only half right in my prediction for the gold price action on Friday. The gold price didn’t do much of anything during Far East and most of London trading.  But the moment that the jobs report came out, gold got whacked right away.  What a surprise!  Gold’s low tick [$1,376.90 spot] came at 11:30 a.m. EDT…and rebounded slightly during the rest of the New York trading day. Gold closed on Friday at $1,384.60 spot…down $29.10…and back below the $1,400 spot price mark once again.  Gross volume was an eye-watering 211,000 contracts. Avrupa Minerals Ltd. is a growth-oriented prospect generator focused on aggressive exploration for valuable mineral deposits in politically stable and prospective regions of Europe with a growing pipeline of prospects in Portugal, Kosovo and Germany. Company highlights: Alvalade Project JV with Antofagasta Minerals SA – Copper and Zinc on 1000 km2 project area in the Portuguese Pyrite Belt – 2012 exploration budget of US$ 2.5 million, all provided by Antofagasta, including 6000 meters of core drilling Gold exploration in the Erzgebirge Mining District, Germany – 307 km2 exploration license in 1000+ year producing region of tin, tungsten, silver, base metals, and uranium – Increasingly favorable permitting and mining regulations, long mining culture, widespread known gold panning locations Covas Tungsten JV with Blackheath Resources Inc. – 922,900 mt @ 0.78% WO3 (non NI 43-101 compliant) historic resource – Potential to increase the tungsten resource – New gold target on the project Strong management including Paul Kuhn, CEO, previously involved with several discoveries around the world, and Mark T. Brown, Director, founder of Rare Element Resources Ltd. Low risk exploration strategy Share structure and cash on hand (12/31/2011): 16.1 million shares outstanding; 23.7 million shares outstanding, fully diluted 40% of shares held by insiders, family, friends, and long-term investors Approx. C$ 500,000 cash on hand (consolidated Canada and Europe) Antofagasta has provided US$ 350,000 for all anticipated Alvalade JV expenses for Q1 2012. Please visit our website for more information. (Click on image to enlarge) Here’s your “cute quota” of the day… (Click on image to enlarge) Before signing off today, this is your final boarding call for the NEW FREE WEBINAR coming your way.  It’s entitled “Investing in the New Normal“.  This one stars John Mauldin, Mohamed El-Erian, David Rosenberg, Barry Ritholtz, John Hussman and Kyle Bass.  I would bet serious coin that this will be more than worth your while. It’s all happening at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 11th…and you can read all about it here. That’s it for the day…and the week.  I look forward to the 6:00 p.m. Sunday night open in New York with great interest. Sponsor Advertisement I have the usual number of stories…and I hope you have time to go through the ones that interest you in what’s left of your weekend. We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Why We Can’t Wait, 1963 Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ is my favourite Burt Bacharach/Hal David/Dionne Warwick tune…and I hope you like it as well.  It dates from 1963…and was her first international million-seller…and the link is here. Max Bruch composed his Scottish Fantasy in E-flat Major Op. 46 in 1880. In paying homage to Scottish tradition (although the composer never visited Scotland), Bruch’s composition gives a prominent place to the harp in the instrumental accompaniment to the violin. The Scottish Fantasy is one of the several signature pieces by Bruch which are still widely heard today, along with the first violin concerto and the Kol Nidrei for cello and orchestra. Here is David Oistrakh doing the honours in this 1962 recording with the London Symphony Orchestra…Jascha Horenstein conducts.  The link is here. Well, I was only half right in my prediction for the gold price action on Friday.  Yes, it got hit at the release of the jobs report…starting 482 milliseconds before that event, actually…but there was no recovery at all, as gold…and especially silver…got crushed. But looking past that, it’s important to keep an eye on the prize…and the gold numbers in June’s Bank Participation Report were nothing short of stunning…and Ted Butler’s comments from earlier last month that JPMorgan was now hugely long the gold market were proven to be 100 percent accurate.  Ted also figures that it’s a good bet that they’re long gold in just about every other market as well, but this is all we can see.  And even though they are mega-short in silver…and platinum and palladium as well…these positions may be covered in other markets too. But that doesn’t stop them from continuing to beat the living snot out of the Comex futures market in all four precious metals at any [and every] opportunity, as it’s more than obvious now that they are heading for the exits.  No further proof is necessary, as the June BPR should tell you all you need to know.  It’s certainly telling me all I need to know.  We just have to hunker down and live through what’s left of this engineered price decline, as what follows is pretty much preordained. Gold is the only card that the powers that be have to save their paper creature…and I would guess that they’ll play it this year…and sooner rather than later.  Whatever the new prices are for gold, silver, platinum and palladium when that time comes…there will be a mad rush to sell by current holders who have been waiting for this particular payday.  All of it will end up in the vaults of JPMorgan and the other bullion banks, never to see the light of day again…at least not in our lifetimes. Here’s Nick Laird’s weekly update to his “Total PMs Pool” chart…but as I mentioned in this space last week, the vast majority of the withdrawals from all the ETFs and other precious metal funds are already done.last_img read more

Staged photos of impoverished Indians posing with
Staged photos of impoverished Indians posing with

first_imgStaged photos of impoverished Indians posing with fake food have sparked fierce criticism from Indian photographers, global development experts and the CEO of one of the world’s largest charities in India. They are calling the project unethical and insensitive.Freelance photographer Alessio Mamo took the photos in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as part of a 2011 project called “Dreaming Food.” On July 22, he posted five of them to the Instagram account of the Amsterdam-based World Press Photo Foundation, one the world’s foremost photojournalism organizations. As a previous World Press Photo prize winner, Mamo was acting as a weeklong guest administrator of that account.In the five photos, Indian villagers cover their eyes with their hands as they stand in front of an extravagant spread of food, including champagne flutes, bowls of shiny fruit, an entire roast chicken and what looks like a big plate of spaghetti Bolognese. It’s all laid out on a bright red tablecloth.”I brought with me a table and some fake food, and I told people to dream about some food that they would like to find on their table,” Mamo writes in a caption for all five images.The abundant food contrasts starkly with thatch houses, overgrown grass and an odd goat or cow tied up in the background.Amitabh Behar, the CEO of Oxfam India, tells NPR that he believes Mamo’s “intent was right, to shock people into making the right choice of not wasting food.” But he said the photos were not “sensitive enough of the realities of poor people.”Oxfam, one of the world’s largest charities, has operated in India for 67 years. Its India branch focuses on fighting poverty and injustice.”[This photo essay] completely takes away the agency of the [subjects in the photos],” Behar says. “It’s mocking their poverty.”He notes that NGOs like Oxfam have strict internal policies that prohibit employees from taking photos of children or subjects in vulnerable situations. Mamo should return and redo his project with greater sensitivity and “utmost respect for the poor and their life,” Behar says.The images and the controversy they sparked have been covered widely in Indian media this week, as well as globally. Critics on social media called them exploitative and inhuman.Mamo’s Instagram post got more than 20,000 likes as of Thursday — three times as many as is typical for images posted on the World Press Photo account — and more than 1,300 comments, most of them negative.”The people I photographed … freely participated in the project,” Mamo wrote in a statement published on the blogging platform Medium, two days after his Instagram post. “The concept was to let Western people think, in a provocative way, about the waste of food.”In his caption, Mamo wrote: “Statistics show that 2.1 million children under 5 years old die of malnutrition annually. The idea of this project was born after reading the statistics of how much food is thrown away in the West, especially during Christmas time.”Mamo did not immediately reply to NPR’s request for an interview. World Press Photo tells NPR it has no plans to take down Mamo’s images. But it did amend the caption to his five images, noting that the project “has been the subject of much online debate,” and linking to Mamo’s statement.”We believe that controversies are generally not best handled by deleting images that have been challenged. We think they should be debated in a constructive way,” wrote David Campbell, the group’s director of communications, in an email.This isn’t the first time World Press Photo has come under fire. Last year, a Iranian photographer who had been awarded second place in a World Press Photo contest was later accused of staging photos, copying another photographer’s ideas and violating consent of his subjects. A jury member last year criticized another prize-winning photo for allegedly glorifying terrorism.For its 2016 competition, the group introduced a new code of ethics after several previous entrants were disqualified for manipulating images.Much of the criticism of Mamo’s photos amounts to this: If a photographer wants to make a visual commentary about wasting food in the West, why stage the photos in India?”The country’s poverty is not a prop to illustrate every Western problem to a Western audience — in this case, wastage of food,” wrote Paroma Mukherjee, head of the national photo desk at India’s Hindustan Times, in an email to NPR. “I wonder why this was not photographed in the European countryside that he might possibly be better versed with?”Another Indian photojournalist, Hari Adivarekar, raised concern over whether Mamo had truly obtained consent from his subjects. Someone in rural India might not completely understand what it means to have his or her photograph taken, he notes.”In a country like India, consent is different than in the West,” says Adivarekar, who splits his time between Mumbai and Bengaluru. “It’s the responsibility of the photographer to help [his or her subjects] understand how far [the photo] will go and help them make an informed consent.””This is poor journalism and even poorer humanity,” Adivarekar wrote in a comment on the Instagram post. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

What You Need to Know to Understand the Complicated Splitting of Bitcoin

first_imgBlockchain Bitcoin and Ethereum have both seen high-profile forks in the past year, spawning separate coins with different rules. The splits come down to diverging ideologies and the laws of network consensus. 13 min read Add to Queue What You Need to Know to Understand the Complicated Splitting of Bitcoin August 10, 2017 Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand –shares Enroll Now for $5center_img Rob Marvin Next Article Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Associate Features Editor This story originally appeared on PCMag On Aug. 1, a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash appeared online. For the first time in Bitcoin’s eight-year history, the original blockchain network underwent what’s called a “hard fork.” A small faction of Bitcoin (BTC) miners split off onto their own blockchain network, spawning Bitcoin Cash (BCH).Why the split? The technical answer lies in the long-standing Bitcoin community debate over block capacity, the nuances of which we’ll get into shortly. More broadly, the Bitcoin fork speaks to a fundamental ideological rift over what’s more important: preserving the decentralized nature and independent control of the Bitcoin network, or accelerating transaction speeds to make the cryptocurrency more viable for mainstream ecommerce and payments.Bitcoin’s split is the second high-profile cryptocurrency fork in the past year, after a smart contract vulnerability and subsequent hack led to a split on the Ethereum blockchain in 2016. The result: Ether (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Bitcoin and Ethereum’s forks came about for entirely different reasons, yet the parallels between the splits can explain a lot about the complicated nature of reaching a consensus on major decisions within a blockchain network. When an impasse is reached, a fork may follow.Collectively, all four Bitcoin and Ethereum coins still sit near or at the top of the constantly fluctuating cryptocurrency market capitalization index. But you shouldn’t necessarily take a coin’s market cap at face value, according to Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research for Coin Center, a nonprofit organization focused on the policy issues facing cryptocurrencies.”The headlines are focusing on ‘Wow, Bitcoin just gave birth to a $10 billion baby,'” said Valkenburgh. “But the reality is, until there’s liquidity on these markets — enough people trading their Bitcoin Cash coins on exchanges and making transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain — the market capitalization is really based on artificial scarcity. That’s bad economics.”The concepts and technologies at play can be confusing even for software experts to wrap their heads around. PCMag spoke to Valkenburgh to sort through how a blockchain fork works, how the Bitcoin and Ethereum splits parallel one another and what the future may hold for the newly minted Bitcoin Cash.Blockchain networks: a quick explainerIf you don’t understand what a blockchain network is and how it works, then the rest of this article will be even more confusing. To help, Valkenburgh gave a succinct explanation of the mechanics underlying the Bitcoin blockchain.”The reality is, there are no Bitcoins, they don’t exist. They’re a construct of software and people’s imaginations. The only thing that describes the existence of Bitcoins is the blockchain, a ledger of all transactions,” said Valkenburgh.A blockchain is made up of two primary components. First is the peer-to-peer (P2P) network of computers around the world, often called nodes, collectively validating and bundling batches of encrypted transactions together into code blocks. Each block is then added to the end of the chronological chain, stored not in one central location but, rather, synchronized on each node across the network.Since the blockchain is decentralized, no one single party (such as a bank, financial institution or government) can control what happens on the network. At the same time, the blockchain gives you consensus agreement and timestamped, tamper-proof data. This eliminates the need for online third parties to facilitate that transaction.”The Bitcoin blockchain records every event throughout Bitcoin’s history — new coins and evidence of transfers — back to 2009 when the network started,” said Valkenburgh. “Every computer on the network also has to be running compatible software so that the nodes can see and validate transactions. So, if your software is not compatible or if you fail to meet or invalidate any of the consensus rules baked into the Bitcoin code base, then the network would ignore your transaction. That’s all it is to have a Bitcoin: the ability to broadcast a valid transaction and transfer that balance.”These “Trustless Consensus” rules include concepts such as Proof of Work, public and private key encryption and most importantly in this instance, a cap of one megabyte (MB) on Bitcoin block size. This particular rule has been a point of contention between Bitcoin core developers and the miners who are coding new blocks since the dawn of the network — and it’s the ongoing debate that ultimately led to the Bitcoin Cash fork.Breaking down the Bitcoin forkLike every other cryptocurrency or public blockchain, Bitcoin is open-source software. Changes and modifications to how that software works need to be approved by consensus and every CPU gets a vote. As Valkenburgh explained, if a group of nodes modify their software without consensus, those nodes then invalidate a rule held by the rest of the network and create their own fork of the blockchain.”If you break any of the consensus rules, then the network will ignore you. If you and a bunch of people choose to break it in a certain way, you’ll all then be compatible on a parallel network,” said Valkenburgh. “What happened with Bitcoin Cash is, a small minority of miners and enthusiasts frustrated with their perception of the scaling debate made those modifications and forked Bitcoin.”Bitcoin Cash increases the block size to 8 MB. The reason miners want to increase block size in the first place is pretty simple: As Bitcoin has grown in popularity, the network has come under heavier strain to process and validate the transaction load. As a result, transactions have started backlogging. Completion times have ballooned from an average time of 10 minutes to a high of more than 40 hours during a slowdown this past June.Bitcoin Network Transaction Speeds, 2016-2017Increasing the block size has been the subject of heated debate in the Bitcoin community for more than two years. Bitcoin Cash simply forked it into reality and increased the block size to 8 MB. Though, in point of fact, Bitcoin Cash actually stole another fork’s thunder.At the Consensus 2017 blockchain conference in New York this past May, a prominent group of international Bitcoin companies announced the New York Agreement, which resolved to introduce a hard fork within six months called Segwit2X. This fork also planned to change the block size but compromised on the contentious issue by only raising the capacity to 2 MB. Some factions of the community felt that block size shouldn’t be modified at all, while others (such as the nodes now running Bitcoin Cash) believed simply doubling the size wasn’t enough.Segwit2X currently still has the support of the vast majority of the Bitcoin network which, in essence, makes it a software update as long as the consensus of nodes upgrades to it. Jeff Garzik, CEO of enterprise blockchain company Bloq and a former Bitcoin core developer, is leading Segwit2X development. In spite of the release of Bitcoin Cash, Garzik said that Segwit2X is pushing forward with its own fork to upgrade Bitcoin.#SegWit2x and NYA have successfully met all goals so far, and continue as planned. #bitcoin https://t.co/cq6UZWOeMw— Jeff Garzik (@jgarzik) August 2, 2017What we can learn from EthereumThe impetus for the Ethereum fork was a much more dramatic hack and Ether heist rather than good ‘ol fashioned network stress. Nevertheless, the value and relative stability of both the ETH and ETC cryptocurrencies in the time since the fork shows the possibility for a successful path forward.Some background on Ethereum and its fork: The Ethereum blockchain network is different from Bitcoin in that, beyond the cryptocurrency it powers (Ether), it’s also a blockchain application platform for building smart contracts and decentralized apps. Ethereum also has more support from major tech companies and enterprise organizations, including the more than 150 members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.Ethereum is also governed a bit differently. While the Ethereum blockchain is a decentralized network with consensus voting, the platform was designed and is still overseen by the core developers who make up the Ethereum Foundation, including Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin. When a vulnerability in a smart contract called the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) resulted in a heist of $50 million worth of Ether, Buterin and the developers fought fire with fire: they hacked the hackers and reclaimed the cryptocurrency.The debate came when deciding how to proceed from there. Buterin and the core developers were faced with a decision: If they intervened and created a new version of the network, it would fix the vulnerability and reimburse the DAO investors. At the same time, Ethereum’s official documentation stated that decentralized apps should exist “without any possibility of … censorship, fraud or third-party interference.” Essentially, violating a core principle of the blockchain in order to save it.”When the fork happened, there was a major ideological discrepancy for Ethereum,” explained Valkenburgh. “One side believed all the miners should get together and reverse this transaction, fix the flaws in the smart contract code corrupted by the hacking attempt and give everyone who put their money into the DAO their money back. Immutability is less important than keeping an equitable system that functions. The other side said [the DAO] is an uncensorable smart contract that should continue running and not be reversed. So, by rolling back the DAO hack, you’re breaking a [core tenet], and we’re going to maintain the faith.”The community ultimately decided to go ahead with the fork, with the new Foundation-led network maintaining the Ethereum name (ETH) and the latter group choosing not to move to the new blockchain and instead becoming Ethereum Classic. Despite questions of whether Ether would survive the split or if Ethereum Classic could be a viable currency, the networks navigated the fork and both remain active and viable cryptocurrencies today (although ETH has skyrocketed in value as compared to ETC). Valkenburgh said this comes down to the strength of Ethereum’s community and could serve as an example for Bitcoin’s fork.”I was on the side of Ether but, to my surprise, the vibrant developer community working on Ethereum Classic has helped the price rise slowly from $2 when it emerged to around $14 today. Ethereum at the time was about $10 and recently has averaged around $225,” said Valkenburgh. “Maybe we’ll see that with Bitcoin Cash. There are definitely strong ideological differences in both examples. But the difference in this case is, Ethereum’s fork had less to do with technology and design than what to do about equity and this one ‘bad apple’ transaction. With Bitcoin, you have this impasse with varying technical solutions.”What’s the future of Bitcoin?The saga of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and the Segwit2X fork is ongoing. Thus far, support for Bitcoin Cash has been divisive among the Bitcoin exchanges, but the tide seems to be turning. Bitfinex and Kraken, two of the top five exchanges (platforms for buying, selling, trading and exchanging cryptocurrencies) announced support in advance of the split. The big holdout had been Coinbase, the most popular online exchange, which had stated it would not support BCH — until announcing it will add support by 2018. For those worried about how the fork would affect Bitcoin’s market value, after a brief dip following the split, Bitcoin rebounded to set a new record. After breaking the $3,000-per-Bitcoin threshold, the original cryptocurrency has hovered around $3,300 to $3,400 this week.Beyond the short-term controversy over what exchanges support Bitcoin Cash, the larger debate that will shape Bitcoin’s future comes down to centralization vs. decentralization. The power of a blockchain network lies in its ability to facilitate trusted online transactions without a third party in the middle. Bitcoin was originally conceived as a P2P electronic cash system for global transactions. The debate over block size and transaction speeds all comes back to Bitcoin’s viability as an alternative to banks and credit card companies for mainstream online transactions.The goal in this case would be to accelerate transaction speeds and reduce latency to the point where a consumer could walk up to a checkout counter and buy groceries with Bitcoin, without waiting an hour or more for the transaction to be validated. To do this, however, Valkenburgh explained that the network itself might be forced into centralizing a decentralized system.”When data goes through the internet, it has latency. Sending a Bitcoin transaction from the U.S. to China takes longer than sending packets from me to you in New York. And the latency gets worse the more data being sent,” said Valkenburgh. “Bitcoin blocks need to propagate through the network to validate and start building the next block on the chain. And if the blocks are big, they propagate slowly and unevenly.”Miners always want to hear about a new block first. If blocks get larger and larger, leading to substantially more latency, then Valkenburgh said there’s a strong incentive for miners to geographically co-locate within the same region. That’s a slippery slope, one that colors in the other side of the debate over block size. What’s more important: maintaining the decentralized autonomy of the Bitcoin network or furthering Bitcoin’s charge to revolutionize global payments?”What would be likely is, all the miners decide to geographically co-locate in western China where there’s cheap hydroelectric power or in Iceland or possibility the Pacific Northwest. The fundamental role miners play could then be more easily controlled, either by a cartel of miners who get together privately to block or censor transactions or, more likely, from a government,” said Valkenburgh. “It’s sacrificing censorship resistance for the ability to use your smartphone to buy a Coca-Cola with a Bitcoin.”Valkenburgh is a staunch supporter of maintaining decentralization but said the debate over block size is mostly because we haven’t figured out a better solution. The inability to execute cross-border payments and trustless, online transactions were considered a fundamental flaw of electronic cash systems — until Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto found a way to build one that didn’t. With the pace at which cryptocurrencies and decentralized blockchain technology is evolving, the Bitcoin and Ethereum forks may ultimately be remembered as nothing but footnotes for what came next. Image credit: via PC Maglast_img read more

Steve Case Invests 40 Million in Bigcommerce a Startup Helping Other Startups

first_img 2 min read AOL co-founder and entrepreneur Steve Case is adding another hat to his already crowded head: board member of Austin, Texas-based ecommerce website Bigcommerce. Case’s investment firm Revolution Growth announced this morning that it invested $40 million in the company, which plans to use the money to promote its brand and expand its international offerings.Investing in ecommerce startups is nothing new for Case. His previous ventures include the social shopping deal site LivingSocial and the “Wheels when you want them” membership-based car rental company Zipcar.”Even though ecommerce has already grown a lot, we still have a long way to go,” Case told Reuters. “Bigcommerce has the potential to level the playing field for small businesses, giving them the same ecommerce tools that big guys like Amazon already have.”Related: Steve Case on Startups That Attract His Attention and What Kills a Deal (Video)Bigcommerce offers a highly customizable, easy-to-use platform for businesses to create online stores, including services such as marketing, social media integration and of sales. Even those business owners who might be less tech-savvy can find it easy to navigate the polished set-up process. The monthly fee for the service ranges from $24.95 to $299.95 for the feature-packed Diamond level. The differences between service levels lie in the number of products you can have in your store, the amount of storage and how many individual staff logins you have available.The funding from Revolution Growth is also expected to help Bigcommerce grow access new customers by arranging strategic partnerships with existing payments and software companies. Bigcommerce already has more than 35,000 small- and medium-size companies as customers.Case, a Hawaii native, used a surfing metaphor to explain Revolution Growth’s investment strategy to PeHUB.com. The “wave theory,” he said, holds that “sometimes, the waves are there” and sometimes, when all the factors just aren’t quite right, you have to wait for the next one.”We’re patient,” Case said. “We know waiting for that right wave makes sense.”Related: Steve Case on What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur (Video) Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business –shares Katherine Gray Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Steve Case Invests $40 Million in Bigcommerce, a Startup Helping Other Startups Sell Online Add to Queue July 25, 2013 Steve Case Next Article Technology Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberglast_img read more

Cyber Monday Set a Record as the Biggest Online Sales Day in

first_img Add to Queue Register Now » –shares 2 min read Cyber Monday Laura Entis December 3, 2014 Cyber Monday Set a Record as the Biggest Online Sales Day in the U.S.center_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Forecasts for Cyber Monday were bleak. Right before the ecommerce event was about to kick-off, the National Retail Federation released a study predicting that fewer shoppers would take advantage of all the digital deals. Well, the results are in: Cyber Monday has come and gone, and guess what? It was the biggest online shopping day ever in the U.S., according to analytics firm comScore. Not only were ecommerce sales up 17 percent from last year, they reached $2.04 billion, the first time online sales have surpassed $2 billion in a single day. (While this is undoubtedly good news for U.S. retailers, to put things in perspective, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba  surged past $6 billion in online sales during its annual Singles’ Day event this November).Related: Why Every Business Needs a Cyber Monday Strategy”Any notion that Cyber Monday is declining in importance is really unfounded, as it continues to post new historical highs and reflects the ongoing strength of online this holiday season,” Gian Fulgoni, comScore’s co-founder and executive chairman, said in a statement.”Varying reports have also indicated weakness in the consumer economy due to flagging brick-and-mortar sales over the holiday weekend, but what we may really be seeing is an accelerating shift to online buying as mobile phones spur increased showrooming activity,” he continued. “The data we’re seeing suggest it may be more a change in shopping behavior than a lack of consumer demand.”In terms of online sales, Cyber Monday marked Walmart’s most successful day in the retailer’s 50-plus year history, Fortune reports. Related: 5 Ways to Prepare Your Website for Cyber Monday Guest Writer Next Article last_img read more

Another Successful Rocket Launch and Land for Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

first_img Another Successful Rocket Launch and Land for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends. –shares Image credit: Blue Origin April 4, 2016 Start Up Your Day Next Article Add to Queue Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 1 min read Lindsay Friedman Stick the landing. For the third time in five months, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin successfully launched and landed one of its private rockets.Show me the money. An international coalition of investigative journalists published its investigation of one of the largest known document leaks showing heads of state and a global network of offshore accounts that’s been dubbed the Panama Papers.In demand. Tesla’s affordable model received nearly $10 billion worth of in orders in 3 days, according to the Financial Times.A breakthrough. Scientists have invented artificial skin than can grow hair and sweat, according to Engadget.A helping hand. Having unlocked iPhones without Apple’s assistance, the FBI says it’ll help local authorities do it, too.Play ball. In honor of opening day, Siri can now answer more of your baseball questions.The ultimate file. The missing patient file for the Wright Brother’s ‘flying machine’ was found in a cave after 36 years, according to Fox News. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »last_img read more

MarTech Interview with James Sandoval Founder and CEO at MeasureMatch

first_imgJames is the Founder and CEO of London-based MeasureMatch, a global professional services marketplace for companies to find and hire independent Marketing Technology, Analytics and Research experts directly and on demand.Prior to MeasureMatch, James was SVP and Managing Director, EMEA for Chicago-based Signal. The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick. About MeasureMatch “The platform we’ve built is end-to-end, much like how Airbnb works, all the way through to payment processing, star ratings and written reviews.” Tell us about your role and how you got here. What inspired you to start MeaureMatch?I am the Founder and CEO of MeasureMatch, a professional services marketplace platform. Our platform provides Business Leaders in Marketing, Commerce, Analytics, Product, and HR with direct, seamless access to a global network of vetted, interviewed and certified independent consultants and consultancies, currently across 50+ countries, to execute enterprise systems set-ups, advanced configurations, deep integrations, troubleshooting and to create outsized value from the vast volumes of data collected by these systems.Importantly, we’re an early-stage technology startup, so my role is broad and deep. When I’m not identifying and writing up platform optimization opportunities, then I’m deep in Business Planning, Sales and Marketing for customer growth, interviewing for new team members, interviewing service providers (independent consultants and consultancies), welcoming new clients into the service and much more.I was inspired to start MeasureMatch in Q1 2016, when I was at the tail end of an ambitious M&A exercise, a roll-up of Analytics consultancies across Europe that had I dreamed up and started pursuing nearly a year earlier.That roll-up was an attempt to do something big. And it was indeed a big, hairy, complex pursuit, but MeasureMatch is much bigger and boy am I glad it’s worked out this way.Now, through the MeasureMatch platform, I can help, learn from and support the growth of independent consultants, consultancies and their clients around the entirety of planet earth (our supply-side network will easily reach 75-100 countries by the end of 2019), which is superbly exciting.How does MeasureMatch benefit marketers? What are your objectives for 2019-2020?The value for marketers, and also Commerce, Analytics, Product and HR leaders, is simple: MeasureMatch is a direct route to highly-skilled extra pairs of hands to get important systems and data work done fast. The platform we’ve built is end-to-end, much like how Airbnb works, all the way through to payment processing, star ratings and written reviews.Importantly, MeasureMatch is not in the full-time employee recruitment game. It’s project or contract work that we’re facilitating, the kind of work that probably should have been done weeks or months ago, or it needs to get done because someone unexpectedly left the business, or perhaps it’s work that keeps the business moving forward while a full-time role remains open.Either way, the skills on tap via our network of over 2,000 consultants and consultancies in over 50 countries are generally very hard to find, especially locally, but the skills are out there. We simply made a point of aggregating and organizing the amazing systems, data skills, and talent for easier access and rapid value creation.We’re calling it the Platformization and Personalization of Professional Services.According to Gartner, marketers are dedicating nearly a third of their budgets to technology investments. That’s huge. And, in many cases, it’s more than their human capital investments. That disparity might suggest Marketing technology systems are getting easier to use, and so require fewer people, but that’s not what we’re seeing. We’re seeing that the opposite is true. Clients are increasingly turning to MeasureMatch to extract greater value from their systems and data investments because their teams are bandwidth constrained i.e. too small, perhaps too new, with too few of the right skills or confidence, but they are ambitious and the organizations behind them are prepared to invest in on-demand pro services.Regarding our objectives for the remainder of 2019 and going into 2020, we are wholly focused on customer and revenue growth. Despite doing no active recruiting, our network of service providers is robust and growing; we receive applications from around the globe every day.How would CMOs benefit from paying more attention to Marketing and Analytics systems and Sales Velocity tools in 2019?To start, they would probably see that many of the Marketing and Analytics systems currently deployed – some free, but many no doubt costing a pretty penny – are heavily under-utilized.The four primary reasons are:Team members have too little bandwidth (overstretched)Members don’t have the skills (not actively trained or incentivized to pursue and complete formal lessons, courses, and certifications)The team may have the skills but are ‘lost’ in the organization (there is no easy way to find team members with specific skills)Product Functionality has evolved faster than the organization’s usage and/or skills.Importantly, it’s worth noting that ‘paying attention’ to systems and tools is the easy part. Tools and technologies are of little value without good people deploying, operating and optimizing them.What is Technographic Match and how marketers can leverage it in their campaigns?Technographic Match is a value-added element of the MeasureMatch platform which essentially is a way of saying to clients, ‘We’re doing our homework. We’re going the extra mile to create what will hopefully be a seamless experience for you in the MeasureMatch platform.’Essentially, what we’re doing is creating instant initial value on entry into the MeasureMatch platform by presenting independent consultants and consultancies that are matched to the actual software systems used by a client’s organization. We’re not making a big deal of it, meaning that it’s baked into the entirety of the experience. It made a lot of sense to us to provide this layer of Personalization for clients. What we have now is just the beginning. We have big plans to make Technographic Match enormously valuable.What startups in the B2B technology industries are you watching right now?The ones I’m watching most are, naturally, in the Marketing technology ecosystem. I’m big on anything that advances business data collection and its management for Transformation, Visualization, Analytics to create better customer experiences, to explore space, for medicine and so much more.What tools do your Marketing and Advertising stack consist of in 2019?We’re using Segment for foundational data collection, but we’re also using FullStory for CX insights (awesome for product optimization), Google Analytics for general website and platform measurement, Intercom for customer service comms, Zapier is a growing favorite for shooting notifications into Slack and data into Google Sheets and a few other things.Would you tell us about your standout Customer Success/Digital Transformation story at MeasureMatch? For us, every successful service engagement between a client and a MeasureMatch network service provider is a standout story. The problems that clients are looking to address or the solutions they need to get into place are all unique and challenging in their own ways. When we see clients find and book consultants or consultancies into contracts via our platform, well, we’re pretty stoked.How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader? How do you leverage AI capabilities at MeasureMatch?We’re not really in a position to provide guidance to clients regarding how they should prepare for an AI-centric world. That would be for our network of consultants and consultancies to do.Regarding our approach to AI, it will be no surprise when I say that we’re only at the very beginning of our Data Management and Analytics capabilities. AI and related advances in data-driven value creation require access to substantial volumes of data, which we’ll be prepared to capitalize on in 2020 through a combination of first and third-party assets. For now, we’re focused on Designing, Building and Optimizing platform functionality to make for the best possible customer experience – I have to tell you, it’s kinda hard to build software that takes into account all of the unique, human nuances of the buying and selling of enterprise systems & data professional services. But we’re getting there. Step by step.How do you get tech and people to converge at one place?Bring doughnuts.What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?LinkedIn, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, and WhatsApp.What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?Ctrl C and Ctrl V. Yep, that’s as ‘smart’ as it gets What are you currently reading? I loved reading ‘Sapiens’ last year. I’m now trying to get into Yuval Noah Harari’s ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’. I read real books together with my wife, Valeria; we read passages out loud to each other. It takes a while to get through a book, but we enjoy the process. Otherwise, I’m an eager newsreader; my news centrally comes from the Bloomberg website and app (subscribed).What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?Perception is reality.Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:She’s not in the industry, but I’m a huge fan. Her name is Dr. Tana Joseph, Founder of AstroComms and Royal Society Newton International Fellow in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester.Thank you, James! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon. MarTech Interview with James Sandoval, Founder and CEO at MeasureMatch Sudipto GhoshJune 13, 2019, 12:02 amJune 13, 2019 center_img MeasureMatch is an enterprise professional services marketplace platform and solutions ecosystem. Our end-to-end platform enables direct, seamless and flexible access to a global, liquid and verified workforce of independent business applications engineers and related Data Management and Data Science professionals.Clients turn to MeasureMatch to get important Marketing, Commerce, Customer Experience (CX) and a growing range of large and small scale project work done fast.From quick-win, microtask data analysis or software systems implementations to large scale data pipeline solutions and enterprise-wide systems integration projects, MeasureMatch Experts are on-demand. MarTech Interview Series AIAstroCommsGoogle AnalyticsinterviewsJames SandovalMarTech InterviewMeasureMatchTana Joseph Previous ArticleUtah Business Magazine Honors Domo’s Catherine Wong as a CXO of the YearNext ArticleWebsite Audit for Enhancing Onsite Authority – Things to Consider About JamesAbout MeasureMatchAbout Jameslast_img read more

CAKE Announces Acquisition by Constellation Software Inc

first_img Affiliate MarketingCAKEConstellation Softwarelead generationMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleFandango LATAM Leverages CleverTap’s Intent Based Segmentation To Transform Customer ExperienceNext ArticleDealSignal Introduces Intent-based Inbound Lead Enrichment CAKE Announces Acquisition by Constellation Software Inc. MTS Staff WriterJune 27, 2019, 5:33 pmJune 27, 2019 Investment Makes CAKE the Largest Performance Marketing Software Vendor; Maximizes Innovation While Increasing Reliability and Scalability to Create New Revenue Opportunities for CAKE Customers Worldwide CAKE, the leading global performance marketing software provider, announced that the company has been acquired by Constellation Software Inc., a $20-billion international provider of market-leading software and services. The acquisition investment furthers CAKE’s innovation in performance marketing software and solutions for affiliate marketing, lead generation and multichannel marketing; and reinforces the company’s commitment to superior customer support, providing performance marketers, advertisers and publishers with new opportunities to increase margin.“We are pleased to have acquired CAKE,” said Dexter Salna, President of Perseus, a Constellation operating group. “Their strong management team and focus on serving performance marketing customers make them a promising addition to Perseus.”Marketing Technology News: Cloudinary Brings Adobe Creative Cloud Connector for Dynamic Digital ExperiencesConstellation acquires, manages and builds industry-specific software businesses which provide specialized, mission-critical software solutions that address the particular needs of its customers. With over 125,000 customers in more than 100 countries and a proven track record of solid growth, Constellation has established a broad portfolio of software businesses to provide its customers and shareholders with exceptional returns.“Constellation has demonstrated its ability to acquire and integrate companies with great success, and its acquisition of CAKE is a clear endorsement of our strategy and technical expertise in performance marketing,” said Santi Pierini, President of CAKE. “Since our inception, our mission has been to embrace a truly customer-driven approach. We intend to continue our tradition of delivering trusted technology and services driven by and for our clients, and are thrilled about the continued innovation this partnership will enable to drive our customers’ continued success.”Marketing Technology News: Oracle Ushers in New Era of AnalyticsThe acquisition comes after a rich history of CAKE’s growth and product innovation, delivering the highest levels of reliability and scalability. CAKE plans to leverage the investment by Constellation to build out its product roadmap and go-to-market execution. Key areas of investments include CAKE’s infrastructure, support mechanisms and engineering.Marketing Technology News: Neongecko Inc. Launches “Neon AI Nano HTML” to Add Conversational AI to Websiteslast_img read more

New smart knee implants could monitor changes in activity as they happen

first_img Source:https://www.binghamton.edu/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 30 2019Smart knee implants may soon be a reality thanks to research conducted by a team including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.Knee replacement surgery is the most common joint replacement procedure, with the number of surgeries increasing every year. Many of those surgeries are done to replace an older implant or one that has worn out. Increasingly, this surgery is being performed for younger, more active patients who are faced with a dilemma. When they undergo the surgery, they are expected to remain physically active for their overall health, but that activity can also wear down the new implant. Often, doctors don’t know if patients are overexerting themselves until they begin to develop symptoms. By that point, the damage to the implant has already been done. For a young patient, going through knee replacement surgery every five or 10 years is a daunting task, but finding the perfect balance of activity levels to maintain the integrity of the implant has been equally daunting.Researchers decided it was time to create smarter knee implants that could monitor changes in activity as they happened. Assistant Professor Sherry Towfighian from Binghamton University served as the lead principal investigator on the study, which has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”We are working on a knee implant that has built-in sensors that can monitor how much pressure is being put on the implant so doctors can have a clearer understanding of how much activity is negatively affecting the implant,” said Towfighian.The sensors allow doctors to tell patients when a certain movement has become too much for the implant so patients can quickly adjust and avoid further damage to the implant. It helps them find the sweet spot of activity for each particular patient.Related StoriesTMJ disorders could be treated with tissue-engineered implants after successful animal studyYoung players may need one-year rehab time after knee surgeryBioventus and MTF Biologics collaborate to develop placental tissue product for knee osteoarthritisWhile the sensors solved one problem, they brought in another. The researchers did not want to power the sensors with a battery that might need to be replaced periodically and therefore, defeat the purpose of a smart implant. Instead, they worked on an energy harvesting mechanism that can power the knee implant from motion. Wathiq Ibrahim, a postdoc in Towfighian’s group, developed a prototype of the energy harvester and tested that under a mechanical testing machine to examine its output under equivalent body loads.They used triboelectric energy, a type of energy that is collected from friction. Once someone walks, the friction of the micro-surfaces coming into contact with each other can be used to power the load sensors.Associate Professor Emre Salman from Stony Brook University designed the circuit and determined that it would need 4.6 microwatts. The preliminary testing showed the average person’s walk will produce six microwatts of power, more than enough to power the sensors. This part of the research was complemented by Assistant Professor Ryan Willing from the University of Western Ontario, who worked on the implant design and the package of the sensor.These smart implants will not only give feedback to doctors but will help researchers in the development of future implants. “The sensors will tell us more about the demands that are placed on implants, and with that knowledge, researchers can start to improve the implants even more,” said Towfighian.Towfighian is hopeful that the combination of activity sensors and a self-powered system will increase the life span of knee implants and reduce the need for follow-up surgeries. For young patients looking at the possibility of knee replacement surgery, this development has the potential to be life-changing.last_img read more

New twotier method can enable earlystage detection of Alzheimers

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 3 2019Using current techniques, Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent cause of dementia, can only be detected once the typical plaques have formed in the brain. At this point, therapy seems no longer possible. However, the first changes caused by Alzheimer’s take place on the protein level up to 20 years sooner. A two-tier method developed at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) can help detect the disease at a much earlier stage. The researchers from Bochum published their report in the March 2019 edition of the journal “Alzheimer’s and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring”.”This has paved the way for early-stage therapy approaches, where the as yet inefficient drugs on which we had pinned our hopes may prove effective,” says Professor Klaus Gerwert from the Department of Biophysics at RUB.Protein folds incorrectlyIn Alzheimer’s patients, the amyloid beta protein folds incorrectly due to pathological changes long before the first symptoms occur. A team of researchers headed by Klaus Gerwert successfully diagnosed this misfolding using a simple blood test; as a result, the disease can be detected approximately eight years before the first clinical symptoms occur. The test wasn’t suitable for clinical applications however: it did detect 71 per cent of Alzheimer’s cases in symptomless stages, but at the same time provided false positive diagnoses for nine per cent of the study participants. In order to increase the number of correctly identified Alzheimer’s cases and to reduce the number of false positive diagnoses, the researchers poured a lot of time and effort into optimizing the test.Second biomarkerAs a result, they have now introduced the two-tier diagnostic method. To this end, they use the original blood test to identify high-risk individuals. Subsequently, they add a dementia-specific biomarker, namely tau protein, to run further tests with those test participants whose Alzheimer’s diagnosis was positive in the first step. If both biomarkers show a positive result, there is a high likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. “Through the combination of both analyses, 87 of 100 Alzheimer’s patients were correctly identified in our study,” summarises Klaus Gerwert. “And we reduced the number of false positive diagnoses in healthy subjects to 3 of 100. The second analysis is carried out in cerebrospinal fluid that is extracted from the spinal cord.Related StoriesA1c blood test found to be unreliable in diabetes diagnosesBlood based test using AI and nanotechnology devised for chronic fatigue syndromeRadiometer’s ABL9 blood gas analyzer awarded Red Dot Design Award”Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched,” points out Gerwert. He is hoping that the existing therapeutic antibodies will still have an effect. “Recently, two major promising studies have failed, especially Crenezumab and Aducanumab – not least because it had probably already been too late by the time therapy was taken up. The new test opens up a new therapy window.””Once amyloid plaques have formed, it seems that the disease can no longer be treated,” says Dr. Andreas Nabers, head of the research group and co-developer of the Alzheimer’s sensor. “If our attempts to arrest the progression of Alzheimer’s fail, it will put a lot of strain on our society.”Sensor test is simple and robustThe blood test has been upgraded to a fully automated process at the RUB Department of Biophysics. “The sensor is easy to use, robust when it comes to fluctuation in concentration of biomarkers, and standardized,” explains Andreas Nabers. “We are now conducting in-depth research to detect the second biomarker, namely tau protein, in the blood, in order to supply a solely blood-based test in future,” concludes Klaus Gerwert.Source: https://news.rub.de/english/press-releases/2019-05-03-protein-research-early-stage-detection-alzheimers-bloodlast_img read more

Combining new tool with existing methods renders precise and patientspecific decisionmaking possible

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 17 2019A joint research effort by the Hospital and the Instituto de Investigación Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP) is characterizing and studying a new cohort of cardiogenic shock patients to predict the risk of having this heart attack-derived complication which, while infrequent, sometimes presents a fatal outcome. It is the first molecular study for risk prediction described for this disease and is based on a proteomic meta-analysis that has made it possible to discover biomarkers and validate their use in decision-making. The new method, combined with existing techniques, will help to implement more precise treatments. Moreover, the know-how has been patented and work is underway to transfer it to the immunological techniques widely used in clinical diagnosis, such as ELISA.The objective of the study was to obtain a reliable method to predict which post-heart attack cardiogenic shock patients have a greater risk of not surviving. Cardiogenic shock is a possible complication of severe infarction in which the heart is suddenly unable to maintain the required blood flow. It does not occur in all heart attack cases, although it is fatal if it goes undetected and is not treated promptly. In this case, the discovery of four proteins that can be used as biomarkers is a new tool which, in conjunction with existing ones, makes it possible to pre-empt this complication more precisely.The group led by Dr. Antoni Bayés-Genís at the Hospital e Instituto de Investigación Germans Trias i Pujol (CIBER Cardiovascular investigators) and Dr. Eduard Sabidó of the Proteomics Unit (a node of the ICTS OmicsTech and a member of the ProteoRed-ISCIII network) of the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), has identified 4 proteins (from more than 2600 analysed) that identify patients with cardiogenic shock and a poor vital prognosis. The work has been published in the European Heart Journal, the leading publication in the cardiovascular field.”The article demonstrates the complex work of sample collection we conducted for the Barcelona Discovery cohort, following strict and standard criteria that enabled us to use them to perform an in vitro trial in liquid biopsies to prevent death in patients with cardiogenic shock”, Dr. Bayés explains. “This type of complication, if detected in time, can be treated specifically in order to restore blood flow. The know-how provided by this new tool will help us to decide the best treatment option on a by-case basis”, he continues.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaBordeaux University Hospital uses 3D printing to improve kidney tumor removal surgeryTeam approach to care increases likelihood of surviving refractory cardiogenic shockThe title of the trial is CS4P, and it is comprised of these 4 proteins, which were discovered with the help of mass spectrometry. “We used a combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to quantify the proteins present in the cohort samples. It is the first risk-prediction molecular study described for this disease, and the trial has been transferred to ELISA and validated in a European reference cohort”, Sabidó adds.For the first time ever, an integrated quantitative approach combined with proteomics has been used to discover biomarkers and to be validated as a risk assessment tool in patients with this condition, and in which the level of the four proteins involved was compared to two current evaluation methods.”We have discovered that the new method complements existing ones, making them much more reliable.” Bayés concludes.The proteomics aspect of the work also furnished valuable information about the mechanisms that trigger cardiogenic shock, as well as the failure of other organs in critical patients. In other words, they could be valid biomarkers for other types of failure. There are a great many possibilities for extending the use of protein biomarkers in serious patients by means of similar techniques.One of the next steps will be to fine-tune the ELISA assays for clinical use. A patent application has also been submitted for the use of the CS4P cardiovascular shock risk stratification model for the IGTP, the CRG and the UPF. Source:Centre for Genomic RegulationJournal reference:Rueda, F. et al. (2019) Protein-based cardiogenic shock patient classifier. European Heart Journal. doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz294.last_img read more

BJP looks to make big push into Telugu StatesBJP looks to make

first_imgSHARE BJP president Amit Shah   –  Rajeev Bhatt The BJP is making a big push in the two Telugu States on July 6 to expand its base and make a serious bid for power in the 2024 elections. Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister and Party Chief, will be in Hyderabad to kick-start the nationwide party membership enrolment programme from Shamshabad on Saturday. He will be followed by all the top leaders of the party touring the 33 districts to attract people from all walks of life into the party. Meanwhile, on the same day, the Chief of the RSS (Rastreya Swayam Sevak Sangh) Mohan Bhagwat will be in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, taking part in a “Gurudakshina” programme. He will also be joined by several BJP leaders.In AP, the BJP has already been able to split the Telugu Desam Rajya Sabha Party by getting four of the six MPs into its fold a few weeks ago. There are clear indications from a majority of the 23 MLAs that the TDP won, of the 175 member Legislative Assembly willing to join it, according to Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao. With Chandrababu Naidu, TDP Chief facing charges of corruption, the Jaganmohan Reddy government slapping notice on his residence and demolishing its annexe on gounds of they being illegal, the party is facing a serious crisis within. The criticism on Nara Lokesh role is also growing and unless Naidu makes some realistic moves, the simmering discontent can boil over into desertions, warn political analysts. The Telangana focusThe visit of Amit Shah is expected to boost the morale of the State Unit and its efforts to attract leaders from the battered Cong(I) & TDP as well as the ruling Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) too. ‘The mood is already upbeat after the BJP’s impressive performance in the April Lok Sabha elections, where it won a record four seats. Subsequently, the Party has been preparing the ground for expanding its base across the districts. The Cong(I) leader and former MP, Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, is expected to it at any time soon. After making his intentions to quit the parent party clear, Reddy is awaiting the decision of the State Party’s disciplinary Committee to make his next move. Towards the end of June, two ex MLAs of the TDP–E Peddi Reddy and Boda Janardhan and and ex MP, C Suresh Reddy joined. along with from Cong(I)- Sashidhar Reddy (ex MLA) and Sheik Rahmatullah in the presence of P Murlidhara Rao, one of the national secretaries of the BJP. In its efforts to accelerate its growth in Telangana, the Modi government also appointed the Secunderabad MP, Kishan Reddy, a former State President as the junior minister of Home under Amit Shah. With the changed equations between the BJP & TRS post the 2019 General elections, the visit of Amit Shah is seen in a completely different light. Party general secretary G Premender Reddy told media recently that it was decided to enrol another 12 lakh citizens into the party by focusing on dalits, tribals, youth, farmers and women. Before the Telangana Legislative Assembly elections in December 2018, the understanding between Modi and K Chandrasekhar Rao, saw the BJP a bit subdued in its attack on the TRS and was also seen as supportive. An aggressive, KCR during his campaign’s also attacked Amit Shah, which did not go well with the latter. Though, down after managing just a solitary seat (Raja Singh in Hyderabad) in the 119 member Assembly, the BJP worked its way and surprised everyone by winning four and also dealing a shock to KCR when his daughter and sitting MP from Nizamabad, K Kavitha was defeated by D Arvind. Atter the LS polls, the two parties are clear in their strategies. The TRS has been aggressive in decimating the opposition. It has engineered a split in the Cong(I) and 12 of the 18 members into its fold. Similarly, it has got a TDP legislator too to take its tally beyond 100. The BJP on its part is putting its best efforts to attract leaders from all parties as well as expand its base. On the defections, the State BJP president K Laxman said this is just a beginning. “You are going to witness many leaders from the Congress and TRS joining BJP soon”. Party president Amit Shah to kickstart enrolment to party from Shamshabad politics COMMENT Published on Andhra Pradesh SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS July 04, 2019last_img read more

Punjab CMs wife Preneet Kaur faints at cleanup drive

first_imgPunjab CM’s wife Preneet Kaur faints at cleanup driveShe collapsed as she arrived at the event to flag off the Swachhta Shramdan drive to clean up plastic.advertisement Next Indo-Asian News Service ChandigarhJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 14:04 IST Punjab CM Amarinder SinghPatiala MP and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s wife, Preneet Kaur, fainted at a plastic cleanup campaign in her constituency on Saturday, officials said.Kaur, 75, collapsed as she arrived at the event to flag off the Swachhta Shramdan drive to clean up plastic.She got her blood pressure checked and that was fine, a doctor told IANS.She later tweeted by saying that she successfully launched the Swachhta Shramdan drive under the Punjab Pollution Control Board.”Under this initiative, we are making Patiala polythene-free. I urge all of you to join this movement and help us make our surroundings cleaner,” she said.Also read: How Amarinder Singh held his fort against Modi waveALSO WATCH| Watch: PM Modi’s full speech at NDA’s Parliamentary board meetFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byIram Ara Ibrahimlast_img read more