The Gap steps into the mens athleisure game

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – The Gap is stepping in to the men’s athleisure wear game, which has exploded in recent years.The clothes are intended to be formal enough to wear to the office, at least on casual Friday, and suitable for the gym or yoga studio directly afterward.Gap’s Hill City brand will roll out in mid-October at hillcity.com and will be on display at 50 of the clothing chain’s Athleta stores, which sell technical, athletic clothing for women.The Gap Inc. is struggling with weak sales and follows others in recognizing a sustained demand for work-to-yoga studio clothing.Last month VF Corp., which makes Wrangler and Lee jeans, said it would break off its denim division to focus on its faster-growing brands like The North Face, Timberland, Altra, Icebreaker and Williamson-Dickie.last_img read more


Small business owners upbeat about companies look to expand

first_imgNEW YORK — Small business owners are upbeat, looking to expand and worrying less about financial concerns like health costs.That’s the finding of a survey of 1,067 owners released last week by Bank of America. The survey shows owners are optimistic about the short and long term. Fifty-seven per cent said they expect their revenue to increase in the next 12 months, and 56 per cent have plans to increase business over the next five years. Two-thirds said they’re planning to expand in the coming year.The survey also shows owners are less worried about health care costs than they were a year ago even as the price of insurance is still an issue for many. Sixty-three per cent called health care a concern, compared to 72 per cent a year ago. Owners were also less concerned about consumer spending, commodities prices, the strength of the dollar and minimum wage increases. But they were slightly more concerned about interest rates, not surprising considering that the Federal Reserve has raised rates four times in the past year.The survey was conducted between late August and mid-September.A separate survey by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School showed small business demand for outside financing, including equity investments and loans, was down just over 11 per cent from three months earlier. Just 27 per cent of companies tried to raise outside financing in the past three months.The drop in demand is likely due to the fact that companies are overall doing well. Fifty-five per cent said they didn’t seek financing because their cash flow is sufficient. Twenty-nine per cent said they had enough financing in place.Small businesses are becoming more successful in obtaining bank loans, another sign of their increasing health. Nearly 46 per cent said they were successful in getting loans, up from nearly 44 per cent three months earlier.Looking ahead, only 28 per cent of small businesses said they’re planning to raise financing in the next six months, a sign that owners expect to keep doing well. Strong cash flow and sufficient financing were again cited as reasons why owners aren’t seeking more money.The survey questioned 878 business owners during October. The companies had revenue up to $100 million. The survey, which broke out some data according to company size, considers a small business to be one with no more than $5 million in revenue._____For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here: http://discover.ap.org/ssb_____Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com/search/joyce%20rosenbergJoyce M. Rosenberg, The Associated Presslast_img read more


Lanka suspends visas on arrival

first_imgColombo: Sri Lanka on Thursday suspended its plans to grant visas on arrival to citizens of 39 countries after the devastating Easter suicide bombings that killed nearly 360 people. “Although arrangements were in place to issue visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries, we have now decided to hold it for the time being in consideration of the current security situation,” Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said in a statement. “Investigations have revealed foreign links to the attacks and we don’t want this facility to be abused,” Amaratunga added. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe visas on arrival pilot programme was part of a larger initiative to increase tourist arrivals to the country during the six month off-season period from May to October. The island nation received 7,40,600 foreign tourists in the first three months of 2019. Around 450,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka last year and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million mark in 2019. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, which accounts for around five per cent of the country’s GDP, is likely to suffer due to the Easter blasts. Tourism revenues in Lanka increased to USD 362.7 million in November from USD 284 million in October 2018, according to reports. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsMeanwhile, the Lankan authorities Thursday intensified their raids with the help of the army and arrested 16 more suspects in connection with the country’s worst terror attack that killed 359 people and left over 500 injured. President Maithripala Sirisena has said that 139 people have been identified as suspects in connection with the attacks. Addressing an all-party conference at the Presidential Secretariat here, Sirisena said that a Combine Operation Centre will be established within the defence ministry for the enforcement of the country’s security measures from Friday.last_img read more


Syria peace conference set for Nov 23 Arab League chief

first_imgA keenly anticipated peace conference for Syria will convene in Geneva on November 23, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said on Sunday after meeting international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.Arabi acknowledged that there were still obstacles to holding the conference, as Western and Arab governments prepare to meet Syrian opposition leaders on Tuesday to attempt to persuade them to attend.Arabi made the comment to reporters after meeting the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria at the bloc’s Cairo headquarters, on the first leg of a regional tour Brahimi is conducting ahead of the conference. “It was decided that the Geneva II conference will be held on November 23, and preparations are underway for this conference,” Arabi said.The top Arab diplomat warned, however, that there were still hurdles to convening the already much-delayed meeting.“There are many difficulties that must be overcome for this conference to succeed,” he said.Brahimi refused to publicly set a date for the conference, saying it would be announced after he concluded his tour.The envoy told reporters after meeting Arabi that he would travel to Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Syria and then Geneva for talks with Russian and US representatives.last_img read more


PSG And Real Madrid Werent Supposed To Have This Many Problems

Few clubs came into this season with grander ambitions than Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Both clubs were among the top contenders to win the Champions League when the competition began. Now, one will be eliminated from competition after the two face off Tuesday in the second leg of their round of 16 matchup. And the problems run deeper than just elimination — PSG is looking to survive an injury to its superstar Neymar, and Real Madrid has already fallen out of title contention in La Liga. Whichever team fails to advance from the match will have questions to answer about what went wrong.So how did we get here? Let’s start with the summer transfer window after the 2016-17 season. Real quite reasonably avoided making major changes to its roster after winning three of the last four Champions League trophies. PSG, having once again been eliminated from the Champions League before the semifinals, embarked on an unprecedented spending spree — laying out hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire Neymar from Barcelona and Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.Despite these purchases, PSG is once again struggling in the Champions League. A 3-1 first-leg defeat in Madrid has left the French with a roughly 25 percent chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, according to FiveThirtyEight’s club soccer predictions. To reach the quarterfinals, PSG must win by three or win by two while holding Real scoreless. If PSG wins 3-1, the teams will be tied in both aggregate and away goals over the two legs, and the match will go to extra time and possibly penalty kicks to decide who will advance. For PSG, the Champions League appears to be slipping away. And worse, Neymar recently broke a bone in his foot, which will sideline him for at least six weeks.For both ball progression through midfield and shot creation around the penalty area, PSG runs through Neymar. He has scored 19 goals and assisted 13 in Ligue 1, with a non-penalty scoring and assist rate of 1.34 per 90 minutes played. These numbers are no fluke: Neymar hasn’t benefited particularly from good fortune in either his own or his teammates’ finishing. Neymar has taken shots valued at around 13 expected goals, a statistical estimate of the quality of scoring chances, and created chances worth about 11.5 expected goals. His expected goals and assists rate of 1.18 per 90 minutes is the highest of any player in the top five European leagues1The English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1. (that means he’s doing better than Lionel Messi).Neymar also moves the attack forward through midfield or into the penalty area before the shot more effectively than anyone else in the top leagues. He has provided about 7.7 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes, just edging out Messi, who has provided 7.2. (Progressive passes and runs occur when a player either moves the attack forward by 10 or more yards beyond its furthest point of progression or moves the ball into the penalty area for the first time in a possession. A progressive run must also include a successful take-on of an opponent.)These comparisons to Messi are not superfluous — Neymar’s production at PSG has reached such a high level that Messi is his only peer. This chart shows the company that Neymar is keeping this season. It displays all 9,000-plus player-seasons in the top five leagues in which a player had at least 1,500 minutes. There are 10 seasons in the top right corner, where players have more than 0.9 expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes and more than five progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Eight of them are Messi, starting with his 2010-11 season and running through the current one. And nestled among them is Neymar’s current season. This analysis might suggest that Paris Saint-Germain should abandon hope — the attack has been totally dependent on Neymar, and now he’s out. However, PSG may be the only club in the world that is rich enough to have a reasonable Neymar replacement sitting on the bench. Angel Di Maria, who played in Neymar’s wide forward position this weekend against Troyes, put up similarly huge numbers for PSG in 2015-16 (before Neymar’s arrival). While that season was a career-best for Di Maria, he has consistently put up more than 0.5 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes (averaging over 0.7) and 4 to 6 progressive passes and runs per 90 minutes. Most clubs would have to reshuffle their tactics upon losing Neymar, transferring some of his scoring load to one player and some of his ball progression work to others. But PSG can plug in Di Maria and keep everything else roughly the same. If PSG is to get the big win it needs on Tuesday, the man in the center of it is likely to be Di Maria.Scratching back from a two-goal aggregate Real Madrid lead might normally seem like an insurmountable task, but Real hasn’t been the same team this season. Los Blancos have already fallen 15 points off Barcelona’s pace at the top of the La Liga table, effectively conceding the league title with months to go in the season. Real’s defense has been unusually permeable this season, conceding 29 league goals. That’s the club’s worst defensive record through 27 matches since 2010-11. Real has conceded 43 clear scoring chances — defined as a situation like a one-on-one in which a player is expected to score — also its highest number since 2010-11.On the attacking side, the team appears to be reeling as well — but these numbers are a little misleading. Typically, the very best teams in the world outperform expected goals. After all, these teams have the best strikers, and the best strikers convert the easy chances and also score more often in situations when goals are not expected. Real Madrid is getting their normal amount of chances this season: The team has 63 expected goals and has averaged 61 through 27 matches over the past seven seasons. What has changed then is that the finishing has gotten worse. This year, Real has converted only 58 nonpenalty goals from those chances. Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been uncharacteristically unproductive with his chances, accounts for most of the gap, with 13 nonpenalty goals and 17 expected goals.These statistics provide the context for Real Madrid’s disappointing position in La Liga. The weakened defense is enough to make Real fall short of first-place Barcelona, but it is uncharacteristically poor shooting from superstars like Ronaldo that has dropped Los Blancos out of title competition entirely.The stakes could not be higher for this match. PSG is desperate and missing its star. Real Madrid appears more vulnerable than usual — even if the attack is most likely better than its relatively disappointing top-line numbers show.Neither team has much to play for this season other than Champions League glory, and both clubs were constructed precisely for this task. The stage is set for a great European clash between two of the richest and most successful clubs — even if it’s not what these two heavyweights envisioned when this all started.Check out our latest soccer predictions. read more


Benitez spoke about Newcastles interest in Torres

first_imgFernando Torres played his last game for Atletico Madrid today as his contract won’t be renewed and he can possibly come back to Premier League where he used to play for Liverpool and Chelsea.The Spanish striker can reunite with Rafael Benitez who is currently coaching Newcastle and the manager himself didn’t rule this option out as he admitted that he would be, for sure, interested in this move.Benitez spoke about this possible surprising transfer as he said, according to Shields Gazette:“I think it will be harder for him to come, not because we don’t want to.”Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“I don’t know what’s going on in his head, but maybe he is thinking about something else.”“It would be appealing, but I don’t think it would be easy.”“In Liverpool, he was sensational.”“Then we went to Chelsea and, although he had a bad time when he arrived, he was essential for us in winning the Europa League.”last_img read more


Roberto Martinez says John Stones has a bright future

first_imgBelgium manager Roberto Martinez recently claimed he is still keeping track of John Stones’ performance in Manchester City.The coach is far from being alone as someone who enjoys and appreciates the growth of Stones during his stay in City. Martinez is known to have been interested in the youngster while in Wigan, but got the chance to work with him a few months later – when he moved to Everton.Even though Stones did not show his full potential, it was enough to prove to Pep Guardiola and co. that he is worth the money.norwich city, manchester city, premier leagueReport: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“I was scouting John for Wigan and we missed him on deadline day, and then he signed for Everton in January 2013,” Martinez reminisced, according to Manchester Evening News.“He hadn’t made his debut when I joined Everton that summer, but, from day one, I knew John had to be a centre-half and he had the composure on the ball to play there.”“It was a really interesting journey to see him grow and taking responsibility and get to the level he has got to. He has a big future,” Martinez went on to add.last_img read more


Key Bank Employees Volunteer Time With Stream Watch

first_imgFor a complete list of wheelchair accessible fishing spots in your area visit the DF&G website. For any questions call (907) 260-5449 x 1205. Photo courtesy of Stream Watch Alice Main a coordinator with Kenai Stream Watch: “Stream Watch is a volunteer program that works to protect our world class fisheries through peer to peer education, and restoration projects across the Kenai Peninsula.”  Stream Watch volunteers are hoping that people spend more time thinking about how critically important the river is to the community. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Representatives with Key Bank in Soldotna helped the local Stream Watch install habitat protective fencing at our favorite wheelchair accessible fishing hole at Centennial Park. Anyone can volunteer with Stream Watch. Main: “The more the merrier, no matter whether it’s part of our organization or not. Folks can keep an eye out for one of our events, or one of our coordinators.”  Stream Watch Started in 1994 by a group of concerned citizens and the Chugach National Forest, this volunteer driven program has grown from a grassroots collective of 10 to a volunteer movement of 180+ volunteers who have spent 25 years making a difference for rivers on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.last_img read more


Muzen Audios retroinspired speakers will impress your inner hipster

first_img Test your music system with these great rock tracks 22 Photos Bluetooth Tags With a battery life of around 10 hours, you’ll have plenty of fun before you need to recharge the speaker via micro-USB. The Muzen OTR is currently on sale in China, the US, France, Germany and the Netherlands. It launches this week in Singapore. The OTR Metal retails for $135 or S$139 (about £80 or AU$145) while the OTR Wood goes for $123 or S$129. Prices may differ in your region, so be sure to check your local stores for updated pricing.img-2633The Muzen OTR Wood has a very nice finish and feel that I quite liked. Aloysius Low/CNET Wireless & Bluetooth Speakerscenter_img 2 Share your voice Comments The Muzen OTR Metal comes with leather straps for carrying around and a cool box packaging.  Aloysius Low/CNET Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, but Chinese brand Muzen Audio has added something extra to help its OTR speaker stand out: Radio.The Muzen OTR (or “On The Road”) series comes in a retro-inspired wood or metal finish with tiny analog gold dials. And unlike many other speakers, it can pick up radio broadcasts. The throwback design and unusual feature means you’ll spend longer fiddling with it than you normally would with a speaker.I hardly listen to the radio — Spotify has long filled in that niche — but I occasionally switch it on in the car to catch the news while I’m driving. I think there’s something about the experience of turning the dial to find a radio station that’s missing from digital tuners, but perhaps I’m getting old and nostalgic.muzenotrmetal02The Muzen OTR Metal comes with analog dials. Aloysius Low/CNET Apart from the radio playback, the Muzen OTR is a decent Bluetooth speaker, capable of reaching high volume without losing clarity. It doesn’t pack much bass, but it’s boomy enough that I didn’t find it lacking in most of the songs I tested on the speaker. Personally, I prefer the wood OTR model over the metal, as the shiny finish can be a fingerprint magnet. But the metal model’s vintage looks are more eye-catching. The speaker comes in a cool custom box with removable leather straps you can use to carry it around. last_img read more


Indian Home Prices Fall by 91 IMF Report

first_imgThe prices of homes in India have recorded the steepest fall among 52 nations, according to a research by International Monetary Fund (IMF).According to the data, there is an overall surge in home prices in the global real estate market but the annual percentage change in property prices in India has slipped by 9.1 percent. No other real estate market has slumped as bad as the Indian real estate sector, reported The Times of India. The IMF report added that India’s fall is even worse than countries struggling with financial crisis in the European Union. Of the 52 nations mentioned, 33 have registered increase in price while the rest have recorded decline in the housing prices. Meanwhile, Global Property Guide have also confirmed the IMF report of India’s slipping real estate prices. It said that high interest rates and slow GDP growth are reasons for declining home prices in India.The Indian National Housing Bank (NHB) Residex index says out of 26 cities, 13 have registered decline and the other half recorded increase in home prices. Moreover, Global Real Estate Transparency Index 2014 says India’s tier-1 cities property market is ranked 40th, while tier-2 and tier-3 markets are ranked 42nd and 50th respectively.last_img read more


Asia dips as China stocks deepen losses dollar down after Fed

first_imgAsian stocks were mostly lower on Thursday as Chinese equities deepened their losses, souring risk sentiment that had improved earlier after the Federal Reserve provided a positive assessment of the U.S. economy.Spreadbetters forecast a slightly lower open for Britain’s FTSE, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC.The dollar fell as some in the currency market had hoped the Fed would give a clearer indication that it could raise rates before end-2016.South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng both shed 0.4 percent.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which briefly climbed to its highest level since August 2015, clung to gains and was last up 0.1 percent.Shanghai fell 0.6 percent after shedding 1.9 percent the previous day.News that Chinese regulators are planning a tough clampdown on wealth management products to curb risks to the banking system had weighed heavily on Chinese stocks, with investors still wading through the details.Japan’s Nikkei declined more than 1 percent, undermined by a stronger yen and nerves before the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision on Friday.With the Fed meeting over, the spotlight fell on the BOJ, under mounting pressure to ease monetary policy and keep abreast of the Japanese government’s large fiscal stimulus plan.”The best-case scenario for the market is that the BOJ decides to increase government debt purchases without cutting interest rates further into negative territory,” said Hikaru Sato, a senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.”But the BOJ can’t save face if it does not cut rates into negative territory after it introduced the negative interest rate policy (in January), so we need to brace for such possibility, too.”Wall Street shares ended little changed overnight following the Fed’s policy decision to leave interest rates unchanged.The Fed did say, however, that near-term risks to the U.S. economic outlook had diminished, opening the door for a potential near-term hike in the eyes of many.But the Fed also noted that inflation expectations were on balance little changed in recent months, and gave no firm indication of whether it would raise rates at its next policy meeting in September.”While a number of investment banks have increased their internal probability models for a September hike, the interest rate markets have gone the other way and priced out the prospect. The reverberations of this re-pricing can be seen in weakness in the USD and a bold rally in gold,” wrote Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne.The Fed’s latest policy statement steered traders to favor longer-dated U.S. Treasuries over shorter-dated issues, pushing the yields on 10-year notes and 30-year bonds to 1-1/2-week lows as prices rose. Spot gold hovered near a two-week high of $1,342.18 an ounce touched overnight when it gained 1.4 percent. Higher interest rates tend to diminish the appeal of non-yielding gold.The dollar index slipped to a nine-day low of 96.545, pulling back sharply from a 4-1/2-month high of 97.569 scaled early in the week.The euro, which gained 0.7 percent overnight, edged up to a nine-day high of $1.1077.The dollar was down 0.6 percent at 104.75 yen, with caution over potential monetary easing by the BOJ limiting the greenback’s losses.Against the broadly weaker U.S. currency, the Australian dollar was up 0.4 percent at $0.7524.U.S. crude CLc1 rose 0.2 percent to $42.02 a barrel on bargain hunting after sliding to a three-month low of $41.68 on Wednesday after news U.S. crude and gasoline stocks had surged. Brent crude LCOc1 gained 0.2 percent to $43.55 a barrel.last_img read more


Russia has damaging info on Trump

first_imgClassified documents that the heads of four US intelligence agencies presented last week to president-elect Donald Trump included claims that Russian intelligence operatives have compromising information about him, two US officials said Tuesday evening.They told Reuters the claims, which one called “unsubstantiated,” were contained in a two-page memo appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election that US intelligence officials presented to Trump and president Barack Obama last week.Trump responded on Tuesday evening in a tweet calling the reports: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. One of the officials, both of whom requested anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other US agencies are continuing to investigate the credibility and accuracy of the claims.They are included in opposition research reports made available last year to Democrats and US officials by a former British intelligence official, most of whose past work US officials consider credible.The official said investigators so far have been unable to confirm the material about Trump financial and personal entanglements with Russian businessmen and others whom US intelligence analysts have concluded are Russian intelligence officers or working on behalf of Russian intelligence. Some material in the reports produced by the former British intelligence officer has proved to be erroneous, the official said.The FBI declined comment.SURFACED LAST YEARThe charges that Russia attempted to compromise New York real estate businessman Trump were presented to the FBI and other US government officials last summer and have been circulating for months.The FBI initially took the material seriously, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, which was first reported by CNN.However, the FBI failed to act on the material, and the former British intelligence officer broke off contact about three weeks before the November election, they said.The warning of information about Russia’s compromising claims follows growing US intelligence and law enforcement concerns about what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has called “multifaceted” Russian influence and espionage operations in Europe and the United States.In addition to hacking computer networks and spreading propaganda and fake news, it includes efforts to cultivate business and political leaders and find compromising personal, financial and other information on persons of interest, US intelligence officials said.The classified briefings last week were presented to Obama and Trump by Clapper, FBI director James Comey, Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan and National Security Agency director Mike Rogers.US intelligence chiefs included a classified summary of the material to make Trump aware that it is circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress, government officials and others, one of the officials said.An unclassified intelligence report released on Friday concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to help Trump’s electoral chances by discrediting Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign.The report said US intelligence agencies have concluded that as part of the effort Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, used intermediaries such as WikiLeaks and others to release emails it hacked from the Democratic National Committee and top Democrats.last_img read more


CarbonNanotube Memory that Really Competes

first_imgA side-view schematic of the single-walled carbon-nanotube field-effect transistor, showing the two halfnium dioxide layers (HfO2). The nanotube is represented by the honeycomb pattern in the center of the figure. VGS is the voltage across the transistor’s gate and source. (PhysOrg.com) — Researchers in Finland have created a form of carbon-nanotube based information storage that is comparable in speed to a type of memory commonly used in memory cards and USB “jump” drives. Researchers combine logic, memory to build a ‘high-rise’ chip 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. Citation: Carbon-Nanotube Memory that Really Competes (2009, January 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-01-carbon-nanotube-memory.html The group’s memory scheme has a write-erase time of 100 nanoseconds, which is about 100,000 times faster than previously reported carbon-nanotube memory, and retains this ability over more than 10,000 write-erase cycles. The work is reported in the January 16, 2009, online edition of Nano Letters.”In terms of speed and endurance, our memory structure is as good as the commercially available Flash memory technologies,” said Helsinki University of Technology physicist Päivi Törmä, the paper’s corresponding author, to PhysOrg.com.The memory scheme stores information using single-walled carbon-nanotube transistors, specifically field-effect transistors, which are among the fastest carbon-nanotube electrical components. Each transistor consists of four key parts, the gate, source, drain, and substrate.As a substrate, Törmä and her colleagues chose a silicon wafer. In collaboration with Finnish technology-equipment company Beneq Oy, they applied a 20-nanometer-thick layer of hafnium oxide using atomic layer deposition, a technique used to deposit materials in very thin layers. The hafnium oxide separates the substrate, which was also used as the gate in this case, from the rest of the structure. Choosing hafnium dioxide as the gate “dielectric” material—an insulator placed between two conductors to separate them—appears to be the key to the device’s fast operation, as it can trap and release charge very quickly and efficiently.On top of the hafnium-oxide layer, the group deposited a few drops of a carbon-nanotube solution, produced using commercially available nanotubes with diameters between 1.2 and 1.5 nanometers and lengths of 100 to 360 nanometers. Using an atomic force microscope, they identified nanotubes with the proper alignment; only those nanotubes became transistors. They then created source and drain electrodes for each nanotube using the metal palladium, with the nanotube forming the transistor’s conductive channel. Finally, the researchers deposited another 20-nanometer layer of hafnium oxide on top of the nanotube transistor, to “passivate” the surface, preventing unwanted reactions.”The fast memory operation we have demonstrated could potentially also be realized using other carbon materials, such as carbon-nanotube bundles or graphene,” said Törmä.Each transistor stores information based on whether current is running through it. When the voltage applied across the transistor reaches a certain threshold, current flows, which can represent one bit of information, either a “0” or a “1” (bit is short for binary digit). For example, when the transistor is conducting it may represent a “1,” and when not conducting, a “0.”Each transistor can store information for about 150,000 seconds, or about 42 hours. This is quite short, although Törmä and her group think they can improve it by adding an oxide layer between the gate and the nanotube.Citation: Nano Lett., Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/nl8029916Copyright 2008 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Explore furtherlast_img read more


TeliaSonerabacked Estonian service provider Elion

first_imgTeliaSonera-backed Estonian service provider Elion grew its IPTV subscriber base by about 10% in the year to March, ending the quarter with 160,000 subscribers.Elion had 216,000 broadband customers at the end of March, up 6% year-on-year.Elion CEO Arti Ots said the company would focus on network investment over the coming year. The group invested €6.5 million in upgrading its network in the first quarter. Elion this month also introduced the first in a number of digital home management services.last_img read more


Heres a chart that Washington state reader SA s

first_img Here’s a chart that Washington state reader S.A. shamelessly ripped from a Zero Hedge piece yesterday—and I thought I’d offer it with no comment. I was amazed by the big withdrawal from SLV yesterday The gold price chopped sideways in a five dollar price range up until shortly before 1 p.m. GMT in London on their Thursday.  Then, in a minute or so, the price got sold down about six bucks, before rallying strongly after that.  The rally got capped less than an hour later at 8:30 a.m. in New York.  From there, gold traded sideways until about noon—and at that point it developed a slightly positive price bias, which really developed some legs at 2:30 p.m. in the thinly-traded New York Access Market.  That rally lasted until just about 4 p.m. EST—gold’s high of the day—and then the price didn’t do much after that going into the electronic close. The CME Group recorded the low and high ticks as $1,307.10 and $1,325.30 in the April contract. Gold finished the Thursday session in New York at $1,323.00 spot, up $12.10 from Wednesday.  Volume, net of February and March, was very decent at 144,000 contracts. The silver price had much more of a roller coaster ride in Far East and morning trading in London—but after the sell-off just before 1 p.m. GMT in London, the silver price action followed the gold price action like a shadow, including the rally in the thinly-traded electronic market after the Comex close—and silver’s high price tick of the day just before 4 p.m. EST. The low and high prices were reported as $21.515 and $21.90 in the March contract. Silver finished the Thursday session at $21.82 spot, up 28.5 cents from Wednesday’s close.  Net volume was less than on Wednesday, but a still very decent 32,500 contracts. Here’s the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart for yesterday—and as I said, it looks almost identical to the spot gold chart posted above. After getting sold down early in Far East trading on their Thursday, both platinum and palladium rallied to finish in the green, but only by a few dollars each.  Here are the charts. The gold stocks rallied right from the open, with a big chunk of the gains in by the London p.m. gold fix.  After that, the stocks rallied continued to rally higher, but at a much more modest rate.  Then, when gold had its rally in the thinly-traded electronic market after the Comex close, the shares rallied a bit more—and the HUI finished up 3.89%—virtually on its high of the day, gaining back all of Wednesday’s losses and a bit more.  I was impressed. The silver equities rallied right from the open as well—and most of their gains were in by precisely 11 a.m. EST.  After that they traded sideways, but caught a bit of a tail wind as well when silver rallied in after hours trading in New York before the equity markets closed.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed up 4.03%—not gaining back everything it lost on Wednesday, but pretty close. Skyharbour Resources (TSX-V: SYH) is a uranium exploration company and a member of the Western Athabasca Syndicate which controls a large, geologically prospective land package consisting of five properties (709,513 acres) in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan. The properties are strategically located to the north, south, east and west of Fission Uranium’s (TSX-V: FCU) Patterson Lake South (“PLS”) recent high grade uranium discovery on the western flank of the Athabasca Basin. $6,000,000 in combined exploration expenditures over the next two years is planned on these properties, $5,000,000 of which is being funded by the three partner companies. Numerous high-potential drill targets have been identified with drilling to start in March, 2014. The Company has recently acquired a 60% interest in the Mann Lake Uranium Project on the east side of the Basin strategically located 25km southwest of Cameco’s McArthur River Mine. The ground adjacent to this property is Cameco’s Mann Lake Joint Venture where an aggressive 13,000 metre, 18-hole drill program is about to commence and previous grades of up to 7.12% uranium have been intersected in drilling. The Company has 43.6 million shares outstanding with insiders owning over 25% of the outstanding shares. Skyharbour’s goal is to maximize shareholder value through new mineral discoveries, committed long-term partnerships, and the advancement of exploration projects in geopolitically favourable jurisdictions. Please visit our website to learn more about the company and request information.center_img The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 145 gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Monday.  The short/issuer on 140 of those contracts was Barclays.  They also stopped 50 contracts as well.  HSBC USA stopped another 65 contracts.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. There were no reported changes in GLD on Thursday—but over at SLV there was a big surprise in store.  After a huge deposit of 3.85 million troy ounces on Tuesday, there was a big withdrawal of 2,212,315 troy ounces yesterday. The only answer I have for this, is something that Ted Butler has been talking about for the last couple of years.  He suspects that a big buyer has been purchasing shares by the truckload [read JPMorgan Chase] and has been continuously redeeming their shares for physical metal so they don’t exceed SLV reporting requirements.  In a nutshell, this means that JPM is using SLV as a vehicle to load up on the shares—and the physical metal at the same time—without having  to report it to anyone.   This is over and above what they show in their Comex-approved depository. This may also have been what’s happening in GLD since the start of they year as well. As I mentioned yesterday, the big rallies in both silver and gold have not been matched by corresponding deposits in either SLV or GLD—and Ted Butler’s explanation as to why it’s not happening is the only theory that holds any water., at least for me.  If you have another idea, I’d love to here from you. Over at the Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank for the week ending Friday, February 14, they reported a smallish decline in their gold ETF of 5,611 troy ounces.  Their silver ETF showed a small increase of 29,353 troy ounces. Joshua Gibbons, the “Guru of the SLV Bar List” had this to report on the weekly goings-on within the SLV ETF for the week ending at the close of trading on Wednesday:  “Analysis of the 19 February 2014 bar list, and comparison to the previous week’s list—9,670,272.5 troy ounces were removed (all from Brinks London), 13,037,078.1 troy ounces were added (all to Brinks London), no bars had a serial number change.“ “In reality, 5,290,714.0 oz were added—and 1,923,884.0 removed. The other 7.7M oz appears to be a ‘substitution’ (JPM removed bars, such as 6.7M oz of Russian State Refineries and Met-Mex bars, and replaced them with different ones, such as Kazakhmys and Valcambi bars).“ “As of the time that the bar list was produced, it was overallocated 557.5 oz.  All daily changes are reflected on the bar list.”  The link to Joshua’s website is here. For the second day in a row, there was no reported in/out movement in gold at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday—and is almost always the case, there was more in/out activity in silver, as 74,150 troy ounces were reported received—and 303,398 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that activity is here. Here’s a three-year chart of the Continuous Commodity Index, the CCI, which is the new name for the old CRB Index—and look at it fly as of the start of the year.  It’s hugely overbought, but worth keeping an eye on.  If the central banks of the world are looking for inflation, here’s the first sign that it’s on its way.  The new CRB chart looks similar. Here’s a chart that Casey Research’s own Jeff Clark sends our way every few weeks.  It’s the latest monetary base numbers from the St. Louis Fed.  Soon the line will break through the $4.0 trillion mark. I have another bunch of stories for you today—and you can cherry pick from the selections offered. Undoubtedly, we’ll get a measure of what they may be up to in Friday’s Commitments of Traders Report. Specifically, what JPMorgan has done, particularly in silver, will likely be the key feature. JPM hasn’t sold on higher prices over the past two reporting weeks in either gold or silver and that has been the big standout so far. If JPMorgan turns out to have sold some of its long gold position on higher prices, there’s not much to say. But if this crooked bank starts adding short positions in silver, there will be plenty to say, namely, overt price manipulation. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 19 February 2014 To tell you the truth, I don’t know what to make of yesterday’s price action in either gold or silver.  Don’t get me wrong, I was more than happy to see both metals do as well as they did—and as Ted Butler has told me on many occasions, it’s a mug’s game trying to forecast what might happen in day to day price action. As Ted mentioned in his quote above, we get the latest Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday—and I will be awaiting the numbers with some anticipation; hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.  Whatever the numbers show, I’ll have it all for you in tomorrow’s column. Once again I was amazed by the big withdrawal from SLV yesterday.  As I said in yesterday’s column, with gold up $100—and silver up 2 bucks so far this year, metal should be pouring into both GLD and SLV.  They are to a certain extent, but no sooner does metal get deposited, when some is taken out. Ted has his explanation for this, which I posted further up—and it makes perfect sense to me.  If you wish to refresh your memory, you can scroll up and read it again, as I don’t wish to repeat myself in this space. One thing I have noticed is that the further down the road we get on this price management scheme in all four precious metals, the more inexplicable it gets.  Whatever is happening out of sight of the general public, which includes us, appears to be well organized—and sooner or later it will all come to an end.  At that point we should have some sort of dénouement on all of this—and that day can’t come soon enough for me, although it does fall into the category of “be careful what you wish for.” We did have the usual sell-off in both gold and silver in early trading in the Far East on the their Friday morning—but both platinum and palladium emerged unscathed.  Both gold and silver struggled higher later in the day—and as I write this paragraph, London has been open for 10 minutes.  Both silver and gold are down from Thursday’s close in New York—and both platinum and palladium are basically unchanged.  Volumes in both metals are considerably lighter than they were this time yesterday—and the dollar index is up a handful of basis points. And as I put the finishing touches on today’s efforts shortly after 5 a.m. EST, I note that prices haven’t changed by much in all four precious metals.  Gold volume is still on the lighter side—and mostly of the HFT variety.  Silver’s volume is decent as well, but once the roll-overs are subtracted out, the real volume is not overly heavy, either—and the dollar is still up the same handful of basis points. Since today is Friday, it’s hard to know what to expect as far as price action is concerned for the rest of the day.  But as is almost always the case, it’s what happens during the New York trading day that really matters—and I don’t expect today will be any different. By the way, with what appears to be the start of a major up-trend in the precious metals, it might be worth your while to jump back in, or increase your exposure to the precious metals once again, as the HUI is already up over 22% year-to-date.  Your best bets for that are Casey Research’s monthly BIG GOLD newsletter—and Casey Research’s flagship publication—Casey International Speculator.  If you go for Casey International Speculator, it includes a subscription to BIG GOLD at no extra charge. It costs nothing to check them out—and Casey Research’s 90-day money back guarantee applies to both. That’s all I have for today.  I hope you enjoy your weekend, or what’s left of it if you live west of the International Date Line—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. Sponsor Advertisement Here’s the New York Spot Gold [Bid] chart so you can see the Comex price action in more detail. The dollar index closed late on Wednesday afternoon in New York at 80.21—and once the trading day began in the Far East on their Thursday, the index slid down to its 80.04 low shortly before 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time.  From there it rallied to its 80.41 high at noon in New York in a broad trading range.  After that it gave up some of its gains by 4 p.m. EST—and then didn’t do much after that, closing the day at 80.28—up a whole 7 basis points from Wednesday’s close.last_img read more


In This Issue   Dollars allout assault is st

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Dollar’s all-out assault is stopped.. *  Euro rebounds on cease fire news. *  Aussie 2nd QTR GDP beats expectations! *  China to spend some reserves on shipping. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Ukraine / Russia Agree To Cease Fire. Maybe. Good Day! .  And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Man, I had better get my eye checked! I think I’m beginning to read stuff that’s not the way it’s presented! Here’s the skinny: I woke up from a quick and not long enough nap to answer the door yesterday afternoon, and after welcoming the ATT guy into the house, I brought up my work email on my mobile device, and there was an email from our office managing guru, Danielle, telling me about elevator work that would take place around the time I arrive in the morning. “Great! I said, for I had some blood work that I needed to get done tomorrow, so I’ll just stay home, write and then go get the blood work done, rather than get all dialed in at work to leave right away.  Unfortunately, the email said Sept 4.. not Sept 3. UGH! So, I’m writing from home today, when I didn’t have to! The elevator work is tomorrow! What a dolt I am sometimes! Front and Center this morning, there was word earlier that Russia and Ukraine had agreed to a cease-fire. But then the “official word” from the Kremlin came out, and said that the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents had only discussed steps toward peace. There’s been no further discussion on what that meant, or maybe it was just a matter of semantics, but it sounds to me that the Kremlin wants their say before any “agreement” is made. The Currency traders are taking this “non-agreement in stone” as a good sign, and the euro has rallied a little bit. In fact the dollar’s all-out assault on the currencies and metals yesterday, (Gold lost $24) has backed off a bit this morning, albeit the moves are small. I forgot to mention yesterday that there is a bevy of Central Bank meetings this week, and that all gets started today with the Bank of Canada (BOC) meeting.  I don’t expect any surprises from the BOC today, and their neutral bias should remain in place. The recent data from Canada, as chronicled here in the Pfennig, has been upbeat, but I doubt it’s enough. yet that is. Oh, and before I forget again. which, I might add, seems to be happening to me more and more these days, the other central bank meetings this week include the European Central Bank (ECB), The Bank of England (BOE), and the Bank of Japan (BOJ). And we can’t take our eye off the ball with regards to the Jobs Jamboree, which will take place on Friday this week! So, an event-full week, but in the end it will be just a bunch of boondoggles and cooked booked. The Biggest mover overnight, is the Aussie dollar (A$).  Australia printed their 2nd QTR GDP last night, and it showed a solid number of .5% for the QTR and 3.1% year on year. That beat the expectations, and the A$ has reversed yesterday’s selling on the news. I did see “something” as a doctor might say to a patient, that we’ll have to keep our eye on. The Personal Income component of the GDP report showed a -.6% decline in disposable income.  That’s not a good sign for the 3rd QTR. Just like I told you yesterday about how the Personal Income decline in the U.S. was not good for 3rd QTR GDP, the same will hold true for Australia, unless.. this was just a blip, and the next two months turn around, which is why I say we’ll have to keep our eye on this.  But for right here ,right now, the A$ is in rally mode, so don’t stop it now, it’s on a roll!  Remember when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? The Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Don’t Stop him he’s on a roll.  HAHAHAHAHA! One of the funniest scenes ever in a movie. On a side bar.  A few years ago,  used that line about the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor, and I actually had a few readers send me notes telling be that it was Not the Germans, but the Japanese that bombed Pearl Harbor. That made the whole line even more funny! Of course the actual bombing is not, was not funny. I’m strictly talking about the line in the Animal House movie! Back to Australia for a minute. Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Gov. Stevens, made some comments after the 2nd QTR GDP report printed last night, and in his speech, he made a tactical error, and sound hawkish. I’m certain that he didn’t mean to do this, but h did, and the A$ was the beneficiary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come out with a retraction. There’s news this morning from two of my fave currencies / countries. Sweden and Norway, and none of the news is good.  In Sweden, the markets are calling for the Riksbank to implement unconventional methods to reach their target inflation rate. Read, Quantitative Easing / QE. I shake my head in disgust, for this Central Bank USED to be prudent and kept their eyes on price stability. And in Norway, the latest data from Statistics Norway, their latest survey of Oil producers and explorers suggest an 18% drop in investments next year. So far in 2014, they’ve seen a 14% decline in investments. So a further drag on the Norwegian economy next year, folks. Of course this is where you reach back in the memory bank and recall that Chuck told you of the huge cash reserves from Oil that Norway is holding, and you say, “But, Chuck, doesn’t the Norwegian Gov’t have a 140.9 Billion krone revenue pile that they could use to plug deficits and support growth during this slowdown?” And I would say, yes! You, dear reader, get a Gold Star! Both the Eurozone and he U.K. printed their latest Services PMI’s this morning, and it was like two ships passing in the night. the U.K. Services industry printed above expectations, while the Eurozone’s print was slightly weaker. But still above 50 (actually at 52.5) But this morning is all about the cease-fire, no cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia.  And any sign that the sanctions could be removed would be HUGE for the Eurozone! Gold has found a bid this morning, albeit a small bid, after losing some major ground yesterday. So, Gold loses $24 on a day when the U.S. announces air strikes in Somalia, and Russian President, Putin rates his saber, and then turns around and gains a couple of shekels when a cease-fire is announced. Now, you tell me, where the logic is in all of that! And the metal that has had the best performance so far this year, gaining 22% to date, Palladium, is getting whacked badly this morning on the cease-fire news. I have to say that I’m taken back a step or two watching this price movement in Palladium, given the need of the metal in industrial use hasn’t changed. But, the interruptions of delivery that hung over the metal like the Sword of Damocles, from strikes, earlier this year in S. Africa, and now the conflict in Russia/ Ukraine, seem now to be a thing of the past. But, I don’t think this is anything to get upset about! Look at this whacking of Palladium’s price as an opportunity to buy at a cheaper price. That’s how I look at it! The Chinese renminbi was allowed to appreciate last night.. You know how I always tell you, be yourself, no wait! No time for Mr. Wizard Chuck! I always tell you about China’s treasure chest of reserves that they can use to help the economy when they see a problem ? Well, here’s a classic case of what I’m always telling you. It was reported by the State Council overnight, that Beijing plans to build an efficient shipping system by 2020. Don’t you love it when a country makes investment in their future? So, besides the BOC meeting this morning which will most likely be a non-even, the U.S. Data Cupboard has the conn today.. Since Friday will be the Jobs Jamboree, we’ll see the ADP Employment Report for August today. the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales report, and Factory Orders. The Gallup Poll people are putting together an index on U.S. Job Creation, which should be interesting.. The U.S. Data Cupboard did produce a stronger than expected ISM Manufacturing Index (59 in August VS 57.1 in July), just as I thought, and said it would probably do, given the weakness in the dollar, but, as I also said, I would expect this index number to come down in the coming months given my expectation of a short-term dollar rally.  You see, the dollar’s value goes a long way toward whether Manufacturing cooks or not. The last time the ISM Index was this strong was March 2011.  And we had QE up to our eyeballs, so everything gets thrown out of whack as far as looking at fundamentals and history. But think you get the picture. For What It’s Worth.Well, I’ve told you all about the agreement that China and Russia signed a couple of months ago whereas Russia agreed to supply China with gas.. Well, there was news this weekend that I found at www.zerohedge.com  on this story, and it involves the largest gas pipeline in the World to link the two countries.  here’s a snippet. “If after months of Eurasian axis formation, one still hasn’t realized why in the grand game over Ukraine supremacy – not to mention superpower geopolitics – Europe, and the West, has zero leverage, while Russia has all the trump cards, then today’s latest development in Chinese-Russian cooperation should make it abundantly clear.  Overnight, following a grand ceremony in the Siberian city of Yakutsk, Russia and China officially began the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries. The bottom line to Russia – nearly half a trillion after China’s CNPC agreed to buy $400bn in gas from Russia’s Gazprom back in May. In return, Russia will ship 38 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually over a period of 30 years. The 3,968 km pipeline linking gas fields in eastern Siberia to China will be the world’s largest fuel network in the world.” Chuck again. yes, it’s happening right before us folks. the “shift” away from a dependence on the U.S. But then long time readers will say to themselves, Hey! But Chuck has been telling us this was going to happen because of the debt buildup and history for a long time! And you would be correct! To recap. the dollar’s all-out assault on the currencies and Gold yesterday has backed off this morning with the news that maybe a cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia has been made and maybe not. Australia printed a strong 2nd QTR GDP, well stronger than expected, and RBA Gov. Stevens ended up on the hawkish side of statements, and I’m sure he didn’t mean to! Gold got whacked yesterday, but has wrapped a tourniquet around the bleeding this morning, while Palladium takes over at the bloodletting table for Gold. Not good news from Sweden and Norway this morning, and the Bank of Canada meets today, should be a non-event. Currencies today 9/3/14. American Style: A$ .9325, kiwi .8325, C$ .9175, euro 1.3160, sterling 1.6460, Swiss $1.0895, . European Style: rand 10.6965, krone 6.2045 ,SEK 6.9915, forint 238.75, zloty 3.1870, koruna 21.0315, RUB 36.92, yen 105.05, sing 1.2520, HKD 7.7505, INR 60.49, China 6.1697, pesos 13.09, BRL 2.2435, Dollar Index 82.83, Oil $93.71, 10-year 2.45%, Silver $19.17, Platinum $1,409.88, Palladium $879.00, and Gold. $1,267.80 That’s it for today. What  a dolt I am for that elevator repair mix up. UGH! It looks really froggy out this morning.  Spell checker didn’t like my version of foggy, but I told it to deal with it! Another exciting win by my beloved Cardinals last night, I sure hope this time it’s for real, and no false dawn like we’ve seen all season long! Speaking of froggy, it reminds me of many years ago, when Kathy & Chuck were driving to St. Louis from Des Moines, Ia. The fog was so thick that the only way I could continue to drive was to crack the door open so I knew where the white line on the road was. That was dangerous, yes, I know it. Just shows how desperate we were to get out of Des Moines and back home to St. Louis!  Well, after about 6 years, I finally had to have a new wireless modem put in the house. I was going crazy with all the interruptions to my TV! Hey! It’s college football season, baseball playoffs are around the corner, and the NFL starts tomorrow night, I had to get that fixed! HA! I noticed at the grocery store this past weekend that they had HUGE displays out of Halloween candy already.. UGH!  What? I next week too early to get the Christmas stuff out?  Our Hockey Blues were showing off their new jersey last week. Everything runs together now I guess! Oh well. I’ve got to get this to Mike for the finishing touches, I hope everyone has a Wonderful Wednesday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more


Cant cool off this summer Heat waves can slow us

first_imgCan’t cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.”There’s evidence that our brains are susceptible to temperature abnormalities,” says Joe Allen, co-director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. And as the climate changes, temperatures spike and heat waves are more frequent.To learn more about how the heat influences young, healthy adults, Allen and his colleagues studied college students living in dorms during a summer heat wave in Boston.Half of the students lived in buildings with central AC, where the indoor air temperature averaged 71 degrees. The other half lived in dorms with no AC, where air temperatures averaged almost 80 degrees.”In the morning, when they woke up, we pushed tests out to their cellphones,” explains Allen. The students took two tests a day for 12 consecutive days.One test, which included basic addition and subtraction, measured cognitive speed and memory. A second test assessed attention and processing speed.”We found that the students who were in the non-air-conditioned buildings actually had slower reaction times: 13 percent lower performance on basic arithmetic tests, and nearly a 10 percent reduction in the number of correct responses per minute,” Allen explains.The results, published in PLOS Medicine, may come as a surprise. “I think it’s a little bit akin to the frog in the boiling water,” Allen says. There’s a “slow, steady — largely imperceptible — rise in temperature, and you don’t realize it’s having an impact on you.”The findings add to a growing body of evidence that documents the effect of heat on mental performance, both in schools and workplaces.For instance, a 2006 study from researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that when office temperatures rise above the mid-70s, workers’ performance begins to drop off. Researchers reviewed multiple studies that evaluated performance on common office tasks. The study found that worker productivity is highest at about 72 degrees. When temperatures exceeded the mid-80s, worker productivity decreased by about 9 percent.Another, more recent study compared worker performance in green-certified buildings and typical office buildings. They found a dip in cognitive function linked to conditions in the indoor environment, including higher indoor temperatures and poor lighting.And, when it comes to performance in the classroom, a study funded by the Harvard Environmental Economics Program finds that taking a standardized test on a very hot day is linked to poorer performance. The study includes an analysis of test scores from students in New York City who take a series of high-school exams called the Regents Exams.The author, R. Jisung Park, assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes that compared with a 72-degree day, “taking an exam on a 90◦F day leads to a 10.9 percent lower likelihood of passing a particular subject (e.g. Algebra), which in turn affects probability of graduation.”There’s still a lot to learn about how our brains and bodies respond to heat. “We all tend to think we can compensate, we can do just fine” during heat waves says Allen. But he says the “evidence shows that the indoor temperature can have a dramatic impact on our ability to be productive and learn.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more


Its that time of year again You wake up with a s

first_imgIt’s that time of year again. You wake up with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, a little achy — maybe a fever. Is it a classic head cold, or do you need to be more concerned? Could it be the flu?”There’s lots of confusion out there, because both are viral respiratory illnesses,” says Dr. Yul Ejnes, an internal medicine specialist in private practice in Rhode Island and spokesperson for the American College of Physicians. “No one likes to get a cold, but people are more fearful of the flu.”And rightly so.Last year’s influenza season was particularly severe, resulting in an unusually high number of hospitalizations and deaths from flu complications.So, if you do have the flu, it’s important to consult with your health care provider about treatment. And distinguishing between a cold and flu may be easier than you think, Ejnes says. There are some clear distinctions between the two similar types of viral illness in terms of symptoms — how quickly they appear and how severe they become.Suddenly flattened? Think fluFlu symptoms, Ejnes says, usually start abruptly — though you can spread the virus before symptoms surface.”Patients can pretty much tell you when the symptoms hit them — after lunch, for example, or yesterday afternoon,” says Ejnes.A cold, on the other hand, takes a couple of days to build up. You may have a scratchy throat one day and then the nose starts to get stuffy the next day.You may also develop a fever with a cold. But typically, it’s a “low-grade” rise in temperature, hovering around 99 or 100 degrees Farenheit.With flu, that fever is usually significantly higher — at least 101 degrees. Chills and body aches are another flu hallmark or, as Ejnes says, “feeling like a truck ran you over — where you can’t even move a muscle.”Dragging yourself out of bed can seem impossible when you have the flu. “You’re just wiped out with total body fatigue,” he says, whereas with a cold, people often “soldier on” and get out of bed for work or social activities.Heading to work isn’t a good idea, of course, even with a mild cold, because it exposes others to the virus — but lots of people do it. (Colds tend to be most contagious in the first several days of illness.)There can be congestion and cough from the postnasal drip of a head cold, but it’s not nearly as severe as with flu. Influenza can trigger long bouts of coughing and even trouble breathing.So, when patients tell Ejnes that their symptoms developed suddenly, their fever is high and their body aches severe, he assumes flu, he says.But should those symptoms send you to the doctor? That depends, Ejnes says. If you’re a healthy adult without any chronic health problems, you may instead do fine with merely phoning your doctor, who can quickly prescribe any of several antiviral medications. That medicine is most effective when given within two days of symptoms.”It’s not a miracle drug by any stretch,” cautions Ejnes, but it can offer some relief by reducing the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness by a day or so.Ejnes says he prefers a phone chat to a visit in such cases — partly to limit the number of people in his waiting room who have the flu.”I’ve had the most ironic scenarios, where somebody’s coming into the office to get a flu shot and — while they’re waiting to be called in — they’re sitting next to someone who’s coming in with symptoms that might be the flu.”So call first.’Red flags’ that escalate riskHowever, doctors do want people who are at high risk of developing complications to be seen by the health team when flu is suspected, says infectious disease physician Dr. Matthew Zahn. He’s the medical director of the Division of Epidemiology and Assessment for the Orange County Health Care Agency, in Southern California, and spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of America.This at-risk group includes children under age 5, whose immune systems are still developing; adults 65 and older, whose immune systems are waning; pregnant women; and individuals who have certain underlying medical conditions. These pre-existing conditions include asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disorders and liver disorders — all are known to diminish the strength of the immune system and the ability to fight off influenza.Antiviral medicine can be helpful for this group, he says, even if it is given more than two days after flu symptoms appear.And whether you get treatment or not, there are some important “red flags” to be aware of with the flu, says Zahn.Watch for “any sort of breathing problems,” he says. Coughing occasionally is one thing, but if you’re having trouble catching your breath, go see your doctor “really quickly.”Breathing problems can be symptomatic of pneumonia, a common and serious complication of the flu, in which the air sacs of one or both lungs become clogged.A sudden and significant change in mental health status with the respiratory symptoms is also a red flag, Zahn says. If you or a loved one have trouble focusing or are not as alert as normal, make your way to a doctor right away.Flu shots aren’t just for the kids and grandpaWhile antiviral medication can reduce symptoms, infectious disease specialists agree that the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine.”Each year we have tens of thousands of people die of flu,” Zahn says, and the vaccine can help prevent that. While flu seasons are unpredictable and strains of the virus mutate from year to year, vaccines can still be anywhere from 40 percent to 60 percent effective in preventing severe complications and hospitalization.Vaccination rates against flu are highest among Americans 65 and older and among children 4 and younger, he says, but most others could benefit from a flu shot, too. And that’s not happening — among American adults aged 18 to 64, typically less than half get immunized.Of course, it’s best to get your flu vaccine at the beginning of flu season — in the fall — but it’s not too late. The influenza season runs throughout winter.As for treating a cold, well, you’re pretty much out of luck.”The reality is nothing is available to shorten the duration of a head cold,” says internist Ejnes.Over-the-counter medication can ease symptoms, he says. Decongestants can help reduce cough, nasal sprays can help reduce stuffiness, and lozenges can help relieve a sore throat.”Some folks have more luck with these OTC remedies than others,” Ejnes says.Then there is the ever-popular chicken soup, which can help you feel better — especially if there’s lots of steam, which can help clear up nasal congestion.But, bottom line, Ejnes says patients just have to do whatever they can to ease symptoms until the cold runs its course — usually in seven to 10 days. “There’s nothing we can do to speed that process up.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more


Health officials in Washington have declared a sta

first_imgHealth officials in Washington have declared a state of emergency and are urging immunization as they scramble to contain a measles outbreak in two counties, while the number of cases of the potentially deadly virus continues to climb in a region with lower than normal vaccination rates. Washington Department of Health officials announced that as of Monday afternoon there have been 36 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases of the disease. That is a significant increase from Friday’s reported numbers when Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. At the time there were 26 confirmed measles cases. In Friday’s statement, Inslee said, “Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children. The existence of 26 confirmed cases in the state of Washington creates an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”Since then nine new cases have been confirmed, all in Clark County, which borders Portland, Ore., creating concern in that state as well. Washington state epidemiologist Scott Lindquist told NPR’s Patti Neighmond this is likely only the beginning of the epidemic since many of the families with infected children traveled to very public places, including Costco, Ikea, the Portland International Airport and the arena where the Trail Blazers play. Lindquist added that officials are particularly concerned that “folks that are immuno-compromised — pregnant women, young kids and those that are unvaccinated — could be at risk for this disease” without realizing it because the telltale measles rash might not appear for four days into the sickness. As a result, people may not know they are carrying the disease and could easily unwittingly expose others to the extremely contagious virus.Measles virus travels through the air. It can be contracted without even being near a person with the virus because it lingers for up to two hours in the air of a room where a person with the measles has been. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, and can be deadly. Inslee notes, “Almost everyone who is not immune will get measles if they are exposed.”Clark County Public Health has identified 35 confirmed cases and 11 suspected cases since Jan. 1, when it first began investigating the outbreak. In all but four instances, the person who had contracted the disease had not been immunized. In the remaining cases, authorities had not yet verified their immunization status.The majority of those infected were children, with 25 of the 35 confirmed cases impacting children under 10 years old. Children under the age of one cannot be immunized. So far, King County has reported the only adult case, a man in his 50s who was hospitalized but has since recovered. Although it’s not clear where he became infected, the man said he’d recently traveled to Clark County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have not been immunized but believe they have been exposed to the airborne virus, get the MMR vaccine. It explains, “If you get MMR vaccine within 72 hours of initially being exposed to measles, you may get some protection against the disease, or have milder illness.” Before the vaccine was introduced in 1963 measles was the single leading killer of children in the world. To this day, it still kills 100,000 children a year worldwide, most under the age of five. Measles was declared completely eliminated within the U.S. in 2000 due to the country’s widespread vaccination program. However, state laws allowing parents to opt out of mandatory vaccinations quickly began eroding those statistics, leading to outbreaks across the nation.The number of measles cases nearly tripled in 2018 to 349 over 2017, when only 120 cases were reported. The CDC attributed the jump to primarily unvaccinated people in the Orthodox Jewish communities in New York state, New York City and New Jersey. The agency noted the outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel.And, in 2017, low vaccination compliance rates among the Somali-American community living in Minnesota led to a cluster of 75 cases. As NPR reported, “In 2014, there were 667 cases in the U.S., including a large outbreak among Amish communities in Ohio. In 2015, there were 188 cases, including some linked to an outbreak that started at the Disneyland amusement park. Prior vaccination is critical to keeping people from contracting the virus if they are exposed to it.”Washington and Oregon are among the country’s many states that allow parents with a personal or philosophical objection to decline the measles vaccination, among some others. And Seattle, Spokane and Portland are among 15 U.S. cities considered “hot spots” for their high rates of non-medical exemptions to vaccines that cover measles, mumps and rubella. Pediatrician Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine’s National School of Tropical Medicine, told NPR there is a very-aggressive anti-vaccine lobby throughout the Pacific Northwest that have effectively driven up the rates of vaccine non-compliance, leaving scores of children vulnerable to the infection.The groups often spread misinformation claiming a link between vaccines and autism. A claim that has been wholly refuted by the Centers for Disease Control.Washington state officials are now beginning the arduous and costly task of tracking down everyone who might have been exposed to the infection and cautioning them to be on the alert for symptoms, including runny nose, red eyes, fever and rash. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more


Labour has published an election manifesto that in

first_imgLabour has published an election manifesto that includes pledges on social care and welfare reform, but offers few new policies on disability rights.The manifesto says Labour is the “party of equality” and that that “no person should suffer discrimination or a lack of opportunity”.But it warns that, with the exception of the “protected” areas of health, education and international development, “there will be cuts in spending” under a Labour government.It promises reform of the work capability assessment (WCA), the test introduced by the last Labour government in 2008 to assess eligibility for employment and support allowance (ESA), with a new focus on the “support disabled people need to get into work”, and a new independent scrutiny group of disabled people set up to monitor the WCA.There will also be a new specialist support programme “to ensure that disabled people who can work get more tailored help”.And Labour promises to abolish the “bedroom tax”, which it says is “cruel”, with two-thirds of those affected by cuts in housing benefit being disabled people or families with a disabled member. The manifesto also promises that a Labour government would abolish the employment tribunal fee system introduced by the coalition, improve training for teachers on working with disabled children, and strengthen the law on disability, homophobic, and transphobic hate crime.On social care, the manifesto focuses on older people and carers, rather than disabled people of working-age, saying: “Care is at the heart of Labour’s values. No-one should fear old age or be left to struggle alone caring for a loved one.”Since 2010, it warns, billions of pounds have been cut from adult social care budgets, which it says has left “300,000 fewer older people getting vital care services, at the same time as the number of older people in need of care is increasing”.As with the Conservatives, the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, Labour promises to integrate the health and social care systems, while also focusing on mental health.The manifesto says that “vulnerable older people, disabled people and those with complex needs will be helped to have more control of their lives”, with the entitlement to a personal care plan, the option of a personal budget “where appropriate”, and a single named person to coordinate their care, as well as “better information and advice on managing their condition”.It also pledges to end time-limited, 15-minute social care visits, introducing instead “year-of-care budgets” that would cover all of a person’s physical, mental health and social care needs and improve care in people’s own homes, and recruiting 5,000 new home-care workers – under the control of the NHS – to “help care for those with the greatest needs at home”.A separate health and care manifesto promises to do more to ensure that people with mental health problems, learning difficulties and autism “enjoy the same rights as anyone else”, with “meaningful progress” for these groups a priority.It also promises to consult on a new offence of corporate neglect for directors of care homes, which could mean a prison sentence if they neglect or are involved in abuse of people in their care.Disability News Service contacted disabled Labour candidates Emily Brothers and Mary Griffiths-Clarke for their views on the manifesto, but they failed to respond.But Dame Anne Begg (pictured), the disabled Labour candidate standing in Aberdeen South, was able to comment, although the Scottish Labour manifesto had not yet been published.She said Labour’s promise to strengthen the law on disability hate crime was “very welcome”, as was the section on supporting disabled people to live independently, including the abolition of the bedroom tax.She said: “There is also a promise to set up an independent scrutiny group of disabled people to look at how the WCA could be reformed.  “I would like any Labour government to go further on this, as I think a fundamental rethink [of the WCA] is required and so would hope any scrutiny group would have a role in this.“I am also glad there is an acknowledgement that there needs to be a specialist programme to give tailored help to disabled people seeking work.“Those on ESA are not well served by the present Work Programme and [the specialist programme for disabled people] Work Choice.”Dame Anne added: “I also think the plans to set up a single service to meet all the needs of a person’s health and care needs will be welcomed by disabled people, as they are often the people who are passed from one service to another and sometimes fall between the cracks.”She also praised Labour’s focus on a right to access talking therapies for people with mental health problems, which she said was “particularly important for those who are trying to get back in to, or remain, in work and used to be a feature of the Pathways to Work scheme the last Labour government had in place and which the coalition government scrapped.”last_img read more