January 20, 2004The compost bins in camp have moved to the south side of the poulonia garden. Agriculture crewmembers are working on additional bins. All of the food scraps from the Arcosanti cafe, and from individual kitchens, is composted and used as fertilizer by the Agriculture and Landscaping departments.[Photo & Text: aa] Agriculture employee, Brad Crutchfield, assembles wooden pallets for a new compost bin (right). Hiroshi Kondo, volunteering from Japan, strips juniper branches to use them in the composting process (left).[Photo & Text: aa]
Intelsat’s next-generation EPIC class of satelliteSatellite operator Intelsat has agreed to merge with affordable internet provider OneWeb, in a deal backed by a large investment from Japan’s SoftBank Group.Intelsat and OneWeb will merge in a share-for-share transaction, with Intelsat also agreeing a share-purchase agreement with OneWeb investor SoftBank.SoftBank will invest US$1.7 billion in newly issued common and preferred shares of the combined company – a move designed to help reduce Intelsat’s debt by approximately $3.6 billion. This will result in SoftBank taking an approximate 39.9% voting stake in the combined business.The investment comes after SoftBank committed to invest US$1 billion in OneWeb in December, to help support OneWeb’s vision of delivering affordable, high-speed, low-latency internet to rural and remote communities around the world.“We believe that combining Intelsat with OneWeb will create an industry leader unique in its ability to provide affordable broadband anywhere in the world,” said Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler.“As an early equity investor in OneWeb, we recognised a network that was a complement to our next-generation Intelsat EpicNG fleet and a fit with our long-term strategy. By merging OneWeb’s LEO satellite constellation and innovative technology with our global scale, terrestrial infrastructure and GEO satellite network, we will create advanced solutions that address the need for ubiquitous broadband.”Spengler said that the deal will “significantly strengthen” Intelsat’s capital structure and help it to accelerate into new areas, such as providing connectivity for connected vehicles.OneWeb founder and CEO, Greg Wyler, said: “With SoftBank’s support we will build the world’s first truly global broadband company, accelerating our mission of bridging the digital divide by connecting the four billion people without access today. While there are numerous growth paths available to OneWeb, we are very excited at the prospect of working with Intelsat on this shared objective.”SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son added: “This combination is consistent with SoftBank’s strategy of investing in disruptive, foundational technologies that are building the infrastructure for tomorrow, and this proposal offers a win-win opportunity to accelerate OneWeb’s mission while enhancing the Intelsat balance sheet.”The deal is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2017.
NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming offering is to launch in April 2020, Comcast has announced.Speaking on the company’s Q2 earnings call NBCU CEO Steve Burke said that 500 people are currently working on the service that is scheduled to launch next April. Burke confirmed that the service will be built on the Now TV platform, which is currently deployed by Sky in Europe. The CEO also confirmed that the service will be built around acquired programming, contrasting with the likes of Disney+ and Apple+ which are heavily focusing on originals.Burke said that The Office (US) in particular will serve as a ‘tent pole’ programme on the platform, saying: “The Office was important to us because, according to Nielsen, The Office is the number one show on Netflix. It’s about 5% of all of Netflix’s volume, which, obviously, a show that was on NBC and is tied to the DNA of NBC.”The company is confident about its streaming offering, and argues that it has a unique proposition unlike its competitors. Burke said: “We believe we have a very innovative way of coming into the market that is very different than anything else in the market and, we believe, has very attractive financial aspects versus other ways to get into streaming.”Comcast CEO and chairman Brian Roberts added: “We’re making great progress on the direct-to-consumer streaming service. We believe the strength of our assets and leadership across our businesses, combined with access to tens of millions of customers, will lower both our cost of entry and execution risk as we deliver a truly special offering.”
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 2 2018″Healthy aging” sounds like a priority we all can share, but for geriatrics healthcare professionals–the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physicians assistants, social workers, and many others dedicated to the care we need as we age–that term represents something specific, and something worth defining. Led by Paul Mulhausen, MD, MHS, FACP, AGSF, colleagues from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) set about doing just that as part of an expert panel convened to look critically at what “healthy aging” really means. Their definition–published in a white paper today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15644)–explores the intersection between our personal care goals and innovations in science, education, and public policy as the place where healthy aging may be understood best.”Longer life is a priority for individuals and society because it provides opportunities for personal fulfillment and contributions to our communities. But as we learn more about concrete ways to increase longevity,” Dr. Mulhausen observed, “we need to work on ways to improve the quality of that time as well.”As the AGS expert panel reports, older adults often live with an array of health concerns, which means that “healthy aging” for a contemporary audience must embrace a broader, person-centered notion of health as something more than the absence of disease or infirmity. Healthy aging involves pivoting to age’s influence on our physical, mental, and social needs and expectations, ultimately embracing a “lifespan approach” to care that helps each aging person live the healthiest life possible. This new focal point necessitates replacing our current cultural emphasis on staying young “with age-friendly concepts of engagement, participation, contribution, interconnectedness, activity, and optimal function,” as the AGS white paper explains.Healthy aging also extends beyond clinical services, embracing a complex and interconnected ecosystem that both impacts and is impacted by how we grow older. In this respect, AGS experts highlight several priority areas where communities, health systems, and clinicians can work together to integrate services that foster engagement and independence for us all as we age. These include: Greater advocacy supporting policy solutions for older people. Healthy aging requires a coordinated response not only to care but also to community priorities that can promote health, safety, and independence in age-friendly environments. For the AGS expert panel, this means collaborating as advocates across society and professions to align our health systems with the needs of older people while also promoting healthy aging when we are younger. “We can and should position healthy aging as an untapped resource with the capacity to provide inventive solutions as we live longer, healthier lives,” the AGS expert report concludes. Better public and professional education to make healthy aging an actionable priority. Care that can promote healthy aging rests on ensuring future generations of health professionals and older adults understand and embrace best practices focused on keeping us healthy and independent. This can become even more of a reality today by working early and often to combat ageism (discrimination against older people due to negative and inaccurate stereotypes about age), particularly when it comes to older adults’ self-perceptions. “We need to educate individuals and the public to have appropriate expectations about aging…[and w]e must train our health professions students in ways that promote respect, compassion, and dignity,” AGS experts observed. A deeper commitment to the geriatrics expertise we need as we age. Embracing biology, psychology, and socio-cultural considerations to optimize functional status–the medical term for ensuring we can make the most of our ability to remain mobile, active, and engaged even as our physical condition changes–must remain a top “healthy-aging” priority. “We should work to replace the current cultural emphasis on staying young…with age-friendly concepts of engagement, participation, contribution, interconnectedness, activity, and optimal function,” the AGS report notes. Renewed attention to social and scientific research that can build our understanding of what healthy aging really means. According to AGS experts, research on aging at the cellular, individual, and community levels represents one of our best opportunities for advancing healthy aging. “We also need better evidence to inform our understanding of the biomedical and psychosocial determinants of healthy aging. We must bridge the gap between promising basic research and its clinical application,” the AGS experts conclude. Related StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchNew solution makes fall recovery safer and easierApplication of machine learning methods to healthcare outcomes researchAs for why geriatrics health professionals are uniquely qualified to stake a claim on defining healthy aging and putting it into practice, Susan Friedman, MD, MPH, a member of the panel responsible for the AGS white paper, observes that many principles at the heart of the AGS’s definition have been part of geriatrics from the start.”Geriatrics is a collaborative profession built by clinicians, educators, health system experts, older adults, and caregivers,” Dr. Friedman said. “We understand complexity. We are experts in culturally competent, person-centered care. We are skilled in assessing preferences and values, and translating them into prevention, intervention, and advance care planning. Regardless of how society chooses to define ‘healthy aging,’ these are the practices that make it something we can see–and ideally experience, especially through geriatrics-led insights.” Source:https://www.americangeriatrics.org/media-center/news/we-all-want-healthy-aging-what-it-how-do-we-promote-it-new-ags-report-looks
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 16 2019Scrolling through the GoFundMe website reveals seemingly an endless number of people who need help or community support. A common theme: the cost of health care.It didn’t start out this way. Back in 2010, when the crowdfunding website began, it suggested fundraisers for “ideas and dreams,” “wedding donations and honeymoon registry” or “special occasions.” A spokeswoman said the bulk of collection efforts from the first year were “related to charities and foundations.” A category for medical needs existed, but it was farther down the list.In the nine years since, campaigns to pay for health care have reaped the most cash. Of the $5 billion the company says it has raised, about a third has been for medical expenses from more than 250,000 medical campaigns conducted annually.Take, for instance, the 25-year-old California woman who had a stroke and “needs financial support for rehabilitation, home nursing, medical equipment and uncovered medical expenses.” Or the Tennessee couple who want to get pregnant, but whose insurance doesn’t cover the $20,000 worth of “medications, surgeries, scans, lab monitoring, and appointments [that] will need to be paid for upfront and out-of-pocket” for in vitro fertilization.The prominence of the medical category is the symptom of a broken system, according to CEO Rob Solomon, 51, who has a long tech résumé as an executive at places like Groupon and Yahoo. He said he never realized how hard it was for some people to pay their bills: “I needed to understand the gigantic gaps in the system.”This year, Time Magazine named Solomon one of the 50 most influential people in health care.”We didn’t build the platform to focus on medical expenses,” Solomon said. But it turned out, he said, to be one of those “categories of need” with which many people struggle.Solomon talked to Kaiser Health News’ Rachel Bluth about his company’s role in financing health care and what it says about the system when so many people rely on the kindness of strangers to get treatment. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.Q: KHN and other news outlets have reported that hospitals often advise patients to crowdfund their transplants. It’s become almost institutionalized to use GoFundMe. How do you feel about that?It saddens me that this is a reality. Every single day on GoFundMe we see the huge challenges people face. Their stories are heartbreaking.Some progress has been made here and there with the Affordable Care Act, and it’s under fire, but there’s ever-widening gaps in coverage for treatment, for prescriptions, for everything related to health care costs. Even patients who have insurance and supposedly decent insurance [come up short]. We’ve become an indispensable institution, indispensable technology and indispensable platform for anyone who finds themselves needing help because there just isn’t adequate coverage or assistance.I would love nothing more than for “medical” to not be a category on GoFundMe. The reality is, though, that access to health care is connected to the ability to pay for it. If you can’t do that, people die. People suffer. We feel good that our platform is there when people need it.Q: Did anyone expect medical funding would become such a big part of GoFundMe?I don’t think anyone anticipated it. What we realized early on is that medical need is a gigantic category.A lot of insurance doesn’t cover clinical trials and research and things like that, where people need access to leading-edge potential treatments. We strive to fill these gaps until the institutions that are supposed to handle this handle it properly. There has to be a renaissance, a dramatic change in public policy, in how the government focuses on this and how the health care companies solve this.Related StoriesHome-based support network helps stroke patients adjust after hospital dischargeStroke should be treated 15 minutes earlier to save lives, study suggestsResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairThis is very interesting. In the places like the United Kingdom, Canada and other European countries that have some form of universal or government-sponsored health coverage, medical [costs] are still the largest category. So it’s not just medical bills for treatment. There’s travel and accommodations for families who have to support people when they fall ill.Q: What have you learned that you didn’t know before?I guess what I realized [when I came] to this job is that I had no notion of how severe the problem is. You read about the debate about single-payer health care and all the issues, the partisan politics. What I really learned is the health care system in the United States is really broken. Way too many people fall through the cracks.The government is supposed to be there and sometimes they are. The health care companies are supposed to be there and sometimes they are. But for literally millions of people they’re not. The only thing you can really do is rely on the kindness of friends and family and community. That’s where GoFundMe comes in.I was not ready for that at all when I started at the company. When you live and breathe it every day and you see the need that exists, when you realize there are many people with rare diseases but they aren’t diseases a drug company can make money from, they’re just left with nothing.Q: But what does this say about the system?The system is terrible. It needs to be rethought and retooled. Politicians are failing us. Health care companies are failing us. Those are realities. I don’t want to mince words here. We are facing a huge potential tragedy. We provide relief for a lot of people. But there are people who are not getting relief from us or from the institutions that are supposed to be there. We shouldn’t be the solution to a complex set of systemic problems. They should be solved by the government working properly, and by health care companies working with their constituents. We firmly believe that access to comprehensive health care is a right and things have to be fixed at the local, state and federal levels of government to make this a reality.Q: Do you ever worry that medical fundraising on your site is taking away from other causes or other things that need to be funded?We have billions being raised on our platform on an annual basis. Everything from medical, memorial and emergency, to people funding Little League teams and community projects.Another thing that’s happened in the last few years is we’ve really become the “take action button.” Whenever there’s a news cycle on something where people want to help, they create GoFundMe campaigns. This government shutdown, for example: We have over a thousand campaigns right now for people who have been affected by it — they’re raising money for people to pay rent, mortgages, car payments while the government isn’t. This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 5 2019Even among cancers, pancreatic cancer is an especially sinister form of disease. The one-year survival rate is extremely low, and treatment progress has lagged behind that of many other malignancies.A study published today in the journal Nature Medicine led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) describes a new therapeutic approach with potential for patients with pancreatic cancer. These researchers discovered a combination drug therapy that may effectively combat the disease. HCI researchers first observed anti-cancer impacts in a laboratory setting and, subsequently, in its first use in a human patient.The study has already progressed to a clinical trial that is now open at HCI and will soon be open at other sites in the United States. Details about the clinical trial, called THREAD, are available under National Clinical Trial Number 03825289. The combination therapy uses two drugs already approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration for other diseases, including cancer. The new drug combination is administered through pills taken orally.Pancreatic tumors are characterized by mutations in a gene called KRAS. When KRAS is mutated in this way, it sends constant signals that promote abnormal cell division and growth in cancer cells. As a result, tumors grow out of control. At the same time, like all cells, pancreatic cancer cells must recycle their components to provide building blocks for new growth in an essential cell function known as autophagy. Previous studies to combat pancreatic cancer that were focused either on the role of KRAS or on impacting autophagy were not effective.The new HCI study, using an approach that simultaneously targets both abnormal KRAS signaling and the autophagy process, shows a strong response in mouse models and may be a promising therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer. Conan Kinsey, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Department of Internal Medicine at the U of U and Martin McMahon, PhD, a cancer researcher at HCI and Professor of Dermatology at the U of U, led the study.”We were able to observe that the combination of these two drugs – which, when used individually, don’t have much of an impact on the disease – appears to have a very potent impact on the growth of pancreatic cancer,” says McMahon. “We have observed this in the lab in petri dishes, then in mouse models, and now in a pancreatic cancer patient on a compassionate use basis. Indeed, we proceeded from a petri dish to a patient in less than two years – a timeline that is rarely seen in medical science.”Related StoriesNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryThe HCI-led research is bolstered by a separate study published in the same issue of the journal. This study outlines complementary findings regarding the effects of autophagy in pancreatic cancer in the laboratory setting and was led by Channing Der, PhD, Sarah Graham Kenan, PhD, and Kirsten Bryant, PhD, at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. McMahon and Der learned about the parallel nature of their research programs at a scientific meeting one year ago. Given the critical need for advances in pancreatic cancer therapies and the promise of their collective findings, they worked together to push their studies forward on a companion basis.”In our paper, we show the response of a pancreatic cancer patient who had received surgery and multiple lines of chemotherapy prior to this combination,” said Kinsey, who was also the patient’s physician. “This patient, who has since succumbed to the disease, nevertheless had a remarkable response to these drugs for several months. We need to carefully evaluate this new combination therapy in the context of clinical trials to better understand if good responses might be seen in multiple patients. We also need to identify the specific features of any patient who may benefit, before any recommendation can be made about use on a larger scale.”These preliminary findings are being rigorously scrutinized in clinical trials to observe and understand whether the combination of these drugs is safe and effective for pancreatic cancer patients. The trial is underway at HCI and is underway or planned at the University of California, San Francisco, and Columbia University in New York.Source: https://huntsmancancer.org/newsroom/2019/03/promising-new-pancreatic-cancer-treatment.php
Argonne researchers are modeling and simulating how connected and autonomous vehicles could affect energy and mobility in metropolitan areas. Credit: Shutterstock / metamorworks Transforming transportation with machine learning No doubt the emergence of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will have new and exciting effects on patterns and modes of transportation, but when it comes to measuring those effects, the future gets a little hazier. To complement their POLARIS analyses and measure energy effects, researchers used Argonne’s Autonomie tool. Autonomie is the industry-leading tool for predicting fuel consumption from current and future vehicles. For their analysis, researchers relied on Autonomie to measure the impact of CAVs on energy use.Quantifying energy and mobility impactsTo quantify the mobility and energy impacts of CAV adoption, researchers took into account a number of interrelated metrics. Among them are changes in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), value of travel time (VOTT), amount of congestion and energy consumption.Value of travel time measures the perceived burden of time spent on travel, the assumption being that, the lower the burden of travel time, the more an individual is willing to travel on the road.”We looked at VOTT as a critical factor affecting both mobility and energy because, no longer having to deal with the burden of driving, CAV drivers may choose to spend more time on the road, knowing they can use their travel time to do other, productive activities,” said Argonne Vehicle and Mobility Simulation Manager Aymeric Rousseau. “We focused on understanding the impact of VOTT on mobility and energy for different vehicle technologies and consumer behaviors.””Overall, our research found that people with access to partially automated CAVs do tend to take longer trips, as the value of travel time decreased, and the driver was alleviated from the focus on driving. We also saw congestion increase in certain scenarios,” Auld said. “We also found changes in fuel usage, including an increase in fuel use as CAV market penetration went up, with the increase in VMT.”Future stepsTo improve their ability to represent and analyze the complex interactions affecting transportation and mobility, researchers are working to enhance POLARIS and Autonomie to better account for CAV technology choices (like varying levels of automation) and their impacts on traffic flow. They’re also looking at new mobility technologies, such as transportation network companies and car sharing services.”Our modeling and simulation approaches are vital to anticipating the transportation and energy needs of our nation. By continuing to enhance these tools and techniques, we’ll be better equipped to deliver tools and solutions that address future needs,” Rousseau said.This work is being sponsored by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) under the Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility Laboratory Consortium, an initiative of the Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS) Program. David Anderson, a DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program manager, played important roles in establishing the project concept, advancing implementation and providing ongoing guidance. How might these technologies affect how people travel and how energy will be used? Will they lead people to spend more time on the road or less? How will they alter the way we consume fuel, the time we spend on the road, or the amount of traffic on our roadways?To answer such questions, and understand future mobility, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are deploying advanced modeling and simulation tools. And in a collaborative three-year project, supported by DOE’s SMART (Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation) Mobility Consortium, Argonne researchers are using these tools to predict the impact of CAVs on energy and mobility in metropolitan areas.”Our goal is to acquire a system-level understanding of how transportation is changing, including how different modes of transportation interact, the decisions made by travelers that underlie those interactions, and how automation affects all of it,” said Argonne Computational Transportation Engineer Joshua Auld. “This level of understanding will provide insights to help cities better plan and adapt to future transportation changes.”Argonne’s work advances the SMART Consortium’s mission to increase our understanding of the impacts that will arise from future mobility systems. Project collaborators include the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of New South Wales, Texas A&M University, the University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Washington, George Mason University, as well as multiple cities and planning agencies.Modeling and simulationNow two years into their project, Auld and fellow collaborators have developed a model to represent the adoption of partially and fully automated CAVs at varying levels of market penetration, using predictions based on cost and an individual’s willingness to pay. Researchers have integrated this model, along with a traffic flow model for CAVs, into the Planning and Operations Language for Agent-based Regional Integrated Simulation (POLARIS) platform, Argonne’s transportation system simulator.POLARIS simulates mobility and traffic flow by predicting the individual behavior of “agents,” which can represent people, households and organizations. It analyzes how millions of these agents interact and make decisions on the use of automobiles, bicycles, transit, etc. In turn, these decisions affect the transportation system as a whole. Researchers used POLARIS to simulate mobility and travel flow impacts of these different scenarios. Citation: Demystifying the future of connected and autonomous vehicles (2018, June 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-demystifying-future-autonomous-vehicles.html Provided by Argonne National Laboratory 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. Explore further