“The numbers that we’re seeing are already huge, but it’s clear that this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Bruno Sarda, the North America president for CDP, an international nonprofit that wrote the new report and works with companies around the world to publicly disclose the risks and opportunities that climate change could create for their businesses.In 2018, more than 7,000 companies submitted such reports to CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. And, for the first time, CDP explicitly asked firms to try to calculate how a warming planet might affect them financially.After analyzing submissions from 215 of the world’s 500 biggest corporations, CDP found that these companies potentially faced roughly $1 trillion in costs related to climate change in the decades ahead unless they took proactive steps to prepare. By the companies’ own estimates, a majority of those financial risks could start to materialize in the next five years or so.The disclosures show how business leaders expect climate change, and the policy responses to it, to ripple through every corner of the global economy. Advertising Explained: How global warming could impact jobs in India UN warns India of loss of productivity due to global warming By New York Times |Washington | Published: June 4, 2019 1:17:49 pm Ayodhya dispute: Mediation to continue till July 31, SC hearing likely from August 2 Many of the world’s biggest companies, from Silicon Valley tech firms to large European banks, are bracing for the prospect that climate change could substantially affect their bottom lines within the next five years, according to a new analysis of corporate disclosures.Under pressure from shareholders and regulators, companies are increasingly disclosing the specific financial effects they could face as the planet warms, such as extreme weather that could disrupt their supply chains or stricter climate regulations that could hurt the value of coal, oil and gas investments. Early estimates suggest that trillions of dollars may ultimately be at stake.Even so, analysts warn that many companies are still lagging in accounting for all of the plausible financial risks from global warming. Taking stock of monsoon rain Chandrayaan-2 gets new launch date days after being called off Related News Analysts warn that companies are lagging in accounting for all of the plausible financial risks from global warming. (File Photo)Written by Brad Plumer People in Sweden switch to trains to deter global warming P Rajagopal, Saravana Bhavan founder sentenced to life for murder, dies Sarda of CDP said that he expected companies to offer “more clarity” and “more sophistication” in their disclosures as the pressure to do so builds. But, he said, “it’s certainly a big process.” More Explained Advertising For instance, Sarda said, it’s relatively straightforward for businesses to calculate the potential costs from an increase in taxes designed to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Indeed, this is one of the most common climate-related risks that companies now disclose. But it’s trickier to take scientific reports about rising temperatures and weather extremes and say what those broad trends might mean for specific companies in specific locations.Previous studies, based on computer climate modeling, have estimated that the risks of global warming, if left unmanaged, could cost the world’s financial sector between $1.7 trillion to $24.2 trillion in net present value terms. A recent analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change warned that companies are reporting on these risks only “sporadically and inconsistently” and often take a narrow view of the dangers that may lie ahead.On the flip side, the CDP report found, many companies also see moneymaking potential in climate change. Some 225 of the world’s largest corporations highlighted roughly $2.1 trillion of possible opportunities in a warming world, with the majority expected to materialize within the next five years.Eli Lilly, a drugmaker in the United States, cited research suggesting that rising temperatures could drive the spread of infectious diseases — a problem the company was well-positioned to help address. “This may then increase demand for certain medicines we produce,” the firm said. (At the same time, the company also warned that climate change could hurt financially if flooding and fiercer storms disrupted its manufacturing facilities in places like Puerto Rico, as happened after Hurricane Maria in 2017.)And any shift toward clean energy sources offers a chance to profit. ING Group, a Dutch financial services firm, estimated that the shift to a low-carbon economy could require $30 trillion in new investments toward clean energy and energy efficiency worldwide. As a result, ING aims to double its “climate finance portfolio” by 2022, the company said in its disclosure.The report comes as financial regulators have expressed growing concern that markets are not yet fully pricing in the potential financial consequences of climate change. Last month, the European Central Bank warned that a spate of severe weather that caused major losses for insurers, or an unexpectedly rapid shift by investors away from fossil fuels could hit the balance sheets of unprepared banks and potentially destabilize the financial system.“Climate change-related risks have the potential to become systemic for the euro area,” the bank said, “in particular if markets are not pricing the risks correctly.”In 2015, the Financial Stability Board — an influential panel made up of finance ministers, central bankers and regulators from the world’s largest economies — established a task force that aimed to coax banks and other businesses to be more transparent about their climate risks. But progress has been slow.The CDP report found that companies headquartered in the European Union are much more likely to detail the potential financial effects of global warming, in part because local regulations often require them to do so. By contrast, companies in the United States, China, Brazil and Mexico were far less likely to report significant financial risks.In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission does not mandate that publicly traded companies account for potential climate effects, though the agency has offered guidance on how firms can do so. Some large institutional investors, such as the mutual fund company Vanguard Group and New York State’s pension fund, have started to urge companies to be more transparent about their climate exposure, a trend that has helped drive the recent uptick in disclosures. Many firms are bracing for direct impacts. Hitachi Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer, said that increased rainfall and flooding in Southeast Asia had the potential to knock out suppliers and that it was taking defensive measures as a result. Banco Santander Brasil, a large Brazilian bank, said increasingly severe droughts in the region might hurt the ability of borrowers to repay loans. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Inc., noted that rising temperatures could increase the cost of cooling its energy-hungry data centers.Others are keeping a close eye on the potential public reaction to climate change. Total, a French energy company, is grappling with the possibility that ambitious efforts by nations to limit global warming and restrict fossil fuel use could render some oil and gas reserves “unburnable.” BASF, a German chemical company, said it has a “significant corporate carbon footprint” that could scare off environmentally conscious shareholders unless it takes steps to act on climate change.In all, the world’s largest companies estimated that at least $250 billion of assets may need to be written off or retired early as the planet heats up. Those assets include buildings in high-risk flood zones, or power plants that may have to shut down in response to tighter pollution rules.The disclosures offer only a partial glimpse at the potential price tag of climate change. Only a fraction of companies worldwide currently report their climate risks, and many large firms, including energy giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron, did not submit a disclosure to CDP last year. The companies that do disclose often struggle to tease out precisely how rising temperatures might hurt or help them financially. Advertising Best Of Express Post Comment(s)
Nearly 5 km away, Asha Rani of Panjgrain village, who also received a DD set-top box from the minister, too has a dish at home. She says her late husband, Som Dutt, got it installed nearly two years ago. She lives in a pucca house along with her mother-in-law Kanta Devi and two children.“I told them we already have a dish, but my name got shortlisted for getting a set-top box from the government,” she says, in apparent reference to officials who visited the village to identify beneficiaries. Asha Rani adds, “If the government wanted to help families living below poverty line in border areas, it should have given them something which they did not have.”She also hopes for a 5-marla plot where she could move along with her children in case of firing by Pakistan.Sons Muneesh and Nitin, who study in a private school in the village, complain that the movie and entertainment channels they watch are not available on the DD set-top box. Nitin lists his favourites: Star Utsah, Zee Anmol, Sony Wah, Sony Pal and Zee Cinema. Giving the boxes, Singh said people in border areas were compelled to watch “propaganda” of Pakistani TV channels as connectivity in border areas in the absence of mobile phone and TV signals remained a major issue, and that the Centre wanted to check this through DD, which would disseminate “authentic information”. With the DD set-top boxes, he said, the villagers could watch nearly 100 free-to-air channels and get information on government policies.To be eligible, households had to be located within 0-5 km area of the International Border or Line of Control, have a TV/LCD screen, an official electricity connection, and a mobile phone connection. The government also specified that priority would be given to households with no access to TV cable network.This, laughs Bobiyan sarpanch Bharat Bushan Sharma, shows how government decisions are taken. “Yeh ek jeeta-jaagta udaharan hai ki sarkar mein baithey log kaisey aam janata ke dukh-takleefon aur jagah ki jankari ke bagair, apney daftron mein baith kar, unkey liye policy banatey hein (This is a living example of how bureaucrats make policies for general masses sitting in their offices without an idea of their problems or of the area they live in).”He adds, “What does the government want to convey by distributing DD set-top boxes when almost every household has a dish in border areas these days? Perhaps officials are under the impression that people in border areas still have TV antennas. These have been replaced by dish long ago, bringing an end to the popularity of Pakistani TV channels in the area.” Post Comment(s) After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Indelicate imbalance Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield DD India to be broadcast in Bangladesh, South Korea Related News Advertising Advertising Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence Best Of Express A rethink on the part of the government isn’t likely though. Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma says the scheme intends to give free DD set-top boxes to every house in border areas. “However, as nearly 70-80 per cent of the people already have set-top boxes, there is a possibility some of them will get these ones too.” Tarsem Singh at his home, with a dish already installed on the roof. He says he isn’t sure what to do with the DD set-top box but took it as it was for free. (Express Photo: Arun Sharma)Tarsem Singh, 52, of Bobiyan village in Kathua went to Hiranagar, 10 km away, to receive a free Doordarshan set-top box from the Union Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, last month. However, he is yet to make up his mind on what to do with it as he already has one set-top box at home. “The government was distributing them for free. I thought let’s get one first and then decide what to do with it,” he says.A farmer who owns nearly four acres, Tarsem was among the 20 people who were handed over the set-top boxes by the Union minister himself. Of them, 10 hailed from the border Kathua district and five each from the adjoining Samba and Jammu districts.The Central government intends to distribute 15,000 DD set-top boxes each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions for free. In the first phase, 1,500 set-top boxes have been distributed in Kathua, Samba and Jammu. Sharma points out that the border villagers have never asked for free set-top boxes, and that their demands rather are installation of more mobile phone towers so that they can get better signal, five marla plots at safer places, away from the border, and reservation for their children in jobs and professional colleges.Tarsem, along with his mother, wife and three children — in classes 8, 6 and nursery — lives in a pucca house. With a monthly income that he puts at Rs 2,000, he has a portable, 14-inch colour TV, a smartphone, and a washing machine. The 52-year-old says that while he bought the TV second-hand and installed the dish four years ago, most villagers had replaced the traditional aluminium antenna 14-15 years ago.Before the installation of DTH, he would watch Pakistan TV on a neighbour’s black-and-white set as its signal was more clear than DD’s. While he can’t recall now the names of the shows he watched, Tarsem says it was hardly propaganda. Now, with his dish, Tarsem mostly watches news and sports, while the children watch entertainment channels.Local businessman Desh Rattan, who remembers watching Pakistani shows such as Neelamgarh and Deewarein, says, “Until three decades ago, what to speak of border areas, even people in Jammu city used to watch Pakistani TV shows as their telecast was more clear than DD’s.” Advertising Taking stock of monsoon rain Written by Arun Sharma | Updated: July 14, 2019 2:15:42 am More Explained DD India goes global, to be telecast in Bangladesh and South Korea: Prakash Javadekar
NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Related News Assam floods: Death toll rises to 11 Hima Das donates half of salary for Assam flood relief, appeals for help Best Of Express Moreover, 150 anti-poaching camps have been affected due to the floods and authorities are working round the clock to check poaching at the UNESCO world heritage site. Women carrying drinking water walk through a flooded road in Burha in Assam. (AP)Some of the animals have taken shelter in highlands within the park and many are migrating to the southern highlands of Karbi Anglong, crossing National Highway 37.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday spoken to Chief Minister Sonowal to take stock of the flood situation, including the condition of the KNP, and assured all possible help and support.Rahul Gandhi appeals to Congress workersMeanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday appealed to party workers in flood-hit Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura and Mizoram to help in relief and rescue efforts.असम, बिहार, उतर प्रदेश, त्रिपुरा और मिजोरम में बाढ़ से हालात बेकाबू हो गए है। जन-जीवन बुरी तरह प्रभावित हो गया है।मैं इन सभी राज्यों के कांग्रेस कार्यकर्ताओं से अपील करता हूं वे आम लोगों के राहत और बचाव कार्य में तत्काल जुटे।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 16, 2019Gandhi said that due to floods in these states, the situation has gone out of control. “Life has been badly affected. I appeal to Congress workers in all these states to help out in the relief and rescue work for the common people,” he said in a tweet. Advertising Nearly 3.5 lakh people have been reeling under the impact of the flood in Barpeta district, which is the worst-affected in the state, closely followed by Dhemaji where 1.2 lakh people have been hit. (AP)With the flood situation in Assam deteriorating further, the government on Tuesday released Rs 251.55 crore as assistance from the central share of SDRF for 2019-20. Advertising Assam floods: Over 26 lakh people affected, PM Modi assures CM of assistance Barpeta is the worst hit with 7.35 lakh people affected, followed by Morigaon where 3.50 lakh people are hit. In Dhubri, around 3.38 lakh people have been affected, according to the ASDMA. Indian passengers on an autorickshaw cross a flooded road in Burha in Assam. (AP)Besides the NDRF, the Army has been deployed in Assam to aid the personnel in rescuing marooned people, PTI reported.The part of Brahmaputra river that passes through the state capital is flowing above danger mark due to incessant rains in the region. The water level has increased and entered the Chakreshwar temple in Kalipur.Due to the heavy rains, Section 144 was imposed around the vicinity of the Kaziranga National Park(KNP). The Assam Ministry of Forest and Environment said 90 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat and Nagaon districts was still submerged. Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the prompt release of the funds even as the death toll mounted to 17 and floodwaters submerged 30 of the 33 districts, PTI reported. “This shall immensely help in relief operations and mitigating suffering of people affected by Assam floods,” ANI quoted Sarma as saying.According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), more than 45 lakh people have been affected in 4,620 villages of the state, with 1,01,085 people taking refuge in 226 relief camps, PTI reported. As many as 562 distribution centres have been set up for providing relief to the affected people.As many as 1,556 villages across Dhemaji, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Darrang, Baksa, Barpeta, Nalbari, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Goalpara, Morigaon, Hojai, Nagaon, Golaghat, Majuli, Jorhat, Sivsagar, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia districts have been hit by the deluge. By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 16, 2019 9:06:22 pm Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Post Comment(s)
Explained: Behind Chandrayaan-2’s GSLV Mk-III rocket that developed a glitch Advertising Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence India believes building of pre-fabricated houses in the Rakhine state will create an atmosphere wherein Rohingya families who are willing to return to their country will have the “confidence to go back and settle down.” India will also build schools, small bridges and culverts in Rakhine state to create a social and economic ecosystem, sources said.Cricket World Cup Final 2019: Renaissance menNew Zealand skipper Kane Williamson dragged a team out of his predecessor’s image; England’s Eoin Morgan tore the ethos of a dated cricketing establishment. Both thus charted their own contrasting paths to the cusp of immortality as they head towards the ICC World Cup final, writes Sreeram Veera.Destination Moon: Chandrayaan-2 to launch India into new space age ISRO Chandrayaan 2 moon mission launch HIGHLIGHTS: ISRO calls off launch, technical snag observed The launch of Chandrayaan-2, ISRO’s most ambitious mission till date, at 2:51 am on Monday will signal an equally unambiguous intent — that India is not just ready to compete with the advanced countries in space exploration and human missions, but is even capable of taking the lead. Amitabh Sinha writes.Meanwhile, the Sunday Express Eye magazine is ‘Moonstruck’ today. Do check out.Opinion: Beware of defectorsToppling state governments was the reason why Congress came to be seen as dishonest and duplicitous. If PM Modi is sincere about creating a new India, then he will have to create a new political culture. It should be one in which defectors are not welcomed into the BJP as if they were heroes, writes Tavleen SinghE-drive: High voltage, low chargeBudget subsidies, a mission plan, and a 2030 target show the government’s intention to get India’s sluggish electric vehicle market going. However, from infrastructure and price bar, to policy confusion and a worried market, there is a long way to go. Anil Sasi and Sandeep Singh write about the many speed breakers in going the EV way. After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Chandrayaan-2 mission called off for today, technical snag observed: ISRO Related News By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Published: July 14, 2019 8:32:15 am Best Of Express Top news on Sunday morning.As India builds houses, Myanmar to reach out to Rohingya in Bangladesh Darjeeling toy train’s heritage tag under threat, UNESCO to send teamNot satisfied with the information the Indian Railways has been furnishing, UNESCO will send its team to ascertain if the 140-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is worth being a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has in the past raised the issue of erosion of heritage value of mountain railways in India, especially the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The latest move is a wake-up call.Work should have begun 20 years ago. We’re late, but not too late, says Jal Shakti MinisterJal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat lays out government plan on revival, reuse of water through traditional water bodies, rainwater harvesting and treatment of sewage water, and calls for more interest from states and behavioural change among the public.And Finally…Rising intolerance, hate crimes and moral policing can “seriously damage” economic growth of the nation, Adi Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Group said at a leadership summit in Mumbai. Godrej was the first leading voice in India Inc to speak out during Modi’s first term. In a 2016 interview to P Vaidyanathan Iyer, he had pointed out that beef ban was hurting the economy. Advertising Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Post Comment(s)
By Reuters |Jerusalem | Published: July 8, 2019 4:18:18 pm Amazon faces EU probe as Vestager plans summer finale IAI workers have converted about 80% of Amazon’s fleet. (File)Amazon’s aircraft fleet expansion is proving a boon for Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). EU probes Amazon over use of retailer info to gain edge Amazon, Flipkart sale deals, offers on Smart TVs, headphones, and more Advertising IAI, which also produces drones and satellites, has emerged since 2015 as the leader in converting Amazon’s growing fleet of Boeing 767 aircraft.IAI workers, pictured above, have converted about 80% of Amazon’s fleet of around 40 aircraft from passenger to cargo use, according to the state-run company.“We dismantle every part of the aircraft and rebuild as a cargo aircraft,” Yosef Melamed, general manager of IAI’s Aviation Group, told Reuters, noting workers seal off windows, rebuild cockpits and install larger doors.Amazon says it expects to have a fleet of 70 aircraft by 2021. Related News Post Comment(s)
The Rebirth of the Automobile The Peloton Tread One of the problems with most exercise equipment and health club memberships is that we somehow think if we pay the money, we automatically will get fit. So the clubs, after a spurt right after the Christmas holidays, stay relatively underutilized, and that expensive exercise equipment mostly becomes a trip hazard or that thing you don’t talk about in the garage.What makes the Peloton Tread different, other than it is wicked expensive, is that it has a huge monitor and you take classes with it from your home.For the live classes, you have a real person who helps you with your workout and talks to you during the class (it is pretty much one-way at the moment). You also can train with prerecorded classes, or take a virtual run through the country. What makes Peloton different is that it engages you, so you are more likely to use it. I’ve been reviewing the announcements slated to go up next week, and I found a surprising number of robots and digital assistants (which I expect to be obsolesced by robots that are mobile).Developers of the new digital assistants seem to have realized that we like to gesture, and talking to a tube therefore isn’t natural to us. Many entrants in the coming wave of digital assistants can emote, mostly by moving around something that looks kind of like a head or a big eye. This ability does make the device appear more human. As the back-end AI improves, the voices and responses sound more human as well.The other vector is mobility, and an increasing number of these things are on wheels. The advantage is that the technology can follow you around without your having to buy one of these things for every room. The disadvantage is that wheeled appliances don’t deal with obstacles, especially stairs, very well.Early price points suggest you could buy a traditional digital assistant for every room for less than what one of these mobile assistants would cost. Given you likely could create a cloud feature for this class of device, allowing the personality of your assistant to move virtually with you room to room, I’m questioning this initial focus on mobility. Most of these things don’t have arms — or if they do, they don’t have hands — that would allow this mobility to become a true advantage.The mobility bar is something that can both go where you go and help you around the house. There is a lot of debate on whether this class of robot needs to look human, and I’m on the con side of this argument.The reason is that if you design around the functions initially, you can get to a better device than if you try to make either a jack of all trades or a human-looking robot. Think of the Roomba or Neato robotic vacuums. They do what they do well without looking like a pet or a person, and have been successful for years. A single arm with wheels that would be affordable and work well would be a ton better than a creepy human-looking robot that doesn’t perform well. What makes 5G different is that it addresses not only bandwidth shortcomings, with its largest impact at the network’s edge, but also latency issues, which should force improvements to the overall network.There will be some initial adverse impacts in the market with Apple, of the big players, likely getting hit hardest. This is because informed buyers likely will want to wait until the 5G versions of smartphones are out before they refresh to avoid premature obsolescence, and those devices won’t show up in volume until after mid-year. The reason Apple is likely to get hit hardest is that its battle with Qualcomm largely locks it out of this technology until its 2020 refresh. Given that churn already has been slowing for Apple (people just can’t justify replacing an iPhone that works for the few advantages of a new one now), this should reduce sales dramatically until the company has a solution.The big impact, though, is that this will make concepts like the “Always-Connected PC” real, and allow us to get the benefits of Windows in the cloud. (It also should open the door for the anticipated MacBook to iPad Pro pivot Apple has been hinting is coming.)This drive for computing in the cloud, something that Microsoft was restructured to anticipate, will change dramatically what sits on your lap and desk over the next five years.Apple’s big miss this month in terms of sales is only a precursor of what is to come. Apple is particularly out of position for this transition, and market leaders Samsung and Huawei appear to be planning to beat Apple to death with this change.One thing this showcases is that there is a huge problem looming for the smartphone industry — the same problem that hit the PC industry around a decade ago. Folks are pretty happy with their existing devices, and if they don’t have reason to buy something new, then increasingly, they won’t. Peloton has been in the market for some time with stationary bikes that have performed well, but I used to run and wanted to get back into running (which is far harder than you think if you haven’t been doing it for a few decades). I was able to get back to running short distances reasonably quickly on this treadmill, and I hope to be able to reach medium distances by year end. This arguably is the most well-built treadmill I’ve ever used, personal or professional.Be aware that this thing is built like a tank and weighs a ton, so be really clear that wherever you put it better be where it will live, as moving it around really isn’t an option. The folks who run the classes seem reasonably fit and personable, making the classes (which are often full body classes) interesting and fun, though personally I’d pick different music.This is a sign of what is coming as we increasingly stream content into our homes and lower the need to get in a car to go someplace. Because the Peloton Tread got me back to exercising and running, it is my product of the week. (Oh, and it kind of reminds me of the Jetsons’ treadmill, but I’m not putting the dogs on it… .) I’m still looking for a personal robot like my namesake, Robby the Robot, and this year we’ll take the next major step to getting there. By the end of the year we’ll be more connected, an increasing number of us will be riding in cars driven by robots, and all of this will be enhanced by the spread of deep learning as the birth of true AI progresses. I’m just hoping the new Terminator movie isn’t prophetic.If you are at CES this week, best of luck getting around. This is one show that not only will showcase the future of transportation, but also could really use it. Getting around Las Vegas this week once again will be a never-ending nightmare. The 5G Revolution Personal Robotics Real AI With autonomous driving (and flying) trials advancing into limited production this year, we are going to see a lot of cars driving themselves — not so much as people carriers but as delivery vehicles. I’m not sure the idea of walking up to a car with no driver to get your groceries will work out, making the creation of robots that could bring the stuff to the front door, or even into the house, even more critical for this type of solution.Thanks to VW, we are going to get a huge number of high-speed DC chargers for electric cars through the end of the decade, making them far more viable than they are today.The new ones coming in are up to 450 KW (Tesla Superchargers are around 120 KW), which has prompted a number of Tesla owners to order the new electric Porsche Taycan, so much so that this new car already is sold out for 2019, even though it hasn’t even started shipping yet.It is interesting to note that attacks on self-driving cars and relatively benign attacks on electric charging stations (mostly Teslas) suggest there are a lot of folks one beer short of a six pack.I do think that as we come to view these as more of an A-to-B horizontal elevator that designs will shift from automotive norms to something more like moving living rooms. AI has been around in some form or other since the 1950s, and much of it has sucked. The most recent trend to use deep learning promises to give us AI that is not only intelligent, but also adaptable to our needs and capable of advancing at computer speeds.Granted, there is a lot of concern — well founded — that this eventually will make us obsolete, but companies like IBM have been working to mitigate that. IBM’s Watsonmay be evolving to become the best doctor in the world.Given that much of this is cloud-based, the promise is that our connected devices will start evolving at a pace that is even faster than we have seen so far. Deep learning should transition our existing digital assistants automatically into something far more powerful.Let’s just hope these systems remain on the “help humans” path, and that they don’t watch too many Terminator movies. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network. Wrapping Up We are approaching critical mass on a number of technologies that we will see increasingly this year. This wave will start at CES, where we will see an impressive number of attempts at personal robots and AI-powered digital assistants. Most will fail. However, both the failures and the few successes will set the stage for the first true mobile personal robots that will arrive in the following years.The 5G rollout will enable desktop cloud computing, and the Microsoft Virtual Desktop will become real for millions of us shortly thereafter. Ironically, many of us will access it with Chromebooks.If you are located in a city center, you’ll increasingly see both electric car charging stations (largely thanks to VW) and autonomous cars. There has been an increase in violent activity toward the latter, as well as passive demonstrations against the former, which just seems weird.With the split U.S. government, I expect a huge ramp-up in truth apps, so that people more readily can disprove any fake news being promoted by the rival political party. However, I expect many of those apps to be discredited by year end due to information corruption.Finally, we’ll have AI pretty much everyplace, but most of it will still suck. Deep learning applications will surprise us, though, with their advances in capability and knowledge. Efforts to make sure these systems aren’t corrupted will get more focus.I’ll touch on all of that and then close with my product of the week: the only treadmill that you are likely to use for more than an emergency coat rack, the Peloton Tread. Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 19 2018Biosense Webster EMEA, a Division of Johnson & Johnson Medical NV/SA and leader in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation has today, during AF Association Global AF Aware Week, published a report that uncovers the growing burden of AF on patients, caregivers and healthcare systems across Europe.The new report is calling for greater awareness and emphasis on the scale and impact of AF which is fast becoming one of the world’s most significant health issues. The new millennium epidemic not only disrupts the quality of life for the 11 million people across Europe who suffer from AF, but also costs healthcare systems up to €3,286 million annually across European countries.AF is characterized by an irregular and often fast heart rhythm that results in uncoordinated contraction of the top two chambers of the heart. The irregular heart rhythm may cause blood clots, as blood can pool in the heart before being pumped into the brain causing an AF related stroke, a particularly debilitating form of stroke. AF is typically a progressive disease, with 1 in 5 patients progressing from paroxysmal (intermittent) AF to persistent (constant) AF in 1 year.The report highlights that by 2030 the number of people with AF is projected to increase by up to 70%, and that by 2050 Europe will have the greatest increase in AF patients compared to other regions globally. Furthermore, by 2030 the number of stroke events and medical visits is expected to increase, with 280,000-340,000 new ischemic strokes, 3.5-4 million hospitalizations for AF and 100-120 million outpatient visits expected.”AF is the most common heart arrhythmia and can be a debilitating disease with life-threatening complications for patients and, unfortunately, is set to become even more prevalent in Europe. The lack of awareness of the burden of AF means that it is difficult to prioritize on the health agenda despite its increasing impact on healthcare systems. The report developed by Biosense Webster serves as a welcome tool that clearly outlines the critical situation and provides a good starting point for us in the cardiology community to renew the focus on AF,” said Professor Gerhard Hindricks, Heart Center Leipzig, University of Leipzig,Related StoriesNew therapy shows promise in preventing brain damage after traumatic brain injuryTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinenceResearch team to create new technology for tackling concussion”We welcome this new report which brings a much-needed focus on the burden of AF for patients and their families. We also know these prevalence figures are likely to be under-estimates of the scale of the problem, since almost 4 million people are living with undiagnosed AF. We are working towards ways to improve earlier diagnosis as this leads to better management and outcomes for AF patients and less need for high cost emergency care”, commented Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder and CEO, Arrhythmia Alliance and AF Association.”Supporting loved ones and family members with AF can have a significant impact on the lives of the caregivers, who make sacrifices and devote their time and energy at the expense of their own lives and are therefore at high risk of stress. By building a full picture of the impact of AF both on patients and caregivers we will be able to concentrate our efforts and work towards helping to alleviate this burden, experienced by millions across Europe,” added Lobban.”For over 20 years Biosense Webster has pioneered the development of AF ablation treatments and through partnering with clinicians have been able to heal the hearts of thousands of patients” explains Gabriele Fischetto, Vice President of Johnson & Johnson Cardiovascular Specialty Solutions in EMEA. “However, AF is becoming increasingly prevalent and we need urgent focus to understand the true burden of the disease, so we can work together to tackle it head on.” Source:https://www.biosensewebster.com/
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 28 2018Poor diet and lack of exercise are associated with cancer development, but the underlying biology is not well understood. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) could offer a biological link to help us understand how certain lifestyle behaviors increase cancer risk or lessen the likelihood that an anti-cancer therapy will be effective.AGE accumulation is the natural and unavoidable result of the breakdown of nutrients, sugars and fats. AGE levels, however, can be increased by the consumption of processed foods high in sugar and fat. Certain cooking techniques, such as grilling, searing and frying, also increase AGE formation.High AGE levels could prevent patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer from responding to tamoxifen therapy, suggest preclinical findings reported by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in a recent issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. The MUSC team was led by David P. Turner, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the MUSC College of Medicine and a member of the Hollings Cancer Center, who is one of the two corresponding authors on the article. Marvella E. Ford, Ph.D., a professor in the MUSC College of Medicine and associate director of Cancer Disparities at Hollings Cancer Center, is the other corresponding author.”By showing that AGEs in the diet may impact how well breast cancer patients respond to therapy we can make breast cancer patients aware of their existence,” says Turner. “And we can design lifestyle interventions aimed at reducing AGE intake.”AGEs cause an imbalance between molecules called free radicals and antioxidants, leading to chronic inflammation that can promote the development of a variety of chronic diseases. Furthermore, as AGEs accumulate in our organs, they cause damage that is associated with diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer. However, AGEs have not been studied in depth in the context of cancer.Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessarySugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedThe publication by Turner, Ford and colleagues shows that elevated AGE levels lead to continual activation of pathways that promote cancer cell growth. A key molecule turned on by those pathways is important in the context of ER-positive and -negative breast cancer. This led the MUSC team to explore how AGE might affect cancer cell signaling in ER-positive breast cancer.The MUSC team found that AGEs actually increase the phosphorylation (a process that turns on a biological pathway) of a protein called estrogen receptor alpha in a breast cancer cell line model. Adding tamoxifen to the cancer cells prevented their growth. However, adding AGEs caused them to grow once again. This could mean that patients with high AGEs are less likely to respond to tamoxifen treatment.Turner’s team also found that a defined lifestyle intervention of exercise and dietary counseling lowered systemic levels of AGEs in overweight women with non-metastatic ER-positive breast cancer.Next steps are to expand the published study to determine the effects of the intervention on a larger scale, while also further exploring the biological pathways in animal models. Together, they should shed light on how lifestyle interventions can beneficially affect cancer treatments by reducing AGE levels. Source:http://www.musc.edu/
A new study from the researchers at the University of Virginia Cancer Center connects an unhealthy gut microbiome with breast cancer that can become invasive and spread to other organs faster. The results of the study were published in the latest issue of the journal Cancer Research. The study titled, “Pre-existing commensal dysbiosis is a host-intrinsic regulator of tissue inflammation and tumor cell dissemination in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer,” was supported by a Susan G. Komen grant. Microbiome in human gut. New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests an unhealthy microbiome can promote the spread of breast cancer. – Illustration. Credit: Alpha Tauri 3D Graphics / Shutterstock By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDJun 10 2019 Lead researcher, Melanie Rutkowski, from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, in her study found that if the gut microbiome or the microbial contents of the gut of the lab mice are altered, their hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer turned more aggressive. This change in the normal health flora of bacteria within the gut of the mice altered the nature of the cancer and primed it to spread to other organs, write researchers.The team writes that until now it has been unknown why some of the hormone-receptor positive cancers are more aggressive and invasive compared to others. They looked at intrinsic host factors such as altered gut microbiome called “commensal dysbiosis” and is association with aggressive nature of the cancer.Rutkowski explained, “When we disrupted the microbiome’s equilibrium in mice by chronically treating them antibiotics, it resulted in inflammation systemically and within the mammary tissue. In this inflamed environment, tumor cells were much more able to disseminate from the tissue into the blood and to the lungs, which is a major site for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer to metastasize.” She said that in the next part of their study they transplanted the unhealthy microbiome from their test mice to other mice with HR positivie breast cancer using fecal transplant. The results were similar among the recipient mice, she explained. This proved the direct effect of the microbiome on the aggressiveness conversion of the breast cancer.Related StoriesGrowth problems in preterm infants associated with altered gut bacteriaFood responses are governed by the gut microbiome, finds new studyNew computational modeling method predicts how gut microbes change over timeExperts say that hormone receptor positive cancers or breast cancers that grow under the influence of female hormones estrogen and progesterone form around 65 percent of all breast cancers. These cancers are more responsive to hormone therapy and often show a good outcome. Rutkowski explained that how these cancers will spread and grow is dependent of several factors seen at the time of diagnosis. She said, “One of them is having a high level of [immune] cells called macrophages present within the tissue.” She added, “There have also been studies that have demonstrated that increased amounts of the structural protein collagen in the tissue and tumor also lead to increased breast cancer metastasis.”She went on to explain that people with an unhealthy gut microbiome have an increased inflammation of the gut. This effect is often sustained and powerful she said. She added, “Disrupting the microbiome resulted in long-term inflammation within the tissue and the tumor environment. These findings suggest that having an unhealthy microbiome, and the changes that occur within the tissue that are related to an unhealthy microbiome, may be early predictors of invasive or metastatic breast cancer. Ultimately, based upon these findings, we would speculate that an unhealthy microbiome contributes to increased invasion and a higher incidence of metastatic disease.”Experts warn that this is an animal study and may not be extrapolated in humans. Rutkowski warns that the team used antibiotics to kill the healthy gut microbes but all antibiotics are not bad and when necessary they must be taken by women who have breast cancer. This study should not prompt women with breast cancer to shun all antibiotics, warn experts. The team adds that more research is necessary to prove the connection between continued antibiotic usage and breast cancer spread. This study was conducted in genetically modified lab mice with the HR positive breast cancer. The actual picture among humans may be different, explains the team.Doctors and the team of researchers add that this study shows that if the gut microbiome could be maintained then there may be a positive outcome in women with breast cancers. Rutkowski said that this study highlights the importance of having a healthy gut microbiome. She added that many aspects of good health are associated with a healthy gut. This study reveals another reason for maintaining a healthy microbiome.Rutkowski concluded, “A healthy diet, high in fiber, along with exercise, sleep – all of those things that contribute to positive overall health. If you do all of those things, in theory, you should have a healthy microbiome. And that, we think, is very much associated with a favorable outcome in the long term for breast cancer.” Source:Pre-existing commensal dysbiosis is a host-intrinsic regulator of tissue inflammation and tumor cell dissemination in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, Claire Buchta Rosean, Raegan R Bostic, Joshua C. M. Ferey, Tzu-Yu Feng, Francesca N Azar, Kenneth S Tung, Mikhail G Dozmorov, Ekaterina Smirnova, Paula D. Bos and Melanie R Rutkowski, DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-3464, http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2019/05/07/0008-5472.CAN-18-3464
Rudolf, who was born in London and worked in Leeds before moving to Israel in 2012. Source:Bar-Ilan UniversityJournal reference:Rudolf, M. et al. (2019) Observational analysis of disparities in obesity in children in the UK: Has Leeds bucked the trend?. Pediatric Obesity. doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.12529. If we are going to make a difference we must start at a young age, before the onset of obesity. This can reduce the impact of poor lifestyle later on.”Prof. Mary Rudolf, Head of the Department of Population Health, Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 10 2019Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, affecting children’s health and wellbeing and leading to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer later in life. The number of children with obesity continues to rise globally, particularly for children living in poverty.Leeds, England’s third largest city, has bucked the global trend and seen a significant fall in obesity, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity by Prof. Mary Rudolf, Head of the Department of Population Health at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University. Furthermore, the largest decrease in obesity occurred among the city’s poorest and most disadvantaged children.Prof. Rudolf conducted her research on the growth measurements of children in England from 2009 to 2017. She found that, unlike England as a whole and comparable cities, the numbers of obese children in Leeds fell by 6.4%. “We used nationally collected data in our study, so it was very obvious that something different was happening in Leeds,” she says.Next week Prof. Rudolf will present the findings of her study to the Food and Health Forum at the British Parliament. This cross-party forum meets regularly and advises Parliament on how the health of the nation can be improved.The decline in obesity coincided with a strategy introduced by the city in 2009 which aimed to tackle the obesity epidemic through focusing on families with preschool children in the poorest areas of Leeds. At its heart was HENRY – Health Exercise Nutrition for the Really Young — an intervention developed by Prof. Rudolf and colleagues for children under the age of five. HENRY, which has been widely adopted in the UK over the past ten years, offers a range of programs and trains health and community practitioners to work in innovative ways to help parents provide their families with a healthier start in life.Related StoriesResearchers propose new avenue in the search for anti-obesity drugsUCR biomedical professor to investigate how body’s cannabis-like molecules influence obesityNew anti-obesity drug trial set to launch at Alberta Diabetes InstituteIn Israel, where Prof. Rudolf is now based, one in five children are obese or overweight by the time they start first grade, rising to one in three by seventh grade. In an effort to address the problem, the Israel Ministry of Health brought HENRY to Israel in 2014. A team of four professionals was sent to Oxford to learn the approach, and subsequently trained nurses, dieticians and social workers who worked directly with families that participated in the program, and in particular specialists in early childhood. Training was also provided to parents participating in the program. HENRY has been translated into Hebrew and Arabic and has been piloted in a variety of disadvantaged towns, such as Safed, Kiryat Yam, Daliyat al-Karmel, Ussefiya, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Ramle, Jerusalem, Yeruham, and Dimona.Known in Israel as Efshari bari mishpachti (“A Healthy Family is Possible”) the program has been tailored to families with children under the age of three, and is under evaluation by Prof. Orna Baron-Epel, of the University of Haifa. Results show that group work with parents was particularly successful in changing family lifestyle. Plans are now being considered to extend the program to the nation’s kupot holim (healthcare service providers).Prof. Rudolf says it remains to be seen whether Israeli cities can be as successful as Leeds in tackling the problem of child obesity, but when society invests in early childhood, it gets the best returns for doing so.