first_img Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook Advertisement I’ll be completely honest, when you watch as much television as I do there are few moments that really surprise me or take my breath away. A lot of times, those surprising moments come in the form of shocking character deaths or some unexpected twist that spells all kinds of trouble and tragedy for a beloved character. Very rarely do those surprise moments come in the form of a happy, tender moment that truly touches my heart and makes me smile from ear to ear. Those kind of moments? Well, those are even more rare and more special and that’s exactly what Dan Levy and Schitt’s Creek delivered in this week’s episode, “The Gesture.”After having their first major rift, in which David (Levy) found out that his boyfriend Patrick (Noah Reid) had still been in touch with his ex-fiancee, Patrick had been trying for a week to smooth things over. Part of his plan was to send David gifts every day to try and show him how much he was invested in the relationship. David being David, kept Patrick in his state of misery a tad longer than necessary just so he could keep getting gifts. Naturally, when Patrick found this out he was a little upset. You see, he had been extending David these olive branches each day and now he wanted one extended in return that showed David wasn’t just in this relationship for the gifts. Twitterlast_img read more


first_img4:59 Huawei isn’t just in trouble. China’s premiere maker of Android phones and networking equipment is in the kind of trouble that could break its business and detonate its ambitions of surpassing Samsung to become the world’s largest phone brand by 2020. Despite being banned from working with US companies, Huawei is confident its phone business will continue to grow without the help of Google, Microsoft and chip-designers like ARM. After being temporarily suspended from the Wi-Fi Alliance and SD Association, Huawei’s chances aren’t looking so hot.Following an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, Google, Microsoft, Intel, ARM and other US companies that supply software and hardware components to Huawei have cut ties with the Chinese brand, effectively hobbling its supply line for future phones (existing devices will still receive Google security support, for example.) Trump has said that reuniting Huawei with its US business partners — which also include consultants as well as components-makers — may be part of a trade deal with China.Huawei’s phone showing has been on an upswing, but that could change if Trump’s ban stays put. Angela Lang/CNET “Most of the companies that provide consulting services to Huawei are based in the US, including dozens of companies like IBM and Accenture,” Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei told Chinese mediaThe actions against Huawei stretch back to 2012 and highlight the heightened role that technology brands play in the strained trade relationship between the US and China, two countries that see 5G networks as pivotal to their success as world powers. Huawei is the largest maker of 5G networking software in the world.Here’s a look at the ways the brand is affected and how Huawei could possibly attempt to go it alone if agreements between the two nations aren’t resolved.Read: Everything you need to know about the Huawei controversy Comments 23 Photos 36 Photos Mate X foldable phone: Here’s what it’s really like to use The Huawei ban: What its phones can’t haveTrump’s executive order against “foreign adversaries,” including Huawei, rests on the fear that Huawei could be compelled by the Chinese government to use its telecommunications equipment (which helps make 5G networks) to spy on American companies and citizens.Huawei and Honor brand phones (and hybrid laptops like the MateBook series) fall into Huawei’s consumer business group and are affected by the ban, along with dozens of other Huawei subsidiaries. The action compels US companies to suspend business with Huawei for future devices, withholding software and components for use in the brand. That means Google and Microsoft won’t supply software for Android phones or Windows hybrids, and that Intel, Broadcom and ARM reportedly won’t work with the brand. Huawei has also been suspended from the Wi-Fi Alliance and from the SD Association, which designs storage. The specter of abandonment doesn’t bode well for a company that makes Android phones using Google software and which uses ARM designs to make the processors that every phone must have in order to work. If Huawei loses access to Bluetooth, its phone business is pretty much tanked. Huawei could survive without Android, barelyHuawei has already proven that it doesn’t need Google’s software or services to sell phones in China. The brand’s largest market already blocks Google search and other software services in accordance with national policies, where Google is outlawed. The tools we associate with Android phones — search, maps, Google Assistant, YouTube — are replaced by home-grown alternatives.Huawei and its Honor brand also use their own software interface, the Emotion UI, so there’s less of a distinct Android identity than, say, Motorola phones, which rely on a version of Android that’s closely related to what you see on Google’s Pixel phones.Huawei, seeing the writing on the wall, is already reportedly at work on a Huawei OS called Hongmeng, but it’s apparently far from ready. Although the company could rely on Google’s open source software, Huawei would be much later implementing new versions of Android, and would miss out on Google’s technical support to troubleshoot OS problems and secure the phones.Outside of China, the lack of Google’s app store and services would be crushing. Huawei is said to be working on its own app store in anticipation of the ban.Read: Huawei could survive without Android, but it wouldn’t be prettyhonor-20-pro-20Huawei and Honor phone’s don’t use Google Play services in China. Angela Lang/CNET Huawei already makes its own chips, but ARM licenses could break it in the long-termHuawei doesn’t require Qualcomm chips to power its phones — the in-house brand, HiSilicon, makes the processors in phones like the Mate 20 and P30 Pro.But Huawei does need a license from ARM, which designs the chip architecture to begin with. ARM isn’t based in the US, but the intellectual property flows from R&D labs there. However, since companies typically license chip designs for years ahead, Huawei shouldn’t run into long-term trouble here unless the ban lasts for years.Although Huawei does make its own chips in-house, Ren said. “We are always in need of US chips. Our US partners are fulfilling their responsibilities and asking for approval from Washington. If this approval is granted, we will still buy chips from these suppliers.” Ren did not make it clear which part of the business use these US chips.Read: Arm ditches Huawei due to Trump ban   Bluetooth Google Huawei IBM Intel Microsoft Motorola Samsung Tags Huawei P30 Pro’s low-light photo skills are truly superb What is going on between Huawei and the US? Carrier support is more crucial for some countries than othersIn some countries, like the US, phones that aren’t available in carrier stores don’t sell in meaningful volumes. In others, third-party retailers — like big box electronics stores — or direct-to-consumer online stores take a bigger slice of the pie. Huawei has a strong presence in countries around Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. If blocked from directly working with more global carriers as a result of US pressure, it could conceivably follow compatriot OnePlus and Xiaomi’s examples for growing through other means (Xiaomi is India’s top phone brand, according to IDC.)Even if that’s the case, Huawei still faces an image problem fomenting in the wake of the US government’s allegations. iPhone XS Max vs. Huawei P30 Pro sample photos How long will the ban against Huawei really last?There’s early evidence that Trump could help lift the ban against Huawei. The president said last week that he might use Huawei as leverage in his trade negotiations with China. If the two superpowers reached an accord, Huawei would be allowed to continue conducting its business.The US president took similar actions against Chinese brand ZTE in 2018, lifting a crippling trade ban shortly after.Samsung would keep the upper handRegardless of the outcome of Huawei’s turmoil, Samsung still retains the advantage while Huawei deals with the trade crisis. Samsung has only to fight off Huawei’s advance, whereas its chief Android competitor fights a two-front war — trying to beat Samsung while also beating down allegations that its equipment is used for espionage.While Huawei’s onslaught against Samsung might continue if the ban ends soon, the company won’t get anywhere fast without access to the US telecom companies that make essential parts for every phone. Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: 7:17 Now playing: Watch this: Phones 25last_img read more


first_img Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Listen Now July 21, 2017 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Customer support services have changed. Before, you’d have a team of people in an office with headsets and computers, answering call after call, and email after email. While this is still the case in many organizations, the way we communicate with our customers has changed and as a result, so has the technology we use.Today, consumers have switched towards messaging applications as their preferred method of personal and professional communications. They interact with brands the same way they would with their family and friends. With that in mind, companies are following their audiences where they’re most likely to be.Unfortunately, finding the resources to interact with millions of potential consumers on a daily basis is near impossible, so we’ve started using robots. These robots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), allowing them to interact with our consumers in the same way a human would. They’re called chatbots. At ChattyPeople we are working to solve this challenge.Related: Enterprise Chatbot Solutions With AI and Voice-Activation Are the FutureThe Benefits of Integrating an AI-Powered Chatbot Into Your Customer Care ServicesAs AI technology continues to grow, it’s essential that your company includes it in its business processes, and what better place to start than in your customer care department? After all, this is where your company has some of the most important and enlightening conversations with your customers.What makes having an AI-powered chatbot so great that companies of all sizes, from various industries, are using them to have some of their most important interactions with their audiences?Related: Enterprise Chatbots Platforms and the Future of WorkInstant ServiceWhile technological advancements and the proliferation of the internet has given us numerous advantageous business solutions, it has also equipped consumers with the notion that they can receive the information they want, instantaneously. They’ve become increasingly impatient, leaving customer support teams under a mound of pressure.Huge enterprises can’t offer instantaneous support to their customer unless they hire millions of agents. AI-powered enterprise chatbot solutions allow you to create a chatbot that can take on all your more basic customer problems while cutting out the long waiting times.Self-ServiceIt’s not just about offering instant responses to your customers’ queries. Enterprise chatbot solutions empower them to get answers without being put on hold or having to wait for an email response by creating a self-service system in their favorite messaging applications. Aside from empowering them, you’ll only be making a one-time monetary investment, allowing you to cut costs and increase productivity.Related: Enterprise Chatbots and the Conversational Commerce Revolutionizing BusinessBroader ReachOne of the biggest advantages of using enterprise chatbot solutions with AI in your customer support strategy is that you’ll be available to your audience 24/7, on a global scale. Even if every one of your offices is closed, your customers will still be able to contact you with an emergency whether they’re at home on a computer or using their mobile devices on the go.Increased SalesWhile your AI enterprise customer care chatbot will be predominantly used to interact with consumers and resolve any problems they may be facing, it can also become an integral part of your marketing and sales teams. With the right training, it will be able to send personalized offers to your customers on demand, as well as take orders, and process payments, among other activities.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessData AnalysisAs I mentioned above, your customer support team has some of the most important and enlightening conversations with your customers, but gathering and analyzing that amount of varied data is virtually impossible. Fortunately for us, AI-powered chatbots gather that data for us.While many current enterprise chatbot solutions offer limited analytics, they do offer you the reports you need to analyze your conversations yourself. Metrics you can track include:Total number of users reachedAverage session durationSessions per userInteractions per userClick-through ratesActive and engaged usersConfusion triggersResponse timeConversation stepsRetention ratesCreating Your Own AI Customer Care ChatbotThe real question is: how easy is it for large enterprises to include AI-powered chatbots into their processes? Lucky for us, gone are the days where coding and web development skills were required. Now, you can use an enterprise chatbot solution to simply creating an account and linking it to your social media profiles.By using complex machine learning technologies, chatbot solutions can help you deploy an AI-powered chatbot into your customer care services in a matter of minutes. Your chatbot should be able to:Integrate with all the major payment systemsBecome an integral part of your marketing and sales teamUse AI and natural language processing (NLP) to answer all your customer questionsRelated: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without CodingFinally…Enterprise chatbot solutions with AI are essentially super-intelligent customer service assistants. Despite these chatbots needing a human eye monitoring them ensure everything runs smoothly, they do offer large enterprises the chance to tend to a broader customer base while cutting costs and increasing productivity. Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. 5 min readlast_img read more


first_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination July 30, 2014 489 Views After fizzling out over the past several quarters, the post-recession refinance boom officially ended in the quarter, according to data from Freddie Mac.The mortgage behemoth released on Tuesday the results of its quarterly refinance analysis for Q2, showing that refinancing fell in the last three months to below 50 percent of total mortgage activity as rising interest rates have stifled demand.In the past six years since the boom first kicked off, Freddie Mac estimates more than 25 million American borrowers have refinanced their loans, resulting in savings of more than $70 billion in interest payments.At the same time, those years also saw only $215 billion in home equity cash-outs. For reference, cash-out refinance volume peaked at $86 billion in the second quarter of 2006 alone.”Even with recent home price gains and rock-bottom interest rates, American households are not cashing out equity at rates we’ve seen historically,” said Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac, adding that recent low volumes reflect “how much equity was lost during the Great Recession.”In just the latest quarter, an estimated $7.8 billion in net home equity was cashed out during refinances of conventional prime-credit home mortgages, up from a revised $5 billion in the first quarter.Out of those who refinanced last quarter, Freddie Mac reports the average interest rate reduction was about 1.4 percentage points, or a savings of about 24 percent.Those who refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) cut their interest rates by an average 1.6 percentage points.Altogether, the company estimates borrowers who refinanced last quarter will save more than $1 billion in interest payments over the coming year.Freddie Mac also reported that 40 percent of refinancers last quarter chose to shorten their loan term, approximately the same share as the prior quarter and the highest share since 1992.”Regardless of the minimal level of cash-out refinance activity, when we couple it with lower mortgage rates and shorter terms homeowners have taken out through refinance over the past couple years, they have accelerated principal pay down and contributed to the rebound in home-equity accumulation,” Nothaft said. Freddie Mac Home Equity Mortgage Rates Refinance 2014-07-30 Tory Barringercenter_img Refinancing Falls Further; Cash-Outs Tick Up Sharelast_img read more


first_imgVideo e-commerce solutions provider Cleeng has announced a Series B funding round of €5 Million to drive product development and growth in key markets.The funding round is led by Dutch venture capitalist firm Walvis, joined by current investors C4 Ventures. Walvis, founded by the J.A. Fentener van Vlissingen family, helps Dutch technology companies scale internationally.With the new funding, Cleeng said it would be able to increase its sales and marketing efforts, broaden its partner network and further invest in research and development.Gilles DomartiniBroadcasters including Foxtel, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Sky News, and media brands including Feld Entertainment, Cyberobics/McFit currently use Cleeng’s solutions.The Amsterdam-based startup has also announced that Colin Morrison, VP Sales at TiVo and 25-year industry veteran will join its supervisory board along with Vincent Gravesteyn and existing board member Olivier Huez from C4 Ventures, the investment fund founded by Pascal Cagni.“The OTT market is booming, and this investment will allow us to reinforce our core competencies and create the best platform for broadcasters to succeed in delivering Direct-to-Consumer strategies “We’ll expand our market presence in the USA, Europe and Asia to better meet the needs of leading broadcasters and our network of partners across the globe,” said Gilles Domartini, founder and CEO of Cleeng.Gravesteyn, managing director at Walvis, said: “Cleeng’s team has built a highly reliable and technically advanced video e-commerce platform for the broadcasting ecosystem. Premium videos are increasingly central to every media and content strategy today. Cleeng’s innovation in this space offers valuable opportunities for business efficiencies. Walvis invests in entrepreneurs with game-changing technologies and global ambitions, and we are excited to work together with Cleeng’s leadership team to create an international market leader.”last_img read more


first_imgBy Jeff Clark, Casey Research Inflation is a natural consequence of loose government monetary policy. If those policies get too loose, hyperinflation can occur. As gold investors, we’d like to know if the precious metals would keep pace in this extreme scenario. Hyperinflation is an extremely rapid period of inflation, but when does inflation (which can be manageable) cross the line and become out-of-control hyperinflation? Philip Cagan, one of the very first researchers of this phenomenon, defines hyperinflation as “an inflation rate of 50% or more in a single month,” something largely inconceivable to the average investor. While there can be multiple reasons for inflation, hyperinflation historically has one root cause: excessive money supply. Debts and deficits reach unsustainable levels, and politicians resort to diluting the currency to cover their expenses. A tipping point is reached, and investors lose confidence in the currency. “Confidence” is the key word here. Fiat money holds its purchasing power largely on the belief that it is stable and will preserve that power over time. Once this trust is broken, a flight from the currency ensues. In such scenarios, citizens spend the money as quickly as possible, typically buying tangible items in a desperate attempt to get rid of currency units before they lose value. This process increases the velocity of money, setting off a vicious cycle that destroys purchasing power faster and faster. The most famous case of hyperinflation is the one that occurred in Germany during the Weimar Republic, from January 1919 until November 1923. According to Investopedia, “the average price level increased by a factor of 20 billion, doubling every 28 hours.” One would expect gold to fare well during such an extreme circumstance, and it did – in German marks, quite dramatically. In January 1919, one ounce of gold traded for 170 marks; by November 1923, that same ounce was worth 87 trillion marks. Take a look. (Click on image to enlarge) Inflation was at first benign, then began to grow rapidly, and quickly became a monster. What’s important to us as investors is that the price of gold grew faster than the rate of monetary inflation. The data here reveal that over this five-year period, the gold price increased 1.8 times more than the inflation rate. The implication of this is sobering: while hyperinflation wiped out most people’s savings, turning wealthy citizens into poor ones literally overnight, those who had assets denominated in gold experienced no loss in purchasing power. In fact, their ability to purchase goods and services grew beyond the runaway prices they saw all around them. One can’t help but wonder how the people whose wealth evaporated in Germany during this time felt. In effect, they were robbed by the government – they were on the losing end of a massive transfer of wealth. Of course, there are two sides to the story, as those who held significant amounts of gold and silver were the recipients. We can’t help but speculate about whether most citizens dismissed the idea of inflation during the calm period in 1920-’21. Did respected economists scoff at the idea that Germany could suffer hyperinflation, just before it struck? Did some politicians proclaim that “a little inflation would be good?” Those who today argue that our obscene debt levels, runaway deficit spending, and money-printing schemes are sound strategies and believe they won’t lead to out-of-control inflation might want to rethink those beliefs. We’ve seen this movie before: it doesn’t have a happy ending. The historical record is clear on what happens when countries embark on fiscal and monetary paths today’s leading economies are embracing. If gold’s recent price performance is anything like the calm before Germany’s hyperinflationary storm, this is a time to be accumulating more gold. Keep in mind that hyperinflation is not a rare event. Since Weimar Germany, there have been 29 additional hyperinflations around the world, including those in Austria, Argentina, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, and Zimbabwe, to name a few. On average, that’s one every three years or so. While hyperinflation devastates those who experience it, there is a healing aspect to it. Since the responsibility for this type of disaster lies solely at the feet of government, there may be some Darwinian justice to the way hyperinflation purges the perverse fiscal and monetary imbalances from an economy. After the Weimar Republic hyperinflation, the second half of the 1920s was a strong period for Germany, with low inflation and steady growth. It’s no secret that many currencies around the world, including the US dollar, are choosing the path of inflation. If we were to slip into hyperinflation, there will be disastrous consequences for those unprepared. Given that the US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, the problems would spread to practically every country on earth. Hyperinflation will shake people’s confidence not only in the US dollar, but in the paper currency system as a whole. What will actually come to pass, we don’t know. What we do know is that the measures to cure hyperinflation include tying the currency to a hard asset or even replacing it with one. When creditability in fiat money dissipates, gold may be the only viable option left standing. Again, the investment implication is obvious: continue to accumulate gold. How much is enough? Well, how many ounces do you own in relation to your total assets? Anything less than 5% will not offer you a sufficient level of protection in a high inflationary environment. Another way to look at it is this: how many ounces do you need to cover your monthly expenses? In Weimar Germany, inflation rose uncomfortably for two years – and then pinched harder, spiraling into a destructive hyperinflation for another two. Consider what it would take to maintain your standard of living for a couple years instead of just a couple months. And don’t listen to any government’s ongoing pronouncements of confidence in the current system, along with the mainstream media’s noisy and frequently inaccurate portrayals of the gold market. (For example, these two headlines appeared on the same day: Gold Edges Lower as Worries over Europe Simmer; and Gold Settles Higher on Spanish Bailout Plans.) In a world awash in ignorance about real money, if not deliberate obfuscation, you have to study the relevant history, draw your own conclusions, and stick with them. This example shows how gold can perform during hyperinflation. If that worst-case scenario comes to pass, will the example your family’s finances sets be a positive or a negative one? Don’t let your family be one of the millions slowly being robbed by the US federal government’s policies that are, among other things, eroding the value of its dollar. Start preparing yourself now, and you can not just survive what looks to be ahead – you and your family can thrive. And that, ultimately, is what investing is all about.last_img read more


first_imgHere’s how to write an award-winning movie: pick a random Middle Eastern country with oil… insert conflict that can threaten the oil supply… enter the United States with guns blazing and people dying. Sounds pretty unoriginal, but it’s the plot of the 2005 movie Syriana, which won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (go figure). But what’s even more frightening than the limited imagination of Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is that the US government has followed this plot line to a T so many times. And it’s not any different this time around. The United States will invade Syria or even Iran, secure the oil supply, and occupy the country for decades to come. Politicians will become richer, innocent people will die, and thinking Americans will have yet another reason to doubt their government. America’s involvement this war around probably won’t be as controversial, because many Western countries have already stated their support for the Syrian rebels. Russia’s support for the Syrian government will definitely stir things up, but we don’t think that will be too big of an issue. In fact, the US has already been training non-Islamist rebels in Jordan and has approved providing lethal arms to this group. Next, watch for the pro-war rhetoric to flare up. It’s almost that time again, when the White House and Congress will say and do anything to get the public riled up enough to happily march to the frontlines or, at the very least, “support our troops kids who are being sent to the desert as cannon fodder.” US Secretary of State John Kerry has accused the Syrian government of destroying evidence in an area believed to be the site of a chemical weapon attack, and (gasp!) Syria has been refusing to allow the UN to investigate the alleged attack sites. All of this sounds just a little bit too familiar for our taste. We all know how much of a problem the Iraq debacle has been for the US government and its budget. In fact, we may just be weeks away from seeing Tomahawk cruise missiles raining on Damascus. As Doug Casey likes to put it, never let a good crisis go to waste. Though Syria is not a major producer of oil, the impact of its civil war can reach far beyond its borders to countries such as Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. We believe this saber-rattling by the US government is simply another step toward trying to secure the Persian Gulf… and its precious oil resources. Every time the US government does this, oil has the potential to skyrocket—which, while being bad news for most people, is fantastic news for those who are already invested in the sector because it lifts all oil plays, whether in the desert or elsewhere. Right now, we’re monitoring a promising investment that could massively profit from the next Middle Eastern oil crisis. This company’s plans are so secretive that the company’s lawyers would not even allow us a site tour to find out about its next—and quite possibly crucial—drill results. However, as soon as the company breaks its silence, Casey Energy Report subscribers will hear about it immediately, for a chance to jump into what may be the energy opportunity of a lifetime. The critical drill results are only weeks away. If you give the Casey Energy Report a risk-free try today, you’ll be among the select few who will not just survive these turbulent markets, but who could multiply your net assets with just one investment. Click here to find out more. Additional Links and Reads Gas-Rich Tanzania to Start Power Exports in 2015 (Gulf Times) Due to BG and Statoil’s success in offshore Tanzania, the once energy-starved African nation is set to become an exporter by 2015. Unfortunately for the United States, 2015 is also around the time other countries begin ramping up their liquefied natural-gas (LNG) exports, namely Australia, which is poised to become the Qatar of the Asian-Pacific and own about 20% of the market by 2020. With all these developments, can LNG really be the real savior of the US gas market? Sierra Leone Man Busted by Undercover US Agents for Attempted Uranium Sale to Iran (Jerusalem Post) At least someone was set to make money in the uranium markets. Just how much is 1,000 tons of uranium? Even at current, depressed market prices, the man was set to pocket a cool $70 million for his company. It appears he has brokered deals with other countries in the past. It will be interesting to see where this goes. China National Petroleum Corp. Executive Is Investigated (Wall Street Journal) We recently published a report on national oil companies (NOCs) vs. international oil companies (IOCs). In it, we highlighted many reasons why NOCs sometimes trade at a discount to IOCs. One reason why is highlighted in this article: officials abusing their powers and taking advantage of the lack of transparency in reporting. It really is no surprise; but there are still opportunities when it comes to NOCs. Click here for more information.last_img read more


first_img Gold Producers (GDX) 20.66 24.78 45.55 Oil 97.65 94.80 86.26 Silver Stocks (SIL) 10.82 12.59 22.11 TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 13.280.72 13,380.41 12,151.13 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 28.89 37.15 83.12 Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research P.S. New phyles are launching in Sleman, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Cuenca Canton, Ecuador; and Birmingham, England. The Antwerp, Belgium; Sydney, Australia; Princeton, NJ; Edmonton, ON; and London, ON, Canada phyles are looking for coordinators. Anyone interested in any of these areas or in checking for an existing phyle in his region should send an email to phyle@caseyresearch.com. Silver 19.54 21.77 33.04 Copper 3.21 3.24 3.63 One Month Agocenter_img Dear Reader, I have written repeatedly about the futility and foolishness of trying to time the market—tops or bottoms—but I know the desire for such a crystal ball is overpowering. So this week, we’ll indulge in a bit of crystal-ball gazing. But first, it is with great pride that I announce the publication of Doug Casey’s new book, Right on the Money. This is our second volume of “Conversations With Casey,” but this one includes several conversations between the two of us that weren’t distributed for free in our former column by that name. In the book, Doug and I delve into the specifics of how to apply his contrarian philosophy to making money. The Book When I mentioned the new book on my Facebook page a few days ago, I received a slew of congratulations. Thank you all. I enjoyed the conversations greatly, as well as the opportunity to draw out Doug’s knowledge and experience to share with all who are intellectually honest enough to consider what he says. But one fellow wrote in to say that Doug and I were quite brazen to publish a book called Right on the Money after being wrong about gold for the last two years. I understand completely that people who’ve invested recently in the gold sector are likely underwater and wondering how long they can hold their breath. I feel the pinch myself, with many of my own stocks in the red at the moment. However, we were not wrong about the current correction. Back in 2011 when gold hit its nominal peak over $1,900, we warned readers in print that a retreat was likely. Granted, given all the Wile E. Coyote economics governments around the world have been engaged in, we didn’t expect the temporary bear to stay so long or grow so large, but we did see it coming, and we did—and still do—see it as a fantastic opportunity for those who didn’t get in at the beginning of the bull cycle back in 2001. In point of fact, we have not been proven wrong about that yet; we’ve just seen a predictable level of panic among those who don’t see or have confidence in the bigger picture and long-term trends we’re betting on. Further, we found ways to make money on gold’s slide since 2011, including three highly successful “gold insurance” plays that more than doubled readers’ investments when gold went down. We’ve also included more dividend-paying companies in BIG GOLD, and even found one company for the International Speculator that profits from processing gold regardless of the gold price (one so far—I’m on my way to see another possible pick as you read this), as well as been able to upgrade our portfolio with high-grade exploration and development companies on sale while the market is down. This is what it means to be a contrarian—as Doug likes to say: “Make volatility your best friend.” And he should know: he’s been profiting from the metals and mining markets for almost 40 years. If one pulls back to view the big picture—in both global breadth and historical depth—as few people can do like Doug, it’s easy to see that the current slump in our market sector should not be cause for fear, but for excitement. It’s the best bargain-hunting opportunity for commodities investors in a decade. And it just may be the best wealth-creation opportunity in a generation. Exactly how one goes about this is what we explore in Right on the Money, and you can preorder a copy now to receive a 13% discount. Just in time for holiday reading—and giving. I hope you take advantage of this deal while it lasts. The Crystal Ball Doug likes to say that it’s a big mistake to make a prediction that includes both an event and a time. But then he often goes ahead and does exactly that—”for entertainment purposes only.” So I’m going to go out on a similar limb: I think it will be clear to most investors that the precious metals correction is over and the second half of this record-smashing gold bull market is under way well before the end of 2014. One of the reasons for this is a very different conversation I recently had, not with Doug, but with Krassimir Petrov. Krassimir is a true international man, like Doug: an Austrian School professor of economics from Bulgaria, currently living in Thailand. More important at the moment is that the previous time I interviewed him, he predicted the timing of the current gold bull cycle more accurately than Doug and I did—a fact that impressed me greatly. That interview is a relatively quick read, dense with important ideas and insights, but it’s too long for this dispatch, so I’m going to give you the bottom line and encourage you to read the whole interview here. Based on cyclical analysis, technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and portfolio analysis, Petrov says the bottom for gold could be in already, but most likely will be behind us within one to seven months. That’s early to mid-2014, now rapidly approaching. (Note that in the interview, he says three to nine months, but I recorded our conversation two months ago.) That said, I should also mention that Krassimir is convinced that the actual Mania Phase in gold – when the investing herd throws itself head-first into the gold market and you’ll get gold stock tips from your friendly cab driver – is still at least six to eight years away. While that may be somewhat disappointing to us gold investors waiting for our big rewards, it isn’t bad at all, because we’ll make plenty of money on the ramp up before the Mania Phase, just as we did in the first half of this epic bull market. I still believe it’s impossible to predict the exact bottom of a market correction, but given that cashed-up, high-grade exploration plays—and even profitable producers—are already on the deep-discount rack, it seems clear as day to me that the thing to do is to build a position while the market is down. You do not want to miss this boat. And best of all, tax-loss selling this month is likely to provide spectacular buying opportunities in the best of the best stock picks in the sector. I strongly encourage any and all with the contrarian courage to buy what others are selling (the hardest part of implementing the “buy low, sell high” formula) to act. Right on the Money shows you how, and the International Speculator offers you specific and detailed guidance. (If you try the International Speculator risk-free for 3 months today, BIG GOLD is included in your subscription, at no extra charge.) I know I’m tooting my own horn here and repeating some things readers have heard before, but I believe 100% in what I’ve said, and I’ve put more of my own money where my mouth is than ever before. Heart and mind, I wish you a happy and very prosperous 2014. Sincerely, Rock & Stock Stats Last Gold and Silver HEADLINES GFMS: India’s Silver Imports Likely to Touch New Record Highs in 2013 (Scrap Monster) According to Thomson Reuters GFMS, silver shipments into India reached 338 tonnes (10.8 million ounces, or Moz) in October, surging 40% over the 241 tonnes (7.7 Moz) imported in September. Through October, the country imported 4,652 tonnes (149.5 Moz), and analysts project that total silver imports could reach 5,200 to 5,400 tonnes (167-174 Moz) this year, exceeding the previous record of 5,048 tonnes (162.2 Moz) achieved in 2008. Silver demand in India has two key drivers. The first is low prices, which have plunged by nearly 37% year to date. The second reason is that increasing numbers of Indians have opted for silver jewelry and coins as gifts at festivals and weddings instead of gold, due to government restrictions that have led to a supply shortfall. Given the strength of the gold tradition in India, it will be interesting to see what happens when this dam finally bursts—as eventually it must. Silver Eagle Coin Sales Lag in November, But Still a Record 2013 (Mineweb) November American Silver Eagle bullion coin sales declined by 787,000 ounces from October levels, as the US Mint reports 2.3 million Silver Eagles were sold in November, down from 3,087,000 coins in October and 3,159,500 coins in November 2012. However, according to the Gold and Silver Blog, “the lower sales figures for November do not reflect a drop in demand for silver bullion coins, but rather the opposite due to the fact that the US Mint has run out of coins due to unprecedented demand.” Last year, the Mint unexpectedly sold out of 2012 Silver Eagles on December 17; the Mint is thus limiting coin orders for the remainder of this year to conserve blanks for the 2014 program. The Mint plans to issue its last weekly allocation of 2013 Silver Eagles on December 9. The 2014 silver Eagle bullion coins will not be available to order until January13, 2014. Meanwhile, year-to-date sales of American Eagle gold bullion coins at the end of November totaled 800,500 ounces, surpassing last year’s total sales of 753,000. This is already a new all-time record. Korea Exchange Targets Gold Trade as Park Hunts Taxes (Bloomberg) In an attempt to improve trading transparency and generate new tax revenue and financial opportunities, the Korean Exchange will begin physical gold trading on March 24, 2014. Asia’s fourth-largest economy, which already offers gold futures trading on the Korean Exchange, has been entertaining the possibility of a physical bullion market since 2010. Illegal trading to avoid taxes accounts for as much as 3.3 trillion won, depriving the government of an estimated $300 billion in tax revenue. The surge in gold-related services and institutions continues, especially in the East. We recommend investing with this trend in mind. This Week in International Speculator and BIG GOLD—Key Updates for Subscribers International Speculator One of our advanced, high-grade explorers just received a critical permit for underground work—a major step forward for this project, which has been significantly de-risked. Gold 1,230.70 1,317.80 1,701.80 One Year Ago TSX Venture 916.65 941.31 1,186.70 This Canadian explorer released outstanding met-test results, showing that its flagship project should have relatively low costs. The market ignored this value-adding news, making this company a Best Buy. BIG GOLD We updated all our stock recommendations in the latest issue of BIG GOLD, which are also posted on the portfolio page.last_img read more


first_img But in the oil patch, you either innovate or disintegrate. The need to bring down costs and increase the recovery of oil and natural gas is now a prerequisite to stay alive in the oil patch during a major price correction, such as we’re currently in. The need to modify drill and production programs to be efficient is greater than ever. Companies will focus on increasing the number of wells per pad and down spacing, which allows producers to increase extraction efficiency by reducing the length between wells on a per acre basis. But I believe the greatest efficiency and success of this downturn will be re-fracking. Re-Enter and Re-Frac In the next few years, you’ll very likely be hearing a lot about re-fracking… and it will likely also become as common as fracking is today over that time frame. What is re-fracking? Essentially, rather than drilling a new well, a company re-enters and re-fractures existing horizontal wells. This can be done currently at about 25% of the cost; that cost will only improve with more “re-fracks” and as better techniques develop with time. Now that oil has fallen to new lows and management teams are coming to the realization that prices aren’t going up anytime soon, oil producers need to find ways to reduce drilling costs and increase production (recovery) from existing wells. I believe that one of the absolute best ways to do this is to eliminate as much of the drilling costs of a new well as possible and focus on re-entering an existing well. By applying better modern technology and better equipment, the company can re-frack the older horizontal wells to unlock the trapped oil and natural gas left behind in the initial frack process. And there’s a lot of oil left behind in the existing fracked wells. Bam! Innovation out of necessity. Re-fracturing horizontal oil wells is new to the industry, but I think it will actually revitalize the declining wells in the shale sector. I’m not saying that the re-fracked wells will be better than the original fracked wells initially, but thus far, the future is very promising for re-fracks based on the results I’ve seen. Not only can re-fracking revitalize these declining wells, it can also increase the companies’ drilling inventories significantly, which is a huge positive. “Drilling inventory” is the number of potential wells per section. More wells means more reserves, which is good, especially if the cost  to re-enter those existing wells is one-quarter or less the cost of drilling a new well. Now I know there will be an old guard—the same guys who in 2007 and 2008 told me that fracking is science fiction—who won’t believe in re-fracking, but that’s their problem. I’m already planning how I am going to position myself and my subscribers to take advantage of this trend that no one is talking about. One of the first companies to test re-fractures is Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) in its core Bakken acreage in Mountrail and Dunn Counties. So, we called the company up and starting asking questions. They really didn’t like the fact we came knocking and didn’t want to give out much information, as this is cutting-edge stuff, and the company has a leg up on its competition. But anyone who knows me knows I don’t give up easily, so I got the story… and it gets very good. The re-fractured wells significantly outperformed expected results. In the third quarter of 2014, Marathon Oil completed 13 re-fractured wells, all with very positive results. So I kept the search on for other management teams that have the know-how to deploy re-fracks. I called Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD), one of the true pioneers in the early days of the Eagle Ford shale in Texas. PXD is seeing major success using re-fracking the Eagle Ford. I didn’t stop there. I have the whole list of who’s re-fracking and who isn’t. But that information is for my paying subscribers. That said, I’d be remiss if I left out my fellow Canadians and failed to mention that the Canadian companies such as Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) are not too far behind this new re-fracking trend. CPG will begin re-fracturing its Alberta Bakken wells in 2015. Who will really benefit from the re-fracking boom? I think I nailed this one… and it will be the basis of my March Casey Energy Report newsletter. I spoke to one of the world’s leading minds in well re-fracking recently, to pick his mind on where the industry is currently and where it will be going in a few years. His insights and experience are incredible. This executive was one of the final candidates to be the president of one of the world’s largest service companies; and after not getting the nod, he left the company (into which he’d put over 30 years of service) and formed a multibillion-dollar fund which is now capitalizing on the new enhanced oil recoveries. I also plan on making money for my Casey Energy Report subscribers with it. The reason for the recent emphasis on efficiency is due to the adversity facing oil and gas producers, with lower oil prices and a business model built upon levered growth. Many companies have over-accumulated debt to fund growth projects, and as oil prices fall, they must look to efficiencies to keep growth alive or keep existing production stable. Shale wells face production decline rates ranging from 50%-85% in some wells of the three main formations. Therefore, US shale producers have to keep drilling just to maintain production and continuously pay out large interest payments to their debt holders. These interest payments are burdensome on the profitability of producers, but if they even slow production, their interest payments would be at risk at $50 oil. Looking at the large and small producers in the three main basins in the US, we can see how much these interest payments can cost a company as a percentage of operating profit. If highly levered US producers were to cut production, their interest costs could rise to greater than 50% of their operating profit and would put the company at risk of default. If that happens, debt is likely to dry up, and lenders would tighten lending restrictions on these companies. US companies are using down spacing, pad drilling, and re-fracturing as a way to stabilize and grow production while cutting costs in order to avoid accumulating additional debt or seeking additional credit facilities to fund their production. The United States is a place that fosters innovation. With companies like Google, Apple, and Tesla, it’s easy to overlook innovation in the oil and gas industry. As oil and gas producers face the adversity of low oil prices and high leverage, they rely on the main characteristic that birthed the shale revolution: innovation. The Saudis may be dictating the price of oil currently to fight for international market share, but oil production from shale formations will not be destroyed, as OPEC hopes it will. The US oil producers will continue to pump record amounts of crude, not because they want to, but because they have to—and having to do something spurs the type of innovation we’re seeing in the oil and gas industry today. The future of fracking is re-fracking, and we’re on the cusp of what will be the next phase of the US Shale Revolution. How Do You Make Money from the Re-fracking Revolution? The current energy markets are volatile, but a speculator must use volatility to his own advantage to build positions in companies that have suffered as a result of the current market correction. I follow a very disciplined approach and use very advanced mathematics and technical knowledge to position myself in the best energy companies. If you’re looking for in-depth research, experience, and exposure to my vast network in the resource sector, then you may want to pay attention to what I’m doing. If you believe that to be successful in the resource sector one must be a contrarian to be rich—as I do—now is the time to become engaged. Come see what I’m doing with my own money. You’ll get access to every Casey Energy Report newsletter I’ve written in the last decade, as well as my next two monthly reports, which will not only cover the potential of re-fracking, but will reveal which companies will be best situated to make their shareholders money in the current depressed energy market. It’s all available right here. I can’t make the trade for you, but I can help you help yourself. I’m making big bets—are you ready to step up and join me? This will be one of the most important missives I will ever write. The future of fracking is re-fracking. This cutting-edge technology is new, and I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the next game-changing technology in the shale revolution. Some will call it Fracking 2.0., but I call it Re-Fracking. Adversity is understating the potential headwinds heavily indebted oil and gas companies face as 2015 begins, oil prices stay suppressed, and hedges on their production eventually wind down. Adversity always results in innovation in the top oil and gas producers, operators, and servicers in the industry in every downturn. Where We Were, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going In 1956 Marion King Hubbert, a geoscientist from Shell, predicted peak oil production would be reached between 1965 and 1970. He became famous when his prediction became reality in 1970. But everything changed when the innovations in horizontal drilling and fracturing allowed companies to recover oil and natural gas from new and deeper formations such as the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basin at the dawn of the 21st century. Hydraulic fracturing has experienced many innovations, such as increased lengths both vertically and laterally as well as new completion designs which have increased fracture stages along the well and perforations (number of fractures) between each cluster stage, to name a few.center_img I prefer to spell the shorthand for hydraulic fracturing as “fracing,” because it’s an adaptation of the word “fracturing,” which is what happens to the formation of rock. But mainstream media, Microsoft Office Word 2013, and most important, my proofreaders disagree. The latter tell me it should actually follow some rule involving a part of speech called a “gerund” and get the “k” added. It’s a battle I don’t care to fight (I care about making money, not academic nonsense), so fracking will be the spelling in Casey publications moving forward. Whether you read the word fracking, fraccing, or fracing, they all refer to hydraulic fracturing.last_img read more


first_imgIn the past few years, consumer advocacy groups have pressed restaurant chains to offer healthier kids’ meals and more nutritious side options like milk and fruit, and the restaurants have responded.In 2013, McDonald’s pledged to remove all mentions and images of soda from Happy Meal menu boards, and shortly thereafter, other fast-food restaurants began to devise policies to introduce nutritious drink and side options beyond fries and dessert. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway — the four biggest fast-food chains — replaced soda on kids’ meal menus with low-fat milk, water and 100 percent juice, and McDonald’s and Subway promised to make fruit and vegetable sides available.So have the voluntary pledges to make fast food healthier meant parents are purchasing more of the healthier food for their kids at the restaurants?Not really, says a study released Thursday by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. And that may not be a good sign for children’s health.The study documented about 800 parents’ purchases for their children at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway through online surveys conducted in 2010, 2013 and 2016.Between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of parents who purchased kids’ meals and received healthier drinks remained about the same at 59-60 percent. And from 2013 to 2016, the percentage of parents who purchased kids’ meals with healthier sides actually declined from 67 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in 2016.Also, parents report buying fast food for their children more often. In fact, 91 percent of parents surveyed in 2016 said they had purchased a meal for their child at the four largest fast-food chains in the past week, compared with 79 percent in 2010.”It appears that restaurants’ voluntary policies as currently implemented are unlikely to substantially reduce children’s fast-food consumption overall, or increase their consumption of healthy items,” the study says.The report doesn’t really surprise researchers. Past studies conducted by Rudd have shown that fast-food restaurants are following their own voluntary pledges inconsistently.For example, at one McDonald’s location, the cashier may automatically include soda with a kids’ meal, at another location you might need to ask, and the same goes for french fries, the study found. While all chains removed the items listed in their pledges from their online menus, many still listed soda on kids’ meal menus in the brick-and-mortar restaurants.Still, the “health halo” of the healthy offering policies seems to resonate with parents. Nearly all parents surveyed in the latest Rudd study said they would purchase food for their children at that restaurant more frequently because of the healthy offerings. But Harris says while they may have health in mind when entering the restaurant, this doesn’t always lead to healthy choices.”The marketing of the healthy options available is getting people in the door, but it’s unlikely they’ll take the effort to ask if [the restaurant has] something healthier,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Jennifer L. Harris, the director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center.Instead, Harris says, the best option for public health would be to automatically include the healthy options with the kids’ meals. “If fast-food restaurants start automatically giving patients healthy choices, that would be encouraging,” she says.Hillary Caron, a senior policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says that the Rudd Center’s study is particularly interesting because it demonstrates the power of defaults in consumer decision-making. That is, if the meal comes with fries unless you ask for apple slices instead, you’re likely to get fries.Some government officials have already taken this message to heart. Just last week, California became to first state to pass a healthy-kids’-meal policy when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that prohibits soda and other sugary drinks from being the designated beverages that come with kids’ meals. Similar bills have passed in cities like Louisville, Ky., and Baltimore and have been proposed in New York City and D.C.Harris says that the findings of the latest Rudd study indicate a need for such public policies. Voluntary and mandatory policies could work hand in hand, though, according to Caron.”Both approaches reinforce each other,” Caron writes in an email to NPR. Voluntary commitments from restaurants, she says, help make the case for state and local policies because they show that the changes are achievable. But state and local policies ensure that the principles apply to all restaurants, not just chains that propose voluntary health policies.Still, Harris wants people to remember that even if the fast food offered at restaurants is billed as healthy, most fast-food meals still consist of chicken nuggets, burgers and fries.”It’s important to communicate that fast-food meals are not healthy options,” Harris says. “Replacing soda with milk or water doesn’t make the meal healthy,” she adds. “It’s a small step, but in the right direction.”Rachel D. Cohen is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more


first_img Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/international-journal-geriatric-psychiatry/study-uncovers-ethnic-differences-cognition Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 24 2019In an International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry study of individuals diagnosed with dementia in the United Kingdom, people from minority ethnic backgrounds (Asian and Black patients) had lower cognitive scores and were younger when they were diagnosed with dementia than White patients.Related StoriesWhy women who work are less likely to develop dementiaMetformin use linked to lower risk of dementia in African Americans with type 2 diabetesHealthy lifestyle lowers dementia risk despite genetic predispositionThe study used data from electronic health records and included 9,380 White patients, 642 Asian patients, and 2,008 Black patients who were diagnosed with dementia in two London mental health trusts between 2008 and 2016.The study’s authors noted that there is a need to understand these inequalities, to see if dementia prevention initiatives should be tailored by ethnic group and to ensure dementia diagnosis across all ethnic groups is obtained as early as possible.”This study is the first to investigate age and cognitive impairment at the time of dementia diagnosis in South Asians. The earlier age at diagnosis indicates that dementia prevalence in South Asians is likely to be higher in this group than in the White British population,” said lead author Dr. Naaheed Mukadam, of University College London.last_img read more


first_imgVascularized kidney organoid: Culture under fluid flow causes endogenous endothelial progenitors in kidney organoids to create more mature vascular networks which pervade the whole organoid and interact with epithelial compartments. Feb 13 2019Method for growing kidney organoids under flow enhances their vascularization and maturation, increasing their potential for drug testing and regenerative medicineIn recent years, researchers have created mini-organs known as organoids in the culture dish that contain many of the cell types and complex microarchitectures found in human organs, such as the kidney, liver, intestine, and even the brain. However, most organoids grown in vitro lack the vasculature required to provide oxygen and nutrients, remove metabolic waste, and facilitate communication between different cell types that drives their maturation into truly functional tissue building blocks. Kidney Organiods: Flow-Enhanced Vascularization and Maturation In Vitro from Wyss Institute on Vimeo. Source:https://wyss.harvard.edu/engineered-miniature-kidneys-come-of-age/ For kidney organoids, this shortcoming prevents researchers from emulating key kidney functions in vitro, including blood filtration, reabsorption, and urine production. Creating robustly vascularized kidney organoids could enable better modeling of kidney diseases, enhance renal drug toxicity testing and, ultimately, lead to new building blocks for renal replacement therapies.Now, a research team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute led by Jennifer Lewis and Ryuji Morizane has developed a powerful new approach as part of the Institute’s new 3D Organ Engineering Initiative. By exposing stem cell-derived organoids to fluidic shear stress, they were able to significantly expand organoid-derived vascular networks, and improve the maturation of kidney compartments in comparison to previous static culture methods. The work is published in Nature Methods.In 2015, Ryuji Morizane and Joseph Bonventre developed a method that enabled them to derive 3D kidney organoids from human pluripotent stem cells. “While our organoids and those generated in other laboratories contained large numbers of well-organized nephrons and primitive blood vessels, they still lacked pervasive vascular compartments with perfusable lumens,” said co-corresponding author Morizane, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS), and a member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.More recently, researchers around the world have matured kidney organoids by implanting them into animals where they can connect to the host’s vasculature in vivo. “For the first time, our study demonstrates that by exposing growing organoids to fluid flow, a mechanical cue known to play an important role for tissue development in the body, we can greatly enhance their vascularization and maturation in vitro,” said Morizane.To accomplish this feat, the team used expertise from the Lewis lab that has pioneered strategies to create vascularized human tissues, including 3D kidney-on-chip models, using 3D bioprinting that can be perfused and sustained for long durations. Based on these findings, the researchers hypothesized that fluid flow could also promote the formation of blood vessels from precursor endothelial cells found in growing kidney organoids.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repair“We determined the right combination of underlying extracellular matrix, media additives, and fluidic shear stress under which human stem-cell derived organoids would flourish when grown in our 3D-printed millifluidic chips,” said Kimberly Homan, Ph.D., who is a first author on the study along with Navin Gupta, M.D. Gupta added that “the vascular networks form close to the epithelial structures that build the glomerular and tubular compartments, and in turn promote epithelial maturation. This integrated process works really like a two-way street.” Homan is a Research Associate in Lewis’ group at the Wyss Institute and SEAS, and Gupta is a Clinical Research Fellow working on Morizane’s team at the Brigham.The vessels growing on the 3D-printed chips form an interconnected network with open lumens, which can be perfused with fluids as confirmed by directly imaging fluorescent beads moving freely through them. “We were excited to see that these vascularized glomerular and tubular structures develop through some of the same stages that nephrons experience during normal kidney development in vivo,” said Homan.“This important advance opens up new avenues for accurately testing drug toxicity in vitro in differentiated nephron compartments and modeling kidney diseases, like polycystic kidney disease, that affect specific structures and cell types using patient-derived stem cells as the starting point,” said co-corresponding author Lewis, Sc.D., who is a Core Faculty member of the Wyss Institute and co-leader of its 3D Organ Engineering Initiative. “Our method may pave the way to also vascularize other types of organoids, such as the liver organoids.” Lewis is also the Hansjörg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at SEAS and a member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.“This study is a great example of the importance of mechanobiology and the potential power of the Wyss Institute’s 3D Organ Engineering Initiative. It provides an important cornerstone for many efforts that aim to create functional human tissues de novo for research, pharmaceutical and tissue regenerative applications,” said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., who is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at HMS and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as Professor of Bioengineering at SEAS.last_img read more


first_img A renewed focus on air quality in the wake of Volkswagen’s 2015 “dieselgate” scandal—in which the car giant admitted to cheating regulatory tests on 11 million cars worldwide—has seen a wave of courtroom action across Germany.In the capital city, “the current clean air plan does not include sufficient measures to meet annual limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2),” the Berlin judges said.City authorities “must order a driving ban for the streets where the threshold is not met,” targeting cars up to the Euro 5 emissions standard, they ruled.Local media estimate that this would affect as many as 200,000 cars, some only three or four years old, with some exceptions, including for tradesmen.Definite exclusion zones include 11 stretches of major arteries, and Berlin must also examine whether driving bans are needed on a further 15 kilometres (nine miles) of road, a tiny fraction of its total 5,343 kilometres.”This ruling is a ringing slap in the face” for the government, Greenpeace transport spokesman Benjamin Stephan said.”As long as the car industry is not forced into hardware refits for all dirty diesels in every city, driving bans will be the only effective measure.” Berlin could shut out diesel drivers from major arterial roads next year, after a court Tuesday ordered the German capital to follow in the footsteps of Hamburg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart with exclusion zones. No fans of refits, German carmakers would rather sell new, cleaner cars ‘Good day for clean air’Tuesday was “a good day for clean air,” agreed Juergen Resch, head of the DUH environmentalist group that brought the court case.”In Berlin we have 250,000 people who suffer from asthma, including 50,000 children.”Nitrogen oxides (NOx) including NO2 are estimated to cause thousands of premature deaths in Germany each year.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the gases aggravate asthma and bronchitis symptoms and are linked to cardiovascular and respiratory disease.In Berlin, annual average levels reach 49 milligrammes per cubic metre—well above the federal government’s 40-milligramme limit—while in 14 other cities levels exceed 50 milligrammes.Germany is one of a number of countries that have missed European Union deadlines to bring down levels of NOx in urban air, opening them to potential legal action from Brussels. Explore further Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “grand coalition” of conservative CDU and centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have wrangled over diesel with one another and with the car industry for a year.The aim: reducing air pollution without loading new costs onto drivers, imposing more driving bans or hobbling the country’s vital car industry as it confronts rising challengers from the United States and China.Ministers last week unveiled a plan counting on car drivers to trade in older diesels for newer, less polluting models, or to have them refitted with more effective exhaust treatment systems.But with no legal tools to put the squeeze on carmakers, the politicians said they had to negotiate further with the firms to get them to pay for such modifications.Manufacturers Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler have agreed to at least examine refits, while BMW continues to reject them.All three would prefer to sell millions of new cars with help from “trade-in discounts” of up to 8,000 euros ($9,162).The changes come as several German courts have so far backed environmental campaigners.Port city Hamburg has already closed stretches of two major roads to older diesels, while Stuttgart—home to Mercedes-Benz and VW subsidiary Porsche—will ban them from much of its streets from next year.Judges also recently ordered a ban in the city centre of Frankfurt, Germany’s financial hub that sees an influx of tens of thousands of commuters each day. Berlin’s famous Friedrichstrasse is included in the diesel ban Citation: Court orders diesel ban on major Berlin roads (2018, October 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-court-diesel-major-berlin-roads.html 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. Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines © 2018 AFP Powerful auto sector ‘A good day for clean air’last_img read more


first_img Corporate News 22 May 2019 Rare earth firms’ stocks soar on US-China trade war speculation Related News Related News (Reuters) – The Pentagon is rapidly assessing the United States’ rare earths capability in a race to secure stable supply of the specialized material amid the country’s trade conflict with China, which controls the rare earths industry, according to a government document seen by Reuters. The push comes weeks after China threatened to curb exports to the United States of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used to build fighter jets, tanks and a range of consumer electronics. The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27.Responses are required by July 31, a short time frame that underscores the Pentagon’s urgency. The U.S. government’s fiscal year ends in September. {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}center_img Business News 12 Jun 2019 How China overpowered US to win the battle for rare earths The U.S. Air Force, which is part of the Pentagon and created the document, confirmed the document’s existence. The Pentagon’s headquarters did not respond to a request for comment. The responses will be reviewed by two government contractors, including Northrop Grumman Corp, which did not respond to requests for comment.”The government wants to know how much of these minerals we could eventually be producing, and how soon,” said Anthony Marchese, chairman of Texas Mineral Resources Corp, which is working to develop the Round Top rare earth deposit in the state’s western edge.Several miners, though, declined to comment when asked if they will reply to the Pentagon, a sign of the sensitivity around rare earth mine development during the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute.The document does not directly promise loans, grants or other financial support to U.S. rare earths projects. But the Pentagon’s request is derived in part from the Defense Production Act (DPA), a 1950s-era U.S. law that gives the Pentagon wide berth to procure equipment necessary for the national defence. Some type of financial assistance is ultimately expected for the industry after the Pentagon reviews the responses, according to industry analysts and consultants.CHINA DOMINATESAlthough China contains only a third of the world’s rare earth reserves, it accounts for 80% of U.S. imports of minerals because it controls nearly all of the facilities to process the material, according to U.S. Geological Survey data.It is unclear how much money the U.S. military will spend to boost America’s rare earths industry as the DPA does not set a financial limit. The June Pentagon letter notes that government investments usually range from $5 million (£3.9 million) to $20 million per project.”The overall goal is to secure and assure a viable, domestic supplier (of rare earths) for the long-term,” according to the nine-page document.The Air Force Research Laboratory, which drafted the request, said it wants information related to U.S. rare earth “shortcomings, risks, and opportunities which may be addressed by investments” by the military.”There is no guarantee that any submitted topic will” receive military support, Diana Carlin, the Air Force’s executive agent program manager for the DPA program related to procurement, said in an emailed statement to Reuters. James Litinsky, co-chairman of MP Materials, which owns the Mountain Pass mine in California, said the United States needs “a sustainable supermajor for the Western supply of these minerals.” A supermajor would be a large producer that dominates the global industry. MP Materials, the only existing U.S. rare earths facility, ships its ore to China for processing and has been subject to a 25% tariff since last month.Some industry analysts have called for the Pentagon to broaden the scope of its study and commit to direct government funding of rare earth magnet and motor manufacturing, much like China’s government.”The U.S. government doesn’t have a holistic approach to the entire rare earths supply chain, even now, and that’s a problem,” Jack Lifton, an industry analyst with Technology Metals Research LLC, said in an interview this week.BILLS IN U.S. SENATEThe Pentagon’s request builds on several executive orders from President Donald Trump on strategic minerals, which he has said are critical for national defence.Several U.S. senators have sponsored legislation in recent weeks designed to boost domestic production of lithium, rare earths and other strategic minerals. On Thursday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, introduced a bill that would let rare earths producers form cooperatives, avoiding U.S. antitrust statutes.None of the bills have passed yet.The Pentagon has also held talks with rare earths suppliers in Malawi and Burundi, department officials told Reuters last month.”There’s a heightened sense of urgency on developing a rare earth supply chain in North America,” said Don Lay, chief executive of Medallion Resources Ltd, which earlier this month said it was studying potential sites across North America to develop an extraction plant for rare earths.(For a graphic on ‘Rare earth export prices perk up after China rattles trade war sabre’, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Id5tQ2)(For an interactive graphic on ‘Rare earth production’, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2I9MfL5) (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston; Additional reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Amran Abocar and Matthew Lewis) World 29 May 2019 China ready to hit back at U.S. with rare earths – newspaperslast_img read more