Humans are tinkering with DNA in ways that appear to blur the boundaries between design and nature.PhysOrg reported that geneticists at the University of Nottingham have created capsules that can coax bacteria to transfer their genetic information. The title is “Life, but not as we know it?”PNAS reported that scientists at UC Santa Barbara have “rationally engineered” an aminoacyl transfer-RNA synthetase by altering its “information transfer” abilities. Though they mentioned “copious sequence and structural information” present in the natural enzyme, they believe evolution built the information: “This role for tRNA may persist as a relic of primordial cells in which the evolution of the genetic code was driven by RNA-catalyzed amino acid�RNA pairing.”Robert Deyes on Access Research Network commented on a paper in Nature Biotechnology where researchers coaxed a bacterium to play tic-tac-toe.Craig Venter was interviewed on Ted Talks claiming he is just 18 months away from genetically engineering bacteria to make gasoline from carbon dioxide.In each of these cases, humans have tampered with genetic material for purposeful ends. The question is, are the products “natural”?Would an unbiased alien be able to discriminate between a genetically-engineered bacterium and a natural one? Intelligent design makes the claim that purposeful design is distinguishable from non-design using the ordinary methods of science. On what basis can evolutionists claim that the above examples were produced by intelligent design, but the genetic code and genetic information themselves are non-designed products of non-intelligent processes acting on matter subject to natural laws? Consider two possible responses. One common argument evolutionists make is that human intelligent design is something we are familiar with, but the kind of Designer ID proponents infer is necessarily supernatural, and therefore outside of science. The appeal to intelligent design in the genetic code, therefore, is a religious explanation. Religion and science cannot mix. ID, therefore, must be excluded from all scientific explanations. But, pray tell, what is the difference in method? If our unbiased alien inferred from the evidence, having never seen a human engineer, that an intelligent agent of some sort had designed a bacterium to play tic-tac-toe, what changes when the alien applies the same reasoning to the DNA code? Dembski’s explanatory filter (see diagram on Evolution News) does not ask the question, “Who is the designer?” It only asks whether design can be discriminated from chance and natural law. If the evolutionist agrees so far, but then persists in insisting that there is a difference between a human designer and a “supernatural” Designer (e.g., God), then explore the distinction between natural and supernatural. Ask him if human reason is natural. The evolutionist must believe the answer is yes. In fact, he might explain that there is no difference in principle between what a human does altering bacteria for its purposes and what a parasite does altering a host for its purposes. Some roundworms, for instance, alter the behavior of their insect hosts, making them climb onto the top of the leaves (which they would normally not do), where they can be spotted by birds, which are the next hosts in their life cycle. That’s all humans are doing, he says; we alter bacteria for our purposes to make gasoline and improve our crops. Humans are natural parasites on other organisms. But there are substantive differences between these cases. The parasite cannot survive without its hosts. Humans, on the other hand, did just fine for thousands of years before genetic engineering was invented. What human being needs a bacterium to play tic-tac-toe? Getting gasoline from bacteria would be nice, but we got our gas via drilling for a century, and we could get by without gas-powered transportation if need be. The comeback argument is actually much stronger. If the evolutionist compares human engineering to parasite engineering and says there is no difference in principle, because humans and bacteria are products of evolution, the game is over. He has just destroyed reason. Human engineering is no longer intelligent design. The words intelligent and design become meaningless. All human activity is reduced to the deterministic or contingent activity of natural forces. This includes reason. When the evolutionist uses reason, therefore, to argue against intelligent design, he refutes his own case. Reason reduced to natural forces ceases to be reason. Reason depends on concepts that go beyond nature into realms of rationality and the laws of logic. Concepts are not physical. They may revolve around physical things as their subjects, like how to design a computer. Concepts may be communicated by physical things like voices and radios. But the concepts themselves are independent of the physical mechanisms by which they are communicated.* Reason reaches beyond nature for truths that are universal, timeless, necessary, and certain. The evolutionist who appeals to reason, therefore, is a supernaturalist in spite of himself. Think about it.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Apple has just released a new mobile application for owners of iPhone 4 devices who are affected by the widely-reported antenna issues with the newly redesigned handsets. The app, called the iPhone 4 Case Program, will allow qualified customers to apply for a free rubber bumper case directly from their phone. In a press conference last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs admitted to the problems with the iPhone 4, which now sports an antenna wrapped around the outside of the handset itself. The exec said Apple knew that such a design would cause the bars to drop a bit when the phone was gripped in a certain way, but didn’t think it would be a big problem because all smartphones have this issue. iPhone 4 is Not Perfect! When eligibility is confirmed, the customer can select an iPhone 4 bumper case, which will then be shipped at no charge. Interestingly enough, Apple isn’t just providing its own cases via the program, but has also listed cases from third party companies, including Incase, Belkin, Griffin and Speck. Cases will only be available free of charge until September 30, which makes one wonder whether there’s any merit to the reports stating that the antenna issues have already been addressed within the supply chain. According to Ashok Kumar, managing director and senior technology analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, “Supply chain checks reveal that Apple has instituted a design fix for the iPhone 4 that more adequately insulates the transceiver module.” Whether or not that’s true, Apple made no mention of it or any other planned hardware fixes during its press conference. Hopefully a better solution beyond free rubber cases is on the horizon, however, for those who decide to purchase an iPhone after the free case deadline is up. Although Jobs’ mea culpa involved demonstrating how other smartphones are also affected by so-called “death grip” issues (special ways of holding a device that reduce its signal strength), it’s clear that consumers – and perhaps Apple itself – hold Apple to a higher standard. After Consumer Reports boldly stated it could not recommend the iPhone 4 to customers, the “antennagate” problem crossed the chasm from being fodder for technology blogs to an issue mainstream consumers began to care about in earnest. During the press conference, Jobs promised that unhappy iPhone 4 owners would be provided with free bumpers – rubber outer casings that are being sold by Apple (for the first time ever) at $30 apiece. If Apple thought that the antenna issues would work in its favor as a way to earn additional revenue by marking up rubber cases that couldn’t be more than a couple dollars at most to manufacture, it was sorely mistaken. The cases will now have to be written off as a loss. Free Bumpers for Everyone (for a Limited Time)Yesterday, Apple began processing refunds for customers who purchased their iPhone 4 bumpers via the online Apple store website, where cases were on backorder due to high demand. Today, the company has released its own application (iTunes link) to address the remaining lot of unhappy iPhone 4 customers who do not wish to return their phone, but need a bumper case in order to avoid the antenna issues. With the new Case Program app, the software will automatically check various identifiers contained within the iPhone itself, including the IMEI and serial number, to verify that the end user is actually the owner of an iPhone 4. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Apple#mobile#news#NYT#web Related Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology sarah perez Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces
What could possibly be bad about scaling up your startup? If you’re thinking about growth because the demand is there, you’re clearly doing something right.But a rush to ramp up too soon can lead to serious growing pains, especially in the human resources and accounting departments. We asked 10 entrepreneurs in the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share their own experiences with scale—and their best advice for founders about to embark on a big push in the new year. 1. Scale RemotelyThe biggest problem with scaling is you take on commitments. Commitments for offices, technology, employees and any number of assets that can slow you down and bleed your bank account. A great option is remote employment. At Staff.com, we run a team of more than 50 employees from 9 different countries; our employees are more efficient than local ones and we don’t have commitments like offices, payroll or the bureaucratic headaches that local employees produce. We still have some local employees, but each local worker is augmented by remote ones. This relationship produces incredibly efficient employees at a fraction of the cost. – Liam Martin, Staff.com 2. Spend Money On The Best PeopleWhether you’re selling a product or service, maintaining quality during periods of quick scaling is hard. At Pandemic Labs, we experienced this in both our agency business and our software platform. Our solution is in our people. When your business is moving along at a steady, manageable pace, you might not see the value of hiring someone for $90,000 when you can fill that position with someone for $40,000. But there’s a big reason, and you’ll see it when business ramps up. A-level people cost more, but they’ll be able to keep a steady hand on the wheel with you in situations where other companies would crumble under the speed of their own growth. The best people will feel expensive at first, but a team of great people can control a train that would otherwise fly off the tracks. – Matt Peters,Pandemic Labs 3. Understand What It Takes To Serve 10X The CustomersThe biggest mistake startups can make when trying to scale a business is to not understand what it takes to support 10 customers versus 100 customers. As an entrepreneur, project all the resources you will need as you grow. Forecast how each of your key resources (i.e. staff, strategic leadership, infrastructure) will need to be expanded. Yodle scaled successfully because we invested in careful planning in order to be properly prepared for each juncture of growth. In this way, we achieved controlled growth – and this was the best way to manage additional costs and resources. – John Berkowitz, Yodle 4. Set Up Systems FirstMy company, RewardMe, is a digital loyalty platform for restaurants. Our success therefore depends on our ability to capture as much of the market as possible. Our initial 100 clients were in Northern California and it seemed like we were ready to scale: hire sales people across the country and implement as fast as possible. But the smartest decision we made was to delay scaling until we had all our systems and training manuals in place. When you bring people on board to scale sales, everything must be a no-brainer: they must know exactly how to get clients, how long it takes to close deals, how much to sell the product for, and the intricacies of the implementation process. Don’t scale until every single aspect from customer acquisition to implementation is a process. – Jun Loayza, Passport Peru 5. Premature Scaling KillsThere is no doubt about it – startups offer some amazing opportunities to exercise Computer Science and Systems Engineering knowledge. Engineering friends of mine regularly marvel at the amount of data companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix have to process, analyze and serve. Here’s the problem: This opportunity doesn’t exist for early-stage startups, because, by definition, they have no users or customers. Worrying about “scale” in the early days of your startup is simply a bad investment. You may not have even discovered whether a product or market is worth pursuing, but you will have already invested in scaling that pursuit. Startup founders have to develop a craft in rapid application prototyping. Scaling comes later. – Andrew Montalenti, Parse.ly 6. Listen To Your CustomersOne of the best barometers for scaling should be customer satisfaction. If your customers are satisfied, you can scale as fast as you want. Typically, when something starts going wrong or you’re understaffed, your customers will tell you! When we started pushing hard toward the 7-figure mark in our first year, my brother/business partner was left managing customer support from his Gmail account. He was a senior in college, a starter on the baseball team, and working 50-60 hours each week. We knew something had to change, and that’s when we found a full-time customer support staff member. While Scott was doing all he could, I knew our customers were growing restless. Since then, I’ve been able to leverage Scott’s abilities, and our business has never been stronger. – Brian Moran, Get 10,000 Fans 7. Ride One Horse At A TimeWhen we started franchising our business, we expanded rather quickly, and it seemed logical to test out new service lines and launch new brands. However, we stretched ourselves thin and ended up over our heads in unfamiliar waters. Our core business suffered, and the new initiatives didn’t work. My advice: Focus on dominating the sandbox you’re already in before branching out. Make sure you have strong systems and resilient revenue streams. Run market tests and grow your business slowly so that every piece is sturdy, stable and cohesive. If you try to ride more than one horse at the same time, you’re going to fall off. – Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk 8. Be Selective, Open Up SlowlyWhen we launched SaberBlast.com a year ago, it grew so fast that we couldn’t keep up with demand. Our clients would try to send out newsletters with 30,000 or 100,000+ subscribers on it – and either the server would blow up or the resulting traffic would kill us. It was embarrassing. With the recent relaunch of the service, not only have we upgraded our technology, but we’ve upgraded how we onboard clients. We actually have an application process and a waiting period. Then, once a month we open up X number of new spots and email clients who are on the waiting list telling them they can sign-up. This way, by controlling demand and being selective about who we take on as clients, we’re controlling the risk of growing too fast without sacrificing the quality of how our service is delivered. – Matthew Ackerson, Saber Blast 9. Stay Focused On Cash FlowThe most dangerous problem with scaling too quickly is usually cash flow. I experienced that when building my second business when I was 19. We nearly hit our $1 million in revenue in the first few years, but as we got bigger clients, they required better payment terms. One missed payment from a big client could be disastrous, which is what happened. Cash flow is king in scaling up your business. Most entrepreneurs learn the hard way and this is definitely something that needs to be talked about more. – Peter Nguyen, Literati Institute 10. Estimate Growth, Then Divide By 2As much as we love to dream about explosive growth and unyielding demand for our product or service, our passion and excitement may skew the truth about future projections. If you can estimate revenue for the next 12 months, take that number then divide by 2 – and plan your resources and expenses around that number instead. Case in point, I ordered 2,000 jerseys for my new sports business (we ran rec leagues for adults) based on lofty expectations about how may players would sign up to play. We had 75 people show up on opening day and for an entire year I did not know if I was running a sports business or a t-shirt business. Be modest in your expectations and seek outside help for an unbiased estimate. It is never a bad thing to sell out beyond capacity, it creates demand. – Steven Staley, Playbook CommunityThe Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. Tags:#startups How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Tips for Selling Smart Supply Chain Solutions End-of-Life Software: Keep it, Update it, or Fi… Related Posts Will Development Eventually Make Itself Obsolete? scott gerber
We sat down with comedian, television writer, and activist Tess Rafferty to learn about equality, Italy, and her passion for politics.They say if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Or, in comedian, author, and activist Tess Rafferty’s case, spawn into a Borg collective spewing epitaphs of “resistance is futile” instead.Tess has written for @Midnight on Comedy Central and was the supervising producer for the cult-favorite clip show The Soup on E!, which tells us something about her witty sense of humor and her love for commentary on the current social and political scene.Luckily, we didn’t have to meet in an underground bunker to get the lowdown on why Tess is so over trying to find common ground with those on the other end of the political spectrum.Tess w/director Steve Cohen. Via Tess Rafferty.PREMIUM BEAT: Are you pissed at Mikemostly? In a sea of amazing reviews for your memoir, Recipes for Disaster, he titled his review “Meh” on Amazon. He laughed a bit, even made some of your recipes (and really liked them), but apparently he expected more. It made me think of Hillary and I got really sad for humanity! Are women held to a different standard even after they offer up a killer party idea like a grilled cheese station?TESS RAFFERTY: Yes. Exhibit A: the grifter squatting in the White House.Via Tess Rafferty.PB: It almost feels like comedians are our last line of defense these days. Not only have you put out a series of videos/political rants, but also you organized a “take back the workplace” march! Why have you stepped up to lead the charge and are you optimistic or terrified?TR: I’m mostly terrified and part of that is that it all seems so futile. I started the march because exactly a year before the Weinstein story broke, the Trump/Grab ’em By the Pussy story did. Women were compelled to share their stories of sexual assault online. It felt like a watershed moment. But a year later the Weinstein story broke. And once again women were compelled to share their most vulnerable stories and once again it felt like a watershed moment. I thought, “I don’t want us all to be here a year from now, sharing the same stories.” And then this year Kavanaugh happened. It’s like we’re living in fucking Groundhog Day.I don’t really know how to make Republican men and women think a man touching our bodies against our will is wrong. I don’t know that we ever will. And yet I keep trying to do something because to do nothing seems unthinkable. It’s all I know how to do. And sometimes there is a nice surprise, like with this year’s mid-terms. But then you think, how many more seats did we actually win, like Stacy Abrams’ gubernatorial race. It was stolen from her by her Republican opponent. We all know that. Heidi Heitkamp might have won were it not for the egregious suppression of the Native American vote. And then it seems futile again.Via Tess Rafferty.PB: You have never been accused of being demure, but do you think your outspoken political beliefs have impacted your career negatively in any way? Or has it been a positive thing?TR: The good news is that if it’s ever affected me negatively, I won’t hear about it so that’s nice. I can pretend whatever is convenient in that moment. I’m sure it has, because everything affects your career to some extent: whether you’re too outspoken or not outspoken enough. People can dislike you for any number of reasons and I’ve seen people hired or fired for all sorts of stupid, random things.You might as well be proud of it and wear it like a badge of honor. And the wonderful truth is that it’s actually impacted me positively. People have reached out because they’ve seen the videos and wanted to work with me. And it’s both a relief and encouraging when you can do what is right and be rewarded for it.PB: Spending time on your website, it’s clear you love three things: Equality, your husband, and Italy. What would be your elevator pitch on why all three things are worthy of your adoration?TR: Italy is pretty much the thing holding my marriage together. It is the perfect intersection of everything my husband and I have in common: we love good food, great wine, art, history and dramatic scenery. I love both of them more because of the other. I’m not sure where equality fits into the equation. Italy doesn’t have the best record on sexism. My husband’s is definitely better.Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Interview: Tracy Andreen on the Romance of Writing for HallmarkScreenwriter James V. Hart on Career, Coppola, and Creating a MethodIndustry Interview: Advancing Your Career from PA to ADInterview: Jennifer Gatti on Bon Jovi, Star Trek, and Leaving L.A.Jonah Hill on Writing and Directing Mid90s — and Tips He Learned from the Greats
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd fullback Luke Shaw: Jose won three trophies hereby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United fullback Luke Shaw paid tribute to Jose Mourinho after victory at Cardiff City.Shaw, who had a turbulent time under Mourinho, also insisted the outgoing manager deserved more respect what he achieved at United.He said: “It’s not very nice when something as big as that happens at the club but we all as players and as a team need to show respect.”People might be quick to forget what Jose did for United, with the three trophies. He did a lot.“One of the trophies (Europa League) was one we hadn’t won before. He took us to three trophies in sort of one season.”So people need to respect him and remember what he did, not only for us as a team to win those trophies but for the fans as well.”
Advisers urge Foden to stick with Man Cityby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the lovePhil Foden is being urged to stick with Manchester City.Foden feels a loan move away from the reigning Premier League champions would hinder his progress, despite his limited playing time.The family and friends of the 19-year-old are reported to be keen for the England youngster to continue his role at the Etihad under Pep Guardiola, in which he receives game time primarily in cup competitions.The Times says there is a feeling within Foden’s close circle that leaving City on loan could actually prove damaging to the teenager’s progression.And City have no intention of sending Foden out to another Premier League club on loan. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
DETROIT, MI – MARCH 18: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Syracuse’s self-imposed NCAA Tournament ban has helped spark a lot of debate about the efficacy of NCAA post-season bans, which almost always wind up punishing players who are not involved in the violations at hand. Many believe the punishment should be levied against coaches and administrators, including ESPN’s Dan Dakich, who believes that Jim Boeheim, and not Rakeem Christmas, Mike Gbinije, and company, should be the one banned from the tournament. Dakich had Boeheim on his radio show, and the legendary Syracuse coach agrees with his idea.Jimmy B on @dandakich “I’d rather take the punishment and let the players go to the tournament, I’ve been to the tournament” @BrentAxeMedia— Justin Hardie (@jhardie13) February 25, 2015While it is too late for this Syracuse team, last night’s win at Notre Dame gives the program two wins over Top 12 teams in the last week, and the Orange would probably be right on the bubble if they were eligible. Punishing a coach who was present, even if he may or may not have been aware of alleged violations, makes far more sense than taking this opportunity away from the innocent players.
Jean Hastings will tell you that she is not an educator by profession, but her contribution to the transformation of Jamaica’s education system is second to none. For almost two decades, she has worked with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information on various projects, including the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), which was established to execute the Ministry’s modernisation agenda. Story Highlights Jean Hastings will tell you that she is not an educator by profession, but her contribution to the transformation of Jamaica’s education system is second to none.For almost two decades, she has worked with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information on various projects, including the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), which was established to execute the Ministry’s modernisation agenda.For her outstanding contribution, Ms. Hastings has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to education. She was among 40 persons recognised at the awards ceremony held in June at Jamaica House.Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Barbara Allen, who has worked with Ms. Hastings, tells JIS News that the honour was well deserved.She noted that Ms. Hastings’ knowledge of Jamaica’s education system is on par with the most seasoned educator.“She has contributed significantly to the growth and development of the education sector and has, therefore, deservedly earned this recognition,” Ms. Allen adds.A native of western Jamaica, who worked as a management consultant, Ms. Hastings’ sojourn in education began in 1998, when she was contracted as project manager of the Primary Education Improvement Project Phase 11 for 15 months. Among the objectives were to develop the revised primary curriculum, complete the national assessment programme that was already under development, coordinate construction work for 26 schools under that project, and organise institutional strengthening activity within the Ministry. With the successful completion of the project, Ms. Hastings was engaged to manage several other undertakings and would work with the Ministry up until her retirement in May, 2017.These include the Primary Education Support Project, which saw the roll-out of the revised primary curriculum aimed at improving the quality of delivery of primary education and the strengthening of the capacity to manage that delivery.Ms. Hastings is perhaps best known as Director of the ESTP, aimed at modernising the operations of the Ministry and creating a more effective, efficient and accountable system.The cornerstone of the programme is a restructured Ministry, with independent agencies that are accountable for results, quality assurance, service delivery, and monitoring of reforms.The ESTP has seen the establishment of six new entities, including the National College for Educational Leadership (NCEL), the National Education Inspectorate (NEI), the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission (J-TEC), and the National Education Trust (NET).The programme resulted in the establishment of a modernised Ministry of Education and related support agencies, development and implementation of the National Standards Curriculum, and revisions to the National Assessment Programme at grades two, six and nine.Other measures include initiatives to improve special education service delivery and improvements to education management information systems, all aimed at improving educational outcomes and increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the management of education in Jamaica.Ms Hastings hails the significant strides that have been made over the years in improving the education system.“The thing about education is that we are never short of ideas and we are always seeking to improve, and that was what the projects that I managed were all about. Overall, I think everyone is motivated to work towards improving the system, and there have been notable improvements,” she tells JIS News.She notes that the Ministry must be focused on meeting the demands of the 21st century learner.“The children in 2018 are vastly different from the children in 1962. They are much more aware, they are born better equipped to deal with a 21st century world, so the education system has to deal with engaging these children,” she argues. Ms. Hasting, who is the mother of one son and has one granddaughter, tells JIS News that her philosophy in life is “we are here to make a difference, and I try to do so and give of my best at all times”.“Whatever I am involved in, I want to know that I give of my best. I am eternally motivated, so I have to feel good about what I am doing and what it is I am contributing,” she adds.She says it is important for children to know that “failure is really about giving up, not trying. It is not about not succeeding the first time you try”.Citing her own life experience in this regard, she tells JIS News that she did not pass the Common Entrance Examination, but was given the opportunity to sit an entrance test to Mount Alvernia High in St. James, which she passed “with flying colours”.She would later attend Hampton High in St. Elizabeth, before matriculating to the University of the West Indies where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics (with honours) and a postgraduate diploma in management studies.She also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Baruch College, City University of New York.Though retired, Ms. Hastings continues to offer her services as a management consultant. For her outstanding contribution, Ms. Hastings has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to education. She was among 40 persons recognised at the awards ceremony held in June at Jamaica House.
New Delhi: Facebook global executive Nick Clegg has proposed a “prospective” mechanism for WhatsApp to act on cases flagged by law enforcement agencies, but the government has refused to budge on its demand for traceability of messages. The issue of traceability has been a flashpoint between the government and WhatsApp, and the Facebook-owned messaging platform has so far resisted India’s demand for identification of message originators, arguing that doing so would undermine its policy on privacy and end-to-end encryption. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalA senior government official said that Facebook Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, during his meeting with IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last week mooted alternatives to absolute traceability of messages, including use of ‘meta data’ and machine intelligence for dealing with the issue, even offering to harness WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook linkages to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies. When contacted, a Facebook spokesperson said: “Facebook cares deeply about the safety of people in India and Nick’s meetings this week provided opportunities to discuss our commitment to supporting privacy and security in every app we provide and how we can continue to work productively with the Government of India towards these shared goals.” Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostA person aware of WhatsApps’s position on the matter emphasised that the platform cannot read messages exchanged as they are encrypted. It is learnt that Clegg in meetings with top authorities, including Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval as well as IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 12, reiterated the US tech giant’s stance that it will abide by any lawful request for information by the Indian government, but it cannot read messages exchanged on its platforms. Clegg told the officials that the company can provide ‘signals’ and meta data such as who calls were made to and duration, among others, of lawfully identified users, a source said. The US social media giant has agreed to provide India with ‘meta data’ of any user of its platforms, including WhatsApp, that the government lawfully identifies but has insisted it cannot look into messages exchanged as they are encrypted. India is home to 400 million WhatsApp users and more than 328 million Facebook users. Social media companies in India have drawn flak from the government in recent past over instances of circulation of fake news, breach of user confidentiality, unauthorised data sharing by the apps and concerns over privacy and data security. WhatsApp in particular has been under fire over users misusing the platform for circulation of fake news that have incited mob fury. The Indian government has made it clear that it intends to strengthen the legal framework and make social media platforms more accountable under law.
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 7 2018Elevated levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)–a compound linked with the consumption of fish, seafood and a primarily vegetarian diet–may reduce hypertension-related heart disease symptoms. New research in rats finds that low-dose treatment with TMAO reduced heart thickening (cardiac fibrosis) and markers of heart failure in an animal model of hypertension. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Heart and Circulatory Physiology and was chosen as an APSselect article for November.TMAO levels in the blood significantly increase after eating TMAO-rich food such as fish and vegetables. In addition, the liver produces TMAO from trimethylamine (TMA), a substance made by gut bacteria. The cause of high TMAO levels in the blood and the compound’s effects on the heart and circulatory system are unclear, and earlier research has been contradictory. It was previously thought that TMAO blood plasma levels–and heart disease risk–rise after the consumption of red meat and eggs. However, “it seems that a fish-rich and vegetarian diet, which is beneficial or at least neutral for cardiovascular risk, is associated with a significantly higher plasma TMAO than red meat- and egg-rich diets, which are considered to increase the cardiovascular risk,” researchers from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland and the Polish Academy of Sciences wrote.Related StoriesRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaHeart disease is still the number 1 killer in Australia, according to latest figuresImplanted device uses microcurrent to exercise heart muscle in cardiomyopathy patientsThe researchers studied the effect of TMAO on rats that have a genetic tendency to develop high blood pressure (spontaneously hypertensive rats). One group of hypertensive rats was given low-dose TMAO supplements in their drinking water, and another group received plain water. They were compared to a control group of rats that does not have the same genetic predisposition and received plain water. The dosage of TMAO was designed to increase blood TMAO levels approximately four times higher than what the body normally produces. The rats were given TMAO therapy for either 12 weeks or 56 weeks and were assessed for heart and kidney damage and high blood pressure.TMAO treatment did not affect the development of high blood pressure in any of the spontaneously hypertensive rats. However, condition of the animals given the compound was better than expected, even after more than a year of low-dose TMAO treatment. “A new finding of our study is that [a] four- to five-fold increase in plasma TMAO does not exert negative effects on the circulatory system. In contrast, a low-dose TMAO treatment is associated with reduced cardiac fibrosis and [markers of] failing heart in spontaneously hypertensive rats,” the researchers wrote.”Our study provides new evidence for a potential beneficial effect of a moderate increase in plasma TMAO on pressure-overloaded heart,” the research team wrote. The researchers acknowledge that further study is needed to assess the effect of TMAO and TMA on the circulatory system. However, an indirect conclusion from the study could underscore the heart-healthy benefits of following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish and vegetables. Source:http://www.the-aps.org/mm/hp/Audiences/Public-Press/2018/72.html