Jul 3 2018″I just needed to know what was causing the pain,” said one patient. People walk into an emergency room because something is wrong. It might be life-threatening or benign. It could cause long-term damage if ignored, or it may be fine to wait out the symptoms.”Our primary goals when we see patients in the emergency department are to assess whether the patient is in immediate danger, to stabilize the patient, and then to diagnose if possible. But sometimes achieving these goals isn’t enough to meet a patient’s expectations,” said Kristin Rising, MD, Director of Acute Care Transitions and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University).Related StoriesAlmost 74% of Americans show concern about burnout among healthcare professionalsIt is okay for women with lupus to get pregnant with proper care, says new studyPersonalizing Nutritional Medicine With the Power of NMRTo better understand the reasons for patient dissatisfaction with ER visits, and to address whether ER physicians are providing care that meet the patients’ needs, Dr. Rising and colleagues engaged 30 individuals who recently visited the ER in open-ended phone discussions and then analyzed their responses by identifying emerging themes. Their findings were published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and may inform better transitions of care.Although a diagnosis can help provide patients with a road map regarding next steps and helps legitimize the symptoms patients are experiencing, diagnosis is not always possible to obtain during an ER visit. Instead patients may be discharged with a description of the symptoms they initially reported and perhaps an assurance that the symptoms are not immediately life threatening.”For some patients, the assurance that they’re not in immediate danger is enough. For others, we learned, it’s more important to understand things such as how to navigate the healthcare system to continue the diagnostic process, reasons to seek repeat care, and how long symptoms might impact their lives,” said Rising.One participant noted, “I needed to know for what time frame it would be preventing me from going through my day-to-day normal life routine.”The findings have implications for how physicians and healthcare professionals prepare and communicate discharge instructions. Patients have concrete needs and questions that can often be addressed regardless of whether a diagnosis has been made. The work suggests that there is a need for more attention on how to most effectively provide discharge instructions to patients for whom a definitive diagnosis has not been found.”We found that for some patients, diagnosis wasn’t the biggest need,” said Rising. “Rather they wanted to know how to relieve or manage their symptoms, regardless of whether or not a definitive diagnosis had been made.” Source:https://www.jefferson.edu
PORTLAND, OREGON—Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) are a scourge of the American South, parts of Australia, and even China, causing billions of dollars of damage annually to crops, livestock, and human health. The ants owe their success to large, efficient colonies, sometimes hundreds of thousands of workers strong. But researchers have discovered that of these many, only a select few ants do the heavy lifting, digging out underground nests and extending narrow foraging tunnels for hundreds of meters. Why don’t the rest pitch in? To find out, a team of biologists worked together with engineers and biomechanics experts to build small, inexpensive “digging robots” from off-the-shelf parts. In one experiment, they programmed the autonomous machines to work continuously, and in another experiment, they programmed just a few to do the digging at any one time. When the work was shared equally, the robots often got into traffic jams as they tried to remove artificial soil particles, the team reports today here at the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology. But when just a few robots did the work, their excavation rates went up 35% with half the effort. The results could not only help solve the mystery of other lazy ants, but—as scientists build more systems with multiple, cooperating robots—they could also help get more work from these machines.
K. WAGENBAUER ET AL., NATURE, VOL. 551, 2017 This week, three papers came out describing new approaches to folding DNA into large complex shapes—20 times bigger than previous DNA sculptures. Staff Writer Bob Service talks with Sarah Crespi about building microscopic teddy bears, doughnuts, and more from genetic material, and using these techniques to push forward fields from materials science to drug delivery.Sarah also interviews Philip Cook of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, about his Policy Forum on gun regulation research. It’s long been hard to collect data on gun violence in the United States, and Cook talks about how some researchers are getting funding and hard data. He also discusses some strong early results on open-carry laws and links between gun control and intimate partner homicide.Listen to previous podcasts.[Image: : K. WAGENBAUER ET AL., NATURE, VOL. 551, 2017; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
0 Comment(s) Related News Advertising The leader of the gang would generate lists of robbery targets in various states around the country. (Representational photo)A 44-year-old Texas woman has been found guilty of leading a gang of robbers that mainly targeted homes of Indian-Americans and Asians across the United States. Clinton campaign criticises Trump for mocking Indians, launches ‘Indian-Americans for Hillary’ Proposed California school textbooks portray Hinduism in negative light: Hindu Education Foundation By PTI |Washington | Published: June 5, 2019 10:24:33 am Chaka Castro from Houston and her accomplices committed a string of home invasions in Georgia, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Texas from 2011 to 2014, according to the evidence presented at the trial.Her sentencing is scheduled for September 2019 before a District Court in Michigan.The leader of the gang was Castro, who would generate lists of robbery targets in various states around the country, specifically families of Asian and Indian ancestry, and then assign her accomplices to carry out the armed robberies of these families within their homes, the Department of Justice said. Once Castro assigned a crew to a particular area, members of the group would travel to that location, conduct surveillance and execute the robberies.The crews utilised a particular modus operandi in each of the robberies, it said, adding that they disguised their appearance with clothing and bandanas so that victims of their robberies would have difficulty identifying them.They would openly carry and brandish firearms to gain control of the victims and then immediately corral the victims, including children, into one location in the home, according to evidence presented during the trial.At least one robber would then restrain the victims with duct tape and threats of violence while a partner would ransack the home in search of cash, jewellery and electronics to steal. The group organised their trips to involve multiple home invasion robberies over a series of days, it added. Donald Trump lauds contributions of Indian-Americans on Independence-Day Advertising
Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence “Necesitamos incluir cada persona en nuestro democracia,” he said, responding to a question about taxes with a riff on inclusion, roughly translated as: “We must include every person in our democracy.”Sen. Cory Booker of New jersey jumped in to show that he, too, could communicate in Spanish, which he had picked up mainly from language classes in Mexico and Ecuador. Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has made it known he speaks not just Norwegian, but Spanish as well, conducting bilingual interviews on Telemundo.Then there is Julián Castro. He ended the debate last week by declaring: “Me llamo Julián Castro, y estoy postulando por presidente de los Estados Unidos.”With imperfect grammar, Castro reminded Spanish speakers exactly who he is: the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who was raised speaking English in a Latino-majority city. Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Post Comment(s) Advertising 2020 presidential candidates Julian Castro and Cory Booker during the first night of the Democratic presidential debates in Miami. (The New York Times/File)Written by Jennifer Medina “There is an irony,” he said in an interview. “There’s a greater expectation, because I’m Latino, of speaking Spanish. Many folks outside of second or third generation Latino communities are not aware of the history of the attempts to eradicate the Spanish language from families.”Even as the Latino population in the United States continues to grow, and a majority of those who are parents now speak Spanish to their children, Latinos tell pollsters that they don’t view Spanish as essential to the culture.About 28% say Spanish skills are a requirement for someone who identifies as Latino, according to Pew. A recent poll by UnidosUS, a Latino advocacy group, showed that a candidate’s ability to speak Spanish was last on a list of Latino voters’ priorities, well below “values diversity” and “willing to work with both parties.”None of that has stopped O’Rourke. Even when it is unclear a crowd has any Spanish speakers, he toggles between English and Spanish.During a recent trip through South Carolina, O’Rourke displayed his Spanish at nearly every campaign stop, which did resonate with some voters. After a forum in Sumter, where Hispanics make up about 3% of the 40,000 residents, one woman rushed over to thank him. She said he was the first politician she had heard speak Spanish since she immigrated from Mexico nearly 20 years ago.Though he was born Robert, for most of his life O’Rourke has gone by Beto, a common Spanish nickname for Roberto. He said that when he was growing up in El Paso, his public school offered Spanish lessons a couple of times a week and that he had taken a Spanish literature class as a student at Columbia University. There had been a handful of private lessons when he returned to El Paso and more work on his skills before running for City Council.“I think Latinos in this country, including those who speak Spanish, have been marginalized and forgotten, if they were ever remembered or known,” he said during an interview. “So I think it’s really important that everyone knows that they’re not just welcome, but that we’re counting on them.”Both O’Rourke and Castro are Texas natives who have made immigration and their experiences along the Mexican border central aspects of their campaigns. Their relationships with Spanish have also shaped their political identities and the ways they appeal to voters.O’Rourke can casually speak Spanish in a manner that people at his events find charming. Castro is often under greater scrutiny, frequently asked why he is not fluent. He has also been careful not to portray himself as a candidate who caters to only Hispanic voters.Buttigieg and Booker sharpened their Spanish skills with local media as mayors and often prepared for interviews by asking staff members to scribble down Spanish translations for words such as “contraception” or “generational change.”“I find there’s a tremendous amount of appreciation, if you show that you put in the work,” Booker said in an interview. “There’s gratitude and this incredible generosity.”Native Spanish speakers do, of course, evaluate the candidates’ efforts. After the debates, The Miami Herald assigned a grade to everyone who tried. O’Rourke received the highest: B.“If you are going to butcher the language, you are better off sticking to English,” said Arturo Vargas, chief executive officer of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The group hosted a presidential forum in Miami in June in which eight candidates spoke to several hundred people.Privately, Castro has seethed over the scrutiny of his Spanish. In 2016, he strongly denied a report in The New York Post’s gossip pages that he was “cramming with Rosetta Stone,” while Hillary Clinton was mulling her potential running mate. Ultimately, she chose Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, who is bilingual.During the 2016 Republican primary campaign, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who are both Cuban American, sparred over who really knew the language. Donald Trump attacked Jeb Bush for using Spanish, echoing an argument made by Tom Tancredo, a Republican who ran for president in 2007. At the time, Tancredo boycotted a Spanish-language debate for Republican presidential candidates, saying it had no place in the presidential race because naturalized citizens must know English.Spanish is most significant, among the early voting states, in Nevada, where nearly 20% of Democratic caucus attendees in 2016 were Hispanic.“It’s very different to be able to tell your story without a translator,” said Astrid Silva, an immigration activist in the Las Vegas area. “You’re able to connect.”Buttigieg said his formal Spanish instruction ended after two years of high school and he is “very far from being fluent.” Still, he has not hesitated to accept invitations to be interviewed in Spanish. “The point is not to impress people, as much as to make people feel included,” he said.After the debates last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City showed up at the Miami airport to support workers on strike there. Holding a microphone, he enthusiastically shouted one of the best-known sayings in Latin American history: “Hasta la victoria siempre!”It’s a phrase popularized by Che Guevara, an Argentine guerrilla who helped Fidel Castro lead a communist revolution in Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of people fled the regime, many to South Florida — where few historical figures are more despised than Castro and Guevara. Responding to the instant backlash, de Blasio issued an apology within hours, saying he did not know the history and only meant the words literally: “Until victory always.” Advertising At campaign events, Castro often leaves out Spanish. His relationship with the language, he has said, is somewhat fraught. He has taken lessons, but he can still appear uncomfortable speaking Spanish in large crowds or off the cuff.In this way, he’s representative of many Latino voters. Only 13% of Latinos who are currently registered to vote in the United States speak Spanish as their primary language, according to the Pew Research Center.So, then, who is all this campaign-trail Spanish for?More than 40 million people in the United States speak Spanish, making it the second-most spoken language in the country behind English. But the history of Spanish in the United States, and who feels comfortable speaking it publicly, is complicated. Castro’s biography illustrates some of the complexity.As a child, he often accompanied his mother, a prominent Chicana activist, to political meetings and protests. She told him stories of how she had been shamed and forcefully told not to speak Spanish. While he heard the language on television and from his grandparents, he rarely spoke it. When Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council, he sought out a private tutor. Taking stock of monsoon rain Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence More Explained After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Top News Advertising Best Of Express Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan In his months on the campaign trail, Beto O’Rourke has wanted to make one thing explicitly clear: He is not a pendejo.Never mind whether anyone in the audience understands the Spanish slang for idiot, it is now a standard part of his stump speech: “We don’t want our kids looking back at us 40 years from now and saying, ‘Who were those pendejos?’”During the first Democratic presidential debate, O’Rourke eagerly brought his Spanish to prime time. By New York Times |Miami | Published: July 6, 2019 12:28:08 pm
Advertising Advertising Related News Bengaluru news: Top stories – July 15 Olympian Anju Bobby George rubbishes reports of joining BJP, says has no political ambition Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa. (File)A day after Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy sought a trust vote in the floor of the Assembly, BJP president BS Yeddyurappa Saturday said that they are ready to face the no-confidence motion. “We have no objection to no-confidence motion. We will wait until Monday. On Monday, we are ready to face the no-confidence Motion,” Yeddyurappa was quoted as by news agency ANI. Karnataka crisis: SC verdict a moral victory for rebel MLAs, says Yeddyurappa By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 13, 2019 9:17:18 pm The former chief minister also claimed that seeking a vote of confidence was “meaningless,” as the ruling coalition has “lost majority in the Assembly.”Meanwhile, five more rebel Karnataka Congress MLAs approached the Supreme Court earlier in the day, claiming that Speaker Ramesh Kumar was not accepting their resignations. The MLAs also alleged that they “are being forced to support the government on the threat of disqualification”.Follow | Karnataka crisis LIVEThe development comes a day after the apex court directed Speaker Kumar not to take any decision on the disqualification or resignation of 10 rebel Congress-JD(S) coalition MLAs until July 16. Explained: Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar: The man in the spotlight 14 Comment(s) The coalition government, which has been shaky since its formation last year following a post-poll arrangement in the wake of a hung verdict, is facing a serious crisis now with 16 legislators— 13 of the Congress and three of the JD(S)— resigning.If the 16 resignations are accepted, the coalition’s numbers in the 224-member House will fall to 101 compared to the BJP’s 105 MLAs and the support of two Independents. The BJP can win a confidence vote if at least 11 resignations are accepted.
By PTI |New Delhi | Updated: July 15, 2019 1:42:19 pm Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to Saxena and put up the matter for hearing on July 18.The court had earlier allowed Saxena to turn approver and his plea for grant of pardon on the condition that he will fully disclose all information in the case.Saxena, director at two Dubai-based firms — UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, is one of the accused named in the chargesheet filed by the ED in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland scam. Related News VVIP chopper scam: SC asks Rajeev Saxena if his relatives would guarantee return after ED objects Advertising Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to Saxena and put up the matter for hearing on July 18. (Representational Image)The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday moved a Delhi court seeking bail cancellation of Rajiv Saxena, a middleman-turned-approver in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam, for allegedly not cooperating in the probe. Chopper scam: SC to hear Tuesday ED’s plea against Rajeev Saxena’s permission to travel abroad Gautam Khaitan moves fresh bail plea in money laundering case Post Comment(s)
Google must remove search results about medical regulators’ conditional suspension of a Dutch physician in the first “right to be forgotten” case of its kind in the European Union.After Google and Dutch data privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens rebuffed the doctor’s initial attempts to get disciplinary actions purged from online search results, a district court in Amsterdam sided with the surgeon.The physician had an interest in preventing her full name from appearing in Google search engine links connected to a blacklist of doctors, the court found.The surgeon’s right to be left out of Google’s search results outweighed the public’s right to use the search engine to find the information, the court maintained.Although the court acknowledged that information at the blacklist site was accurate, it stated that the pejorative name of the site suggested the surgeon wasn’t fit to treat people, which was not supported by the regulators’ findings. Ignored Potential Problems Missing Misdeeds Precedent for Professions Without its search findings, people would have trouble finding relevant information on the medical regulator’s Big Register, where its public records are available online, Google argued in the case.However, the notion that consumers depend on Google search results to choose doctors is questionable.”I don’t think consumers are googling names, clicking on links and saying, ‘Here’s an unverifiable database of names. I’m going to make my doctor decisions based on that,'” suggested the Berkman Center’s Holland. “That seems pretty tenuous to me.”The court initially handed down its ruling in the case last summer, but up to now, legal wrangling over whether it should be made public prevented its release.Since then, the surgeon’s attorney has tried to remove from the blacklist the details of 15 doctors who have been involved in disciplinary actions.”This sets a precedent,” Holland said, “especially for any profession that is often reviewed and likely to have these third-party sites collecting disciplinary information about the profession.” Right to Be Forgotten John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reportersince 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, theBoston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and GovernmentSecurity News. Email John. It’s worrisome not only that important information about this particular doctor will be difficult for consumers to find, but also that other information will be obscured, said The Analyst Syndicate’s Caldwell.”I think there is a danger that people who commit deeds consumers should know about are going to have their information blocked,” he said.”It’s going to have a negative impact on consumers,” said Dorsey’s Cattanach. “We all depend on online, reputable resources to make decisions. If you start denying that information, we aren’t going to make as many good decisions.”In the United States, this decision rubs against prevailing trends toward transparency, to provide consumers with information about everything from police actions to sexual harassment violations, to rent charged in rent control areas, observed Timothy Toohey, an attorney with the Greenberg Glusker law firm in Los Angeles.”Europeans believe a person is entitled to a fresh start,” he explained.That can be very hard in the digital age, when “one remark broadcast on the Internet can destroy a person,” Toohey remarked. The “right to be forgotten” originated in a 2014 decision by the European Court of Justice in a case involving Mario Costeja González.González, a Spanish man, filed a lawsuit with the court after a newspaper in Catalonia refused to delete a 1998 auction notice about his repossessed home. He argued the matter had been settled and no longer should appear in Google’s search results.The court sided with González and ordered Google to erase links to the pages at the newspaper that contained the auction information.In its ruling, the court noted that European citizens had the right to ask search engines to remove search result links that were “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive … in the light of the time that had elapsed.”Since the decision, some 3 million Europeans have made right-to-be-forgotten requests.However, the right applies only to European searches, a principle recently affirmed by the ECJ after France tried to expand the right globally.A number of UK and international free speech groups opposed France’s move, arguing that extending the power would encourage censorship in countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Google as Censor Because the blacklist site contained accurate information, it would have been an uphill battle for the surgeon to force it to take down the offending information about her.”They didn’t go after the site because they had no grounds,” said Adam Holland, a project manager at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University in Boston.However, “if they could render it invisible in Google, that’s practical obscurity, which is the next best thing to taking the information down,” he told TechNewsWorld.Right-to-be-forgotten cases have placed Google in the role of a censor, observed French Caldwell, CFO of The Analyst Syndicate, an IT research and analysis group in Washington, D.C.”The reason is it’s much easier to deal with Google from a regulatory enforcement standpoint than it is to deal with millions of source sites,” he told TechNewsWorld.”Google has been made the de facto censor of Europe,” Caldwell said. “That’s an awful lot of power to hand over to a private company.”The European Union has been asking Google to exercise judgment in circumstances that didn’t require it before, Robert E. Cattanach, a partner in the Dorsey law firm in Minneapolis, told TechNewsWorld.”Once you put that power in the hands of a platform, where’s the accountability?” he asked. “Who’s going to say to Google, ‘Take this down but leave this up’?” The ECJ adopted a black-and-white position on the right to be forgotten, Cattanach said.”They knew there would be places on the margin where … it would make no sense, but they were intimidated by the prospect of creating exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions, and getting bogged down forever in debate and drafting,” he explained.”So they made it an absolute right, and it trumps the rights, among others, of consumers to be given important public information about service providers,” Cattahach noted. “They decided to go with that even though they knew it would create some problems.”
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 15 2018Chapman University has been awarded an additional $2.9 million to study Alzheimer’s disease, adding an existing $4 million in grant funding for the ongoing project. Now totaling $6.9 million awarded by The National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, this grant will continue to support Professor Hillard Kaplan’s work with the Tsimane people in Bolivia, as part of a larger project called The Tsimane Health and Life History Project.The Tsimane tribe in Bolivia are of interest to the scientific community due to their status in the world of leading a relatively isolated existence, speaking their own language, only reproducing within the tribe, and living an active lifestyle due to the lack of modern conveniences. The Tsimane people have a low prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and artery disease, yet have high levels of infection and inflammation. Dr. Kaplan’s particular interest is in brain aging, with an emphasis on dementia and Alzheimer’s.Related StoriesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyResearchers discover new therapeutic target for treatment of Alzheimer’s diseaseTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CT”It is wonderful to see an anthropologist take a leadership role in an epidemiologic study of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dallas Anderson, Ph.D., program officer at the National Institute on Aging. “In a relatively short period, Professor Kaplan has obtained a major grant and three grant supplements from the National Institute on Aging. I think this clearly demonstrates the potential significance that we at the NIA see in this research. In particular, we are excited about the possibility of separating off cardiovascular disease and focusing on inflammation as a potential contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”During this second phase of the project, the neighboring Moseten tribe will also be studied. They are a similar population with low cardiovascular disease risks, but they have both higher rates of cardiovascular disease than Tsimane and more variation in lifestyle and metabolic risk factors.”This new funding will allow us to compare rates of Alzheimer’s disease in two Native American populations and to better assess the impacts of exercise and diet on dementia risk,” Dr. Kaplan said. “We are very excited to move forward. It is one of our last chances to study the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment with a large sample across multiple populations. These findings will have important implications for our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.” Source:https://www.chapman.edu/
Source:https://www.childrenscolorado.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 4 2018Researchers at Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) have identified a connection between overweight and obese teens’ sleep health and their insulin sensitivity. In what is believed to be the first study to use an objective measurement of circadian rhythm – salivary melatonin – to examine associations of sleep health with insulin sensitivity in adolescents, researchers found that shorter sleep duration, later weekday bedtimes and later circadian timing of sleep were associated with reduced insulin sensitivity in a cohort of adolescents with overweight/obesity during the school year. The related article was recently published in The Journal of Pediatrics.”More than 33 percent of adolescents in the U.S. are obese and at risk for health conditions such as type 2 diabetes,” said Stacey L. Simon, PhD, pediatric sleep psychologist in the Breathing Institute at Children’s Colorado and lead author of the study. “Insulin resistance is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and while insulin sensitivity decreases by approximately 50 percent in all adolescents during puberty, over half of teens with overweight/obesity demonstrate an even greater degree of insulin resistance. This puts them at particular risk for developing type 2 diabetes and related health conditions.””Knowing that traditional weight management interventions in general tend to be less effective for adolescents, we sought to look at alternative prevention and intervention measures, including how sleep health might play a role,” continued Simon. “Though a connection between short and delayed sleep and insulin resistance has been demonstrated in adults, it had not been studied extensively in adolescents.”Related StoriesRevolutionary gene replacement surgery restores vision in patients with retinal degenerationI’m a CPAP dropout: Why many lose sleep over apnea treatmentNew network for children and youth with special health care needs seeks to improve systems of careThirty-one adolescents between the ages of 14 and 19 with a body mass index (BMI) in the 90th percentile or higher for their age/sex were recruited for the study from Children’s Colorado’s weight management and other specialty clinics. Participants wore an actigraphy monitor, a watch-like device worn on the wrist that measures sleep duration and timing, for one week. After seven days, fasting labs and a three-hour oral glucose tolerance test were used to measure participants’ insulin sensitivity. They also stayed overnight at Children’s Colorado’s Clinical and Translational Research Center and provided saliva samples regularly to measure melatonin levels, a marker of circadian rhythm. Participants were in dim light throughout the visit to avoid the impact of light exposure on melatonin.Study results showed that, when comparing participants who slept less than 6.6 hours per night with those who slept at least 6.6 hours per night, the participants with more sleep had better insulin sensitivity. When analyzing melatonin and insulin sensitivity, better alignment between measures of circadian rhythms and actual bedtimes and waketimes was also associated with better insulin sensitivity.Although further research is needed to better understand the physiology underlying these observations, the study indicates potential for sleep and circadian interventions or delayed school day start times as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a possible means for improving metabolic health for this population.
Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 6 2019New research indicates that elderly men are significantly undertreated for osteoporosis compared with elderly women, and blacks have the lowest treatment rates among racial/ethnic groups. The findings are published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research.In the study of 8,465 male and 90,956 female Medicare beneficiaries with osteoporosis, the prevalence of osteoporosis medication use was substantially less in men than in women (25.2 percent versus 44.3 percent in 2006).Related StoriesStudy reveals dual effects of new osteoporosis therapy on bone tissueWomen exposed to common antibacterial more likely to develop osteoporosisPenn study reveals link between mitochondrial damage and osteoporosisBlacks had by far the lowest treatment rates (30 percent for women and 15.5 percent for men). Whites were in the middle (44.4 percent for women and 24.5 percent for men), and Asians had the highest rates (64.4 percent for women and 37.9 percent for men). Treatment rates among Hispanic women (46.5 percent) exceeded that of whites, but the rate for Hispanic men (19.3 percent) was significantly below that for white men.Bone mineral density testing significantly increased the probability of osteoporosis treatment use for both sexes, but more so for men.”We found that there was a significant gender disparity in osteoporosis treatment in the elderly in the United States,” said co-author Dr. Feng-Hua Ellen Loh, of Touro College, in New York. “To reduce this disparity and improve the overall osteoporosis management in the elderly in this country, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services should include men, in addition to women, in the Medicare Part C Star Rating measure for osteoporosis management, and the US Preventive Services Task Force should include elderly men, in addition to women aged 65 years and older, in the recommendation for screening for osteoporosis by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.” Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/journal-pharmaceutical-health-services-research/study-reveals-disparities-osteoporosis
In the future, these vehicles will be able to interact with the environment, collecting samples, moving debris and providing medical assistance or victim assessment.Building a better futureTo be truly useful, these systems must gain some independence. They must be able to modify their operations as they gather new information, yet follow and cooperate with humans at all times. We’ll need better artificial intelligence (AI) tools to get to that point. Only then will rescue robots learn to solve problems in the absence of data or human experience. Enhanced AI will enable robots to move themselves throughout their operating environment with minimal human assistance and to self-adapt in novel and groundbreaking ways. We need robots that can adapt their locomotion style automatically. They must be able to walk, run, roll, crawl, climb, jump, fly or swim, in response to changing environmental conditions.These tools will also ensure that autonomous robots can deal with unexpected situations or tasks that challenge their sensing, modelling, planning or movement capabilities.In the future, robots will have to be able to change their shape, geometry and movements based on the perceived terrain or task. Due to its design, the UAV that found the swimmers in Australia isn’t able to fly for more than 20 to 30 minutes or reach a distant location quickly —and still make it home. The limited battery power, small carrying capacity and a lack of adaptability in current SAR robotic devices severely limit their application. We need disaster response robots that can hover like helicopters, rapidly transition to high speed flight and penetrate challenging environments. These, along with humanoid SAR robots that use tools (power drills, hydraulic spreaders and shears and pick axes), are currently under development and will be a game changer.They will assist the responders and the victims, and reduce costs in ways we have yet to discover. Last week’s sea rescue of Australian swimmers by an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is just the start of a robotics revolution. Provided by The Conversation Citation: Robots to the rescue: Saving lives with unmanned vehicles (2018, January 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-robots-unmanned-vehicles.html A key focus of our research is to develop UAVs that can respond rapidly to urban disasters such as quickly locating victims in collapsed buildings following an earthquake. Explore further A search and rescue team from Los Angeles County pulls a woman from the rubble following the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Credit: U.S. Navy 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. On Jan. 18, an Australian lifeguard piloted a drone over the turbulent ocean off the far north coast of New South Wales to rescue two teens in distress. As thrilling as it was to watch a tiny drone drop a flotation device to the two struggling swimmers, the rescue was relatively easy, using proven robotic technology in an ideal, wide-open environment.Drones and UAVs have been used in search and rescue situations around the world for more than a decade. They have searched for victims inside collapsed buildings, collected disaster data, detected dangerous materials and conditions and deployed first aid kits. But the unmanned robotic systems we use today operate under severe constraints: They need a human to remotely steer the device or a strong GPS signal and open spaces to allow auto-piloted manoeuvring.First on the sceneThese robots don’t need to be smaller, more powerful, heat- or collision-resistant, contain more sensors or have better user interfaces. The real challenge for robotics researchers is to develop unmanned rescue robots that are capable of making independent decisions and have the ability to work unsupervised in confined, chaotic spaces. In the future, rescue drones will be the first on scene, scouring beneath collapsed buildings or looking for plane wreckage in the thick forest, seeking survivors that might otherwise take days to reach.The challenge for roboticists is to create unmanned vehicles that can adapt to unforeseen situations using previously acquired information and limited available resources. We won’t see the widespread deployment of Search and Rescue (SAR) robots until researchers find ways to improve the robots’ ability to move in confined spaces and boost their self-awareness, giving them the tools to recognize the intent of any given mission in unforeseen conditions.Urban search and rescueAs a professor at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering and the CEO of 4Front Robotics, I am developing technology and systems to enable and facilitate the use, deployment and further design of cost effective, highly manoeuvrable fast disaster response robotics. Unmanned ground, submarine and aerial vehicles can save lives, respond to disasters faster and contain an emergency situation more quickly than traditional techniques and tools. In August 2017, a five-storey building collapsed in Mumbai, India, killing 24 people. Rescue workers pulled 37 people from the building debris. If UAVs and robots had been available to search the site, more people might have been saved. In a typical collapsed building incident, it takes rescuers an average of five to eight hours to inspect the site to make sure it is safe to look for victims. UAVs and robots could shorten the delay.Full of potentialRobots were first used in urban SAR after the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. These devices had primarily been developed for the military or other applications, but several remote-controlled and tele-operated unmanned robotic systems bolstered the search and recovery efforts. They searched for paths in the rubble that would make it faster for rescue workers to excavate, search for victims and assess the building’s structure.Robots provided the needed quick response, and they were able to assess the site’s hazardous conditions that put the lives of rescuers, including the fire department, police and other personnel, at great risk. Despite this, the robots were not able to penetrate the depths of the building’s complex spaces, due to their limited mobility and the complexities of guiding them with a joystick.We’ve made great advances in robotics in the past 15 years. Drones can now be equipped with autopilot systems and vision systems that recognize people. They can identify dangerous situations such as the presence of explosive gases, and carry sensors that pick up geometrical features and humidity levels. They can identify objects buried within the rubble.The military is especially interested in developing highly manoeuvrable, flying UAVs with robotic arms that can navigate highly confined spaces and interact directly with their surroundings. For example, traditional drone systems such as helicopters and quad-rotors cannot perform the pitch-hover manoeuvres that would allow them to take off from, or land on, sloped mountain surfaces or vessels in rough seas. A Westpac Little Ripper drone helped rescue two teens off the coast of Australia by dropping a flotation device to them. Credit: Westpac Little Ripper Drones controlled with brain-computer interface This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
Low-cost technique for etching nanoholes in silicon could underpin new filtration and nanophotonic devices Explore further Making increasingly smaller microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) has proved very challenging, limiting their anticipated potential. Now, researchers at A*STAR have developed a versatile and cost-effective technique for making devices with much greater precision and reliability for use in biotechnology and medical applications. Provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore Tapered contact opening fabricated by new two-step plasma etching process. Credit: IEEE More information: Vladimir Bliznetsov et al. MEMS Industry-Worth Etching to Fabricate Tapered Structures in SiO2, Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (2017). DOI: 10.1109/JMEMS.2017.2755046 Citation: A flexible, low-cost technique could lead to the mass production of microelectromechanical systems (2018, March 16) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-flexible-low-cost-technique-mass-production.html MEMS are used in applications ranging from airbag systems and display screens, to inkjet cartridges. They are tiny devices that combine mechanical and electrical components. Current manufacturing technologies, however, are expensive and lack the precision for making devices with micron and sub-micron scale features.This led Vladimir Bliznetsov and colleagues from the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics to develop a versatile and low-cost method for fabricating MEMS at dimensions not previously possible, edging closer to the mass production of smaller and more reliable devices for a range of new applications.”MEMS are following the general trend of miniaturization in electronics, with devices that are reducing in size from the tens of microns to one micron or less,” says Bliznetsov. “But the techniques used to manufacture top metal contacts to devices with such microscopic dimensions are costly and unreliable.”Current methods for creating channels, called vias, with tapered sidewalls in MEMS at scales of five microns or less, are not dependable. The etching method, with sidewall polymerization, is not suitable as the width at the bottom of the vias shrink considerably. Another method, involving the transfer of a photoresist profile into an etched layer, limits the maximal depth of vias due to excessive loss of the photoresist mask resulting in unacceptably rough sidewalls. To overcome these restrictions, the researchers developed a two-step plasma etching process. This combines firstly photoresist tapering, which modifies the photoresist from a vertical to a tapered profile, and then an oxide etching with sidewall polymerization with better selectivity to photoresist. This produces vias with minimal dimensions down to 1.5 microns, and smooth sidewalls with angles of around 70 degrees.”We combined two effects which are usually harmful during the etching process—accelerated corner sputtering and sidewall polymerization,” explains Bliznetsov.Combining these processes into a two-step method achieves greater control over the etching process and produces micron-sized vias with smooth, tapered walls. And by minimizing the sidewall angle of the vias, it is possible to fabricate devices that can be better protected and have more reliable metal contacts, greatly improving their performance.”Precise control of sidewall angle has use in many applications, and we are now planning to fabricate functional magnetic memory cells, which require pillars of magnetic material with sidewalls having a specific angle,” says Bliznetsov. 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.
Germany’s biggest lender Deutsche Bank on Friday admitted to a massive erroneous transfer of 28 billion euros ($34 billion) in a routine operation, more than the entire bank is worth. Deutsche Telekom rings up big profits thanks to US tax reform Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Oops…Deutsche Bank makes 28bn euro transfer in error (2018, April 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-oopsdeutsche-bank-28bn-euro-error.html © 2018 AFP The unprecedented mistake happened on March 16 when Deutsche Bank carried out a transfer to an account at Deutsche Boerse’s Eurex clearing house, a spokesman told AFP.The operation was meant to involve a far smaller sum, which the bank has not revealed, and highlights IT and control issues at the banking giant.Accounting errors happen most days, but the sum involved in this case is highly unusual and even exceeds Deutsche’s market capitalisation of 24 billion euros.The incident, which came shortly before John Cryan was ousted as chief executive, was quickly fixed and no harm was done, the institution said.But it raises questions about the risk management and control processes within the bank, which Cryan was meant to have greatly improved since his arrival in 2016.Given sole command of the lender in 2016 after the departure of co-CEO Juergen Fitschen, Cryan’s task was to restructure Deutsche and clean up the toxic legacy of its pre-financial crisis bid to compete with global investment banking giants.But Deutsche has yet to return to profitability, while the share price has slumped more than 50 percent in the past two years—around 30 percent this year alone.In a sign of the bank’s ongoing internal tussles, Deutsche on Wednesday announced the departure of its IT and infrastructure chief Kim Hammonds, who had reportedly called the bank the “most dysfunctional company” that she had worked for. The sum in the mistaken transfer exeeds Deutsche’s market cap
Credit: Apple ©2018 The Dallas Morning News Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Take the example of my parents, who are retired and happy iPad users. In fact, both my parents are on their second iPads, and I’d venture to say they get used many times per day.I also know many young children who devour screen time with great gusto. Parents realize the iPad can keep a kid occupied (and quiet) for hours at a time.Apple seems to have settled on a size and design for the iPad that has stayed true for several years (as they have with the iPhone’s design).They’ve also settled on a price ($329) for the entry-level iPad.So it came as no surprise Apple introduced its newest iPad a few weeks ago with the same form-factor and the same $329 entry price. But a new model means a few new features, so let’s take a look at what’s new.I’ve been testing the 2018 Apple iPad with Wi-Fi and Cellular with 128 gigabytes of storage, which costs $559. iPad 2018This year’s iPad looks an awful lot like last year’s iPad.It retains the same 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution 9.7-inch Retina display with the same bezels and the same Touch ID sensor in the home button.The physical dimensions are also the same (9.4 by 6.6 by 0.29 inches), and it weighs just over one pound. All cases and accessories for last year’s iPad will fit.Apple has taken to just calling it iPad, with no other designator.It is available with 32 or 128 gigabytes of internal storage. It charges with the same lightning port as previous models.Set down, side by side, it looks identical to last year’s model.This year’s iPad has the same cameras—an 8-megapixel main camera with an f/2.4 lens and 1080p HD video recording. The front-facing camera has a 1.2 megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 lens and 720p HD video capture.Inside you’ll find 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and an optional 4G LTE cellular radio for use on GSM and CDMA networks.The 32.4-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery should last for up to 10 hours of use. I found that to be accurate.The 2018 iPad has the same button placement and the same pair of speakers on the bottom. It also still has a headphone jack.So what’s new? 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. The Apple iPad is a gadget that appeals to a really wide audience. Apple unveils pencil support for $329 iPad at school event Citation: Review: Apple’s New iPad is the best tablet for almost everybody (2018, April 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-apple-ipad-tablet.html There isn’t much new on the inside.The no-brainer update is to the processor.Every updated iPad model has had a faster processor than its predecessor, and the 2018 iPad is no exception. It comes with the A10 Fusion chip, which is the same one from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus introduced in 2016. Last year’s iPad had an A9 processor, which was also used in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.The biggest improvement is the ability to use Apple’s Pencil.The 2018 iPad is the tablet almost everybody needs.Apple had kept the pencil for buyers of their high-end iPad Pro line, but this time they’ve brought pencil compatibility down to the masses.Using the pencil on the 2018 iPad is the same as using it on the iPad Pro. The pencil is pressure sensitive, and you can change the thickness of the drawing as you tilt the tip on the screen.The pencil remains expensive, as compared to the price of the iPad. The iPad introduction also brought an announcement of a cheaper ($50) stylus from Logitech called Crayon, but it doesn’t have pressure sensitivity. Nice to see Apple letting others in on the stylus market.Of course, you could just use your finger. The pencil is not required.The 2018 iPad introduction was held at a Chicago high school, as this iPad is aimed squarely at the education market. Apple thinks schools are ready to buy lots of iPads and pencils for their students.Academic pricing starts at just $299 for the 2018 iPad and $89 for the Apple Pencil ($99 for the rest of us).There are still Windows laptops and Chromebooks that cost less than the iPad, so Apple is hoping educators and administrators take note.Thoughts?I frequently get asked to recommend tablets, and without fail, I point people to the iPad.These days there are only three iPad models to choose from—the 7.9-inch iPad mini, the 2018 iPad and the iPad Pros.Would be nice to see the bezels get smaller (think iPhone X), but I’m guessing Apple will save that design for the next iPad Pro.Speaking of the iPad Pro, now that the “regular iPad” can use the Apple Pencil, why would anyone want to spend $300 more for an iPad Pro?If you’ve ever wished your iPad was faster or had a bigger screen or you need to run two or three apps at the same time, then you should look at the iPad Pro. Designers and photographers are the target market for the iPad Pro.For everyone else, the 2018 iPad is the model I’d recommend for everyone who doesn’t need to make their living with an iPad.If you have a 2017 iPad, I’d hold off on upgrading unless you really need to use the pencil. If you have an iPad Air 2 or older iPad and it’s time for you to upgrade, you will be delighted with the new iPad.PricingThe new iPad is available in space gray, silver and gold in 32gb and 128gb for $329 and $429 for the Wi-Fi model. Add $130 for LTE. The Apple pencil is $99.Pros: Faster. Supports the Apple Pencil.Cons: Bezels give it a dated look. Speakers could be louder.Bottom line: The iPad for the masses is quite worthy of the title. Explore further
Professor Dahiya said: “Human skin is an incredibly complex system capable of detecting pressure, temperature and texture through an array of neural sensors that carry signals from the skin to the brain.”Inspired by real skin, this project will harness the technological advances in electronic engineering to mimic some features of human skin, such as softness, bendability and now, also sense of touch. This skin will not just mimic the morphology of the skin but also its functionality.”Brainy Skin is critical for the autonomy of robots and for a safe human-robot interaction to meet emerging societal needs such as helping the elderly.”This latest advance means tactile data is gathered over large areas by the synthetic skin’s computing system rather than sent to the brain for interpretation.With additional EPSRC funding, which extends Professor Dahiya’s fellowship by another three years, he plans to introduce tactile skin with neuron-like processing. This breakthrough in the tactile sensing research will lead to the first neuromorphic tactile skin, or ‘brainy skin.’To achieve this, Professor Dahiya will add a new neural layer to the e-skin that he has already developed using printing silicon nanowires.Professor Dahiya added: “By adding a neural layer underneath the current tactile skin, neuPRINTSKIN will add significant new perspective to the e-skin research, and trigger transformations in several areas such as robotics, prosthetics, artificial intelligence, wearable systems, next-generation computing, and flexible and printed electronics.” A robotic hand covered in ‘brainy skin’ that mimics the human sense of touch is being developed by scientists. Provided by University of Glasgow University of Glasgow’s Professor Ravinder Dahiya has plans to develop ultra-flexible, synthetic Brainy Skin that ‘thinks for itself’.The super-flexible, hypersensitive skin may one day be used to make more responsive prosthetics for amputees, or to build robots with a sense of touch.Brainy Skin reacts like human skin, which has its own neurons that respond immediately to touch rather than having to relay the whole message to the brain.This electronic ‘thinking skin’ is made from silicon based printed neural transistors and graphene – an ultra-thin form of carbon that is only an atom thick, but stronger than steel.The new version is more powerful, less cumbersome and would work better than earlier prototypes, also developed by Professor Dahiya and his Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) team at the University’s School of Engineering.His futuristic research, called neuPRINTSKIN (Neuromorphic Printed Tactile Skin), has just received another £1.5m funding from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further The touchy-feely robot coming soon Credit: University of Glasgow Citation: Synthetic ‘brainy skin’ with sense of touch gets £1.5m funding (2018, July 3) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-robotic-brainy-skin-mimics-human.html Credit: University of Glasgow
Aimed at easing passenger load from Beijing’s other two airports, Daxing International Airport is scheduled to become operational in June 2019, said Li Jianhua, vice chairman of Beijing City Planning New Airport Construction.It will operate at full capacity by 2025 with eight runways expected to transport 72 million passengers annually—making it set to be the world’s busiest airport. The International Air Transport Association has forecast that by 2020, existing airports in Beijing, Manila and Singapore will have reached full capacity. “All our projects have finished on time or ahead of schedule and our techniques are all in line with international standards,” Li told journalists on Thursday during a site visit.Built at a cost of 63.9 billion yuan ($9.35 billion), the new airport will use some 200,000 tonnes of steel, the same amount used in building China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier, Li said.He added that builders have been working at a rate equivalent to putting up one 18-storey building a day. Inside the construction site, beams of light shone through the glass roof illuminating the dark insides of the building. Li Jianhua, vice chairman of Beijing City Planning New Airport Construction, said all their projects had been on time or ahead of schedule A slew of propaganda posters encouraging occupational health and safety are strung up across the site with a giant Chinese flag hung up in the centre of the building.Some 7.8 billion people are forecast to fly worldwide by 2036 with nearly half of passengers flying to, from, or within Asia Pacific said IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac earlier this year. Amid farmlands on the outskirts of Beijing, a massive construction site rising above the horizon bustles with activity as 8,000 workers build a new mega airport. Explore further IATA chief warns about rising cost of airport expansion The new airport has cost 63.9 billion yuan and used the same amount of steel as China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier More than 8,000 workers are on the site building Beijing’s second major international airport Beijing’s new airport will have eight runways and is expected to be used by 72 million passengers annually The new airport has cost 63.9 billion yuan and used the same amount of steel as China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier Citation: Beijing’s massive new airport ‘on time’ for 2019 launch (2018, August 31) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-beijing-massive-airport.html More than 8,000 workers are on the site building Beijing’s second major international airport © 2018 AFP 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.
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. Reported cases of the bogus online investment surged to more than 1,800 in 2018/2019.That contrasted sharply with just 530 reported cases in the previous 2017/2018 financial year.The total amount stolen meanwhile hit £27 million ($34 million, 31 million euros), with an average loss per victim of £14,600.The data was collated by the Financial Conduct Authority regulator and Action Fraud UK, which is Britain’s national centre for reporting fraud and cybercrime.The two organisations have joined together to raise awareness.Criminals promote “get rich quick” schemes on social media, urging people to invest cash on fraudulent online trading platforms. “These figures are startling and provide a stark warning that people need to be wary of fake investments on online trading platforms,” said Action Fraud director Pauline Smith.”It’s vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they’re considering is legitimate.” © 2019 AFP Explore further The number of cryptocurrency and foreign exchange-based “get rich quick” scams is booming in Britain, authorities warned on Tuesday. How cryptocurrency scams work Citation: UK warns over online trading scams (2019, May 21) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-uk-online-scams.html “It’s vital that people carry out the necessary checks to ensure that an investment they’re considering is legitimate,” Pauline Smith, director of Action Fraud, Britain’s national centre for reporting fraud and cybercrime, said of cryptocurrencies
The researchers chose a conservative approach and initially collected real data on electricity consumption, heating requirements and hot water consumption in Switzerland. These data then served as the basis for a thought experiment. Switzerland’s electricity requirements are still quite easy to determine: The Swiss grid operator Swissgrid provides detailed values for every quarter of an hour on every day of the year. Heating energy and hot water requirements are becoming more difficult. The Empa experts used data from the district heating supplier REFUNA, which supplies several communities in the lower Aare Valley with waste heat from the Beznau nuclear power plant. A data analysis showed that the heat requirement of the connected houses correlates quite well with the outside temperature—and at nights warmer than 18 degrees Celsius, the heat is therefore only used for process water and shower water.Electrifying heating systems and carsFor their thought experiment, the researchers made various presumptions. Firstly, most Swiss residents behave like people in the lower Aare Valley and live in similar buildings. Secondly, in order to get away from heating oil and natural gas, the heating requirements of all buildings will first be reduced by around 42% through renovation measures; then 3/4 of the remaining heating requirements in houses and apartments renovated in this way will be realised with electric heat pumps. And thirdly: Mobility will be electrified to the extent that approximately 2/3 of all private car journeys can take place electrically, which corresponds to approximately 20% of all kilometres driven. Freight traffic and long-haul journeys, on the other hand, are not so easy to convert, which is why they were excluded from the electrification of mobility in the study. If we want to get rid of fossil fuels nationwide, there is a lot to do. It will be a generation project, that much is clear. Empa researchers Martin Rüdisüli, Sinan Teske and Urs Elber have now calculated how long and steep the road to a sustainable energy system might be; their study was published at the end of June in the journal Energies. The energy system of the future and Power-to-X Provided by Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology In winter, the production of solar power drops sharply, but this is precisely when the demand for electricity is highest. How can we close this gap? Credit: Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology More information: Martin Rüdisüli et al. Impacts of an Increased Substitution of Fossil Energy Carriers with Electricity-Based Technologies on the Swiss Electricity System, Energies (2019). DOI: 10.3390/en12122399 Nuclear power plants no longer play a role in the Empa study—because the phase-out of nuclear power has been decided since the referendum on the Energy Act of May 2017. Therefore, the researchers expected a strong expansion of photovoltaics; half of all roof surfaces in Switzerland rated as good to outstandingly suitable within the framework of the www.sonnendach.ch project are equipped with solar cells. This corresponds to about one third of all roof areas in Switzerland.How much does the demand for electricity increase?Next, the researchers determined the resulting electricity consumption, which is likely to rise by around 13.7 terawatt hours per year due to heat pumps and electric vehicles—i.e. by around 25 percent compared to today. Even more alarming than this significant increase in consumption, however, was the temporal gap between electricity generation and demand: solar cells produce the most electricity in summer—but heat pumps and heated cars require a particularly large amount of electricity in winter. This results in a seasonal supply gap.This could be compensated for by importing electricity from neighbouring countries, as is already the case today in the case of shortages. But our CO2 balance will probably suffer as a result—because electricity from Europe often massively worsens the CO2 balance of Switzerland, which has been so carefully electrified. Heat pumps and electric cars therefore benefit the climate the most if the electricity required for them is also renewable.What do the researchers suggest?However, the Empa study also provides some valuable information on how to implement a low-CO2 energy system. Firstly, it makes most sense to replace oil-fired heating systems with heat pumps if the buildings are insulated using state-of-the-art technology. Because a heat pump without appropriate insulation is significantly less efficient. Secondly, each nuclear power plant must be replaced with about eight times the photovoltaic output. Why? A nuclear power plant delivers around 8,000 hours of electricity per year—a solar cell, however, only 1,000 hours. This means a large number of solar panels—on all available surfaces. Thirdly, we need as much storage capacity as possible for solar energy—both local battery storage facilities and pumped storage facilities as well as other storage technologies, in particular (geothermal) heat storage facilities, but also technologies for converting electricity into chemical energy sources. This is because the sun shines strong enough only a few hours a day to fill the storages. For the rest of the time, the stored energy has to last.Fourthly, we must create seasonal heat storage facilities so that the electricity requirements of the heat pumps can be reduced in winter. Fifthly, we need to better match energy supply and demand. There will be plenty of solar power and heat in summer, but in winter renewable energy in particular will be a rare (and therefore expensive) commodity in the future. Sixthly—and this is the good news: electromobility does not make the balance tilt. Under the assumptions made, the daily charging of electric vehicles at home, at work or when shopping generates only relatively low peaks in electricity demand compared with the electrical heat supply. A prerequisite for this, however, is appropriate networks with sufficient capacity.If further renewable energies such as wind power, geothermal energy, more biomass and a little more hydropower are realised in winter in the future, the coverage gap will shrink, however, it will probably not be possible to close it completely. The electrification of heat and mobility alone will therefore not solve the problem. “For the sustainable conversion of our energy system to succeed, we need both short- and long-term—i.e. seasonal—energy storage technologies. That is why we should not play off energy sectors against each other, but keep all technical options open,” says Martin Rüdisüli. And Sinan Teske adds: “We must learn from nature how to deal with solar energy, which is not available all year round. We could store as much as possible in summer and limit our needs in winter. Or we could look for partners in the southern hemisphere of the earth who can harvest solar energy and deliver it to Switzerland when winter is here, and vice versa.” Citation: Can Switzerland succeed without fossil fuels? (2019, July 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-switzerland-fossil-fuels.html Explore further 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.