No Point in Testing Controversial Stem Cell Treatment, Italian Panel Says

first_imgItalian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin Italian Ministry of Health ROME—An expert panel that the Italian government asked to come up with a trial design for a controversial Italian stem cell therapy has thrown in the towel. The group, made up of top Italian scientists, has concluded that the treatment—designed by the Stamina Foundation and the focus of an intense public debate in Italy—has no scientific foundation and that there is no point in doing the study, for which the Italian government has allocated €3 million.The panel has sent its verdict to Italian Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin today, according to a ministry spokesperson; Lorenzin is now reviewing the report, which will be released tomorrow, the spokesperson says. But a source with inside knowledge of the deliberations told ScienceInsider earlier this week that the panel, in a meeting on 29 August, concluded that the Stamina method has no scientific merit. Italian news agency ANSA reported the same in a story published last night.“The rationale on which the treatment is based was found to be both unclear and scientifically inconsistent,” according to the source, “while there was no evidence of efficacy in growing new neurons.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Stamina’s mesenchymal stem cell therapy has inflamed a passionate debate in Italy. Stem cell scientists say it lacks any scientific credibility, but patients and their supporters have demanded that the therapy be made available for a range of diseases for which Stamina claims benefit. In May, the Italian Parliament decided that the therapy should undergo a formal clinical trial; in July, Italy’s new minister of health, Lorenzin, appointed a top-level scientific committee to review Stamina’s clinical protocol and design the study.The panel has concluded that Stamina President Davide Vannoni has not released records of any preclinical studies conducted by Stamina and “there is no data concerning the quality of the cellular preparation,” according to ScienceInsider’s source. For instance, Stamina has been unable to show the presence of proteins that stem cells are expected to express when they form new neurons.Elena Cattaneo, director of the UniStem stem cell center at the University of Milan—who last week was appointed an Italian senator for life—says she is not surprised. “This entire mess has been caused by a short circuit of politics,” she says, referring to the fact that Italian politicians decided on the trial as a way out of a political problem.Reached by ScienceInsider on Wednesday, Vannoni said he had not yet heard about the rejection and said he’s surprised the panel did not ask to see medical records of any of the patients already treated at the hospital in Brescia where the foundation operates. “They are doing very well,” he said.Vannoni says that he presented those records in a judicial appeal against the appointment of the scientific panel, at the civilian court of the Lazio region. The panel’s impartiality is in question, Vannoni says, because more than half of its members expressed a negative opinion on Stamina before the committee was appointed. Several leading members of the panel declined to comment, including Fabrizio Oleari, president of the Italian National Institute of Health; Alessandro Nanni Costa, director of the National Transplant Centre; and Luca Pani, director of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), which shut down Stamina’s operation over a year ago.Stamina provided the committee with a description of its methods on 1 August, but Lorenzin has not allowed members to share it with anyone, despite an open letter from the Italian stem cell community urging the protocol to be released for scientific scrutiny.In 2012, stem cell scientist Massimo Dominici of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia analyzed the composition of Vannoni’s treatment at the request of AIFA and Italian magistrates investigating the foundation for alleged fraud. Dominici—who’s president-elect of the International Society for Cellular Therapy—says that he found no evidence of newly grown neurons in Stamina’s product, while stem cells were present only at “homeopathic doses.” In July, a story in Nature claimed that Stamina’s U.S. patent application was based on flawed data.The committee’s advice puts minister Lorenzin in a difficult position: She is under strong pressure from patients who want to undergo Stamina’s therapy and are eager to have the trial proceed, while top scientists are telling her to abandon the idea. Complicating matters, the fraud investigation against the foundation—which is alleged to have treated patients with unapproved therapies in exchange for money—is ongoing.Vannoni said on Wednesday that he was in Africa to negotiate a trial with government officials of a country he declined to identify. Two other countries—one in Europe and one in Asia—are interested in testing his method as well, he says. Another option would be to develop the therapy further at the Diabetes Research Institute in Hollywood, Florida, Vannoni says. Camillo Ricordi, the institute’s scientific director, tells ScienceInsider that he has offered Vannoni to fast-track a study. “We find more and more evidence that real breakthroughs in medicine do not come only from traditional science, but also from nonprofessionals, people who try to cure patients with controversial strategies,” Ricordi says.last_img read more

New Taj Vivanta Hotel to Come Up at London’s Heathrow Airport

first_imgIndian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has signed an agreement with Hayre Group Limited in the United Kingdom to open the first Vivanta hotel in London. The hotel will come up at Heathrow Airport in the city.  The new hotel will be extended across Terminal 1, 2 and 3 of airport, IHCL said in a statement. It will have 108 rooms, an all-day diner, a bar and lounge, a gym as well as banqueting and meeting space facilities. The property will get operational in 2021.  “IHCL was the first Indian hospitality company to foray into the United Kingdom with the St. James’ Court Hotel in 1982,” Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO, IHCL, said in a statement. “Today, we are proud to partner with Hayre Group Limited in bringing the first Vivanta branded hotel to London. This signing is in line with our growth strategy of adding hotels in key locations globally,” he added. The Vivanta brand caters to the upscale segment of business and leisure travelers. The new hotel will also have the fourth outpost of Bombay Brasserie, which is known for its authentic Bombay and Indian cuisine, the IHCL statement said. Announcing the partnership, Talwinder Hayre, Director, Hayre Group, expressed his happiness in introducing the Vivanta brand to the UK market. “We look forward to bringing the legendary Indian hospitality to London Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world,” he said. The new property will be the third hotel run by IHCL in London. The company already operates the St.James’ Court, and the luxurious Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences in the city.  Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences is a five-star hotel in Central London. The hotel, which consists of 85 suites, is located between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Cathedral, the citadels of British monarchy.  St.James’ Court, which has 313 rooms and 25 suites, is located in Central London SW1, just footsteps from the Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Park. The IHCL and its subsidiaries offer hospitality brands such as Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta and Ginger. The company’s first hotel was the Taj Mahal Palace, set up in Bombay in 1903. IHCL currently has a portfolio of 165 hotels, including 20 under development globally across 12 countries in four continents, and in over 80 locations.   Related ItemsHeathrow AirportLondontaj hotelslast_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2018: Stats of the Day – Day 21

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementItaly’s Paolo Rossi. Photo Credits: Getty ImagesGreetings folks! We are back again with today’s edition of FIFA’s “Stats of the Day” feature. Read about all the interesting trivia associated with your favourite footballers and teams right here.Here is an excerpt of FIFA’s “Stats of the Day”: 1982 – Competition favourites Brazil lose 3-2 to Italy in a second-round match and are eliminated from the tournament. The competition’s top scorer Palo Rossi hits a hat-trick.2006 – In his side’s 1-0 semi-final win against Portugal, France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez keeps his tenth clean sheet at the FIFA World Cup, a record he shares with England’s Peter Shilton.2014 – Officiating the quarterfinal Netherlands-Costa Rica, Ravshan Irmatov becomes the first referee to officiate nine World Cup matches, surpassing Mexico’s Archundia, Uruguay’s Larrionda and the French Quiniou all with eight matches.To read more click here: FIFA Stats of the Day: July 5 Read also: FIFA World Cup 2018: Stats of the Day – Day 20Football: Twitterati goes crazy on England’s exceptional win in the World Cup on penalties.last_img read more

TFA WELCOMES 2008 WITH NEW WEBSITE LAUNCH

first_imgTouch Football Australia would like to welcome all members back for 2008, and we look forward continuing to grow the sport in the year ahead. We tap-off the year by introducing to you our exciting new website, which contains many new and existing features including TFA Video with video clips from Touch Football events, and the Associations in Focus section will feature links to associations from across the country, and the affiliate and volunteer focused TFA Clubhouse.There are many more new features on our homepage, so be sure to explore them all. There may be some initial temporary technical difficulties as the page is transferred and if you have any problems please contact Tara Steel tara.steel@austouch.com.au or phone (07) 3247 1733.Touch Football Australia wish all our members the best for 2008 and hope you enjoy the new website!last_img read more

A Key Ohio State Starter Isn’t Dressed For Today’s Game vs. Nebraska

first_imgUrban Meyer talking to the Ohio State football team before a game.PISCATAWAY, NJ – OCTOBER 24: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes talks to his team before a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)Ohio State’s defense will apparently be without a key starter against Nebraska at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio this afternoon.The Buckeyes will not have starting safety Isaiah Pryor against the Huskers today.Pryor, a sophomore, is not in uniform.The starting defensive back is down on the field about an hour before kickoff against Nebraska, but he’s not dressed.Ohio State safety Isaiah Pryor will not play against Nebraska. pic.twitter.com/Qmr24sw8S1— Wyatt Crosher (@wcrosher) November 3, 2018The reason for Pryor’s absence today is not clear. No injury had been reported.Ohio State and Nebraska are set to kick off at noon E.T.The game is on FOX.last_img read more

French president says China will buy 184 Airbus jets

first_imgBEIJING, China – China plans to buy 184 Airbus A320 jetliners, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday, in a diplomatic tradition aimed at defusing trade complaints.Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government “will preserve parity” in market share between Airbus and its U.S. rival, Boeing, said Macron at a news conference.China often times announcements of purchases of aircraft and other big-ticket items to coincide with visits by foreign leaders in an effort to defuse trade tensions.Macron said details have yet to be completed and he gave no financial figures. At the list price for A320s, the order could total $18 billion, but large buyers often get deep discounts.“China will preserve its volume of purchases in the future and will preserve parity in market share between Airbus and Boeing,” Macron said.last_img read more

British Minister of State visits Guyana

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedUpdate: President Granger meets Queen Elizabeth, pushes ‘green agenda’April 27, 2017In “latest news”President Granger departs for UK …to meet Queen, British MPs, business community, Guyanese diasporaApril 24, 2017In “latest news”Guyana a reliable partner in the fight against climate change – President GrangerSeptember 21, 2016In “latest news” President David Granger, today, was paid a courtesy call by British Minister of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Anelay of St. Johns DBE. The British Minister, who is visiting Guyana for the first time, is on a three country tour in the region and also met with the Guyanese Head of State last week in London, the MOTP stated.The President in conversation with British Minister of State, Rt. Hon. Baroness Anelay during her visit to the State House (MOTP photo)President Granger first met Baroness Anelay on the side-lines of the United Nations’ 71st General Assembly in September 2016, where they discussed the revival of the Security Sector Reform Action Plan (SSRAP). The President had also been in discussion with former United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Greg Quinn on the matter.Last year, a team visited the country to perform scoping works to prepare for the arrival of the senior advisor and in January of this year, British Senior Security Sector Reform Advisor, Mr. Russell Combe arrived in Guyana. The programme had been scrapped in 2009 by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Administration after the British Government had requested oversight of the programme. Since taking up Office, however, President Granger had made a priority the re-engagement with the British to ensure the implementation of the plan stating that security sector reform is important to ensuring that Guyana’s borders are properly protected and that its police force is strengthened.During this visit, Baroness Anelay will also meet with the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, and members of the private sector. The British Minister had announced that she would be visiting Guyana from May 1-3 at the Caribbean Council’s House of Lords Annual Reception on April 25.  read more

SNCLavalin wins contract with Jordan Phosphate Mines Co JPMC

first_imgSNC-Lavalin in Europe has been awarded an EPCM contract to build a grassroots sulphuric/phosphoric acid complex including utilities and a power plant in Eshidya, Jordan by JIFCO, a joint venture company owned by JPMC and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative.  JPMC is a leading phosphate rock, phosphoric acid and fertiliser producer in Jordan, and IFFCO is the largest fertiliser producer and distributor cooperative in India. The total estimated investment value of the project is about $625 million. SNC-Lavalin will provide overall project management, detailed design, proprietary equipment items and construction management for the facilities. This world-class complex will have a capacity of 500,000 t/y of phosphoric acid. It includes a single line sulphuric acid plant with a capacity of 4,500 t/d, making it the largest single stream unit in the world.“This contract reflects our notable experience and technical capabilities in the fertiliser field” said Jean Claude Pingat, Executive Vice-President, SNC-Lavalin Group and President, SNC-Lavalin in Europe. “It is also an excellent example of how SNC-Lavalin creates synergies among its various areas of expertise to bring added value to its clients, in this case the provision and integration of sulphuric and phosphoric acid plants and other associated facilities.”Work will begin immediately and production start-up is expected before the end of 2012.last_img read more

Ukrainian security forces fail to retake Kiev city hall after clashes

first_imgUKRAINIAN SECURITY FORCES have moved away from the Kiev city hall after a failed bid to retake the building from some 200 opposition activists who have occupied it for over a week, an AFP correspondent reports.The buses of the Berkut anti-riot police drove away from the building after failing to storm it due to the sheer number of demonstrators and after they were hosed with freezing water by activists inside.Riot police officers during a clash with pro-European Union activists near the city hall entrance in Kiev, Ukraine. Pic: AP Photo/Efrem LukatskyPolice used truncheons outside the building to beat protestors, who responded with sticks.Meanwhile, demonstrators inside the building sprayed police on the street with freezing water from a fire hose, forcing them to retreat into police buses.Amid an increasingly tense standoff, thousands of protesters came to picket the city hall where deputies from the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) movement held negotiations with the security forces over their next course of action.Pro-European Union activists take away police shields from a police bus during a clash with riot police officers. Pic: AP Photo/Efrem LukatskyThe members of the security forces remained holed up in their buses parked outside the front entrance surrounded by protesters and it was not clear if they would be able to launch a new bid to assault the building.Meanwhile activists proudly waved flags of the Svoboda party and Ukraine from the upper floors to show that they remained in control of the building. Those on the ground chanted the main slogans of the protest movement, such as “Out with the gang!”.- © AFP, 2013Read: Demonstrators topple Lenin statue in giant Ukraine protest>last_img read more

What is the TMobile Hercules by Samsung

first_imgT-Mobile’s relationship with Android has been interesting. As the carrier to first bring Android to the US, and the one that allowed Google to launch all of their developer phones on their network, the lads in magenta have definitely been responsible for much of the success Android has had. Their developers have even contributed to the Android ecosystem, with their release of the Android 2.3 friendly theme system that is now included in CyanogenMod.It’s not always been a great ride, however, with Android fanatics growing increasingly upset with the carrier for being the only one without an Android powered 4.3-inch device. Wouldn’t it be funny if, after months of seeing customers beg for a larger screened Android phone like the EVO or the Thunderbolt, T-Mobile would turn around and drop a 4.5-inch monster like the Samsung Infuse on AT&T? Well, apparently that’s exactly what they plan to do.AdChoices广告According to an exclusive landed by the crew at This is My Next, Samsung has prepared an answer to the Infuse that is internally being called the Hercules. This phone is not even being evaluated by T-Mobile yet, but it is clear that the device has been built to ride the magenta wave as it crashes into AT&T and survive. The radio in it supports the 42Mbps theoretical speeds of T-Mobiles HSPA+ network, but is also AWS 850/1900 ready, so it will move gracefully into the architecture AT&T has proposed should the merger actually complete before this phone becomes obsolete. This radio configuration has been seen before (LG G2X), however, as it was originally reported that several recent T-Mobile phone would be “merger-proof” that turned out to be false.The screen is 4.5-inch, so just a hair larger than the EVO or Thunderbolt, but if the Infuse reviews are any indication the device will feel simply massive in the hand. I have to wonder about these reviews, however, as they sound familiar to what we heard when the EVO first came out, earning the phone the moniker of “clownphone” for a little while. The screen size is likely not as bad as preliminary reviews would cast it. What is kind of disappointing about the screen, however, is the decision to stick with 480×800 resolution. A larger screen with the same pixel density of a smaller screen will cause images to be far less sharp than recent qHD devices like the Sensation and the EVO 3D, but with Samsung as the manufacturer I am sure this Super Amoled+ screen will be erupting with vibrant colors and deep blacks, just like the Infuse.Adding fuel to the speculation that Apple is busy buying up an arsenal of parts for their next device, this phone will be dual-core, but not made by Samsung. Instead, Qualcomm’s 1.2GHz dual core processor will replace the Exynos chip that Samsung has been working on for some time. This could seriously affect the functionality of the device, considering the massive differences in performance we’re hearing already about the Galaxy S2 over devices like the EVO 3D.Some of the odds and ends this Android 2.3 device will have strapped on will be an NFC chip, an MHL port, and an 8MP camera. So far Samsung has been the only manufacturer to really step up to NFC, but it is still unknown if this chip will support the ISIS payment gateway compliant or not. The MHL capabilities of the Hercules will remove the need for a dedicated HDMI port, but still requires a special cable that has yet to be included with a phone as well as an MHL compliant television to use it. The camera on this phone will be capable of recording at 1080p out of the box, and will include an undescribed front facing camera to complement it.So there you have it. The Hercules doesn’t really have a release timeframe, but it is being pretty highly speculated that this is being pitched to T-Mobile as the answer to the next iPhone, as well as potentially of the first “merger-proof” devices that are coming to the network at the end of this year. If that is in fact the purpose, the question the becomes, would you stand in line for this phone?last_img read more

Want a micro USB adapter for your iPhone Apple now sells them

first_imgAfter a big Apple announcement, like yesterday’s for the iPhone 4S, there are often so many major details, pressing questions, and armchair analysis that some relatively minor details can almost slip through the cracks. While it wasn’t announced in the actual keynote, one interesting piece of info from yesterday is that Apple is actually set to sell micro USB adapters for the iPhone.But wait, citizens of the world, before you start getting excited about a new flexibility in Apple’s approach, there’s a catch: the adapter will only be available in the 27 countries that are members of the EU.Is Apple suddenly favoring Europeans, or using the European Union as a beta testing ground for new products? Of course not. This move has been made strictly to comply with new EU regulations. The new rules require cell phone makers to move towards universal charging compatibility, by including micro USB connection. There is a caveat that makes adapters allowed under the provisions, so there you have it.Apparently the EU’s rules don’t require the micro USB compatibility out of the box, because the adapter will cost EU iPhone owners another 9 € (about $12). It is reported to have already shown up in Apple Stores across the European Union.Will it also charge the iPad, iPod touch, or even music-only iPods? Considering they have the same proprietary connection, it would seem so, but it isn’t specifically addressed. Since Apple is only making this product available out of necessity for cell phones, they have no reason to flaunt its compatibility with other devices. It was mentioned that it would not work with the original iPhone.With most Android phones and tablets having micro-USB connections – along with a variety of devices ranging from Bluetooth headsets to e-readers – making iDevices a little more adaptable should be welcomed by many users. There have been third-party adapters available to do this for some time, but they tend to look a little gaudy, and lack that slick Apple finish (that was probably part of what made you buy the gadget in the first place, right?).Will Apple make this accessory available in the US (and the rest of the world) any time soon? I’d say no way. It was released out of pure necessity to avoid problems selling their products in 27 countries. They don’t care if a few customers in North America think it would be cool, they’d rather keep selling you $19 proprietary cables.via GigaOm and TUAWlast_img read more

Sony announces a PS Vita price cut for Japan

first_imgThis week is certainly looking like one to remember for Sony. Not only are we expecting to see the PS4 unveiled on Wednesday, and a price cut for the PS3 a day later, but Sony has announced a price cut for the PS Vita in Japan.The PS Vita was launched in Japan at a price of 29,980 yen (US$320) for the 3G model and 24,980 yen (US$267) for the WiFi model. Since then, nothing much has changed, however, come February 28, Sony is dropping the price of both models to the same level. You’ll be able to pick either one up for 19,980 yen (US$214).The drop is quite significant for the 3G model and should allow you to afford another game if you opt for the WiFi model. It also brings the handheld much closer in price to the 3DS XL, which sells for between $200-$230.It seems likely the same price drop will be made to the PS Vita in the US and across Europe. The list prices are currently $249.99 and $299.99 respectively. Could we see them both drop to $200, or will Sony choose a $214.99 price point and match Japan?The price drop comes just a couple of months after Sony rolled out a new PS Vita bundle to try and help boost sales. For $300 you got the handheld, a 4GB memory card, a downloadable version of Unit 13, and a one year membership to PlayStation Plus. Clearly that wasn’t enough, though, or Sony was trying a short term fix until component prices dropped enough for it to adjust the retail price.Cutting $50 off the price will certainly help, but the PS Vita, like the Wii U, needs a number of exclusive hits if Sony really wants to increase its user base.last_img read more

Disney replaces batteries with a paper generator

first_imgTechnology now plays a major role in the entertainment and interactions we experience on a daily basis. And that inevitably means the things we are interacting with require a power supply or battery be attached. But Disney Research has managed to replace the need for a power supply in some instances with a paper generator.Disney has been experimenting with electrels–types of material that have special electrical properties and carry a “quasi-­permanent electric charge.” A group of researchers working out of Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University has created paper generators that work by placing a sheet of Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE) in between two conducting layers. Those conductive layers can be something as simple as metallized polyester.That sandwich of sheets is thin and light enough to be attached to a sheet of paper and is capable of producing an electrical charge when paper is rubbed over it. The charge generated is enough to light up an array of LEDs, trigger wireless communication with another device like a PC, or sound a buzzer, for example.The video below shows a few examples of how these paper generators can be used:The generators can respond to rubbing, tapping, or a number of gestures. Obvious uses include interactive posters and children’s books, but any sheet of paper can easily be modified to carry some form of battery-free interaction–you can even print parts of the generator using conductive ink. And because they are created from such simple materials, they are very cheap to produce.As this is Disney, there’s every chance the company will incorporate these paper generators into the posters and books they sell. But as they are so simple to create, I don’t see why their use won’t spread to lots of different types of books and even paper kits that let kids experiment with making their own interactive sheets.last_img read more

Olympian Pistorius charged with murder of girlfriend

first_imgOlympic athlete Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boschkop police station, east of Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday. Pistorius was taken into custody after a 30-year-old woman, Reeva Steenkamp, was shot dead at his home. PRETORIA, South Africa — Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs.Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the home, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.Hours later after undergoing police questioning, Pistorius left a police station accompanied by officers. He looked down as photographers snapped pictures, the hood on his gray workout jacket pulled up, covering most of his face. His court hearing was originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon but has been postponed until Friday to give forensic investigators time to carry out their work, said Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the prosecution.Police said there had “previously been incidents at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius.” Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes said that the 26-year-old Pistorius was at his home at the time of the death of Steenkamp and “there is no other suspect involved.”“Yes there are witnesses and there have also been interviews this morning,” Beukes told reporters outside the gated complex where Pistorius lived. “We are talking about neighbors and people that heard things that happened earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place.”last_img read more

Two land in jail for ganja smuggling

first_imgTandur: Police took two persons who were smuggling ganja into custody and produced them in court which sent them to remand. According to CI Ravikumar, the accused were found moving suspiciously while police were conducting checks near bus stand. SI Gafar and constables Munnaiah and Narsimhulu checked them thoroughly and found 16 kg ganja in their bags. After questioning, they were identified as Sujit Roy and Raju Biswas from West Bengal.last_img