Cryptocurrency has many forms, not just Bitcoin, and one such form, Monero specifically, lends itself too easily to using web-based technologies like Coinhive to mine for coins. This, in turn, has led to not a few malware that “volunteers” your PC to do the mining for someone else just by visiting an infected website.Smartphones are not immune and may pose an even bigger threat. While the effects of drive-by cryptocurrency mining on PCs are more on the performance side of things, infected smartphones pose a real safety risk as well. As mining pushes processors to their limits, it could also cause the phone to overheat and possibly explode.While most drive-by attacks on smartphones involve installing apps from unverified sources, it isn’t impossible to use the same browser-based route. Which is where Opera comes in. At the start of the year, it launched a new version of its desktop browser which, among other new things, features what Opera claims to be the first browser with built-in protection against such attacks.And now it is bringing that same level of protection on Android via its mobile browser version. Both Opera Mini and the more featured Opera Mobile should have the feature, though the update seems to still be rolling out to users. Opera´s mobile browsers now have the new cryptocurrency mining protection 💪 Check whether your browser protects you at https://t.co/kYpDmAiO8l 💯 pic.twitter.com/tX8Ia3XjO1— Opera (@opera) January 22, 2018 The surge of fame, or infamy, that cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, is now enjoying has made some a tad too desperate to cash in on the hype. Desperate but enough to risk investing in such a fickle business. And so they will let others take the risk for them whether those others like it or not. That is practically the line of thinking behind a new class of intrusion called cryptocurrency mining that threatens to render devices, including smartphones, inoperable or even dead. Opera is coming to the rescue with a new version of its mobile browser to protect your phone from such drive-by attacks.
In the video below you’ll see the “new Xbox Avatars coming this fall (2017)” trailer from E3 2017. That video basically shows what we’re looking at here – only here we’ve got a bit more of a user interface to deal with. Which makes sense, given the source for the content. Today we’re having a peek at some leaked images and video of the next Xbox Avatar Editor. This is the place where users are able to roll with whatever human body, body parts, clothing, and accessories they wish. The differences between the avatar editors of olde and this next-gen editor are few, but important. This is very similar to what we saw back at E3 2017, but it’s also evolved just a bit. We do not know when this new app will be launched, and we do not know whether this design will be in the mix at that time. The fact that this all leaked via user Gowans on ResetEra forums could mean less-than-grand things are in store for the current design.The last time the avatar editing experience on Xbox was updated was all the way back in November of 2015. Or that’s when it was first shown – that last big update. Have a peek at the video below to see. Super new and neat back then is the slightly less impressive of now – cross your fingers for the newness, soon! no comment pic.twitter.com/HDQcSikp3c— ᶰᵒᵗ Stereo Type B (@t_chrisburns) April 18, 2018 He also “Built several XAML-based UWP prototype apps for an unreleased generative music creation app” and “Developed user interface (UI) features and resolved bugs for two widely used Windows apps.” If what we’ve seen of his work so far remains in play, we hope he’ll be hired again – because it’s all pretty good stuff. The new content we’re looking at here comes from a contracted Microsoft – Release Studios (with Insight Global) Design Integration Developer. We’ll call him Mr. X to maybe, POSSIBLY give him a chance at avoiding any future scolding from Microsoft – but good luck. Mr. X “implemented UI redesign for the Xbox Avatar Editor app” according to his now-deleted work experience list on his webpage from whens the content here originates. Story TimelineXbox on Windows 10 preview brings avatars and friendsYou can create a 3D avatar for the Ready Player One filmXbox One’s diverse avatar options are reportedly close to launch
Hybrid tech is seeing a boom in some performance applications. Word is that Ford has eyes set on launching a hybrid Mustang in 2020. Exactly when in 2020 the hybrid Mustang might debut we don’t know. What we do know, thanks to Ford Group Marketing Manager Corey Holter, is that the car will offer “V8 levels of power and even more torque.”Gobs of torque, acceleration, and big power capability with smaller engines are hallmarks of hybrid application in performance cars. Interestingly, the hybrid isn’t the only green Mustang that is rumored to be under consideration at Ford. The automaker is also considering full electric versions of the Mustang.Another interesting rumor tips that an all-wheel-drive version of the Mustang might happen. The AWD Mustang would be a big hit with Pony Car fans in cold weather states where rear wheel drive rides often get stored away for the winter.AdChoices广告Any of these new Mustangs would be a change from the tried and true formula that has kept the Mustang around since the early 60s. That formula has meant big V8s for performance versions and four-cylinder or V6 engines for the mainstream versions. Purists might bemoan the launch of an electric, AWD Mustang but at least it shows Ford plans to keep the Mustang around.SOURCE: Autoblog The world has gone hybrid and EV crazy over the last few years in a push to reduce pollution and go green. Initially, many performance car fans feared that the advent of the electric vehicle and hybrid cars would mean performance cars would disappear. Tesla and other EV makers have shown us that EV performance cars are very fast, even if they are very expensive right now.
SOURCE: Reuters When we think of EVs setting driving range records, odds are you think about a small electric vehicle with a comparatively large battery crammed inside. Recently a new EV range record was set with a vehicle driving 1,101.2 miles on a single charge at low speed. The catch is that there is nothing small about the record setting EV. The vehicle is a 40-foot long electric bus from Proterra. If you’re wondering what qualifies as low speed, the bus reportedly traveled at 15 miles per hour. That is very slow, but in many congested urban cities where the bus is likely to operate, the speeds might not be much higher than that.Proterra’s bus broke the record previously held by a light-duty passenger vehicle that racked up 1,013 miles on a single charge. The big challenge for Proterra isn’t in breaking EV distance records, but in getting cities, the typical buyers of large busses, to understand that despite a much higher price, electric buses are a viable option.Proterra says that its typical bus runs about $750,000 per unit compared to the typical cost of about $500,000 for a diesel bus. The electric bus has lower operating costs, but at about a quarter of a million dollars more expensive the challenge is in convincing buyers the price is worth it.AdChoices广告Proterra chief commercial officer Matt Horton says that an electric bus is much lighter than an electric semi-truck with a full load. That means that the battery pack can be larger and heavier in the bus. The battery pack used by Proterra comes from LG Chem Ltd. in 201, Proterra sold 190 busses. The Proterra Catalyst XR bus we talked about back in 2015 had a 258 mile electric driving range.
As if heralding their arrival later this month, the Huawei P30 series have started dropping by government certification agencies. At Taiwan’s NCC, two phones, the ELE-L29 and VOG-L29, showed up to confirm bits we already know. Neither of them will have 5G support, going as far up as 4G only.The ELE-L29 is believed to be the Huawei P30 and is noted by the NCC to have 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. The VOG-L29, on the other hand, is the Huawei P30 Pro and comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage.The TKDN certification from Indonesia is less revealing but it does confirm one model we barely hear about. In addition to the ELE-L29 and VOG-L29, there is also a MAR-LX2. This is believed to be the Huawei P30 Lite, though there are no details to work on from this particular sighting.The Huawei P30, particularly the Huawei P30 Pro, will have a very big role to play in Huawei’s history. More than just the expected 10x zoom, the phones will prove whether Huawei has the ability to defend its new position as the world’s #2 phone maker. More importantly, it will test Huawei’s resilience in the face of political and legal controversy. Story TimelineHuawei P30 Pro leak puts rear quad camera front and centerHuawei P30 has a special feature you wouldn’t want to useHuawei P30 images show off flat tops and bottoms In two weeks’ time, Huawei will be showing its hand and try to prove that it’s still a force to reckon with in the mobile market. The Huawei P30, based on the leaks and rumors, could be the smartphone to beat when it comes mobile photography. Of course, a smartphone isn’t just a camera and has other specs to go along with it and some government certifications for the smartphones confirm at least two of those.
Aston Martin isn’t short on famous nameplates in its portfolio, but even with that, the return of the DBS is something special. The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera will be the automaker’s new flagship, and when you consider that line-up includes the all-new Vantage and handsome DB11, that’s saying something. Details on the new car are, unsurprisingly, scant. Aston Martin says it’s playing things close to its chest, at least until the DBS Superleggera’s full reveal in the later this quarter. All the same, we know a few tidbits today. It’ll be what Aston Martin describes as a “Super GT” – a Gran Tourer for those who would rather drive themselves than take a high-speed train or private jet. Aston is also promising a visually distinctive car, too. “It’s an icon, a statement and this one will be no different,” Marek Reichman, Vice President and chief creative officer at the car company said. “We’ve pushed the boundaries of performance and design to give this car a distinct character and ensure it’s worthy of the heritage and weight that this name carries.”Reichman knows something about that, too. He was responsible for the design of the last DBS – shown above – which resurrected the name back in 2007. Only around 3,400 of the cars were produced, with the DBS starring in Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as James Bond. Eventually it was replaced in 2012, with the Aston Martin Vanquish taking its place at the top of the tree.For Aston Martin, it’s another step in what the automaker has been calling its Second Century Plan. That has seen the company replace each of its two-door sports car models with an all-new version. As for the Superleggera part, that has some big significance, too. Italian for “super light” the concept began back in 1936, using small diameter steel tubes for the car’s structure and then a skin of thin alloy body panels. The system was then licensed to Aston Martin, which most memorably used it for Superleggera bodywork for the DB4 and DB5. Today’s cars bearing the brand don’t use the same construction system, but the ethos of light-weighting for performance remains. We’ll know more before June 2018 is through, and it’s fair to say that we’re excited. Having driven the Aston Martin Vantage earlier this month, we know the automaker’s reinvention credentials are certainly not in question. Story TimelineThe 2017 Aston Martin DB11 is unlike any other Gran Tourismo2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 first-drive: The driver’s GTAston Martin Lagonda Vision previews all-EV luxe future
The move, according to Moers, is because customers want all-wheel-drive cars. He said that in the days when the AMG E-class was offered as rear-wheel drive and with four-wheel drive as an option, over 90% of buyers choose the AWD version of the car. Moers also pointed out that with the E63 with drift mode you can have rear-wheel drive as well as all-wheel-drive in the same car.He also noted that when he asks customers about the AMG GT, they ask about all-wheel-drive. The latest iteration of the E63 AMG has a clutch-based all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 100% of engine torque to either axle. The E63 S drift mode can disengage the front driveshafts entirely allowing a traditional rear-drive system if the driver wants.Moers has also confirmed that the AMG V8 will go hybrid in the next generation. He also stated that they aren’t pushing the performance output of the V8 in the future beyond the 630bhp offered currently. To go higher than the current output Mercedes will mate the V8 with a hybrid system that is plug-in and has an electric rear axle.AdChoices广告One sad bit of information from Moers is that after the S65 Final Edition that was shown off in Geneva, there will be no more V12 engines in the Mercedes-AMG range. He also backtracked on Mercedes-AMG plans to revive the SLC as a Porsche Boxster rival stating simply that it is not able to do so. He noted that sports cars in the €40,000 range aren’t doing well. Mercedes-AMG is said to be considering a move to only all-wheel drive rides. Rumors suggest that the next-gen of Mercedes-AMG models, including the AMG GT, could come with all-wheel drive as standard. Word of the possibility came from AMG head Tobias Moers. The exec also said that smaller engines are in the cards for the Mercedes-AMG models as more electrification is used.
Our cars are becoming more and more like our smartphones: smart, connected, and electric. But with the rise of electric vehicles comes the question of charging, especially with EV charging stations being far and few in between. Volkswagen’s new solution also takes a page from smartphones with what it bills to be the first power bank for e-cars. Of course, it’s not something you can put in your trunk but it could at least reduce the hassle of setting up charging stations as needed. Rated at 360 kWh, these mobile quick charging stations offer DC charging of up to 100 kW. At full capacity, it can, in theory, charge up to 15 electric vehicles before needing to charge itself. Not just e-cars, mind, but some e-bikes as well. With two DC and two AC connections, it’s even possible to charge four EVs at the same time, though parking space might be a bit limited.So what’s the use of an e-car power bank you can’t carry around anyway? Volkswagen’s mobile charging stations are really less about portability and more about convenient placement. They could be quickly set up for large-scale events and can easily be exchanged with a new bank when drained. And because they don’t have to be connected to a power supply, they can also be used as semi-permanent charging stations in lieu of bigger ones.They can also be plugged to permanent power supplies, though, which also makes it easier to set up such permanent charging stations. With 30 kW AC input, these power banks can perpetually recharge themselves. Even better, they can also be hooked up to renewable power sources like solar or wind energy and they will store those up as well.Volkswagen plans to start rolling out these mobile quick charging stations in the first half of 2019 in the company’s hometown. The chargers are an integral part of Volkswagen’s grand plan to push electric vehicles to its customers. In fact, the power banks use the same battery packs that will power its future ID family for EVs.
Today, Polar is launching its newest fitness-focused smartwatch. Dubbed the Polar Ignite, this new smartwatch offers the standard feature set you’d expect to see in a fitness tracker with some extra smart coaching and sleeping tracking features. In its announcement today, Polar paints a picture of a smartwatch that can give you a more complete overview of your workout, including the recovery afterward. Going hand-in-hand with the Ignite’s Sleep Plus Stages is a feature called Nightly Recharge. According to Polar Segment Manager Mari Junttila, Nightly Recharge measures your heart’s beat-to-beat intervals as you sleep to determine how you’re recovering from workouts overnight. Your watch will then deliver “personalized tips to help adjust your daily plan,” all with the goal of improving the quality of your sleep.On top of that heavy focus on sleep tracking, the Polar Ignite also comes with some Smart Coaching features. One such feature is Serene, which serves up guided breathing exercises to help you chill out in a stressful world. The watch, of course, also tracks your daily activity, and when paired with continuous heart rate measurements, claims to give you an accurate calories consumption readout. Finally, there are special tracking features for both running and swimming, with the watch offering training programs for running and completing 5k races and marathons.AdChoices广告If all that sounds good, you can pick up the Ignite beginning today from Polar’s website. Here in the US, the watch runs $229.95 and is available in white and silver or yellow and black with a silicon wristband. There are other silicon accessories bands available in a number of sizes too, which run $24.90 each. Much of the Polar Ignite’s functionality seems to be built around its Precision Prime heart rate monitor, which “integrates three senor types for a high level of accuracy and reliablity.” That heart rate monitor takes a central role in the Ignite’s sleep tracking, which can keep track of your cycles through light, deep, and REM sleep stages. That information is displayed as your Sleep Score, which gives you an overview on the quality of your sleep each night and what you can do during the day to help make sleep more restful. Story TimelinePolar A370 fitness tracker brings ‘advanced sleep tracking’ and morePolar fitness tracker might be a bigger national security riskPolar Vantage V and M multi-sport watches are made for athletes
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. An appeals court has dismissed a challenge to a part of the health law that limits expansion of doctor-owned hospitals on grounds that a lower court that issued an earlier ruling didn’t have jurisdiction in the case.Modern Healthcare: Court Dismisses Challenge To Reform Law’s Limit On Expansion Of Doc-Owned HospitalsThe Obama administration scored a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Houston dismissed an appeal from the Physician Hospitals of America and the Tyler, Texas-based Texas Spine & Joint Hospital challenging a health care reform law restriction on expansion by physician-owned hospitals. The appeals court ruled that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction in the case (McKinney, 8/17).CQ HealthBeat: Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge Of Health Law Curb On Specialty HospitalsThe 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling this week dismissing a challenge to a provision of the health care law curbing the expansion of physician-owned hospitals. Judge Leslie H. Southwick said in the court’s decision that a lower court hearing the challenge lacked jurisdiction in the case, which was filed by a trade group and a doctor-owned hospital. The facility, Texas Spine and Joint Hospital, was in the process of expanding and was unable to complete the effort before a cutoff date in the law (8/20). Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge To Doctor-Owned Hospital Expansion Limit
The Treasury Department on Monday gave employers an extension of critical reporting requirements, as it seeks to manage some of the most complicated parts of the federal health care law. Employers had previously faced deadlines in February and March to report 2015 health insurance information to their employees, and also to the IRS. If they need more time, employers can now have until March 31 to get information to their workers and until June 30 in certain cases to get details to the IRS. Treasury said it acted after many employers complained they might not be able to get the information processed in time. Companies that rely on outside vendors were running into a bottleneck. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/28) The Affordable Care Act survived another challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court this year. But the still-fragile marketplace is showing the strain of rising health care costs. (Horsley, 12/30) The Chicago Tribune: Obamacare’s Bumpy Ride For Consumers This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Wall Street Journal: More People Turn to Faith-Based Groups For Health Coverage The Associated Press: Health Law Reporting Extension Issued For Employers A growing number of people are turning to health-care ministries to cover their medical expenses instead of buying traditional insurance, a trend that could challenge the stability of the Affordable Care Act. The ministries, which operate outside the insurance system and aren’t regulated by states, provide a health-care cost-sharing arrangement among people with similarly held beliefs. (Armour, 1/3) Los Angeles Times: Obama Expands Government Anti-Poverty Efforts, Frustrating Republicans President Obama is entering his final year in office having quietly secured significant expansions to the federal government safety net in the face of Republican majorities in Congress and increasingly insistent calls from GOP presidential candidates to rein in “free stuff.” The latest expansions came in the $1.8-trillion budget deal that Congress approved this month, which made permanent hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for low- and moderate-income families — measures enacted on a temporary basis in Obama’s first year. … Moreover, although the budget deal delayed three taxes included in the president’s signature Affordable Care Act, it protected the core of the law, which has extended government-subsidized health coverage to millions of poor and working-class Americans in the last two years. Together, the permanent tax breaks and health protections that Obama has managed to lock into place mark the largest growth of government social programs in half a century. (Levey, 12/29) The Health Law: Looking Forward, Looking Back News outlets review how the health law came through 2015 while also detailing the latest developments in its implementation and the continuing issues regarding enrollment and coverage issues. When she turned 26 in October, Elif Karatas of Chicago was no longer covered under her parents’ health plan. She also wasn’t eligible for coverage from her employer because she works part time. So she turned to the public marketplace in Illinois created by the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. But picking a plan on healthcare.gov, the online insurance exchange, was more difficult than she expected for a first-timer. (Sachdev, 12/31/15) NPR: 2015 Was Another Rough And Tumble Year For Obamacare Health-plan enrollment season rolls on, and people shopping on healthcare.gov and the other marketplaces have until Jan. 31 to pick a plan. But even people trying to pick from their employers’ options can find the process complicated and difficult to understand. The jargon can be overwhelming, and it can lead people to make to costly mistakes or avoid care all together. (Zdechlik, 1/4) Kaiser Health News: Do You Speak Health Insurance? It’s Not Easy.
Twitter Tim Hortons says a weak roll-up-the-rim campaign contributed to the sales falling 0.6 per cent worldwide and 0.4 per cent in Canada.Postmedia The Canadian Press Tim Hortons to revamp roll-up-the-rim contest after coffee shop sales slow Cold weather also blamed Recommended For YouAre you on speaking terms with your old pensions? Ignoring them could cost youThe storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them throughTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016 Email Share this storyTim Hortons to revamp roll-up-the-rim contest after coffee shop sales slow Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Join the conversation → Facebook April 29, 201911:37 AM EDT Filed under News Retail & Marketing Comment Cold weather and an outdated roll-up-the-rim-to-win promotion slowed sales at Canadian Tim Hortons locations in its most recent quarter, said the CEO of the coffee chain’s parent company, prompting Restaurant Brands International Inc. to revamp the contest for next year.Comparable store sales at Tim Hortons fell 0.6 per cent worldwide, and 0.4 per cent in Canada. The company only breaks out each chain’s home market for comparable sales figures.“I hate using weather as an excuse,” said CEO Jose Cil, who has just served his first full quarter in the top post, during a conference call with investors Monday morning. Loblaw looks to leverage loyalty data with online advertising business Pepsi is suing four Indian farmers 10 million rupees each for growing the potato used to make Lay’s McDonald’s spends $300 million — its biggest deal in 20 years — to buy a tech company The company estimates severe winter weather during the quarter, which ended March 31, resulted in a drag of about one per cent on comparable sales.The weather woes started in the back half of January and lasted until the end of February, said Alex Macedo, Tim Hortons president, in an interview following the conference call, and impacted performance across Canada.A weak roll-up-the-rim campaign also contributed to the negative figure.RBI started to see a decline in the program’s effectiveness last year, said Cil, and decided to expand the number of giveaways for 2019’s contest. However, the added investment did not drive the engagement the company expected and dragged down comparable sales about 0.5 per cent over the quarter.“It’s become clear to us that it needs a modern and fresh approach to engage our guests in a stronger way going forward,” he said. A team is working to reboot the program for next year and that will include a seamless digital integration.Comparable sales at the company’s two other chains were positive. Burger King comparable sales increased 2.2 per cent. Popeyes comparable sales increased 0.6 per cent.Cil stressed the company does not believe that the negative comparable sales figure for Tim Hortons accurately reflects the underlying strength of the Canadian business and said the company expects its April comparable sales to come in at about 1.5 per cent.He lauded the benefits of the company’s Winning Together plan for providing the building blocks for long-term growth. RBI launched the strategy in April 2018 amid negative attention as the parent company battled a group of dissident franchisees who vocally criticized management, including filing multiple lawsuits against the parent company.Those legal battles wrapped Monday as an Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge approved a proposed settlement in two class-action lawsuits by Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees against RBI.“… The settlement agreement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the class,” wrote the judge, according to court documents.None of the roughly 1,500 Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees opted out of the proposed settlement, he noted — though one franchisee, Eric Sanderson, objected outside of the formal opting out process by sending a letter to the court.In the “thoughtful and well-articulated letter,” Sanderson worries that the Great White North Franchisee Association, which formed to give concerned franchisees a voice, has not been officially recognized and the GWNFA’s current board members, of which he is one, may never be replaced because no other franchisees will want to play an adversarial role, according to court documents.While the judge found his objections raised legitimate concerns, they “are not of a type that undermine” the agreement.Restaurant Brands International, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said its first-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago. It reported a profit attributable to common shareholders of US$135 million or 53 cents per diluted share compared with a profit of $148 million or 59 cents per diluted share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, it earned $255 million or 55 cents per diluted share for the quarter, down from an adjusted profit of $314 million or 66 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 58 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Revenue in the three-month period ended March 31 totalled nearly $1.27 billion, up from $1.25 billion a year ago. Reddit More Aleksandra Sagan 12 Comments
Fully Charged’s Jonny Smith tested the BMW i8 Roadster in beautiful scenery.Source: Electric Vehicle News
Source:https://medium.com/penn-engineering/penn-engineers-liquid-assembly-line-makes-drug-microparticles-a-thousand-times-faster-than-ever-3952dc6e05cd May 9 2018Pharmaceuticals owe their effects mostly to their chemical composition, but the packaging of these drugs into specific physical formulations also need to be done to exact specifications. For example, many drugs are encapsulated in solid microparticles, the size and shape of which determine the timing of the drug’s release and its delivery to specific parts of the body.When engineering these drug microparticles, consistency is key, but common drug manufacturing techniques, such as spray drying and ball milling, produce uneven results. The ideal method involves microfluidics, a kind of liquid assembly line that drips out perfectly sized microparticles, one at a time.University of Pennsylvania engineers have now developed a microfluidic system where more than ten thousand of these devices run in parallel, all on a silicon-and-glass chip that can fit into a shirt pocket.Scaling up microfluidic systems has been a major challenge, as they depend on a tightly controlled flow rates to produce particles of a consistent size. The Penn team’s innovation is new fluidic architecture, built with the technology used to manufacture computer chips, resulting in a system that can manufacture these drug particles a thousand times faster than ever before.The team, led by David Issadore, assistant professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Bioengineering, and Sagar Yadavali, a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, outlined the design of their system in the journal Nature Communications. Daeyeon Lee, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Heon-Ho Jeong, then graduate student in his lab, contributed to the study.The Penn team is currently testing their system with David Lai, a research investigator at GlaxoSmithKline.Current pharmaceutical microparticle manufacturing techniques involve spraying them in liquid form from a nozzle and letting them dry, or milling larger solid particles down in a tumbler. However, since the microparticles are being made en masse, there can be significant variations in their size and shape.”These manufacturing problems mean that an enormous amount of time and money is spent on size reductions,” Yadavali said. “That leads to higher costs.”Microfluidics provides a potential solution to these problems. By synthesizing the drugs in a network of microscopic channels and chambers, surface tension and drag forces can be finely tuned to generate particles of a consistent size and shape. However, there are intrinsic limitations to how fast these microscale devices can work.”The bottleneck for increasing the throughput of microfluidics is a fundamental physics problem,” Issadore said. “We cannot run the individual microfluidic devices faster than any other lab, because the microfluidic phenomenon that enables the drug microparticles to be precisely fabricated stops working above a critical flow rate?–?they go from making bubbles to making unstable jets.”Typical flow rates are a milliliter-per-hour, far too slow to be of use in an industrial setting. Since increasing the flow rate is not an option, the only way to scale up production is to increase the number of devices.Related StoriesRevolutionary cancer drugs that target any tumor to be fast-tracked into hospitals by NHSSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchArtificial DNA can help release active ingredients from drugs in sequencePrevious attempts at large-scale parallelization struggled with another trade-off. In order to distribute flow evenly to all of the devices on the chip, each individual device must have a large pressure drop across it relative to the pressure drop along the delivery channels that feed it. This results in each device running slower than they would if they were fed individually.The Penn researchers solved this problem by separating the devices into two, one component that provides the required pressure drop and another downstream that makes the particles. This allows many devices to be incorporated in parallel without having an effect on the throughput of each one.”By incorporating high-aspect-ratio flow resistors upstream of each device,” Yadavali said, “we can decouple individual droplet design from the system-level design. which allows us to incorporate any type of microfluidic particle generator we want, and as many as we can fit onto a chip.”Using lithography to simultaneously etch 10,260 devices into a four-inch silicon wafer, sandwiching it between two glass plates to make hollow channels, and hooking up its single sets of inlets and outlets, the Penn team’s system produces an effective flow rate than is more than ten thousand times faster than what can be typically achieved in a microfluidic device.The Penn team first tested their system by making simple oil-in-water droplets, at a rate of more than 1 trillion droplets per hour. To demonstrate it with materials more relevant to drug manufacturing, they also made biocompatible microparticles out of polycaprolactone, at a rate of about 328 billion particles per hour.”Drugs can be mixed into polycaprolactone microparticles, so that controlled amounts of drug can be gradually released as the particle dissolves,” Sagar said. “The rate that the drug leaves the particle is dependent on the particle size, which is why having a consistent size is so important.”The researchers only mixed the polycaprolactone with water; testing on a real drug would have been prohibitively expensive given their system’s rate of production.”We at GSK are delighted to be part of a research collaboration with Daeyeon and David’s research groups. Congratulations on an exquisite and impactful publication,” said Lai.The researcher’s microfluidic system is currently capable of this kind of simple drug packaging, but other, more complicated manufacturing techniques are possible.”We are now working to implement additional microfluidic operations onto our chip, including miniaturized versions of solvent extraction, crystallization, and other traditional chemical engineering processes,” Issadore said. “By bringing more of the operations necessary to formulate the drug onto our chip, precise ‘designer’ microparticle drug formulations can be produced at an industrial scale.”
Jun 5 2018There’s a long way to go before neuroscience can fathom the vastness of human consciousness, but researchers pushing that envelope have uncovered a mechanism that helps create a simple visual awareness. In a new study, they describe brain functions that give you confidence that you did see what you just saw.Though that may be a very modest level of awareness that humans perhaps share with hamsters, psychologists at the Georgia Institute of Technology were fascinated to observe how two regions of the brain work together to produce this visual confidence.”We had already thought of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) as producing that confidence, but we haven’t previously distinguished two regions of it as having distinct, separate roles,” said Dobrimir Rahnev, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Psychology.Awareness of seeingThe observed phenomenon is a type of metacognition, which is broadly defined as when the brain registers, i.e. becomes aware of, something else that the brain is doing. Metacognition can be as complex as pondering your own thoughts or as simple as knowing you feel itchy, or that you just saw something.The two regions of the PFC that the researchers studied were the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC). The aPFC is about two inches above the eyebrow, near the top of the forehead and DLPFC is about a few inches directly behind aPFC.The upper area collects visual sensory input, according to the study, and when it has strong inputs, it signals down to the aPFC, which usually correctly and confidently registers – yes, I’m aware I see that.”The aPFC takes the evidence from the DLPFC and matches it to a level of confidence of what is being seen,” said graduate research assistant Medha Shekhar.Rahnev and Shekhar published their study in May in the Journal of Neuroscience.Two-stage signoffThough they have separate roles, neither region appears to lay claim to being the chief confidence maker of having seen something.”I would say that it’s both parts together,” Rahnev said. “The whole process of generating a confidence rating can be thought of as metacognition, so both the DLPFC and aPFC contribute to the process.”The DLPFC collects all the inputs. Then it nudges the aPFC to put the stamp on the final confidence rating, according to the psychologists’ model.To do that, the aPFC probably pulls in additional data from elsewhere in the brain.”There is research that suggests that we take into account other, non-perceptual factors when making our confidence judgment,” Shekhar said. “Our previous confidence about past things we’ve seen influences current confidence about what we’re seeing now. We hypothesize that there are other things like attention and arousal that the aPFC is taking into account.”Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsChemotherapy drugs delivered using biodegradable paste can prolong survival in brain cancerRunning brain interferenceResearchers currently can’t directly see the processes that interested them, since neurological imaging technologies are not yet that far along, so the psychologists had to come up with creative ways of observing the mechanisms. They used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which some people know from its application to treat depression, to interfere with activity in one brain region then separately in the other.”By dissociating the contributions made by the two regions, we could discern some mechanisms in these processes we were interested in,” Shekhar said.To track the effects of the dissociation caused by the magnetism, the psychologists had volunteers look at two faint patterns on a drab, gray background that appeared in sequence, and then indicate what they saw. It was nothing fancy, just a series of lined patterns like this one \\\\ or this one ////.”These are very standard visual inputs for an experiment like this,” Rahnev said. “They’re the most boring stimuli one can imagine. They’re called Gabor patches. We use them because we want to minimize interfering neurological activity by not encouraging the brain to do a lot of additional things.”The volunteers pressed buttons to say that the respective line patterns that they saw pointed up to the left \\\\ or up to the right //// and how sure they were about what they saw.Confidence up and downWhile the volunteers did this, the researchers used TMS to run interference in the volunteers’ DLPFC and then their aPFC. The TMS affected whether subjects got the line direction right or wrong and how sure subjects felt about what they were seeing.Applying TMS to the DLPFC caused the subjects’ confidence levels to sink, presumably because that interfered with it gathering or passing on enough data to trigger confidence. TMS to the aPFC, which had to be applied for a longer period to have relevant effect, actually increased visual metacognitive ability.The two effects were strong evidence that the two brain regions were carrying out separate roles in visual metacognition. The researchers also computationally modeled the brain processes, and their simulation concurred with the experimental results.Peeking at consciousnessDid the researchers observe a piece of what makes consciousness work?”Consciousness is tricky because so many processes feed it and help generate it, so we stay agnostic about this and stick with the immediate phenomenon we observe,” Rahnev said.But he did think it may be fair to say that this kind of metacognition stands in the threshold of what we humans like to think of as consciousness. Source:http://www.rh.gatech.edu/news/606589/i-saw-brain-mechanisms-create-confidence-about-things-seen
Source:https://www.evosep.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ASMS-2018-Evosep-press-release_FINAL.pdf Thermo and Evosep will present data from the joint use of the Evosep One system and Thermo’s Q Exactive mass spectrometers at ASMS. Several independent academic research groups that have had the instrumentation available since last fall will also present data on posters and in oral presentations. Nicolai Bache, Head of Applications, Evosep added: Jun 5 2018Making clinical proteomics 100x more robust and 10x faster(June 4, 2018) Today, at the 66th Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics, Thermo Scientific and Evosep announced a joint effort to develop and promote robust, high-throughput workflows for clinical proteomics.The collaboration will be centered around work at the Boston-based Thermo Scientific Precision Medicine Science Center where key personnel from all relevant disciplines can be brought to bear on the challenge of truly democratizing proteomics for clinical applications.“We are using the Evosep One in our new Precision Medicine Science Center in Cambridge, MA, where we have established workflows for the rapid analysis of plasma and FFPE samples” said Ken Miller, VP of Omics Marketing at Thermo Fisher Scientific. He continued: The Evosep One with its novel sample separation solution offers market leading throughput to cope with the significantly larger cohort sizes of typical clinical studies. Researchers are now seeking to include plasma proteomics in an increasing number of clinical studies and therefore it becomes important for the community to have instruments and consumables that are tailored for the task.” The system works seamlessly with our Q Exactive MS systems and the Evotip technology improves overall system throughput and robustness by reducing column clogging and carryover.”
Charles Townes, whose research and creativity led to the development of modern lasers, died on Tuesday in Oakland, California. For his work, Townes received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1964, sharing it with two colleagues. Since then, lasers have become ubiquitous in modern life, enabling technologies ranging from barcode scanners to atomic clocks.The New York Times as well as the University of California, Berkeley, published lengthy obituaries today. Townes is survived by his wife, four daughters, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.