Video Boomers and Virtual Parties

first_imgNot every senior is as tech savvy as Harold, everyone’s favorite Internet Icon.The other day, my dad asked me to call him and give him some advice. Family friends of his were going to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary virtually via Zoom.A 60th wedding anniversary is a remarkable milestone and deserves to be celebrated. But obviously, all people involved have concerns about gathering in large groups (which is totally understandable).We live in strange, dangerous times. The odds of getting to a 61st wedding anniversary are already pretty long, so why take the risk? In that context, a virtual anniversary party makes total sense.That said, as the saying goes, every solution has (at least) two problems. I spoke to my dad about what needed to happen in order for him and his partner to join a Zoom call. I had to walk him through his various elderly computer devices (I mean, he still has a first-generation iPad). Together we picked which device had the best chance of succeeding for this.I strongly suspect that I wasn’t alone in this task: The children and grandchildren of all the virtual party guests were pressed into service as an IT help desk to figure out how to get their elderly family members online.Deviating from the discussion of technical requirements, I will say that having attended more video meetings this year than I can count, I had a strong inkling of how the video anniversary would actually go. I’ve been in video meetings with more than 20 attendees. All the people involved in those large calls have up-to-date hardware and are tech-savvy, allegedly. And it’s still chaos.See related  Are We Gonna Talk About Zoom ‘Being on Probation’ for 20 Years by the FTC, or Nah?Big video meetings get bogged down with people asking, “What?” or “Could you repeat that?” or people who forget to mute their mic, or forget that the webcam means that we can, you know, actually see what you’re doing. My dad’s partner was actually somewhat incensed by my comment about technologically clueless boomers.“Everyone who’s going to be on this call has a Ph.D.!” she countered.“That just makes it worse!” I replied. “Clearly, you’ve never seen someone with multiple advanced degrees trying to operate a projector or a Smart Board.”All of those issues are a given, even without any technical problems cropping up. Let me tell you, videoconferencing almost always guarantees a technical issue occurrence, and it will almost always be a new, unique technical issue that you haven’t encountered before, so you don’t know how to fix it. But I digress.I did my best to help him figure it out. Hopefully, it all goes smoothly.last_img read more

EastGroup Properties’ Bill Petsas Receives NAIOP Award

first_imgBill Petsas, senior vice president at EastGroup Properties, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Best of NAIOP event held at the Arizona Biltmore.Prior to joining EastGroup in 2000, Petsas was a VP with Prologis where he forged a career in the development, acquisition, leasing and management of industrial real estate. At EastGroup, Petsas oversees 34MSF of industrial space with a total market capitalization in excess of $2.8B.The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Arizona Chapter Board of Directors to an exemplary individual who has made a significant and positive impact on the office and industrial commercial real estate market in Arizona over a period of no less than 15 years.It was also a big night for Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Marina Heights – Ryan’s $750M, 2MSF development in Tempe.  Marina Heights won the prestigious Transaction of the Year and Talk of the Town awards.  Ryan Companies was named Owner/Developer of the Year, Firm of the Year, and General Contractor of the Year. Ryan is the owner/co-developer and general contractor for Marina Heights. Sunbelt Holdings is the other co-developer and The DAVIS Experience is the project architect.Winning top broker awards were Jim Wilson, Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona, Industrial Broker of the Year; Tom Adelson, Jim Fijan, Jerry Roberts and Corey Hawley, CBRE, Office Brokers of the Year; and Mindy Korth, Colliers International, Investment Broker of the Year.Economic Impact Project of the Year went to Able Engineering – Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. JLL was named Brokerage House of the Year.The event, organized by NAIOP Arizona, was attended by 900 commercial real estate professionals.last_img read more

FAO, OIE declare war on foot-and-mouth disease

first_img “Recent FMD outbreaks around the globe demonstrate that animal diseases have no boundaries, can have a devastating impact, and require a global response,” Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, said in an FAO release. The strategy will rely on the strengthening of veterinary services and collaboration and support from many groups, the two agencies said in press releases. The plan was endorsed today by officials from more than 100 countries at the second FAO/OIE Global Conference on Foot-and-Mouth Disease Control in Bangkok, according to an OIE statement. FMD is endemic in most of sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, the FAO statement said. Its annual global cost, including production losses and vaccination expense, has been estimated at $5 billion. For poor farmers who depend on just a few animals, FMD can bring hunger and economic ruin, the agencies said. However, the FAO-OIE statement does not cite an explicit goal of eradicating FMD, only bringing it under control. Besides rinderpest, only one other disease—smallpox—has been eradicated through human efforts. Officials said the FMD strategy combines two tools developed by the OIE and FAO. The OIE tool, called the Performance of Veterinary Services Pathway (PVS), involves evaluating national veterinary services with the aim of bringing them into compliance with OIE quality standards. Reliable veterinary services ensure the quality and safety of livestock production, thereby protecting food sources, trade, and animal health, the agencies said. FAO developed the Progressive Control Pathway for Foot-and-Mouth Disease, the PCP-FMD, which guides countries through a series of steps to better manage FMD risks, beginning with active surveillance to determine what types of FMD virus strains are circulating in the country and neighboring areas, officials said. A crucial part of the process is coordination of control efforts with neighboring countries. Many countries are in the earliest stages of FMD control, the FAO said. The PCP-FMD is designed to bring countries to the point where they apply to the OIE for recognition of their control program and FMD-free status. Jun 29 OIE press release “The successful eradication of rinderpest, a joint effort by scientists, governments, donors, veterinarians and farmers, clearly shows that we can reduce and even eliminate the threat of major diseases,” said Juan Lubroth, DVM, PhD, FAO’s chief veterinary officer, in the FAO release. Rinderpest, another highly contagious cattle disease, was declared eradicated in May 2011. FMD can cause high mortality in newborn and young animals, weight loss, reduced milk yields, and lower fertility, the agencies noted. The United Kingdom had a severe FMD outbreak in 2001, with direct and indirect costs estimated at up to $30 billion, and Taiwan lost about $15 billion in a 1997 outbreak. See also: The campaign will include developing regional vaccine banks and centers for quality control and improving surveillance systems, laboratory capacity, vaccine quality control, and movement control of animals, the OIE said. The OIE said 66 of its 178 member countries are free of FMD. The goals of the new campaign are to control FMD in most countries and eliminate it in some, improve veterinary services and infrastructure, and enhance prevention and control of other major livestock diseases, the agency said. Jun 29, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have announced a global campaign to control foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a highly contagious livestock disease that does not threaten humans but can be economically devastating. Jun 27 FAO press release May 25, 2011, CIDRAP News story “OIE declares rinderpest eradicated” CIDRAP FMD overviewlast_img read more

Rapid malaria tests tied to increased antibiotic use

first_imgRapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria have helped reduce overprescribing of antimalarial drugs in parts of the world where the parasitic disease is endemic and healthcare resources are scarce. That’s a good thing, given that development of resistance to antimalarials is one of the greatest threats to malaria control.But since malaria-endemic countries in Africa and Asia started using the small devices—which can quickly detect the presence of specific antigens produced by malaria parasites from a pinprick of blood—there has been concern among some public health professionals about the potential for an unintended consequence: increased use of antibiotics to treat patients who’ve tested negative for malaria.That’s because, in settings with little healthcare infrastructure, treating febrile illness often amounts to “educated guesswork,” according to the authors of a new study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).To determine if this concern has been borne out, an international research team led by Heidi Hopkins, MD, a professor of malaria and diagnostics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, reviewed nine observational and randomized studies in Africa and Asia. The papers compared antibiotic prescribing in trial groups who had received RDTs with control groups, and in patients with negative test results compared with those who tested positive for malaria.The results of that analysis, Hopkins told CIDRAP News, suggest that “these concerns are well-founded in many settings.”Antibiotic prescriptions climb 21%The studies, conducted from 2007 through 2013 in a mix of urban and rural settings in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, included more than 500,000 children and adults with acute febrile illness. The analysis of the studies found that antibiotics were prescribed to 53% of patients in control groups and 59% of patients in groups who had received RDTs. A meta-analysis of the studies showed that the risk of antibiotic prescription was 21% higher in places where RDTs were introduced.When the researchers compared patients who had negative tests results with patients who tested positive, they found that antibiotics were prescribed to 69% of patients with a negative test results and 40% of those who tested positive for malaria. In most settings where the tests were used, patients with malaria-negative test results were more likely to receive the four most common antibiotic classes—penicillins, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracylines, and metronidazole—than those who tested positive.Hopkins said that while she and her colleagues weren’t surprised to find an increase in antibiotic use among patients who had undergone rapid diagnostic testing, the size of the increase stood out. “We expected to find only a marginal increase in antibiotic prescription for patients with negative malaria test results, but in many settings it appears to be significant,” she said.While these studies don’t reveal whether the patients who tested negative for malaria actually had a bacterial infection, Hopkins said studies done in similar settings have shown that relatively few patients have infections that require antibiotics. “Based on those studies, we can estimate that just a small proportion of patients with fever are likely to need antibiotics—almost certainly fewer than the 69% who had negative malaria test results and who received antibiotics in our analysis.”The challenge in any setting is to know which patients do, and don’t, require antibiotics,” she said.Educated guessworkThe challenge for health workers treating patients with fever in tropical, low-resource settings is even greater. The lack of access to facilities that can confirm diagnoses and identify pathogens, Hopkins explained, means health workers often have to prescribe treatment without knowing the exact cause of illness. And many patients who present with fever expect to receive antibiotics.But as Hopkins and her colleagues note in the study, case management guidelines for limited-resource settings do not recommend empirical antibiotics for non-severe febrile illness when the cause of the illness is unclear.To address this shift toward overuse of antibiotics, Hopkins said further studies are needed to identify some of the reasons health workers prescribe antibiotics for patients who test negative for malaria. In addition, the treatable or preventable causes of non-malaria febrile illness need to be identified so that health workers don’t have to rely on guesswork.Hopkins also believes that the development of easy-to-use RDTs for other infectious diseases could improve treatment in low-resource settings. “Such tests should prove very useful in the future—but we should take advantage of lessons learned from malaria RDT implementation so that we can introduce new tests in a way that optimizes use of medicines and patient outcomes,” she said.See also:Mar 29 BMJ studylast_img read more

A new chapter for Reading

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Meritor Appoints Three to New VP Posts

first_imgTROY, Mich. – Meritor announced today it has appointed three executives to new vice president posts. All three appointments are effective June 1.   The company has appointed Chris Villavarayan to the position of vice president, Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, Commercial Truck. In this position, Villavarayan is responsible for global manufacturing operations, increasing results-based lean initiatives, improving the supply chain network, and continuing the focus on standardization and process excellence.   “Since December 2009, Chris has been the driving force and change agent in the growth of Meritor’s business in India and management of Automotive Axles Ltd., the company’s partnership with the Kalyani Group,” said Tim Bowes, president, Commercial Truck, Meritor. “Chris exceeded all expectations in overseeing Meritor’s operations, sales and marketing initiatives and product development in India which have set the stage for continued growth in this important market.”   Prior to Villavarayan’s role in India, he was general manager, Operations Planning & Strategy. He joined Meritor in June 2000. He holds a bachelor of science in engineering from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.   Meritor also has appointed Chris Snodgrass to the position of vice president, Axles & Drivelines, Commercial Truck, North America. In this position, Snodgrass is responsible for the P&L and strategic direction for the company’s axles and drivelines produced for global truck manufacturers in North America. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement “During his tenure at Meritor, Chris has proven himself to be an exceptional leader who has energized our operations and supply chain,” said Bowes. “His experience with our global operations and significant industry knowledge make him a perfect candidate to lead our North American axle and driveline business.”   Previously, Snodgrass was vice president, Global Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management. Prior to joining Meritor in 2007, he served as general manager of North American Engine Operations and Supply Chain Management for Detroit Diesel, a division of Daimler Truck. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Concordia Lutheran University in Portland, Ore.   Additionally, Meritor has appointed Joe Plomin to the position of vice president, Global Brakes, Commercial Truck, effective June 1. In this position, Plomin will lead the company’s Americas and European brake business. He will also provide strategic direction for the company’s brake joint ventures around the world.   “During his nearly five years running the Americas Truck business, Joe has done a tremendous job in successfully managing all aspects of the business,” said Bowes. “He is a proven industry leader with an extensive track record of building strong, profitable businesses and establishing excellent customer relationships. He is the perfect choice to lead Meritor’s global brakes team.”   Previously, Plomin was vice president, Truck Americas, for Meritor. Prior to joining Meritor, he held positions as president of the Electrical Division of Remy International and senior vice president/general manager of the heavy-duty business unit of Remy International, as well as president of Stewart Warner Instruments.   Plomin serves as a board member of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.last_img read more

Video: Investing in American Ports Infrastructure

first_imgIn order to more efficiently accommodate massive post-panamax ships, the United States needed to widen and deepen many of its channels and harbors.TIGER grants have channeled federal transportation funding directly to 38 port projects in 22 states designed to increase efficiency and grow the economy. President Obama has proposed new investments in transportation infrastructure to jump-start job creation & build a 21st century American economy.Learn more [mappress]May 29, 2014; Video: whitehouselast_img read more

OPT Releases Financial Results for Fiscal Fourth Quarter

first_imgOcean Power Technologies, Inc. announced financial results for its Fiscal 2014 fourth quarter and full-year ended April 30, 2014 (“fiscal 2014”).David L. Keller, Interim Chief Executive Officer of OPT, stated, “There have been several significant events and much change since the Company last reported financial results. We believe we have fully disclosed this information in our filings. These events have caused us to redirect the Company’s strategy and advancement of our technological capabilities. We remain focused on bringing our developing technology to practical application.”“Over the last several months, we announced the termination of both the Reedsport, Oregon and Victoria Wave Partners projects. Additionally, we are deferring our WavePort deployment in the European Union into calendar 2015, due to a number of logistics factors, such as the readiness of the proposed deployment site. Furthermore, the summer 2013 deployment of our APB-350 Autonomous PowerBuoy led us to determine that several design modifications to address critical operation and reliability issues were required. Taken as a whole, these results indicate that our basic technology needs further advancement before we commit to large-scale utility projects with typical commercial risk-sharing, even when partially subsidized by government grants,” he noted.On July 8, 2014, Victorian Wave Partners Pty Ltd (“VWP”), an indirect consolidated subsidiary of Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”), tendered a notice (the “Termination Notice”) to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (“ARENA”) of VWP’s intent to terminate the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program Funding Deed, dated as of September 9, 2010, entered into between VWP and the Commonwealth of Australia, as amended by a Deed of Variation dated January 9, 2014 (“the Funding Deed”). Unless agreed otherwise, pursuant to the terms of the Funding Deed, it will terminate on October 8, 2014Mr. Keller continued, “Looking ahead, many companies and funding agencies recognize that the nascent wave energy segment of the renewable energy market is worthy of research, development and continued advancement. We acknowledge that the inherent potential of wave power energy capture is accompanied by significant engineering challenges at both the component and system levels. Nonetheless, we are continuing to advance certain promising technologies that justify additional development. This includes advanced controls that would enable an increase in electric power output and further optimization of our modular, direct-drive Power Take-Off (PTO) technology.”Strategic Focus on Smaller Scale Devices The Company has shifted its immediate focus to smaller-scale devices, such as the PB-40, intended to be deployed off the coast of Spain, and the utility scale PowerBuoy, under development with Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, which are suitable for both autonomous and utility applications. OPT recognizes that deployments are critical to technology advancement in order to accumulate successful operating history that demonstrates durability and reliability at acceptable levels of commercial risk-taking. The Company has accumulated a significant body of knowledge through PowerBuoy deployments of varying capabilities which is now an integral part of its engineering design and development processes.Commenting on the strategic shift from large, utility-scale projects, Mr. Keller noted, “We believe that we can move faster to optimize our technology on smaller-scale power outputs which are more economical to manufacture and deploy than larger buoys.”Financial ReviewOPT’s fully-funded contract backlog as of April 30, 2014 was $4.9 million compared with $5.6 million as of January 31, 2014 and $3.8 million as of April 30, 2013. Approximately $1.2 million of backlog at fiscal year-end was for the Oregon project. OPT is in discussion with the DOE regarding the necessary steps to close out the project. Approximately $0.9 million of backlog was for the WavePort project to be located off the coast of Spain. This cost-sharing contract expires on July 31, 2014, and the Company intends to deploy in calendar 2015. Fiscal 2014 year-end backlog excludes approximately $0.5 million to reflect the impact to backlog of the current expiration. The Company’s contract backlog consists largely of cost-sharing contracts to support product development.Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2014Revenue for the quarter was $0.4 million, unchanged from the prior-year period. Revenue in the current fiscal fourth quarter included revenue associated with OPT’s project with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, which offset the delayed WavePort project off the coast of Spain. The net loss for the three months ended April 30, 2014 was $3.3 million as compared with a net loss of $4.2 million for the three months ended April 30, 2013. The favorable decrease in the Company’s net loss year-over-year reflects lower product development costs and a favorable change in a contract loss reserve, offset by higher selling, general and administrative costs. The decrease in product development costs was due primarily to a lower level of activity for OPT’s project in Oregon. The favorable change in contract loss reserve was due to a change in OPT’s intent to complete a previous project. SG&A increased due to employee-related costs and costs associated with site development related to the VWP project in Australia.Fiscal 2014OPT had revenue of $1.5 million in fiscal 2014 compared with revenue of $3.6 million in fiscal 2013. The decline reflects the suspension of the PowerBuoy project off the coast of Oregon, decreased billable work on PowerBuoy development projects, the completion of a project with MES in the prior fiscal year and a decrease in the estimated contract value associated with the WavePort project off the coast of Spain.Net loss was $11.2 million compared with $14.8 million in the prior year. The reduction in net loss was due primarily to a decline in product development costs associated with OPT’s project in Oregon, a favorable change in contract loss reserves and a higher income tax benefit due to the sale of New Jersey net operating tax losses and research and development tax credits. These improvements were somewhat offset by higher selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) costs. Higher SG&A reflects fees associated with the establishment of an At-The-Market (“ATM”) Agreement and site development expenses related to the VWP project in Australia.Balance Sheet and Available CashAs of April 30, 2014, total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities were $28.4 million, up from $20.4 million on April 30, 2013. At fiscal year-end, restricted cash was $7.3 million compared with $1.4 million as of April 30, 2013. Net cash used in operating activities was $6.5 million and $10.8 million for the twelve months ended April 30, 2014 and 2013, respectively. The Company raised $20.5 million during the fiscal 2014 through the sale of stock under its ATM facility and an underwritten public offering of its common stock.Conclusion“On a final note, our Board has been significantly strengthened over the past two years by the addition of experienced financial and operating executives. We have actively engaged in strengthening our corporate governance, our control environment and our reporting processes. The Board has also actively participated with management in formulating our current strategy and will conduct a search for a permanent CEO over the next few months. When combined with recent employee additions to various executive, business and engineering functions over the past several months, I am confident that we are addressing critical skills and talent that are necessary to help focus the company strategy and ensure efficient business conduct and execution,” concluded Mr. Keller.Press Release, July 30, 2014last_img read more

Top news, December 21 – 27, 2015

first_imgTidal Energy Today has compiled the top news from tidal and wave energy industry from December 21 – 27, 2015.FloWave spins tidal arraysUK’s Exeter and Edinburgh universities have tested up to 15 tidal device arrays at FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility. Momentum Reversal Lift (MRL) concept was tried for 11 days in a range of array configurations to determine the optimal set-up for maximum energy capture. The MRL team will now write up the final results of their programme for submission to the EPSRC in 2016.France: €10 million for marine renewables projectsTen companies have been awarded €10 million total for research and development projects related to marine renewable energy in France. The main themes covered by these projects are site characterization, modeling and evaluation of environmental impacts and technology development, and it is expected that the data acquired from the projects would help develop French marine energy sector.MPS hires ACS Testing ahead of WaveSub deploymentMarine Power Systems (MPS), a Swansea-based wave energy developer, has hired ACS Testing to test sediment samples at the MPS’ WaveSub planned deployment site, in order for MPS to gain a full understanding of the site where the anchors of the WaveSub device will be placed. WaveSub quarter-scale device will be tested at FaBTest, a test area situated 2.8 km2 within Falmouth harbor, in 2016.Indian Navy eyes OTECIndian Navy is exploring the possibility of setting up an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant that would provide power for its Andaman and Nicobar Islands base. According to The Economic Times, the 20 MW OTEC project could involve the engagement of Indian companies Godrej and Kirloskar as suppliers.Tidal Energy Todaylast_img read more

Ships that pass on the motorway

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more