“Our results demonstrate that this interface may have great promise for use in people,” said Nuyujukian, who will join Stanford faculty as an assistant professor of bioengineering in 2017. “It enables a typing rate sufficient for a meaningful conversation.”Communication challengesOther approaches for helping people with movement disorders type involve tracking eye movements or, as in the case of Stephen Hawking, tracking movements of individual muscles in the face. However, these have limitations, and can require a degree of muscle control that might be difficult for some people. For example, Stephen Hawking wasn’t able to use eye-tracking software due to drooping eyelids and other people find eye-tracking technology tiring.Directly reading brain signals could overcome some of these challenges and provide a way for people to communicate their thoughts and emotions.The technology developed by the Stanford team involves a multi-electrode array implanted in the brain to directly read signals from a region that ordinarily directs hand and arm movements used to move a computer mouse.It’s the algorithms for translating those signals and making letter selections that the team members have been improving. They had tested individual components of the updated technology in prior monkey studies but had never demonstrated the combined improvements in typing speed and accuracy.“The interface we tested is exactly what a human would use,” Nuyujukian said. “What we had never quantified before was the typing rate that could be achieved.” Using these high-performing algorithms developed by Nuyujukian and his colleagues, the animals could type more than three times faster than with earlier approaches.To type or not to typeThe monkeys testing the technology had been trained to type letters corresponding to what they see on a screen. For this study, the animals transcribed passages of New York Times articles or, in one example, Hamlet. The results, which are published September 12 in the Proceedings of the IEEE, show that the technology allows a monkey to type with only its thoughts at a rate of up to 12 words per minute.People using this system would likely type more slowly, the researchers said, while they think about what they want to communicate or how to spell words. People might also be in more distracting environments and in some cases could have additional impairments that slow the ultimate communication rate.“What we cannot quantify is the cognitive load of figuring out what words you are trying to say,” Nuyujukian said.Despite that, Nuyujukian said even a rate lower than the 12 words per minute achieved by monkeys would be a significant advance for people who aren’t otherwise able to communicate effectively or reliably.“Also understand that we’re not using auto completion here like your smartphone does where it guesses your words for you,” Nuyujukian said. Eventually the technology could be paired with the kinds of word completion technology used by smartphones or tablets to improve typing speeds.In addition to proving the technology, this study showed that the implanted sensor could be stable for several years. The animals had the implants used to test this and previous iterations of the technology for up to four years prior to this experiment, with no loss of performance or side effects in the animals.Shenoy and Nuyujukian are part of the Brain-Machine Interface initiative of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, which is working to develop this and other methods of interfacing technology directly with the brain. The team is running a clinical trial now, in conjunction with Jaimie Henderson, professor of neurosurgery, to test this latest interface in people.If the group is successful, technologies for directly interpreting brain signals could create a new way for people with paralysis to move and communicate with loved ones. Share on Facebook LinkedIn It does not take an infinite number of monkeys to type a passage of Shakespeare. Instead, it takes a single monkey equipped with brain-sensing technology – and a cheat sheet.That technology, developed by Stanford Bio-X scientists Krishna Shenoy, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and postdoctoral fellow Paul Nuyujukian, directly reads brain signals to drive a cursor moving over a keyboard. In an experiment conducted with monkeys, the animals were able to transcribe passages from the New York Times and Hamlet at a rate of up to 12 words per minute.Earlier versions of the technology have already been tested successfully in people with paralysis, but the typing was slow and imprecise. This latest work tests improvements to the speed and accuracy of the technology that interprets brain signals and drives the cursor. Share Share on Twitter Email Pinterest
Also cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna have called for a European Union response to encourage Airbnb’s cooperation with cities. Airbnb had similar problems, so earlier this year it began a slow process of verifying all its ads and hosts precisely because of various scams. The reason for this was Vice Media research which revealed “a network of deception across the state“In which individuals or organizations have managed to exploit Airbnb’s policies through false reviews. The aim was to improve the control of the payment of sojourn taxes and to make it easier for renters to operate, so that in future data would be processed directly via the Internet from accommodation rental platforms. Airbnb rejected such a proposal, and the City decided to suspend negotiations due to non-compliance with Austrian legislation and the denial of the possibility of controlling earned sojourn taxes. All with the aim of preventing the advertising of unregistered accommodation and thus the stay of unregistered guests in the facilities. Thus, from now on, internet platforms are obliged by our Act to display the tax number, ie the VAT identification number of the service provider that provides services in the territory of the Republic of Croatia. Photo: Pixabay / Illustration: HrTurizam.hr False presentations and renting someone else’s accommodation I am sure that during this year or until the beginning of next year (slow development due to covid19), booking portals will be implemented and ask renters to enter their VAT ID number. In conclusion, just the new Fr.bvezom to internet platforms the first legal step has been taken, and now communication with Booking.com and Airbnb follows on how to implement the same. Certainly, the obligation to report the VAT ID number will bring order to the landlords, ie significantly regulate and practically eliminate illegal landlords. They have to take responsibility for several reasons. But let’s go in order. Just new commitment for internet platforms it could bring order within to renters i.e. significantly regulate or eliminate illegal renters. Simply put, Booking.com and Airbnb must take responsibility. And not just because of pressure from cities and the EU, but more because of its reputation and long-term sustainable model. Until a year ago, it certainly wouldn’t, but now circumstances have changed. And not because of the current situation around the coronavirus pandemic. “The city is not against the sharing economy. However, when a company does not respect Austrian law and is not ready to reach agreements on other issues, then we cannot successfully negotiate. ” said City Economy Councilor Peter Hanke. As for the renters themselves, because they will not have unfair competition, the State that will collect taxes, as well as booking portals that will regulate false presentations and renting someone else’s or fake accommodation. All of this is part of the new digital economy, a process to which States must adapt and keep pace quickly. But Booking.com and Airbnb have forgotten that when you are the biggest and market leader, you have a lot of responsibility. This is the first time that short-term rental competitors are coming together to share global market data. Also, Airbnb and other platforms continue to fight across Europe over the accelerated expansion of urban rents. Cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona have imposed restrictions, and many have expressed concern about the impact on house prices. VIENNA AGREED TO COOPERATE WITH AIRBNB And here we return to the beginning of the story. Will Booking.com and Airbnb comply with this new legislation? Intermediaries / False representations and renting someone else’s accommodation / Credibility of reviews “The legal adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union seems to be implying that Airbnb will stifle urban planning and housing measures“The letter from the cities stated, in response to the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of the AHTOP lawsuit, that Airbnb should be considered a digital service provider and not an accommodation provider. But all these solutions still have not triggered key processes in the real fight against illegal and bogus accommodation. However, EU pressure has borne fruit. The painful beginning of summer vacations in Croatia began last year when twelve French students, who booked a luxury Hvar villa through the Booking.com platform, and when they came to the location, saw that they only got neglected and empty land. We can only imagine what frustration they experienced. Extremely negative advertising, both for Booking.com and for Croatia. CITIES TO THE EUROPEAN UNION AGAINST AIRBNB’S MASS TOURISM On the other hand, they looked only at themselves and the most important thing for them was that they charge their share, the promotion service, since they were not registered as travel agencies or similar, because they presented themselves exclusively as intermediaries. At least so far it has been such a narrative. Similar to the case of Uber, which claimed to be dealing with a brokerage service where through the app it provides a toll service to connect drivers, and that they are taxi service providers. Namely, this article prescribes the obligation for internet platforms (Booking.com, Airbnb.com, etc.…) to display the tax number, ie VAT identification number service providers, all in order to prevent illegal business and compliance with tax regulations. In addition to refusing to collect the sojourn tax, Airbnb also refused to provide the City with any information about its customers, such as whether a particular renter pays the sojourn tax. Following the termination of the negotiations, the City sent an official request to Airbnb to provide the requested user data within the legal deadline. The city ultimately warned that it would initiate administrative proceedings, and then Airbnb relented and an agreement followed. In March this year, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and TripAdvisor still signed a data sharing agreement with the European Union. The agreement means that reliable information on the short-term rental market will be published through the statistical office Eurostat. In December 2017, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that the car-sharing company Uber is a taxi company, not just an “information society service”. Interestingly, CJUE sided with AirBnb, in a lawsuit filed by the French Association for Professional Tourism and Accommodation (AHTOP) who complained that Airbnb was not complying with French property laws and that Airbnb was operating as an unlicensed real estate agency, violating a local act known as Hoguet’s law. The answer to the question of how many objects on Booking-com are illegal, ie without a decision on categorization, no one knows, some unofficial estimates are around 20% -30%, although it is possible that the full number is higher. Years ago, Booking.com sought a categorization solution as a basic condition for advertising, but the lust for big extra space or profit abolished that practice. Here we can certainly emphasize the additional problem of false criticism and praise, ie reviews, which are again not checked. And which they have lost on credibility. There are even companies that legally sell fake and negative review services as well as positive ones. However, the real reaction of the booking portal was also missing. In late 2018, the City of Vienna announced the suspension of negotiations with Airbnb for non-compliance with Austrian legislation. The aim of the negotiations with Airbnb was to agree on the collection of fees directly from Airbnb and their forwarding to the City. AIRBNB, BOOKING.COM, EXPEDIA GROUP AND TRIPADVISOR COOPERATE WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION Which is a win-win for everyone. Airbnb has also introduced a “guest guarantee”, ie insurance for those whose rented accommodation does not match its description on the platform. They have also established a telephone line from 0 to 24 that will be used to receive and express the resolution of complaints. The French rented a luxury Hvar villa, and were greeted by an empty field Namely, Booking.com and Airbnb, as the biggest global players in the booking market so far have only looked at themselves, but things are changing. Their reputation is threatened, and thus their long-term business model. Booking.com and Airbnb must take responsibility, primarily for themselves It came into force recently Law on Amendments to the Law on Provision of Services in Tourism, and which enacted amendments to the law regarding travel agencies, travel guides and a new obligation internet portal for booking accommodation. Cities have sought co-operation with the European Parliament and the European Commission to establish legal obligations that would force Airbnb to comply with local regulations. And therefore, in my opinion, in order to protect the rights of passengers and regulate real / actual renters, in order to avoid the above scams, booking portals will still introduce a VAT ID number, ie ask them from renters as a confirmation of legality. Accordingly, illegal landlords, who do not have a VAT ID number, will no longer be able to advertise on booking portals. In the case of Booking.com, this is further expressed. Namely, both platforms boast millions of users, but so far they did not want to take responsibility for various embezzlements, false representations and renting other people’s accommodation, which are increasingly present, but only looked at their profits and the excuse that it is impossible to check all renters and how they are just intermediaries. But with great power comes responsibility. The responsibility they once had to accept. So far, there have been attempts and pressures to regulate illegal renters, in order to pay taxes, which is in the interest of every country, but the largest booking platform due to different headquarters, ie company registration (Booking com is registered in the Netherlands, while Airbnb registered in San Francisco), were not inclined to do so and referred to the Laws where they were registered. The question is: Will Booking.com and Airbnb comply with this new legislation? The City of Vienna first announced the suspension of negotiations with Airbnb due to non-compliance with Austrian legislation, and later an agreement between Vienna and Airnbnb followed.. read more
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Independent/Peggy Spellman HoeyIt’s more than just a name change.If organizers are successful, East Quogue will become the third hamlet in Southampton Town to secede and form its own government, following the lead of Sagaponack and Westhampton Dunes.And make no mistake about it, there will be a state of the art private golf course built as soon as the process is completed, if it’s not there already.Organizers are making no bones about it: the recent decision by the Southampton Town Board to turn down Discovery Land’s request to build Southampton Hills, a luxury housing community centered around a golf club, has everything to do with it, said Gregory Celi Jr., a member of the exploratory committee.“It’s not that it didn’t go through, it was the way it was handled by the town,” Celi said about the course. “It was a minority point of view used to overthrow the project. This is about the process.”Two Democrats on the town board, Julie Lofstad and John Bouvier, voted against creating the planned development district, which needed a supermajority of the board for approval.Discovery is now seeking approval through the Southampton Town planning process.During the PDD application process, which included several public hearings, it became apparent many residents of East Quogue were in favor of the Discovery project, which would have lowered school taxes and infused capital into the school districts. Opponents contended the course would cause ground water pollution that would eventually imperil nearby waterways.The newly formed East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee will hold a public hearing on May 21. Former Southampton Town Supervisor Patrick “Skip” Heaney is a member.“We will present facts. We are not driving the decision for the people,” Celi said. He guessed the Discovery application, “will be long in play” before a new village will be able to regulate its own planning and zoning. That process could take about two years.The EQVEC has retained the services of Bee Ready et al LLC to aid members in navigating the path to achieve village status. The firm specializes in municipal law, including election law like a potential village incorporation vote.The process is similar to a candidate running for office in the town. It requires a petition, followed by an election. A successful petition requires that at least 20 percent of residents who are qualified to vote in a town election sign the petition to call for a vote.Upon achieving the legally required number of signatures, the petition is presented to the town supervisor to verify that all conditions of the petition have been met. If the petition meets the criteria, an election is set for the residents of East Quogue to decide whether or not they wish to incorporate as a village. A simple majority wins.Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has been down this road before, as a former Montauk resident and the former East Hampton Town Supervisor. Montauk’s incorporation has been the topic of discussion for many years.“I am for self-determination. I’m a big supporter of home rule,” he said. Schneiderman noted as town supervisor he would play a role: he has to certify that the petition to incorporate is valid.If the local residents of East Quogue vote in favor of incorporation, the local government will then quickly be set up, by the appointment of a Village Clerk and an election of the Village Board, including a Mayor and four Trustees.The Town of Southampton is required to continue to deliver the same services it is currently providing, for a period of two years. This will give the new village time to organize and negotiate inter-municipal agreements with the town for services like police, highway, and parks.In Sagaponack, for example, the new village negotiated a contract with Southampton Town Police in 2013 shortly after incorporating. The agreement assigned a town police officer to patrol Sagaponack’s four square miles of roads for 16 hours each day, 12 months a year, at a cost of $2.3 million. It has since been lowered, Schneiderman said.There are indications taxes will indeed be lowered if the incorporation is achieved. “The school taxes are 75 to 80 percent of the tax bill. You have to believe if a bunch of luxury homes are built and there are no additional school kids, taxes will go down,” he added.The last offer Discovery Land Co made was to build a golf course and 118 luxury seasonal units, meaning there would be no school children living there. Discovery also agreed to purchase and preserve a neighboring parcel owned by Carolyn Prelate for preservation.According to a press release from the group, “The EQVEC was formed several months ago in response to local issues including the town board’s minority support (Bouvier of Westhampton and Lofstad of Hampton Bays) of increased density and loss of community benefits relating to the Hills PDD. The “Hills” property owner is now pursuing their underlying property rights according to established Town Code as is Ms. Carolyn Parlato, owner of the 33 acres adjacent to Weesuck Creek, that was to have been preserved as a part of the PDD.“Other issues have also been on the forefront of the committee’s discussions, most critically, the impact on local water quality relating to chemicals found at the Town’s former Damascus Dump and Animal Shelter property. Other concerns include impact on the local school districts due to code enforcement situations, the health of Main Street in East Quogue, and the maintenance and support of local community properties,” the release email@example.com Share read more
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The UK’s top 100 law firms achieved overall fee income growth of 3.9% in the last financial year – but the gap between top and bottom is continuing to grow. Deloitte’s latest Quarterly Legal Sector Survey shows top firms increased productivity by 1.6% up to the end of April 2011 and boosted fee earner headcount by 2.4%. Figures were also up in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the fourth quarter of 2010, with firms on average achieving fee income growth of 4.5% – this despite the reduced number of working days in April and an average decline in chargeable hours per fee earner. Jeremy Black, a partner in Deloitte’s professional practices group, said the performance in the latest quarter was stronger than many had anticipated. ‘However, the average figures do hide increasingly polarised performance levels,’ he added. ‘While some firms are achieving strong growth others are suffering an absolute decline in their fee income. ‘While these figures show a moderate increase in sector revenues over the prior year, there are a number of structural issues that firms are facing. ‘The traditional partnership model used by many firms is difficult to operate in a period of lower growth and many firms will face significant challenges over the next couple of years.’ One firm that has run into difficulties is the City firm Dawsons, which has been placed into creditor’s voluntary liquidation. In a statement by Martin Codd, former managing partner at Dawsons, it was confirmed that joint liquidators had been brought in after a merger with Penningtons earlier this year failed to satisfy creditors. The statement said: ‘It was originally the intention of the Dawsons partners to use a CVA structure to wind up the activities of Dawsons LLP (which became 2 New Square LLP with effect from midnight on 30 April 2011). ‘Unfortunately, this has subsequently been found to be unworkable because of the stance taken by certain parties and the liquidation of the business was the only remaining option open to us.’ read more
“FTSE Russell was the first international index provider of mainland China benchmarks 20 years ago and we will continue to work with our global clients to provide benchmark and analytic solutions to facilitate their equity and fixed income investments in the region.”Xinghai Fang, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, added: “The promotion of China A-shares to emerging market status within [the FTSE Global Equity Index Series] is an important next step in the development of our capital markets and reflects the long-term reforms that have been implemented over the past few years.”Large, mid and small cap A-shares will be added to the FTSE Emerging index in three phases, beginning in June 2019 and completing in March 2020, with a review after each phase. In addition to the 5.5% weighting in the FTSE Emerging index after the first phase, FTSE Russell said it expected A-shares to make up roughly 0.57% of the FTSE Global All Cap index.Danny Dolan, managing director at asset management group China Post Global, said: “This inclusion is a further concrete step in the ongoing integration of the Chinese stock market into the global financial system… The Chinese government has accelerated the opening up of the market by addressing issues around capital controls and clearing and settlement, resolving previous concerns and ensuring that China’s importance to the global economy cannot be ignored any more.”Yesterday, rival index provider MSCI launched a consultation on plans to quadruple the weighting of China A-shares in its emerging market index. Fixed income additionsIn addition, Makepeace said Chinese government bonds had been added to the company’s “watch list” for potential inclusion in its FTSE World Government Bond index.It follows a consultation with market participants regarding a country classification framework for global fixed income indices, similar to that already in place for equity benchmarks.Placing a fixed income market on the “watch list” would demonstrate FTSE Russell’s “intent to engage with governments, central banks and regulators” about how the markets can fulfil the index provider’s criteria, it said. Full details of the country classification criteria for fixed income along with its full watch list would be published after discussions with regional fixed income market advisers in November, FTSE Russell said.Chris Woods, managing director for governance, risk and compliance, said: “Establishing a thorough process for classification of local bond markets in this way brings a much-needed level of transparency to the decisions affecting major global bond indices.Now that we have added China to the watch list, we look forward to engaging with investors and regulators in the coming months in applying this process.”Away from China, FTSE Russell has reclassified Kuwait as a secondary emerging market, having previously been a frontier market. In addition, Poland has achieved developed market status and Iceland has been added to the frontier markets index group.Romania is on FTSE Russell’s equity watch list with a view to adding it to the secondary emerging market group. The index provider’s full list of country definitions can be found here. FTSE Russell will add China’s growing A-shares market to its global equity indices from June next year.A-shares, which are listed on the Chinese mainland, will make up roughly 5.5% of the FTSE Emerging index after the first phase of inclusion is completed next summer, the index provider said. This is expected to trigger roughly $10bn (€8.6bn) of inflows into passive products tracking the index.FTSE Russell cited improvements to market access, including the introduction of the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor initiative and enhancements to the Stock Connect programme, which linked mainland exchanges to Hong Kong’s equity trading hub.“The Chinese authorities have continued to introduce reforms designed to open their market to international investors and have transformed their economy into the second largest in the world,” said Mark Makepeace, FTSE Russell’s CEO. read more
LifeNews.com 30 March 2012Research published this week revealed more evidence that a Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence program is effective in delaying sexual onset. Four major conclusions are drawn from the article, entitled, Impact of the Choosing the Best Program in Communities Committed to Abstinence Education.Students in an SRA class were more likely to delay the onset of sexual activity from pre to posttest than their peers.The findings of this study are more realistic and relevant than the Jemmott study on abstinence, as well as most “comprehensive” sex ed. research since the study occurred in schools.The study was conducted with schools and communities that supported the SRA abstinence message for their studentsSRA messages must be reinforced throughout the teen years in order to sustain effect…..At the conclusion of the 9th grade, students who were part of the 8-lesson SRA program were 1.5 times more likely to delay sex than the control group. In addition, the study found that the more lessons students received, the less likely they were to initiate sex.The study’s findings also reiterated the importance of reinforcing the abstinence message in order to maintain initial behavioral effects. Without bolstering the message each year, the results greatly diminished, suggesting that the overwhelmingly sexual communications teens receive from multiple venues has a negative and neutralizing influence.Valerie Huber, Executive Director of NAEA, commented: “This new study adds to 22 other peer reviewed studies showing SRA education has a positive impact on student sexual behavior. This rigorous research design adds an important exclamation point to the efficacy of abstinence-centered education. Schools that are eager to implement a sex education strategy that helps their students avoid all the risks of teen sex should take this study seriously. Officials who are crafting sex education policies at the state and federal levels should also take the results seriously. “http://www.lifenews.com/2012/03/30/new-study-shows-abstinence-education-effective/READ the full study read more
Tunisia would be open to the idea of a North African bid for the 2030 World Cup along with Algeria and Morocco.Reuters-FILEThe president of the Tunisia Football Federation Wadie Jary said “We haven’t received any official offers, but we’re open to the idea and would like to see it happen.Algeria’s sports minister announced earlier this week that his country is to study whether such a bid is feasible.Officials in Morocco, who lost the chance to host the 2026 World Cup, have not weighed in on the idea but the country has already made it clear they plan to submit a bid.Morocco lost to a joint bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico.The Moroccans have bid and failed to win the right to host football’s biggest event five times.Algeria sports minister Mohamed Hattab says the country will study a possible candidacy of the Maghreb countries for the organisation of the World Cup. He says application from the Maghreb with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia can be achieved through existing infrastructure as well as future projects.“When we look at our cities, with the sporting and cultural facilities present, we are able to consider that we can host major world events.”Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay last year launched a three-nation South American bid to host the 2030 tournament, seeking to mark the centenary of the first World Cup, hosted by Uruguay in 1930.FIFA isn’t expected to make any decision on the 2030 World Cup until 2022 when Qatar hosts the event.Related Talk Africa: Africa and the World Cup read more
President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term in office, but faces stiff competition from his former ally Atiku Abubakar.At least four people were killed on Tuesday in a stampede at a rally for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.Buhari’s rally took place at stadium in the southern city of Port Harcourt. The event turned deadly as a panicked crowd charged its way through a locked gate following the end of Buhari’s speech.The stampede left many others injured.The incident came just three days before the February 16 presidential vote.Nigeria’s election has attracted 73 candidates, but pollsters project the race to mainly be between current leader Buhari and his former ally Atiku Abubakar.The two are expected to sign a peace accord on Wednesday, pledging to accept the result of the vote and to maintain peace.More than 80 million voters are registered to take part in the vote in the country that has a population of more than 190 million.Ahead of the vote, the electoral authority INEC said it was ready to hold the vote, and would ensure a smooth and credible process.Related TALK AFRICA: NIGERIA UNDER BUHARI Nigeria’s Buhari dismisses budget director Mohammadu Buhari ahead in Nigeria’s tight election read more