Liberals write off 163 million in student loans feds will never collect

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal government is writing off more than $163 million in outstanding student-loan payments that officials will never be able to collect.New spending documents show the government is giving up on debts from 31,658 students after “reasonable efforts to collect the amounts owed.”It is the fourth time in the last five years that the government has written off outstanding student loans.The government periodically gives up on some of the $19 billion owing in student loans for a number of reasons: a debtor files for bankruptcy, the debt itself passes a six-year legal limit on collection, or the debtor can’t be found.The Liberals have looked to make it easier for graduates to pay off their loans — and the government to collect the cash — by increasing the minimum annual income a person has to make before they are required to make debt payments.The threshold is now set at $25,000.The most recent annual report on the Canada Student Loans Program said that in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the government provided almost 490,000 full-time students with just under $2.7 billion in loans and a further $24.1 million in loans to 13,712 part-time students.The report said that the average federal student loan balance at graduating was $13,306, up from $12,783 in the previous 12-month period, an increase of 4.1 per cent.Borrowers typically take between nine and 15 years to fully pay off their loans and the period usually overlaps with when Canadians are most likely to start families.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Sajith says father gave LTTE weapons

“There were allegations my father gave weapons to the LTTE. What my father did was give weapons to an LTTE click he could trust.  The LTTE click led by Mahattaya was given weapons to strengthen them and create an uprising against Prabhakaran within the LTTE,” he said. Gopalaswamy Mahendraraja also known as Mahattaya was eventually reportedly killed for leaking secrets to India’s RAW. According to Wikipedia, Mahattaya, who joined the LTTE in 1978, became the deputy leader of the LTTE, and in 1989 he became the head of the short-lived People’s Front of Liberation Tigers, a political party founded by the LTTE.Mahattaya was second in command at one time in the LTTE after Colonel Kittu who was originally second in command was killed during an encounter with the Indian Navy. Wikipedia says Velupillai Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman found out that he was leaking information to India’s RAW. They were trying to make him the leader of LTTE. However he was relieved of both posts in 1992. In 1993, the LTTE took him into custody. He was executed on December 28, 1994 by the LTTE. (Colombo Gazette) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa says his father gave one group in the LTTE weapons in order to try and create a split in the LTTE.Speaking to the BBC Sandeshiya,  Sajith Premadas said that former President Ranasinghe Premadasa had given weapons to an LTTE click led by Mahattaya. read more

UN refugee agency scales up operations in Syria as number of displaced

“The help we are seeking includes for household items, financial assistance for 200,000 people considered vulnerable, medical assistance, counselling of displaced populations, rehabilitation of shelters and support to encourage refugee and displaced Syrian children to return to school,” a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, told a news briefing in Geneva.The revised Syria Humanitarian Response Plan was presented to donors in Geneva earlier Friday, and is separate from the so-called Regional Response Plan, which applies to relief efforts for Syrians displaced in neighbouring countries. In addition to financial and medical assistance, the $41.7 million in funds is also aimed at providing the Syrian population with access to basic services such as shelter, water and sanitation.More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began some 18 months ago. Amidst reports of an escalation in violence in recent weeks in many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, UN agencies now estimate that some 2.5 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.Over the past two weeks, UNHCR teams have visited 29 communal shelters in the capital, Damascus, as well as the surrounding district known as Rural Damascus, delivering mattresses and blankets and carrying out counselling, Mr. Edwards said. This week, the agency also participated in a three day inter-agency mission to the city of Homs.In addition, UNHCR has received tens of thousands of calls to its hotlines since July, and thousands of refugees have approached its offices in the Syrian capital. Last week alone, nearly 3,000 refugees went to the agency’s office in Damascus expressing their concerns about security, financial difficulties and the need for resettlement.Mr. Edwards said resettlement activities are ongoing, but that they are occurring at a slow pace, as departures to resettlement countries planned this week had been delayed due to cancellation of flights from Damascus’ airport.The refugee agency is also concerned about relocating people who are living in schools, as the academic year is due to start on 16 September. “The relocation of people living in schools is urgent,” Mr. Edwards said, noting however that many of the buildings identified as alternative communal shelters need work done before people can be relocated to them. Addressing the same news briefing, a spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Marixie Mercado, said that the Syrian Government estimates that some 2,072 schools – out of 22,000 across the country – have been damaged or destroyed, and over 600 are occupied by displaced persons. UNICEF is currently supporting repairs in 64 schools in Deraa, Rural Damascus and Lattakia.Syria’s neighbouring countries are also struggling to deal with the increasing number of refugees as the start of the school year nears, Ms. Mercado said.In Jordan, it had initially been planned for Syrian children to go to schools, but this proved unfeasible due to the sheer number of children involved. Instead, UNICEF is now working to set up a school in the Za’atari refugee camp, in northern Jordan, and to bring in 15 prefabricated classrooms for Syrian students in the Ramtha camp, in northwestern Jordan.In Lebanon, schools will accept Syrian refugee children when they open on 24 September and UNICEF will be providing those children with education kits, remedial education, recreational and psychosocial activities. In Turkey, refugee children are being educated in camps set up by the Government, and in Iraq, UNICEF will be providing prefabricated classroom and education supplies, Ms. Mercado said.Overall, UNHCR has stated that the total number of Syrians who have registered as refugees or are awaiting registration, as of 7 September, stands at 246,267 – with more than half seeking safety in Turkey and Jordan. read more

Lithium concentrations in brines instant onsite measurements using handheld LIBS

first_imgTraditional lithium exploration focuses on hard rock exploration for spodumene, petalite, and lepidolite. An alternative to hard rock exploration is to mine lithium brine deposits. Lithium brines are usually located in salars (i.e. underground reservoirs or salt flats). Salar brines contain dissolved salts such as lithium, potassium, and sodium. It is estimated that 66% of global lithium reserves are found in salars. (Reference: key to a salar’s economic viability is the lithium concentration in the brine. Lithium concentrations between 50 and 75 ppm seem to be the minimum for the brine to be viable. Until now lithium analysis required several weeks delay awaiting off-site laboratory testing. If more testing is required – very typical of an exploration project – further delays ensue.Lithium concentrations in brines can now be measured on-site, in seconds. SciAps has updated the Z-300 handheld LIBS analyzer to now analyze lithium content in brines as well as geological samples. The Z can be equipped with a dedicated App with a lithium brines calibration. The App also reports sodium, magnesium, boron and potassium in the brines. Other elements may be added at any time by the user. The App includes a simple liquids attachment to present the brine solution to the Z-300 (or Z-200). We’ve delivered numerous X-300 handheld LIBS analyzers into the lithium mining industry for hard rock exploration, the addition of brines analysis further expands the use of HH LIBS technology in the exploration field.The Z-300 provides instant analysis to determine if a brine solution is economically viable for lithium extraction. The analysis time is less than 30 seconds, and the lithium detection limit is in the range of 5 ppm. For longer tests the limit of detection can be reduced. Although the Z’s test time is 3 seconds, for brine solutions, the recommended practice is to take several tests which the on-board software averages. There is a brief lag time between tests required for liquid samples to settle.Shown in the figure are several spectra for various brine solutions (about 5% sodium) spiked with lithium-chloride. Even the 10ppm lithium sample shows an easily measurable peak.The availability of on-site lithium brines analysis is an important development for lithium exploration. Mining companies can now pull multiple samples of the brine reservoir to get a through mapping of lithium concentrations, and to determine economic viability of the salar with high confidence. The Z analyzes virtually every element in the periodic table, so the analyzer can also be calibrated for potassium, sodium, boron, magnesium, and other elements in the brine that may be of interest.last_img read more

Portugal is bailing its biggest bank out with €49 billion

first_imgPORTUGAL IS TO spend around €4.9 billion to bail out its largest bank.The move to save Banco Espirito Santo (BES) comes after a week of frantic negotiations aimed at avoiding a run on the bank, which is the main part of the country’s third-largest banking group.BES will be split into two entities, with its toxic assets isolated in a “bad bank” and its healthier assets regrouped in a new bank called simply Novo Banco. The bank recorded a €3.57 billion loss last week.In stepping in, the Lisbon government is seeking to avoid contamination throughout its fragile economy and into the wider eurozone. It comes not long after the country exited its own bailout programme.“There was an urgent need to adopt a solution to guarantee the protection of deposits and assure the stability of the banking system,” Bank of Portugal governor Carlos Costa said.The European Commission in Brussels assured that Portugal’s intervention “is adequate to restore confidence in financial stability and to ensure the continuity of services and avoid potential adverse systemic effects”.The cash injection from the state is designed to stop savers pulling any more money out of the bank, and to assure them their money is safe, analysts said.AFP contributed reporting Read: Argentina just burned its bondholders – could we have done the same?last_img read more

Polly want a discount German cracker Lidl might have solved the mystery

first_imgPolly want a discount German cracker? Lidl might have solved the mystery of the Dublin Airport parrot Earlier this week, a grey parrot was discovered after a routine runway inspection at Dublin Airport. Image: Dublin Airport 14 Comments The rogue parrot. Image: Dublin Airport By Garreth MacNamee 32,301 Views Share35 Tweet Email1 center_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article The rogue parrot. Feb 19th 2019, 6:30 PM THE TALE OF the rogue parrot discovered on Dublin Airport’s runway may have seen solved by an eagle-eyed social media worker at Lidl.Earlier this week, a grey parrot was discovered after a routine runway inspection at Dublin Airport. A picture of the parrot was posted on Twitter by Dublin Airport this evening. But shortly afterwards, Lidl’s official account replied saying that one of its stores has a missing parrot poster up on its noticeboard. A man has come forward and claimed ownership of the wantaway bird. Dublin Airport initially tweeted: “Our firefighter Craig Wade found this African grey parrot during a routine runway inspection earlier this week. She’s being given specialist care & is calm & doing well. We’d like to reunite her with her owner. Please RT to help us find them & DM us if she is yours.”Lidl replied: “Guys this is going to sound unbelievable but there’s a “Missing Parrot” poster in one of our stores, so we called the number to check and it’s his parrot! We’ll drop you a DM now.”We’ll keep you abreast of the situation if more information comes forward. Short URL Tuesday 19 Feb 2019, 6:30 PMlast_img read more

Conga Master Party Turns You Into a Dance Predator

first_img For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!Conga Master Party is a game about dancing, but it’s not really a rhythm game. Music plays, but instead of focusing on the beat, your thoughts should be focused on ensnaring your next semi-willing victim. I’ve been playing this game on the Nintendo Switch, but when a game is weird like this that’s when it gets the Game of the Year treatment.Conga Master Party’s main gameplay, and really its only gameplay, revolves around its conga mechanic. The player enters the dance floor, invariably says “What could possibly go wrong?”, and begins moving around the dance floor. Dance around a person or persons long enough and they will join your conga line like some kind of boogie-down Big Boss. But you have to be careful, because bumping into a potential new recruit causes their conga interest to plummet, and since you must maintain a draining momentum meter, you can’t afford to waste time.You also never stop moving. You can’t stop the conga line, only steer it. Instead of controlling the character directly, players use the shoulder buttons to point them left and right as well as dash. Menus also use this control scheme to help you stay accustomed to it. This places a premium on making circular movements, big loops that lasso as many folks as possible, especially as your conga line gets longer. You have to be aware of your own tail like you’re playing Snake or something.To keep Conga Master Party from feeling like the nifty and funny extended WarioWare microgame that it is, the game has a fair amount of different modes taking the very arcade mechanic in different directions. But while the variety is appreciated, you can actively feel the stretching.The single player campaign has you dancing across different night clubs, each with their own appropriately funky Samba De Amigo backing tracks. To progress you have to join up with a certain amount of dancers with different personalities, from bookish to cool to passionate, before time runs out. And it’s surprisingly tough. While there are power-ups for more efficient conga combos, there are also hazards like slippery floors or pigs that kill your momentum if you accidentally let them dance with you. Alien invasions in-between rounds even keep you from bringing most of your allies into the next level.Beyond the campaign there’s an endless mode as well as a handful of new multiplayer minigames. Each multiplayer game is a parody of another game, from “Mortal Konga” to “Grand Theft Conga,” and adds its own unique wrinkle to the festivities. Grab a dancer and keep them in your zone as long as possible. Cut through your rival’s growing conga line. Recruit dancers as health and ammo for a final confrontation. It’s impressive just how many different directions the developers took the same basic idea.But in the end, Conga Master Party always is the same basic idea. There are only so many different ways I could do the same dance patterns around the same people before I started to get bored.The presentation tries its hardest to stave this off. The pixel art representing fanciful ordinariness reminded me of other Game of the Year Winner Luke Sidewalker. Meanwhile, the lengthy list of playable characters are full of personality and each have their own stats for another attempt at depth. You can even unlock costumes for them using amiibo, although the game missed the obvious opportunity for a Donkey Konga reference.However, like fellow strange game about growing yourself through others Katamari Damacy, Conga Master Party’s charms are better appreciated in short bursts before they get tired. Maybe that’s why real conga lines can’t last forever.Check back next week to read about the next Game of the Year! Stay on target Review: ‘Fantasy Strike’ Is A Fighting Game That Understands…Game of the Year: Jordan Minor’s Best Video Games of 2018 center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Google Assistant Now Books Reservations in 43 States

first_img Pixel owners in 43 states can now use Google Assistant to schedule appointments and book reservations.The tech titan in May unveiled Duplex, a technology for conducting natural conversations to carry out specific tasks over the phone.Unlike the choppy, emotionless voice assistants we’ve come to know and love, Duplex sounds organic; the system barely betrays its robotic side, speaking as smoothly as anyone with a firm grasp of the English language.It even throws in the occasional “um…” to give the impression of an unprepared human.“Just ask the Assistant on your phone, ‘Book a table for four people at [restaurant name] tomorrow night,’” Scott Huffman, vice president of engineering for Google Assistant, wrote in a blog post.“The Assistant will then call the restaurant to see if it can accommodate your request,” he explained. “Once your reservation is successfully made, you’ll receive a notification on your phone, an email update, and a calendar invite so you don’t forget.”Following a limited beta test last summer, Duplex began rolling out in November to Android devices running version 5.0 or above, and iPhones with Google Assistant installed.Now, the feature is available in more locations (just not Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, or Texas, for some unknown reason) and on more handsets.“We look forward to bringing this service to more people across the US to make planning a night out just a bit easier,” Huffman said.At Duplex’s core is a recurrent neural network, trained on a collection of anonymized phone conversation data; the RNN uses the output of Google’s automatic speech recognition (ASR) tech, as well as other features.A built-in self-monitoring capability allows the program to recognize tasks out of its purview—like scheduling an unusually complex appointment—and tag teams a human operator.Google isn’t limiting its service to just one set of users: Businesses can benefit from Duplex by allowing customers to book through Google Assistant, while customers can call businesses to inquire about information or an appointment.More on’s Duplex Hints at a Dark Future for AIThis Weird Robot Can Fold Your Laundry at a Snail’s PaceEngineers Built a Self-Aware Robot That Operates On Its Own Stay on target 50 Attorneys General Launch Bipartisan Probe Into GoogleYouTube Fined $170M For Alleged Child Privacy Law Violation last_img read more

AK Mod Carousel brings boylesque world premiere to Juneau

first_imgMoscato Extatique performs “Small Death” in Seattle boylesque collective Mod Carousel’s new show “Gilded,” premiering Friday, July 14, 2017, in Juneau. (Photo courtesy Meneldor Photography)Under a purple ethereal light, a figure cloaked in black sheer fabric floats across stage and slinks around a folding chair.Personifying the angel of death, Moscato Extatique begins peeling away layers of clothing, blurring the lines of gender expression.It’s part of Mod Carousel’s newest show, Gilded, which is making its world premiere in Juneau, Alaska.Listen nowGilded begins at 7 p.m. Friday, July 14, and at 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Rockwell Ballroom.But this isn’t your grandmother’s cabaret. This is boylesque, where men perform sultry roles in a genre pioneered by women and inspired by burlesque.One of founding members of the troupe Mod Carousel is from Alaska’s capital city, and has made a point to bring his art back to his home city.For eight years, Seneca Harper has brought boylesque back to his hometown of Juneau.Growing up in Southeast was both interesting and wonderful, he said, but Harper felt like culture was missing.“I knew existed somewhere but didn’t know where it was, and felt like I need to leave Juneau to be part of that,” Harper said.Harper was introduced to boylesque in Seattle, where he found his conspirators and future husband.“Coming back, I feel like I went out in the world, discovered a little gem, and then I’m kind of bringing it home and saying, ‘Here, look at this, look at this for a little while,’ and people seem to really enjoy that,” Harper said.The group travels with more than 300 pounds of luggage, costumes and props.Seattle-based boylesque collective Mod Carousel features (clockwise from bottom left) The Luminous Pariah, fraternal twins Trojan and Paris Original, and Moscato Extatique. (Photo courtesy of the artist)Most are custom sewn by Harper’s husband, Paris Original.Since forming their collective in 2010, they’ve held residencies in London and Australia, garnered 5 million YouTube hits and performed in more than 50 countries.Harper alone has headlined burlesque festivals in more than 18 countries.Burlesque has a long history as a medium for political satire, parody and social commentary. Inspired by Lydia Thompson and the British Blondes, who first brought Victorian burlesque to America in the 1860s.In their newest show Gilded, the group explores themes of gender expression, race and ethnicity, all in the classic burlesque format.A performer enters the stage, establishes a story line and character through dance and physical movement. Eventually shedding layers of clothing to reveal a moral of the story that’s almost always comedic.Even though the guys are taking their clothes off, they distinguish their work from strippers like Chippendales and “Magic Mike.”Trojan Original said their audiences are diverse.“I think a healthy amount of our audience thinks it’s going to be a strip show and is pleasantly surprised and then the other half thinks it’s definitely not going to be a strip show and they’re also pleasantly surprised,” he said. “At the end of the day everyone’s pleasantly surprised.”Harper said the difference between burlesque and stripping is the intent and artistry behind these routines.Stripping seeks to arouse the audience and is mostly about what the performer looks like underneath their clothes.In burlesque, there are no limitations on body type. Performers serve to engage audience psychologically through humor, costumes, and clever reveals.For members of Mod Carousel who grew up in the ballet tradition, burlesque offers an alternative to the rigid gender roles assigned to males.“Men have a specific role in dance, especially in the classical world where you’re presenting the woman and being the strong masculine prince,” Moscato Extatique said. “Paris and I are not that man in burlesque, and burlesque is that place for us to be as effeminate or as masculine as we want.Harper said he’s always felt somewhere in-between gender-wise, and as his persona, The Luminous Pariah, he gets to present that onstage.“When it comes down to it at the end of the road, do I have to be a lumberjack or do I have to be a princess?” Harper said.With boylesque, he can be both at the same time and that’s both liberating and gratifying.last_img read more

Stay at workplace or quit PM Hasina asks physicians

first_imgAbout the ambulances, Hasina asked the health ministry to create a maintenance fund during the formulation of the ministry’s annual budget so that minor repair works of those can be done timely.She stressed the need for introduction of river ambulance services for the country’s islands and Haor regions.Noting that her government is taking the healthcare services to the doorsteps of people, the prime minister directed all concerned to concentrate on ensuring the health services.She said directives have already been given to the housing and public works ministry to build multistoried building at Upazila level where physicians and other officials could stay there paying rents.Hasina underscored the need for creating more gastroenterologists as the country has few physicians in this field.The prime minister focused on creating a trust fund for the community clinics so that no one can halt its activities in the future as the BNP-Jamaat government did. The BNP-Jamaat government had taken a suicidal step by closing the clinics. “If they come to power, they will shut down it again,” she said.Health and family welfare minister Mohammad Nasim, state minister Zahid Maleque, health services division secretary Md Serajul Huq Khan and director general for health services professor Abul Kalam Azad also spoke on the occasion, liberation war affairs minister AKM Mazammel Huq, prime minister’s adviser HT Imam and state minister for fisheries and livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda present on the occasion.Later, Sheikh Hasina formally handed over dummy keys of seven ambulances to authorities concerned of the Bandaran Sadar Hospital, Upazila Health Complexes of Tungipara in Gopalganj, Rajibpir in Kurigram district, Fultala in Khulna, Kendua in Netrakona, Kaliakoir in Gazipur district and the National Institution of Cardiovascular Diseases in Dhaka.A total of 60 ambulances of Japan’s Toyota brand procured at a cost of Tk 4.1 million each would be handed over this month, while 38 more such ambulances will be handed over next month.The ambulances were procured with the fund of the revenue budget of the health services division under the health ministry to further improve the health services. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina handed over the keys of ambulances to 98 government hospitals, upazila health complexes and health institutions at her office on Thursday. Photo: Focus BanglaVoicing displeasure at the unwillingness of government physicians to stay at hospitals in the country’s remote areas, prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said if one fails to stay in his or her posted area then he or she may quit job paving the path for fresh recruitment, reports UNB.”If they leave their workplace (remote hospitals), then they should discontinue their job. They can earn huge money if they carry out private practice staying in Dhaka. They may quit their job. We’ll then go for fresh recruitment,” she said.The prime minister further said, “When we appoint new doctors, and give them posting at the upazila-level hospitals, they don’t stay there. This problem appears in case of government jobs. Whenever we post them, they somehow manage to return to or stay in Dhaka.”Sheikh Hasina said this ahead of the handover of the keys of ambulances to 98 government hospitals, upazila health complexes and health institutions at a simple ceremony at her office here.She directed the authorities concerned to maintain the standard of education in the country’s medical colleges for building quality physicians.”We’ve set up many medical colleges…but they need to maintain the quality of education. They’ve to look into the matter whether their students are going to be physicians of killing people or saving them,” she said.Mentioning that internet services are now available across the country, the PM said it will be fruitful if the students of the medical colleges can follow the classes and lectures of quality colleges through the internet.She said foreign expert physicians should be allowed to come to the country’s medical institutions for teaching purpose so that local doctors can gather experiences staying with them. “If that can be done, our patients will not require going abroad for medical treatment.”last_img read more

Early Oculus Quest Data Suggests Solid Sales But No Blockbuster Numbers

first_imgA Facebook spokesperson didn’t directly respond to those estimates, but sent Variety the following statement: “Early momentum on Quest is very promising, but we still have a lot of work to do as a company / industry to make VR mainstream and a self-sustaining industry.”Other publicly available data points suggest that this estimate could be roughly accurate. The Oculus mobile app, which is necessary to activate a newly-bought Quest, has seen a significant growth in downloads, with app analytics specialist Sensor Tower estimating that the app has been downloaded by about 115K new users across iOS and Android in the 21 days following the Quest’s launch. “That’s about 47K more installs than the 68K it saw during the 21 days leading up to the launch,” said Sensor Tower head of mobile insights Randy Nelson. Downloads of the app, which can also be used to manage other Oculus headsets, had been fairly stable ever since the end of the holiday season. (It’s worth noting that users of other Oculus headsets may have bought the Quest as well, which wouldn’t have resulted in a new app download.)“Based on the daily average that were potentially sold and the number of days remaining in 2019, I’d say given a strong marketing push during the holidays they could definitely exceed the one million sales mark for the year I’ve seen projected,” Nelson said. “It’ll just take some work.”One major factor that could have a significant impact on sales is the availability of the Quest. The headset quickly sold out across a number of major retailers following its launch. Availability remains spotty, with Amazon estimating delivery times of up to 2 months for the 128 GB version of the headset at the time of writing, and Best Buy listing the 64GB version as sold out.“We’re so glad to see the excitement and interest in Oculus Quest,” a Facebook spokesperson told Variety at the end of May. “While some of our retail partners are temporarily out of stock online, we’re working to restore availability in all channels as soon as possible.”Update: This post was updated with a statement from a Facebook spokesperson. CREDIT: Courtesy of Sensor Tower Popular on Variety First Look: Trailer for Venice-bound VR Experience ‘The Line’ (EXCLUSIVE) Neil Gaiman VR Experience ‘Wolves in the Walls’ Wins Primetime Emmy Early indicators suggest that Facebook’s new Oculus Quest VR headset is seeing solid sales, but it doesn’t seem to be a blockbuster. Still, some estimate that Facebook could sell more than 1 million units in 2019.Facebook has yet to release any official sales numbers for the Quest, which was officially released last month. The company did drop one data point this week to show that the Quest is on the right track, with Facebook vice president Andrew Bosworth telling the audience of the Code conference that the company had sold $5 million in content in the first 2 weeks following the Quest’s debut.This revelation prompted AR and VR consultant Nima Zeighami to do some quick back-of-the-envelope math, with Zeighami estimating that Facebook may have sold fewer than 100,000 Quests in the first 2 weeks. Zeighami based his math on the assumption that each Quest owner may have bought 2 titles, spending about $50 on average. Related ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

New 3D structure shows optimal way to divide space

first_img Journal information: New Journal of Physics As the researchers explained, they intentionally removed the equal volumes constraint when developing their search method because it allowed them to design the algorithm in a new way: instead of directly minimizing the surface area of a structure, they maximized the polyhedra’s average isoperimeters (the perimeters shared by all adjacent polyhedra). While these two approaches are different, they are ultimately equivalent.The researchers used the new algorithm to explore several 3D structures made of between two and 64 polyhedra. Starting with a specific number of randomly arranged points in 3D space, the algorithm begins to move the points around. After each iteration, the algorithm calculates the new average isoperimeter, and based on the result either keeps or rejects the new configuration with a certain probability. After millions and sometimes billions of iterations, the points eventually form the vertices of multiple polyhedra that together form a 3D structure with very low surface area.As there is currently no way to prove what the most optimal space-partitioning structure is (with or without equal-volume cells), the researchers plan to continue searching a wide variety of structures of all types. Their best guess is that even more optimal structures exist, and they plan to use their algorithm to continue their exploration.The researchers also expect that the algorithm could generate other unique structures. One particularly interesting structure they discovered here is a 40-polyhedra structure that is more optimal than Kelvin’s structure but not quite as good as the Weaire-Phelan structure. This highly complex structure is also unusual in that it doesn’t belong to a category of structures called Frank-Kasper structures, which researchers have traditionally focused on for optimal space partitioning. The finding suggests that other optimal structures may also exist outside of this category. Although Kelvin’s problem wasn’t originally proposed to meet any practical need, optimal space partitioning now has a variety of applications. In the medical field, these concepts have been used to design strong, lightweight bone tissue replacements. Optimal space partitioning has also inspired architecture, with one notable example being the swimming venue built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The building, which is called the Water Cube, is based on the Weaire-Phelan structure. Citation: New 3-D structure shows optimal way to divide space (2016, November 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2016 One of the new 3D structures has the lowest surface of any known space-partitioning structure: it is made of 24 polyhedra, some of which have 12 faces and some of which have 16 faces. Since the 12- and 16-faced polyhedra here have different volumes, the new structure doesn’t satisfy Kelvin’s original requirement for equal volumes. Credit: Opsomer and Vandewalle. ©2016 IOP Publishing (—Researchers have discovered a new 3D structure that divides space into 24 regions, and have shown that it is the best solution yet to a modified version of a geometrical space-partitioning problem that has challenged researchers for more than a century. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. New breakthrough in bubble research More information: E Opsomer and N Vandewalle. “Novel structures for optimal space partitions.” New Journal of Physics. DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/18/10/103008 The new algorithm uncovered this 3D structure composed of 40 polyhedra of two different types. Credit: Opsomer and Vandewalle. ©2016 IOP Publishing In 1887, Lord Kelvin asked how space could be partitioned into 3D structures of equal volume in a way that minimizes the total surface area of each structure. It must be possible to tightly pack many of these structures together with no gaps in between them—in other words, they must be “space-filling” structures. Each structure can take on a variety of complex 3D shapes, or “polyhedra,” either as a single polyhedron or a combination of multiple smaller polyhedra of various types. The challenge is to figure out what particular types of polyhedra to use in order to minimize the outer surface area of the entire structure. Kelvin’s best solution to this problem was a single polyhedron called a “tetrakaidecahedron,” which has 14 faces: six squares and eight hexagons. Since this is the shape obtained when cutting the corners off a 3D diamond shape, it can also be thought of as a truncated octahedron.Although Kelvin’s solution stood for more than a century, in 1994 Denis Weaire and Robert Phelan at Trinity College Dublin used numerical simulations to discover a more optimal space partition. Weaire and Phelan’s solution is made of eight polyhedra of two different types, though both types have the same volume: six of Kelvin’s tetrakaidecahedron and two dodecahedron (which has 12 faces). Together, these eight polyhedra make up a 3D structure that has 0.3% less surface area than Kelvin’s single tetrakaidecahedron. The Weaire-Phelan structure has remained the most optimal solution to Kelvin’s problem for the past 22 years. Now in the new study, physicists Eric Opsomer and Nicolas Vandewalle at the University of Liége in Belgium have developed a new algorithm for finding space-filling composite polyhedral structures with minimal surface area. Using the new method, they discovered that a novel 3D structure made of 24 polyhedra has an even lower surface area than the Weaire-Phelan structure. The 24 polyhedra are of two different types: some have 12 faces and some have 16 faces. Unlike the Weaire-Phelan structure, in which the two different types of polyhedra have equal volumes, the 12- and 16-faced polyhedra here have significantly different volumes. For this reason, the new structure doesn’t satisfy Kelvin’s original requirement for equal volumes. “Unfortunately, it is not a ‘true solution,’ since equal volume cells are a requirement for the original Kelvin problem,” Opsomer told Nonetheless, the structure is still interesting for other reasons. “These results may lead to the discovery of structures with potential implications for material physics, medical research, and other areas,” Opsomer said. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Glistering all the way

first_imgThe Kolkata-based jewellery chain, Senco Gold and Diamonds, has remained the first choice for many families since ages. Be it a wedding, puja or any other occasion, Senco has the perfect collection to make one look absolutely gorgeous and leave others speechless. The business, which was started from scratch by Late Maran Chand Sen, soars high amongst other jewellery brands in the market. Senco Gold and Diamonds’ stores are spread all over West Bengal, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Guwahati among others.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIt not only has a pan-Indian customer base but is also involved in exporting gold and diamond jewellery to the Middle East, Singapore, UK and USA. Suvankar Sen, the Managing Director of Senco Gold and Diamonds, who joined the family business in 2007, believes that trust for quality and value for money sets them apart. An MBA from IMT Ghaziabad, Sen has worked closely with his father Sankar Sen, to learn the nitty gritty of their long running business.  Sen talks about Senco’s impeccable journey which runs for more than eight decades now along with their expansion plans.  Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveKindly tell us the background of your group. How did your grandparents come about it? Our company was started by my great grandfather Maran Chand Sen, who used to be an intern at a jewellery store. One day a trader left behind some precious stones. He was honest enough to keep it aside and return it to him when he met him a year after. That made the trader happy and in return he gave him a packet as a reward for his honesty. This gave him the capital to start his business which he named ‘Senco’.  He was smart enough to sense the change in the political environment and shift base to Kolkata during the Bengal Partition. After his death, his sons had disagreements among themselves and separated. My grandfather was given the smallest showroom and a minimum capital to restart his branch of Senco. He turned that into a very profitable showroom and went on to add 2 more to his portfolio. My father, Sankar Sen expanded it further and introduced the business model of franchisees and after I joined in 2007 the rate of expansion is as we see it today.How has been the journey of Senco group with so many jewellery brands cropping up side by side?Our motto is value for money and trust for quality. The journey with other competitors and brands entering the market with fluctuating gold price has been a challenging one and that in turn has helped us to meet the demands of the current time and supply our customers with lightweight jewellery. There are multiple jewellery brands available for consumers, how do you convince people to go for Senco? Senco Gold & Diamonds is an eighty year old brand so it includes four generations of trust. In addition, Kolkata is the best known for karigari – heavy and light weight jewellery for both wedding and daily/casual wear. So, I believe that very unique handcrafted jewellery designs  can be found here.  What is the USP of Senco gold? Having our base in Kolkata makes us unique as we are in manufacturing and retailing sector. The light affordable jewellery covering wedding or daily wear gives us an upper hand. Also, the trend that we follow while making our products sets us apart. What are the main products that you are pushing for sale? Gold, diamonds, platinum, silver– All are fine for sale.What according to you is the latest trend of consumption?The latest trend is sleek designs in gold and diamonds. It’s not about the quantity but largely depends on the quality source, which is the heritage and the value.People say gold is better as an investment than diamonds. Why?Gold is an internationally accepted metal, almost a substitute to currency that appreciates value over time. The price is driven by market demand and supply. Diamonds on the other hand are rare, precious, beautiful and fashionable. It is more modern and trendy. Big sized diamonds are still accepted as investments but not the tiny ones.In this era of so many diamonds consumers, do you think purchase of gold is on the decline?Purchase of gold amongst youngsters is on decline, compared to diamonds. This is mainly due to the dressing style and behaviour of the consumers. They want to enjoy what they wear and gold becomes selective in that case. However, I believe consumers should appreciate the long term asset value of gold and act on it. Where does Senco group stand when compared to others?We don’t compare ourselves with others. We believe in giving a solution to our consumers in terms of designs and value. We want to execute the best practices in terms of processes and controls and serve the needs of our consumers.Lately, the government has imposed tax on jewellery transactions. How intensely does it affect this line of business? Nearly 10 to 20 per cent. This is due to the rules and taxes that have been suggested but we believe it’s just a matter of time. Consumers will get used to it and we will overcome the challenge.How do you wish to see the group in another ten years?We are at 80 stores right now. As the business grows we are aiming towards 100 stores in the next two years. However, the main target over the next ten years is to take our manufactured products to the rest of the world.last_img read more

Princess Cruises private island completes renos adds WiFi

first_img Friday, February 16, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> SANTA CLARITA — Princess Cruises’ exclusive island destination, Princess Cays, has gotten an upgrade, complete with a new marina, more shore excursions and MedallionNet Wi-Fi, making it the only cruise industry private island to offer connectivity ashore.Ranked among the ‘Top Cruise Line Private Island Destinations’ by Cruise Critic for 2017, the island is located on the southern tip of Eleuthera in the outer Bahamas and has been welcoming guests since 1992. It’s situated on approximately 40 acres and is a featured call on Princess’ Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.“For more than 25 years, Princess guests have lauded Princess Cays as one of their favourite spots on their Caribbean cruise,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “With new and improved island offerings and the addition of MedallionNet Wi-Fi ashore, guests enjoy a memorable beach experience and can easily share their adventures with friends and family back home, or stream their favourite show or sports event while relaxing beachside.”More news:  Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaAdditional enhancements include:Shore excursions: A new ‘Lagoon Clear-Bottom Kayaking Adventure’ was introduced on Feb. 17 as a guided paddle through the island’s lagoon. Plus, the new ‘Stingray Beach Encounter’ allows guests to feed, touch and hold live stingrays.Shopping: Guests can visit the new nautical-themed and ‘pick-a-pearl’ jewelry section within the Bahama Treasure store.Marina: The newly completed marina expansion includes a new channel and turning basin depth, which can accommodate larger tenders and smoother disembarkation and embarkation of guests.Guest experience: There’s a new information booth with shaded waiting lounge area, as well as a new public announcement and music system. Extensive landscaping has been done in all guest areas, including newly planted palm trees.For more information go to Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Princess Cruises’ private island completes renos, adds Wi-Fi Share Tags: Princess Cruiseslast_img read more

Texas Techs Patrick Mahomes II looks to pass agai

first_imgTexas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II looks to pass against Arizona State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Top Stories Keim said Palmer learned a lot from Jon Kitna, who was with the Bengals when Palmer was chosen first overall by Cincinnati in the 2003 Draft.“Maybe it wasn’t technical things — it was maybe how to prepare off the field, it was how to study film,” Keim added. “And to me, Carson would be a great role model for a young quarterback.”Even if the time would seem right, Keim acknowledged the fit might not be. He understands the pressure there is to find an heir for the 2015 Pro Bowler at the position, which the GM said drives the league, but presented the caveat that a miss early in the draft could prove problematic.“You can’t force the pick; you’ve got to really like what you see on tape, off the field,” he said. “Because if you take a quarterback high and he doesn’t pan out, it’s going to set you back for years because you have to give him time to develop, you have to give him a chance.“If you miss, and you miss high, it’s going to cost you.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The difficulty is, as Arians noted, balancing the need to look toward the future while trying to make the present as successful as possible.Calling it a “double-edged sword,” the coach acknowledged the type of quarterback he would seek varies based on situation.“Part of it’s what’s on your roster, do you need a guy right away?” he said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. “If I need a guy right away, I’d be looking for a certain type of player that might come out of a different system that is more NFL-ready.“But he’s still got to have the arm strength and the talent to play the game. He has to have the physical stature to play the position.”Arians noted he also looks to make sure a prospective pick has the right mental approach and heart, the latter of which he said is easy to figure out.In terms of what the Cardinals might be able to find in this year’s draft, Arians said he sees five to six “really good arms,” adding his job is now to see if they have everything else he is looking for. He is less concerned with how they fare at the Combine than he is with how they look on game tape, “but if they throw really well, that’s a blessing.” The Cardinals hold the 13th overall selection in this year’s draft, which could put them in a good spot to land one of the class’ better passers. Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer has been the QB most commonly linked to them, though Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky are all likely to be taken early in the process.To be fair, Arians has said similar things in each of the last few drafts, yet the only time the Cardinals selected a quarterback was in 2014, when they tabbed Logan Thomas in the fourth round.Thomas made it through his rookie season but was cut at the end of the following training camp.Looking at the Cardinals now, one could argue there is not a glaring need for a quarterback given that Palmer is coming back, but as GM Steve Keim noted, that fact may be the reason to grab a rookie.“Really, to me, there’s no better time to take a young quarterback when you have a guy like Carson who can help develop him,” Keim said in Indianapolis. “He and I had dinner about a few weeks ago, the night before he announced he was coming back, and at dinner Carson told me that all the coaching things are great, but some of the best things to develop a young quarterback are a veteran quarterback.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Until the Cardinals find their next franchise quarterback, the conversation and questions about finding one will persist.Veteran Carson Palmer is coming back for the 2017 season, but anything beyond that for the 37-year-old is anyone’s guess, and it’s possible the Cardinals will find his successor this offseason.That was one of head coach Bruce Arians’ stated goals the day after the 2016 season ended, and to some extent nothing has changed. Comments   Share   last_img read more

AE doctors strike over staff shortages updated

first_imgMembers of state doctors union Pasyki staged a 24-hour strike at A&E departments island-wide on Tuesday over acute understaffing issues which they say put patients and staff at risk.Pasyki said that A&E doctors have been working without a break for months which puts burnt-out doctors at risk for carrying out medical errors.Gesy has also contributed to the issue of personnel shortages, as a wave of doctors from the A&E and pathological departments left to join the healthcare system that launched in June as GPs.Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou visited the Nicosia general hospital A&E department on Tuesday morning and after discussing with the frustrated doctors declared his willingness to work towards finding short and long-term solutions.He said however that there was no excuse for their decision to strike, noting that issues are resolved through dialogue and not through strikes.“Someone strikes when the side of the employer, in this case the state healthcare services (Okypy), does not deal with issues that arise,” Ioannou said, adding that “in the case at hand, we are listening and considering suggestions.”Pasyki said it is willing to partake in a dialogue, noting that the union has for a long time been informing the health minister of the issues and has suggested several solutions.Pasyki secretary Petros Katsioloudis highlighted the need for the health ministry to better inform the public of the appropriate use of A&E departments, which should only be sought for serious incidents.The health minister noted that the strike did not have a negative effect on patients on Tuesday due to low numbers of visits, as he said would be the case on a daily basis “if we as a people learnt to use the emergency services correctly.”Patients with mild health issues who visited general hospital A&E departments on Tuesday were re-directed to A&Es of private hospitals which had agreed to help de-congest the public hospital emergency departments during the strike.During a meeting of the doctors’ unions on Saturday along with the state Okypy, the minister said although Pasyki deemed any measures and proposals put forth by authorities as inadequate, they never suggested anything better – or anything else at all for that matter that could help tackle the problem.Nonetheless, a plan had been put in place to deal with urgent cases during the strike, Ioannou said.Pasyki said the health ministry had been warned several times that doctors would be leaving state hospitals “but unfortunately acted too late and only after measures (the strike) were announced.”Saturday’s meeting came up with proposals for GPs to help out in the A&E departments. Efforts would continue to fill vacant posts.It was also decided that an ad hoc committee would be set up which would include experts, A&E department heads and all those immediately affected to examine the problems and submit recommendations on an overhaul of the A&E departments.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoJerome's FurnitureInsider Tips to Make a Small Room Look BiggerJerome’s FurnitureUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Todays stoppage was just a warning

first_imgBy George PsyllidesAFTER causing power cuts and inconveniencing people on Friday, electricity authority (EAC) workers threatened to escalate strike measures if they did not get their way as regards privatisations.Some power cuts were reported in the morning but striking electricity company staff agreed to increase production at 10.30am after an appeal from the board and assurances that their demands would be discussed in parliament.By that time there was an ever-growing wave of outrage among the public, mostly expressed through the social media.EAC chairman Giorgos Pipis apologised to consumers for the cuts but unions warned they would escalate their action under certain conditions.EAC staff went on a 12-hour strike over the government’s intention to privatise the organisation. Workers at state telecoms company CyTA and the ports authority staged a 24-hour strike for the same reason.CyTA also announced a three-hour strike on Monday.“Today’s work stoppage was a warning,” said EAC union boss Andreas Panorkos. “Let us hope that decisions will be taken in parliament that will prevent any risk of strike.”Panorkos said they had not been given the time to express their positions regarding the matter.The strikes were called on Thursday after the cabinet approved a roadmap bill. Some ten ships were turned away as port authority workers staged their work stoppage. Passenger and military vessels were serviced.Communications Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos described the strike as unwarranted, inopportune, and out of place.“To shut down our ports during a period when our people are suffering the effects of the economic crisis is wrong,” Mitsopoulos said.A ports authority statement said it contributed millions to the state and society and it was necessary for it to remain in public hands.A change in the regime “entails serious dangers at many levels,” the statement saidCyTA workers assembled outside the organisation’s HQ in Nicosia demanding that certain provisions were included in the privatisation bill.They want their work and pension rights ensured, as well as participation in the dialogue.Finance Minister Harris Georgiades reiterated that the bill did not constitute privatisations.“This bill will not regulate or change labour issues,” he said.Georgiades said privatisation matters will be discussed many times in the next couple of years.Approval of the bill by parliament by the end of the month is necessary for the release of the next tranche of Cyprus’ €10 billion bailout.According to the bailout package, Cyprus must raise €1.4bn through privatisations between 2016 and 2018.Main opposition AKEL, which agreed to the privatisations when it was in power in 2012, said the government was to blame if Cyprus did not receive the next tranche of €236 million.AKEL said the government should have sought to cover the 1.4bn from other sources all these months that the party had been saying it would reject the bill. You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoSenior Living | Search AdsCheap Senior Apartments in Rowland Heights Are Turning HeadsSenior Living | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

The National Weather

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and chained and sha

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” Garcia said, and then said it was a deer. read more