Kootenay Youth Soccer campers meet Whitecaps Marco Bustos

first_imgPlayers at the Whitecaps Kootenay Youth Soccer Camp got to meet a rising star on the Major League Soccer Team when Marco Bustos paid a visit to the Nelson. The 20-year-old central attacking midfielder who was named ‘Caps 2013 Whitecaps FC Most Promising Player, joined Whitecaps FC Residency in September 2011 after last playing for FC Northwest in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba.”Kids were extremely excited,” said Brett Adams, Kootenay Regional Head coach with the Whitecaps.”It’s not every day that they get to meet a player that has played for their country.” More than 100 players attended the Whitecaps camp held at the Lakeside Soccer Pitch. “The main focus is to give all the player a fun experience of soccer,” Adams said when asked about the focus of the camp.”We look to teach them skills in the morning and then in the afternoon we play a World Cup were players are put into teams. “This seems to be a huge hit with the players.”Tim Parker, who now starts with the MLS club on defence, attended the camp in 2015.The Whitecaps move onto Cranbrook Monday for a camp before returning to the West Kootenay for a stop July 25-29 at Twin Rivers Fields in Castlegar.On July 19-22, the Whitecaps host a Prospects Camp in Nelson.For more information go to the Whitecaps Youth Camps link.last_img read more

Human Genome “Infinitely More Complex” Than Expected

first_imgTen years after the Human Genome Project was completed, now we know: biology is “orders of magnitude” more complicated than scientists expected.  So wrote Erika Check Hayden in Nature News March 31 and in the April 1 issue of Nature.1    An air of daunting complexity haunts the article.  The Human Genome Project was one of the great scientific investigations of the end of the 20th century.  Some compared it to the Manhattan Project or the Apollo program.  It used to be tedious, painstaking work to read the sequence of DNA letters.  Now, deciphering genomes is a matter of course.  But with the rush of data coming from genomes of everything from yeast to Neanderthals, one thing has become clear: “as sequencing and other new technologies spew forth data, the complexity of biology has seemed to grow by orders of magnitude,” Hayden wrote.    A few things were surprisingly simple.  Geneticists expected to find 100,000 genes in the human genome; the count is more like 21,000.  But with them came a huge surprise in the accessory molecules – transcription factors, small RNAs, regulators – all arranged in dynamic interacting networks that boggle the mind.  Hayden compared them to the Mandelbrot set in fractal geometry that unveils deeper levels of complexity the closer you look. “When we started out, the idea was that signalling pathways were fairly simple and linear,” says Tony Pawson, a cell biologist at the University of Toronto in Ontario.  “Now, we appreciate that the signalling information in cells is organized through networks of information rather than simple discrete pathways.  It’s infinitely more complex.”Hayden acknowledged that the “junk DNA” paradigm has been blown to smithereens.  “Just one decade of post-genome biology has exploded that view,” she said, speaking of the notion that gene regulation was a straightforward, linear process – genes coding for regulator proteins that control transcription.  “Biology’s new glimpse at a universe of non-coding DNA – what used to be called ‘junk’ DNA – has been fascinating and befuddling.”  If it’s junk, why would the human body decode 74% to 93% of it?  The plethora of small RNAs produced by these non-coding regions, and how they interact with each other and with DNA, was completely unexpected when the project began.    These realizations are dissipating some of the early na�vet� of the Human Genome Project.  Planners predicted we would “unravel the mysteries behind everything from evolution to disease origins.”  Cures for cancer were envisioned.  We would trace the path of evolution through the genetic code.  That was so 1990s.  Joshua Plotkin, a mathematical biologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said, “Just the sheer existence of these exotic regulators suggests that our understanding about the most basic things – such as how a cell turns on and off – is incredibly na�ve.”  Leonid Kruglyak, a geneticist at Princeton University in New Jersey, commented on the premature feeling that the data would speak for itself: “There is a certain amount of naivety to the idea that for any process – be it biology or weather prediction or anything else – you can simply take very large amounts of data and run a data-mining program and understand what is going on in a generic way.”    Some are still looking for simple patterns in the complexity.  Top-down approaches try to build models where the data points fall into place:A new discipline – systems biology – was supposed to help scientists make sense of the complexity.  The hope was that by cataloguing all the interactions in the p53 network, or in a cell, or between a group of cells, then plugging them into a computational model, biologists would glean insights about how biological systems behaved.    In the heady post-genome years, systems biologists started a long list of projects built on this strategy, attempting to model pieces of biology such as the yeast cell, E. coli, the liver and even the ‘virtual human’.  So far, all these attempts have run up against the same roadblock: there is no way to gather all the relevant data about each interaction included in the model.The p53 network she spoke of is a good example of unexpected complexity.  Discovered in 1979, the p53 protein was first thought to be a cancer promoter, then a cancer suppressor.  “Few proteins have been studied more than p53,” she said.  “…Yet the p53 story has turned out to be immensely more complex than it seemed at first.”  She gave some details:Researchers now know that p53 binds to thousands of sites in DNA, and some of these sites are thousands of base pairs away from any genes.  It influences cell growth, death and structure and DNA repair.  It also binds to numerous other proteins, which can modify its activity, and these protein�protein interactions can be tuned by the addition of chemical modifiers, such as phosphates and methyl groups.  Through a process known as alternative splicing, p53 can take nine different forms, each of which has its own activities and chemical modifiers.  Biologists are now realizing that p53 is also involved in processes beyond cancer, such as fertility and very early embryonic development.  In fact, it seems wilfully [sic] ignorant to try to understand p53 on its own.  Instead, biologists have shifted to studying the p53 network, as depicted in cartoons containing boxes, circles and arrows meant to symbolize its maze of interactions.Network theory is now a new paradigm that has replaced the one-way linear diagram of gene to RNA to protein.  That used to be called the “Central Dogma” of genetics.  Now, everything is seen to be dynamic, with promoters and blockers and interactomes, feedback loops, feed-forward processes, and “bafflingly complex signal-transduction pathways.”  “The p53 story is just one example of how biologists’ understanding has been reshaped, thanks to genomic-era technologies,” Hayden said.  “….That has expanded the universe of known protein interactions – and has dismantled old ideas about signalling ‘pathways’, in which proteins such as p53 would trigger a defined set of downstream consequences.”    Biologists made a common mistake of assuming that more data would bring more understanding.  Some continue to work from the bottom up, believing that there is an underlying simplicity that will come to light eventually.  “It’s people who complicate things,” remarked one Berkeley researcher.  But one scientist who predicted the yeast genome and its interactions would be solved by 2007 has had to put off his target date for a few decades.  It’s clear that our understanding remains very rudimentary.  Hayden said in conclusion, “the beautiful patterns of biology’s Mandelbrot-like intricacy show few signs of resolving.”    There’s a bright side to the unfolding complexity.  Mina Bissell, a cancer researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, confesses she was “driven to despair by predictions that all the mysteries would be solved” by the Human Genome Project.  “Famous people would get up and say, ‘We will understand everything after this’,” Hayden quoted her saying.  But it turned out for good, in a way: “Biology is complex, and that is part of its beauty.”1.  Erika Check Hayden, “Human genome at ten: Life is complicated,” Nature 464, 664-667 (April 1, 2010) | doi:10.1038/464664a.Who predicted the complexity: the Darwinians or the intelligent design proponents?  You already know the answer.  The Darwinians have been wrong on this matter time and time again.  The origin of life would be simple (the Warm Little Pond of Darwin’s dreams).  Protoplasm would be simple.  Proteins would be simple.  Genetics would be simple (remember Darwin’s pangenes?).  The carrier of genetic information would be simple.  DNA transcription would be simple (the Central Dogma).  The origin of the genetic code would be simple (the RNA World, or Crick’s “frozen accident.”).  Comparative genomics would be simple, and we would be able to trace the evolution of life in the genes.  Life would be littered with the trash of mutations and natural selection (vestigial organs, junk DNA).  Simple, simple, simple.Simple-minded.(Visited 52 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Can ElliQ the robot combat social isolation in the elderly?

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Cate Lawrence Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Tags:#AI#Alexa#cognitive computing#connected care#digital health#ElliQ#featured#gerontology#intuitio robotics#machine intelligence#Pepper#robotics#robots#Siri#top When you think of robots designed to help people, you might think of the role of robotics in caring and customer service roles or companion orientated service robots like Pepper, Nao or even Hasbro’s companion pets. Then more recently there’s the emergence of robots as sexual or romantic partners. One start-up from Israel, Intuition Robotics is throwing an interesting offering into the ring, a new AI companion called ElliQ, aimed at keeping older adults active and engaged, and reducing the epidemic of loneliness among older people. I spoke with Dor Skuler, CEO and co-founder to find out more.Skuler explained the rationale behind the robot:“We live longer but also healthier lives. 90 percent of older adults want to live in their own home and the period of time we’re still cognitive, still independent and we don’t have to live in assisted care is growing. Conversely, younger people live further, and further away from their parents with hectic lifestyles that rely heavily on technology. About 30 to 60 percent of older adults identify themselves say that they are lonely which usually means that the real number is even higher.”In terms of function, ElliQ is perhaps closer to Alexa than Pepper as Intuition Robotics is leveraging Cognitive Computing, Human Robotics Interaction, and Cloud Robotics in developing the robot’s ability to proactively recommend digital and physical activities to keep owners active and engaged with family, friends, and life.The robot creates a conduit for older adults to connect with their family. As Skulker notes:“What we can do with robots is really simplify the means for older adults to connect with their family. If you look at a typical family, we’re all on Facebook Messenger. We share some of the information and pictures and content but aging parents are not part of that discussion. Teenagers don’t want to call grandparents. But what they love to do is share a selfie, to find the link to a TED talk. They maybe send an emoji or text message and communicate the way they’re used to communicate but just on messenger. So the first thing that we created is in essence, a virtual chat bot for a messenger that allows the family to very easily connect with Grandma.But it’s extremely intuitive. They don’t have to work the text, they don’t have to unlock their phone. They don’t need to try and look at small letters, they don’t need to click anything with their fingers. We just tell them ‘hey here’s a new picture from your granddaughter do you want to see?’  If she says yes we can show it to her and if she wants to comment then we record a message and it’s sent. So all of a sudden she’s part of the conversation. She gets the opportunity to get the content instead of having that once a week awkward discussion, she’s just part of the family.”See also: Are robots replacing humans in health care?It’s a bit like putting older relatives back in the family home where they are content to sit and observe and engage with the family members as they go about their day. ElliQ also takes this a step further with a proactiveness that differentiates the robot from Alexa and Siri that wait for the user to prompt them:“Older adults by and large become reactive and not proactive. they tend to stick to a routine. They tend not to discover and add new things and new capabilities to their day. If you suggest things to them that are relevant to them there’s a very high probability that they’ll say yes. (Which by the way means you have to be extremely responsible and only suggest appropriate things and never take advantage). So basically ElliQ has extremely smart sensors and the ability to understand what’s going on at home and suggest activities. For example, ‘ Hey, it’s a beautiful day why don’t you go for a walk?’. It might be a schedule reminder to take your meds, a reminder to keep an appointment and it might be in the digital world: ‘Hey you want to listen to some Frank Sinatra? Or here’s a great TED talk you might want to listen to?’”A unique aestheticElliQ’s innovative design was created in collaboration with Yves Béhar, founder and principal designer of the award-winning industrial design firm fuseproject. It is comprised of two separate elements: ElliQ, the social director, exhibits human characteristics through gestures animated by movement, speech, sounds and light. A LED lighting display, along with a wide range of motions are utilized to convey subtle emotional expressions and give the device a friendly and warm personification. The second element consists of a separate screen that functions in a cradle display or in the user’s hand to view content in the location of their choice.It’s not every day that you speak to a CEO of a start-up whose first hire was a gerontologist.  Other involved with the project include former VP of Advanced Technologies at Apple, Prof. Don Norman, along with Intel SVP Amir Faintuch, and leading academic experts in the fields of Cognitive Computing, HRI, Machine Intelligence, and Robotics.Skuler explained that some of their initial assumptions of a robot for the aged were incorrect:“We thought that we each create an environment in which the older adult needs to take care of ElliQ and we found out that that’s not really the case. The best thing you can do is help people feel like they’re not completely alone at home.  We were worried that older adults wouldn’t want to talk to a machine. Especially when I sat in a room full of older adults and showed them how I use Siri. and I got very strange looks. But we found they are absolutely willing to talk to a machine and over time they treat them more and more as entities rather than devices.” ElliQ is currently being showcased at the Design Museum in London and in February Intuition Robotics will be rolling out a trial phase in the homes of older adults in the San Francisco Bay Area.center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Related Posts last_img read more

13 days agoReal Sociedad midfielder Odegaard ready to face Spain

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Real Sociedad midfielder Odegaard ready to face Spainby Carlos Volcano13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard is ready to play for Norway against Spain on Saturday night.The two nations will meet in Oslo as they look to take a step towards qualification for the 2020 European Championship.Odegaard is set to go up against his current Real Sociedad teammates, as well as his teammates at his parent club, Real Madrid.”It’s going to be very special because I’m going to play against teammates and friends,” he told the Norwegian press.”But we’re only thinking about the game and we want to do our best.”We know that the first thing tomorrow is to be good in defence. The work that we’re doing on the pitch and our positioning will be the most important things.” last_img read more

Jail recommended for police officer after highspeed crash kills boy

first_imgLONGUEUIL, Que. – A provincial police officer who crashed into a car at high speed and killed a 5-year-old boy during a surveillance operation will likely be sentenced to jail time.The Crown and the defence submitted a joint proposal to the court on Monday in Longueuil, Que. recommending that Patrick Ouellet receive an eight-month sentence.Quebec court Judge Eric Simard is expected to render his decision at the end of November.Ouellet was convicted in July of dangerous driving causing the 2014 death of Nicolas Thorne-Belance.The maximum sentence for the offence is 14 years in prison.The police officer addressed the court, expressing his sympathy to family members of Nicolas, who were in the courtroom.Ouellet’s trial heard he was travelling at more than 120 km/h in a 50 km/h zone when he hit the vehicle carrying the boy in a suburb just south of Montreal.The youngster died a few days later in hospital.“We have taken into consideration all the jurisprudence, in particular the sentences handed down to police officers who have come before the court in circumstances similar to those in this case,” prosecutor Genevieve Langlois said.(Cogeco Nouvelles)last_img read more

Police say its impressive no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

first_imgTORONTO — Despite thousands of fans celebrating in the streets after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks to become the Eastern Conference champions last night, Toronto police confirmed that no arrests were made following the team’s historic win.Police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante says it’s “impressive” that Torontonians stayed out of trouble after fans spilled out of Jurassic Park, the outdoor fan zone beside Scotiabank Arena, and into the streets of Toronto to party into the early hours of Sunday morning.On Saturday night the Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time.Thousands of fans took to the streets chanting “We the North” and “Let’s go Raptors” while police cars, TTC buses and streetcars honked in celebration.Arrogante says even though she said she became aware of video footage that showed Raptors fans running through traffic and dancing on top of TTC streetcars, “nothing came of it” and police were able to ensure public safety.Arrogante says officers were called to various spots around the city to assist with crowd control and directing traffic, but no one was arrested.She says police will be out again Thursday night while the Raptors play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 and she hopes fans will continue to have fun safely.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Are all Russia ties now sinister or are some just business

first_imgMOSCOW – A shipping company partly owned by President Donald Trump’s commerce secretary is one of the few in the world that can transport liquefied petroleum gas in cold and icy conditions. Russia is known for its brutal winters as well as its giant, state-controlled oil and gas producers.So, for years, Wilbur Ross’ company has been moving LPG for a Russian gas giant.But now, in what might seem almost an echo of the Red Scare that lasted in America for generations, this business relationship is seen as tainted, an ominous connection to a country that unleashed cyberwar against American democracy and the 2016 election that put Trump in the White House.Are all connections to Russia now suspect? Or are they sometimes merely an inconvenient consequence of doing business in a country where major corporations often are controlled by the Kremlin?The latest tie between Russia, Trump and his campaign and administration officials came to light Sunday with news that the U.S. commerce secretary is a part owner of Navigator Holdings, a shipping company that transports LPG produced by Sibur, a big Russian company with ties to the Kremlin.Some shipping business experts who follow the company are shrugging off the news.“Russia has a lot of commodities that need to go somewhere else,” said Benjamin J. Nolan, a financial analyst who covers Navigator for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. He added, “Odds are, they are going to have long term contracts with Western shipping companies.”The Russian government is a powerful factor in almost every part of the country’s economy. Some of Russia’s biggest banks, such as Sberbank and VTB are state-controlled, with their management answering directly or indirectly to the Kremlin.Then there is Gazprom, a big gas supplier to Europe, and Rosneft, the oil producer. Both are majority state owned.The new Russian giant in the spotlight, Sibur, has its own special connections to the state, and President Vladimir Putin in particular. It is partially owned by a man said to be Putin’s son-in-law, and two of its biggest shareholders are oligarchs close to Putin. One of them is his old judo partner.The details of Ross’ stake in Navigator were found among 13.4 million leaked records on offshore entities used by the rich and powerful and famous. They are the biggest leak on the shadowy offshore financial system since the Panama Papers last year, and could shed more light on the byzantine ways companies and individuals hide their wealth or lower their taxes.Following news of the leak, Ross has said in interviews that his ties to Russia are being blown out proportion. He told Britain’s Sky network that his Navigator stake had been previously disclosed in financial documents filed with government ethics officials, and noted that Sibur is not under any U.S. sanction. For its part, Sibur has said that only a tiny percentage of shipping business goes to Navigator, less than 3 per cent of “logistics expenses.” It said that it is surprised by the “politically driven interpretation” in some media reports of its “ordinary business operations.”Trump himself also has faced scrutiny over his business ties to Russia. In prepared remarks to the Senate and House intelligence committees, Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, disclosed that the Trump Organization had been pursuing a business proposal in Russia during the presidential campaign. Cohen has said that the proposal for a Trump Tower Moscow never came to fruition and denied it had any impact on the campaign, saying it was “solely a real estate deal and nothing more.”No evidence has yet emerged that the business deals are being examined by special counsel Robert Mueller. The former FBI director is investigating the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election and any possible co-ordination with Trump associates.As for Ross, the most obvious link to Putin is Kirill Shamalov, who is married to a woman who is said to be Putin’s youngest daughter. Shamalov once owned more than 20 per cent of Sibur, but has since cut that stake to 3.9 per cent, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the group that has been reviewing the new trove of documents.Another Kremlin link is the Putin’s old judo partner, Gennady Timchenko, the second largest shareholder of Sibur.Businessmen with Kremlin links are sometimes tapped to work on key projects with political symbolism, such as the bridge to Crimea or the Sochi Olympics. Timchenko’s construction company has a role building stadiums for next year’s soccer World Cup.Timchenko was sanctioned by the U.S. after Russia annexed the Crimea. The U.S. also barred banks from providing long-term financing to a gas company belonging to Sibur’s largest shareholder, Leonid Mikhelson.Ross has never met Sibur’s Shamalov, Timchenko and Mikhelson, according to a Commerce Department statement, and was not involved in his shipping company’s negotiations with Sibur.Kremlin connections can boost the fortunes of U.S. companies, but they can also backfire. Russian partners sometimes come under suspicion abroad that they are acting out of political, not purely commercial, motives.The state gas company Gazprom, in particular, has been accused of manipulating price talks over natural gas to put pressure on governments of other European countries, particularly Ukraine. That’s prompted many European countries to seek gas supplies from elsewhere.A deal between Rosneft and Exxon Mobil also has run into trouble. The Treasury Department fined Exxon Mobil $2 million in July over what it called “reckless disregard” for U.S. sanctions by signing deals with Rosneft’s sanctioned head Igor Sechin in May 2014. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the U.S. oil firm’s CEO at that time.Exxon has maintained it did nothing wrong and sued the U.S. government in an effort to stop the fine.As for Ross’ Navigator, some experts say it’s hardly surprising the company counts a Russian company among its customers.“Russia is the biggest producer of oil, and that needs to be sold in a global market place,” said Jonathan Chappell, a financial analyst at Evercore. “Navigator is perfectly positioned.”—-Condon reported from New York. Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed from Washington.last_img read more

Quebec securities regulator helping companies disclose exposure to modern slavery

first_imgMONTREAL – Quebec’s securities regulator is offering to help public companies disclose their exposure to modern slavery, including forced labour, human trafficking and child labour.The Autorite des marches financiers says Canadian companies could be exposed directly or indirectly to the tens of millions of people around the world who are estimated to be affected by involuntary work made under threat or penalty.The AMF notice doesn’t change legal requirements but helps companies determine what must be disclosed and improve their information.The International Labour Organization has estimated that about 25 million people were victims of forced labour, generating US$150 billion in profits in 2014.Sectors most likely to be exposed to this issue are construction, manufacturing, entertainment and agriculture.The federal government announced in January the creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, an independent position to investigate allegations of human rights abuses linked to Canadian corporate activity aboard.last_img read more