Posts by thedailyjournalist:

    The smartest way to update your home office

    February 14th, 2018

     

    Your home office should be a place that you can escape to whenever you want to power through your work and focus on the task at hand. This space is especially important if you are living in a hectic household that is constantly full to the brim with loud noises, constant interruptions, clutter, and chaos. Instead of letting these factors stand in the way of your work, an effective home office will allow you to take control. Below are four tips for creating a space that works for you.

    Do your research

    If you are determined to thrive in the digital age, you will need to invest in the right technology. It can be an expensive process, so it is vital that you do plenty of research beforehand. Understanding what you are looking for will help you to protect your finances and secure devices that will stand the test of time. If you are struggling to wrap your head around the world of technology, you should visit ArgyllFreePress.com and scroll through their helpful posts. There is no better way for you to feel confident in your decisions.

    Create a stress-free environment

    To use your office space effectively, it is important that you create a stress-free environment. You need to make the most of the fact that you are the one in control of the decor. It provides you with the freedom to spend your time in a space that you truly enjoy, instead of making do with a stuffy and stress-inducing office. That is why you should think carefully about your color scheme, lighting, and soft furnishings. You should also surround yourself with uplifting photos and inspirational quotes, as this will help you to stay motivated and to put your problems into perspective.

    Organize your possessions

    Although it is important to fill your office space with positive bits and pieces, you need to avoid clutter at all costs. Ideally, all of your surfaces should be as clear as possible and easy to keep clean. You should also make an effort to sort through your draws and cupboards on a regular basis. It will save you from stress when you are searching for an important item or document. It will also help you to cope if you have a limited amount of office space. Collapsible folders and handy memo boards are essential if you are going to get the most out of your office.

    Update your office to suit your needs

    As you progress in your career, it is likely that your home office needs will change. That is why you should constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to update your work space. Perhaps you will eventually need to move to a bigger room in your house or invest in an outdoor building. Alternatively, you might be required to collaborate with other professionals and would benefit from replacing your desk with a large work table and multiple chairs. Whatever the case, it is important that you take the time to think about what you really need from your office.

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    Pursuing a Career as a Respiratory Therapist: What You Should Know

    February 13th, 2018

    There are many different jobs that you can get in the healthcare industry, and becoming a respiratory therapist is one occupation that you will want to explore. These professionals treat patients who have problems with their heart and lungs. This can be a very rewarding job and there are a lot of benefits associated with it. The more you learn about respiratory therapy, the more likely you are to seriously consider pursuing it as a career.

    Salary

    One of the important things to look for when you are weighing your different job options is the salary that you will get paid. A vast majority of people who work as a respiratory therapist make around $58,500 per year, though you could make up to $70,000. When it comes to being a respiratory therapist, your salary will largely depend on the amount of education and experience you have.

    Work Environment

    You will also need to know what kind of work environment you will be in as a respiratory therapist. Most respiratory therapists work full-time with a number of patients throughout each week. You can expect to work with disabled patients who have problems relating to the lungs and heart. You will also be on your feet most of the day, and it is sometimes necessary to physically lift patients into or out of their beds. There are a number of places that you can work as a respiratory therapist, though most of these professionals work in hospitals.

    Education and Training

    If you are interested in becoming a respiratory therapist, you will first need to fulfill the basic education and training requirements. You will need to get at least an associate’s degree, though a bachelor’s degree will help you maximize your earning potential in this field. It is crucial that you take the time to look for the best respiratory therapy programs so you can find one that will provide you with the training and education you need.

    Job Outlook

    The job outlook for respiratory therapists is very good, so you shouldn’t have any problems with getting employed once you have completed the necessary education and training requirements. This particular area of the healthcare industry is expected to grow by 25% in the next eight years, which is extremely encouraging.

    Responsibilities

    As a respiratory therapist, you will be responsible for examining patients using specialized equipment that is designed to test their breathing. You will also be required to consult with physicians when the situation arises. These professionals must determine each patient’s lung capacity, making notes of any issues as they go along. There is a lot of responsibility, but it is extremely rewarding work for those who are passionate about it.

    Respiratory therapy is a very popular part of the healthcare industry for college students, and it’s certainly one option that you will want to keep in mind as you try to decide what you want to do. This job can be extremely demanding on many levels, but it has much to offer.

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    What To Consider In A Legal Sense If You’re Involved In A Truck Accident

    February 13th, 2018

     

    When you’re involved in any type of accident, sometimes the first tendency is to panic. After all, your health is the top most priority and ensuring you are safe matters. However, there are legal matters and considerations involved when accidents happen, and the same is considered when and if you’re involved in a truck accident. What exactly should you consider in a legal sense if you’re involved in a truck accident? This article will give you a rough idea on what to do should you find yourself in a truck accident, especially the legal considerations you have to make.

    Do remember however that this article is best supplemented with knowledge you can obtain by consulting a legal professional, such as ones here, as their training on these laws can give you the kind of insight and heads up you need if involved in a truck accident.

    According to Find Law, being involved in a truck accident is not entirely impossible, though truck drivers do appear to try to make this less likely to happen. As per the United States Department of Transportation, in 2006, there were 106,000 injuries and 4,995 fatalities related to truck accidents. These occur sometimes because of the driver’s fault, or because of unforeseen circumstances. Truck accidents sometimes become worse because of the the freight carried by the truck, which can consist of flammable or hazardous materials such as industrial waste or gasoline. This means being involved in a truck accident is extremely hassling, especially if you’ve been injured. Here are other things to consider in a legal sense:

     

    Consider: Proving Your Case

     

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    Like in vehicle accidents, when liability is being considered, “negligence” is the leading factor in a commercial truck accident. As such, if you’re injured in a commercial truck accident, you most likely have to prove that:

     

    • That the defendant, or the trucking company, owed the plaintiff, or the person injured, the duty to be cared for within reason under the circumstances involved. This means drivers owe passengers, pedestrians, and their fellow drivers some degree of safety while they’re on the road.
    • This means a defendant has been negligent if this kind of care hasn’t been done in a reasonable rate, or called “breaching” the duty, and if this failure has actually caused an injury.

     

    Consider: Special Situations

    Sometimes, however, not all actions of drivers can be proven to be negligence on their part. There are activities that take place while a truck is driven that may be a cause of an accident.

     

    • For instance, jackknifing can happen often to larger vehicles such as 18-wheel trucks. This can be especially problematic when turning or braking. Drivers who have jackknifed accidentally may not be held liable, especially if the jackknifing was caused by a slippery road, an abrupt turn, or obstacles.
    • For another case, turning accidents may also be a cause of accidents. Commercial trucks are extremely hard to turn as they often occupy two entire lanes before ever getting to drive straight.

     

    Consider: Potential Defendants

    The next step to consider is to perhaps consider the defendants you will file a case against, especially if you’re aiming to be compensated for care you’ve paid for to treat your injuries. In some cases, contractors, insurance companies, employers, and trucking companies may actually be obligated to give you adequate compensation for your injuries.

     

    • For instance, if there’s an employment relationship between a trucking company and a company driver, the company may actually be responsible for the driver’s negligence. In light of this, your attorney now has to help show that the company has had some measure or level of control over the truck’s driver, and that the accident happened while they were in that employment relationship.
    • The above becomes tricky if the driver is actually working for a company as an independent contractor. In this case, the issue now becomes a bout the amount of supervision the company has given.
    • This means the defendants may have a larger role towards providing you with the kind of compensation you need, and the potential liability of these people involved will likely influence the policies and the outcome of the case you will submit.

     

    Consider: Damages from the Incident

     

    truck car

    If you’re involved in a truck accident, another consideration is that you may be provided with damages, or financial compensation for emotional, financial, and physical losses that have resulted from the accident.

    Conclusion

    Trucks are very big, and as such when people see these behemoths on the road, the first tendency is to indeed let them through or at least not get in their way. This is why when people get involved in truck accidents, it often gets messy – not just literally, but in other factors as well. Since trucks have handlers and companies that manage them, there are far more variables to consider when assessing a truck accident, and what to consider in a legal sense if you’re involved in a truck accident can serve as relevant information on your end.

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    Disclaimer: Please remember that this article is not actual legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer familiar with truck accidents to learn about the specifics of the topic and how it can be applied to your situation.

    Joanne Reed has been writing about law and business for almost a decade, and is currently writing her next big law project. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.

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    Truck Accident: What You Need To Know If You Witness One

    February 13th, 2018

     

    Accidents can happen to anyone, and while it’s a breath of relief when you know that you’re not the one involved, there might be a time when you do experience an accident through witnessing it. This can cause panic, as sometimes you don’t know how to react if you see an accident happen. However, it’s important to at least know what to do should you be a part of one, even as a witness. For instance, being in a truck accident and what you need to know if you witness one are two different things, and this article will explore what to do with the latter.

    red car

    Understanding what to do if you witness a truck accident can perhaps be best complemented with knowledge you can get on specific traffic regulations in your area when you consult a legal professional. Their training on the matter, coupled with your inquiries, can prepare you for such an eventuality.

    As per Findlaw, witnessing a truck accident doesn’t necessarily come with a single rule of engagement when it comes to having a course of action. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident, and perhaps the most important part is to make sure you’re not in danger should you witness the accident. If you find yourself close to a scene of an accident, do consider the following things:

    Assess the Situation, Get Your Danger Sense On

    Vehicle accidents, especially a serious one, don’t always stop with just having a scratch somewhere. The worst ones involve cars being tossed in the air, or in this case, a truck hitting something extremely hard. Don’t get anywhere close to the scene if you see combustibles, fire, or flames. Only approach the incident if you feel the scene is safe.

     

    • It’s recommended you keep yourself at a safe distance at least until the authorities come to the scene, especially if you have your own doubts if the place itself is in any danger due to the accident. If you’re in a vehicle, it’s advised you don’t exit or leave it somewhere that could likely cause another accident.
    • Safety comes first, so if for instance you think any of the drivers involved are drunk, do avoid the scene as you might be in danger. You can consult a DUI or DWI accident attorney, such as the ones here, if you’re wondering as to the right kind of move in this situation.

     

    Assess the Damages, Injuries, And Call Help

    If you think there’s anyone that could be injured in the car or truck, don’t hesitate to call the authorities. Try to call your attorney or your legal counsel to ask if it’s safe to approach a car in these situations to at least try to make any injured victims comfortable while waiting for the authorities.

    man call

    • However, don’t try to move any of the injured victims as their injuries may become worse. This may implicate you somehow, or may be the cause of their deaths, the latter of which could bring a whole host of issues that may come to you.
    • If you’re a qualified first aid provider, or if you have some medical training, you may want to ask your lawyer for the possible path to take should you encounter injured people during an accident. While the instinct is to normally help, especially if you have the means to do so, there are legal aspects that should be remembered.
    • When the authorities do finally arrive at the scene, establish communication and give your name and contact details to the responding officers. It’s not a bad idea to take notes about what you’ve actually seen in the incident, as you may be called upon to contribute to the police report as a witness.
    • In the case of an interview for a report, it’s essential you be honest as much as possible, since you will be under oath when you are asked to testify or to submit to what is called a deposition. In any case, being a witness and relaying your version of the story won’t take too much time, and could potentially help a lot of people.
    • If you’re a witness to a hit and run, don’t ever try to confront the driver as you can be in danger if the latter ends up angry. Simply write the number of the license plate and call your emergency services hotline immediately. It may help to approach the victim after the accident to provide details you saw of the driver, should you deem it safe.

     

    Remember, when it comes to truck accidents and witnessing one, it’s still important to consult a lawyer about what to do in the incident. This is especially so if there are odds for you to be implicated when you’re not sure of what to say or do.

    Conclusion

    A truck accident is potentially deadlier than a vehicular accident because trucks are by nature larger and heavier than most vehicles. There are also other variables involved when trucks enter the mix of vehicular accidents, as there are handlers and companies that can be involved as well. This makes being involved in a truck accident a bit discouraging, but what you need to know if you witness one are relevant facts to come across should you become mixed up with such an occurrence.

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    Disclaimer: Please remember that the article below shouldn’t be treated as any form of legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer or a legal counsel in order to learn more about witnessing a truck accident and how it can involve you legally.

    Ashley Thompson is a promising young law writer. She hopes to apply her years of study into helping explain legal issues to the public. Ashley loves cooking and often cooks for her family during weekends.

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    The Ugly Side Of Divorce: What To Consider Legally

    February 13th, 2018

     

    Divorce isn’t exactly a walk in the park, especially when you consider how it can affect things outside your marriage. It’s important to have a good sense of how divorce can affect various aspects of your life, so you know how to tackle the issue appropriately. There’s an ugly side of divorce, however, and it’s knowing what to consider legally when undergoing the procedure. Legal matters aren’t always easy to understand, so it’s understandable how sometimes this can be overwhelming for some. However, knowing the legal considerations of divorce can greatly aid you in your concerns.

    fight men woman

    Do remember however that it’s also recommended you consult a divorce or marriage lawyer such as ones here on the matter in order to get a good understanding of just how divorce can affect your life, and it starts with knowing the legal considerations you have to make.

    According to FindLaw, divorce is not just a painful and serious process, but is also something that shouldn’t be taken lightly since there are a lot of factors involved in the entire process. It is perhaps then essential that people and couples who are interested in divorce be familiar with and aware of particular situations to consider legally when divorce happens in order to make the appropriate move in the situation.

    Things To Consider

    • What properties are there to be divided? It’s important to remember that when a couple decides on a divorce, it’s also relevant to take note of just what either party should get when a split occurs. The court will most likely divide the property within a marriage in a manner that is “equal” for both parties. However, some states do make exceptions, such as the division of property acquired before marriage, or property that was inherited or received as a gift. Some have fair and equal splits, while other states explore the circumstances surrounding the finances of both sides in order to attempt an equal way of distributing the properties. However, division of property isn’t something that could be predicted. If you see as though you need a particular property, consider having your lawyer approach your partner’s attorney regarding the asset.
    • What kind of support is obligated for either party? Divorce is a good way to determine who supports who in terms of couple obligations. These come in the form of support of the child(ren), or spousal support called alimony. When it comes to child support, these standards are often stated by the law of the particular state, but not all laws are equal in one state. When it comes to child support, custody also plays a huge role to the kind of support attached to the situation.
    • What kind of child custody and visitation policies are going to be informed? This question is important as distribution of assets and properties isn’t the only thing that occurs during divorce. The divorce process can be something that can help check visitation schedules and set child custody standards, and couples can negotiate on the situation depending on what is “best” for the child’s interests. There’s no guarantee who gets more custody of the child(ren) or what rules are followed, however, as testimonies from both parents aren’t always the most objective things.

    Child parents

    What Divorce Isn’t

    Aside from the above benefits, do consider that there are things divorce cannot do as well.

    For instance, there’s no guarantee that divorce will grant a equal and precise division of assets and property on both sides. As no two parties in two marriages are the same, this means no two divorces are alike either. This means judges who make division decisions have their own factors to consider.

    • Divorce won’t guarantee that there are good civil relations between the parties anywhere as well. It’s up to the couple to maintain a civil relationship in order to be able to carry out the terms of the visitation order and the custody orders.
    • Divorce also won’t be able to immediately resolve any personal or emotional issues involved on both sides.

    Conclusion

    Marriage isn’t exactly a walk in a park, and when things don’t work, it’s not bad to consider getting a divorce. However, like any legal procedures, divorce isn’t exactly easy either, and there are a lot of things to consider in order to fully proceed with the process without any hassle. In the same way marriages are exciting just as they are filled with heavy preparation, there’s the ugly side of divorce: and that’s what to consider legally should you push through. Understanding these, however, can greatly benefit both parties in the long run.

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    Disclaimer: Please remember that the information presented in this article should not be confused with actual legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer familiar with divorce to determine how best to proceed legally.  

    Peggy Fleming is one of the most promising young law writers of year. She adds a modern take to her pieces on various law topics, which she writes for the common reader. She enjoys playing tennis with her siblings during her free time.

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    The Shocking Side Of Car Accidents and The Reason Why They Occur So Often

    February 13th, 2018

     

     

    Car accidents are things that happen unexpectedly, and stopping them in their entirety isn’t easy as there are a lot of factors involved. As such traffic laws tend to be strict, and a lot of consideration is made when making sure pedestrians, passengers, and drivers are well aware of their responsibilities when on the road. However, there is a shocking side of car accidents, and there is a reason why they occur so often. Understanding this can hopefully provide insight as to how and why you should take the road more seriously, regardless of how you interact with it.

    Remember however that it’s still important for you to understand how traffic laws affect you and the people around you. Perhaps it’s also a good move to consult the help of a lawyer or a legal professional in understanding these issues so you can have a good idea on how to tackle them.

    According to Nolo, the United States Census Bureau’s data reported over 11 million accidents related to vehicles in the U.S. in 2009. This is the largest number in the country’s history, and this might be growing especially with the advent of modern technological methods and tools that are being utilized to “assist” drivers. When it comes to what causes car accidents, however, they normally have two categories. The first category is called driver error, or error on part of the ones driving the vehicle. The second category is related to everything else entirely.

    Common Cause: Driver Error

    When “driver error” is mentioned, it’s actually composed of a wide variety of driving behaviors that can lead to different kinds of car accidents. When it comes to driver error, “distracted driving” has often been the leading cause of such an accident. This is because a lot of the decision making processes that are being made by drivers are made under the notion that multitasking can be done with cars as well.

     

    • According to the same Nolo article, the brain is not actually doing multitasking but rather “micro tasking.” It’s quickly switching back and forth and competing for relevant attention. Unfortunately, the brain cannot handle this much pressure, and the brain selects only what it feels as the most relevant information to be used.
    • Unfortunately, when the brain misses a relevant point that is suddenly the one a person needs in order to avoid an accident, they might be in danger. The likelihood of being able to avoid a traffic hazard depends on if a person sees the hazard and can do something to avoid it. “Properly avoiding” it means being able to perceive and react at the same time. If the brain is doing other things and it doesn’t have enough time to make the right move, the driver may end up in trouble.
    • This means a lot of decisions drivers make are actually leading to accidents. Another perspective is alcohol use and drunk driving. Driving under influence and driving while intoxicated actually results in poor decision making, poor vision, and decreased reactions. When a driver is intoxicated, they are prone to miss stop signs and traffic signals.

    Common Cause: Non Driver Error

    There are other non driver related things that can actually cause car accidents. For instance, the roadway conditions and the environment where the car is being driven can hold a lot of factors when it comes to causing car accidents. Is the road properly maintained or not? Is there a building being constructed that isn’t safely managed? Is there debris that hasn’t been removed and is poorly lit by warning signs?

    Blur car

    • The same principles applies when it comes to weather. Snow and rain can make roads very slippery, and can endanger drivers who don’t know how to navigate them.
    • The performance of car can also be a factor when it comes to accidents. The brake system, when not maintained, can dampen the ability of drivers to stop in time even if they have reacted properly.

    Understanding these factors can give you insight in order to better comprehend the various intricacies involving car accidents. When you consult with a lawyer about these considerations, you might have a better idea on how to look at accidents from different perspectives. For instance, this site can be of assistance when tackling pedestrian accidents.

    Conclusion

    Car accidents aren’t natural disasters but are events with circumstances that are oddly enough very controllable by human elements. This means a lot of car accidents tend to be some form of negligence on the part of passengers, drivers, or pedestrians on the road. Of course, this isn’t to say that the occurrence of car accidents is entirely a result of human fault, as sometimes there are indeed outside variables that affect our overall safety. Understanding how these variables play out in the above could hopefully give you a decent heads up on how to protect yourself and people around you from accidents in the future.

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    Vicki is a law writing enthusiast who’s had over 25 years of experience in her field. She enjoys sharing her experiences with those who want to learn more about the legal world. In her spare time she spends quality time with her family and friends.

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    Personal Injury 101: What To Consider If You’ve Been Injured In A Public Place

    February 13th, 2018

     

    Having a personal injury has a lot of dimensions to it, especially when it comes to how the situation can potentially affect your health, your finances, and your overall well being. As such, a lot of people tend to have a hard time adjusting not just to the injury itself, but on dealing with the consequences of a personal injury as well. Perhaps one way to mitigate the consequences of a personal injury is to understand what to do when these situations happen to you. In this Personal Injury 101 article, here’s what to consider if you’ve been injured in a public place.

    people

    Remember however that it’s perhaps still advisable to seek the advice of a lawyer or a legal professional in order to understand the full extent of how personal injury can affect you and what to consider if you’ve been injured in a public place.

    Recognizing what to consider if you’ve been injured in a public place depends on what you want to do in the first place. The decision to settle or file for a case depends on a lot of things, more often than not related to the kind of injury you have and the intensity of the situation at hand. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, having an accident in a public place may actually give way to a compensation claim, should you decide to pursue it. This is a potential if the injury occurs in a property that hasn’t been properly maintained, or if it’s in conditions that are considered dangerous for normal people.

    Considerations to Assess

    Claiming compensation for your experience in an accident can be easier if you actually have records or evidence of what’s happened. That said, it’s essential that you find ways to record information on what’s happened in order to present your claim more properly and more accurately. This is challenging on your part, but it’s important to know what to do.

     

    • If you have any trouble determining the proper move to make, it’s important to hire a personal injury attorney in order to be able to pursue the kind of output you want that is best for your condition. For instance, if you’ve received a back injury or shoulder injury, this site can be of assistance when it comes to filing a claim.
    • When at the scene of the accident take as many photographs as possible, as it’s helpful to actually have visual records of what had transpired during the incident. How did the area look when the accident happened? Were they any signs of potential dangerous areas and hazards in the region? Are they properly placed in areas that are considered dangerous? These photographs can actually be used in trying to prove your claim. It’s recommended you take pictures in multiple angles in order to be safe.
    • Second, record your events as accurately as possible. Memories are capable of changing, especially if they’re being retold and constantly recalled. This means it’s important to try to record the first impressions as they tend to be the most accurate account of the report possible. Try to be as detailed as possible, as this will be useful in determining who was at fault in the incident. This will also help determine as to whether or not you’re entitled to get your claim, and to see how the injury and accident has affected you as a whole.
    • Third, meet with a medical professional immediately following the injury. This will further help you get the medical treatment you need to maintain your health. Remember, do this even if your condition isn’t severe, as there are things such as internal bleeding or delayed damages that can manifest without proper checkup. Keep records or copies of correspondences, receipts, appointments, and other things that you may find useful in helping establish your case and your injury.

     

    Remember that while health and safety is the priority when it comes to a personal injury, it’s also important to keep a level head and properly document the right kind of information in order to increase the odds of being able to be granted compensation, should you decide to file a case. Understanding this can save you a great deal of hassle and finances in the long run, and could hopefully give you the sigh of relief you may need.

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    Conclusion

    Having an injury is extremely inconvenient, especially when you’re in a public place. After reading the Personal Injury 101 article above, hopefully you now have a good set of ideas on what to consider if you’ve been injured in a public place. Health and safety is indeed your first priority, but keeping a cool head and a sharp mind can help avoid other forms of mishaps even after the injury, which can greatly help with your situation.

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    Disclaimer: Please remember that the information presented in this article doesn’t serve as actual legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer or a legal counsel in order to learn about the specifics of personal injuries, particularly those in a public place.

    Jean Clark is a professional writer and loves anything to do with law in business or in the public. She is family oriented, and she loves spending her free time with her family.

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    Long Term Disability Insurance: What You Need To Know

    February 13th, 2018

     

    Long term disability insurance is something that is not often discussed when the topic of insurance coverage is concerned. This isn’t because people are neglecting this kind of insurance, but because there are a so many types of coverage that sometimes people don’t know where to begin. This article will explore just what long term disability is and what you need to know about it. Understanding this kind of insurance on a basic level could at least give you a heads up on things to consider should you think of getting this for yourself or for a loved one.

    Do remember however that if you do want to explore long term disability insurance policies, consider how important it is to consult a legal professional such as the ones from this site or a financial professional about what these insurances cover and how useful they are for your particular circumstance.

    Insure.com explains that while the odds of a person getting a disability is close to none, there’s still a chance that a quarter of today’s young adults will gain a disability before they actually retire. It’s important to remember that the average absence due to long-term disability may take almost three years, and it’s a dangerous thought to consider if you don’t have any means of a steady income.

    Having a disability can make you stop having the ability to earn money for yourself and others, and while savings can help you get by for a few months, it will eventually run out. Conditions such as connective tissue orders, musculoskeletal disorders, and pain in parts of the body such as the joints, the neck and back, and tendons and muscles, were the leading reasons in 2013 for cases of long-term disability. This means a long-term disability insurance might go a long way should this happen to you.

    Long Term Disability: The Basics

    It’s important to remember that a long-term disability coverage is capable of filling out spots a short-term disability insurance is incapable of covering. The latter usually has benefits that expire after a quarter to half a year, and the former can pay a percentage of your supposed salary depending on the kind of insurance you have.

    Insurance glasses

    • For instance, some policies can pay out for as long as you’re not 65.
    • Other policies also have premiums that can be paid with after-tax dollars, which makes disability benefits free of taxes. Meanwhile, if employers pay for your disability insurance policy, then chances are your income will be paying for your benefits.

     

    What You Need To Know

    It’s important to get a general idea as to how long-term disability coverage can help you, as you can at least get a brief notion as to what to expect from the concept. Interestingly, a lot of disability insurers actually tend to work with employers in order to help you get back to work. This works both ways, as the employer can get to have an employee back, and the insurers will have less money to pay for.

    wheelchairs

    • Chances are, your disability insurer may label you as “partially disabled.” This means you’re someone who can work but in a kind of livelihood that pays less than your intended or previous job. Full disability benefits usually kick in if you earn less than 20-percent of your previous income.
    • Some insurers also offer a dependent care reimbursement benefits. This grants the employee some reimbursement for expenses such as child care when a spouse has to go back to work.
    • Should you start receiving benefits while disabled, you most likely don’t have to pay for the premiums. This is because “waiver of premium” sections exist in policies that won’t have you pay premiums if your disability lasts for more than three months.
    • You can also buy individual long-term disability insurance, especially if your employer doesn’t offer a disability insurance for a group, or if the group policy isn’t offering good enough coverage. These solo versions of insurance can be bought from planners and other agents.
    • These policies tend to be “guaranteed renewable” or “non-cancellable.” The latter is a good option for some, as this means the insurer is incapable of cancelling the coverage or even raising the premiums you have to pay. Meanwhile, guaranteed renewable policies can’t cancel the coverage for as long as they pay for the premium, but the insurance provider could however raise their rates based on group-based insurers, or based on other factors.

     

    Conclusion

    Long term disability insurance is just one of the many kinds of insurance coverages accessible to you when you explore your options. The above information has hopefully opened up just what this insurance is, and how it can potentially aid you in the future. Like other insurance coverages, long term disability insurance and what you need to know of it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something you should immediately take. However, knowing what this option does and how it can benefit you are things worth considering should you find yourself contemplating about getting it.

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    Andrew Nickleson – Andrew is a passionate writer, writing about diabilities and the law. He has written about many subjects aimed to help those who have questions unanswered. In his spare time he enjoys working on volunteering for those less fortunate.

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    How To Cover Yourself Legally When You’ve Been In A Bike Accident

    February 13th, 2018

     

    Helmet

    Accidents don’t choose anyone, as they can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. This is especially true when you’re on the road, as various elements interact with each other all the time. When you consider how often car accidents can happen, sometimes the tendency is to focus on how to avoid them and how to deal with them. However, bike accidents also occur on the road, and it’s just as important to know how to cover yourself legally when you’ve been in a bike accident.

    Understanding how these legal elements interact with one another in terms of a bike accident is relevant, especially if you’re in an area with a lot of bikes. Furthermore, it’s important that you get the input of a legal professional especially when it comes to traffic laws so you can at least take the right approach if you’ve been involved in a bike accident.

    According to Nolo, one of the most important things to consider after a bike accident is to make sure you are able to get proper medical attention, regardless of the severity (or lack thereof) of your injuries. This, alongside properly documenting your injuries and evidence, can greatly help should you need to get yourself covered when it comes to insurance. Interestingly, there are insurance coverages that do exist for bike accidents, and here’s what to do to cover yourself legally when you’ve been in a bike accident.

     

    The Police Report: Get The Evidence Right

    If you’re ever involved in a bike accident, it’s important to call the authorities to the scene. Should you call 911, try to make sure a police officer arrives at the scene alongside the medical personnel in order to make sure the injured are treated, and the officer is there to take any notes. Make sure the police officer is able to make a report, as this can be a reference for insurance claims and injury lawsuits you may file.

    Lights car

    • Try to make sure that the police at the scene do make a report about the accident. This provides you with the assurance that at least a legal piece of evidence exists that an accident did happen, and could help provide another perspective about your experience.
    • Remember, however, that if you find yourself injured, you should seek medical assistance immediately. There are legal avenues to help you receive compensation when proven, such as certain institutions like this offering services for filing cases should you have injuries involving broken hip bones.

     

    Get Good Evidence: What To Find

    When you’ve heard the advice to “document everything” when it comes to accidents, the execution of such advice isn’t always the easiest thing to do. There are however some recommended approaches for you to ensure that the information you’re getting is appropriate for your situation. For instance:

     

    • Try to get a copy of the police report not only with your statement and the statement of the other party, but also of other witnesses.
    • Try to write down everything that’s happened to the best of your knowledge. Afterwards, try to take photos of what happened in the accident and try to make a diagram of what happened, if possible.
    • Try to take photos of your injuries and get a copy of all medical bills that were given after you were treated.
    • If you can get pictures and measurements of skid marks, that would be great. This determines just where along the road the particular vehicle used their brakes.
    • Try to get pictures of your bicycle and your clothing, as well as information including receipts on just how much it would cost to replace these.

     

    Fix Your Description: Be Careful What You Say

    When you do get interviewed by the police about your report, or if you interact with anyone on the scene such as witnesses or the driver of another vehicle, try to be careful not to say anything that could make them interpret that the accident was your fault. This is because your statements may be misconstrued and interpreted as though you’re at fault for the crash and not them.

     

    • Try to ask for a copy of the police report, or request a copy from the police department. Review through the information and cross check with the evidence you’ve gathered. Also, make sure the details described were correct. If not, communicate with the police department and request that an addendum be added into the report.
    • Try to ask your legal counsel to make sure you know exactly just what you’re allowed to say and how to say it. They may give you advice to the kind of people you should interact with, and the extent through which you could share details of the incident.

     

    Conclusion

    Bike accidents, regardless if this is with a motorcycle or an actual bicycle, are hassling for everyone involved. Not only are you looking at potential injuries, but also damages to the bike, to property, and even other pedestrians. The occurrence of multiple factors may be the reason why bike accidents have legal repercussions, and this is why it’s important to know how to cover yourself legally when you’ve been in a bike accident. Understanding how these elements work can hopefully give you valuable insight on how to tackle these events should they happen to you.

     

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    Disclaimer: Please remember that the purpose of this article is not to provide actual legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer or a legal counsel in order to learn more about bike accidents and what you should do if you ever find yourself in one.

    Irene Wall has been writing about law for more than a decade. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. She enjoys playing basketball with her sons during her free time

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    Employment Law: Why It’s Important To Know Before Starting Work

    February 13th, 2018

     

    law hammer

    Working can become your life-long journey to find your “calling,” or maybe your work right now is your “calling” and you love every minute of it. Work, by nature, can be very challenging and very fun at the same time. As such, it’s not exactly easy to just “find work” and excel in what you do, even if you get adequate training for it. If you do plan on starting work, or transitioning to a new job, it’s important to have a general idea on how employment law works. This is the general set of laws, rules, and regulations that you should be aware of as they outline the kinds of rights and obligations you have as a worker.

    As such, reviewing employment law before starting work can be one of the potentially most relevant things you can count on. This helps you become more aware of your rights and obligations and things you should achieve and avoid in order to become the best worker you could be.

    Reviewing Employment Law Before Your First Day On The Job

    According to Study.com, employment law is the field of law that deals with how employers and employees are related to one another. As such, if the business has more than a single employee, then the business should be using some form of employment law. However, there are many federal and state laws that include a lot of topics with the common objective of making sure the rights of all employees are protected properly. In a general sense, these laws try to:

     

    • Prevent discrimination in the workplace, regardless of the type. There are laws that reinforce that discrimination shouldn’t be allowed based on things such as gender, sex, race, religion, age, or even social status. If you need assistance in this matter, this site has can be of assistance.
    • Promotion of safety and health in the workplace, which means employers have the responsibility of making sure they provide a safe working environment to their employees. This also involves providing them with the tools to be able to perform their duties with adequate protective measures.
    • Establish the kind of economic support needed by employees. This means employees should be receiving adequate support, and that their salary should be capable of supporting them. This may include support in the times of accidents or vehicular accidents, of which this site can be of assistance.
    • Prevent disruptive work especially when disputes happen. This also means adequate setups should be in place to make sure dialogues on these matters are properly resolved and tackled.

     

    Make Sure Employment Law Is Recognized

    Law document

    There are a lot of things that employment law covers, and they range from a wide variety of factors that can benefit the employees while they serve their company. These include benefits such as minimum wage, social security, immigration, and proper foreign relations.

    • These include compensation in terms of injuries and other forms of services the company may owe the employee. Likewise, this also includes making sure adequate health and safety measures are there to ensure employees have the right kind of training and tools needed for the work they need to do.
    • These also include protection against employee discrimination and wrongful termination. The company should have policies that protect employees from being discriminated upon as well as guidelines in place to prevent termination that is unfounded.

     

    Knowledge is Important, Combining Knowledge is Vital

    While you may have already learned a few handy tips above as to just how important having a basic understanding of Employment Law is, perhaps it’s most important to know how to apply the law as well. Having an understanding of Employment Law can greatly help you assess whether or not conditions you currently have in your workplace are following these regulations. It’s important to make comparisons and take notes, as this can greatly make an impact with the way things are expected from you, and how you’re supposed to fulfill your obligations.

     

    • If you have any things you need to clarify in terms of Employment Law, do make sure to consult your legal counsel. They are the ones trained to explain aspects of Employment Law that can have an impact on the kind of work you do.
    • In the same token, make sure your guides and manuals are thorough and clear. If not, do try to consult the person who created the guides and ask for clarification. It’s important to note that if there are any unclear things that can affect your performance, do make sure to ask them about it.
    • If there’s anything in your policies that could potentially harm you or affect your rights and obligations as an employee as per the Employment Law, do seek the advice of your legal counsel before making any move that could affect your employment.

    Conclusion

    Employment Law is not walk in the park to understand, but it’s important to have a good idea on what it is and how it works in order to make sure all your bases are covered before you get employed by a company or a person. This allows you to be aware of your rights and obligations, and hopefully will help you perform better as an employee. Do try to review employee law alongside your company’s handbook with an attorney or legal professional to fully understand how one relates to the other.

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    Disclaimer: Please remember that this article isn’t actual legal advice. It’s advised you speak with a lawyer in order to learn about the specifics of employment law and how it protect your rights as a worker.

    Timothy Garret – Timothy is a budding law writer who enjoys all aspect of the law industry. He’s currently studying to become a lawyer and is applying his law knowledge into what he writes about. He spends time with his friends and swimming in his spare time.

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    Elderly Planning: What To Consider When The Time Is Passing By

    February 13th, 2018

     

     

    Growing up is generally a fun thing, especially when you consider the kind of things you become able to do as you age. However, when you get to the part of your life where you’re getting older, sometimes the things you’ve done in the past aren’t enough to satisfy that urge to “do something,” which can make elderly life boring for some. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have fun while time is passing by. Elderly planning is a good way to understand just what to consider when the time is passing by, so you know the kind of approach you need to take as you grow older.

     

    Self Growth states that one of the things that can be a “bummer” when it comes to growing up is reaching that point in post-retirement when work life is put to a stop all of a sudden. This kind of “boredom” is hard to control because a retired person will want to have engagements with a lot of activities that they are capable of fulfilling, but not a lot of them get to do adequate planning for these activities. When it comes to elder planning, here are some things you may want to do should you feel “bored:”

    Old lady running

    • Walking is actually a good way to pass the time, not because you have no choice, but it’s actually a fulfilling activity. It’s a good exercise to help make sure you’re fit, but you also get more opportunities to explore how the world keeps on changing alongside you, and you can still go visit friends and relatives who live nearby. This helps you maintain your weight and keeps the proverbial ball rolling, as your fitness goals still have potential to be fulfilled. Enjoy the sunshine and the breeze on your morning walks, and enjoy the moonlight and the cool winds during night walks.
    • Puzzles can keep the brain active, and being active both mentally and physically are important as you grow. Not only does this help maintain mental acuity, but also helps you to maintain a happy life post-retirement. Puzzles and brain games such as Sudoku, crosswords, and chess can improve the cognitive activity of seniors. This kind of elderly activity, when done with others, can also result in healthier brain activities, as it may encourage seniors to keep themselves up to date with newspapers, or be inspired to pick up a book.
    • Nurturing an interest, or maintaining a passion to do something, can be a great way to help the elderly maintain their happiness after retirement. Those who love to sing, or dance, or draw, or write can always find ways to nurture these interests after they retire, and there seems to be no shortage of people who want to train their skills. Try to suggest your elderly friend or family member to pursue a passion they’ve always wanted to try before but didn’t get the opportunity to.
    • Listen to them, or at least have them listen and interact with orders. Let an elderly person share their stories and interact with you or their peers, as them reminiscing about their past can perhaps be the best thing someone could do for them. This allows them to relive their life through their own memories, as it’s one of the most incredible things to do. You can take some time off and talk with an elderly person, or find them some company of their own. Listen to their conversations and try to understand how some of their stories feel magical, because they are the most remembered.

    old lady shopping

    Try to make sure your elderly friend or family member is also guided properly when it comes to therapy and medication. It’s unavoidable that sometimes conditions that are specific to a person manifest as they grow old, which means medication may be something that is normal for these adults. Try to make sure you consult a lawyer or a doctor when it comes to ensuring all medical needs are in place, and if there’s any legal way for you to be able to afford insurance coverage and policies related to things such as their estate that are fit to at least protect your elderly loved one should anything happen.

    Conclusion

    Growing up can be a fun time, especially with an increasing amount of free time to allot to things you want to try and do. This is the perfect time to pursue your own passions and hobbies, explore, travel, or even just reflect on things you’ve done and want to do. However, the case isn’t always the same when elderly planning is in the picture, as what to consider when the time is passing by has become a lot more challenging. Either way, if the above is any indication, it’s not exactly impossible either.

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    Kiren Manning – Kiren is a estate law writer who enjoys writing about subject in relation to real estate and law. He has written for a few blogs in the past, and enjoys sharing his knowledge with those who enjoy reading. In his spare time he enjoys spending quality time with those he loves.

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    Super Wood Stronger Than Steel, Tougher than Titanium

    February 11th, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

     

    A way to make wood more than 10 times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys has been discovered by engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD).”This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,” said Liangbing Hu of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and the leader of the team that did the research, to be published on February 8, 2018 in the journal Nature. “This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fiber, but much less expensive.” Hu is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute.

    “It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” said Teng Li, the co-leader of the team and Samuel P. Langley Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at UMD’s Clark School. His team measured the dense wood’s mechanical properties. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.”

    Liangbing Hu, left, and Teng Li, right, are engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park who have found a way to make wood more than 10 times stronger and tougher than before.

    Credit: University of Maryland

    The team also tested the new wood material and natural wood by shooting bullet-like projectiles at it. The projectile blew straight through the natural wood. The fully treated wood stopped the projectile partway through.

    “Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings,” Hu said.

    “The paper provides a highly promising route to the design of lightweight, high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired, ” said Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to implement.”

    “This kind of wood could be used in cars, airplanes, buildings – any application where steel is used,” Hu said.

    “The two-step process reported in this paper achieves exceptionally high strength, much beyond what [is] reported in the literature,” said Zhigang Suo, a professor of mechanics and materials at Harvard University, also not involved with the study. “Given the abundance of wood, as well as other cellulose-rich plants, this paper inspires imagination.”

    “The most outstanding observation, in my view, is the existence of a limiting concentration of lignin, the glue between wood cells, to maximize the mechanical performance of the densified wood. Too little or too much removal lower the strength compared to a maximum value achieved at intermediate or partial lignin removal. This reveals the subtle balance between hydrogen bonding and the adhesion imparted by such polyphenolic compound. Moreover, of outstanding interest, is the fact that that wood densification leads to both, increased strength and toughness, two properties that usually offset each other,” said Orlando J. Rojas, a professor at Aalto University in Finland.

    Hu’s research has explored the capacities of wood’s natural nanotechnology. They previously made a range of emerging technologies out of nanocellulose related materials: (1) super clear paper for replacing plastic; (2) photonic paper for improving solar cell efficiency by 30%; (3) a battery and a supercapacitor out of wood; (4) a battery from a leaf; (5) transparent wood for energy efficient buildings; (6) solar water desalination for drinking and specifically filtering out toxic dyes. These wood-based emerging technologies are being commercialized through a UMD spinoff company, Inventwood LLC.

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    Obesity Fattens US Health Care Costs Up by 29%, Varies by State

    February 11th, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

    The prevalence of obesity has risen dramatically in the U.S., but there has been little information about the economic impact of this trend for individual states.

    Recent research by John Cawley, professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University, provides new insights on how individual states are affected by the health care costs of obesity.

    “We have, for the first time, estimated the percentage of health care spending that is devoted to obesity, using microdata for each state,” said Cawley, who co-authored “The Impact of Obesity on Medical Costs and Labor Market Outcomes in the U.S.” with Adam Biener of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University.

    Large differences exist across states, Cawley said. “In 2015, states such as Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania devoted five to six percent of their total medical expenditures to treating obesity-related illness, whereas North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin spent more than twice that – over 12 percent of all health care dollars in those states were used to treat obesity-related illness.”

    File:DIMG 7438 (1873360447).jpg
    Credit: Bengt Nyman / Wikimedia Commons

    Overall, the authors found the percent of U.S. national medical expenditures devoted to treating obesity-related illness in adults rose from 6.13 percent in 2001 to 7.91 percent in 2015, an increase of 29 percent.

    The publication reports results by payer type, including private health insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. “Once again, we find dramatic differences across states in the fraction of Medicaid spending that is devoted to obesity-related illness,” Cawley said. “For example, over 2001-15, Kentucky and Wisconsin devoted over 20 percent of their Medicaid spending to obesity-related illness. In contrast, in New York, 10.9 percent of Medicaid spending was devoted to obesity-related illness, and the average for the U.S. as a whole was 8.23 percent during that period.”

    File:Buclin.jpg
    Credit: Buclin / Wikimedia Commons

    By analyzing data for 2001-15 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a nationally representative survey of Americans’ health care utilization and costs, the authors estimated the percent of health care costs that were associated with adult obesity for the most populous states.

    Estimates could not be generated for less populous states because of a scarcity of information about their residents in the data. Previous estimates of the health care costs of obesity by state were not based on microdata for each state but on assumptions about how national costs should be apportioned to different states.

    These differences across states are driven by a number of factors, such as differences in obesity prevalence, health care access by obese individuals, how obesity is treated and prices of health care, Cawley said.

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    Clues to Ancient Egyptian Dynasties: Excavation Finds Large Buildings, Clay Sealings, Evidence of Metallurgy

    February 11th, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

     

    The archaeological excavation of an ancient Egyptian city at Tell Edfu in southern Egypt, led by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, has discovered well-preserved settlement remains dating to an important turning point in ancient Egyptian history, when the pharaohs began to renew interest in the provincial regions in the far south of their kingdom.

    The dig revealed two large buildings that mark the earliest occupation uncovered so far in this part of the town, dating to about 2400-2350 BCE in the late Fifth Dynasty of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians made beer and bread and smelted copper in the complex, which was likely built to accommodate important officials sent from the royal capital in Memphis to oversee expeditions to mine precious metals and stones from the surrounding deserts.

    The excavation site at Tell Edfu (with the temple of Horus and the modern town of Edfu in the background).]

    Tell Edfu
    Photo by G. Marouard

    “It’s a wonderful find because we have so little information about this era of settlement in the southern provinces,” said Nadine Moeller, associate professor of Egyptian archaeology, who leads the excavation together with Oriental Institute research associate Gregory Marouard. “We don’t know any such similar complex for the Old Kingdom.”Archaeologists investigate mysteries at Tell Edfu

    The Oriental Institute team has been excavating Tell Edfu, an ancient city located in the Nile Valley about 400 miles south of Cairo, for more than 16 years. In that time, they’ve worked backward through time to finally reveal the earliest parts of the settlement at the site.

    Last December, they unearthed two large mudbrick buildings that appear to be centers for official administration. They are surrounded by vast open courtyards and workshops, where the excavation uncovered storage containers and other artifacts that suggest manufacturing activities such as bread and beer-making, as well as copper slag, pieces of crucibles, small weights and other evidence of metallurgy.

    Inside the complex, in rooms and pits dug into the courtyard floors, they uncovered more than 200 broken clay sealings. These once served as official sealing stamps on boxes, bags and ceramic storage containers, as well as sealed papyrus letters. Many of these clay sealings carry hieroglyph names and titles of high officials, including an official who was the leader of the sementiu, a group of royal prospectors who carried out mining missions for King Djedkare-Isesi.

    These expeditions would have supplied metals for the king, the elites of his court and construction projects in the capital at Memphis. Red Sea shells and rare Nubian imported ceramics further confirm the link to royal expeditions into the Eastern Desert, the researchers said.

    “It’s just about this time that the Egyptian royalty, until then focused on the northern area directly around the capital Memphis, began to expand its reach after a period of contraction during the fourth and much of the fifth dynasties,” Moeller said. “This is a first sign that the ancient city of Edfu was evolving into an important departure point for large expeditions leaving for the Eastern desert regions, and possibly the Red Sea shore, located about 125 miles to the east.”

    UChicago graduate student Emilie Sarrazin and researcher Katarina Arias (Charles University, Prague) sampling the content of a large Old Kingdom storage jar.

     Photo by G. Marouard
    A number of oddities puzzled the archaeologists. The largest building has outer façades with a very distinct slope. “It’s very well-constructed and so the slope is certainly intentional, which highlights the architectural peculiarity of this monument,” Marouard said. “We don’t know of any other structure within an urban context in Egypt that looks like this.”
    Ongoing excavation of the Oriental Institute team on the large administrative area of the late 5th Dynasty (ca. 2350 BCE).
    Photo by G. Marouard

    Additionally, even after the complex was abandoned, the massive, eight-foot-thick walls were never stripped and recycled for new buildings, as was the general practice. Even the entrance is perfectly preserved with the wooden door still in place—in a country where wood is rare and expensive.

    Given that the buildings were set so close to the temple—about 20 yards—it’s possible they had religious or cult ties, the researchers said.

    Ceramicist Aaron De Souza (Macquarie University, Sydney) studying Nubian imported pottery found at the site.


    Photo by G. Marouard
    “It’s such a unique site. We’ve had a hard time finding architectural parallels, because no other settlement in Upper Egypt has such extensive remains from this time period,” Moeller said. “We’ve learned so much at Tell Edfu, and there’s still more to come.”
    Example of a clay sealing bearing two of the names of King Djekare-Isesi (ca. 2400-2350 BCE).

    Photo by N. Moeller
    More than a dozen UChicago students have worked on the Tell Edfu excavation since it began, Moeller said. Current UChicago students include Emilie Sarrazin, Oren Siegel and Sasha Rohret.

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    New Technology Standard Could Shape the Future of Electronics Design

    January 28th, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

     

    Scientists at the University of Southampton have discovered a way of enhancing the capabilities of an emerging nanotechnology that could open the door to a new generation of electronics.

    In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers show how they have pushed the memristor – a simpler and smaller alternative to the transistor, with the capability of altering its resistance and storing multiple memory states – to a new level of performance after experimenting with its component materials.

    Traditionally, the processing of data in electronics has relied on integrated circuits (chips) featuring vast numbers of transistors – microscopic switches that control the flow of electrical current by turning it on or off.

    Professor Themis Prodromakis

    Professor Themis Prodromakis.
    Credit: University of Southampton.

    Transistors have got smaller and smaller in order to meet the increasing demands of technology, but are now reaching their physical limit, with – for example – the processing chips that power smartphones containing an average of five billion transistors.

    Memristors could hold the key to a new era in electronics, being both smaller and simpler in form than transistors, low-energy, and with the ability to retain data by ‘remembering’ the amount of charge that has passed through them – potentially resulting in computers that switch on and off instantly and never forget.

    The University of Southampton team has demonstrated a new memristor technology that can store up to 128 discernible memory states per switch, almost four times more than previously reported.

    In the study, they describe how they reached this level of performance by evaluating several configurations of functional oxide materials – the core component that gives the memristor its ability to alter its resistance

    Themis Prodromakis, Professor of Nanotechnology and EPSRC Fellow at the University of Southampton, said: “This is a really exciting discovery, with potentially enormous implications for modern electronics. By 2020 there are expected to be more than 200 billion interconnected devices within the Internet of Things framework – these will generate an incredible amount of data that will need processing.

    “Memristors are a key enabling technology for next-generation chips, which need to be highly reconfigurable yet affordable, scalable and energy-efficient.

    “We are thrilled to be working with world-leading industry, bringing innovations into new electronic systems that require bespoke customisation. Such examples include systems that are employed in inaccessible environments; for example, inside the human body, space or other remote or harsh locations.

    “At the same time this technology is ideal for developing novel hardware that can learn and adapt autonomously, much like the human brain.”

    The research was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Royal Society.

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    Archaeologists find Oldest School in the world

    January 28th, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

    Ancestors of modern humans taught their children how to make flint tools at prehistoric school, researchers say  The school was found at the Qesem Cave, a Lower Paleolithic archaeological site 12 km east of Tel Aviv in Israel. Early humans were occupying the site by 382,000 years ago until. 200,000 years ago.

    Tel Aviv University archaeologists have uncovered what they believe was a prehistoric school, where ancestors of modern humans taught their children manufacture flint instruments and dismember animals some 400,000 years ago, according to a report in The Times of London.

    The hominini, ancestors of today’s homo sapiens, had a brain size similar to today’s humans and, according to the findings in the Kessem Cave in central Israel, had developed relatively advanced manufacturing techniques.

    Kessem Cave

    File:מערת קסם 2.jpg

    Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    The dig, led by Prof. Avi Gopher and Prof. Ran Barkai of TAU’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, has been dubbed “the oldest school in the world,” because it suggested hominini had used the space to impart flint skills to their children, the oldest such documented find.

    Thousands of flint instruments were found in the cave, including hand-axes, blades and scrapers. Relatively advanced tools were found, but there were also many half-made, faulty or flints of inferior material, that would not have been used to make regular tools. Their presence in specific parts of the cave, especially around a large fireplace, indicated that experienced flint-masons were among the hominini in the cave, imparting their expertise to the younger members of the tribe.

    Qesem Cave was occupied from about 420-220 ka, although there is some uncertainty regarding the end date. All archaeological finds at Qesem Cave have been assigned to the Acheulo-Yabrudian Cultural Complex (AYCC) of the late Lower Paleolithic

    Qesem Cave stone tools are made of flint. They are mainly blades end scrapers, burins, and naturally backed knives. There are also flakes and hammerstones. Some of the horizons contain many blades and related blade-tools but they are absent in others. However thick side-scrapers are found throughout them. Acheulian type hand-axes are found at the top and at the bottom of the archeological sequence. All stages of stone tool manufacture have been found
    Among the many hominini teeth found in the cave were children’s baby teeth.

    The Qesem Cave contains one of the earliest examples of regular use of fire in the Middle Pleistocene. Large quantities of burnt bone, defined by a combination of microscopic and macroscopic criteria, and moderately heated soil lumps suggest butchering and prey-defleshing occurred near fireplaces.

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    Roadside Test for Marijuana Intoxication Will Not Be Easy

    January 28th, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

    As the movement to legalize marijuana in the United States gains momentum, researchers worry about keeping the public safe, particularly on the roads. Recent studies in which marijuana users took controlled doses of cannabis in the lab have identified new biomarkers that can be used to estimate a person’s recent cannabinoid intake. But, using those markers to judge cognitive and behavioral impairment is complex, say toxicologists in a commentary published on January 25 in a special issue of the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine on biomarkers of substance abuse.

    “There is no one blood or oral fluid concentration that can differentiate impaired and not impaired,” says Marilyn Huestis, who spent over 20 years leading cannabinoid-related research projects at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s not like we need to say, ‘Oh, let’s do some more research and give you an answer.’ We already know. We’ve done the research.”

    Credit: Coaster420 /Wikimedia Commons

    Alcohol can impair a user more than cannabis, and indeed, the risk of an accident while driving increases in proportion with blood alcohol concentrations. But pot is different: many variables can affect how impaired someone is at any given concentration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive agent in cannabinoids. Whether it is inhaled or consumed, or whether the user titrates their own dose, can affect the level of impairment. And pairing cannabis with alcohol makes the high higher, and the alcohol buzz last longer.Another problem is that THC quickly leaves the bloodstream. Previous research by Huestis has shown that while an occasional user is impaired for 6 to 8 hours, blood THC concentrations can be effectively zero after 2.5 hours. And on average in the United States, it takes from 1.4-4 hours after a crash or traffic stop to administer a blood test. “If someone is driving impaired, by the time you get their blood sample, you’ve lost 90% or more of the drug. So, we have to change what we do at the roadside,” says Huestis.

    Long-term daily cannabis users, like those who use marijuana for medical reasons, also present a challenge for developing roadside protocols. THC accumulates in the tissues of the body and then slowly releases over time, meaning that chronic users can test positive for cannabis even after 30 days of abstinence. Psychomotor impairment can be observed three weeks after the last dose. “You want people to be taking medicinal cannabinoids and now you know that their driving is going to be impacted,” says Huestis. “So how do you handle that problem?”

    Huestis, like most researchers, doesn’t support a legal driving limit for cannabis like the one in place for blood alcohol concentrations. Instead, she advocates for well-trained police officers who can identify the behavioral signs of impairment and less invasive biological marker tests, which could be immediately performed at the roadside to confirm the presence of a cannabinoid. To that end, recent research has identified new blood and urine markers, and tests using breath and saliva markers are being developed.

    The implications go beyond driving. These new markers and tests could also be used to assist in treating drug dependence, in determining appropriate therapeutic levels of medical marijuana, and for monitoring women who want to stop using cannabinoids during pregnancy.

    Huestis, who also owns a toxicology consulting company with her co-author, Michael Smith, isn’t opposed to legalization. But she does want to make sure that marijuana’s status as a legal drug and a medicine doesn’t make us complacent. “Cannabis probably is less dangerous to use than alcohol,” she says. “There’s less morbidity and mortality associated with it, but there’s still a lot of problems. And we as a public are not recognizing this.”

    The Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institutes of Health funded this research.

    Comments Off on Roadside Test for Marijuana Intoxication Will Not Be Easy

    Is The U.S. Headed To A bad Financial Collapse?

    January 22nd, 2018

    The Daily Journalist community question.

     

    For what I have observed having colleagues working in financial institutions, not even the best politicians understand the complexity of the financial world. In fact, most of them have no idea how the economy works from a local to state level at least. The government argues we are at full employment, but based on my research a woman working 3 part times jobs is considered part of that progress…Not to mention the industrial capacity of the US is off shores and the rapid rise of technology replacing human labor cannot stimulate employment as one might think.
     
    Since Donald Trump was elected against all odds, 10 years have passed without any financial turmoil and many experts are very worried about our current economic model. After his election while the rest of news media took attention to social issues as migration, Trump signed an executive order to deregulate the banks once again. Normally most financial boom and bust cycles take about 8 years to spill. After the Mortgage crisis in 2008, Quantitative Easing promised to be the cure of choice for governments around the world in order to infuse through monetary policy greater liquidity into the system by printing more currency and borrowing IOU bonds from the Treasury to help the markets cure themselves while stimulating economic growth. However, economist worry that banks have used QE not to allow more investments to flourish but to gamble and wildly speculate even more in the derivatives global casino. Likewise hedge funds and banks have created so many different financial instruments which are not included in the balance sheets of their portfolio’s that suggest the worrisome reality that the market exposure overall is heavily toxic, much more so than it was in 2008. Some even argue that the next collapse will be about “who is going to bail out the US government?” because they argue there is no more gold left in Fort Knox — they argue the federal reserve lend it to banks and these sold it or swapped it for other securities throughout the years since at one point the value of the US Dollar was greater than that of gold. There is tangible evidence for their claims, and how the Federal Reserve has denied multiple request to be audited by a non sponsored agency. China’s leverage lending strategy to stimulate its own growth also has many people worried around the world. China will also start to trade with Petro-Yuans with Saudi Arabia which in return will be able to exchange their currency for gold in Beijing hurting the US dollar. Russia is also trying to create its own crypto-ruble –copying bitcoin– to hedge financial restrictions from the European Union and US sanctions. The Russians and the Chinese have aggressively bought gold for the past decade and there must be a reason. Europe and United States are both in the same dilemma alongside with India and other countries. 
     
    The questions: 
     
    Why haven’t we seen a financial collapse yet?
    Are governments really prepare to contain a new collapse? would it really be worse?
    If a collapse does happen, what will happen to the US economy? 

     

    rsz_markbow

    Mr. Mark  Borkowski.

    (He is a graduate of the University of Toronto with an MBA in Business and Finance. Mark has spoken at more than 30 national conferences on Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity.)

    “I agree with you.” 

     

    rsz_6-7-sebastian-sarbu_tifet_679806b0f8

    Sebastian Sarbu.

    (He is a military analyst and vice-president of National Academy of Security and Defense Planning. Member of American Diplomatic Mission for International Relations)

    “The economic crisis could affect the European Union in 2019. The competition between the US and EU will meet a new level with major implications for the latter. An economical restart of US could possibly be the first steps of EU’s financial decline. Also the potentially wars in Asia and Middle East could affect the European economy and south east Asia. An economic collapse has not happened yet because the Brexit effect had a somewhat small impact. America has not close the door to globalization.” 

     

    SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

    Dale Yeager.

    (He is the CEO of SERAPH and F.L.E.T.C trained Forensic Profiler and U.S. DOJ DOD Federal Law Enforcement SME / Instructor)

    “Why haven’t we seen a financial collapse yet?

    The demise of the dollar has been falsely predicted for many decades. We are the stability of the world monetary markets as seen by the events of 2007. World trade is strong and many countries including communist governments like China are seeing a rise in the earnings of regular folks.

    The EU is falling apart. Smart leaders gravitate toward the stable parent the U.S..

    Are governments really prepare to contain a new collapse? would it really be worse?

    2007 brought the fear of God into many in the financial markets. It brought about two key changes. First many of the ineffective executives were removed. This brought in a new class of cautious leadership. Second changes were made to everyone’s thought process about spending and taxes – hardship and pain have a way of doing that. This provides a more cautious market.

    Would it be worse, no. The wall street and foreign financial markets had rebelled against sound free market money management which brought about 2007.  To some extent lessons were learned about conservative money management.

    If a collapse does happen, what will happen to the US economy? 

    What will happen to the world economy is the question. We would have a depression. But I don’t see that happening.” 

     

    rsz_jack

    Jack Goldstone. 

    (He has worked extensively on forecasting global conflict and terrorism, and with the US Agency for International Development and the World Bank on providing democracy assistance to fragile states) 

    “While business cycles generally run about a decade or so, they do not have an ‘expiration date.’  What kills growth is an unjustified shift to riskier assets, propelled by optimism, that eventually gives way to realism and a selling frenzy of all ‘high-risk’ assets to reduce risk exposure.  This flight to safety drives down all asset prices, usually quite rapidly, over a few months.

    Are we there yet?  It seems we have just entered that surge, with stock prices rocketing up and higher risk assets, such as junk bonds and bitcoin, selling at very high levels.  When you see people borrowing against their homes (a real asset) to buy bitcoin (a speculative high-risk investment with no underlying value), you know we have entered a frenzy stage.

    Such stages often last a year or two.  So my expectation is the financial crash will come in late 2018 or 2019.

    That said, it is impossible to tell how severe it will be.  Growth is rebounding in China and Europe, and still is strong in the US, and we won’t know until recession hits how long or deep it will be.  It may be mild, given the underlying strength of all major economies, or it may be severe if financial sector panic spreads.

    The current unwinding of QE and raising interest rates may accelerate the move away from high-risk assets, but I think if another recession occurs government will have the tools (negative interest rates, buying up assets) to limit the damage.  But that may be a political issue; if governments are late to act because of a reluctance to go that far, the damage will be greater.”

     

    rsz_walter_donway_sized

    Walter Donway.

    (He is a writer on political economy and was a founding trustee of The Atlas Society. He graduated cum laude from Brown University with a degree combining history, political science, philosophy, and literature. His articles on political economy appeared in the Wall Street Journal. In 2015 I published “Not Half Free: The Myth that America Is Capitalist.”)

    “Why haven’t we seen a financial collapse yet?

    It is crucial to realize that in 2008 the United States, and much of the world, experience a financial panic NOT a typical stock-market crash and economic recession. The financial panic was the first one to occur in a century, since 1907. With it came a stock-market crash and deep recession. They were related but very different phenomena. On the record, it seems unlikely we will see another financial crash in any of our lifetimes; they are exceedingly rare occurrences when there is an apparently sudden loss of all confidence in financial institutions, the financial system, and the currency. In response, the government, in effect, pledged the entire U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve as surety for financial institution.

    Most of the world is integrated with the U.S. economy, financial system, and currency, so that the financial panic was worldwide. The only nation not affected was Communist China and in the decade following the panic, China was the world’s chief engine of economic growth, accounting for some 40 percent worldwide.

    The financial panic was not part of the historic boom-and-bust, bull-market-and-bear-market cycle although it became the factor precipitating an economic bust and stock market bear. Therefore, it is misleading to ask, “Why haven’t we seen a financial collapse, again?” None of us may live to see another. The question intended, I would suggest, is “Why haven’t we experienced a bear market or even a serious correction in the equities markets since 2008?” And, why not a recession?

    Stock market crashes such as 1929, and its less violent successors, are the so-called “boom-and-bust” cycle believed to be inherent in capitalism, but, in the persuasive analysis of the Austrian School, the cycle is driven by government intervention in the credit markets by the Federal Reserve. Created in 1913 with legislation signed by Woodrow Wilson, the Fed was intended to combat the periodic and quite normal market corrections of excesses. Over the next 17 years, the Fed used money creation and credit suppression to eliminate corrections. Uncorrected, the market by 1929 had become a bubble that burst in 1929 in the stock market crash.

    In our time, decades of Federal Reserve suppression of interest rates, an easy money policy, and the role of government-created alternatives to the free market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, enabled the gigantic real estate and financial bubble that burst in 2008. Because of newly created financial instruments intended to take advantage of literally unlimited government credit, no loan, no investment, seemed imprudent; there was money for everything. No natural limits on true capital (which has to be earned, saved) restrained an economy with unlimited access to government-created debt money.

    The resulting orgy of mal-investment, carried out by private business but enabled by government, collapsed in late 2007 and in 2008, almost bringing down the world financial system.

    Ever and always, government uses the economic distortions and disasters that it creates as a justification for more regulation and control over private enterprise, which is blamed for the problems. In the wake of the financial panic, stock-market crash, and ensuing recession, government enacted sweeping new legislation aimed at controlling the practices of financial institutions, constraining risk, in the name of protecting the American economy. Although the real cause, or enabler, of the panic and crash was government, especially the Federal Reserve, THEIR power and expenditures increased hugely.

    Are governments really prepared to sustain a new collapse?

    And so, we DO have an economic recovery, albeit the slowest in history, at a cost of literally trillions injected by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve, and thanks to new inflation innovation, “quantitative easing,” we have trillions of dollars in money creation (inflation) going directly into U.S. equities markets, which, since 2013, have been levitated by Fed money without any major correction, breaking historic records for market gains, absence of corrections, and investor ebullience.

    In other words, in response to the 2008 disaster, enabled by government, especially the Fed, the Fed, as always, has doubled down, again and again, re-inflating the bubble. At the same time, under the Obama Administration, the Treasury pumped trillions into the economy to at last stoke a revival that rests on unimaginable government debt.

    If a collapse does happen, what will happen to the U.S. economy?

    The “irrational exuberance” (I believe someone once said) of the equities markets, assured again and again that the Fed will never let the party end, has push valuations (P/E ratios) solidly into bubble territory. The stock-market cycle of driving stocks to super high evaluations, then giving way to a bear market that restores super low valuations, may not be a law of nature. But it has held true, without exception, through all markets in all known history because it expressed the primal alternation of fear and greed. You may wish to wager that our day is different.  Good luck, with that.

    We are stretched in valuations, measurements of complacency, duration of a bull market, and interval with no major correction. With the markets roaring, and the unemployment rate plunging, the Fed is hoping, at last, to reverse the monetary inflation that put trillions in debt on its balance sheet. It is hoping to do that without causing the markets and economy to crash. By late 2018, the Fed will be withdrawing $60 billion a month from the economy. Will the stock market bubble survive that?

    If the U.S. equities markets roll over, at last, into the inevitable bear market, to shed decades of excesses, how will the Trump administration and the Fed, under a new chairman, react?

    Damned if I know.  President Trump is a very realistic, tough-minded man.  He is familiar with the rhythm of success and failure.  He is perhaps the only president in a century or more (or ever??) who has come from a business background. And New York real estate, and the world of international casino competition, are tough schools.

    Will a U.S. president and chairman of the Fed defy the founding premise of the Fed: That government manipulation of credit and debt can perfect free markets and forever cancel the cycle of greed and fear in investment? Can human reason implemented by law and regulation change the human dynamic of bullish hope rising to greed supplanted by bearish doubt rising to fear?

    It would mean, for a President, accepting a stock-market crash, without frantic Treasury and Federal Reserve rescue operations. It would mean accepting the consequences of decades-long distortions of the market and letting the American people experience the pain and almost certainly the anger and outrage that terrify politicians.” 

     

    rsz_steven-hansen

    Steven Hansen.

    (Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations.) 

    “I do not like the questions as they were formulated using disproven assumptions/ facts. So my response will ignore the intro remark. To begin, only a fool would believe that a financial collapse is not possible. Compared to the conditions which created the Great Recession – the USA’s financial system is further away from collapse then in 2007. Europe remains no better off (and possibly worse) than in 2007 – whilst the rest of the world seems somewhat better off.

    I for one do NOT like that the USA dollar is the basis of international trade. Monetary policy in the USA ends up leaking into the entire world. This is one reason the recovery in the USA was so slow after our last financial collapse (aka The Great Recession) as the stimulus leaked into the third world. Now that monetary policy is tightening, it is slowing down the global economy growth and is stimulating the domestic economy. I do not understand why China or Russia or any other country would want their currency to be the basis of international transactions.

    The USA dollar is a sovereign currency. I suggest that everyone read Understanding Modern Money: How a sovereign currency works by L. Randall Wray. Gold simply is not part of the way large economies operate.” 

     

    Dr. Helmi Hamdi.

    “Has a Ph.D. and Master’s degree in Applied Financial Economics from Paul Cezanne University, Aix-Marseille III France. He is currently a Senior Economist at the Central Bank of Bahrain. He also has academic experience and has delivered various courses in France.”

    “Why haven’t we seen a financial collapse yet?

    The global financial crisis was one of the worst crisis that the world has witnessed since 1929. The disastrous impacts of the crisis has pushed governments all around the world to use new sophisticated tools to limit its propagation to other sectors of the economy. One of the tool used was the so called “quantitative easing program” which is the use of a set of an non-normal monetary policy tools such as fixing interest rate a Zero for years, to help the banking system working normally. The strategy worked perfectly as expected and has shown its efficacy since the US economy get recovered and growth and employment rates were even better than the pre-crisis level.

    Today, ten years since the financial crisis triggered many Central banks around the world are still relying on quantitative easing program to boost their economic activities until achieving full recovery.

    To sum up, we did not see a financial collapse yet thanks to the policy responses of Government through bond purchases and central banks through the use of non-normal monetary policy. However, one should not forgets the Fiscal crisis or the debt crisis that many European countries have witnessed in 2011-2013 notably in peripheral countries named PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain). The debt crisis moved to financial crisis for some of these countries such as Greece and was even transmitted to other countries like Cyprus and it putted pressure on the Single currency. Some economists predicted the end of the Euro and the explosion of the European Union.

    The crisis was limited to some European countries but the intervention of the European Central Banks as well as France and Germany, the largest EU economies, and the IMF have  helped PIIGS countries to control the crisis which is now something from the past.            

    Are governments really prepare to contain a new collapse? would it really be worse?

    Unfortunately, bank failures which are the origin of banking and financial crisis are natural phenomena that happened in the past in poor, emerging and developed economies; and will happen again in the future. Interestingly, the history of bank crises shows that there is no crisis similar or identical to the previous one because when a crisis happen, the government take various measures to stop it and to avoid its recurrence. Bank regulation is one of the most important tool a Central Bank uses to supervise banking activities. To escape these regulations, banks use new sophisticated products based on financial innovations to get more money. However, when a bank takes excessive risk, a bank crisis occurs and it could turn to systemic financial collapse. In this case, there is no available regulation or tools available on that time that expect the misbehavior of these banks.

    If a collapse does happen, what will happen to the US economy? 

    The US is still the largest economy in the world with a strong banking system and solid financial sector, but so far we cannot expect the nature of the next financial collapse and whether the US government has the proper tools to limit it.  However, improving bank supervision and enhancing the quality of corporate management/governance could play a crucial role to limit the spillover effects of the next collapse.”  

     

    David Merkel

    David J. Merkel.

    (CFA is Principal of the equity and bond asset management firm Aleph Investments, LLC, and writes The Aleph Blog. Previously, he was the Director of Research for Finacorp Securities, Senior Investment Analyst at Hovde Capital, and a leading commentator at RealMoney.com. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins.) 

    “Right now there is no crisis on the horizon, unless there is a “bolt from the blue,” such as a surprise war between major powers, or a country facing payments problems.

    The banks are in good shape.  The stock markets could fall from overvaluation amid monetary tightening but it wouldn’t spread as in the financial crisis in 2007-9.  Real estate prices are higher than they were then, but the financing is long-term vs. the short –term financing in 2007-9.

    But here’s the thing that few are talking about – where do debt crises start?  Typically in the class of debts that have grown the most over the bull phase of the market.  What is that?  Government debt.  Governments papered over the problems of their financial sectors after the crisis, leaving governments more indebted.  If economic growth slows down significantly amid monetary tightening, what nations might have troubles paying their foreign currency debts?  Perhaps some smaller EU nations would be a place to look, and a number of the emerging market countries.  The next question would be whether any banks get affected by the debts of those nations, and what impact it might have on currencies and global trade.  The political consensus at the core of the EU is weaker now, so there might be less willingness to do rescues… think of Cyprus.

    So, I don’t see a crisis coming now… but think 5 years out, and one is conceivable.  Think 15 years out and entitlement crises will be in full swing – the effects of lousy demographics amid large entitlements will strain all Western Governments, bar none.  For an example see:

    http://alephblog.com/2017/11/28/notes-from-an-unwelcome-future-part-1/

     

    John Mariotti.

    (He has spoken to thousands of people in the business, professional and university audiences in the US and Europe; he hosted a one-hour talk-radio show on the North American Broadcasting Network, (The Life of Business & the Business of Life); founded & moderated, The Reunion Conference, an annual round table/think-tank for 16 years) 

    “Your lengthy and convoluted question reinforces the complexity and interconnected working of forces that operate largely outside the realm of “control” by governments or central bankers. I’ll answer your FOUR questions…not one.

    1. Because free market economic cycles indicate the a recovery is likely after a massive downturn. The recovery from the 2007-2010 downturn was far weaker than historically likely because Barack Obama and his administration were anti-business (and pro-big government) AND they truly did not understand or support how a free market/free enterprise system of capitalism works. Thus they tried government meddling, it slowed any recovery dramatically. When Trump was elected and reversed many of Obama’s anti business policies the economy popped up like a cork that had been held down too long.
    2. Governments have learned a lot about moderating the effects of a market collapse—however— there are so many external factors that could come into play (Korea’s nuclear threat, Middle East strife, especially involving Iran & Syria, Russia’s renewed nation building by careful aggression, China’s aspirations to global hegemony, massive debt loads at many countries, etc.) that NOBODY, NO GROUP OR GOVERNMENT can anticipate, mitigate or control if/when a series of destabilizing events occurs.
    3. Maybe, probably, but NOBODY knows, because NO BODY can predict the unpredictable future of so many uncontrollable and volatile interrelated events. Could be global chaos—or not!
    4. As the largest member of the global economic and sociopolitical Network, the USA will inevitably be impacted by a global market collapse. It’s unavoidable. How the USA fares in such a major collapse is totally impossible to even speculate about. Anyone who says they know are either delusional or suffering from the worst case of inflated ego/hubris known to man. 
    NO BODY KNOWS, NOBODY KNOWS, AND NO ACCUMULATION OF PEOPLE, GOVERMENTS ET. AL. CAN PREDICT IT WITH ANY ACCURACY.
    What the various people, groups, governments et. al., can do is watch for warning signs and try to head off a global economic meltdown. Can they? Maybe; maybe not. Governments, however, cannot, because those bodies must reach consensus and thus cannot make decisions and take concerted, intelligent action fast enough and wisely enough. You cannot run away from an avalanche or a tsunami. The best that can be done is try to avoid such things, and that includes market collapses.”

     

    rsz_jon

    Jon Kofas.

    (Retired Indiana University university professor academic writing. International political economy — fiction)

    “THE “NEW NORMAL” IN CYCLICAL RECESSIONS
     
    There is a ‘new normal’ in cyclical recessions, namely, that the recovery cycle is itself recessionary for the vast majority of the population, not just in periphery countries that invariably suffer much more during contracting economic cycles, but in core countries as well. One of the biggest myths about the contracting cycles is the underlying assumption that they have an evenhanded impact on all people across the board regardless of income level and across all geographic regions. If there is GDP contraction of 3% then every person’s personal income must be declining by a corresponding amount, therefore recessions are the great equalizers. This is simply a myth that apologists of capitalism perpetuate so they the working class and middle class have a sense of “shared sacrifice” rather than one that disproportionately impacts them while capital becomes even more concentrated among the wealth during recessionary cycles. When the economy begins to stabilize and the expansionary cycle takes hold, mainstream economists, politicians and journalists want people to believe that the expansion and rise in GDP is evenly distributed and all people benefit, when in fact all statistical evidence compiled by governments and independent researchers demonstrate that the benefits go to the capitalist class with ‘trickle-down’ effect minimally impacting the rest of the population, and even less so across the developing nations. (For more on this topic see Tom Clark and Anthony Heath, Hard Times: Inequality, Recession and Aftermath, 2014)
     
    Cyclical recessions and economic depressions have always been an integral part of the market economy in the last five centuries. With each contracting cycle occurring on average every five to ten years within longer cycles of structural expansion of contraction, capital becomes more concentrated. Consequently, more people fall into poverty while upward social mobility becomes problematic as the population expands and the market economy operates under the law of surplus labor that keeps wages at the lowest possible level. It is important to stress that while recessions were more frequent between 1945 and 1980, they were also not as severe while the recovery cycle was sufficiently strong to absorb most of the surplus labor force from the ranks of the unemployed and to create opportunities for upward socioeconomic mobility especially for those with a college degree. After 1980 with the new era of neoliberal policies from Reagan to the present, recessions are farther apart, the period of cyclical recoveries is so weak that the vast majority of the population continues to experience recessionary pressures, often forced to have the spouse work to supplement the family income, and people with a college degree no longer have the opportunities for upward social mobility that their parents enjoyed.
     
    Apologists of the market economy place all blame for the cyclical contractions on government policy – fiscal monetary, trade, regulatory measures, labor policy, etc. This assumes that government policy is intended to undermine rather than strengthen capitalism which government faithfully serves considering its pro-capital policies. A survey of scholars in the study of ‘crisis theory’ from David Ricardo, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill in the 19th century, to Joseph Schumpeter, John Meynard Keynes and John Kenneth Galbraith in the 20th century points to structural dynamics in the economy as the underlying causes of cyclical contractions, rather than any specific government policy or policies whether on trade, money supply, all intended to promote capital accumulation. http://www.left-dis.nl/uk/ecomatt.pdf
     
    From the tulip bubble of the 17th century when Holland was the world’s preeminent financial and economic center of capitalism, until the subprime bubble of 2008 in the US, recessionary cycles emanate from core countries of the integrated world economy. Hence, the impact is worse for the periphery economies than for the core where capital is heavily concentrated and where there is retrenchment from the periphery to support the base in the advanced capitalist countries. If the trigger for a cyclical downturn starts in the periphery, as in the case of the 1970s energy crisis amid geopolitical disputes in the Middle East, structural causes for the crisis rest within the core that wields inordinate geopolitical and economic influence in the demand rather than supply side of the equation in everything from pricing to speculation on investment in commodity markets of core countries. After all, traders – speculators – make money on the down cycle shorting the market as they do on the up-cycle staying ‘long’. The inevitability of expansion and contraction is built into the market driven by the goal of maximizing capital accumulation thus undermining the manipulated government-supported market by creating overproduction while seeking greater profits by keeping wages at levels as low as the market will withstand.
     
    Since the 1987 market crash, the integration of the former Soviet bloc countries and China’s rapid evolution from a command economy into a market one poised to overtake the US as the world’s richest country are catalytic variables in the prevention of even deeper recessions than we have experienced. In fact, Australia has not had a recession comparable to other countries for about 26 years largely because of China stimulating demand for Australian exports. Although mainstream economists attribute Australia’s phenomenal absence of recession on neoliberal reforms of the 1980s rather than China’s trade relations with Australia, they are unable explain why all other countries on earth that have also undertaken even more reforms than Australia have failed to match Australia’s record.
     
    The evolution of global integration in the last three decades with China rapidly moving into the core of world capitalism has a few years more of global stimulus partly because of The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road”, known as the One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR). However, despite pursuing a mix of quasi-statism within the neoliberal global status quo, the Chinese economy is as much subject to the dynamics of capitalism as any other globally-integrated national economy. The idea that China, Australia or any country for that matter will experience uninterrupted economic growth without any recessions or depressions is naïve and goes against the path of capitalism’s cyclical nature for five centuries. China has been bankrolling the US dollar buying bonds to keep the currency relatively stable; at least until China’s reserve currency has become sufficiently strong in the world economy and the dollar along with the US market sufficiently less significant in its overall contribution to global GDP.
     
    In an article about the next imminent recession, The Atlantic, hardly a leftwing critic of the market economy, warned about the vulnerabilities of the US economy and society where the elites have accepted massive capital accumulation and chronic downward social mobility as the new normal. “Roughly half of respondents to a Federal Reserve survey conducted in 2015 said that they could not come up with $400 in an emergency, with a third saying they could not cover three months of expenses, even if they sold assets, dipped into retirement accounts, and asked friends and family for help. Outsize wealth and income continue to accumulate at the very top of the scale, and the finances of millions of American families remain fragile. Americans are no worse off than they were when the last recession hit, in other words, but a decade of growth has not made them more secure, either. American businesses, on the other hand, have rarely had it so good. Rising demand from overseas and a weaker dollar have boosted corporate earnings across the board, so much so that four in five companies beat analysts’ earnings expectations in the second quarter—the highest share in more than a decade, Bloomberg reports. The stock market is at or near record highs, and America’s firms are sitting on trillions of dollars of cash that would help tide them over in the event of any downturn and concomitant fall in sales and profits. That said, there is no sign that businesses would use that cash to preserve jobs and help average workers. Indeed, companies would likely do what they did last time around, using a downturn as an opportunity to fire workers, pour resources into technologies that reduce the need for workers, and “upskill” their labor forces, meaning the less-educated workers who have recovered least from the last recession would again be hardest hit. The economy has had three jobless recoveriesfollowing the last three recessions, and the next recession would likely prompt a fourth.”
     
    Politicians, mainstream media, think tanks, and academics serving the market economy want people to ‘feel good’ about the rise in GDP and the phenomenal rise of the markets, regardless of the average person’s deteriorating living standards. Moreover, the apologists of the market economy want the average person to be unconcerned about government raising the level of public debt to redistribute income now for the richest 10% of the population, debt that will be paid by the average taxpayer in the future thus further undercutting living standards. According to former Republican congressman Ron Paul, financial collapse is imminent because the US Federal Reserve Bank printed trillions of dollars to lift the economy out of the great recession of 2008. Adamantly opposed to any stimulus to manage the economy, libertarian Ron Paul agrees with others who caution that central bank tightening throughout the world is inevitable because assets – everything from real estate to securities and commodities – is overvalued above the pre-2008 levels.
     
    At some point, bonds will sell off as China, Japan and Saudi Arabia will look to diversify away from their dollar holdings to protect their own assets. If we throw into the mix the rapid pace of computerization of the economy, which will mean higher unemployment rates and lower wages with people working several part time jobs, then the consumer stimulus weakens thus slowing down the economy. The combined impact of all factors mentioned above, become more complicated when added to the extraordinary rise of global markets in 2017 reflecting continued capital concentration and posing greater risk for a deep recession ahead because of grossly uneven income distribution. Markets rose ten times higher than global GDP in 2017, a level of capital concentration as reflected in securities markets invariably witnessed right before recessionary cycles begin and which spells a prescription for an inevitable recession simply because all asset valuations at these levels are unsustainable and mass consumer demand is undercut by rapidly rising personal debt.
     
    Accurate prediction regarding the timing of recessions is hardly more than a guessing game. Although historical averages of the frequency of recessions help – on average every five years for the US if we consider the Past 150 years – the only sure prediction is that a recession will take place and it will do so given all the variables in the core countries where massive capital concentration hastens the process, as many mainstream economists and journalists agree while looking to a Keynesian policy mix as a solution to preserve not only capitalism but the pluralistic society resting on 18th century bourgeois values. Considering that the US will not deviate from a long-standing policy of foreign interventionism, destabilization and military solutions as leverage to gain strategic, political and economic benefits around the globe, combined with the possible prospect for economic nationalism manifesting itself in less cooperation on regional or global trade issues, disequilibrium can be hastened if certain multinational corporations press their government for hardline trade policy as a means of securing market share – e.g. the US steel or timber industry, or the EU foodstuffs industry, Chinese financial sector, etc.
     
    While a recession is more than likely once again to begin in the US as was the case in 2008, the trigger could be the creation of a more exclusive trading regional bloc in Asia that affords preferential treatment to member nations – something similar to the Sterling Area of the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Although this is unlikely because the world economy is much more highly integrated today than in the 1930s, global competition for market share has not changed, but has in fact become more intense under the neoliberal status quo. Despite the US under Trump withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that Obama had negotiated as a free trade agreement with Japan’s insistence to curb China’s economic expansion, China is more likely to remain committed to global integration and continue with import-substitution growth policies that benefit raw material exporting countries. Therefore, an Asia-based recession resulting from Chinese Communist Party policies is much more unlikely than a US-based one resulting from a mix of economic nationalism within the neoliberal regime to capture greater market share.
     
    As was the case with the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008, the very forceful state intervention to stimulate the economy and sustain capitalism combined with the efforts by bilateral, regional, and international organizations will entail a recovery with unprecedented capital concentration and further downward trend in living standards for the working class and middle class not just in core countries but especially in the developing nations. Although capital concentration is at the root of cyclical downturns, neoliberal policies with variations of a mi, which includes aspects of Keynesianism are in place globally will hasten the frequency of recessions. The glaring contradiction following the next recessionary cycle will be as it has been a thriving stock market will ensue where the vast majority of the population is not invested and which does not reflect the “real economy” as compared with continued downward living standards that will serve as the foundation for the next recession. Nevertheless, the media, politicians, and academics faithful to neoliberalism will insist that a rise in GDP and in the stock market ought to be sufficient for people to feel good about their future.
     
    The unprecedented rise of personal debt driving the consumer economy will continue while real wages will remain stagnant even in the expansionary cycle after the next recession. Even former IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan among other apologists of capitalism acknowledge the unsustainability of a debt-ridden consumer in an economy where ‘financialization’ (speculation) transcends the empirical productivity standard. More rather than less neoliberalism, as was the case following the great recession of 2008, will lead to more corporate fraud, higher prices for everything from energy to health care, and a possible return to trade wars between the declining American empire using its military muscle and sanctions as leverage; all of which could entail unraveling of the well-integrated world economy. As safety nets and to avoid austerity measures, some governments could introduce versions of ‘crypto-currencies’ while others will ban them, thus undermining the IMF-recognized basket of hard currencies on which global trade is based and further muddling the formal economy with the growing underground economy of shadow banking, tax havens, and everything from money laundering to drug trafficking flowing back and forth from the formal economy to the crypto-economy.
     
    Despite the US and some of its allies desperately trying to argue that if a crisis comes it would be the fault of North Korea, Iran, perhaps Venezuela in the Western Hemisphere, and despite the very remote possibility of an accidental missile strike by any of the ‘nuclear club’ countries, all empirical evidence points to the US as the superpower seeking conflict and destabilization as leverage for geopolitical and economic influence. Considering that only a core country or countries could hasten international financial chaos and among core nations the US is the most likely candidate partly because it is more immersed in ‘financialization’ and ‘military Kyenesianism’ than any country on earth, it appears that it defies logic such a course would be a deliberate option because the assumption is market instability favors capital accumulation. As Jan Kregel, Augusto Graziani and Guido M. Rey argued in “Instability, Volatility and the Process of Capital Accumulation”, the neoliberal regime has done away with Keynesian assumptions about stability, opting for the “failure of the perfectly competitive market to allocate information efficiently.” (https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-26981-5_8)
     
    Because the state will bail out financial institutions, but also because of the corporate welfare system transferring income from the middle and lower classes to corporations, neoliberal capitalism has a free hand to pursue what many describe as casino capitalism manifesting itself in “irrational exuberance” that defies Keynesian logic or any assumptions about the rationalizing capitalist democracy. This raises the question of whether governments are prepared for the eventuality of the next recessionary cycle whatever its causes, or whether government policies driven by corporate lobbyists are oblivious to the welfare of society. Market economy apologists argue that it is mostly the job of central banks to adjust interest rates and the money supply as a means of maintaining financial equilibrium, while governments need to keep privatizing, deregulating, and cutting social welfare programs that are a burden on the budget as the only means to secure a strong stock market equated with a strong economy an society.
     
    A fundamental cause of the Great Recession of 2008, ‘financialization’ is back in full force more than before the market crashed and sent the world economy into the worst contracting cycle since the 1930s. Whether in pharmaceuticals, minerals, or commodities, price fluctuations are directly linked to financialization rather than supply and demand. More than any other factor, market speculation plays a determining role in price volatility and carries the burden of market instability to the degree that it can have a ripples effect across the economy and hasten a recessionary cycle. Under neoliberal policies, the trend is even more deregulation to allow financialization greater freedom to determine the course of the world economy.
    (Catherine Karyotis and Sharam Alijani, Soft commodities and the global financial crisis: Implications for the economy, resources and institutions”
     
    Along with the laws of supply and demand, government regulatory measures, the saturated market and surplus value appropriated from labor value by capitalists, the financialization of the economy rooted in stock market speculation plays a key role in precipitating recessionary cycles. It is rather ironic that the very apologists of capitalism crying out for removing all obstacles to growth including curbing labor rights and environmental regulation readily rationalize the low-growth cycle following a recession as “secular stagnation”. Even more interesting, neoliberal apologists in either the pluralist-diversity camp of the center, or the more conservative populist rightwing have no problem accepting ‘secular stagnation’ as ‘normal’ precisely because capitalist accumulation emanating from speculative investment and continued low taxes regime, corporate welfare, and low-interest-rate policies is the only thing that matters rather than real economic growth. In short, even the cyclical recoveries, at least in the Western core countries, are not sufficiently robust to account for a reversal of the previous recession’s impact on the middle and working class and the productivity foundation of the economy continues to weaken owing to financialization. https://newleftreview.org/II/87/wolfgang-streeck-how-will-capitalism-end
     
    The rate of productivity in the developed economies dropped from 3.2% during the Johnson-Nixon presidencies to 0.8% during the Bush-Obama neoliberal era, while in the corresponding period productivity doubled in developing economies. While growth rates are expected to remain in the 2% ranged for the advanced capitalist countries, China and India are also expected to lead the world economy in the next decades. Low rates of productivity in Western countries will entail low living standards and continued downward social mobility. From 1972 until 2013, the bottom 90% experienced a negative 0.03% in their real income, while the top 10% gained almost 1.5%. This income disparity will intensify in the next decade after the Republican government passed a massive tax cut that will increase the public debt. The burden will fall inordinately on the bottom 90% who will pay higher direct and indirect taxes, suffer cuts in social programs, health and education and endure higher living standard costs amid stagnant wages. The rising rich-poor gap will translate into a rising political disillusionment with the system that fails to create opportunities. https://www.blackstone.com/media/press-releases/article/population-and-productivity; https://qz.com/633080/the-rise-and-fall-of-american-productivity-growth/
     
    The inevitability of cyclical recessions resulting in continued downward social mobility has already resulted in a politically polarizing society. A minority of the population has accepted the leadership of rightwing populist elements in the US and across much of the world as saviors. Most of those in the progressive camp have been co-opted by the neoliberal pluralist-diversity political wing only to discover that their policies effecting living standards are not very different from those in the rightwing also representing the same neoliberal system.
     
    Contrary to mass distraction in the US about foreign enemies, including North Korea, Iran, and Russia, and contrary to European rightwing populist views that the non-white immigrant is the enemy of progress – still the ‘white man’s burden’ – the recessionary cycles of this century will precipitate internal crises that have nothing to do with foreign enemies and immigrants but with the decadence of the social order especially under neoliberal globalism. Although recessionary cycles do not necessarily lead to social discontinuity, the cumulative effect of such cycles under neoliberal policies that continue to result in socioeconomic polarization are leading society in core and periphery countries toward the path of systemic change, largely because the ‘new normal’ entails greater economic polarization. While systemic change is not imminent as recessionary cycles that will take place this century, the neoliberal phase of capitalism is hastening social discontinuity.”

     

    Jaime Ortega-Simo.

    (The Daily Journalist president and founder)

    “I think there is two issues at hand. The private regulation management that can offset risk, and the federal sensitivity to the market through Keynesian style regulations. The equity market is connected to investment capital full of risky credit bonds that might mature with lower return rates as inflation rises through monetary policy. The market operates on risk and returns but I see many end losers. I think borrowers and savers don’t actually own most securities in the form of self structured equity and new private platforms have allowed for these risky trades to occur. Instead through credit and loans issued by private equity and investment banks, lenders who hold assets pend on returned premiums based on the performance of borrowed capital. The average American cannot pay back their loans because their performance is solely dependent on the credit he hopes to pay back one day as tries to free himself from debt.

    The more debt the average American holds the harder it will be to have functional market. In other words, the average American not only has one credit card but at least four as his debt exponentially grows. And when he cannot make a payment he borrows credit from a different bank which primary goal is to extend higher interest rates — adjusted or fixed to gain profit. As consumers the average borrower buys assets not based on its self-equity — that is physical saved money free of debt– but on credit lines exposing risk to other borrowers which bet on the performance of the average American. Its a never ending cycle of debt and the exposed volume must be huge.  Now the investment banks through SPV’s create cheap instruments to bet or package these highly volatile risks and sell them to other investors who gamble risk on other highly volatile portfolios to gain higher profit margins in the hopes market performance will yield great returns at a low cost. I learned many institutions that conduct proprietary trading operations don’t report highly risky instruments and write them off their balance sheets in order to cook the books, so its hard to imagine the FDIC has any real control on what exactly is being traded at what risk! In fact, most people in Wall Street don’t even bother understanding these risky investment vehicles because by the time they learn about them 20 more have come out.

    The other problem I observe is that in order to enhance liquidity the Federal Reserve issues inter-banking low base interest rates to help commercial banks lend to other institutions that package commercial paper and issue it to other companies who also have to borrow from banks in order to purchase corporate loans and keep their operation risk intact. I think that at this point deficit spending is so high, that liabilities exceed assets to unprecedented unknown levels. So the average American is borrowing at super high rates, and the average business and corporation is also borrowing at high rates from each-other having low equity. By infusing more currency into the market since 2008 all that the Fed has done is make inflationary rates in the future highly volatile also risking US bond value. And since the other rising economies have decided to back their currency with real intrinsic value (money) their position will highly destabilize the precarious western economy not only limiting purchasing power but irking risk itself to abnormal levels not seen before.

    This is technically no different than Russia and China building their military industrial power to offset US and NATO influence worldwide, and it has worked very well in the Middle East, Nepal and Ukraine. The US economy can only perform as it wishes as long as it maintains hegemony worldwide, but if a war breaks out and the US is not able to curtail its sovereignty, panicked investors who hold securities will pull out from the US market. Countries like China, India, Iran and Russia cannot possibly be stupid enough to buy thousands of metric tons of commodities for the past decade just to showcase their strength, these are strategical moves and they bet on the decline of the US dollar and the Euro.”             

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    New, More Powerful Depth Sensors Sensitive Enough for Self-Driving Cars

    January 2nd, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

    For the past 10 years, the Camera Culture group at MIT’s Media Lab has been developing innovative imaging systems — from a camera that can see around corners to one that can read text in closed books — by using “time of flight,” an approach that gauges distance by measuring the time it takes light projected into a scene to bounce back to a sensor.

    In a new paper appearing in IEEE Access, members of the Camera Culture group present a new approach to time-of-flight imaging that increases its depth resolution 1,000-fold. That’s the type of resolution that could make self-driving cars practical.

    The new approach could also enable accurate distance measurements through fog, which has proven to be a major obstacle to the development of self-driving cars.

    At a range of 2 meters, existing time-of-flight systems have a depth resolution of about a centimeter. That’s good enough for the assisted-parking and collision-detection systems on today’s cars.

    Comparing of the cascaded GHz approach with Kinect-style approaches visually represented on a key. From left to right, the original image, a Kinect-style approach, a GHz approach, and a stronger GHz approach.
    Comparing of the cascaded GHz approach with Kinect-style approaches visually represented on a key. From left to right, the original image, a Kinect-style approach, a GHz approach, and a stronger GHz approach.
    Courtesy of the researchers

    But as Achuta Kadambi, a joint PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science and media arts and sciences and first author on the paper, explains, “As you increase the range, your resolution goes down exponentially. Let’s say you have a long-range scenario, and you want your car to detect an object further away so it can make a fast update decision. You may have started at 1 centimeter, but now you’re back down to [a resolution of] a foot or even 5 feet. And if you make a mistake, it could lead to loss of life.”

    At distances of 2 meters, the MIT researchers’ system, by contrast, has a depth resolution of 3 micrometers. Kadambi also conducted tests in which he sent a light signal through 500 meters of optical fiber with regularly spaced filters along its length, to simulate the power falloff incurred over longer distances, before feeding it to his system. Those tests suggest that at a range of 500 meters, the MIT system should still achieve a depth resolution of only a centimeter.

    Kadambi is joined on the paper by his thesis advisor, Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor of media arts and sciences and head of the Camera Culture group.

    Slow uptake

    With time-of-flight imaging, a short burst of light is fired into a scene, and a camera measures the time it takes to return, which indicates the distance of the object that reflected it. The longer the light burst, the more ambiguous the measurement of how far it’s traveled. So light-burst length is one of the factors that determines system resolution.

    The other factor, however, is detection rate. Modulators, which turn a light beam off and on, can switch a billion times a second, but today’s detectors can make only about 100 million measurements a second. Detection rate is what limits existing time-of-flight systems to centimeter-scale resolution.

    There is, however, another imaging technique that enables higher resolution, Kadambi says. That technique is interferometry, in which a light beam is split in two, and half of it is kept circulating locally while the other half — the “sample beam” — is fired into a visual scene. The reflected sample beam is recombined with the locally circulated light, and the difference in phase between the two beams — the relative alignment of the troughs and crests of their electromagnetic waves — yields a very precise measure of the distance the sample beam has traveled.

    But interferometry requires careful synchronization of the two light beams. “You could never put interferometry on a car because it’s so sensitive to vibrations,” Kadambi says. “We’re using some ideas from interferometry and some of the ideas from LIDAR, and we’re really combining the two here.”

    On the beat

    They’re also, he explains, using some ideas from acoustics. Anyone who’s performed in a musical ensemble is familiar with the phenomenon of “beating.” If two singers, say, are slightly out of tune — one producing a pitch at 440 hertz and the other at 437 hertz — the interplay of their voices will produce another tone, whose frequency is the difference between those of the notes they’re singing — in this case, 3 hertz.

    The same is true with light pulses. If a time-of-flight imaging system is firing light into a scene at the rate of a billion pulses a second, and the returning light is combined with light pulsing 999,999,999 times a second, the result will be a light signal pulsing once a second — a rate easily detectable with a commodity video camera. And that slow “beat” will contain all the phase information necessary to gauge distance.

    But rather than try to synchronize two high-frequency light signals — as interferometry systems must — Kadambi and Raskar simply modulate the returning signal, using the same technology that produced it in the first place. That is, they pulse the already pulsed light. The result is the same, but the approach is much more practical for automotive systems.

    “The fusion of the optical coherence and electronic coherence is very unique,” Raskar says. “We’re modulating the light at a few gigahertz, so it’s like turning a flashlight on and off millions of times per second. But we’re changing that electronically, not optically. The combination of the two is really where you get the power for this system.”

    Through the fog

    Gigahertz optical systems are naturally better at compensating for fog than lower-frequency systems. Fog is problematic for time-of-flight systems because it scatters light: It deflects the returning light signals so that they arrive late and at odd angles. Trying to isolate a true signal in all that noise is too computationally challenging to do on the fly.

    With low-frequency systems, scattering causes a slight shift in phase, one that simply muddies the signal that reaches the detector. But with high-frequency systems, the phase shift is much larger relative to the frequency of the signal. Scattered light signals arriving over different paths will actually cancel each other out: The troughs of one wave will align with the crests of another. Theoretical analyses performed at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University suggest that this cancellation will be widespread enough to make identifying a true signal much easier.

    “I am excited about medical applications of this technique,” says Rajiv Gupta, director of the Advanced X-ray Imaging Sciences Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. “I was so impressed by the potential of this work to transform medical imaging that we took the rare step of recruiting a graduate student directly to the faculty in our department to continue this work.”

    “I think it is a significant milestone in development of time-of-flight techniques because it removes the most stringent requirement in mass deployment of cameras and devices that use time-of-flight principles for light, namely, [the need for] a very fast camera,” he adds. “The beauty of Achuta and Ramesh’s work is that by creating beats between lights of two different frequencies, they are able to use ordinary cameras to record time of flight.”

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    Cause of Spontaneous Tumors Related to Red Meat Found

    January 2nd, 2018

    The Daily Journalist.

     

    A sugar called Neu5Gc, present in red meat, some fish and dairy products, is related to the appearance of spontaneous tumors in humans.

    Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, led by Spaniard David Álvarez Ponce, have analyzed the evolutionary history of the CMAH gene – which allows the synthesis of this sugar – and shown which groups of animals have lost the gene and therefore are more suitable for human consumption and for organ transplants.
    About two million years ago, humans experienced a genetic change that differentiated us from most primates. This change protected us from some diseases, but caused current consumer products, such as red meat, to pose a high risk to health.

    <p>Si los humanos consumen productos derivados de animales que tienen el gen, el cuerpo sufre una reacción inmune al azúcar, que es una sustancia extraña en el cuerpo. Esto puede producir inflamación, artritis e incluso cáncer / <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/egoitzmoreno/14021670560/in/photolist-nn3J9G-7GSwWu-3f5e2c-a4YhkZ-rjTQs-5RMkXm-4UoNjr-teUXt-GaTEZN-7AwyhX-5rGTWw-6vL23u-GYav9-a3Gw1Z-2ogi84-CECTv-6GVDbv-4ZEYtF-BVy5nB-8FF8fT-8y7NWe-KbRF6-6JbTDD-oP7dEc-4bWwjN-nSBCMU-4DCPPJ-3bgdjb-37Fky-8ho3HH-GudGWh-ceRnyW-5vrg3f-bqo95n-FZYTvq-MMwqXu-X19dF7-AKL99U-6Ecv8v-9YTz5D-bV5Mmn-e4HinH-a8xDKH-6ggv8h-VnLmsM-d1Rks-5cfsTa-6fJsHb-49Rmje-nwnAzy" title="Ir a la galería de Egoitz Moreno" target="_blank">Egoitz Moreno</a></p>
    Credit: Egoitz Moreno

    At that time in evolution, a gene called CMAH – which allows the synthesis of a sugar called Neu5Gc – was deactivated. This carbohydrate is found in red meat, some fish and dairy products. If humans consume products derived from animals that have the gene, the body suffers an immune reaction to sugar, which is a foreign substance in the body. This can cause inflammation, arthritis and even cancer.

    Scientists from the University of Nevada, Reno (USA), led by Spaniard David Álvarez-Ponce, have carried out an analysis of 322 animal genomes to determine whether or not they have active CMAH genes. Next, they placed the results in the evolutionary tree of the animals, to determine at what moments of their evolution said gene was deactivated. This allowed them to understand why certain species have an active HCMA gene, while other similar ones do not.

    “In a first analysis we scanned all the available genomes. We only found the gene in a few bacteria, in a pair of algae, and in the deuterostomes, a group of animals that includes vertebrates and echinoderms, among others. The non-deuterostomes animals did not present the gene. Next, we focused on the 322 deuterostomy genomes that were available,” the Spanish researcher explains to Sinc.

    The laboratory of Álvarez-Ponce specializes in the study of the evolution of genes and genomes, through the use of bioinformatics. That is, it is not composed of test tubes, microscopes or other instruments, but of computers that are used to understand evolution through the analysis of massive amounts of data.

    The toxic sugar present in fish

    So far, very few fish species had been studied to know whether or not they had amounts of toxic sugar. “Our analyzes show that there are fish that have the CMAH gene and others that do not, but for the moment the Neu5Gc sugar has been measured in very few of them. In fish that do have this gene, sugar is found in very small proportions in their meat, but in high quantities in caviar. This may be because the gene is expressed specifically in eggs or oviducts,” says the scientist.

    Sateesh Peri, a master’s course student at the Alvarez-Ponce laboratory, adds: “It turns out that caviar, one of the most expensive meals in the world, is also one of the products with the highest concentrations of Neu5Gc.” However, the research also reveals a multitude of fish that do not have the CMAH gene, and whose caviar is expected to be free of Neu5Gc.

    hicken, turkey and duck, free of CMAH

    Like humans, birds also do not have CMAH genes; so consuming chicken, turkey or duck does not have the negative effects of consuming red meat. Another group of animals that does not have CMAH genes are reptiles, except for one species of lizard. “The presence of the gene in this lizard was unexpected, and invalidates the belief (until now accepted) that the gene had been lost in an ancestor of all reptiles and birds,” the scientists say.

    In addition to the above-mentioned food risks, the CMAH gene also plays a key role in the transplantation of organs from animals to humans, a practice known as xenotransplantation: it is one of the factors that determine whether these organs are going to be rejected or not by the human body. When the organ of an animal that has the CMAH gene is transplanted to a person, the human body can react to the Neu5Gc sugar and reject the organ.

    “It is possible that the deactivation of the CMAH gene during human evolution has protected humans from certain pathogens. For example, there is a type of malaria that needs Neu5Gc sugar to cause infection. This type of malaria affects some primates, but not humans,” declares Álvarez-Ponce.

    Products to be consumed moderately

    The presence or absence of the CMAH gene in different animals, which this study has characterized, points out which animals we should not eat (or eat only moderately), and which animals may present pathogenic microbes that affect humans, according to the scientists. If the animal has the gene, then its meat can have the same negative effects as red meat. If the animal does not present the gene, it may contain pathogenic microbes that bind to the Neu5Ac sugar (the precursor of Neu5Gc) and, therefore, may affect humans.

    The researchers hope that this study will have a significant impact on later work in the fields of nutrition, genetics and medicine. “To determine in which groups and at what moments of the evolution the CMAH gene has been deactivated is critical to know which species are most likely to contain the toxic Neu5Gcy sugar, which are recommended for feeding, xenotransplantation, and certain scientific studies”, they add.

    The work of the Alvarez-Ponce team will help understand why certain diseases occur, and find ways to prevent them from spreading.

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