Experts concerned about global rise of facial recognition technology

first_imgTORONTO – Based on recent announcements by the likes of Facebook, Live Nation and a U.K. police force, Canadians may need to get used to the idea of facial recognition technology permeating their everyday lives.Many smartphone users are already used to having their devices unlocked with facial recognition and no longer think twice about it.Then Facebook announced in April that it would be enabling a facial recognition feature in Canada and Europe that was already active elsewhere in the world. The feature automatically tags Facebook users in uploaded photos and is being framed as a tool against false impersonation on the social network.And concertgoers did a double take earlier this month when Live Nation hinted that facial recognition technology might allow attendees to pre-register a photo and then waltz into a venue without presenting a ticket.It sounded like a sci-fi future to many — and more than a little creepy to some — but a Canadian company already pulled off a similar feat at a recent high-profile event.Winnipeg-based Mexia One partnered with the Mobile World Congress trade show in Spain in February to allow the 107,000 attendees to opt-into an entry line powered by facial recognition technology. Some 4,225 attendees agreed to getting their faces scanned by the company in exchange for easy access.Beyond the technological challenges to contend with, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in convincing users that their biometric data will not be misused, said Mexia One founder and CEO Glenn Tinley.“But we firmly believe facial recognition to be the state of where things move going forward,” Tinley said, adding that some airports are beginning to test similar concepts.Recent news involving the South Wales Police offered a cautionary tale about the current state of the technology and how it could be used to fight crime.The police force said it began using facial recognition technology with public security cameras last year in connection with the UEFA Champions League finals and called the subsequent months of testing “a resounding success.”But police statistics revealed that during the soccer event the facial recognition technology accurately identified only 173 people of the 2,470 that were flagged, a 93 per cent false positive rate.“You’re talking about over 2,000 people falsely accused of something, who would be inconvenienced, and it’s unclear if those false accusations disappear,” said David Murakami Wood, a Canada Research Chair in surveillance studies and associate professor at Queen’s University.“What it shows is that side of the technology in those types of contexts is still not a mature technology you can actually rely on. And you can’t just dismiss that as the police have.”The facial recognition software has since been used by South Wales Police at other sporting events and concerts and “with each deployment of the technology we have gained confidence,” the police force said in a statement posted on its website.“Since we introduced the facial recognition technology no individual has been arrested where a false positive alert has led to an intervention and no members of the public have complained.”While Wood said the situation in South Wales still pales in comparison to the kind of public surveillance that takes place in China, cautiousness about that kind of technology making its way to Canada is warranted.“China is a warning, it’s not something we should be complacent about to say, ‘Well, they’re so different from us.’ No. Thank God we’re not an authoritarian (state) like China … and Canada is very much behind the times in these areas, that’s a good thing too. We don’t have comprehensive video surveillance in most cities in Canada — long may it continue.”Some privacy experts have expressed concerns about the undisclosed plans for a proposed high-tech community in Toronto being prepared by Sidewalk Labs, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.Sidewalk Labs has revealed very little of its vision for Toronto but has publicly mused about tying video cameras to traffic lights, which could extend green lights as needed to allow elderly citizens to safely cross the street.Andrew Clement, a professor emeritus with the University of Toronto and member of an arms-length panel of advisers on the project, said the state of public surveillance in China should inform discussions about the Sidewalk Labs plan.“We should be thinking about what China is showing it’s technically capable of. I don’t want to exaggerate and conflate the Chinese government with these corporations but I think we do need to be very mindful of them and we need now, at this stage, to be building robust protections that will prevent slippages in the future,” Clement said.“We can see how quickly, surprisingly, disturbingly political winds can shift in the West.”last_img read more

Fort St John RCMP say woman reported missing earlier this week has

first_imgjust want to quell rumours: Charlene Langevin is still missing! Yesterday we advised that a 30 year old missing woman had been located. That was no Charlene. https://t.co/wDtzdnv5N7— Fort St John RCMP (@FortStJohnRCMP) June 29, 2018Langevin is described as: standing 5’7″ tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and pierced ears. She has a tattoo of a turtle on her right calf, and a tattoo of a rose with a name on her shoulder. She was last seen wearing a black Harley Davidson hoodie, blue jeans, black half ankle boots and a purse, and is said to always wear a chain necklace with a Harley Davidson logo.If you have any information about Charlane “Charity” Langevin, or where she might be, please contact the Fort St John RCMP at (250)787-8100. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John RCMP say that a woman reported missing earlier this week has, contrary to popular belief, not been located.49-year-old Charlane “Charity” Langevin was last seen on Saturday, June 23rd at approximately 11:00 p.m. when she left a friend’s home in the Edgewood Trailer Park in Baldonnel. Langevin is said to have come to the Fort St. John area from Saskatchewan for a couple of weeks.Police say that she met two men on Saturday evening and has not been seen since. Langevin has not had contact with any family since she was last seen in Baldonnel, and according to the RCMP, it is very unusual for Charlane not to answer her phone, which has been determined to have been off for over 24 hours. On Thursday, the Fort St. John RCMP said in a release that a missing 30-year-old woman whose name was not provided had been located. That woman is not Langevin, and the RCMP confirmed this morning that she has not yet been located.last_img read more

Mindtree board to discuss proposed buyback offer

first_imgBengaluru: Leading IT services firm Mindtree’s board of directors will meet on Wednesday to discuss the company’s proposed buyback, in the backdrop of diversified conglomerate Larsen and Toubro Ltd’s (L&T) bid to take over. “The proposed buyback will be discussed by the board on Wednesday. Our plan for buyback will be based on the evaluation. The method and price for the buyback will be decided…,” the city-based company’s Chief Executive Rostow Ravanan told the media on Tuesday. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The L&T on Monday bought 20.4 per cent stake from Cafe Coffee Day founder V.G. Siddhartha for about Rs 3,300-crore, in a bid to take over the IT services firm. The company had said it would also buy additional stake in Mindtree through an open offer. “The independent directors will look into whether to support the open offer or not, because as per law they have to make a recommendation to shareholders whether to participate or not,” Ravanan said. The independent directors would set up a committee to evaluate the open offer, Mindtree said. Alleging a “hostile” takeover attempt by L&T, the Bengaluru-based company has maintained that it continues to have the support of its investors and stakeholders in opposing the takeover. “All our large shareholders have given us their support through this journey,” Ravanan added.last_img read more

British girl sends 3 to Notre Dame appeal

first_imgLondon: A nine-year-old British girl sent $3 to the Fondation du Patrimoine, one of the four organisations tasked by the French government with collecting donations for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame after fire ravaged the Paris cathedral earlier this month. “Dear people of France and Paris. My name is Caitlyn, and I am 9 years old, I live in England,” Caitlyn Handley wrote in a letter to the foundation seen by CNN. “I heard about the Notre Dame fire on the radio and wanted to help, I know it’s not much, but every bit helps. Hopefully it won’t take too long to build. Thanks, Caitlyn.” Also Read – Enemies seek to sow discord’ between Iran & Iraq, says Khamenei Simon Handley, Caitlyn’s father, told CNN that his daughter was “very upset” by the crisis after discovering how old the cathedral was. He described his daughter as a “very bright girl” who cares deeply about “helping people and animals”. Laurence Levy, a spokeswoman for the Fondation du Patrimoine, told CNN that the organisation is receiving thousands of cheques a day. “Our whole team has been mobilised and many volunteers have come to help us, because we are not accustomed to receiving such an influx of donations in such a short space of time in our normal work.” Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report Caitlyn was not alone in sending her money by post: Another Briton sent an envelope containing six 50 pounds notes ($387) to the foundation. These two British donations are among thousands from abroad. The Fondation du Patrimoine said that it had received 17,300 donations totalling $1.7 million from more than 160 foreign countries. Levy told CNN that the organisation has collected a total of $183 million since the launch of its campaign.last_img read more

Laker Coach Mike Brown Gets Jim Buss Endorsement

Jim Buss, Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president, hardly content with his team’s 1-4 start, but he has “no problem” with coach Mike Brown, Buss said.“You don’t start 0-3 for the first time since we’ve owned the franchise without being on top of it,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “No matter what, you have to be aware. That doesn’t mean change is coming. That just means you have to be aware.”Much of the blame from observers has been toward Brown and the offense he has installed that is failing miserably despite the addition of all-star center Dwight Howard and now-injured point guard Steve Nash to go with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant..“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.“So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”Buss said he has been gauging player reaction to the Lakers’ new Princeton offense, Brown and how they’re dealing with the slow start by reading their public comments and talking to them directly. On Tuesday afternoon, he went down from his office to the court during practice to take their temperature, and he said he found things to be rather calm.“Kobe and I have a relationship where he can just look at me and say, ‘Everything’s cool,’ ” Buss said. “So yesterday during practice, I gave Kobe a quick glance, and everything was cool.”Bryant has continued to preach patience as the Lakers have struggled. Last week he said, “Everybody shut up. Let us work,” when asked about fan reaction to the Lakers’ slow adjustment to the system. But in Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz, even Bryant’s frustration seemed to elevate and he was caught on camera starting down Brown during a timeout in the waning moments of the fourth.When asked about his frustration level after the game, Bryant deadpanned it was, “Just a little bit.” read more

Ohio State offense shines under JT Barrett delivers 497 clobbering of Rutgers

Correction: An earlier version of the story said last year’s game between Ohio State and Michigan was on Nov. 27, when it in fact was on Nov. 29. PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Led by redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett making his first start at quarterback in 10 games, No. 1 Ohio State thoroughly dominated Rutgers on both sides of the ball to walk away with a 49-7 victory.Barrett, who last started against Michigan on Nov. 29 of last season before going down with an ankle injury and lost the starting job to redshirt junior Cardale Jones for the first seven games of the 2015 season, picked up 324 yards: 223 in the air and 101 on the ground.“J.T. doesn’t surprise me,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “I think he’s back … I think he’s in full swing again.”The OSU defense held Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) to 293 yards, while the offense gained 530 yards of its own, led by Barrett’s 14-of-18 effort through the air.“It’s getting close to the end of the season, and it’s really time for the best teams in the country to start showing it,” junior defensive end Joey Bosa said. “We’ve got to get going, and I think this was a good start.”While not reflective of things to come, OSU (8-0, 4-0) looked vulnerable on the game’s opening drive, giving up plays of 18 and 25 yards to senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo and redshirt senior running back Paul James, respectively. The Buckeyes came away unscathed from Rutgers’ red-zone trip, however, when a 29-yard field-goal try bounced off the right upright.The Buckeyes then embarked on a long, but fruitless, drive of their own. Barrett ran the ball four times for 55 yards, but on his final one he collided with OSU redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas. The ball came out of Barrett’s hands after the friendly fire and was picked up by the Scarlet Knights.Thomas said after the game that he will not know what specifically went wrong on the play until he views film later in the week.OSU used a combination of aerial and ground attacks on its second drive to achieve a better result. Barrett completed two of three passes for 32 yards, while Elliott received four carries, the last of which was a two-yard touchdown run up the middle with 10 seconds left in the opening quarter to put the Buckeyes up 7-0.Later in the second quarter, Thomas was atoned for his inadvertent tackle by hauling in a pass from Barrett in the open field and cutting past a defender to take it to the house untouched. The 50-yard connection was good for Thomas’ sixth score of the year and gave OSU a 14-0 lead.“I had to make a play for my team, spark the offense, get them going, show Coach Meyer that we could exploit the secondary,” Thomas said.Redshirt senior Braxton Miller took over the heavy lifting on OSU’s following drive to bring its lead to 21-0 late in the first half. Barrett aired out a slightly underthrown ball for the H-back 45 yards downfield. Miller juggled the ball but pulled it in while on the ground. He then followed that up with a 16-yard run out of the wildcat formation, before Barrett put the finishing touches on the scoring drive with a two-yard sneak up the middle.“Braxton is a very unique athlete, an elite athlete, so nothing he can do surprises me,” OSU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. “I’ve seen him do things that make me say ‘wow’ every time, but he’s getting better and better at catching the ball and tracking it with his eyes and hands, so it’s good for him and it’s good for us.”At the intermission, OSU led Rutgers in total yards 248-145, with 64 of the Scarlet Knights’ output coming on their opening drive.Barrett was 5-of-7 for 136 yards in his first half as a starter in 2015 and also gained 85 yards on the ground. Rutgers redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano was 9-of-15 at the half for 99 yards, with 55 of them coming on three connections to Carroo.Despite only picking up 15 yards on the ground in the first half, Elliott came out strong in the second. On the Buckeyes’ opening drive, he had three carries for 46 yards, setting up Barrett to find sophomore H-back Curtis Samuel open in the end zone from 30 yards out to extend the score to 28-0.Barrett added a 10-yard rushing score on the next drive, a 10-play, 72-yard trek. “He played awesome,” Elliott said about Barrett. “We had great momentum today, everybody made plays when their number was called. We can’t ask for more from this.”Just eight plays after redshirt sophomore cornerback Gareon Conley intercepted Laviano on Rutgers’ first play of its drive, Barrett shoveled it to redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, who looked to throw — albeit illegally — but then trotted into the end zone to make it 42-0. The scores were Barrett’s fourth and fifth of the night — three passing and two rushing.In the final offensive possession for the starters, Elliott took a draw play up the middle for 55 yards and a score. The drive was set up at midfield from a blocked punt by Conley.Jones entered the game with the win safely at hand in next drive and engineered a lengthy 15-play drive, though it ended with a turnover on downs.Rutgers spoiled the shutout with 13 seconds to go, as a 58-yard reception set up a four-yard touchdown pass.“We were pretty upset,” Bosa said. “Of course as a defense we try to go and shut teams out, and we were that close to it. But overall we played really well, so we can’t really be upset.”Laviano only completed one pass in the second half in five attempts, while Barrett was 9-of-11 for 87 yards in the latter stanza. Thomas finished as the Buckeyes’ leading receiver after piling up 103 yards in five catches.Elliott finished with 142 yards on 19 carries, extending his streak of consecutive games with over 100 yards on the ground to 13 games.“I think we’ve improved every week. I think we’re playing at a very high level right now,” Meyer said. “There’s a good mindset in there.”The Buckeyes have beaten Rutgers by a combined 105-17 in the programs’ two all-time meetings after topping the Scarlet Knights 56-17 a season ago.The Buckeyes are next set to resume action — following a bye week — against Minnesota on Nov. 7. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. OSU players do “quick calls” before a game against Rutgers on Oct. 24 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway Township, NJ . OSU won 49-7. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor read more

Undefeated still Ohio State mens tennis secures 10year home win streak

The longest home win streak in all of NCAA sports turned 10 years old Friday. The Ohio State men’s tennis team defeated Wisconsin, 7-0, and extended its home win streak to 10 years, exactly a decade after its last loss. The 164-match win streak is the longest active win streak in all NCAA Division 1 athletics, with the most recent loss in Columbus dating back to April 5, 2003 against Illinois. “To do something you can hold onto for the rest of my life…it’s something that might never be broken at Ohio State, a place rich in athletics and tradition,” coach Ty Tucker said. The No. 5 Buckeyes (22-2, 6-0) continued to prove their dominance in the Big Ten over the past decade, where the team has captured seven-consecutive regular season crowns (2006-12) and tacked on six more Big Ten tournament titles (2006-11). The Badgers (10-8, 1-5) never amassed a point on Friday night against the record-breaking Buckeyes. OSU athletic director Gene Smith was in attendance for the feat and heaped praise on Tucker, who has coached the team since 1999. “Ty (Tucker) is an outstanding recruiter, he’s a good teacher, he recruits great kids…one day he’ll win a national championship – I believe that. It’s just a matter of the bounce of the ball here and there…to say that in Ohio, you could possibly win the national championship in tennis is significant,” Smith said. “I love these kids, they’re great kids, and Ty is one of our best coaches. Having the opportunity to come and support him in this moment…it’s a special thing, it really is.” The Scarlet and Grey dominated in the doubles game against Wisconsin, sealing victories on all three courts. The OSU tandems of junior Blaz Rola and redshirt sophomore Kevin Metka, redshirt senior Devin McCarthy and junior Ille Van Engelen, and redshirt junior Peter Kobelt and senior Connor Smith defeated their Wisconsin opponents 8-3, 8-1 and 8-6, respectively. It was the 24th time during the 2013 campaign that OSU had won the doubles point. In the singles game, the Buckeyes continued its dominance, as OSU shutout the Badgers. The three singles wins needed to clinch the team victory came from freshman Constantin Christ (6-1, 6-0), Rola (6-2, 6-3), and redshirt sophomore Hunter Callahan (6-4, 6-2). Callahan’s win was the third time he has clinched a victory for OSU this season. The remaining three singles matches ended in similar fashion for OSU, with Kobelt winning 6-3, 6-4, Van Engelen winning 6-4, 6-2, and McCarthy winning 6-3, 6-4. Following the match, several upperclassmen players reflected on contributing to such a historic program milestone. “10 years is a great accomplishment. As players, I feel like we can all take a deep breath of relief and continue on with the rest of our season. It was one of our goals to get to this streak, but we have other goals that we would say are more important – winning the Big Ten and maybe making a run in the NCAA (tournament),” Kobelt said. Some players, like Rola, said how grateful they were to continue the legacy that many famous OSU tennis players have left behind. “I’m probably just a little, little part of this elite group…it’s just really a team effort through all those (10) years…everyone who comes (to OSU) should be honored and proud to play here,” Rola said. Tucker said a key to building – and sustaining such success – was in part thanks to attracting all types of talent to play at OSU. “To look back on everything-we had a nice mix. We had the best players from Ohio, guys that became All-Americans, guys that overachieved,” he said. “We splashed some good international talent in with them, and they seemed to like each other and have a good time.” Immediately following Friday’s win against the Badgers, Tucker joined his team on the courts of the Varsity Tennis Center and enjoyed a lighthearted celebration before narrowly escaping an attempted Gatorade bath from a group of his players. But it was not long before Tucker allowed himself to return to business as usual. “There’s still a lot of work left to do in the season, and we’ve got to get refocused…but the guys should enjoy (the win) right now.” The Buckeyes are scheduled to continue Big Ten play against Minnesota Sunday at noon at the Varsity Tennis Center. read more

Maurizio Sarri Jorginho arrive in London ahead of Chelsea move

first_imgBoth Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho have now reportedly arrived at London ahead of confirmation of their moves to Chelsea from NapoliWhether both their moves are finalised today remains unclear, but it appears that things are finally beginning to happen at Chelsea following months of uncertainty.Sarri has been linked with the managerial post at Stamford Bridge since the end of last season and had been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli ahead of his expected move.However, despite no longer working for the Italian club, Sarri was still under contract with a €8m release clause, which Chelsea were unwilling to pay for due to the fact that Antonio Conte would also have to receive a big pay-out after being released from his contract.But it appears that the Blues have reached an agreement with Napoli and they announced today that they have relieved Conte of his duties as head coach.After being reported to have boarded a private jet earlier, Sarri has now arrived at London as reported by the Evening Standard journalist Simon Johnson.Am told #Sarri took a flight to London this morning and has arrived in the capital #cfc— Simon Johnson (@sjstandardsport) July 13, 2018Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.Meanwhile, Jorginho is surprisingly set to join Chelsea after being linked with a move to Manchester City for months now.Despite the player’s and the agent’s best attempts, nothing came of the move with City boss Pep Guardiola having decided against it amid fears over the 26-year-old’s commitment.Having learned this, Chelsea went ahead to pursue their own interest in Jorginho and it appears they got their man with Sky Sports having reported that the Italy international has also arrived at London ahead of a £57m move.BREAKING: Jorginho has arrived in London ahead of a potential £57m move to Chelsea – Sky sources. #SSN pic.twitter.com/cFsnNLMUZa— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 13, 2018last_img read more

Sterling apologises for bizarre spotkick stumble

first_imgManchester City winger Raheem Sterling regrets how he won a penalty for the club in Wednesday’s 6-0 thrashing over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions LeagueThe 23-year-old comically fell to the ground while attempting to take a shot at goal with Shakhtar defender Mykola Matviyenko not so much as laying a finger on him.Yet referee Viktor Kassai awarded City a spot-kick, which hat-trick hero Gabriel Jesus slotted home.“I went to chip the ball and I don’t know what happened next,” Sterling told BT, via Sky Sports.“I ended up on the floor and turned around. I don’t think I felt contact, it was just my bad.“I hit the floor and scuffed the floor. Apologies to the ref (Viktor Kassai) and apologies to Shakhtar.”norwich city, manchester city, premier leagueReport: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…Shakhtar boss Paulo Fonseca labelled the referee’s decision to award City that penalty as “ridiculous”.Sterling would later get on the scoresheet himself along with David Silva and Riyad Mahrez to move City three points clear at the top of Group F.Looks like Raheem Sterling took my “be more like Steven Gerrard” advice years ago a little too far here. pic.twitter.com/C1rnvus7fq— Deluded Brendan (@DeludedBrendan) November 7, 2018last_img read more

State of the Art of the Newsstand

first_img8. How to Talk to WomenCosmopolitan’s genius at knowing how to write edgy cover lines that barely avoid the magazine from being sold in a brown bag is still on a roll after 40 years. Although some buzz words have come and gone (last year it was “revenge”), there are still always three mentions of sex. 9. How To Talk to a GenerationRolling Stone, like nobody else, has always known how to earmark everything that interests its audience from music to technology to politics. To say that it’s influential is an understatement (it was one of the first magazines to run Candidate Obama on the cover) and its mix of cover lines is always a good barometer of current popular culture. 11. How To Wow Them on the NewsstandsVanity Fair picks big stars and big stories and world class gossip presented in elegant ways. The magazine’s covers always stand out, the main headline is usually the name of the cover subject. I’ve counted the words on VF covers for months at a time and the average has consistently been 70, which you might also consider the state of the art. 3. Front of the BookYou can pretty much figure out how a magazine is trying to position itself by the importance it puts on the pages that precede the well.How one constructs the front of the book has become a science, from the length of the pieces, to the frequency of graphics and columnists. Esquire wants to attract young men with buying power and it does it in a skillful, literate way. No junky graphics, no quick fixes. And for the first 110 pages of the current issue. 1. TypographyIf you want to look up-to-date these days try using very, very condensed sans-serif type. NEW BEAUTY ($9.95 at your newsstand) does it very well issue after issue. However, I can’t guarantee that it won’t look tired by next year. It’s an old rule: the trendier you are, the faster you fall. 7. The Sexiest MagazineESPN The Body Issue. Ordinary people who happen to be athletes who happen to be sexier than models and movie stars. 4. Back of the BookBloomberg BusinessWeek gets high marks for everything from the reportage to the graphics. However, the only part that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is habit-forming is the Etc. section. It’s fast-moving and funny and makes no pretense at being useful. Check out “Great Moments in Nepotism”, the only article in the issue that will stay with you. 6. Fashion PhotographyKarl Lagerfeld’s photographs of the latest couture in Harper’s Bazaar are not 100 percent professional but they’re straight-forward and totally up-to-date in a strange way. 10. How to Look UsefulNew York is the original service magazine. It’s hit some high notes before but Adam Moss has redefined the state of the art. New York is packed with useful stuff presented with obsessive detail. It’s the ultimate survival guide to the City and it’s thicker and sells more copies than ever before. 5. Cutting Edge DesignBefore there was Conde Nast’s Wired, there was Wired. Wired only pays homage to itself and surprises all the time. Some of the graphics need a guide book but the overall package is always amazing. 2. Info-graphicsThanks to the legendary Nigel Holmes (graphics “that try to explain things”), TIME made info-graphics an integral part of the magazine since it was re-designed by the great Walter Bernard over 30 years ago. The graphics are more glorious and more frequent than ever. Seems sometimes that most stories come with a chart, a table, a map or a list. If you’re in the business of creating, recreating, designing or, God forbid, rescuing magazines on life support, you need to know what the state of the art is at this point.You don’t have to look very far. The dozen or so titles that define the latest details in packaging are on your newsstand.Some sell well and some very well. And some very well for the past few decades. Examining them amounts to a master’s degree in magazine crafts from how to construct a great cover to what’s sexy with fashion photography and trendy typography thrown in. 12. How to Keep Them ComingThe New Yorker, since 1925. Newsstand copies of the magazine get a flap with the headlines on it. The result is one and a half covers: a full-bleed cartoon plus all the best magazine writing in America clearly listed separately.last_img read more

We Are Music Honoring Craft Community With HER Swizz Beatz More

first_img Facebook ‘We Are Music’ Honors Craft & Community we-are-music-honoring-craft-community-her-swizz-beatz-more The Recording Academy launches a new campaign to celebrate the professional songwriters, musicians, engineers, producers, and performers who bring music to lifeNate HertweckGRAMMYs Jul 23, 2018 – 6:43 am Making music is a calling and a craft — a privilege and a process. From the first flash of inspiration to a few chords and scribbled lyrics, from laying down a scratch track to finessing the finishing touches, it takes craft, commitment and passion to make music a reality.Now, for the first time in its 60-year history, the Recording Academy is launching a national campaign to honor the craft and community of creators who bring music to life. “We Are Music” celebrates the people who create music every day, those who are the lifeblood of music.To celebrate the launch of “We Are Music,” the Recording Academy released a 60-second film directed by world-renown photographer/videographer and GRAMMY nominee Danny Clinch. The striking black-and-white film chronicles the creation of a new piece of music, capturing the collaboration between songwriter, performer, producer, sound engineer, and musicians to write, record and finesse a new record, culminating when the performer takes the stage to share it with the world.”We Are Music” features a lineup of current Recording Academy members, including up-and-coming R&B singer/songwriter H.E.R.; GRAMMY-winning multi-instrumentalist/producer Chad Hugo of the Neptunes and N.E.R.D.; GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer Ann Mincieli; director and composer Rickey Minor; and GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer Swizz Beatz.Through Clinch’s daring and inventive eye, the film and the campaign underscore the Recording Academy’s vital role in the industry, reinforcing the importance of the Academy to the professional community of songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers, and performers it represents.”The Recording Academy is the leading society of music creators, and ‘We Are Music’ not only defines what we stand for, but also represents the tremendous pride and respect we have for the industry we serve,” said Evan Greene, Chief Marketing Officer for the Recording Academy. “While we are commonly associated with the iconic GRAMMY Awards, this campaign celebrates those music professionals involved in the multilayered creative process. Our objective is to further reinforce the perceptions of the Recording Academy by highlighting the impact we have on the creative community at large.”Those of us who have ever spontaneously woken up with a song idea, worked in the studio until the sun came up or have callouses on our hands from practicing our instrument all understand the same simple truth: We are made of the music we make. We are music.Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? “Talk To GRAMMYs” News Email center_img We Are Music: Honoring Craft & Community With H.E.R., Swizz Beatz & More Twitter Read morelast_img read more

Facebook expects to test privacy tool to clear history in spring 2019

first_imgFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the company’s annual developer conference.  James Martin Facebook said Monday a promised privacy tool that will allow users to clear their browsing history on the social network is still in the works but isn’t expected to launch until next year. In May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced it was building a feature called “clear history” that would let users see what apps and websites they’ve interacted with and clear that information from their account. But as Recode pointed out, the tool still hasn’t been released seven months after Zuckerberg unveiled the company was building the feature. “We want to build something that’s truly helpful for everyone on Facebook,” David Baser, Facebook’s director of product management and leader of its privacy and data use team, said in a statement.  “We’d rather take the time to get it right than rushing something out.”Facebook intends to start testing the tool in Spring 2019, Baser said. But with nearly 2.3 billion users on the social network, the tech firm has run into challenges while building the privacy feature, he said. Facebook, for example, organizes web browsing data by date but “clear history” organizes them by user profile. That makes it difficult for Facebook to find the browsing data tied to an individual user. “To do this instantaneously for people so they can control it, has meant we’ve needed to build a new way for our systems to process information,” Baser said. Facebook has been under pressure to do more to protect user privacy after a data privacy scandal came to light in March. At that time, Cambridge Analytica, a UK consulting firm, was found to have harvested the personal data of roughly 87 million Facebook users without their permission.But Facebook’s seemingly endless series of scandals has been chipping away at user trust. Last week, the company announced that a bug could’ve exposed the private photos of up to 6.8 million users to outside developers.CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide: The place to find the best tech gifts for 2018.Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook’s data mining scandal. Share your voice Internet Services Tech Industry Comments Tags Facebook 2last_img read more

Washington State reinstates its electric vehicle tax incentive report says

first_img 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 2019 Kia Niro EV: Kia’s first long-range EV 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better More From Roadshow 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value Electric Cars Car Culture Tagscenter_img 66 Photos 1 Comment Enlarge ImageThe Nissan Leaf is one of many new vehicles that will qualify for Washington’s $2,500 state sales tax incentive when it kicks in in August. Chris Paukert/Roadshow Hey, we have some good news for you if you’re shopping for an electric vehicle in Washington state. The state EV sales tax incentives which originally expired last year have just been resurrected and are set to take effect on Aug. 1, according to a report published Thursday by Automotive News.Washington Governor Jay Inslee reinstated the sales tax credit as part of a series of four pieces of clean energy legislation. The governor hopes that these bills will push the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the road there to 50,000 by next year.The way the tax credits work in the Evergreen State will be a little different than the federal tax credit you’re used to hearing about. In Washington, new vehicles are subjected to a sales tax of 6.8%. With this tax credit, you’d be getting a rebate on the sales tax you pay up to $2,500 on new electric vehicles that cost less than $45,000. What’s even cooler is that buyers of used EVs can get in on the fun too. They can receive a rebate of up to $1,600 on the purchase of used electric cars that retail for under $30,000. When you consider how reasonable prices typically are for used EVs, that seems like a pretty sweet deal. Share your voicelast_img read more

Police ASP vandalises toll plaza beats officials

first_imgAssistant superintendent of police (ASP) is seen trying to beat up toll plaza official on the Karnaphuli Shah Amanat Bridge in Chattogram. Photo: Collected.An assistant superintendent of police (ASP) of the district has been withdrawn over vandalising the Karnaphuli Toll Plaza in the port city of Chattogram and beating up its two staff members allegedly in an inebriated condition on Friday.Moshiar Rahman Khoken, ASP (Mirsarai circle), was closed to the district police lines over the incident, said Rezaul Masud, Additional Superintendent of Police (Sadar circle), according to UNB.Sources said Moshiar found traffic jam at the toll plaza while going to Bandarban by his official car.He got down from his vehicle around 11:45am and started to smash the glass of the plaza and beat up two staff members, including an engineer.  Toll plaza in-charge Apurbo Saha said ASP Moshiar started vandalising the glass without uttering any world. “In an inebriated condition, he beat up our staff members,” he said.last_img read more

Trump Goes After Spike Lee after Oscars Speech

first_imgBy The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is going after director Spike Lee, who used his Oscar acceptance speech to urge mobilization for the 2020 election.Trump tweeted Monday that Lee did a “racist hit on your President.” Trump claimed that he had “done more for African Americans” than “almost” any other president.Spike Lee holds up brass knuckles reading “hate” and “love” from his iconic film “Do The Right Thing” as he arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)Lee won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay Sunday for his white supremacist drama “BlacKkKlansman,” sharing the award with three co-writers. The film includes footage of Trump after the 2017 violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.Lee did not directly name Trump. He spoke about black history and his family history, saying his grandmother’s mother was a slave, before stressing the presidential election next year.Said Lee: “Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate.”Trump inflamed racial tensions after a white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, when he said “both sides” were to blame, a comment some saw as a refusal to condemn racism.Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist, was killed, and nearly three dozen others were injured when James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into counter-protesters. Fields claimed he acted in self-defense. A jury convicted him in December of first degree murder and other charges, including aggravated malicious wounding and hit and run.last_img read more

CAA Signs On as Customer of Parrot Analytics Entertainment Data

first_imgCAA inked a deal with data analytics firm Parrot Analytics, which will provide the entertainment and sports agency with analytics about global audience demand for entertainment.Parrot’s data set spans audience consumption in more 100 countries and comprises more than 3.5 trillion data points — aggregated from social media and video streaming platforms, piracy networks, photo-sharing services, blogs and other sources. The company distills that into metrics that purport to show relative consumer demand for different TV shows.According to the companies, Parrot Analytics data will become another tool to help CAA’s agents identify and create opportunities for their clients.“With more content for consumers to watch than ever, leveraging Parrot Analytics’ unique tools to identify audience demand for content will help us to continue identifying the best opportunities for our clients,” CAA executive Freddy Flaxman, who heads up the agency’s data and research operations, said in a statement. Added Parrot Analytics CEO Wared Seger, “By leveraging the power of global content demand analytics, we can give CAA’s data science teams access to our state-of-the-art data sets, allowing the agency to continuously drive its clients’ ideas, interests and opportunities forward.”Other Parrot Analytics customers include A+E Networks, Fox Networks, BBC Worldwide, Gaumont, Sky Italia, Nordic Entertainment Group, Turner, AMC, KEW Media Group, Globo, TVNZ, and CBS Studios International.Founded in 2013, Parrot Analytics is based in L.A., with its data operations headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand. The company’s investors include entertainment industry execs David Bishop and Bruce Tuchman, K1W1 and New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. Popular on Variety center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more

The things left unsaid

first_imgKanodia explores how ideas flow and  senses come alive when a man becomes one with nature in her latest venture The Great Outdoors. Her body of work shows the close bond man has with nature. A union that helps him regain his lost innocence, enjoying a solace that can be derived from the peace and quiet of nature. There are a number of  paintings set with indoors trees, foliage and birds which are skillfully integrated.    ‘The conversation I hope to create in my work is a certain truth of life and on a deeper level, a well thought philosophy. I construct fantastic versions of accessible scenes, both rural and urban utopias. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Individuals may interpret my paintings in vastly disparate ways and each view will be equally logical and plausible, thought provoking and intriguing’, concedes the artist.There are several layers in Kanodia’s paintings. Her narrative uses colour, intricate patterns and humor to create alluring images. Time plays an integral part in her paintings as she has managed to capture a moment. Her work is a salient artistic combination of a still life composition with a message. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixShe is a painter of women who are on the cusp of telling their story. The woman on the bicycle  opens up a pastoral picture of married life with a dog that brings a smile to the face. It is an interesting mixture of East and West, the open umbrella accentuating the lure of the woman. Still life compositions of domestic middle class interiors with a collection of flowers are an interesting oddity when put in context of soulful women in saris. It is as if two genres work successfully side by side, a surprise at every turn of the page.When: Till 20 August Where: Art Alive Gallery,  S – 221, Panchsheel ParkTiming:11 am to 7 pmlast_img read more

Kolkata Police mark road to divert small vehicles

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Police have found a new road towards Rabindra Sarobar Metro station to divert small vehicles with a view to lower the vehicular pressure on Durgapur Bridge and Tollygunge Circular Road. According to the police, there is a road through New Alipore, which merges with Deshpran Sasmal Road. It passes through a culvert which is locally called the ‘kaathpool area.’Sources informed that Kolkata Police and the Irrigation department have paid a joint visit to the spot to check the ground reality on whether the area is wide enough for vehicular movement. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeFollowing the visit, it was found that small vehicles and two-wheelers can be diverted through this area. Only a median needs to be removed which was built in the middle portion of the culvert to prevent vehicles from using it.As per the plan, police along with Irrigation department officials and workers went there to demolish the median on Tuesday. However, the local residents objected to the move. According to them, if any heavy vehicle moves through, the culvert might not be strong enough to support the weight. Later, police informed them that only small vehicles and two-wheelers will be diverted through the area. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedLocal councillor Jui Biswas also agreed with the police. “We need to cooperate with the police. They are well aware of the area. There will be police personnel there to manage traffic,” said Jui.Later, following a chat with the police, the local residents got assurance that no heavy vehicle will ply through the area. Police have also promised to post enough personnel there.According to the officials from Kolkata Police, the road will be used to divert small vehicles. As a result, the pressure on Tollygunge Circular Road will reduce, which will also reduce the travelling time.last_img read more

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has

first_imgHealth and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has this pen. It’s not all that remarkable looking, but he held it up multiple times Monday at a briefing with reporters.”This pen,” he said, “has a lot of power.”And he said he is prepared to use it.Azar was making the point that in the area of drug prices, the head of HHS — which runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs and buys about $130 billion in prescription drugs each year — can make a lot of changes in the pharmaceutical market. And he doesn’t need congressional approval to do it.He’s got plans to use that pen to change the way Medicare and Medicaid pay for medications and how the Food and Drug Administration goes about approving drugs for marketing.Lots of the ideas are wonky and esoteric, but analysts say some could make a big difference over the long term.Here are three of the big ideas Azar laid out Monday, three days after President Trump unveiled a blueprint to lower the cost of prescription drugs that was criticized for being light on substance.1. Restructure the way pharmacy benefit managers deal with drugmakersAzar’s most ambitious initiative would ban pharmacy benefit managers — the companies that administer prescription drug plans for insurance companies or employers – from negotiating discounts with drugmakers as a percentage of list prices.Today PBMs, such as CVS Caremark or Express Scripts, make deals in the form of rebates. Pharmaceutical companies offer something like 30 percent off the list price of their drugs if the PBM places the medicines in a favorable spot on their preferred drug lists. When prices go up, PBMs often make more money as rebates grow.”They’re taking money from both sides,” Azar said. “They’ve built into their system a regime where they get more money when the list price goes up.”Azar said he intends to force PBMs to write contracts based on a set price for drugs, rather than a percentage-based rebate. And, he said, he’s looking to ban them from making any money at all from pharmaceutical companies. Instead, the companies would earn money only from the fees paid by the insurance companies or employers who hire them.”This is nothing short of the complete and fundamental restructuring of over $400 billion of the U.S. economy,” he said.David Mitchell, founder of the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs, approves of the idea. “If they could do away with the rebates and have transparent net prices, I think that’s an enormous step forward,” he said.But Express Scripts spokesman Brian Henry takes issue with targeting PBMs. “The root cause is the pharmaceutical companies who set these prices,” he said. “We are the ones who help drive down the costs. We drive competition.”2. Change the way Medicare pays for some expensive drugsAzar says he wants to simplify the way Medicare pays for many drugs by moving some expensive medications that are administered in doctors’ offices — like cancer drugs — into the standard Medicare prescription drug program.Many of those expensive drugs are paid for through Medicare Part B. It’s a system in which doctors buy the drugs and get paid a percentage of their cost to administer them to patients. Under this system, the government pays the full list price and doctors make more money when they prescribe more expensive drugs.Azar said he wants to move some of the most expensive of those drugs to the Part D program, which is administered by private health insurance companies that negotiate discounts with drug companies.”This move from B to D gives us the power to negotiate against drug companies,” he said.But analysts caution it could lead to higher out-of-pocket costs and less choice for patients.”Moving drugs from Part B to Part D could get the prices of some drugs down by allowing insurers to bargain with drugmakers, but it would likely come with more restrictions on which drugs are covered,” said Larry Levitt, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Some Part B drugs — many of which are infusions like chemotherapy — don’t have competitors, so negotiation may not help much.”3. Make prices more transparentThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will release new versions of its Medicare and Medicaid drug price dashboards on Tuesday that HHS says will have more detail on how much the programs are paying for the medications they buy.And on top of that, Azar says he is looking at whether he can require drug companies to include the price of their products in those television ads that already include seemingly endless lists of scary side effects.Mitchell and Levitt both doubt that drug companies can be shamed into lowering prices and losing profit.”It’s not going to lower drug prices,” Mitchell says. “But it would probably help for patients to know that the drug they’re getting costs $100,000.”And finally, he wants to get rid of what he calls a “gag rule” in some PBM contracts that forbid pharmacists to tell patients they can get their drug cheaper by going outside their insurance plan.”Note that there are a number of proposals they are suggesting that are controversial and will result in pitched battles,” says Rodney Whitlock, vice president of health policy at ML Strategies, a lobbying firm. “That said, they sure are talking a good game and should be given deference that action will approach rhetoric.”Azar, who came to HHS after a stint as president of the U.S. operations of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, opened his talk by dispensing with the industry’s long-embraced argument that high prices are necessary to pay for research into future cures.”I’ve been a drug company executive. I know the tired talking points: the idea that if one penny disappears from pharma profit margins, American innovation will grind to a halt,” Azar said. “I’m not interested in hearing those talking points anymore.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Chris Ferrari was just 18 the first time he balanc

first_imgChris Ferrari was just 18 the first time he balanced a rocket launcher on his right shoulder and aimed it at a practice target.”Your adrenaline’s going and you’re trying to focus on getting that round to hit, and then you go to squeeze that trigger and, you know.”Boom!The report is loud enough to burst the eardrums of anyone not wearing military-grade hearing protection. And the blast wave from the weapon is so powerful it feels like a whole-body punch.”It’s exhilarating,” says Chris’s buddy Daniel, a former gunner in the Marine Corps who asked that we not use his last name. “When you feel a concussive wave, it’s an awesome thing. It fills you with awe.”It also may do bad things to your brain.Studies show that troops who repeatedly fire powerful, shoulder-launched weapons can experience short-term problems with memory and thinking. They may also feel nauseated, fatigued and dizzy. In short, they have symptoms like those of a concussion.It’s still not clear whether firing these weapons can lead to long-term brain damage. But Chris and Daniel suspect that, for them, it may have.While in the Marines, Daniel and Chris spent two years in the late 1990s firing a rocket launcher called the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon, or SMAW.They were a team. Chris loaded the rockets. Daniel pulled the trigger. Then they would switch places.And together, they fired hundreds of rounds in training exercises around the world.”That’s me and Daniel at the base of Mount Fuji, posing for a picture with our SMAW,” Chris says as he leafs through an album of photographs Daniel put together.The SMAW is one of several modern weapons light enough for one person to carry but powerful enough to blow up a tank.Daniel and Chris say they felt like their brains had been rattled every time they fired the SMAW. And they fired it a lot.”Chris and I were incredibly good shots,” Daniel says.”We never missed,” Chris adds. “We were always selected by our sergeant and our leaders to do the firing because they wanted to see the explosion, you know, they wanted to see the target get hit.”But as the two men fired the SMAW again and again, some of the thrill began to fade.Every shot “felt like the world was caving in on you,” Chris says.The U.S. military limits the number of times troops can fire heavy weapons like the SMAW in a single day. But the limits are based on concern about hearing loss, not brain damage.And 20 years ago, safety wasn’t taken very seriously, Daniel says.”I remember they were saying you’re only allowed to shoot three of these things a day because it’s, like, really bad for you,” he says. “And then I would shoot three and then you [Chris] would shoot three. And then the guys 10 feet from us would shoot six and then the other team would shoot six.”Chris had a lot of headaches, and sometimes couldn’t think straight after a day on the range. “You feel odd and you feel out of place and you feel exhausted and tired,” he says. “But, you know, you’re a Marine and you learn to put it away.”Until you can’t.For Daniel, that happened during a joint training exercise in Malaysia. Their platoon was still setting up, Chris says, “and all of sudden out of nowhere: Boom!”Malaysian troops just a few feet away had fired an antitank weapon called the AT4. The blast wave hit Daniel hard.”I was, like, absolutely dizzy,” Daniel says. “I was absolutely disjointed. I felt nauseous, like I really felt like I needed to throw up.”So Daniel told his sergeant. “And it was just: ‘Shut your face. Are you complaining? Why is everyone else OK and you’re not?’ “Blast injuries overlookedBack then, in the 1990s, the military pretty much assumed a fighter’s brain was fine unless there was some external sign of injury.That was because, at the time, no one really understood how an invisible blast wave could damage the brain without leaving a mark, says Tracie Lattimore, who directs the Army’s traumatic brain injury program.”The science wasn’t up to speed,” she says. “It just didn’t exist.”But since 2007, Lattimore says, the Department of Defense has spent about a billion dollars studying traumatic brain injuries, including those caused by blast exposure.At first, the research focused on bomb blasts, especially those from the improvised explosive devices that had become common in Iraq and Afghanistan.But over time, Lattimore says, the military’s research has expanded beyond IEDs to include the effects of blasts from weapons like the one Chris and Daniel shot.”If you talk to us in a year from now, I think we’re going to have exponential growth in our knowledge coming out of these current studies and our future studies,” Lattimore says.Eventually, that could help the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have fired these weapons in the past couple of decades.But right now, people like Daniel and Chris have no way to know whether firing heavy weapons could have affected their brains.Chris wonders whether all those blasts might be the reason he once landed in a military hospital for two weeks.It happened after a weeklong training exercise in the California desert near Twentynine Palms. Thousands of troops took part and Daniel and Chris fired lots and lots of rockets. They also set off lots of explosives.Several days after the exercise ended, Daniel noticed that Chris was awake in the middle of the night.”He just got up and started walking out of the room in his stinking underwear,” Daniel says. “And I was like, ‘Hey Chris, what’s going on?’ And he was just kind of like looking through me.””I don’t remember it,” Chris says. “But I know that they put me in the hospital and thought I had spinal meningitis or something.”He didn’t. And the doctors never pinpointed another cause. They clearly thought something was wrong with his brain. But at the time, no one would have thought to ask whether the problem was caused by the weapons Chris had fired.Chris’s military career ended one morning when his platoon left on a bus and he didn’t get on it. Ultimately, he got a bad conduct discharge.It’s been nearly two decades since Chris and Daniel fired the SMAW.They’ve both settled in Northern California, which is where they grew up. And they both have symptoms that could be from a brain injury — or something else.Chris has lots of questions.”Why does this hurt on my body? Why do I feel lost? Why can’t I concentrate on stuff as long [as I used to]?”Chris also has trouble controlling his emotions, something he says wasn’t a problem before his military service.For Daniel, it’s his memory that’s the problem.”I used to be photographic. Now I’m forgetful,” he says. “I’m 40, that’s … I don’t know, man. Maybe I’m getting old.”Both Chris and Daniel have problems with balance and orientation. For Daniel it can happen when he turns his head quickly or stumbles.”I lose my spatial orientation,” he says. “I don’t know where I am. Vision gets blurrier. Even sound is kind of muffled.”These are common symptoms of damage to the brain’s vestibular system, something that affects many people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury from a bomb blast or blow to the head.Uncertain coverage for careBut Daniel and Chris were never in combat and never were injured in any obvious way during training. That means it’s not clear whether they are entitled to care from doctors and hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.Chris has never tried to get care from the VA. But Daniel has. And he learned that the VA doesn’t have an obvious category for people like him.Daniel had never connected his symptoms with his time as a Marine until he heard a radio story on NPR suggesting that certain military weapons might be powerful enough to give the shooter a traumatic brain injury.”I went back to the VA and I said I want to be tested for TBI,” he says. “And they said great.”They handed him a questionnaire. The first question asked where he had been in combat. But he hadn’t been.The second question asked: “Were you hit by an IED?” Daniel says it went on: “Was it a grenade explosion? Was a bomb dropped too close to you?” So I couldn’t actually answer the questionnaire.”All he’d done was fire a rocket launcher in training exercises, over and over and over.VA doctors see quite a few veterans like Daniel, says Dr. Joel Scholten, who’s in charge of physical medicine and rehabilitation for the VA. He says the conversation usually goes like this: “While I was training we fired a certain type of weapon. I felt dizzy or had some ringing in my ears after that.”Then Scholten asks if the veteran was ever near a bomb blast or took a blow to the head. Many say yes. And for them, VA guidelines call for a full examination for traumatic brain injury.But for veterans like Daniel, coverage is uncertain. That’s because there still isn’t clear evidence that training with heavy weapons can cause long-term problems with things like memory, thinking and balance.”These symptoms are what we call nonspecific,” Scholten says. “So they’re not unique to traumatic brain injury, and in fact there is no symptom that happens only with traumatic brain injury or concussion.”From a medical perspective, the lack of a box to tick is not a big deal. Treatments usually focus on improving a patient’s symptoms, regardless of the cause.”For instance, someone with cognitive or concentration impairments, we would focus our therapy on how to improve concentration,” Scholten says.But paying for therapy is another matter. The VA gives priority to veterans whose medical problems can be linked to their service.And since military scientists still aren’t sure whether firing a powerful weapon can have long-term effects, Daniel says the VA is sending him the bill. He’s being asked to pay out of pocket for high-tech brain scans and other tests.”I love the VA,” Daniel says. “I have nothing bad to say about the VA. The individuals there get it. They really do. But their hands are typically tied by their process.”Studies now underway should help clear up whether people like Daniel could have been harmed by the weapons they fired, Scholten says. And the results of those studies will be used to update the VA’s guidelines on who gets checked out for a traumatic brain injury.”In the next iteration, will we or should we expand to include training exposures?” Scholten says. “Possibly so.”If they do, it could mean evaluating the brains of tens of thousands of veterans who trained with weapons like the one Daniel shot.You can contact Jon Hamilton at jhamilton@npr.org. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more