Like an Essential Mix of music on British Weekend Radio, this smartphone has a lot to love. It has a display up front which covers the vast majority of its face. It has a rim that’s made of rugged metal. The backside is made of a ceramic available in several different colors.SEE THIS: 6 Essential Phone details that make this phone uniqueThis is a bold smartphone – not just a device that’s content with being a step-up from last year’s design. To be fair, it couldn’t be since this company only has one smartphone so far, but still. With this smartphone we have the Anti-iPhone, the Anti-Galaxy, the Anti-Pixel. This is not a “it works and that’s good enough for me” sort of device. Your dad would probably not feel it necessary to own this smartphone. He’s think it was too extravagant, and stick with his flip phone for another year or two. Story TimelineAndy Rubin’s Essential phone details begin to spillAndy Rubin’s Essential phone pops up at GFXBenchAndy Rubin’s Essential Phone breaks all the rules5 big things Andy Rubin just told us about the Essential Phone This week Andy Rubin (co-founder of Android) and crew revealed the Essential Phone (with Android inside). They revealed the device with a few details early on in the day, then held a press conference later in the day with a few details on how and when the device would be made available. While the smartphone with Android and a Qualcomm processor under the hood can potentially work with most mobile carriers in the United States, the actual real-world situation is a bit more complicated. For more information on this device, have a peek at our handful of features published in the last 24 hours. This device is set to be a stunner, one way or the other. Now to get our hands on it! For those users out there who think that means this device could be worth a look, there are a few details that might strike your fancy. The simple stuff about the next-level phone from the man who was essentially responsible for Android – the software – having been born. Essential Phone Release Date and Pricing• Released in late June, 2017• Pre-orders began yesterday, sort of*• Pricing begins at $700 (or so)Much like Android Nexus smartphones of the past, this Essential Phone (sold by Essential) will be sold online only. At least at first. For now, the device will be sold carrier-free inside the United States for starters.The Essential Phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 inside, which means it’s paired with the ability to connect with most any SIM card. Each of the mobile carriers that have spoken up publicly about the device thus far have said basically the same thing: it’ll work with our data, but we’re not sure how well, just yet.
North Korea has produced another tablet for its unfortunate citizens, one it calls the ‘iPad.’ Obviously not being an Apple device or anything like it, the tablet runs an unknown operating system and features bland, low-end specs, though compared to other limited offerings in the nation, it may be one of the more desirable consumer computing products. Apple hasn’t commented on the illicit use of its brand. Story TimelineNorth Korea’s latest satellite has stopped tumblingNorth Korea may be hacking banks across the worldNorth Korea has its own propaganda streaming service The new North Korean tablet, which is fully named the ‘Ryonghung iPad,’ was made by company Myohyang IT Company, and it is part of a system that seems to include a USB keyboard and a case, enabling it to be used as a laptop of sorts. Per the product’s marketing material, there are ‘more than 40 apps’ available for the tablet, an anemic number by any modern standard, but enough, perhaps, to make it a decent productivity device.Marketing material reveals the tablet is decidedly very different than the actual iPad: it has an HDMI port, an unspecified 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage space. There’s also networking capabilities of some sort, though given the limited Internet access inside the nation, the nature of this capability is unclear.It isn’t clear what OS this tablet runs, though no doubt it is one made by the country itself, as we’ve seen in the past. The apps are said to include things like a medical app called ‘Good Doctor 3.0.’ a calculator, and some sort of agricultural product. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an app surface within North Korea; there was the special tablet for North Korean elite we saw back in December, for example.SOURCE: NK News
The recent demonstration of the Atlas humanoid robot’s jumps and backflip might have left you impressed at how far such robots have come. It might have also left you terrified at its appearance. Boston Dynamics has never really been known for creating visually appealing robots. Coincidentally, Toyota has just announced its own humanoid robot, the T-HR3, which boasts of some smooth and precise movements. In contrast to Atlas, however, it is also designed to attract humans and not scare them off. Those who have seen the film “Surrogates” might see in T-HR3 the precursor of that sci-fi technology. And if the last few seconds of the video above, which almost plays like an eerie ad in a dystopian sci-fi game like Deus Ex, that might indeed be the future we’re headed for. But for the very near future, Toyota will be demonstrating the T-HR3 at the International Robot Exhibit in Tokyo from November 29 to December 2. Of course, Boston Dynamics and Toyota have different goals in mind for their robots, which determine the differences in their design and functionality. Boston Dynamics’ machines are often geared towards industrial, sometimes even military, use. They are also programmed to move independently to some extent.While the Toyota T-HR3 may be used for construction sites or disaster response, its main objective is to help people in homes and medical fields, especially those with mobility problems. This is why T-HR3 is designed not to be intimidating. At least as much as a robot can be.The main focus of the T-HR3 is actually what Toyota dubs as the Master Maneuvering System. In a nutshell, it lets an operator control the robot remotely by sitting on a platform, donning half an exoskeleton, and a headset. This allows the human operator control of nearly every robot limb while seeing what the T-HR3 sees through the headset. Many of Toyota’s technologies, like the Torque Servo Module, Flexible Joint Control, and Self-interference Prevention, all work in harmony to make the robot move more naturally, precisely, and gracefully.
MWC is the biggest time of year for mobile manufacturers, and for Intel, this year its all about the future. In the lead up to the show, Intel has detailed its plans for the arrival of 5G mobile networks, and what it plans to do to usher in this new era. As it turns out, the company is planning to hit the ground running with a line of 5G-capable PCs that will launch sometime next year. Story TimelineIntel’s 5G aspirations: mobile, PC, cloud, IoT, end-to-endIntel plans 100 car self-driving fleet to pitch Mobileye and 5GFuture iPhones could use Intel’s 5G modem instead of Qualcomm’s Intel announced today that it’s already working with a number of hardware partners who will implement its XMM 8000 series 5G modems in future machines. Those partners include Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft, so just like Qualcomm, Intel has been hard at work lining up partners so it can waste little time in getting new hardware to market once 5G finally arrives.Sadly, we don’t have very many details about these PCs just yet. Intel doesn’t envision them hitting shelves until we’re into the second half of 2019, which is more than a year away. However, Intel will have something special to show those wandering the MWC show floor in Barcelona: a detachable 2-in-1 prototype that’s built around an early version of its 5G modem and an Intel Core i5 CPU.While this prototype likely isn’t going to represent final hardware, Intel will be hosting a demonstration where it live streams video over the 5G network. Of course, we already know what to expect in that regard: fast loading, no buffering, and consistently high video quality. It may be somewhat basic compared to what we’ll see once 5G deployment is in full swing, but as Intel points out, this is one of “many stepping stones” on the road to 5G-enabled PCs.Intel won’t just have this 2-in-1 prototype available at its MWC booth this year. As part of a partnership with Deutsche Telecom and Huawei, Intel will also be performing its first 5G NR interoperability demonstration during the show. Though 5G is still a ways off in terms of deployment, it’s clear that Intel wants to be one of the companies there at the start, so these MWC demonstrations should be just the beginning for the company.
With one billion users around the world, safety and security should obviously top the list of Instagram’s concerns. Today, the company announced another round of new initiatives to make Instagram a safer platform to use. The three-pronged approach mostly revolves around Instagram accounts with a large following, but there’s also incoming updates to two-factor authentication that everyone will be able to take advantage of. Over on the Instagram Info Center, co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger explains these new features. The first new feature is called “About This Account,” and it’ll surface more information about accounts with a lot of followers. Once it’s live, you’ll be able to go a popular profile, enter the more menu by tapping on the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner, and then select “About This Account” to see some in-depth information about it.The About This Account page will show information such as when that user joined Instagram, the country they’re from, and any other usernames they’ve used within the past year. You’ll also see a list of other accounts it shares followers with, along with any of the ads they’re currently running. The goal, Instagram says, is to protect big accounts from impersonation and cut back on spam in general. Those popular accounts will soon be able to take advantage of a new global verification form to request a blue checkmark as well. While this doesn’t affect most average users, it should make it easier for popular users, celebrities, and brands to verify their identity with Instagram and add the verification checkmark to their account. This, in turn, lets other users know that they’re interacting with legitimate users instead of impersonators.Finally, Krieger says that all users will soon be able to use third-party authentication apps to secure their accounts. Two-factor authentication, of course, is better than simply securing your account with a password, and in some cases, 2FA apps can provide more security than SMS authentication. To set it up, you only need to go to your profile, open the menu, select “Settings,” and then choose “Two-Factor Authentication.”From there, select “Authentication App” when you’re asked for your preferred 2FA method, and Instagram will automatically scan your device for any authentication apps you already have installed. If, for instance, you already use Google Authenticator for other logins, Instagram will automatically send it a code that you can use to secure your account. If you don’t have a 2FA app installed, you’ll be redirected to the Google Play Store or the App Store to select one.Instagram says that support for authentication apps is launching now, and it plans to complete the global roll out over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, we should see About This Account appear in Instagram profiles at some point next month. Story TimelineInstagram’s new status indicators are yet another thing to turn offFacebook and Instagram launch new activity dashboardsInstagram users are falling victim to a strange hack
Twitter has updated its hateful conduct policy with a planned ban on dehumanizing language. This restriction addresses content that may not have violated its previous policies, but that can contribute to a hostile environment for users and groups toward whom such language is directed. The company is asking its users to complete a survey to share their thoughts on the new policy. “For the last three months, we have been developing a new policy to address dehumanizing language on Twitter,” the company said in a statement today. “Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence.”The company considers dehumanizing language to include any content that dehumanizes a person “based on membership in an identifiable group.” Examples include any language that “treats others as less than human,” the company explained on its blog, including things based on race, religion, sexual orientation, age, occupation, health, political beliefs, location, and more.Until October 9th at 6AM PT / 9AM ET, Twitter is asking users to provide feedback on its new policy, including whether it is clear, what changes could be made, examples of such speech that could be used in a “healthy conversation,” and more. Twitter users can access the survey via the link below.SOURCE: Twitter
There is a growing number of smart virtual assistants in the digital world today and almost all of them have one thing in common. Most have female-sounding or even unambiguously female names. Some, like Google Assistant, have a non-human name but, while you can change the voice, its still defaults to female. Many have decried this perpetuation of gender roles in the tech industry and Voicera, the startup that’s making one of the most advanced in-meeting assistants in the market, is taking steps to break away from that culture. It isn’t all about changing the past though. Voicera is also looking forward to the future where EVA, in its new form, will have a more visible presence in meetings. Quite literally too. In video calls, the in-meeting assistant will actually be a participant you will be able to see, giving live transcriptions and tips in real-time. During those meetings, it will also be able to schedule reminders at your request. And if you did fail to invite EVA to your meeting, you will soon be able to upload your own recording and EVA will still transcribe and take notes for you.AdChoices广告The new Live Dial feature, meanwhile, integrates Voicera into direct person-to-person phone calls, automatically taking notes during conversations. A new Reminders feature will make scheduling a follow-up more straightforward, using speech recognition during the conversation. Together with the redesign, the company hopes that the AI-powered assistant will not only be more useful but also more approachable and acceptable to users. Its core purpose hasn’t changed but just because it behaves like an office assistant doesn’t mean it has to be tied to a specific gender to do so. Story TimelineVoicera EVA AI mimics human attention to highlight important points Technically, its assistant’s name is the Enterprise Virtual Assistant. Whether that technical name came first or not, we may never know but Voicera owns up to the oversight that its Eva acronym was easily interpreted to be female. In fact, Voicera’s own materials portrayed it as a “she”. The company’s users made their concerns known and Voicera has taken steps to correct that.It might be too late to change the name or brand but it’s not too late to change its representation. To dispel the image of EVA (no longer “Eva”) as female, Voicera has decided to give the disembodied voice a body, that of a gender-neutral robot, particularly a floating robot head. Voicera has also switched EVA’s voice to be male by default though still leaves the final choice to users. Voicera has also taken the opportunity to update its website and marketing materials to reflect the new face and the new voice of EVA.
Dolby has launched a new set of wireless headphones, Dolby Dimension, promising active noise cancellation that’s perfect for home entertainment, but without divorcing you from the real world. The new cans debut Dolby LifeMix, a way for listeners to blend their media with what’s going on around them. LifeMix is effectively a personal mixer desk for your ears. At the one extreme, it can deliver full Active Noise Cancellation, allowing wearers of the Dolby Dimension headphones to focus solely on whatever content they’re watching. At the other, though, there’s the option to blend both that entertainment and sounds from the environment, in what Dolby calls “Transparency.” Headphones that can mix external sound with what you’re actively listening to aren’t new. What sets the Dolby Dimension headphones apart from rivals is where you’re intended to actually use them, however. Rather than being pitched at travelers looking to isolate themselves from surrounding noise on flights, or commuters wanting their music but without running the risk of getting run down as they cross the street because they couldn’t hear traffic, Dolby is focused on use in the home. The problem in this case is trying to listen to things like TV audio but without either annoying everyone else in the home, or missing out on what people are saying. No more turning the volume down to avoid waking other people in the home, then finding you can’t quite hear what people are saying. It’s all controlled through the Dolby Dimension app, for iOS and Android, though Dolby has added three source buttons on the headphones themselves to switch quickly between different sources. There’s also head tracking, which promises to make the audio source sound as though it’s fixed, like regular TV speakers, even as you turn your head. A base station keeps them charged up. As for the audio itself, Dolby says it’s using custom-designed 40mm drivers and proprietary signal processing. There’s support for using the Google Assistant and Siri, too, if they’re connected to an Android or iOS device. It’s been unexpectedly interesting times in high-tech headphones recently. On the one hand, Sony has unseated Bose in noise-cancelation, with its WH-1000X M3 headphones hitting all the right notes in their third-generation. Meanwhile, Microsoft is wading in too, with the Cortana-enabled Surface Headphones. Dolby’s big challenge will be persuading enough people that a set of headphones intended for home use are worth spending $599 on. They’re available to order from today.
Ford has a classier, more effective solution in the form of its own doghouse. The creation feature the automaker’s noise-cancelling technology used for vehicles repurposed as a firework-eradicating interior for the pet domicile. The doghouse has a modern, angular design and cool, welcoming interior lights, as well as an automatic door.Ford says its doghouse is merely a prototype at this point, and it doesn’t state any plans to bring the product to market. The prototype is an interesting display of the technology, however, and may serve as the foundation for other companies to launch their own similar commercial kennels. AdChoices广告It’s conceivable that the noise-cancelling technology could be expanded to deal with other noises that may distress pets, such as thunder. Ford refers to the prototype as the first in a series of “Interventions” — devices created with the company’s automotive technology to solve problems faced during everyday life. Around half of dogs exhibit signs of fear when exposed to firework noises, which they recognize as unnatural and may perceive as a threat. Pet owners have different methods for dealing with this fear, including everything from ear protection to isolating the pet in a basement where the noise is muffled. Ford Europe has put its automotive technology to use solving a big problem that many dog owners face: fireworks. These events are popular and often happen at least once a year, depending on one’s location, offering entertainment but also terrifying local dogs confused by the noise. With Ford’s new doghouse, these pets have a safe place to retreat away from the noise. Story Timeline2019 Ford Ranger fuel economy confirmed via an online window stickerGateway Bronco lands Ford license to build brand-new ’66 to ’77 Broncos2019 Ford Ranger officially rated for 26mpg highway
Story TimelineThe Bugatti Chiron is $2.6m of 1,500 HP excessBugatti’s Chiron by the (outrageous) numbersThe Bugatti Chiron just smashed an incredible speed record When you’re driving a near-1,500 horsepower Bugatti, slowing down is arguably just as important as going fast, and now the hypercar maker has come up with a new world’s first in brake technology. The company has figured out how to 3D print a brake caliper, and not just any old caliper. It’s the largest in the industry today and, as you’d expect from Bugatti, uses a particularly high-tech and unusual material. For the most part, brake calipers – the part of the braking system which clamps down on the brake discs and slows the wheels – are made from aluminum alloy. Indeed, the Bugatti Chiron’s brakes use aluminum alloy, with the automaker taking the metal and then forging a solid block. With eight pistons on the front, and six on the rear, they’re the most powerful brakes in the world.This new 3D printing system goes a step further. Instead of aluminum alloy, it uses the same metal that the Chiron’s current brakes rely on for the pistons: titanium. In fact, it’s a special titanium alloy called Ti6Al4V, and is more typically found in plane undercarriages and wings, or being used in rocket engines. Bugatti couldn’t use it for the entire brake caliper assembly on the Chiron, since the usual milling or forging technique was scuppered since titanium alloy is simply too strong.However, a new, high-performance 3D printer developed by the Bugatti Development Department in collaboration with Laser Zentrum Nord of Hamburg offers a different approach. A selective laser melting unit targets four lasers onto individually laid layers of titanium powder. Over the course of 45 hours, 2,213 layers are put down, each cooling almost instantaneously as the overall shape of the caliper is formed. AdChoices广告At the end of the process, any titanium powered not fused is removed, filtered, and then used again for the next unit. A final heat treatment on the remaining structure is its final stabilizing step, with an initial 700 degree centigrade blast tapering to 100 degrees. Bugatti then removes the supporting structures, smooths the remaining surfaces by mechanical, physical, and chemical means, and finally uses a five-axis milling machine which – over the course of 11 hours – goes over the functional surfaces such as where the pistons make contact. Bugatti says the end result is considerably stronger than an aluminum equivalent could be. Indeed, a force of more than 275 pounds could be applied to a square millimeter of its surface, without it rupturing. It’s lighter, too, at 6.39 pounds versus the Chiron’s current 10.8 pound eight-piston caliper. That’s despite wall thicknesses on the 3D printed component being as thin as a single millimeter. The new parts will be tested on production cars over the course of the next six months, Bugatti says. The expectation is that the production time of each component could be shortened, too, and the same system used to make other high-strength, lightweight parts for future performance cars. However, it won’t just be applicable for Bugatti’s range. “In 3-D printing development, Bugatti is the leader in the Volkswagen group,” Frank Götzke, Head of New Technologies in the Technical Development Department of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. points out. “Everyone can and should benefit from our projects. This is also part of Bugatti’s role as the Group laboratory for high-tech applications.”Considering the 3D printed titanium alloy caliper could allow the engineers to shave 40-percent of the weight off an identically-performing – or, indeed, stronger – component in the current production Chiron, that opens the door to some serious savings. Even if VW Group as a whole only used the process selectively and conservatively, the weight losses would add up to better performance and fuel economy, both things that rank highly on the priorities of even drivers who can’t afford a supercar.
Uninsured Rate Hits Lowest Point In Five Years This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. According to a Gallup survey released Monday, the health law appears to be achieving its central goal — reducing the number of Americans without insurance. But NBC News reports that Latinos continue to be more likely to be uninsured than white or black Americans. NPR: As Health Law Takes Hold, Rate Of Uninsured FallsSince the Affordable Care Act kicked in fully, the percentage of Americans without health coverage has fallen to its lowest point in five years. In the last quarter of 2013, just before the federal health law took full effect, 17.1 percent of Americans reported they lacked health insurance, according to a Gallup survey (Rovner, 2/10).Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Meeting Goal Of Reducing Number Of Uninsured, Data IndicateEvidence has begun to resolve one of the odder controversies surrounding Obamacare: The new law appears to be achieving its top goal of reducing the number of Americans who lack health insurance. The dispute over that question is a strange one because the answer would seem to be fairly obvious: Under the Affordable Care Act, the government will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize families who decide to buy insurance, a product that the vast majority of Americans value highly. Basic economics would seem to say that those subsidies would have to increase the number of people buying insurance (Lauter, 3/10).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Law Cited As US Uninsured Rate DropsThe share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries. With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter— of 2013 (3/10).NBC News: A Drop In Uninsured, But Latinos Still Most Without CoverageHispanics continue to be more likely to be uninsured compared to white and black Americans, despite a slight drop in those lacking coverage. The Gallup-Healthways-Well-Being Index released Monday showed 37.9 percent of Latinos lack insurance, down from 38.7 percent uninsured in the last three months of 2013. Black Americans saw the biggest drop in uninsured rates in that time period from 20.9 percent to 18.3 percent uninsured. For whites the share of uninsured fell from 11.9 to 10.9 (Gamboa, 3/10). CBS News: Obamacare Working? Uninsured Rate Lowest In Years, Poll FindsIn what may be a sign that the central aim of the Affordable Care Act is working, a new Gallup survey finds that the percentage of Americans without health insurance is on track to reach its lowest quarterly rate since 2008. The uninsured rate has fallen to 15.9 percent, Gallup reports, after conducting 28,000 interviews with Americans from Jan. 2-Feb. 28. By comparison, the uninsured rate in the fourth quarter of 2013 was 17.1 percent. If accurate, that translates to a difference of about 2.5 million adult Americans. The survey’s margin of error was one percent (Condon, 3/10).
Marketplace: $3 Billion Worth Of Cancer Drugs Will Be Trashed This Year Let’s take this one drug for melanoma, Keytruda, as an example. It’s packaged right now in 100 milligram vials. The typical patient needs 150 milligrams, so the hospital or the doctor is going to have to order two vials, and the question is, what happens to the remaining 50 milligrams? Put it all together, and the paper says that the companies who produce the top selling 20 single dose vials of cancer drugs will make an additional $1.8 billion from this kind of waste. (Wood and Gorenstein, 3/1) The Fiscal Times: Why $3 Billion Worth Of High-Tech Drugs Are Wasted Each Year Almost $3 billion a year in expensive cancer drugs are wasted because their single-use packages contain more medication than is needed — and the leftover drug is thrown away for safety reasons, according to a new analysis by researchers. The study focused on 20 cancer drugs that are infused — administered intravenously or injected — by doctors’ offices or hospitals. These come in dosages based on patients’ weights and body sizes, but often the doses are too large and the remainder is tossed out, the analysis found. “It’s literally paying for drugs that go in the trash,” said Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. (McGinley, 3/1) ‘Paying For Drugs To Go In The Trash’: How Americans Waste $3B On Medications A Year The U.S. has taken a one-size-fits all approach when it comes to packaging for expensive high-tech drugs, which has led to extraordinary waste, a new study finds. CBS News: America’s $3 Billion Cancer Drug Problem American consumers are familiar with the phenomenon of package-shrink, when food manufacturers pack less coffee or sugar into a container but charge the same price. What happens when that strategy is flipped on its head by a life-saving but costly industry? (Picchi, 3/1) The soaring costs of breakthrough biometric drugs — especially for the treatment of the Hepatitis-C virus and cancer – have squeezed budgets across the board—on patients, hospitals, insurers and government healthcare programs. (Pianin, 3/1) The Washington Post: Americans Are Wasting $3 Billion A Year Of Cancer Drugs This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Pfizer To Acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals; Valeant To Offer Hospital Discounts For Two Heart Drugs Meanwhile, The New York Times reports on a new drug, rapamycin, which is currently being tested in dogs. It improved heart health and appeared to delay the onset of some diseases in older mice. The New York Times: Dogs Test Drug Aimed At Humans’ Biggest Killer: Age Pfizer has signed its first acquisition since terminating its $152 billion merger with Allergan about a month ago. Pfizer will acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals for $5.2 billion, the companies announced Monday. Anacor has developed a product, currently under review by the Food and Drug Administration, known as crisaborole, to treat eczema. The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., also makes a topical treatment called Kerydin for a form of toenail fungus. (Picker, 5/16) The New York Times: Pfizer To Acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals For $5.2 Billion The Wall Street Journal: Valeant Outlines Heart Drug Discounts After Heavy Scrutiny Pfizer Inc. said Monday it would buy Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. for about $4.5 billion, as it turns to smaller deals after walking away from its scuttled acquisition of Allergan PLC. Pfizer will pay $99.25 a share in cash for Anacor, a 55% premium to Friday’s closing price. The companies said the deal, including debt, is valued at $5.2 billion. Last month, Pfizer and Allergan terminated their planned $150 billion merger after the Obama administration took aim at the deal that would have moved the biggest drug company in the U.S. to Ireland to lower its taxes. Since then, Pfizer has been looking for deals of its own. (Steele and Rockoff, 5/16) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Monday it would raise the discounts to hospitals on its heart drugs Nitropress and Isuprel to as much as 40 percent off list prices after shareholder William Ackman pledged to revisit controversial price increases on the treatments. Valeant has been criticized by doctors and is being investigated by the U.S. Senate after having raised the price of Isuprel by about 720 percent and Nitropress by 310 percent after it bought the drugs from Marathon Pharmaceuticals in 2015. (Humer and Banerjee, 5/16) Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said Monday that it would expand discounts for a pair of its heart drugs following heavy scrutiny over its pricing tactics. Under the changes, effective immediately, hospitals are eligible for a rebate of at least 10% but up to 40% based on the volume of drugs bought during a quarter. The program covers cardiac-care drugs Nitropress and Isuprel. (Steele, 5/16) The Wall Street Journal: Pfizer To Buy Anacor For $4.5 Billion Ever since last summer, when Lynn Gemmell’s dog, Bela, was inducted into the trial of a drug that has been shown to significantly lengthen the lives of laboratory mice, she has been the object of intense scrutiny among dog park regulars. … The drug, rapamycin, which improved heart health and appeared to delay the onset of some diseases in older mice, may not work the same magic in dogs, for another. There is also a chance it could do more harm than good. “This is just to look for side effects, in dogs,” Ms. Gemmell told Bela’s many well-wishers. … The trial also represents a new frontier in testing a proposition for improving human health: Rather than only seeking treatments for the individual maladies that come with age, we might do better to target the biology that underlies aging itself. (Harmon, 5/16) Reuters: Valeant To Increase Hospital Discounts For Two Heart Drugs
The Flip-Side Of Title X Funding Controversy: Anti-Abortion Facility Takes Heat Over Contraception Language In Rules Although much of the focus of the Title X funding debate has been on Planned Parenthood, the changes are also roiling the antiabortion movement, as well. That’s because under both the current and proposed Trump administration rules, Title X grantees must offer a “broad” range of birth control options, including hormonal contraception. In other news coming out of the administration: NIH reverses its position on blocking doctors from speaking to investigators; the VA suggests drastic cuts to federally funded union time; and the FDA is shutting down a controversial medical device program. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Thursday set out new proposals to cut federally funded union time as the Veterans Affairs Department looks to renegotiate its collective bargaining agreement. The proposals include an annual cap on the time all union workers can get paid by the VA to perform union work to 10,000 hours per year. Another provision would give “frontline supervisors” more authority over workers. (Luthi, 5/3) The leadership of the National Institutes of Health has reversed course and will allow two senior doctors to speak with federal investigators regarding patient-safety issues in a nationwide trial of treatment for the bloodstream infection sepsis. The NIH, the U.S. government’s premier health-research agency, has been blocking the two critical-care doctors from speaking with government investigators about safety issues in the study of 2,320 patients. The NIH’s stance, which has led to a dispute with dozens of its senior researchers over medical freedom of speech, was detailed by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. An NIH spokeswoman said Friday the NIH has reversed its position. (Burton, 5/3) Kaiser Health News: FDA To End Program That Hid Millions Of Reports On Faulty Medical Devices The Food and Drug Administration announced it is shutting down its controversial “alternative summary reporting” program and ending its decades-long practice of allowing medical device makers to conceal millions of reports of harm and malfunctions from the general public. The agency said it will open past records to the public within weeks. (Jewett, 5/3) The Wall Street Journal: In Reversal, NIH To Allow Doctors To Speak To Investigators A faith-based chain of clinics that won $5.1 million federal family planning funds by positioning itself as an alternative to Planned Parenthood now unexpectedly finds itself faced with the prospect of offering contraception and counseling that includes discussing abortion — activities antithetical to its very existence. The nonprofit Obria Group received the Title X grant in March as a sweeping Trump administration revamp of the program was churning forward. New rules would, among other things, bar health providers in the program from offering or referring patients for abortions — a restriction critics call a “gag rule.” Since then, a series of federal court injunctions have frozen the changes, prompting abortion-rights groups to demand Obria comply with existing standards. (Colliver, 5/3) Modern Healthcare: VA Proposes Drastic Cut To Federally Funded Union Time Politico: Anti-Abortion Clinics Caught In Tumult Over Trump Family Planning Rules This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Twitter 5 Comments Featured Stories ← Previous Next → Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleads guilty in bribery case Duhaime was the last defendant in a major corruption and fraud case involving the McGill University Health Centre project Facebook Comment The Canadian Press Share this storyFormer SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime pleads guilty in bribery case Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn February 1, 201910:46 AM EST Filed under News FP Street Reddit Former SNC Lavalin president and CEO Pierre Duhaime arrives at the courthouse for a preliminary hearing on the bribery case in Montreal March 16, 2015.Canadian Press Recommended For YouEU watchdog to review single record of real-time share pricesPound headed for record 10th week of lossesDollar slips for 3rd day on U.S. rate cut betsS&P 500, Dow hit new highs on rate cut optimismBrazil halves 2019 economic growth forecast to 0.8% from 1.6% More Sponsored By: Join the conversation → advertisement MONTREAL — Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime has pleaded guilty to a charge of helping a public servant commit breach of trust for his role in a bribery scandal around the construction of a $1.3-billion Montreal hospital.Duhaime was the last defendant in a major corruption and fraud case involving the McGill University Health Centre project. His trial had been scheduled to start next week.Yanai Elbaz, a former MUHC senior manager, pleaded guilty in December to accepting a bribe and was sentenced to 39 months in prison. Former SNC-Lavalin executive Riadh Ben Aissa pleaded guilty to a charge of using forged documents last July and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.Duhaime left SNC-Lavalin in March 2012 after an independent review found that he had approved $56-million in payments to undisclosed agents.In an agreed statement of facts presented in court in Elbaz’s case, the former MUHC official admitted to giving privileged information to SNC-Lavalin to help its submission for the contract to build a massive hospital complex in west-end Montreal.Elbaz also admitted to denigrating SNC’s competitors in front of the hospital’s selection committee.Elbaz and Arthur Porter, the former CEO of the MUHC who died a fugitive in Panamanian custody in 2015, received a total of $22.5 million to rig the bidding process to favour SNC-Lavalin, the statement of facts said.Porter created a shell company that received the $22.5 million from the engineering firm. Elbaz then created his own shell company and received his share of the cash, the document said. Elbaz admitted that all the money in the shell companies was proceeds of crime.Police raided the MUHC’s offices in September 2012. The following February, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit issued warrants for the arrests of Duhaime, Ben Aissa, Elbaz and Porter. Duhaime had initially faced charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and using forged documents.Porter’s wife, Pamela, was arrested later and in 2014 pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of crime. What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Email
Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 20, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Tesla Challenges Bolt vs. Model S Range Eval, Consumer Reports Elaborates My Bolt’s dashboard range indicator always seems low. It rarely registers more than about 160 miles of estimated range after a full, overnight charge even though the official range is 238 miles. So I reached out to FleetCarma, the EV division of the Geotab fleet management company, and they graciously loaned me a device that plugs into the car’s onboard diagnostics port. Data from the vehicle – such as state-of-charge, location, and driving speeds – are all registered in an online account.With my wife along for the ride, we set out under blue skies and 60-degree weather from Berkeley to northern Sonoma County in what mapped out to a 180-mile round-trip drive. With the battery pack at 99-percent state-of-charge, I noted that the Bolt’s estimated range on the dashboard was only 155 miles. It also showed that over the past 8,000 miles I had averaged an efficiency of 3.8 miles per kilowatt hour. Logic would suggest that, even if I drive faster than I should for maximum efficiency, I would have plenty of juice for the 180-mile planned journey. In other words, I blew off the car’s 155-mile estimate and hit the road with trust in the EPA’s estimate of 238 miles on a single charge.The first leg of the trip from Berkeley to Sonoma wine country, mostly along Highway 101, was brisk but not faster than the rest of traffic. My FleetCarma account later showed me that I averaged 50 miles per hour – with a top, momentary speed of (ahem) 82 miles mph. Lo and behold, after an 80.5-mile drive to Healdsburg, the dashboard revealed that the amount of remaining estimated range was only 65 miles, not even enough to make it back home much less complete the loop back through Napa Valley that I had planned. This leg consumed 23 kilowatt-hours, about a third of the pack and yet my data device indicated the battery state-of-charge at 41.2 percent. Explain that. The data and the dashboard suggested my efficiency was about 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour.Opportunity charging in Healdsburg, Calif.Fortunately, just as we pulled into Healdsburg, I found a bank of Level-2 chargers at a private business, which amazingly allows anybody to charge free after office hours. So we plugged in and took a delightful stroll through quaint downtown Healdsburg. Ninety minutes later, the battery had taken on 9.5 kilowatt-hours of power (with 1.15 kWh in charger loss), and the Bolt’s pack was back up to 62 percent state of charge. Unfortunately, I didn’t note the estimated range was at that point, but with more than a half a pack, I felt certain that I had enough range for another 100 or so miles.Six miles (and 1.4 kWh) down the road, we stopped at the lovely Quivira Vineyards and discovered – another lucky stroke – a free Level 2 charger in the parking lot. See the photo at the top of this page. After a one-hour stroll through Quivira’s gardens, the Bolt was supplied with another 7.5 kilowatt-hours of energy (with 1 kWh lost to the charger) and my car’s state-of-charge was up to 74.9 percent.**Data from a day of driving. A new line is created with every key-start (when the car is turned on).The rest of the road trip was completed in one stretch. It took us up to Geyserville, through the rolling hills of Calistoga and St. Helena, down through Napa and finally back to the congested East Bay. It was a 94-mile leg that consumed nearly 22 kilowatt-hours of energy – an efficient 4.2 miles per kilowatt hour in 72-degree weather with an average speed of 40 miles per hour. Those are ideal EV conditions.**My four charging events over the course of 24 hours.By the time we reached back home, the dashboard’s energy bar graph showed that the car was down to one-quarter of its capacity, which roughly matched the computer’s reading of a 21.2 percent state-of-charge. The estimated range on the guess-o-meter was an uncomfortable 35 miles. It was good to be home.I ended the day with 35 miles of estimated range.The total day’s journey was 183.4 miles in which I used 46.61 kWh of energy. The computer data and the dashboard were an identical match on daily efficiency at 3.95 miles per kilowatt-hour. I had added 17 kilowatt-hours of juice while on the road. Back home, I plugged the car into my Level 2 home charger, set to delay the flow of electrons to the wee hours when electricity is cheap. The next morning the Bolt was back to a 100-percent state-of-charge after adding 34.83 kilowatt-hours of energy (with charger losses at 4.18 kWh).What lessons can be gleaned from this Sunday drive? (Besides perhaps that I don’t know how to add. I trust readers will point out where my numbers are wrong.) How do the numbers relate to the Bolt’s 238-mile of EPA estimated range? What if I had driven faster or slower – or didn’t have the benefit of the NorCal’s temperate climate? I’m sure the numbers from the drive contain a multitude of range riddles for us to ponder. At 17,000 Miles, This Chevy Bolt Predicts 272-Mile Range – Video There’s a lot we don’t know about real-world EV range.Ever since I started driving a 238-mile Chevrolet Bolt, my third electric vehicle, I haven’t given much thought to driving range. I began leasing the 2017 Bolt in June of last year, and its 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack was a big step up from my previous 2014 RAV4 EV’s 42-kWh pack granting 120 miles of range – just as that discontinued Toyota electric SUV was a bump from my 2011 Nissan Leaf’s pipsqueak 24 kilowatt-hours that eked out 84 miles on a charge. That’s a big leap in range in only six years. I rarely take road trips in the Bolt, so I recently embarked on regional trips in the Bay Area to learn more about my EV’s real-world range. The results of one particular trip were perplexing. I hope that you can help solve the range riddle.Stories About Bolt Range Source: Electric Vehicle News 2019 Chevy Bolt Gets Minor Updates – No Range Improvement
Tesla Fremont Factory & Gigafactory Tours Prove Massive EVolution Most models involved in the latest price change will be priced higher than before. Prices of the Model 3’s long range RWD and long range AWD performance will be increased by RMB5,000 and RMB7,000 respectively to RMB412,000 and RMB522,000. The Model X long range will be sold at RMB794,000, a growth of RMB15,800, while prices of the Model X performance was cut by RMB19,700. None of the model’s price has been lifted by 3% as planned. Back By Popular Demand, Tesla’s Referral Program Gets A Reboot Price adjustmentTesla once again adjusted prices on the Model 3, Model S and Model X after it said on March 10 that it will raise vehicle prices by about 3% on average worldwide as it plans to keep more retail stores open, some media outlet reported on March 21.More Tesla News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 27, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News The newest price adjustment targets the global market, not just for China. Recently, such luxury carmakers as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, Lincoln and Infiniti successively announced the plan to cut the suggested retail prices on models sold in China before the VAT drop for manufacturing industry officially comes into effect. Although Tesla chose to raise prices amid the VAT cut, the growth below the 3% target may be a result after taking the VAT change into account.NIO, an EV startup considered as Tesla’s rival in China, said on March 19 that it has no price change plan for the near future and will maintain a stable pricing strategy in the long run.Source: Gasgoo Source: Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model 3 Easily Outsold All Other EVs In Europe In February 2019
What if we could eat our cake and have it, too?Source: Electric Vehicle News
Four cases of mumps are suspected in Grant County with one confirmed.The Grant County Health District (GCHD) said the four individuals all lived in farmworker housing units in the Mattawa area.With the news, GCHD is advising individuals to check their children’s, and their own, vaccination status. All adults and children older than 9 months should have the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine. Avoid kissing, hugging, sharing food or cigarettes or other close contact with anyone who is suspected of having mumps.If you feel ill with mumps, stay home to help prevent the spread of the disease and contact your healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call GCHD at 509-766-7960 or the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.Press release provided by Grant County Health District