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DONEGAL FOOD BUSINESSES TOP MENU AT RDS

first_imgDonegal’s growing food reputation was enhanced even further last week when producers from the county received a tremendous reaction at the Food and Hospitality Event at the RDS in Dublin with The Food Coast – Donegal’s Good Food Initiative.Joseph Doherty, Inishowen Country Kitchen, Brendan O’Reilly, Donegal Brewing Company, Andrew McElhinney, O’Donnells Bakey and Thomas Hughes, Donegal Rapeseed Oil Co. pictured at Food and Hospitality Ireland 2013 at the RDS DublinFour Donegal food businesses – O’Donnell’s Bakery, Donegal Rapeseed Oil, Donegal Brewing Co. and Inishowen Country Kitchen – attended the vibrant showcase dedicated to Ireland’s food & drink, hospitality and retail sector.The reaction to the produce from Donegal is a clear indication that there continues to be opportunities in the food sector, said Eve Anne McCarron, Business Executive with The Food Coast, Donegal’s Good Food Initiative. “Attending the Food and Hospitality Event was hugely worthwhile in terms of promoting the Food Coast beyond Donegal and the level of interest in Donegal food and the response we received was terrific.“There are clearly business opportunities in this sector, we would urge anyone with the ambition of setting up a business or a food business to consider this sector, that’s something that Donegal County Enterprise Board is anxious to pursue as part of the Food Coast Strategy.”She added: “At a National level, the food sector is playing a key role in our economic recovery, Donegal is in a prime position to benefit from such growth.”Businesses who attended last week’s event in Dublin were certainly in agreement that taking their produce had been very worthwhile. “This was the first time I had attended an event like that as an exhibitor and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect. We had a huge interest from buyers and the reaction to our products and indeed to our story was exceptional,” said Andrew McElhinney of O’Donnell’s Bakery.Joseph Doherty from Inishowen Country Kitchen said the reviews of their products and interest from buyers had been “very positive.”“It was also very helpful to learn how trends are changing among many of the buyers, how they are looking more and more for local produce and how they were attracted to the Donegal products and the whole idea of the Food Coast,” he said.Brendan O’Reilly from Donegal Brewing Co said the event had been very positive overall and there had been a very strong interest to their Donegal Blonde craft beer.“It certainly was a very positive experience and it gave us a great opportunity to learn what some retailers and buyers are looking for and how we can best go about showcasing our product to them.” Thomas Hughes from Donegal Rapeseed Oil agreed that reaction to their products had been fantastic, and he urged anyone thinking of getting into the food sector to press ahead with their idea.“If you can make a success of it now, you will be a success as it is a difficult time but there are still great opportunities for new innovative food products,” he said.All of the Donegal exhibitors agreed that those thinking of setting up a new business should make The Food Coast and Donegal County Enterprise Board their first port of call.“If you have an idea then I’d say get advice from the Enterprise Board and the Food Coast. Discuss it with them and they will talk you through it and give you all the help that you need. Certainly don’t diss it until you try it, there is help there now to be accessed and if you have an idea you really should see if you can get it up and running,” Andrew McElhinney added. DONEGAL FOOD BUSINESSES TOP MENU AT RDS was last modified: September 30th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

“Evidence-Based” Findings May Not Be

first_img(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Patients are encouraged to seek only “evidence-based” treatments for disease, but a look behind the scenes of clinical trials reveals some of the same human foibles that plague any science: shortcomings in honesty and transparency.Finding cause-and-effect relationships in medical science is notoriously difficult.  Supposedly, the path to reliable findings is to use randomized clinical trials, where a proposed new therapy goes through three distinct phases of testing on large numbers of people.  Sounds good in theory, but what happens when investigators find less-than-full disclosure and potential conflicts of interest?  Those issues were addressed in Science Insider recently.  Violations are, unfortunately, more common than expected.We’ve heard of studies funded by tobacco companies that prove cigarettes are safe.  Give a researcher enough money, and it’s tempting (though not necessarily guaranteed) his or her findings will corroborate the company’s claims.  How are conflicts of interest avoided?  How are standards for reporting maintained?  Science Insider attended a recent International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication in Chicago, and reported some red flags: (1) “Published trial results often differ from those initially posted“; and (2) “Potential conflicts of interest often go unreported.”The honor system, such as merely deploying forms asking researchers to list all conflicts of interest, is insufficient.  Despite years of reminding researchers how important it is to maintain transparency about potential conflicts, many still fail to disclose them.  Often it is left up to the researcher’s own judgment whether such conflicts are “relevant” to the trial.  Ignorance of the need for high standards, the Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication found, is sadly widespread.Although most of the doctors disclosed relationships they had with the firm funding the published research, fewer than half shared relationships they had with industry competitors. And despite all the talk in recent years about conflicts, 16% who had a financial tie to a sponsor or drug manufacturer leading the study didn’t report it. One example cited by Rasmussen: a physician who was an advisory board member and speaker for AstraZeneca, maker of the drug being covered by the paper, who declared he or she had no conflicts.“I was actually very disappointed” by this, says Vivienne Bachelet, editor-in-chief of the journal Medwave in Santiago, who was not involved in the study. In her country, she says, the “level of awareness is just nil” about conflicts of interest. Medical societies in particular get substantial funding from drug companies but almost no one—the societies themselves, drug regulators, or the individual doctors—see this as something that should be disclosed, Bachelet says. “If they’re not disclosing over there,” in Denmark, “what’s to be expected in Chile?”Regarding publication discrepancies, a survey of thousands of papers revealed frequent inconsistencies between public reports and journal publications about results of primary endpoints (main purposes of the trial) and secondary endpoints (serendipitous findings):For 21% of the primary endpoints, what appeared in the journal wasn’t exactly the outcome described on ClinicalTrials.gov, and in 6%, the Yale group suggested that this difference influenced how the results would be interpreted.For secondary endpoints, the difference was even more dramatic: Of more than 2000 secondary endpoints listed across the trials, just 16% appeared the same way in both the public database and the published article along with the same results. Results for dozens of secondary endpoints were inconsistent. “Our findings raise concerns about the accuracy of information in both places, leading us to wonder which to believe,” Becker said.The director of ClinicalTrials.gov at the National Library of Medicine called the website a “view into the sausage factory” of how research results are reported.Speaking of randomized clinical trials (RCT), Nature reported that little more than half of them produce treatments better than the standard of care – and that’s as it should be, given that RCT outcomes are unpredictable.  Progress is incremental but steady.  There’s no question that cancer patients are surviving much longer on average than they were a couple of decades ago, thanks to clinical trials.The slowness of the process, though, is frustrating to patients, especially those with cancer, who can’t wait a decade for all three phases to complete before government approval is given.  Medical Xpress raised the question of whether clinical trials are always necessary.  Sometimes phase III (comparing the new treatment with the standard treatment) might be superfluous if a new therapy has already shown benefit, and patients are out of options.  Another recent trend is toward individualized care based on genetic screening or specific tissue sample characteristics.  Trends like that may not jive with randomized clinical trials, because each patient is treated as a unique case (a sample of one).  Alternatives to RCT may need to be devised for such new developments.In the philosophy of science, nothing like peer review or RCT (as practiced) is set in stone.  As practices and findings change, policies and procedures need to keep in step with them.  One thing that should not change, though, is a scrupulous insistence on honesty.Update 9/14/13: Medical Xpress reported that leading medical societies in Britain and America are poised to start publishing negative findings.  This is important, be knowing what doesn’t work can be just as important as knowing what does.   “It is ethically correct for pharmacologists working in academia, industry and the health services to publish negative findings,” the head of the British Pharmacological Society said.  “Openness not only ensures that the research community is collectively making the best possible use of resources, but also that clinical trial volunteers are not unnecessarily exposed to likely ineffective or potentially unsafe treatments when evidence may already suggest that the drug target in question is flawed.”  The lack of openness about negative results can waste time and resources if researchers unknowingly repeat a failed trial. “Historically, negative findings have tended to remain unpublished,” one journal editor noted with apparent regret.  Another expert feels that all clinical results, both positive and negative, should be in the public domain.No science can survive without honesty.  We are often told that science is self-checking.  The problem is that the checking is inconsistent, and often found out long after damage has been done.  This is shameful.  In medical clinical trials, people’s lives are on the line.  How can the public have confidence in findings, when they lose confidence in the honesty of the researchers?  Miracle treatments are promised that might actually be hyped by the drug company funding the research, or the researcher is on the company’s board, but refuses to disclose the conflict of interest, considering it (in his opinion) “not relevant.”  Then there is the temptation to announce breakthroughs to advance one’s career or the reputation of the institution.  Now we hear about the actual very low rate of honest reporting.  To put it mildly, “What they found was not particularly encouraging.”This is not to disparage the many honest, hard-working individual researchers with pure motives, or the reputable institutions that succeed in finding and helping patients with new effective treatments.  It just goes to show that scientific research is nothing without honesty.  The answer is not to run from “evidence-based” research toward unproven alternative therapies, many of which have even less evidence and are riddled with deeper conflicts of interest (such as hyped claims motivated to sell a product).  There are quacks who prey on the desperate, but conspiracy theories alleging collusion with drug companies to keep alternatives off the market are sometimes a ploy to mislead by undermining the credibility of competition.  In the morass of potential pitfalls, is anything better than clinical trials?  The answer is to improve the system: require independent checking for compliance, publicly humiliate violators, and financially punish institutions found culpable.Randomized clinical trials offer the best hope for establishing cause and effect in medical research, but sometimes the anecdotal reports of alternative treatments have merit; we should remain open to them and check them with a skeptical yet inquiring eye, weeding out conflicts of interest as best we can, investigating the reasonableness of the correlation.  As these reports show, “evidence-based” reports sometimes fail to live up to their ideal.  Honest researchers will keep an open mind about alternatives.  There’s much human beings do not know.  Things that work for some individuals do not always work for others.One other lesson: if correlations are this difficult to establish in humans, of which there are 7 billion to test, how much more error-prone are claims about the unobservable past supposed millions of years ago – especially when certain researchers have a conflict of interest to maintain their secular worldview?last_img read more

Eastern Cape to get first botanical garden

first_imgThe Cwebe Nature Reserve, on the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, is one of the province’s natural attractions. (Image: Eastern Cape Parks) Dignitaries sign a memorandum of understanding between Sanbi and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, as part of the commitment to establish two new botanical gardens in the province.(Image: Sanbi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Lavinia Subboo  Marketing manager, Eastern Cape Parks  +27 43 705 4400 • Sybert Liebenburg  Acting CEO, ECTPA  +27 43 742 4450 RELATED ARTICLES • Kirstenbosch best place to picnic • Teaching people to work with nature • New solutions for water conservation • Summer concerts at Kirstenbosch • Research to boost rooibos exportsChristel JordaanThe Eastern Cape province’s first national botanical garden has been proclaimed. It will be situated at the Kwelera Nature Reserve, part of the greater East London Coastal Nature Reserve which is overseen by the Eastern Cape Parks authority.Kwelera lies just north of East London, between the coastal towns of Gonubie and Queensbury.The announcement has been met with praise and approval, with the interim CEO of the Eastern Cape Tourism and Parks Agency (ECTPA), Sybert Liebenberg, describing it as “an absolute winner for the province”.While this is the province’s first national botanical garden, it will join nine others already established around the country.They include the Walter Sisulu, west of Johannesburg and famous for its nesting pair of Verreaux’s or black eagles; the stark but beautiful Karoo Desert in the Western Cape; and the world-famous Kirstenbosch on the Cape peninsula, which was the first botanic garden to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora.The Kwelera reserve is currently managed by the provincial parks authority, but in future will be co-managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi), which cares for the country’s botanical gardens.Ensuring ecological sustainabilityEnvironmental affairs minister Edna Molewa said in a statement that the botanical garden will be established in two phases.Phase one sees the official proclamation of the existing reserve as the Kwelera National Botanical Garden, while the second phase will involve the expansion of the existing facility onto adjacent land that will be bought during the 2012/2013 financial period.Under the international definition system relating to botanical gardens, Kweleza will be classified as a conservation garden, said Molewa, who has committed to the creation of two new national botanical gardens by 2014.“The role of botanical gardens in the provision and maintenance of ecosystem goods and services, thereby ensuring sustainable livelihoods, cannot be underestimated,” she said.“The establishment of the tenth national botanical garden is a major achievement in reaching the country’s conservation targets, ensuring ecological sustainability.”It is also hoped that Kweleza will boost tourism in the area, and help in educating residents of the region in the importance of conservation.Protecting South Africa’s floral diversityThe establishment of the other botanical garden in the Nelson Mandela metro area’s Port Elizabeth is also in progress. The development will encompass St George’s and Victoria parks in the city, as well as the 80ha Settlers’ Park, and Dodd’s Farm to the west of Settlers in the Baakens River Valley.The 23km-long Baakens River meanders through Port Elizabeth and joins the sea just north of the harbour. It is considered one of the city’s most precious greenbelt areas.At the announcement in 2011, Mandela Bay councillor Noluthando Mapu said that the various parks will have different focus areas. She said that St George’s will focus on plants from around South Africa and Victoria on endangered and vulnerable species.Settlers will be home to plants found naturally in the region and Dodd’s Farm will continue to be a recreation hub, with picnic, cycling and hiking facilities.Visitors will connect to the four areas via an eco-friendly transport system – the use of golf carts has been proposed.The development will create jobs for local people and will also address a number of security concerns, as the botanical garden will be fenced off and patrolled.In 2011 Sanbi, during a presentation in Port Elizabeth, mentioned a figure of R10-billion (US$1.3-billion) a year as the total economic value of the Cape Floristic Region, the world’s smallest but richest floral kingdom and a proclaimed Unesco World Heritage Site.The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is part of this floral treasure, forming its western border. Most of the kingdom is covered with the indigenous vegetation known as fynbos, and of its 9 600 plant species, 70% grow only in this little part of the planet.last_img read more

Has bone conduction returned to wearables?

first_imgCate Lawrence With the old adage everything old is new again, this certainly seems to be the case for phenomenon bone conduction. Once the darling of hearing aids, it began to show up in the consumer headphone market in the early 2000s. During this time, bone conduction headphones were marketed as safer for long-term hearing than their standard counterparts.Since then, the technology has only really begun to make its presence known again over the last few years.  In simple terms, bone conduction enables you to hear sound through the vibration of the bones of your face — usually the jaw bones and cheek bones. The sound waves are bypassing the outer and middle ear where the eardrum is located, and directly stimulating the inner ear which is our actual “hearing organ.”See also: Seniors getting helping hand from wearablesAs well as hearing aids and headphones, the technology has also been attributed to Beethoven’s ability to write music — even while hearing-impaired — through biting down on his composer’s wand that was touching the piano.Here are a few of the devices that are embedding the technology into wearable devices:SgnlIf you’ve ever had a hankering to be James Bond, your dreams can now become a reality. Innomdle Lab, the first company ever to officially spin off from Samsung Electronics have created Sgnl, a smart strap that enables users to engage in phone conversations simply by placing their finger to their ear. Whether attached to a classic watch or a smart watch, users can enable fingertip communication and a number of additional smart functions simply by replacing the watch strap. Additional smart functions include Call Reminders, Fitness Tracker and Smart Alert.Sgnl’s key technology lies in its patented Body Conduction Unit (BCU), which is capable of transmitting vibrations through the body, which then can be converted to sound. Sgnl communicates with the user’s phone through Bluetooth, and when a voice signal is received, Sgnl will generate vibrations through its BCU. These vibrations will be sent through the users’ hand to their fingertip. When users place their fingertip to their ear, the vibration echoes to create amplified sound within the closed space of their ear and they can speak through the microphone embedded in the Sgnl strap. Overall, very appealing.https://readwrite.com/wp-content/uploads/Demo_Fingertip_Phonecall.mp4 Marlen is a wearable device by Hong Kong based start-up Playtsens for swimmers. The wearable is attached to the user goggle strap at the back of the head and the second piece to the ear piece and it sends you voice feedback using a bone conduction headset, even when underwater. Your pace is reported to you as you swim with no disruption to your swim stroke.In open water swims, your swim performance is captured with GPS. In the pool, motion sensors are used when there is no GPS reception. After your swim, you can connect Marlin to your phone with Bluetooth to review your data and update configurations.It’ll be interesting to see how other wearables incorporate bone conduction. It would be easy to imagine some of these examples employed in traditionally noisy settings such as factories and warehouses. It’s also foreseeable that hearing devices and technology becomes more responsive and customizable as our rapidly aging popular sees a decrease in their hearing quality and clarity.While previous generations may have been content to suffer from poor sound quality, our connected generations are more likely to look to technology to solve the problem. Zungle sunglassesDid you know you can now listen to music through your sunglasses? Well not just any sunglasses but a pair created by Zungle containing bone conduction. These sunglasses enable the wearer to listen to music and answer telephone calls as they can be paired with a smart phone through wireless Bluetooth and a noise-cancelling microphone that lets you make and answer calls. They are chargeable via a hidden USB port.Zungle have received over $1.9 million in funding via Kickstarter, having asked for an initial $50,000.Invisio headsetsWhilst not traditionally a general consumer product, bone conduction headsets are popular in military and police occupations. The headsets are configured to work with both analog and digital radios and can be adapted to work with push-to-talk awitches. They include Kevlar-woven cables for added durability, unique whisper capability, the ability to work under eyewer or gas masks and also the ability to clearly communicate in high noise environments.Google Project AuraThe original Google Glass utilized bone conduction audio, meaning nothing needed to be placed inside the ear. This resulted in a more comfortable headset as well as great situational awareness through being still able to hear. Since Google Glass went rather quiet the division responsible, Project Aura whilst scarce in offering information is believed to be continuing their interest in bone conduction technology.Marlin GPS swimmeter Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Related Posts center_img Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#bone conduction#Connected Devices#featured#Google Glass#hearing aids#Project Aura#Sgnl#sport wearables#top#wearables#Zungle Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Wrestler Sushil Kumar storms into finals at the London Olympics, assures India of at least a silver medal

first_imgSushil Kumar assured India of a sixth medal at the London Olympics and his second successive at the Games by powering into the men’s 66kg freestyle wrestling final at the ExCel Arena in London on Sunday.Sushil, bronze medallist in Beijing four years ago, edged out Kazakhstan’s Akzhurek Tanatarov 3-1 in a thrilling semi-final, his third fight of the day. He faces Japanese Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu in the gold medal play-off later on Sunday.With the win, he bettered his Beijing performance and ensured India its second medal from wrestling in London after Yogeshwar Dutt won the bronze in the 60kg freestyle event Saturday.India’s other medallists at the London Games are shooters Vijay Kumar (silver) and Gagan Narang (bronze), boxer M.C. Mary Kom (bronze) and badminton star Saina Nehwal (bronze), contributing in the country’s best medal haul at the Olympics.Tanatarov seemed the likely winner during the third and final period before Sushil fought back through grit and experience.With the Kazakh leading 3-0, Sushil came up with brilliant moves to leave Tanatarov reeling on the mat. The contest ended with the Indian winning the period 6-3 and his opponent bleeding from the right ear.Sushil had won the first period 3-0 and Kazakh levelled the fight in the second with the same scoreline.Earlier, the 2010 World Champion muscled his way into the last four beating Ikhtiyor Navruzov of Uzbekistan 3-1.The Indian could have wrapped up the fight in period 2 but Navruzov turned the tables on him with six seconds remaining.advertisementSushil got the measure of his opponent in period 3, winning it 2-0 to seal the contest.The 29-year-old started the day in a scintillating fashion, dismissing the Beijing gold medallist, Ramazan Sahin, in the opening round.last_img read more