Feed aggregator

Uber moves its self-driving cars from San Francisco to Arizona

US News - Fri, 12/23/2016 - 07:09

In a Thursday afternoon announcement, ride-hailing company Uber said that the 16 self-driving cars which the company has pulled off the San Francisco streets are being moved to Arizona.

Uber's move to ship its self-driving cars from San Francisco to Arizona comes after the California DMV revoked the registrations of the vehicles on Wednesday. The DMV had earlier asked Uber to stop operating its self-driving cars on San Francisco roads because the company had not got a requisite license to test its autonomous vehicles in the state.

Uber had launched its autonomous vehicle program in San Francisco last Wednesday; and, the same day, the DMV ordered the company to pull its vehicles off the roads. Since Uber did not comply with the order, the DMV finally revoked the registrations of the vehicles.

About moving its autonomous vehicle program from San Francisco to Arizona, Uber said that Arizona Governor Doug Ducey had said in a recent Twitter post that the state welcomes Uber's autonomous technology. As such, Uber said that it has decided to test its autonomous vehicles at a place where it feels welcome, rather than continue negotiations with California regulators.

Revealing that the company's self-driving cars have been moved to Arizona by truck, an Uber spokeswoman said in an email on Thursday: "We'll be expanding our self-driving pilot there in the next few weeks, and we're excited to have the support of Governor Ducey."

Business: Technology NewsCompanies: Uber
Categories: US News

Uber pulls its self-driving cars from SF roads after regulators revoke their registrations

US News - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 07:56

On Wednesday, ride-hailing company Uber was forced to shut down its self-driving pilot program in San Francisco because the registrations of the company’s 16 self-driving cars in the city were revoked by the California DMW.

The move by the California DMW to force Uber to pull its self-driving cars from San Francisco roads comes after one week of failed talks between Uber and the state regulators.

The self-driving pilot program was commenced by Uber in San Francisco last Wednesday. Within hours of Uber’s announcement that it is offering self-driving cars to San Francisco passengers, the DMW ordered Uber to shut down the pilot program because the company was operating its self-driving cars without obtaining a permit to do so.

The DMW drew attention to the fact that all self-driving automakers are required to obtain a proper license from the DMV to carry out the testing of their self-driving vehicles on public roads. However, with Uber paying no heed to the DMW’s orders and defiantly continuing its self-driving pilot program in San Francisco, the DMW gave Uber’s self-driving car service a death blow by revoking the registrations of the cars.

About its move, the DMW said in a Wednesday letter to Uber: "It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles."

Companies: UberTechnology: Technology NewsRegion: California
Categories: US News

Mouthwash can kill gonorrhea bacteria: study

US News - Wed, 12/21/2016 - 11:23

Stopping the growth of bacteria that causes gonorrhea may be as simple as gargling with a mouthwash, a small study conducted in Australia suggested.

The idea that gargling with a mouthwash can kill bacteria isn’t new as Listerine advertised in 1879 that the disinfectant could effectively clean floors as well as cure gonorrhea. But no scientific studies were ever conducted to verify the company’s claim.

It may be noted here that the strain of bacteria responsible for gonorrhea is also found in humans’ throat, and the new study proved that gargling with a mouthwash helps kill the germs responsible for the sexual disease.

Lead researcher Eric Chow, of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in Australia, said, “Use of mouthwash could reduce the duration of infection and hence could reduce the number of gonorrhea cases. If the number of gonorrhea cases [reduces], it will minimize the use of antibiotics.”

Gonorrhea is a sexual disease, caused by a strain of bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Australia has witnessed the number of gonorrhea patients jumping more than 100 per cent over the last five years. In the U.S., there were 110.7 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 people in 2014, representing an increase of 5.1 per cent over the 2013 rate.

The new study was detailed in the Dec. 20th edition of the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

General: HealthResearchRegion: Australia
Categories: US News

Processed meat may aggravate asthma: study

US News - Wed, 12/21/2016 - 09:41

Regular consumption of processed meats like sausages, salami and ham may be bad for people with asthma as it can aggravate the condition, a new study suggested.

A tem of researchers studied the cases of as many as 1,000 French individuals, and found that a preservative known as nitrite used in cured or processed meats was aggravating the airways, making the condition of asthma more problematic for the patients.

Individuals who consumed more than four portions per week - 4 sausages or 8 slices of ham for example – were found to be suffering the largest deterioration of their condition of asthma by the end of the research.

The British Dietetic Association’s Catherine Collins suggested a varied and Mediterranean-style diet containing a lot of fresh produce, for both people with asthma and others.

Dr. Erika Kennington, Head of Research at Asthma UK, suggested, “For most people with asthma, healthy eating advice is exactly the same as it is for everyone else: follow a balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh and unprocessed food and is low in sugar, salt and saturated fat.”

However, the researchers admitted that they couldn’t find any direct link between consumption of processed meat and aggravation of asthma, pointing to need for a further investigation.

The alarming findings of the new study were reported in the most recent issue of the journal Thorax.

General: HealthResearch
Categories: US News

Twitter CTO Adam Messinger announces his departure

US News - Wed, 12/21/2016 - 07:58

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, high-profile Twitter executive Adam Messinger – the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – said that he is leaving the company after a five-year stint.

Messinger had joined Twitter in 2011 when he was appointed the company’s Vice President of app development in the engineering department.

Announcing his departure via the tweet, Messinger, who has been serving as the CTO of Twitter for since 2013, said that he is quitting Twitter to take some time off. Messinger’s departure from Twitter implies that he is the latest key executive of the company to have stepped down in 2016.

The announcement of Messinger’s departure from Twitter came close on the heels of a tweet, also posted on Tuesday, by Josh McFarland --Twitter's Vice President of product -- about his decision to leave the company too. McFarland has revealed that he is leaving Twitter to become a partner at Greylock Partners venture capital firm.

Previously, another top Twitter executive Adam Sharp -- Director of media partnerships at the company -- had announced, earlier this month, that he is leaving the company; while Adam Bain, Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer had announced his resignation in November.

Technology: Technology NewsCompanies: Twitter
Categories: US News

U.S. pregnant women becoming increasingly dependent on marijuana

US News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 10:45

Use of marijuana among pregnant women in the United States has increased more than 100 per cent in just over a decade, a fresh analysis of multiple reports involving thousands of women revealed.

A team of researchers looked at reports from nearly 200,000 women from the age-group of 18 to 44 years, and found that pregnant women are increasingly using marijuana, sometimes to treat morning sickness.

In 2002, merely 2 per cent of women reported using marijuana during pregnancy as compared with 4 per cent in 2014. Use of the drug was found to be the highest for those age 18 to 25, with 7.5 per cent partaking in the last 30 days.

Oregon Health Officer Dr. Katrina Hedberg warned, “A half a glass of wine once or twice is very different than the fetal alcohol syndrome where the women are drinking a fifth of whiskey or whatever a day … If it's affecting your brain and goes through the placenta, it's going to affect your infant's brain.”

Now, Oregon health officials are preparing to launch a new survey to collect data on the use of marijuana among pregnant women as part of an annual survey to be conducted by the state on pregnancy risks.

Based on an analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use & Health, the study’s results were published in Dec. 19th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

General: HealthResearch
Categories: US News

MACRA to change how Medicare pays doctors

US News - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 09:33

The quietly-passed bipartisan legislation Medicare Access & CHIP Re-authorization Act (MACRA) aims to mark a fundamental transformation in the way the existing Medicare system pays doctors and hospitals.

MACRA isn’t an ordinary legislation as it will likely have a profound impact on doctors, patients and families as well as the stability of the entire healthcare system.

Medicare has thus far been paying doctors a fixed fee for performing a procedure or service. MACRA will flip that to where a doctor or hospital’s payment will be based on the treatment’s success rate.

While the intent of the new law may be good, many argue that it isn’t well thought out because it would make the system more complicated. It would likely have a lot of unintended consequences.

For instance, suppose a patient with high BP sees a doctor and the doctor counsels his/her on a good diet and exercise along with certain lifestyle changes to help bring down the pressure. In this case, what factors would determine if the doctor will be able to lower the blood pressure as co-existing medical conditions will certainly impact the patient’s BP.

Doctors have largely opposed the new rules, and study has indicated that nearly 40 per cent of doctors could Medicare due to the MACRA legislation.

Instead of focusing on the implementation of the final rules of MACRA, media is currently paying attention to the future changes that the upcoming Donald Trump administration will make to the controversial healthcare system.

General: Health
Categories: US News

780M pain pills shipped to West Virginia in 6 years

US News - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 10:25

A whopping 780 million prescription painkillers were shipped by drug wholesalers to West Virginia over a period of six years, a newspaper investigation revealed.

Linking increasing drug abuse to thousands of deaths, the Charleston Gazette-Mail also reported that at least 1,728 West Virginians died from overdoses of drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone between 2007 and 2012.

As West Virginia has nearly 1.84 million residents, the shipments amount to 433 painkillers for every man, woman and kid in the state.

Chelsea Carter, a recovering addict who now works as a therapist at a drug treatment center in Logan County, said she recalled snorting and injecting the drug oxycontin in her body. She passed out, and when she awakened, the needle was still stuck in her arm.

Recalling the incident she added, “When they handcuff you, and you walk through the doors, and you're in an orange jumpsuit and they slam the doors behind you, that's when you wonder, 'is two to 20 years worth it for one OxyContin?' That's when I hit my knees and prayed, 'Lord, if you ever bring me out of this, I'll never touch another drug again.'”

Drug wholesalers attempted to keep the sales numbers secret, but the investigative journalists managed to obtain shipping sales records that were sent by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Office.

General: HealthRegion: West Virginia
Categories: US News

Exploding e-cigarettes need a federal look: Sen. Schumer says

US News - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 08:51

The federal government should launch an investigation into growing incidents of exploding e-cigarettes to figure out the cause, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Sen. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said in an interview on Sunday that the federal government needs to figure out why e-cigarettes and their batteries are exploding and catching fire.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), at least 66 e-cigarette explosions were reported across the nation in 2015 and early 2016. The federal agency underlined that the numbers kept by it might be an undercount.

Calling on the FDA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to figure out why so many of e-cigarettes are exploding, Sen. Schumer also suggested that the potentially dnngerous devices should be recalled.

Speaking on the issues, he said, “We cannot look the other way now that it is regulated and more Americans will use them. We ask the FDA to do its job and investigate why these cigarettes are exploding and force the e-cigarette manufacturers to prevent this from happening.”

While the industry continues to claim that e-cigarettes are safe to use, the increasing number of explosions have earned the devices “ticking time bombs” nickname. Preliminary investigations have suggested that faulty lithium-ion batteries in e-cigarettes might be the likely culprits.

Companies: FDAGeneral: HealthRegion: New York
Categories: US News

Apple plans to appeal EU’s $14 billion tax ruling

US News - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 07:07

According to Reuters, Apple's General Counsel Bruce Sewell and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri have revealed that a legal challenge to the European Union (EU)'s record $14 billion tax ruling will be launched by the company this week.

The EU tax ruling which Apple plans to appeal is the landmark verdict by the European Commission on August 30.

In its ruling, the European Commission had termed Apple's tax deal with Ireland as illegal state aid, and had ordered the company to pay taxes to the amount of 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to Ireland.

In revealing that the EU's tax ruling will be appealed by the company, Apple's Sewell and Maestri said that EU regulators had not paid due attention to tax experts and corporate law, and had intentionally selected a method for maximizing the penalty.

Though the European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager had said that said Apple's Irish tax bill implied a tax rate of 0.005 percent in 2014, Apple said that the EU had singled it out because of its success, and added that it would appeal the Commission's ruling at the second highest court in Europe this week.

Sewell and Maestri said: "Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines."

Business: TechnologyCompanies: Apple
Categories: US News

Killer Whales Captured Eating a Living Shark with Drone in California

US News - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 16:58

A rare footage captured using a drone shows a pod of killer whales eating a living shark. The video was captured by wildlife photographer Slater Moore in Monterey Bay, California. Killer whales are fierce predators and the video shared by Mr. Moore shows two female adult killer whales and two young killer whales attacking a shark.

Moore captured the rare footage with a camera mounted on a drone while he was aboard SeaWolfe II for a whale watching tour. The tours are operated by Monterey Bay Whale Watch and the company owner and marine biologist Nancy Black informed that she has witnessed many incidents of killer whales attacking and successfully hunting other life forms in the sea.

Black talked about an interesting incident when killer whales were chasing a group of sea lions. However, as killer whales approached sea lions, humpback whales chased them away. But soon, killer whales found another group of sea lions. Whale watchers generally term humpback whales as the ‘humanitarians of the sea’.

Taking about rare footage of killer whale attack on shark, marine biologist Katlyn Taylor said, “They’re kinda tricky animals to study. They hold their breath a long time, they swim really fast, they travel way offshore. That’s part of the fun though, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Researchers said that the shark attacked in the video shared by Mr. Moore was possibly a sevengill shark. The species belongs to cowshark family and other sharks usually stay in deep water.

A report published by Mercury News informed, “Killer whales, also known as orcas, are actually the world’s largest dolphins; they eat fish, seals and sometimes even whales. And humpbacks seem to have a vendetta against orcas that attack marine mammals.”

The more commonly spotted killer whales for the Monterey Bay are called transient killer whales, which mainly eat other mammals.

Sanctuary Cruises in Moss Landing, has witnessed determined humpbacks chase off killer whales in two separate instances, once when they were hunting a gray whale calf and again when they were attacking a group of sea lions.

General: FeaturedScienceRegion: California
Categories: US News

Tesla targets users hogging superchargers to improve access to charging stations

US News - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 10:08

Tesla Motors has announced a new policy aimed at users hogging superchargers in order to improve access for all Tesla users to the charging stations. In the recent times, Tesla users have expressed their concerns about access to superchargers. Tesla Motors has been improving its supercharging network but the issue at times is also caused by some users leaving their cars at terminals even after they have been fully charged. Tesla announced a fee of 40 cents per minute on users leaving their car on the charging point for more than 5 minutes after their vehicle has been charged.

Tesla issued an official statement regarding fee on users hogging superchargers. The company said that it hopes to ‘never make money from this system’ but also aims to send a message to users to leave supercharging stations after their car has been fully charged. This will enable other users to make use of the charging station.

Tesla started setting up its charging stations in year 2012. The company currently operates 769 stations in the United States and Canada. With supercharging technology, Tesla users have been able to charge their vehicles at a much faster rate compared to earlier technology. Earlier Tesla buyers have been given lifetime free access to Tesla supercharging stations. It was obvious that the charging stations would get clogged as the company sold more vehicles over all these years.

For upcoming Model 3, Tesla already has 400,000 reservations. The company is increasing its capacity to meet the ever rising demand for Tesla vehicles. However, the number of charging stations hasn’t grown at the same pace. By year 2017, Tesla aims to double the number of charging stations on its network.

Also, Tesla announced in November that starting 2017, Tesla buyers will have to pay for access to supercharging stations. The company has not shared the details about charges for new Tesla buyers.

Setting an idling fee seems like a good solution to deal with people misusing charging stations. But, considering the fast acceptance of Tesla vehicles, increasing the number of charging stations should also be a priority for Tesla Motors.

Tesla currently informs users about the status of charging on their smartphone. For most of the users, it won’t be a trouble to pick up their vehicle within five minutes, once it has been fully charged.

Clarifying on the newest policy, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “We are going to modify this so that people only pay a fee if most bays are occupied. If the site is basically deserted, no problem to park.”

The official statement from Tesla Motors informed, “We envision a future where cars move themselves once fully charged, enhancing network efficiency and the customer experience even further. Until then, we ask that vehicles be moved from the Supercharger once fully charged. A customer would never leave a car parked by the pump at a gas station and the same thinking applies with Superchargers.”

The statement issued by Tesla Motors further informed....

We designed the Supercharger network to enable a seamless, enjoyable road trip experience. Therefore, we understand that it can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability.

The Tesla app allows owners to remotely monitor their vehicle, alerting them when their charge is nearly complete and again once fully charged. For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee. If the car is moved within 5 minutes, the fee is waived. To be clear, this change is purely about increasing customer happiness and we hope to never make any money from it.

All Model S and Model X cars can incur idle fees. You will be billed for any idle fees incurred at your next Service Center visit. Idle fees only apply to Superchargers and not destination charging locations.

Companies: Tesla MotorsRegion: United StatesGeneral: FeaturedPeople: Elon MuskBusiness: Auto Sector
Categories: US News

Yahoo could face more trouble as data breach questions company’s security policies

US News - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 05:40

Yahoo has been suffering in terms of user base and its stock market valuation as the company failed to compete with Google, Facebook and other online networks that have spread their base over the last few years. However, Yahoo faced another embarrassment as the company shared details about nearly 1 billion accounts which could have been compromised in a data hacking incident that the internet services major faced.

In September, reports suggested that nearly 500 million Yahoo customers faced data hack in year 2014. However, a new report released in December suggests that data for nearly one billion Yahoo users was hacked in year 2013.

A report published by The New York Times suggests that the complete Yahoo data, with nearly one billion records, could fetch up to $300,000 in grey market.

The hacking incident of one billion Yahoo accounts in 2013 and the failure of the company to inform its customers till 2016 points to negligence of security staff at Yahoo. The data breach didn’t make it to public till the time law enforcement officials contacted Yahoo with samples of hacked data acquired from undisclosed sources.

Andrew Komarov, chief intelligence officer at Arizona-based InfoArmor informed, “Three buyers — two known spammers and an entity that appeared more interested in espionage — paid about $300,000 each for a complete copy of the database.”

Yahoo has stated that the company is not aware of the hackers involved with the 2013 hacking incident. The company has made progress in tracking the 2014 hacking incident and initial reports suggest that the hack was sponsored by a government agency. The company hasn’t provided any details about the government agency that could be involved.

Yahoo was in talks with Verizon as the telecom major was planning to acquire controlling stake in the company for $4.7 billion. The latest hacking incident revelations could impact that deal as well.

A detailed story regarding breach was published by Komarov on Bloomberg.Mr. Komarov suggests that the Yahoo hacking incident in 2013 was motivated by money and not politics. Komarov termed the hacking group involved with Yahoo hacking as Group E. He added that Group E could have sold complete copies of that data, several times.

Responding to Bloomberg story, Yahoo said, “The limited InfoArmor data set provided to us by Bloomberg, based on initial analysis, could be associated with the data file provided to us by law enforcement. That said, if InfoArmor has a report or more information, Yahoo would want to assess that before further comment.”

Another security firm Hold Security added that the hacking group was trying to sell Yahoo data for $200,000 on the so-called dark web.

Customer confidence in technology companies, retailers and banks has dropped significantly after recent data breaches. Most of the data breaches involve millions of customer accounts and these incidents only suggest that companies should be careful about the way they store, transmit and deal with sensitive customer information.

Technology: TechnologyCompanies: YahooGoogleFacebook
Categories: US News

Researchers find two antibodies that might help fight Zika

US News - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 05:22

A team of researchers claimed to have found key proteins that could help create medicines and vaccines to fight back the rapidly spreading Zika virus, which is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.

The new study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, states that the researchers found two antibodies in the blood of a patient infected with Zika that can effectively “eliminate” the virus.

The researchers tested the two antibodies in laboratory dishes, and found that they were able to eliminate samples of the Zika virus. When the researchers gave the antibodies to mice that had been intentionally infected with Zika, they were totally protected against ZIKV (Zika virus) infection.

The two antibodies, which didn’t seem to recognize strains of Dengue virus, were harvested from the blood of an infected patient in China who had become ill during a trip to Venezuela.

In most Zika infection cases, there are no symptoms. However, common symptoms include fever, red eyes, rash and joint pain. In few cases, it can trigger paralysis. In pregnant women, it may cause subsequent birth defects.

General: HealthResearch
Categories: US News

Study shows substantial resurgence of severe black lung disease among miners

US News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 10:09

Many more coal miners living and working in a single region of eastern Kentucky are suffering from the most serious form of black lung disease than previously reported, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) cautioned.

Between Jan. 2015 and Aug. 2016, at least 60 current and former coal miners were diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis (PMF). Investigators with the federal agency's National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) also confirmed all those cases.

PMF is basically an advanced stage of black lung disease, which is caused exclusively by lengthy exposure to dust. By late 1990s, this disease really was not being detected among miners at all. The new cases have shown a very substantial resurgence of the disease. However, the cause of the increase in the PMF cases remains unclear.

Lead investigator Dr. David J. Blackley, an epidemiologist with NIOSH, said, "The factors or combination of factors that led to this increase in cases of PMF in eastern Kentucky and whether there are more unrecognized cases in neighboring coal mining regions are unknown."

However, some believe that new or modified practices of mining in the region might be causing hazardous dust exposure, resulting in resurgence of the disease.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety & Health Administration has made some changes in its standards to lower the level of allowable dust in mines and mandate the use of personal dust monitors to allow miners to measure their exposure to dust in real time.

General: HealthCompanies: CDC
Categories: US News

More than 670K Americans sign-up for Obamacare in single day

US News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 08:56

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is commonly called Obamacare, had its biggest day ever earlier this week when more than 670,000 individuals selected health insurance plans through the federally run exchange marketplaces.

President Barack Obama announced on Friday that Thursday was the biggest number of sign-ups for government-subsidized insurance plans in a single day since the exchanges debuted in 2013.

It may be noted here that Thursday was slated to be the last day for people to select insurance plans providing health coverage for a year starting Jan. 1, 2017. But, the federal government and many state governments extended the deadline to next Monday.

Announcing the "big day," Obama said, "More are signing up by the day. When I came into office, 44 million people were uninsured. Today, we've covered more than 20 million of them. For the first time in our history, more than 90 percent of Americans are insured."

From 15th of November to 10th of December, more than 4 million individuals selected health insurance policies through HealthCare. gov. The figure represented a notable uptick from last year, when 2.8 million individuals had enrolled during the same time period.

The large number of sign-ups came amid a looming repeal of Obamacare by President-elect Donald Trump, who repeatedly criticized the program during his election campaign and vowed to annul it.

General: HealthPeople: Barack Obama
Categories: US News

Uber’s self-driving cars to remain on SF roads, challenging California DMV’s order

US News - Sat, 12/17/2016 - 07:54

On Friday, ride-hailing service Uber said that it intends to continue operating its self-driving cars on San Francisco roads despite the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)’s Wednesday order that to take the cars off the road.

In a conference call with reporters on Friday, Uber’s Anthony Levandowski – the company’s VP of self-driving technology – said that "The cars are on the road today," and added that they will continue operating in San Francisco, picking up passengers.

Though the DMV has asked Uber to stop operating its self-driving cars in San Francisco because it requires a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, Uber is of the opinion that it does not need to get a permit because its cars are not autonomous at all.

According to Uber, the law which the company is supposedly breaking does not apply to its self-driving cars because they are constantly monitored by humans who can take over the control at any time. Uber also asserted that its self-driving cars are not autonomous because they are not yet "capable" of driving without monitoring or active physical control.

However, the DMV says that the law is applicable to the kind of technology used in a vehicle, and does not pertain to whether the vehicle is being steered by a human. As such, going by the DMV’s explanation, if a car is equipped to be autonomous eventually, it is subject to the law.

Companies: UberTechnology: Technology NewsRegion: San Francisco
Categories: US News

New DEA rule on “marihuana” extracts irks cannabis industry

US News - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 11:09

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently filed a final rule notice for establishing a Controlled Substances Code Number for “marihuana” extract, and then categorizing the recreational drug marijuana, hemp as well as their derivatives as Schedule I substances.

The filing states that there is a new for a new code number because the U.N. Conventions on international drug control treats extracts from cannabis plants other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). The new rule is expected to go into effect on Jan. 13, 2017.

The rule and its potential effects led to speculation and confusion among cannabis advocates and businesses about what actions the government would take on cannabinoids, cannabidiol and hemp. However, DEA spokesperson Russ Baer assured that the final rule notice is mainly an administrative move and it doesn’t reflect any change in any control status.

Baer added that the new code would allow the agency’s internal accounting mechanisms to be more precise to track elements like medical and scientific research. Codes are used by researchers to identify which substance is subject to the project.

Speaking on the topic, he said, “The rule change recognizes that there is a potential medical benefit to some of the cannabinoids. It’s not intended to be speculative (and) doesn’t read into anything that we’re looking at in the future. It’s just a final order on a rulemaking proposal that was initiated back in 2011.”

A majority of the U.S. states now has laws legalizing some forms of medical marijuana, but most of these and other state-initiated marijuana measures are still in conflict with federal laws.

General: HealthCompanies: DEA
Categories: US News

Judge blocks Texas rules that would require fetal remains be buried/cremated

US News - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 09:17

As had widely been expected, a federal judge in Texas blocked the state until at least next month from implementing the controversial rules that would mandate burial or cremation of fetal remains.

The rules, which had been slated to take effect on coming Monday, would require hospitals and clinics to either bury or cremate fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages, instead of disposing of them in a sanitary landfill.

Several national and state advocacy groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, challenged the rules in Austin-based U.S. District Court, and Judge Sam Sparks issued injunction on Thursday.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the controversial rules will not serve any medical purpose; they would rather shame women seeking abortions and make it more difficult for doctors to provide the procedure.

Attorney David Brown who represented the plaintiffs during yesterday’s hearing said, “We look forward to demonstrating that these regulations are unwise, unjustified and unconstitutional, and should be permanently struck down.”

Texas isn’t the first state to be slammed with such a legal action. Previously, legal challenges blocked similar measures in states like Indiana and Louisiana.

General: HealthRegion: Texas
Categories: US News

Facebook is working to weed out fake news and hoaxes

US News - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 07:47

In a blog post published Thursday, Facebook's Adam Mosseri - the company's Vice President of News Feed - said that steps are being taken by the company to eliminate fake news and hoaxes, in an effort to address the growing controversy over the role that it allegedly plays in the spread of misinformation on the Internet.

Sharing details about Facebook's plans to weed out fake news, Mosseri said that the company would simplify the hoax reporting process, and will also make it easier for fact-checking organizations to flag fake stories.

In addition, Mosseri also said that Facebook plans to do away with monetary incentives for spammers, and would also look more closely at other indications of a hoax, such as which articles are read by Facebook users but are not shared.

Further explaining that stories which are shared less than normal will be flagged by Facebook, Mosseri said: "We've found that if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it, that may be a sign that a story has misled people in some way."

Mosseri also revealed that Facebook would soon release some new features for elimination of what he described as "the worst of the worst," or "the clear hoaxes" which are spread by spammers for their own gain.

Technology: TechnologyCompanies: Facebook
Categories: US News


Check out More news from Telecom Sector :: Pharmaceutical Sector :: Auto Sector :: Infrastructure :: Real Estate

Check out More news from Telecom Sector :: Pharmaceutical Sector :: Auto Sector :: Infrastructure :: Real Estate