The George Washington University
The George Washington University
News Article | May 4, 2017
There has been a notable increase in overall rates of MDE among all adolescents. According to NSDUH data, MDE among adolescents increased from 8.8 percent in 2005 to 12.5 percent in 2015. Adolescents who had an MDE experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for a period of two weeks or longer in the past 12 months and had at least some additional symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, and lack of energy. "These data illustrate the importance of partnerships between primary health care providers, behavioral health providers, and the youth and families they serve to effectively address all of the needs of youth," said SAMHSA Medical Director Anita Everett, M.D. The good news is that SAMHSA has effective programs to address these issues. For example, SAMHSA's Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families program, commonly called the Children's Mental Health Initiative, addresses the needs of adolescents with mental disorders. In addition, SAMHSA's Wellness Initiative promotes wellness for people with mental and/or substance use disorders with the goal of improving quality of life, health, and longevity. The SAMHSA report is released in recognition of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (Awareness Day). Awareness Day 2017, "Partnering for Help and Hope," focuses on the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental and/or substance use disorders. Access the complete SAMHSA report here and one-page "Spotlights," on diabetes and asthma here. More than 1,100 communities and 160 national collaborating organizations and federal partners participate in community events, educational programs, health fairs, art exhibits, and social networking campaigns in observance of Awareness Day. Each year, an event in Washington, DC, complements these local activities. The 2017 event takes place tonight at 7 p.m., EDT, at The George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs' Jack Morton Auditorium. For more information about Awareness Day or to view the live webcast of the event, visit www.samhsa.gov/children. Follow the hashtag #HeroesofHope to join the conversation about Awareness Day 2017. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/depression-more-common-among-adolescents-with-health-conditions-300451569.html
News Article | May 1, 2017
MindRocket Media Group announced today the addition of Ross Romano, formerly of ASCD, to the MindRocket team as Managing Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Romano will be a key figure in MindRocket’s work as the PR agency of record for the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), and his knowledge and expertise will enhance the communications support MindRocket can deliver for each of its clients. Based in Arlington, Va., Romano will further anchor MindRocket’s presence in the nation’s capitol. “I am thrilled to join the talented team at MindRocket Media Group and step into this new role at a defining moment for the company,” said Romano. “In just a few short years, MindRocket has earned industry credibility by consistently delivering quality thought leadership, and I’m confident that even greater things lie just ahead. I’m excited to collaborate with my colleagues and begin developing plans for the next stage of success.” Dr. Rod Berger, CEO of MindRocket Media Group, said of the hire: “Adding Ross to the MindRocket team is the latest exciting indicator of our explosive growth, as well as our commitment to providing unmatched expertise to each of our valued partners. Ross’s experience and connections in the education and EdTech industries will add new capabilities to the skilled and dedicated MindRocket Media Group team.” In his time with ASCD, most recently as Senior Publicist, Romano spearheaded the association’s media relations efforts and designed publicity campaigns across traditional and social media to promote the work of leading education authors, innovators, and thought leaders, as well as ASCD’s conferences and events. His efforts increased the public profile of the association’s programs and personalities and contributed to his unit’s recognition as the best small communications team by Ragan and PR Daily in 2014 and as a top Social Media-Savvy Association by Association Trends in 2015. "Ross Romano is an outstanding addition to the MindRocket team," said Dr. Peter DeWitt, a leading education author and consultant. DeWitt, who also writes the Finding Common Ground blog for Education Week, added, "I have worked with Ross over the last four years and he has an outstanding presence in person, as well as a great deal of credibility and respect in the field of education. I look forward to seeing what he does with MindRocket Media Group." Romano improved the ways in which ASCD connected with its educator audience by implementing best practices for engagement and expanding to new platforms. In partnership with BAM! Radio Network, he created and developed ASCD Learn Teach Lead Radio, a popular weekly podcast hosted by award-winning educators and featuring ASCD’s industry-leading authors and experts as guests. "I'm delighted to hear that Ross Romano will be joining MindRocket Media Group," said Errol St. Clair Smith, CEO of BAM! Radio Network. "Ross brings a strong and diverse skill set to the company. Over the last four years, we've been impressed with the way he leverages his expertise and experience in PR, new media, community building, and content development into powerful experiences for educators. We look forward to seeing how his vision and creativity will impact the trajectory of MindRocket." Prior to entering the education industry, Romano worked in the sports industry, including roles in both communications and baseball operations within Major League Baseball. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University.
News Article | May 1, 2017
"With digital DIY inspiration, a broadened range of product offerings and accessibility to high-end vendors there is a unique opportunity for one to flex their own design capabilities without the trained eye of an interior designer. twelvehome was born when Paige and I observed there was a lack of knowledge with balancing color, layering textures and practically fabricating for these self-designers. The room offerings of twelvehome give you the essentials for a beautifully layered, unique room and allows you to visualize the end product and effortlessly implement your personal style." - Christi Rogers, Co-Founder Well-versed in the design world, twelvehome is the creative notion of interior designer Christi Rogers and marketing expert Paige Kramer. Christi's vast creative experience with her own design firm paired with Kramer's family background in the furniture industry, brings a new approach to designing interior spaces. twelvehome, the name which derives from 12th Street in New York City where both Christi and Paige once lived, is a creative collaboration of the duo and is breaking down the walls of the exclusive design world and making high-end, designer living accessible to all. "When designing a space there is an emotional element within the conceptual process, creating an environment that will live in one's home. Christi and I are drawn to designs that have character and depth when shopping the fabric market and work towards creating concepts that are adaptable to personal style. A light, delicate twelvehome palette can be paired with a punchy limited edition print to juxtapose the softness of the space and infuse an individual attitude." - Paige Kramer, Co-Founder twelvehome is a direct to consumer brand with each pre-designed room scheme available in numerous offerings, including full-room options and multiple sizes in soft goods. Essential room packages start at $1,749.00 and individual items start at $89.00 for a pillow up to $3,725.00 for a bespoke rug. twelvehome offers shipping within the continental US. For all press inquiries and image requests: Travis Paul Martin | firstname.lastname@example.org | 312.635.8222 Jess Gamblin | email@example.com | 312.635.8226 Christi Rogers has spent her career designing luxurious interiors for her clients. Through her time living in Prague and London and her extensive travels throughout Europe, Christi developed a curiosity and appreciation for interiors around the world. Christi received a degree in Interior Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and after completing the program landed a position with world-renowned interior designer Jamie Drake. There Christi managed over 25 projects ranging from the Showtime Metropolitan Home Show homes to resort villas in Aruba and gained experience in a vast array of areas from product and furniture design to tabletop styling. In 2009, Christi founded CRD Associates, where she creates residential and commercial interiors. In addition to her design degree, Christi also holds a degree in International Business and Finance from Loyola University New Orleans. Paige Kramer was born into the furniture industry. Paige's family owns one of Florida's oldest and most well respected home furnishings businesses. Having spent each summer working in the family business, she developed a deep love and appreciation for home furnishings and design. Through the construction of her family's homes in New York City and The Hamptons, she met interior designer Christi Rogers and the idea for twelvehome was born. Prior to co-founding twelvehome, Paige spent ten years with The Commissioner's Office of Major League Baseball handling entertainment and lifestyle public relations. In addition to twelvehome, Paige spends time volunteering with an educational and arts mentoring program for underserved children in New York City. Paige holds a Bachelor's Degree in Art History and Fine Art from The George Washington University. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/introducing-a-new-approach-to-home-interior-design-from-start-to-style-300448620.html
News Article | May 3, 2017
NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that its Board of Directors has elected Jennifer R. Boykin to serve as executive vice president of HII and president of HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, effective July 1. She will succeed Matt Mulherin, who announced that he will retire on Aug. 1 after a 36-year career at Newport News Shipbuilding. Mulherin was named Newport News Shipbuilding’s president in 2011 and is responsible for all engineering, operations and programs at the division, including the most complex ships in the world: nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines. Prior to this position, Mulherin served as sector vice president and general manager of site operations for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – Newport News. He began his career at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1981 as a nuclear test engineer. Since then, he held increasingly responsible positions, including nuclear project manager for Los Angeles-class submarines, director of facilities, director of nuclear engineering and refueling, and director of carrier refueling and overhaul construction. He also served as director and vice president for the next generation of aircraft carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class, and as vice president of all programs, including shipbuilding and repair, Department of Energy, and commercial energy. Mulherin graduated from Virginia Tech in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. “Matt has touched every product built by Newport News Shipbuilding during his very successful tenure,” said HII President and CEO Mike Petters. “He has been a part of seven aircraft carrier deliveries and will soon add one more, Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), to the list. Matt’s leadership in the design, construction and testing of this first-in-class carrier, with myriad new technologies, has been critical to the success of this program. While the delivery of ships has been a large part of his responsibility and legacy, I believe Matt will be most remembered for his open and engaging style of leadership. It’s obvious that he cares deeply for the shipbuilders at Newport News. HII would not be the successful company it is today if it were not for Matt’s leadership during the spin-off six years ago and since that time.” After Mulherin steps down as Newport News Shipbuilding president, he will assist with the transition and continue to report to Petters until his retirement. Boykin, who will report to Petters effective July 1, currently serves as vice president, engineering and design for Newport News Shipbuilding. Named to this position in 2012, she is responsible for all ship design, planning yard and topside construction and test engineering. “Jennifer is an experienced and well-respected leader in our industry,” Petters said. “Her style is collaborative, and she is adept at building strong teams that work well together to deliver exceptional results. Her deep understanding of all levels of our business will help create great value for our customers. Jennifer has demonstrated the leadership skills and strategic vision to lead the Newport News Shipbuilding team to success, and I look forward to her joining my team, and I know Newport News Shipbuilding will be in capable hands.” Boykin’s shipbuilding career began in 1987 when she joined Newport News Shipbuilding in the nuclear engineering division. She has held progressively responsible positions, including director, facilities and waterfront support; program manager, nuclear engineering division; construction superintendent for the aircraft carrier program during construction of the USS John C. Stennis and USS Harry S. Truman; sector vice president, process excellence; and vice president, mission and quality assurance. A native of St. Louis, Boykin earned a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and a master’s degree in engineering management from The George Washington University. Boykin is a founding member of the Women’s Initiative Network at Old Dominion University (ODU) and serves as vice chair of the Blueprint Virginia Steering Committee. She is also chair of the Executive Control Board for the National Shipbuilding Research Program and is a member of the LEAD Virginia Board of Directors and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering Foundation Board. She has also served on boards for the American Red Cross and YMCA and on engineering advisory boards for both ODU and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Photos accompanying this release are available at: http://newsroom.huntingtoningalls.com/releases/nns-leadership-matt-mulherin-jennifer-boykin. Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division provides a wide range of professional services through its Fleet Support, Integrated Missions Solutions, Nuclear & Environmental, and Oil & Gas groups. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs nearly 37,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit: Statements in this release, other than statements of historical fact, constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these statements. Factors that may cause such differences include: changes in government and customer priorities and requirements (including government budgetary constraints, shifts in defense spending, and changes in customer short-range and long-range plans); our ability to obtain new contracts, estimate our future contract costs and perform our contracts effectively; changes in government regulations and procurement processes and our ability to comply with such requirements; our ability to realize the expected benefits from consolidation of our Ingalls facilities; natural disasters; adverse economic conditions in the United States and globally; risks related to our indebtedness and leverage; and other risk factors discussed in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. There may be other risks and uncertainties that we are unable to predict at this time or that we currently do not expect to have a material adverse effect on our business, and we undertake no obligations to update any forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements that we may make.
News Article | May 12, 2017
The International Council of Small Business (ICSB) and the Mission of Argentina to the UN today jointly hosted more than 250 people representing leading academic and business experts, policy makers, and practitioners from around the world at the first-ever Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME’s) Knowledge Summit held at the United Nations. Speakers shared the latest trends and leading edge research, and debated best practices on a wide variety of enterprise-related topics to identify the most effective ways to drive mass entrepreneurship and create the jobs of the future, while achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals aimed at reducing poverty and promoting prosperity. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, opened the program by reading a statement on behalf of UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who emphasized that, "Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises represent around 90% of global economic activity. They are on the front lines of embracing transformative technologies and new business models." Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy, Executive Director of the International Council of Small Business said his goal around the MSMEs Knowledge Summit was to, “promote action around the recently adopted UN resolution which recognizes the important role SME’s play in promoting sustainable business worldwide. It is important to continue this global movement.” ICSB is a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization that applies the intellectual and technological resources of its members. Country ministers and dignitaries from Argentina, United States Small Business Administration, and Arab Republic of Egypt, came together to define long-term strategies and national policies needed to create the 600 million jobs the World Bank estimates will be needed to fulfil the growing workforce over the next 15 years. They widely recognized that leveling the playing field is vital to job creation and inclusive entrepreneurship must be promoted, particularly support for women owned businesses. MSME’s currently account for up to 45 percent of total employment, and up to 33 percent of national income in emerging economies. HE Mariano Mayer, National Secretary for Entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Enterprises for Argentina noted that the new Argentine Entrepreneurs Law promotes a regime for simplified companies to constitute an enterprise in 24 hours, fiscal benefits for those who invest in entrepreneurship, loans to launch new projects and mechanisms commonly used worldwide so Argentines may bet on Argentine ideas. “This administration has assumed the responsibility of supporting the Argentines with their ideas because we believe in its potential. As part of the National Productive Plan, we are eliminating obstacles, boosting innovation and improving access to financing for the creation of new companies," said Mayer. Ambassador Martín Garcia Moritán, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN, commented that, "We hope that the establishment of June 27 as the Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day will help to raise public awareness of the important role they have in many areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." During the program, Drs. Sargeant and El Tarabishy jointly announced that Facebook will be ICSB’s founding partner for MSMEs International Day. In Argentina, almost half a million small businesses use Facebook to connect to their customers. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, Linda McMahon, delivered the keynote speech. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to discuss the SBA’s role in helping small businesses launch and thrive. Exporting is an essential component of small business growth, and the SBA is here to help entrepreneurs discover new exporting opportunities, to expand into new markets, and compete in the global economy,” said McMahon. A brief video statement was delivered by Prince Constantijn Van Oranje, The Netherlands, in which he emphasized his hope that, "today's event helps to raise awareness of the relevance of these (MSMEs) firms and their importance in fostering entrepreneurship, because we need more entrepreneurs." Minister “General” Erfan Gamaledin, Arab Republic of Egypt spoke about his country's new national strategy to promote small businesses in order to increase their contribution to GDP from 9% to 25%. Speakers from academia highlighted various ways they are generating supportive pathways for entrepreneurs that ranged from virtual mentoring programs that help level the playing field by removing geography as a barrier to success to teaching an entrepreneurial mindset. “Entrepreneurship is not a new idea. But it is an idea that is newly recognized as a force for positive change at home and around the world. Supporting the entrepreneurial spirit must be a central part of any plan that seeks to empower global citizens and ensure their prosperity,” noted Dr. Leo Chalupa, Vice President for Research, The George Washington University. MSMEs are pursuing international trade to access and supply foreign markets and, while trade growth globally is slowing, digital trade is growing. SMEs participate significantly in these online transactions, with approximately 25% of total online sales and 33% of online purchases being made by these enterprises. The Internet has created new business models and generated the development of some of the world’s most innovative companies that are providing goods and services to consumers in entirely new ways. During the business panel discussion, Michele Bongiovanni, CEO, of for-profit social impact company HealRWorld, presented her firm’s innovative new digital E-commerce and micro-investment community platform currently under development. It will allow sustainable MSMEs to showcase their mission, commitments to sustainable practices, products and services to help drive sales. Ki-Chan Kim, Immediate Past President, ICSB, Korea, further noted that, “ICSB will continue discussions with all stakeholders at the 62nd ICSB World Conference in Buenos Aires starting June 27, the First Annual UN MSME Day, to bring about the transformative change and sustainable economic development through the MSME sector.” Founded in 1955, the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) was the first international membership organization to promote the growth and development of small businesses worldwide. The organization brings together educators, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from around the world to share knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. The ICSB is a non-profit organization, for more information visit http://www.icsb.org.
News Article | May 24, 2017
On New Year’s Eve in 2015 local and federal agents arrested a 26-year-old man in Rochester, N.Y., for planning to attack people at random later that night using knives and a machete. Just before his capture Emanuel L. Lutchman had made a video—to be posted to social media following the attack—in which he pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Lutchman would later say a key source of inspiration for his plot came from similar videos, posted and shared across social media and Web sites in support of the Islamic State and “violent jihad.” Lutchman—now serving a 20-year prison sentence—was especially captivated by videos of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric and al Qaeda recruiter in Yemen. Al-Awlaki’s vitriolic online sermons are likewise blamed for inspiring the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers and several other prominent terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe over the past 15 years. Officials had been monitoring Lutchman’s activities days before his arrest and moved in immediately after he finished making his video—which was never posted, and ironically ended up serving as evidence of his intention to commit several crimes. But al-Awlaki’s videos continue to motivate impressionable young people more than five years after the cleric—dubbed the “bin Laden of the internet”—died in a U.S. drone strike. Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube have been scrambling to remove terrorist propaganda videos and shut down accounts linked to ISIS and some other violent groups. The footage has been copied and shared so many times, however, that it remains widely available on those sites to digitally savvy and extremism-prone millennials like Lutchman and Omar Mir Seddique Mateen. The latter pledged allegiance to ISIS on social media before murdering 49 people in Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub last June. Social media companies have long used sophisticated algorithms to mine users’ words, images, videos and location data to improve search results and to finely target advertising. But efforts to apply similar technology to root out videos that promote terrorists’ causes, recruit new members and raise funding have been less successful. Video, which makes up well over half of mobile online traffic, is particularly problematic because it can spread extremists’ messages virally in minutes, is difficult to track and even harder to eliminate. Despite these high-profile challenges, Facebook, Google and Twitter face a growing backlash—including advertiser boycotts and lawsuits—pushing them to deal more effectively with the darker elements of the platforms they have created. New video “fingerprinting” technologies are emerging that promise to flag extremist videos as soon as they are posted. Big questions remain, however: Will these tools work well enough to keep terrorist videos from proliferating on social media? And will the companies that have enabled such propaganda embrace them? ISIS has a well-established playbook for using social media and other online channels to attract new recruits and encourage them to act on the terrorist group’s behalf, according to J. M. Berger, a former nonresident fellow in The Brookings Institution’s project U.S. Relations with the Islamic World. “The average age of an [ISIS] recruit is about 26,” says Seamus Hughes, deputy director of The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. “These young people aren’t learning how to use social media—they already know it because they grew up with it.” ISIS videos became such a staple on YouTube a few years ago that the site’s automated advertising algorithms were inserting advertisements for Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Anheuser–Busch in front of videos associated with the terrorist group. Despite assurances at the time that Google was removing the ads and in some cases the videos themselves, the problem is far from solved. In March Google’s president of its EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) business and operations, Matthew Brittin, apologized to large advertisers—including Audi, Marks and Spencer, and McDonald’s U.K.—who had pulled their online ads after discovering they had appeared alongside content from terrorist groups and white supremacists. AT&T, Johnson & Johnson and other major U.S. advertisers have boycotted YouTube for the same reason. Whether Google had turned a blind eye to such content is a matter of debate, primarily between the company and the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a nonprofit nongovernmental organization formed in 2014 to monitor and report on the activities of terrorist groups and their supporters. More certain is the fact that on Google’s sprawling YouTube network there is no easy way to find and take down all or even most of the video that crosses the line from being merely provocative to a full-on call for violence and hatred. Social media sites including Facebook, Google and Twitter have for the past few years used Microsoft’s PhotoDNA software with some success to automatically identify still images they might want to remove—but there has been no comparable tool for video. Social media sites instead rely mostly on their large user bases to report videos that might violate the companies’ policies against posting terrorist propaganda. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent promise to add 3,000 more reviewers to help better monitor video posted to the site only highlights the magnitude of the problem. As Twitter noted in at least two separate blog posts last year, there is no “magic algorithm” for identifying terrorist rhetoric and recruitment efforts on the internet. That argument might not hold much longer. A key researcher behind PhotoDNA says he is developing software called eGLYPH, which applies PhotoDNA’s basic principles to identify video promoting terrorism—even if the clips have been edited, copied or otherwise altered. Large video files create an “imposing problem” for search tools because, depending on the quality, they might consist of 24 or 30 different images per second, says Hany Farid, a Dartmouth College computer science professor who helped Microsoft develop PhotoDNA nearly a decade ago to crack down on online child pornography. Software analyzing individual images in video files would be impractical because of the computer processing power required, Farid says. He has been working for more than a year to develop eGLYPH’s algorithm, which analyzes video, image and audio files, and creates a unique signature—called a “hash”—that can be used to identify either an entire video or specific scenes within a video. The software can compare hashes of new video clips posted online against signatures in a database of content known to promote terrorism. If a match is found, that new content could be taken down automatically or flagged for a human to review. One of eGLYPH’s advantages is that it quickly creates a signature for a video without using lots of computing power, because it analyzes changes between frames rather than the entire image in each frame. “If you take a video of a person talking, much of the content is the same [from frame to frame],” Farid says. The idea is to “boil a video down to its essence,” taking note only when there is a significant change between frames—a new person enters the picture or the camera pans to a focus on something new. “We take these videos and try to remove as much of the redundancy in the data as possible and extract the signature from what’s left,” he says. Farid’s partner on eGLYPH is the CEP, which has built up a vast repository of hashed images, audio files and video that “contains the worst of the worst—content that few people would disagree represented acts of terrorism, extremist propaganda and recruiting materials,” says Mark Wallace, the CEP’s chief executive officer and a former U.S. ambassador. Video clips the CEP shared with Scientific American from its database featured executions—several by beheading—as well as bombings and other violent acts. eGLYPH compares the signatures it generates with those stored in the CEP database. This is similar in principle to PhotoDNA, which was developed to create and match signatures of images posted to the Web with those in The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s database of images the organization has labeled as child pornography. The CEP has offered free access to both eGLYPH and the organization’s database to social media outlets trying to keep up with terrorism-related video posts. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube spurned the CEP’s proposal, however, instead announcing in December plans to develop their own shared database of hashed terrorism videos. Even Microsoft, which provided funding for Farid’s work on eGLYPH, opted to join the social media consortium and has been ambiguous about its ongoing commitment to eGLYPH. Each of the social media companies says it will create its own database of signatures identifying videos and images depicting the “most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos” they have removed from their services, according a joint statement the companies issued December 5. The companies have not revealed many details about their project such as how they will hash new videos posted to their platforms or how they will compare those signatures—which they call “fingerprints”—to hashed videos stored in their databases. Each company will decide independently whether to remove flagged videos from its site and apps, based on the company’s individual content-posting policies. The companies responded to Scientific American’s interview requests by referring to their December press release and other materials posted to their Web sites. One reason for the companies’ fragmented approach to purging videos that support or incite terrorism is the lack of a universal definition of “terrorist” or “extremist” content—social media companies are unlikely to want to rely solely on the judgment of the CEP or their peers. Microsoft’s policy, for example, is to remove from its Azure Cloud hosting and other services any content that is produced by or in support of organizations on the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List, which includes al-Awlaki and many ISIS members. At Facebook, the more times users report content that might violate the company’s rules, the more likely it is to get the company’s attention, Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning, said at a Facebook artificial intelligence event in New York City in February. Candela did not comment specifically on the project announced in December but did say Facebook is developing AI algorithms that can analyze video posts for content that violates the company’s Community Standards. One of the main challenges to creating the algorithm is the tremendous volume of posts Facebook receives each day. Last year Facebook users worldwide watched 100 million hours of video daily, according to the company. Another challenge is tuning the algorithm so it can accurately identify content that should be taken down without falsely flagging images and video that comply with Facebook’s rules. Twitter initially relied solely on its users to spot tweets—among the hundreds of millions posted daily—that might violate the company’s content-posting rules. Mounting criticism over Twitter’s seeming inability to control terrorism-related tweets, however, prompted the company to be more proactive. During the second half of 2016 alone Twitter suspended 376,890 accounts “for violations related to promotion of terrorism,” according to the company’s March “Transparency Report.” Nearly three quarters of the accounts suspended were discovered by Twitter’s spam-fighting tools, according to the company. YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit video intended to “recruit for terrorist organizations, incite violence, celebrate terrorist attacks or otherwise promote acts of terrorism.” The site does, however, allow users to post videos “intended to document events connected to terrorist acts or news reporting on terrorist activities” as long as those clips include “sufficient context and intent.” That thin line creates a predicament for any software designed to automatically find prohibited footage, which might explain why YouTube relies mostly on visitors to its site to flag inappropriate content. YouTube announced in November 2010 it had removed hundreds of videos featuring al-Awlaki’s calls for violence, although many of his speeches are still available on the site—the CEP in February this year counted 71,400 videos carrying some portion of his rhetoric. Social media companies have begun to buy into the idea that they need to do more to keep terrorist content off of their sites. They are increasingly adding bans on video prohibited by YouTube’s Community Guidelines. “Some of this has to do with corporate responsibility, but the vast majority probably has to do with public relations,” says Hughes at the Program on Extremism. To be fair, ISIS’s efforts to hijack social media have created philosophical and technological problems the companies likely had not anticipated when building their digital platforms for connecting friends and posting random thoughts, he says. “There’s been a learning curve. It takes a while to see how messages spread online and figure out whose accounts should be taken down and how to do it.” Three lawsuits filed against the major social media companies over the past year have sought to accelerate that learning curve. The lawsuits cover Mateen’s Pulse Nightclub attack as well as the November 2015 Paris and December 2015 San Bernadino, Calif., (pdf) mass shootings. The suits allege Facebook, Google and Twitter “knowingly and recklessly” provided ISIS with the ability to use their social networks as “a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits.” Excolo Law—the Southfield, Mich., law firm that filed the suits on behalf of terrorist victims’ families—cites specific instances of attackers using social media before and even during the attacks. Between the time husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and injured 22 in San Bernardino and were themselves gunned down by law enforcement, Malik had posted a video to Facebook pledging her allegiance to ISIS, according to a suit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. “If they put one tenth of a percent of the effort they put into targeted advertising towards trying to keep terrorists from using their sites, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,” says Keith Altman, lead counsel at Excolo Law. Scientific American contacted Facebook, Google and Twitter for comment about the lawsuits. Only Facebook replied, stating, “We sympathize with the victims and their families. Our Community Standards make clear that there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity or for content that expresses support for such activity, and we take swift action to remove this content when it’s reported to us.” A recurring criticism against the social media companies is that they have been too slow to react to the dangerous content festering on their sites. “In 2015 we started to engage with social media companies to say, ‘There’s a problem and we think you should take some concrete steps to address it,’” says CEP executive director David Ibsen. “And we got not the most enthusiastic response from them. A lot of the pushback was that there wasn’t a technological solution, the problem is too big, free speech concerns, it goes against our ethos of free expression—all those different things.” The CEP challenged those excuses by turning to Farid. “He said there was a technological solution to the problem of removing extremist content from the internet, and that he had been working on it,” Ibsen says. “That was one of the first times you had a recognized computer engineer saying that what the tech companies were saying wasn’t true, that there is a technology solution.” Regardless of whether the CEP and social media companies come together, the technology they are developing would not prevent ISIS or its supporters from live-streaming video of an attack or propaganda speech on services such as Facebook Live or Twitter’s Periscope. Such video would have no matching signature in a database, and any attempt to flag a new video would need an algorithm that defines “terrorism,” so it knows what to look for, Farid says. “I know it when I see it,” he explains. “But I don’t know how to define it for a software program in a way that doesn’t trigger massive amounts of false alarms.” Algorithms that might automatically identify faces of well-known ISIS members in video work “reasonably well” but are not nearly accurate or fast enough to keep up with massive amounts of video streamed online, he says, adding: “I don’t see that being solved in the next decade at the internet scale.” Facebook’s inability to keep people from posting live footage of murders and suicides via Facebook Live underscores Farid’s point. Even if the major social media companies continue to keep eGLYPH and the CEP at arm’s length, Wallace is hopeful internet service providers and smaller social media companies might still be interested in the technology. “Regardless, we hope it is a tool that drives people to confront the issue,” he says. Farid acknowledges efforts to scale back ISIS’s use of social media are only part of a much larger battle that has many components—socioeconomic, political, religious and historic. “I’ve heard people say this [software] isn’t going to do anything,” he says. “My response: if your bar for trying to solve a problem is, ‘Either I solve the problem in its entirety or I do nothing,’ then we will be absolutely crippled in terms of progress on any front.”
News Article | May 24, 2017
But could the same hold true for humans? And if conception were even possible in space, would babies born in zero gravity develop differently than their Earth-bound counterparts? As NASA and other global space agencies work furiously on propelling people to Mars by the 2030s, experts say essential questions of survival on the Red Planet are often overlooked. Rocket scientists have little grasp of how humans would live and breathe on Mars, or if they even could withstand the powerful doses of cosmic radiation they'd receive on the two- to three-year journey. A key component to colonizing other planets—as SpaceX chief Elon Musk has vowed to do on Mars—would be having babies, said Kris Lehnhardt, assistant professor in emergency medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. This raises ethical questions about the potential for creating a new race of humans born in deep space or in microgravity. "If your goal is to eventually be a truly space-faring species then this is an essential area to study," he told AFP. "It is a completely unknown area of science." A study in Monday's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, was an "interesting first step," said Lehnhardt, who was not involved in the research. Mouse sperm was freeze-dried and sent for nine months to the International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the Earth. When the shipment returned, lead researcher Teruhiko Wakayama of the University of Yamanashi found the space sperm had sustained "slightly increased DNA damage," after enduring an average daily radiation dose about 100 times stronger than on Earth. Back on Earth, embryos fertilized in vitro with the sperm produced healthy offspring, and grew into normal adults, "suggesting that the DNA damage observed in the space-preserved sperm samples was largely repaired in embryos after fertilization," said the report. But the research revealed little about what might happen in space. "Everything that happened afterward was on the ground again," Lehnhardt said. For researchers who have examined the effect of deep space radiation on the reproductive organs of female lab mice, the news is not good. A study published in the journal Reproduction this month showed that severe damage to the ovaries of female mice exposed to charged particles is typical of space radiation, "raising concern for premature ovarian failure in astronauts" exposed to deep space travel, it said. One of the study's authors, Ulrike Luderer, a professor of medicine at the University of California, Irvine, said her research shows why the US space agency is worried about the health of deep space astronauts. "These types of exposures can cause early ovarian failure and ovarian cancer, as well as other osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and neurocognitive diseases like Alzheimer's," she told AFP. "Half the astronauts in the NASA's new astronaut classes are women," she added. "So it is really important to know what chronic health effects there could be for women exposed to long-term deep space radiation." Lehnhardt said he is not aware of any studies that have shown rodents could successfully get pregnant in space, or that embryos could survive there. "If a four- or eight-cell embryo gets hit by galactic cosmic radiation, the likelihood of that embryo surviving is probably quite low," he said. "If somehow the embryo could get past that stage we actually have no concept of how that would develop." Future experiments could involve sending embryos of various species to the space station. But even then, it might be difficult to tease apart whether any problems in development are due to the absence of gravity, or to radiation, said Lehnhardt. If somehow we took a "magical leap" to the point where an infant could be born in a spaceship, "you have a baby that in theory can't stand or walk, and uses its arms as it is developing for movement," he said, warning of the potential for a new evolutionary chain of humans. Those born or raised on the Moon or Mars, which are considered to be partial gravity environments, might fare better, but still might not be exactly the same as Earth-born people. "Maybe the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, or the one-third gravity of Mars is sufficient for normal bone and muscle development," Lehnhardt said. "That would lead to a similar species then spreading out amongst the solar system." Explore further: After 9 months in space, mouse sperm yield healthy mice
News Article | May 8, 2017
-- Expanding its Los Angeles legal team, Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP (CGS3) announced today the addition of attorney Cheryl Nieman to its growing commercial real estate practice. Nieman will work closely with partner David Swartz in the firm's newest office location at 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1600 in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.According to Swartz, who heads up CGS3's LA office, the new location makes good business sense in light of the significant number of clients headquartered in Los Angeles and Orange County and supports the firm's commitment to delivering best-in-class responsiveness, work product quality and a "street smart" approach to sophisticated commercial real estate deals."With our new L.A. offices, we are poised to proactively serve our existing LA- and Orange County-based clients while improving our ability to attract the most talented lawyers, like Cheryl, who share our commitment to addressing our clients' legal needs with innovation and creativity as well as partnering with them in achieving their business goals," said Swartz. "Cheryl is a tenacious litigator and skilled transactional attorney with a wealth of experience who can get things done without unnecessary effort. We are thrilled to have her join our team."Nieman most recently was an associate at the Law Offices of Robert P. Friedman in Bel Air, Calif., where she represented developers, property owners, businesses, investors and tenants in transactional real estate and corporate matters, negotiating and preparing of documentation relating to the acquisition, ownership, leasing, development, financing and sale of shopping centers, office buildings, industrial properties and apartment buildings. Prior to that she was an associate with Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP in New York, N.Y., litigating major complex commercial cases in various areas of law including real estate, contract, securities, products liability, antitrust, defamation, civil RICO and conspiracy claims.A native of San Diego, she holds a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York and graduated magna cum laude from The George Washington University with a degree in business administration.Since its inception in 2013, CGS3 has quickly established a reputation as one of the leading real estate law firms in Southern California, attracting some of the state's finest real estate attorneys from both large corporate firms and senior in-house positions. With practice areas including land use, finance, acquisition/disposition, hospitality, entity formation, tax, development, leasing, distressed assets and litigation/disputes, CGS3 is located at 12750 High Bluff Drive, Suite 250, San Diego, and 11601 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1600, Los Angeles. For more information, visit http://www.cgs3.com
News Article | May 9, 2017
It’s the cave that keeps on giving. Almost four years ago, researchers recovered 1500 ancient human bones and teeth from a rocky chamber in South Africa’s Rising Star cave system. The team has now recovered 130 additional hominin bones and teeth from a second chamber in Rising Star. They say the discoveries – and the first official confirmation of the specimens’ age – have the potential to transform our understanding of how and where the first humans evolved. Researchers investigating humanity’s deep evolutionary roots rarely find even fragments of hominin bones, let alone relatively complete skeletons. Many must have looked on with jealous eyes in 2013 as Lee Berger at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and his colleagues pulled hundreds of bones from the Dinaledi chamber in Rising Star. But it wasn’t just the sheer volume of material that was significant. Berger’s team quickly realised that the bones belonged to a species like none seen before. Its short body had hands and feet like a modern human, a small brain like an early human, and a pelvis and shoulders like those of an ape-like Australopithecus. In 2015 the team named it Homo naledi. The newest find – recovered from a chamber in Rising Star now named the Lesedi Chamber – is giving us a better sense of the scope and importance of the discoveries. We now have official confirmation that the additional H. naledi remains belong to at least three individuals and in fact, many of the bones and teeth belong to a single, remarkably complete adult skeleton, dubbed Neo. “It’s one of the greatest fossil finds of the 21st century in its own right,” says Berger. Judging by the size of the bones, Neo might have stood about 1.4 metres tall and weighed about 40 kilograms, says William Jungers at Stony Brook University in New York, who wasn’t involved in the work. “H. naledi was smaller than originally proposed,” he says. Perhaps more significantly, for the first time the team has worked out how old the H. naledi remains in the Dinaledi chamber are. This had proved difficult, partly because the fossils were found in loose sediment rather than rock, which is easier to date. But careful isotope analysis of those sediments and of the remains of solid limestone layers that formed after the H. naledi material was added to the cave suggested the fossils were between 230,000 and 415,000 years old. Isotope analysis of material taken from three H. naledi teeth helped narrow down the range even further. The H. naledi bones in Dinaledi are between 236,000 and 335,000 years old. There is near-universal agreement that this age range is significant. It puts H. naledi on the South African landscape not long before our species (“modern” humans) had begun to appear elsewhere in Africa – and long after small-brained hominins were thought to have vanished from the continent. “What makes this especially fascinating is that H. naledi was more different from modern humans than Neanderthals, another species with which modern humans co-existed,” says Fred Spoor at University College London. The age of the H. naledi material also falls in a time period with a generally poor hominin fossil record. We know that several species of hominin apparently coexisted in Africa more than two million years ago, and that several species seemed to have coexisted across Eurasia in the last 100,000 years or so. “Now we see diversity at this time [236,000 to 335,000 years] too,” says Carol Ward at the University of Missouri in Columbia. “That’s exciting.” Bernard Wood at The George Washington University in Washington DC is not surprised by the age. Just months after the first H. naledi papers were published he bet a colleague that the species would turn out to be less than 500,000 years old. It was the hands that did it for him, he says. “My sense was that having a relatively modern hand and foot was important,” he says. Wood thinks a full evolutionary analysis might conclude from those modern hands and feet that H. naledi branched off from other humans relatively recently. “Its primitive features might be misleading,” he says. This would mean it originated recently and then evolved to look more primitive due to isolation. For instance, southern Africa might have been relatively isolated from the rest of the continent, says Wood, and H. naledi’s lineage might have had comparatively little competition from other humans. This could have relaxed the pressure to grow and maintain a large brain. If the skeleton no longer had to bear the weight of a large and heavy skull, features like the hips and shoulders might have reverted to become more like those of a small-brained hominin. But others are reasonably sure that H. naledi is genuinely an early human – albeit one that survived until astonishingly recently. “It could lie close to the origin of the genus Homo,” says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum in London. “It could even be the most primitive early Homo we’ve ever discovered,” says Berger. “It might have had its origins long before two million years.” He thinks this could flip Wood’s model on its head. Rather than seeing southern Africa as an isolated evolutionary cul-de-sac, perhaps it was actually the powerhouse of human evolution: the region where many human species (potentially including our species) first appeared. “Subequatorial regions are the engines of biodiversity,” he says. This new way of thinking might have profound implications, he says. For instance, H. naledi’s odd mix of features – some strikingly modern-looking, some more ancient – hints that the emergence of recognisably modern human anatomy was far more complicated than originally thought. And the idea that H. naledi might have survived in the crucible of human evolution for two million years should put to rest the idea that competition between human lineages drove a universal march to larger and larger brains. “It was always just a tale – and it’s ended now,” says Berger. Even the archaeological record of stone tools might need to be reassessed given that H. naledi’s modern-looking hands should have been capable of fine manipulation. In a third paper, Berger’s team speculates that stone tools generally assumed to be the work of recognisably modern humans like Homo erectus or even early H. sapiens might have been the handiwork of H. naledi. We can only guess what implications that might have for understanding how ancient humans spread out of Africa. Perhaps significantly, H. naledi’s anatomy suggests it could walk long distances. However, this speculation is coming too thick and fast for other researcher’s tastes. Wood, for instance, says nothing we have so far learned about H. naledi would encourage him to change the way he teaches his students about human evolution. “Lee likes to push the envelope, sometimes reaching beyond the information in hand,” says Jungers. He says it would be prudent to wait for solid evidence before the thought experiments get too out of hand. Berger accepts the point, and predicts there will be renewed interest in looking for that evidence by revisiting excavated archaeological sites with fresh eyes. “Gosh I’d love to be a young archaeologist right now,” he says. Read more: Ancient humans: What we know and still don’t know about them
News Article | May 9, 2017
ISELIN, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Registration has opened for The 2017 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology - the nation's premier science research competition for high school students. The Siemens Competition, established in 1999, is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, administered by Discovery Education. Each year, the program invites high school students nationwide to submit original research projects in math, science and technology for the opportunity to win college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. Students compete as individuals or as members of a team. Regional competition rounds take place in November, and are held on-line in a secure, virtual environment. Participants present their projects via a secure cloud-based technology platform to a panel of judges who will be assembled at this year’s regional hosting universities: California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Notre Dame and The University of Texas at Austin. Winners of these Regional Finals will be invited to present their research in-person to nationally renowned scientists and mathematicians at the Siemens Competition National Finals in Washington, D.C. in December at The George Washington University. The 2017 enhanced national scholarship award structure will continue to award $100,000 and $50,000 awards to the 1st and 2nd placed teams and individuals – but now $25,000 awards will go to all of the remaining four team and individual national finalists. “The exceptionally high standards of the national finalist projects – often in different, incomparable scientific areas -- made it increasingly difficult to distinguish 3rd -6th place projects for our judges,” explained David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Recognizing more finalists equally is a better reflection of the extraordinary quality of the finalist projects across different scientific disciplines, and the judges’ appreciation for them.” Last year’s individual Grand Prize winner, Vineet Edupuganti, developed a biodegradable battery to power ingestible medical devices that can track and diagnose conditions that affect internal organs, and the winning team of Adhya and Shriya Beesam developed a new approach to diagnose schizophrenia earlier in patients using both brain scans and psychiatric evaluations. The previous year’s individual winner utilized small plastic beads to remove sulfamethazine, a common contaminant, from drinking water in a way that was reusable and scalable, and the winning team utilized a loofah sponge to help clean up oil from oil spills and then turn it into electricity. Video, photos and bios of the 2016 finalists are available at: http://siemensusa.synapticdigital.com/US/SIEMENS-FOUNDATION/oregon-and-texas-students-win--100-000-scholarship-prizes-in-2016-siemens-competition-in-math--scien/s/53b91f15-4e33-4f46-b76c-bd17dfc762ba The Siemens Foundation has invested more than $100 million in the United States to advance workforce development and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math. The Siemens Foundation’s mission is inspired by the culture of innovation, research and continuous learning that is the hallmark of Siemens’ companies. Together, the programs at the Siemens Foundation are closing the opportunity gap for young people in the U.S. when it comes to STEM careers, and igniting and sustaining today’s STEM workforce and tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. For more information, visit http://www.siemens-foundation.org/ or follow @sfoundation. Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.