Donald Trump’s (lack of) religious and cultural literacy was on full display Saturday, during a charity event set up by the Republican Hindu Coalition. On Saturday, the GOP presidential candidate visited Edison, New Jersey, home to one of the state’s largest Indian populations, to drum up support among American Hindus ― a demographic group that tends to swing Democratic. Billed as a charity concert, the program mixed Bollywood-style performances with overt Islamophobia and nationalistic rhetoric. Anantanand Rambachan, a professor of religion at Minnesota’s St. Olaf College, watched the televised event from his home. Like a number of Indian Americans online, he found many aspects of the event disturbing. Rambachan told The Huffington Post that he even though the organization had the word “Hindu” in its title, it seemed to have “very little to do with Hinduism” as a philosophy and much more to do with promoting a strong relationship between the United States and India ― and trying to rally Hindus for Trump. While there were plenty of bizarre, ludicrous, and ridiculous things that happened at the event, here are six that stand out. 1. Trump said he’s a big fan of “Hindu.” True to form, Trump started his speech off with a faux pax. “I am a big fan of Hindu, and I am a big fan of India,” he said during his speech. “Big, big fan.” Hinduism is a set of ancient Indian religious philosophies. Hinduism is not a monolith. On the other hand, a Hindu is a person who follows one of those philosophies. So, no Donald, you can’t be a big fan of “Hindu.” 2. No one apparently stopped to acknowledge that all Indians ≠ Hindus and all Hindus ≠ Indian. India has a long history of religious diversity and the diaspora is reflective of that ― there are Indian American Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and Muslims. Not all Indian-Americans follow Hinduism. And not all American Hindus would identify as Indian ― there are Hindus in the United States from Fiji, from the Caribbean, and many others who are not of Indian descent. There seemsed to have been little effort on the part of Trump, or organizers from The Republican Hindu Coalition, to make this distinction. During his speech, Trump lavished praise on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had strong support among Hindu nationalists in his country and whose rise to power had been compared to that of Donald Trump. Trump also promised that India and the United States would be “best friends” if he won the election. “There won’t be any relationship more important to us,” Trump said. 3. The blatant Islamophobia was downright frightening. Amidst the Bollywood-style performances and celebrity guest appearances, perhaps the most bizarre part of the event was a dance that featured terrorists brandishing light sabers. Two waltzing couples were attacked by the armed men and forced to kneel on the stage. After American police officials swooped in to save the day, the American national anthem came on the loudspeakers and the performers stood in a line with their hands placed over their hearts. A swift transition later, the performers were dancing to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.” At the Republican Hindu Coalition Trump event, fake Michael Jackson was followed by dancers attacked by jihadists and rescued by Navy Seals: pic.twitter.com/Ta90bv3Lw5— Arif Rafiq (@ArifCRafiq) October 15, 2016 The performance tapped into the anti-Muslim sentiment that’s growing in both America and India. The RHC’s founder and businessman Shalabh Kumar, one of Trump’s biggest financial supporters, praised Trump for proposing an “extreme vetting” policy towards refugees ― the latest version of the candidate’s controversial Muslim ban. 4. These absolutely ludicrous signs. This one might come as a surprise to the immigration restrictionists... pic.twitter.com/wJvR6Spc8u— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 15, 2016 The RHC seemed to be promoting the idea that Trump would help Indian immigrants get their green cards faster. The organizers printed hundreds of signs for attendees at the charity event that said as much ― even though Trump has often spoken about his plan to restrict immigration to America. In fact, he’s said that he’s “totally committed” to ending the use of the H-1B visa as a “cheap labor program,” in favor of giving jobs to American workers first. Indian citizens receive almost 70 percent of all H-1B visas issued worldwide. “There is an attempt on the part of the organizers to somehow distinguish immigrants of Indian origin from other immigrants,” Rambachan said. “To say that we’re very special or that we should be treated differently is to not identify with the plight of other immigrant communities in the U.S. who have been the object of Mr. Trump’s hateful and fear-mongering language.” He went on to add,“It’s ludicrous.” 5. The myth of the “model minority” returned with a vengeance. Conveniently forgetting his anti-immigrant stance, Trump praised Indians during the RHC event, stating that their values of “hard work, education, and enterprise” have enriched America and pointing out the Indian Americans have high rates of entrepreneurship and college education. “That’s pretty impressive, by the way. You don’t hear that often, I tell you,” he said during the speech. This rhetoric fell into the trap of painting Asian Americans as an affluent “model minority” in America, which ignored the very real economic and social struggles faced by this group. In other words, Trump’s saying he appreciates wealthy and successful Asian Americans. But will he support those who live in poverty, those who don’t ever get to college, and those are undocumented workers? The Aftermath: Indian Americans across the country collectively cringed. Overall, Rambachan said that the Hindus he’s spoken to about this event were “troubled and embarrassed.” “They think the Hindu tradition is being used to rally support for this particular candidate in a way that is divisive,” he said. Murali Balaji, director of education and curriculum reform at the Hindu American Foundation, said the rise of Hindus for Trump is a demonstration of a growing ideological diversity within the faith community, and perhaps an indication that some Hindus felt ignored by Democrats. Still, he doesn’t think the majority of Hindus will vote for Trump. “In conversations I’ve had with other Hindu Americans, namely folks like me who are from the United States, they do wonder how Trump has gained traction among some in the community,” Balaji told The Huffington Post. In a blog for The Huffington Post, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, wrote that Donald Trump doesn’t deserve the support of American Hindus. “Just last month, an Indian-American teenager – one of Trump’s own supporters, in fact – was thrown out of a Trump rally,” Tanden wrote. “If Indian-Americans aren’t even welcome at Trump’s campaign events, what makes Mr. Kumar think we’ll be welcome in Trump’s America?” Despite Trump’s misguided attempts to reach out to Indian Americans, it’s likely that most won’t be fooled. In an Oct. 5 report, the National Asian American Survey found that only 7 percent of Indian American voters were likely to vote for Trump. Sixty-seven percent said they’d vote for Hillary Clinton. The four American Hindus running for Congress this year are all Democrats. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
From across the nation an army of men, and a few women, is on the move. They are deployed with tools and gauges, maps and their own know-how in a critical battle. They are shock troops fighting the flooding in North and South Carolina. They are electricity linemen. When disaster strikes, the nation's electric utilities spring into action, sending equipment -- which can range from temporary lighting to the familiar bucket trucks -- hundreds and thousands of miles to the battle. When these first responders reach the site of disaster, they go to work down manholes and up poles, struggle with knotted wires and fallen trees. The work is hard and the conditions are dangerous, but there is a camaraderie that binds linemen from different localities in a common purpose and danger. Those who more usually might rely on a bucket truck, in fine conditions, take out their climbing gear and up the pole they go. The constant danger is electricity itself: the threat of electrocution. Up the pole, there are many other dangers. The pole may be weakened and critters seeking safety may be up there, from raccoons to venomous snakes. When the lights go off, life as most of us know stops. It does not grind to a slow halt, it stops. Elevators, air conditioners, heating systems, ovens, refrigerators, televisions and computers are stranded. Even the pumps for removing water from a flooded basement need electricity. Everyone knows that in an emergency, it is vital to restore the juice. The linemen, often several sleeping in a single motel room or in their trucks, are the heroes who work as many as 19 hours straight to do that. It is rewarding, exacting and well-paid work. A spokesman for the American Public Power Association explains that pay varies, depending on the part of the country, but $100,000 a year is common and earnings shoot up with overtime, as in emergencies. The association represents more than 2,000 publicly owned utilities, serving about 14 percent of the nation's electricity consumers. So it is astounding that for a number of years both the publicly owned and the large, investor-owned utilities, which the Edison Electric Institute represents and account for 80 percent of the power supply, have been having a devil of a time finding workers prepared for a very secure life that has its moments of high drama -- as is the case right now with the crews restoring power to areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew. The problem is that even the most enthusiastic young person cannot just go up a pole without a lot of training: four years of training. In the world of labor, electric utilities are not the only ones gasping for help. There is an artisan labor shortage and it is worsening. One truck operator reckons there are vacancies for at least 50,000 truck drivers. Similar shortages exist for electricians, pipe-fitters, sheet metal workers, stone masons, welders and many other skilled artisans. If all the manufacturing jobs that politicians say they would like to bring back to the United States were to arrive next year, there would be no workers to build the factories, nor a trained workforce to make the goods. The unemployment crisis -- so emphasized in this election year -- is with the unskilled. Part of the artisan problem may be that too many young men and women are being herded into colleges without any knowledge of alternatives for which they might have more aptitude and interest. More college is always seen as a virtue. But who needs four years of college to become an Uber driver? When the APPA tried recruiting in high schools with a video, they found teachers trashed the video. Schools are rated on how many graduates go on to college, not on to training in trades offering job security and satisfaction. There is a future up the pole. -- For InsideSources -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
JERSEY CITY — If Gov. Chris Christie was at Donald Trump's event in New Jersey Saturday night, nobody saw him. During the final few weeks of the presidential campaign, as Trump falls further behind in the polls, picks fights with his own party’s leaders and makes unsupported claims about a "rigged" campaign, Christie — one of Trump’s most faithful surrogates since primary season — hasn’t been there to back him up. The governor has not withdrawn his endorsement of Trump, despite calling the nominee's hot mic comments bragging about groping women “indefensible.” But Christie — who has appeared on camera to defend all manner of Trump controversy over the course of the campaign — pulled out of an Oct. 9 appearance on CNN the day after the Trump hot-mic tape surfaced. (Christie was replaced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.)The governor was also was notably absent from the audience at the presidential debate the next night, despite reports that he helped Trump campaign prepare for it. The absence seemed consistent with a generally lower profile recently by Christie, who has taken to answering questions about Trump only to a friendly host on a sports talk radio show. Battered by negative headlines from the Bridgegate trial, Christie hasn’t held a press conference in which he took reporters’ questions since last month. It's a stark contrast to Christie's energetic Trump advocacy as recently as mid-September, when he claimed on CNN that Trump hadn't in fact fanned the flames of a phony controversy over President Obama's birthplace for five years. After traveling to Texas to endorse Trump in February, Christie joined him at campaign events in Indiana, Virginia, Florida, as well as at a May rally in New Jersey where guests helped pay off Christie's debt from his failed presidential campaign. And there was, of course, Christie's Republican National Convention speech that helped popularize the "Lock her up!" chants about Hillary Clinton that have since become a staple of Trump's rallies. It’s not clear whether Christie was at Trump’s event in Edison this Saturday. Christie confidante Bill Palatucci said he didn’t know, and Christie’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment. State Sen. Sam Thompson, until recently the Middlesex County GOP Chairman, said he also didn’t know either. (Thompson arrived at the event as Trump was speaking and was not let in by the Secret Service.)The governor’s recent approach to Trump reflects that of most New Jersey Republican elected officials, who are not openly opposing him, but are avoiding questions about him whenever possible. But unlike them, Christie has an official role in Trump’s campaign as head of the presidential transition team.State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, one of the few New Jersey Republican lawmakers to maintain vocal support Trump throughout the campaign, said he doesn’t see why Christie would take a lower profile for Trump now. He said that just three or four weeks ago, the governor updated local Republicans on the status of the transition team at a restaurant in Far Hills. “I don’t see why he would be,” Pennacchio said. “He does have his surrogates, but to think Christie’s distancing himself? Why? [He's] got a year and a few months left on his governorship.” That’s the question Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray is asking since Christie last Saturday, ignoring reporters, walked into Trump Tower while Trump was in crisis mode dealing with the hot mic recording. “The last we know, he was there the day after the tape came out, and he really has not been seen with or for Trump since," Murray said."That’s a lot of time, considering you saw him on TV, you saw him heading to Bedminster for debate prep, on the Acela heading down for transition planning,” Murray said. “Something’s up. But I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s on his side or on Trump’s side.”
30 Under 30 alums took the stage at the Under 30 Summit to highlight new innovations in a number of different areas.
Remarks by the President in Opening Remarks and Panel Discussion at White House Frontiers Conference
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 3:21 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Well, thank you, Alexis, for that introduction. I love that story -- she bumped into me on the elevator. What she didn’t mention, by the way, is that she started on her pre-med degree when she was 16, bumping into me on the elevator. She was already well on her way. So, to the rest of you -- good luck. (Laughter.) Hope you already have tenure -- because Alexis is coming. (Laughter.) I’m only going to speak briefly today because we have an amazing panel and I want to learn from the people who are in attendance here today. But I want to start by recognizing Mayor Peduto of Pittsburgh, who has been an extraordinary innovator and city leader. And give -- yes. (Applause.) Congressman Doyle, who fully supports our innovation agenda -- and we need strong allies in Congress -- so give Mike Doyle a big round of applause, please. (Applause.) We also have people from across our agencies -- Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx -- (applause) -- NIH Director Francis Collins -- (applause) -- National Science Foundation Director France Cordova. (Applause.) And I want to thank two extraordinary leaders who once served in my administration and did extraordinary work -- Presidents Suresh of Carnegie Mellon -- (applause) -- and Chancellor Gallagher of Pitt. (Applause.) Part of sort of the Obama alumni mafia here. (Laughter.) As well as all the faculty and students and staff here at CMU and Pitt for allowing us to turn your campuses into a science fiction movie for the day. (Laughter.) Earlier today, I got a chance to see some pretty cool stuff. A space capsule designed by the private sector to carry humans out of our atmosphere. Small, unmanned quadcopters that can search disaster areas and survey hard-to-reach places on bridges that might need repairs. I also successfully docked a capsule on the International Space Station. It was a simulation, but trust me -- I stuck the landing. (Laughter.) But here’s the thing about Pittsburgh -- this kind of stuff is really nothing new. Most folks have probably heard about how this city is testing out a fleet of self-driving cars. But Pittsburgh has been revitalizing itself through technology for a very long time. There is a reason that U.S. Steel Tower is now also the corporate home of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center -- because the Steel City is now home to groundbreaking medical research and world-class universities. It’s the birthplace of some of the most advanced artificial intelligence and robotics systems the world has ever seen. And you are investing in your young people with after-school STEM programs, and maker faires, and “Girls of Steel” robotics teams. (Applause.) That’s how this city came back after an iconic industry fell on tougher times -- doubling down on science, doubling down on tech, doubling down on innovation -- all of which can create amazing new jobs and opportunities. And stories like that are not just happening here in Pittsburgh, or in Silicon Valley. They’re happening in Chattanooga and in Charleston and in Cincinnati -- cities where we’re seeing science and technology spur new jobs and new industries; new discoveries that are improving our lives and, in many cases, saving lives. And that's consistent with this nation, who we are -- a nation born from an idea that became the world’s laboratory. There aren't a lot of countries where one of your Founding Fathers has an idea to fly a kite in a thunderstorm and helps to fundamentally change how we think about electricity. A place where the women who solved the equations to take us into space, even though they weren’t always acknowledged. A nation whose engineers brought us the Internet. Innovation is in our DNA. Science has always been central to our progress, and it's playing a leading role in overcoming so many of our greatest challenges. That's as true today as it's ever been. Only with science can we make a shift to cleaner sources of energy and take steps to save the only planet we have. Only with science do we have the chance to cure cancer, or Parkinson’s, or other diseases that steal our loved ones from us way too soon. Only through science will we have the capacity to reengineer our cities as populations grow, to be smarter and more productive, to lead humanity farther out into the final frontiers of space -- not just to visit, but to stay -- and ensure that America keeps its competitive advantage as the world’s most innovative economy. And I was doing some pictures before I came out here with some folks, and they said, thank you so much for what you've done for science. And I confessed, I am a science geek. I'm a nerd. (Laughter and applause.) And I don’t make any apologies for it. I don’t make any apologies for it. It's cool stuff. And it is that thing that sets us apart; that ability to imagine and hypothesize, and then test and figure stuff out, and tinker and make things and make them better, and then break them down and rework them. And that’s why I get so riled up when I hear people willfully ignore facts -- (laughter) -- or stick their heads in the sand about basic scientific consensus. It's not just that that position leads to that policy; it's also that it undermines the very thing that has always made America the engine for innovation around the world. It’s not just that they’re saying climate change is a hoax, or taking a snowball on the Senate floor to prove that the planet is not getting warmer. It’s that they’re doing everything they can to gut funding for research and development, failing to make the kinds of investments that brought us breakthroughs like GPS and MRIs and put Siri on our smartphones, and stonewalling even military plans that don’t adhere to ideology. That’s not who we are. We don’t listen to science just when it fits our ideologies, or when it produces the results that we want. That's the path to ruin. Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny that Sputnik was up there. (Laughter.) That wouldn’t have worked. (Applause.) No. We acknowledged the facts, and then we built a space program almost overnight, and then beat them to the moon. And then we kept on going, becoming the first country to take an up-close look at every planet in the solar system. That's who we are. That's where facts will get you. That's where science will get you. And that’s why, in my first inaugural address, I vowed to return science to its rightful place. And, by the way, I want to make clear, this idea that facts and reason and science are somehow inimical to faith and feelings and human values and passion -- I reject that. For us to use our brains doesn’t mean that we lose our heart. It means that we can harness what's in our heart to actually get things done. And that's why in the first few months of my administration, we made the single largest investment in basic research in our history -- because innovation is not a luxury that we do away with when we’re tightening our belts. It's precisely at those moments, when we've got real challenges, when we double down on new solutions that can lead to new jobs and new industries and a stronger economy. So over these last eight years, we’ve worked to recruit the best and brightest tech talent into the administration. We've partnered with academia and the private sector. We've empowered citizen scientists to take on some of our biggest challenges. We’ve reimagined our federal approach to science through incentive prizes and 21st century moonshots for cancer, and brain research, and solar energy. We’ve turbo-charged the clean energy revolution. We built the architecture to unleash the potential of precision medicine, dropped enough new broadband infrastructure to circle the globe four times; applied data and evidence to social policy to find out what works -- scale up when it works, stop funding things that don't, thereby fostering a new era of social innovation. We’ve helped once-dark factories start humming again, putting folks to work manufacturing wind turbine blades longer than the wingspan of a 747. And we realized that we can’t look to the future if we’re also not going to lift up the generation that’s going to occupy that future. So we started the White House Science Fair to teach our kids to send a message that the winner of the Super Bowl isn’t the only one that deserves a celebration in the East Room. (Applause.) We hooked up more of our classrooms and communities to the high-speed Internet that will help our kids compete. We’re pushing to bring computer science to every student. We’re on track to prepare 100,000 STEM teachers in a decade. And as a running thread throughout this, we are working to help all of our children understand that they, too, have a place in science and tech -- not just boys in hoodies, but girls on Native American reservations, kids whose parents can’t afford personal tutors. We want Jamal and Maria sitting right next to Jimmy and Johnny -- because we don't want them overlooked for a job of the future. America is about Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers -- but we’re also the place you can grow up to be a Grace Hopper, or George Washington Carver, or a Katherine Johnson, or an Ida B. Wells. We’re the nation that just had six of our scientists and researchers win Nobel Prizes -- and every one of them was an immigrant. (Applause.) So part of science, part of reason, part of facts is recognizing that to get to where we need to go we need to lift everybody up, because we're going to be a better team if we got the whole team. We don't want somebody with a brilliant idea not in the room because they're a woman. We don't want some budding genius unavailable to cure cancer or come up with a new energy source because they were languishing in a sub-standard school as a child. So that’s what I’ve been focused on. Alexis has done some things. I’ve done some things, too. (Laughter.) But, look, I only get two terms -- which is fine -- (laughter) -- because the presidency is a relay race. We run our leg, then we hand off the baton. And that’s why this conference isn’t just about where we’ve been, it’s about where we’re going. We’re looking to tomorrow. We're trying to institutionalize the work that we've been doing over these last eight years. But we also want to make sure that these partnerships continue to thrive well beyond my administration. The future is yours to create. It’s all of ours. And we’ve got a tremendous group here from all across America -- from the sciences, from industry, from academia. All of you in your own fields are transformative. You're transforming the way we treat diseases, and building smarter and more efficient, and more inclusive communities. You’re unlocking the data that make our criminal justice system smarter and fairer. You’re harnessing the power of artificial intelligence -- big data robotics, automation -– for the good of all of us. You’re breaking new ground on clean energy and giving us our best hope of staving off the worst consequences of climate change. And you’re taking us on that final frontier, firing up the boosters for humanity’s journey to Mars. So, today, I am proud to build on your work. We've announced federal and private commitments totaling more than $300 million to throw into the pot -- investing in smarter cities; expanding our Precision Medicine Initiative; spurring the development in small satellite technology. We’re supporting researchers working to better understand our brains -– how we think and learn and remember. And, in fact, it’s in that area where I’d like to close -- brain research. Before I came onstage, about half an hour ago, I had the chance to meet an extraordinary young man named Nathan Copeland. And back in 2004, Nathan was a freshman in college, studying advanced sciences, interested in nanotechnology. And he was in a car accident that left him paralyzed. For years, Nathan could not move his arms, couldn’t move his legs -- needed help with day-to-day tasks. But one day, he was contacted by a research team at Pitt, and they asked if he wanted to be involved in an experimental trial supported by DARPA, the same agency that gave us the Internet, and night-vision goggles, and so much more. And since he was a scientist himself, Nathan readily agreed. So they implanted four microelectrode arrays into his brain, each about the size of half a button. And those implants connect neurons in his brain with a robotic arm, so that today, he can move that arm the same way you and I do -- just by thinking about it. But that’s just the beginning. Nathan is also the first person in human history who can feel with his prosthetic fingers. Think about this. He hasn’t been able to use his arms or legs for over a decade, but now he can once again feel the touch of another person. So we shook hands. He had a strong grip, but he had kind of toned it down. (Laughter.) And then we gave each other a fist bump. And researchers will tell you there’s a long way to go -- he still can’t feel with his thumb or experience hot and cold, but he can feel pressure with precision. That’s what science does. That’s what American innovation can do. And imagine the breakthroughs that are around the corner. Imagine what’s possible for Nathan if we keep on pushing the boundaries. And that’s what this Frontiers Conference is all about, pushing the bounds of what is possible. And that’s why I’ve been so committed to science and innovation -- not just so that we can restore someone’s sense of touch, but so we can revitalize communities; revitalize economies; reignite our shared sense of possibility and optimism. Because here in America, with the right investments, with the unbelievable brilliance and ingenuity of young people like Alexis and Nathan, there is nothing we cannot do. So let’s keep it going. Let’s get to work. With that, I think it’s time to start our panel. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. * * * * * DR. GAWANDE: If I were to tie together -- you know, it sounds incredibly disparate -- but the story that is coming out from everything you're saying -- I'm going to take what you said, Riccardo, about the last century, one step farther. The last century was the century of the molecule. We were trying to -- the power of reductionism -- boil it down to the most small possible part -- the atom, the gene, the neuron. Give me the drug, the device, the super-specialist. And that provided enormous good. But in this century, what they're all describing is now we're trying to figure out how do they all fit together. How do the neurons fit together to create the kinds of behaviors that you're to solve in mental illness. How do they fit -- the genes network can fit together in epigenetics to account for the health and disease of the future that we all may face. And Zoe is describing a super-highway of information and science that is plugging into the patient through a bike path called the doctor's office. And trying to make a system that can actually bring it all together really is a completely different kind of science from the last century. It's surrounding these problems. People come from incredibly different perspectives now. You're all of them in one. We normally might bring a psychiatrist and an engineer and a neuroscientist together. But it really isn’t the age of the hero scientist anymore. And so I want to ask you: What do we have to reinvent about the way we do science to make all of this possible, genuinely, scientifically, with real innovation? THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I want to thank the panelists, especially Zoe, because of the story you're telling. Although, Kaf, it sounds like you were also inspired in part because of very personal experiences. At the end of the day, they're people who want to enhance their lives. And so being able to bring it down from 40,000 feet down to what you’re experiencing while you’re waiting on the phone to help somebody you love so deeply I think is a good reminder of why we do this. As you say, Atul, what we’ve been calling this Precision Medicine Initiative is really how we stitch together systems that can maximize the potential of the research that a Kaf or a Riccardo are doing, and end up with Zoe’s husband getting better treatment. And a couple of things that we’ve tried to do that I think are helping. Number one is to make sure that the data that is being generated by genomic sequencing, as its price comes down, is better integrated and better shared, which is going to require us rethinking research models. In the past, what’s happened is, is that if a researcher wants to look into cancer, they get some samples from an arrangement, maybe, with a teaching university close by, and their plugging away, somewhat in isolation. And what we now have is the opportunity to -- as we discover, particularly, that what we used to think of as cancer might turn out to be 20 different types of cancer -- we’re now in a position where we can actually generate a huge database, and as a consequence, not only identify some of the specific features of that cancer, not only identify what kinds of genetic variants might make you more predisposed to that cancer, but we’re also breaking down those silos in such a way where we can accelerate research. Not everybody has to have one small sample. Now, potentially, we’ve got a million people who are contributing to a database that somebody like a Kaf or a Riccardo can work on. And what that allows us to do in developing cures is, over time, as Riccardo said, to identify, first of all, do you have a predisposition towards a particular disease, and can we intervene more quickly before you develop it. Second, can we develop better cures, interventions, as Kaf said. But third, are we also in a position to get this information to patients sooner to empower them so that they can be in charge of their own health. Because part of our goal here is to shift from what is really a disease-care system to actual health care system. So that’s one big chunk of the initiative. And just to be more specific, part of what we’re doing with the Precision Medicine Initiative is to get a bunch of collaborators to start digitalizing, pooling, and sharing their data. Within the VA, we’ve got half a million folks who have signed up and are contributing their genetic samples. We now have more and more institutions that are coming together. And as a consequence, our hope is, is that if you are a cancer researcher in any particular cancer, you’re going to have a big data set that you can start working off of. And, by the way, we’re being very intentional about making sure that we’re reaching out to communities that sometimes are forgotten -- whether it’s African American communities, women -- so that we can really pinpoint what works for who. Just one last thing I want to say, though, because it goes to what Zoe said about systems. Even as we’re doing all this cool stuff to come up with greater cures, what we’re also having to do is try to figure out what are the incentives -- the perverse incentives that are set up in the health care system that prevent it from reaching a patient earlier. So I’ll just give two quick examples. The first is what you were talking about in terms of your individual patient data. We’re trying to promote the notion, number one, that this data belongs to you, the patient, as opposed to the institution that is treating you -- because once you understand that it's yours and you have agency in this process, it means that as you're looking for different treatment options, as you're consulting with different doctors, you're able to be a more effective advocate without having to constantly fill our paperwork and so forth. So that's important. And one of the things that we've discovered is, is that even the software where your individual patient is stored -- because it's a commercial enterprise oftentimes -- it's not interoperable, it's not sharable in easy form. And so we've actually been trying to get some of the major providers to start working together so that it makes it easier for somebody like Zoe, if she's moving from system to system to system. The second this is -- and, Atul, you've written about this -- to the extent that we are reimbursing doctors and hospitals and other providers based on outcomes rather than discrete services that are being provided, we can start incentivizing the kind of holistic system thinking in health care -- rather than you come in, you get a test, then you got to go to another place to do this, and then you got to go to another thing to do that, and then maybe the surgeon hasn’t spoken to the primary care physician and you don’t have the outpatient coordination that would make sure that you're not coming back into the hospital. And one of the things that we've been trying to do with the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, that hasn’t gotten as much attention as just providing people insurance is to make sure that we're pushing, we're nudging the system more and more to do that. So, that was a long answer, but it's a big topic. The good news is, is that I think we've identified the pathways where we can start making real progress. DR. GAWANDE: I want to live in your world. I want to live in the world where -- THE PRESIDENT: I'm only going to be here for four more months. (Laughter.) Three and a half. DR. GAWANDE: -- in a world where I get to own -- I have my genomic information, I have my medical records, I have --everything about me belongs to me, and it's easy to access, and I can bring it to the doctors that I need to get it to. The second level -- you know, you announced an initiative today, the All of Us Research Initiative, where you would be able to, A, get that data and then share it with researchers so that they can learn more from you -- trusting that that data is safe. I worked in the Clinton administration, and I got notified that my background records, my clearance records were hacked, right? If you can hack all of my background records now, suppose you can hack my genetic information, all of my electronic records, my mental health information and more. And being able to trust -- so we're in this world where having system science only works if it's transparent and information is widely available. And yet, we're in deep fear about what happens with information and making it widely available. I'd love to hear what you have to think about that. And I'm going to jump to Riccardo and think in the variety of the world that you've been in, how do we trust that this research is in the right hands? THE PRESIDENT: I'll be very quick on this. This is going to be an ongoing problem that we have across disciplines. It's not just in health care. As Riccardo said, our lives become digitalized. It means that how we provide security for that information -- whether it's financial, health, you name it -- is going to be challenging. Now, the good news is that we are making real progress in understanding the architecture that we have to build across sectors, private and public, in order to make this work. In fact, our outstanding president of Pitt has been working with our cybersecurity committee to really crack some of these problems. And we've put some guidelines for the private sector and providers to assure best practices on cybersecurity. But it is going to be something that will be increasingly challenging. Here's the only thing I would say, though. The opportunities to hack your information will be just as great or greater in a poorly integrated, broken-down health care system as it will be in a highly integrated, effective health care system. (Applause.) So I think it’s important for us not to overstate the dangers of -- the very real dangers of cybersecurity and ensuring the privacy of our health records. We don’t want to so overstate it that that ends up becoming a significant impediment to us making the system work better. DR. GAWANDE: Are there technological solutions, Riccardo, to this problem of privacy? MR. SABATINI: So we started to -- one of the questions we started about a year ago is exactly can we identify someone from his own genome. So we started to build a class of algorithm to predict and extract information from your genes -- some common traits -- your height, your eye color, your skin color, the structure of your face. Every single model has its own limitations, sometimes for the lack of data, sometimes because the data is not only in your genes. But what we learned is that using them collectively, we can go a long way to really identify a person from his genome. So this is something that we have to face, is a digital asset is one of the most complicated ways to be handled. We want to publish it, we want to share it, but it’s still something -- there is some concern about identity and security. We worked across the board to find different solutions, let’s say, the old system will have to work to find what is the right way. We are proposing -- and we started to work on a platform called OpenSearch. It is a way where we decided to share the thousands of genomes in a very secure way with the community a month ago. We launched it, it’s called OpenSearch -- Search.hli. -- you get inside there, and you can have this Google feeling of shuffling thousands and thousands of genomes, million of records, and hundreds of databases in a very secure way. Now, this is one of the efforts to try to match security and open access and sharing of information. The one thing I guess we still have to learn is both how every single person feels about tracking or not. So we always talk about sharing our own information, but do we own our own information? How many of you have your genomes sequences? How many of us have sequenced their genome? Can you raise your hands, for example? How many of you have your genomes sequenced? So a very fraction -- typically it’s 2, 3 percent of the audiences when I speak. So we need to remove a fear, and allow people to engage more in their own health and in their own data. There are technologies to keep them safe and to keep them secure. The one thing that is very important is overcoming this barrier of knowing yourself, which I think is the most -- is the hardest hurdle to scale up the databases. Security -- there are the best people working on it across the board, both in the scientific domain and governmental domain. But this should not be a limitation to access your own information and feel comfortable to own your own information and feel comfortable to share it with a governmental infrastructure, and with companies that implement the security right. DR. GAWANDE: At the center of this I think is a question about optimism and pessimism about whether we can solve these problems. And I think I would like to ask a question of all of you about our values, the scientific values of a scientific orientation. And behind that orientation is a fundamental belief -- we have an allegiance to the idea that the way you discover -- the way you explain nature, the way you describe the world, the way you intervene in the world is through factual observation and through testing. And there’s a certain sense of -- it’s an orientation, it’s a way of being that we’re describing. It’s an openness, it’s an inquisitiveness, it’s curiosity. It’s a willingness to acknowledge good arguments and recognize ones that are bad and that haven’t tested out. And that orientation feels like, at times -- on the one hand, it’s been the most powerful, collective enterprise in human history, the scientific community. And at other times it feels embattled. And I wonder, why does it seem under fire when we’re -- you mentioned, President Obama, that in certain areas like climate change, or around nutrition, or around other parts of medical care, we have enormously fraught debates. And it feels at this moment almost like we’re not just debating what it means to be a scientist, but what it means to be a citizen. What do you take away, Kaf and Zoe, about where we are, and why are we under fire, and how do we get past this? DR. DZIRASA: I think, in a lot of ways, science, the outcome changes perspective, right. So when science is useful, we don’t have people arguing about whether polio vaccines are great or not, right. And so I think there are a lot of areas in medicine where we face this challenge. I actually think debate is very healthy for science. I think contentious debate can actually be very helpful for science, in the same way our country was set up in way that healthy, constructive debate can be extremely useful. I think what we want to do, especially as neuroscientists, I think we’re at a place where we need to draw as many people in as possible and have healthy, constructive debates about how we get the outcomes we want. I’ll give you an example. I talked to two scientists recently. One was last weekend -- Steve McCarrol (ph) at Harvard -- and he’d recently come up with a technique where he could sequence the genes of every cell in the brain. And so when you think about the challenge of something like genetics, you’ve got three billion base pairs in the human genome. In the brain, we’ve got about a 150 billion cells, half of those which carry electricity, and the electricity is changing every millisecond. So the problem is enormously scaled. The Brain Initiative allows us to come up with these tools where now, if you can understand what each individual cell type is, you can now start to have these debates about how to understand what they mean. I’ll give you another example. I sat with another investigator, Lauren Frank (ph), and he’s now using the Brain Initiative to record many, many channels in the brain, simultaneously, from an animal, where he’s studying how memory works. This, of course, could one day be useful for something like Alzheimer’s. And he says now, that he’s able -- within 24 hours, he’s pulling in about 20 terra-bytes of data. So I’m not that old, I remember when I was in high school, my hard drive had 100 megabytes of data. So we’re at a place now where we’re going to have to bring in other disciplines to know how to handle that data. I sat with a high school kid last night, Gabe, and it was pretty clear to me that the people who were going to solve this challenge of the brain are probably in like seventh or eighth grade right now. And so how do we create an ecosystem where all those different perspectives can come in. The utility is, when all those different perspectives come in, there has to be contentious debate. But I think the solutions that will come out of it are what will move people’s perspective on the usefulness of science. DR. GAWANDE: Zoe, what do you think about the constructive debate you hear, how we get to the more constructive debate, and enough optimism that we want to actually put funding into the kind of work that Kaf is talking about. DR. KEATING: Well, I think just making it broader. I was really inspired this morning by a lot of the speakers on the health track, and one of them was Steven Keating -- who’s not related to me at all -- and I was really struck how -- he was a PhD student and he was doing 3D printing. And he wanted to study his brain tumor, because he had a brain tumor. But in order to study his tumor, he had to become a medical student in order to get some of the tumor so he could study it. And that seemed really -- like, wow, that’s limiting. Think of all these amazing people we have in our country who are doing things, and increasingly people are doing things outside of institutions. And I feel like that’s where solutions are going to come from. I think that we should also look at Silicon Valley. I was thinking about patients and how the whole patient issue I was having is kind of like a user-experience problem that somebody might tackle at a software start-up, and maybe we should approach these things from different perspectives that way. And I think that’s part of this trust -- you were talking about trust in data -- that somehow expanding, bringing in voices, figuring out how people can contribute data, how we can all just be more involved will be a way towards making trust. The same thing is true with government. THE PRESIDENT: No, absolutely. I’ll just pick up on a couple of themes. Any scientific revolution is, by definition, contesting the status quo. And we’re going through a period in which our knowledge is expanding very quickly. It is going to have a wide range of ramifications and you’ve got a whole bunch of legacy systems that are going to be affected. So if self-driving cars are pervasive, a huge percentage of the American population makes its living, and oftentimes a pretty good living, driving. And so, understandably, people are going to be concerned about what does this mean. We’ve heard of the controversies around Uber versus those who have taxi medallions, but it’s actually driverless Uber that is going to be even more challenging. The same is true in the health care field. One of the things that you discover is this Rube Goldberg contraption that grew up over the last 50 years or 60 years, in terms of our health care system, is there’s all kinds of economics that are embedded in every aspect of it. So it’s not surprising, then, that when we passed the Affordable Care Act, that there are going to be people who push back not just because they really want to make it work and they’ve got some legitimate, factual critiques of it, but because people’s pocketbooks may be threatened. And, Zoe, you just used one example, which was the enormous controversy we had when we said that we should phase out certain types of insurance that, on their face, look really cheap, until you have a tumor and it turns out that they don’t cover you. And that very low-cost insurance, sort of the equivalent of the bare-bones insurance you have to get for driving but when you get in an accident it turns out doesn’t do anything to fix your car -- but obviously much more is at stake here. We still have debates today where people will say, you know, people aren’t having the choices that they used to have. Well, the choices, in some cases, that they used to have were choices to get insurance that weren’t going to cover them during a catastrophe. So I think that the way I would like to see us operate -- and we’re not there at the moment, and it will never be perfect -- is, yes, significant debate, contentious debate, but where we are still operating on the same basic platform, basic rules about how do we determine what’s true and what’s not. And one of the ironies I think of the Internet has been the degree to which it’s bringing us unprecedented knowledge, but everything on the Internet looks like it might be true. And so in this political season, we’ve seen just -- you just say stuff. (Laughter.) And so everything suddenly becomes contested. That I do not think is good for our democracy, and it’s certainly not good for science or progress or government or fixing systems. We’ve got to be able to agree on certain baseline facts. (Applause.) If you want to argue with me about how to deal with climate change, that’s a legitimate argument. Some people might argue it’s unrealistic to think that we’re going to be able to fix this so we should just start adapting to the oceans being six feet higher. You might want to suggest to me that it’s got to be a market-based solution, and it’s all going to come through innovation; regulation is not going to help; we need a huge -- I’m happy to have those arguments. But what you can’t do is argue with me that we’ve had over the last 10, 15 years, each year is the hottest year ever, or that the glaciers are melting and Greenland is melting. You can’t argue with me about that because I can see it, and we’re recording it. And in the same way around health, I think any good scientist or doctor would not presume to suggest that the sum total of our knowledge is all contained in our current medical schools, and there may be holistic medicines or alternative medicines that are remarkable, but we also should be able to test them. And you can’t just assert that this works and more conventional therapies don’t work and not be subject to that kind of testing regimen. So that’s where I think we have to move our conversation generally if we’re going to have the kind of debate that Kaf talked about. MR. GAWANDE: So how do we move our conversation in that way, right? There was a time when scientists were arguing about climate change, and reasonably so. THE PRESIDENT: Right. MR. GAWANDE: So how do we set up frameworks where we say, this is our time period where we’re going to collect facts, and at the end of the day we will accept the consensus of fact? How do we do that in our current political enterprise? THE PRESIDENT: If I had the perfect answer to that, then I’d run for President. (Laughter.) Look, this takes us a little bit far afield, but I do think that it’s relevant to the scientific community, it’s relevant to our democracy, citizenship. We’re going to have to rebuild, within this Wild, Wild West of information flow, some sort of curating function that people agree to. I use the analogy in politics -- it used to be there were three television stations and Walter Cronkite is on there and not everybody agreed, and there were always outliers who thought that it was all propaganda, and we didn’t really land on the Moon, and Elvis is still alive, and so forth. (Laughter.) But, generally, that was in the papers that you bought at the supermarket right as you were checking out. And generally, people trusted a basic body of information. It wasn’t always as democratic as it should have been. And Zoe is exactly right that -- for example, on something like climate change, we’ve actually been doing some interesting initiatives where we’re essentially deputizing citizens with hand-held technologies to start recording information that then gets pooled -- they’re becoming scientists without getting the PhD. And we can do that in a lot of other fields as well. But there has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world. And that’s hard to do, but I think it’s going to be necessary, it’s going to be possible. I think the answer is obviously not censorship, but it’s creating places where people can say, this is reliable and I’m still able to argue about -- safely -- about facts and what we should do about it while still -- not just making stuff up. DR. GAWANDE: Focusing on the idea of places where the scientific orientation can be -- the ethos can be protected is really important. Science is always probable knowledge. It's never nailed down. But we're at CMU, we're at University of Pittsburgh, because they are places that hold those values of scientific orientation. There are places that live like that online, in patient communities. There are places that professional societies are making happen. It's crucial, though, that it also happen in government and it also happen in the private sector. And I guess my final question would be, for any and all of us, what’s the most important thing we can make sure that we do to keep that scientific orientation, that optimism, and that striving for the big opportunity going? That we can keep these values as part of the places where we are, whether they’re in the virtual world or in our institutions. And maybe, I’ll let you have the last word, so I’ll start on that end, if that’s okay, Zoe. DR. KEATING: Well, I really feel like it’s just this huge opportunity and this way for -- if people feel like they can contribute, that then they will trust things. They will trust institutions, they will trust government if they feel that they have a voice. And it’s our job to figure out how can we make this thing the President was talking about -- how can we make the system that allows people to contribute, but it’s somehow vetted so that all that knowledge can be shared, because we need all hands on deck. DR. GAWANDE: And a chance for people to participate in the science itself. DR. KEATING: Yes, a chance for people to participate. And that’s beyond health care, that’s across the board. And I feel like that’s a huge challenge for our time. Right now, just how can we do that so that we can really -- because we need everybody’s help in everything that's coming for us. DR. GAWANDE: Riccardo. DR. SABATINI: The one thing that -- the fight is a little bit unfair because magic has all the answers -- things that you find around. There’s always strong answers. There is the cure of cancer, but it’s closed in a closet somewhere. Science cannot state those strong answers, because it’s a constantly evolving field, and it wouldn’t be a fair. But we have a cool story that sometimes we don’t say enough. When we describe how the brain works, when we describe the majesty of what it means watching inside your genes and how the proteins flow, and the molecules, and when I explain these stories and I make them human, and I explain cases -- stories of patients and people that access their health and they really got incredible advancements on that. When we nail the story right, then we engage the young people, the vast majority of the population. We tend to fight these bogus messages. But on one side it means we are failing. We are failing to tell the amazing advancements that we are doing in the right stories, beating fake stories with great realities. And this is a challenge that we have to do. And I’m engaging as much as possible, explaining the excitement that there is in the time in history when we have access to things that we were never even dreaming 15 years ago. This is the story that we have to tell outside these doors. You are some of the smartest people in this country. You have to be advocates of how amazing things we’re doing, without giving strong solutions and fake results, but telling that there are the best people chasing this dream and we’re going to crack it. It is our duty, making people feel confident that this is the right story to follow. DR. DZIRASA: I’m honored that you chose to sit on this panel, because I think health is the real truth-teller and the real equalizer. When you think about this country by 2050, we’ll be spending about a trillion dollars a year on Alzheimer’s. If, Lord willing, we get over 85, half of us will have Alzheimer’s. One out of every 48 boys in this country are born with autism now. And so it’s the real truth-teller. It is the real common enemy that all of us, as Americans, as scientists, as educators have. The reason I’m optimistic is because I fundamentally believe there is a seven-year-old sitting in a classroom somewhere that will take all of these investments and all of this work that we’ve made and transform things for my family. The challenge for me is that I would love to see an America in which, whether that seven-year-old is sitting in a school in Detroit or Baltimore or Gentry High School in the Mississippi Delta, that they will also have the opportunity for their ideas to bubble up and be nurtured. Because, at the end of the day, the solution to that common enemy that we all face might be sitting in that classroom right now. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m going to steal some ideas from what my other panelists have already said. First of all, Zoe’s point about opening up systems so that people understand them and don’t just feel like cogs in that system, but rather, have agency in that system I think is critically important. So what we’ve been trying to do across the board -- and we’re not even close to being there yet -- is to use technology as a way to do exactly what you are talking about. Whether it’s releasing big data -- and the easiest example, I think, for the general public to think about is all the apps that now give us the weather over our phones, and those are all generated from inside government, but what used to be closed data now we let out there. Well, it turns out that we’ve got huge data sets on all kinds of stuff. And the more we’re opening that up and allowing businesses, individuals, to work with that information I think the more they feel empowered. And that makes a huge difference. The second thing that I want to emphasize is the most important curator to be able to sort through what’s true and false and sustain those scientific values you talk about is the human brain, and making sure that our kids are getting that ability to analyze and do that sorting early. And so part of the reason why we’ve been emphasizing STEM education is not because we don’t value the humanities -- and I was a political science and English major, and I probably learned more reading novels than textbooks -- but what it does do is, it helps everyone as citizens, even if you don’t become a doctor or a scientist or a physicist, it helps you evaluate information in a way that allows you to make good decisions in your own life but also allows you to participate in the country as a whole. And so we want everybody -- we’re putting a special emphasis on girls, young people of color, who so often are underrepresented in the STEM fields. We want to make sure they feel a confidence about so much of the technology and information, revolutions and science that is transforming their lives all around them. And we want them to be creators of science, not just consumers or if. So I think that’s very important. The final thing I’ll say is that government will never run the way Silicon Valley runs because, by definition, democracy is messy. This is a big, diverse country with a lot of interests and a lot of disparate points of view. And part of government’s job, by the way, is dealing with problems that nobody else wants to deal with. So sometimes I talk to CEOs, they come in and they start telling me about leadership, and here’s how we do things. And I say, well, if all I was doing was making a widget or producing an app, and I didn’t have to worry about whether poor people could afford the widget, or I didn’t have to worry about whether the app had some unintended consequences -- setting aside my Syria and Yemen portfolio -- then I think those suggestions are terrific. (Laughter and applause.) That's not, by the way, to say that there aren't huge efficiencies and improvements that have to be made. But the reason I say this is sometimes we get, I think, in the scientific community, the tech community, the entrepreneurial community, the sense of we just have to blow up the system, or create this parallel society and culture because government is inherently wrecked. No, it's not inherently wrecked; it's just government has to care for, for example, veterans who come home. That's not on your balance sheet, that's on our collective balance sheet, because we have a sacred duty to take care of those veterans. And that's hard and it's messy, and we're building up legacy systems that we can't just blow up. We've been pushing very hard in the area of medicine to have the FDA reimagine how it does regulations in the genetic space so that it's different from how they might deal with a mechanical prosthetic. But I don't want to just blow up the FDA because part of government’s job is to make sure that snake oil and stuff that could hurt you isn't out there on the market being advertised on a daily basis. So there are going to be some inherent balances that have to be taken, and there are equities that are complicated in government. And I guess the reason I'm saying this is I don't want this audience of people who are accustomed to things happening faster and smoother in their narrow fields to somehow get discouraged and say, I'm just not going to deal with government. Because, at the end of the day, if you're not willing to do what Kaf said earlier, which is just get in the arena and wrestle with this stuff, and argue with people who may not agree with you, and tolerate sometimes not perfect outcomes but better outcomes, then the space to continue scientific progress isn't going to be there. And what gives me confidence is that I've met a lot of people as President of the United States, and the American people fundamentally are good, they’re decent, and they’re smart, and they just don't have time to follow everything. The more we empower them, the more we bring them in and include them, I have no doubt that we're going to be able to make enormous strides. And the audience here I think is representative of the amazing possibilities that we confront. DR. GAWANDE: Well, let’s thank the panel. (Applause.) And I'd also like to thank the President for having the Frontiers Conference. I think you set an expectation which can apply to any President in the future of any party that you can be a President for science and health and that we can live up to those values. So, thank you. (Applause.) END 4:35 P.M. EDT
Duke Energy's (DUK) International Energy segment has been underperforming for past few quarters. Consequently, in Feb, 2016, Duke Energy announced its near term plan of divesting its International Energy business segment,
This month, the Obama Administration decided to refrain from bailing out the health insurance industry. In doing so, the U.S. Department of Justice dismissed multimillion-dollar lawsuits from two big healthcare insurers, a move that would've circumvented Congress and was roiling Republicans who were threatening obstructionism and deriding Obama bailouts. The irony of the party politicking isn't lost on anyone. No doubt Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, one of the bigger bailout examples going tax-free after losing nearly one billion dollars of investor money, will keep quiet on Obama's near-bailout of the health insurance industry. But bailouts, like the one recently considered by the Obama Administration, aren't the purview of one political party. Both parties do it freely and frequently, at federal and state levels. The US government is bailing out businesses all the time. In fact, America is not even close to a "free market" because we're picking winners and losers every day, either through direct bailouts, subsidies and tax loopholes, or through an indirect picking up of the pollution or health tab. Energy subsidies, for example, are well over $5.3 trillion globally given that governments are constantly cleaning up after fossil fuel companies. American taxpayers, then, are left bailing out the bad decisions of businesses everywhere. The worst example, of course, is the wholesale bailout of Wall Street, with no criminal repercussions for the CEOs, and their executive leadership, who were complicit in decimating middle America's wealth and derailing our economy. And since the financial industry bailout didn't come with corrective and punitive action, the likelihood of another crash is high since the risky derivatives trading and cashing in on sub-prime loans is back in full swing. How difficult it is to fully enact the big-bank-regulating Dodd-Frank Act, then, thanks to heavy lobbing in our nation's capital by one of the top industries financing Congressional campaigns and preventing stricter safeguards. Wells Fargo's latest fraudulent activity, creating millions of false bank and credit card accounts, is merely the latest example of what little lessons Wall Street learned from its bailout. But other bailouts are equally egregious. Our auto industry has been mismanaging its growth for decades, not remotely keeping pace with greener more efficient auto industries elsewhere. And yet both parties agreed to prop it back up with little parameters for better environmental performance. This is not a sustainable government practice by any economic or environmental measure. The latest industry to get bailed out is the nuclear industry and it's been happening for a few years already. Nuclear is struggling because of cheaper natural gas prices, and even bottom of the barrel oil prices, thanks to rampant fracturing across America and the absence of a carbon tax that would put a more accurate cost on heavy emitting gas, oil and coal. In undermining the nuclear industry, America's fracked gas boom has also decimated drinking water supplies and geological integrity all across the country. From a carbon footprint perspective, this is deeply disconcerting because natural gas is a heavy emitter and shouldn't be considered a bridge fuel for our economy. Just look at the methane leaks across America, the impact is much worse than previously thought. The nuclear bailout, however, is now falling into the same trap that riddled financial industry and auto industry bailout schemes. There's little corrective action that's encouraged, or regulated, and, as a result, the industry is allowed to continue making the same mistakes - all at a significant cost to our economy. Nothing could be more inefficient. The most common nuclear industry bailout typically props up companies operating old plants, which are in desperate need of repair, emitting radioactive waste, leaking toxic material often and containing cooling systems that kill massive amounts of marine life. And it's done with no conditions, using America taxpayer dollars to "save" companies - such as the Fortune 100 Company Exelon with $34 billion in annual revenues - that aren't in need of extra revenue. New York State's nuclear bailout this month is merely the latest example of business getting off scot-free while taxpayers pick up multi-billion-dollar tabs. The state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, is planning to bail out the aging and money-losing Ginna, FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, some of America's oldest nuclear plants and owned by Exelon and Entergy, with nearly $8 billion of New Yorkers' hard-earned money (and another $2.8 billion if energy prices fall). New York State's decision was made after Exelon alone spent $430,000 lobbying Albany, the capital, over the past two years. In the same amount of time, Entergy spent $1.7 million lobbying the state. Money talks. These examples are particularly egregious because the taxpayer is not only picking up a nuclear tab but a utilities tab, too, the latter of which is a product of the state's new Clean Energy Standard. The new standard, while meritoriously aiming for an electricity goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, is requiring utilities to obtain renewable energy credits, a cost that's also going to be passed on to the taxpayers. And it's not like these utilities are struggling. New York utilities giant, Con Edison, for example, has $13 billion in annual revenues and $47 billion in assets. They're going to be fine. Neither the nuclear industry nor the utilities industry should be passing on these costs to taxpayers, nor should federal and state governments be picking up the corporate tab, especially when our country's median wages are still stagnating and the income inequality gap is still gaping. These are costs that companies should cover, not citizens. It's time to end the bailouts of big business. For nuclear, if we really want to save it, then state governments, in Albany and elsewhere, should put a price on carbon so that gas, coal and oil show their true cost on society. Until then, no amount of bailing out will stem the flow of cheaper fossil fuels. If this is about jobs, then these billions could be better spent on more reliable renewable industries. If this is about a clean energy future, then figure out next generation nuclear ASAP. But that is not happening with these bailouts. They are a boon for big business while taxpayers are ponying up. Michael Shank, PhD, teaches sustainable development at NYU's Center for Global Affairs. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Affiliates of diversified energy company FirstEnergy Corp. (FE) have received a disappointing verdict from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Marion Barraud for HBR The owner of a graphic design firm worries that her clients have dried up despite her best efforts. Even a seemingly bulletproof marketing plan that worked in the past is now yielding crickets. What should she do? And how exactly should she go about deciding what’s best for her business? Your problem-solving instincts may tell you that she’d better start brainstorming and making a detailed spreadsheet with a step-by-step plan. But both anecdotal evidence and published research suggest that taking a moment of inaction may be just as, if not more, important. People commonly report that they make the best decisions not while actively trying to make a choice but, say, taking a shower, knitting or working out. This is because ‘aha!’ moments that spark brilliant, unexpected solutions tend to crop up when our minds are quiet and our consciousness is at rest. These aha moments are often the only way to solve truly complex problems that are too big for our conscious mind to process. The good news is that these flashes of insight are not as random as they seem, and can be fostered by specific conditions. For years, we’ve been noticing that the research supports four specific steps to take to help you have more insights. Each of these steps helps you to notice new activations in your brain, which are the source of these creative moments. Notice quiet signals Whether you are a business owner, an executive or an employee, your calendar is likely packed with meetings. As a result, you end up spending a lot of time surrounded by people, without a chance to enjoy some peace and quiet. You and Your Team Series Decision Making How to Tackle Your Toughest Decisions Joseph L. Badaracco Stop Second-Guessing Your Decisions at Work Carolyn O’Hara How Leaders Can Let Go Without Losing Control Mark Bonchek But silence and solitude are crucial for nurturing precious eureka moments. Insights themselves can be thought of as quiet — below the din of everyday thought. Researchers have recently begun to pay more attention to the benefits of quiet for insight. And the ultra-quiet state of meditation has been linked to better decision making, suggest findings published in Psychological Science. People in the study made smarter decisions after just 15 minutes of undisturbed time spent meditating because it made them more resistant to their own biases. Aha! tip: No matter how busy you are, do your best to take breaks between meetings and find some alone time. Go to an empty conference room or, even better, leave the office and take a walk outside. (Walking might in fact spur your next insight, according to scientists.) Look inward Once you have found a quiet spot, try to focus on your inner thoughts and ignore what’s going on around you. In other words—zone out rather than glance at your buzzing phone. Mark Jung-Beeman has identified that right before a person has an “aha!” moment, there are brain-waves in the alpha range in the brain’s visual cortex. These alpha waves indicate that external information is reduced. That can help people notice the internal “aha!” moment. It’s like the brain’s “idle” mode. Internal focus often goes hand in hand with mind wandering—another crucial ingredient of the insight-generating recipe. As Jung-Beeman and colleagues point out in the Neuroleadership Journal, Thomas Edison would routinely let his mind wander hoping to capture fleeting bits of innovative thought. “He would then write down his thoughts during that period, in the belief that they were often creative,” they note. The genius inventor may have been onto something: Scientists have since found mind wandering to be crucial for triggering insights. In one standard test of creativity, researchers gave people two minutes to come up with as many uses as possible for ordinary objects such as bricks or shoes. The participants then took a 12-minute break, during which some of them were given a demanding memory task. Others were given a simple, undemanding task aimed at eliciting mind wandering. The people in the latter group performed approximately 40% percent better the second time they completed the creative object-use task. Conversely, the participants who completed the demanding task failed to show improvement. Aha! tip: To stimulate optimal daydreaming conditions, don’t over-schedule your days. Rather, allow some downtime on a regular basis — even small doses can have a big impact. Try to turn your devices off for several hours a day – or several days a week if you can. This way your mind will be truly free to wonder, and your brain won’t miss the next light bulb moment when it happens. Take a positive approach The prospect of making an important decision can induce a great deal of anxiety, which, unfortunately, is a number-one enemy of creative insight. Being anxious creates a lot of “noise” in the brain, drowning out the space for insight. At the same time, research has shown that feeling even slightly happy, as opposed to anxious, is conducive to eureka moments and insightful problem solving. That’s because people tend to notice a wider range of information when they feel happy than when they feel concerned. In a recent study, scientists noted that positive emotions played an important role in the emergence of insight. Jung-Beeman also found in his own research that people who were in a better mood solved more word problems because they experienced more light bulb moments. The researchers also scanned the people’s brains during experiments, finding that a good mood altered brain activity and promoted an insight-friendly neural environment. Aha! tip: If you are feeling grumpy when tackling a complex decision, do something to lift your spirits. Talking to a friend, going out to dinner or reading a book can bring a much-needed breakthrough. Recent research has also shown that snoozing is a good way to deal with frustration. So take a daily nap to feel your best — your hard-working brain might thank you by sprouting a perfect solution after you wake up. Use less effort You have likely always been taught to think long and hard before making an important decision. But insights happen specifically when you are not actively making an effort to choose what to do. Stepping away from deliberation is key for quality decision-making, suggests research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In the study, scientists gave participants information about four different apartments they had never visited, asking them to pick the best one. Some were told to decide right away, without having a chance to analyze the information. Others were instructed to carefully examine it before choosing what to do. Finally, there were those who studied the information first but were then purposefully distracted by an unrelated task prior to making a choice. It turned out that the last group most consistently picked the apartments that were objectively the best. Why so? Taking a break from thinking about an issue may allow people to unravel their unconscious thought — hidden yet powerful cognitive processes that occur outside their conscious awareness. This oft-untapped resource is key to processing the deluge of information that a person needs to digest to make an insight-driven decision. Deeper — nonconscious — activity in the brain that is activated when we first consider a problem continues to stay active when we move on mentally to other tasks. We really do “keep working on things” unconsciously. Another reason that not trying to solve a problem actively can work is that the source of an impasse to a solution involves being stuck in the wrong problem-solving strategy. We can’t have an insight while the wrong pathway is dominant in our mind. Aha! tip: Remember to take a break from any decision-making process. And once you are taking it, do focus on something else. Exercise is a foolproof way to take your mind off work, so put a daily workout on your calendar the same way you would schedule a meeting with a client or boss. In short, anything that helps you be able to notice quiet signals in the brain, or “weak activations” as they are called, can increase the chances of insight. By practicing leaving space for quiet, being internally focused, taking a positive approach, and not actively trying to have insight, we can all have more insights everyday. More insights means solving complex problems faster, and that’s something we could all benefit from, whether we want to tweak a marketing campaign, solve a client challenge, or change the world.
The two world's leading smartphone manufacturers, Apple and Samsung, clashed again in court today, this time in the nation's highest tribunal. While the Supreme Court's interpretation of an obscure statute enacted in the same year Thomas Edison opened up his lab in New Jersey will determine the outcome of the [...]
Парадокс, но несмотря на тот огромный путь, что проделала электроника за последние 30 лет, все мобильные устройства по-прежнему оснащаются литий-ионными аккумуляторами, вышедшими на рынок аж в 1991 году, когда вершиной инженерной мысли в портативной технике был обычный CD-плеер.Технология по-прежнему живее всех живых. Самый известный изобретатель современности Илон Маск два года назад вложил пять миллиардов долларов в строительство своей "Гигафабрики" — огромного завода по производству литий-ионных аккумуляторов для электромобилей Tesla. Но что если ставка американского IT-бизнесмена оказалась ошибочной? Ведь есть такое мнение: Остап Петрикович Маск или Илон Мавродиевич Петрик?, а вот тут мы пилили аккумулятор ТеслыМногие полезные свойства новых образцов в электронике, гаджетах нивелируются мизерным временем энергопитания этих устройств от мобильной батареи. Научная мыль и изобретатели бы уже давно шагнули вперед, но их держит "якорь" батарейки.Давайте рассмотрим, какие технологии могут преобразить мир электроники в будущем.Для начала немного истории.Наиболее часто в мобильных устройствах (ноутбуки, мобильные телефоны, КПК и другие) применяют литий-ионные (Li-ion) аккумуляторы. Это связано с их преимуществами по сравнению с широко использовавшимися ранее никель-металлгидридными (Ni-MH) и никель-кадмиевыми (Ni-Cd) аккумуляторами.У Li-ion аккумуляторов значительно лучшие параметры. Однако следует учитывать, что Ni-Cd аккумуляторы имеют одно важное достоинство: способность обеспечивать большие токи разряда. Это свойство не является критически важным при питании ноутбуков или сотовых телефонов (где доля Li-ion доходит до 80% и их доля становится все больше и больше), но существует достаточно много устройств, потребляющих большие токи, например всевозможные электроинструменты, электробритвы и т.п. До сих пор эти устройства являлись вотчиной почти исключительно Ni-Cd аккумуляторов. Однако в настоящее время, особенно в связи с ограничением применения кадмия в соответствии с директивой RoHS, резко активизировались исследования по созданию бескадмиевых аккумуляторов с большим разрядным током.Первичные элементы ("батарейки") с литиевым анодом появились в начале 70-х годов 20 века и быстро нашли применение благодаря большой удельной энергии и другим достоинствам. Таким образом, было осуществлено давнее стремление создать химический источник тока с наиболее активным восстановителем - щелочным металлом, что позволило резко повысить как рабочее напряжение аккумулятора, так и его удельную энергию. Если разработка первичных элементов с литиевым анодом увенчалась сравнительно быстрым успехом и такие элементы прочно заняли свое место как источники питания портативной аппаратуры, то создание литиевых аккумуляторов натолкнулось на принципиальные трудности, преодоление которых потребовало более 20 лет.После множества испытаний в течение 1980-х годов выяснилось, что проблема литиевых аккумуляторов закручена вокруг литиевых электродов. Точнее, вокруг активности лития: процессы, происходившие при эксплуатации, в конце концов, приводили к бурной реакция, получившей название "вентиляция с выбросом пламени". В 1991 г. на заводы-изготовители было отозвано большое количество литиевых аккумуляторных батарей, которые впервые использовали в качестве источника питания мобильных телефонов. Причина - при разговоре, когда потребляемый ток максимален, из аккумуляторной батареи происходил выброс пламени, обжигавший лицо пользователю мобильного телефона.Из-за свойственной металлическому литию нестабильности, особенно в процессе заряда, исследования сдвинулись в область создания аккумулятора без применения Li, но с использованием его ионов. Хотя литий-ионные аккумуляторы обеспечивают незначительно меньшую энергетическую плотность, чем литиевые аккумуляторы, тем не менее Li-ion аккумуляторы безопасны при обеспечении правильных режимов заряда и разряда. Однако и они не застрахованы от взрывов.В этом направлении тоже пока все пытается развиваться и не стоять на месте. Вот например учёные из Наньянского технологического университета (Сингапур) разработали новый тип литий-ионного аккумулятора, который обладает рекордными характеристиками. Во-первых, он заряжается за 2 минуты до 70% максимальной ёмкости. Во-вторых, аккумулятор работает почти без деградации более 20 лет.Что же нас может ожидать дальше?НатрийПо мнению многих исследователей именно этот щелочной метал должен заменить дорогой и редкий литий, который, к тому же, является химически активным и пожароопасным. Принцип работы натриевых аккумуляторов аналогичен литиевым – для переноса заряда в них используются ионы металла.Долгие годы ученые различных лабораторий и институтов боролись с недостатками натриевой технологии, такими как медленная зарядка и низкие токи. Некоторым из них удалось решить проблему. Например, предсерийные образцы аккумуляторов компании BroadBit заряжаются за пять минут и имеют в полтора-два раза большую емкость. Получив несколько наград в Европе, таких как Innovation Radar Prize, Eureka Innovest Award и ряд других, компания перешла к сертификации, постройке фабрики и получению патентов.ГрафенГрафен – плоская кристаллическая решетка из атомов углерода толщиной в один атом. Благодаря огромной площади поверхности в компактном объеме, способной накапливать заряд, графен является идеальным решением для создания компактных суперконденсаторов.Уже сейчас существуют экспериментальные модели емкостью до 10 000 Фарад! Такой суперконденсатор создан компанией Sunvault Energy совместно с Edison Power. Разработчики утверждают, что в перспективе представят модель, энергии которой хватит для электроснабжения целого дома.Плюсов у таких суперконденсаторов множество: возможность практически мгновенного заряда, экологичность, безопасность, компактность, а также дешевизна. Благодаря новой технологии получения графена, сродни печати на 3D-принтере, Sunvault обещает стоимость батарей чуть ли не в десять раз меньшую, чем у литий-ионных технологий. Однако до промышленного производства пока еще далеко.Есть у Sanvault и конкуренты. Группа ученых из университета Свинбурна, Австралия, также представила графеновый суперконденсатор, который по емкости сопоставим с литий-ионными аккумуляторами. Его зарядка производится за несколько секунд. Вдобавок он гибкий, что позволит его использовать в устройствах различных форм-факторов, и даже в элементах умной одежды.Атомные батареиАтомные батареи пока очень дороги. Пару лет назад была вот такая информация про ядерную батарейку. В ближайшее время они не смогут составить конкуренцию привычным нам литий-ионным аккумуляторам, но не упомянуть про них нельзя, ведь источники, непрерывно вырабатывающие энергию на протяжении 50 лет – это намного интереснее, чем перезаряжаемые аккумуляторы.Принцип их работы, в некотором смысле, схож с работой солнечных батарей, только вместо солнца источником энергии в них являются изотопы с бета-излучением, которое затем поглощается полупроводниковыми элементами.В отличие от гамма-излучения, бета излучение практически не опасно. Оно представляет собой поток заряженных частиц и легко экранируется тонкими слоями специальных материалов. Также оно активно поглощается воздушной средой.На сегодняшний день разработки подобных батарей ведутся во многих институтах. В России о совместной работе в этом направлении объявляли НИТУ "МИСиС", МФТИ и НПО "Луч". А ранее аналогичный проект был запущен Томским Политехническим Университетом. В обоих проектах основным веществом является никель-63, получаемый облучением нейтронами изотопа никель-62 в ядерном реакторе с дальнейшей радиохимической переработкой и разделением на газовых центрифугах. Первый прототип батареи должен быть готов в 2017 году.Однако подобные бета-вольтаические источники питания являются маломощными и крайне дорогостоящими. В случае с российской разработкой предполагаемая стоимость миниатюрного источника питания может составить до 4,5 миллионов рублей.Атомный источник питания на основе трития NanoTritium компании City LabsУ никеля-63 также есть конкуренты. Например, в Университете Миссури давно экспериментируют со стронцием-90, а в свободной продаже можно найти миниатюрные бета-вольтаические батареи на основе трития. При цене в районе тысячи долларов они способны питать различные кардиостимуляторы, датчики или компенсировать саморазряд литий-ионных аккумуляторов.Светящийся брелок с тритиемЭксперты пока спокойныНесмотря на приближение к серийному производству первых натриевых аккумуляторов и активной работе над графеновыми источниками питания, специалисты в отрасли никаких революций на ближайшие несколько лет не предрекают.В компании "Литеко", работающей под крылом "Роснано" и производящей в России литий-ионные аккумуляторы, считают, что поводов к замедлению роста рынка пока нет. "Устойчивый спрос на литий-ионные аккумуляторы обусловлен, прежде всего, их высокой удельной энергией (запасённой на единицу массы или объёма). По этому параметру они не имеют конкурентов среди перезаряжаемых химических источников тока, производимых на данный момент серийно" комментируют в компании.Впрочем, в случае коммерческого успеха тех же натриевых аккумуляторов BroadBit, рынок может переформатироваться в считанные годы. Если только владельцы и акционеры не захотят изрядно подзаработать на новой технологии.источникиhttps://ria.ru/technology/20161004/1478440820.htmlhttps://habrahabr.ru/company/mugenpower/blog/168483/http://www.powerinfo.ru/accumulator-liion.phphttp://autoeco.info/perspektivnye_tipy_batarei.phphttp://www.fotokomok.ru/perspektivnye-texnologii-dlya-akkumulyatorov-budushhego/Вот я почему то уверен, что Всё это время вы заряжали свой смартфон неправильно и действительно ли это Батарейка 2000-летней давности?. Вспомним еще про Вечную батарейку Карпена и Как работает беспроводная зарядка смартфона
Несмотря на приближение к серийному производству первых натриевых аккумуляторов и активной работе над графеновыми источниками питания, специалисты в отрасли никаких революций на ближайшие несколько лет не предрекают. В компании "Литеко", работающей под крылом "Роснано" и производящей в России литий-ионные аккумуляторы, считают, что поводов к замедлению роста рынка пока нет. "Устойчивый спрос на литий-ионные аккумуляторы обусловлен, прежде всего, их высокой удельной энергией (запасённой на единицу массы или объёма). По этому параметру они не имеют конкурентов среди перезаряжаемых химических источников тока, производимых на данный момент серийно" комментируют в компании.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here are 10,000 words dedicated to my favorite moments from September in the Speaker's office. Of course, you don't have to wait until the beginning of each month to see these photos; you can also follow @SpeakerRyan on Instagram to see them as they happen. 1. Staring contest A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Sep 8, 2016 at 4:25pm PDT 2. A House united in remembrance of September 11th A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Sep 11, 2016 at 3:55pm PDT 3. The new librarian of Congress A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Sep 16, 2016 at 2:31pm PDT 4. Setting the stage for the presidential inauguration A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Sep 27, 2016 at 1:30pm PDT 5. Airmen of the Year A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Oct 3, 2016 at 8:52am PDT 6. Thomas Edison comes to the Capitol A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Sep 21, 2016 at 5:20pm PDT 7. The handoff Clutch work today from @SpeakerRyan's body man, who was quick to provide him a #BetterWay booklet in the middle of his press conference. pic.twitter.com/bYxb06BdcM — Caleb Smith (@CalebJSmith) September 22, 2016 8. Sunset with the Australian Prime Minister The alliance we've built with #Australia over the past seven decades is stronger than ever. https://t.co/fSoPrDqZDH pic.twitter.com/OW4nT9pBZY — Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) September 23, 2016 9. A legislative victory for Korean War veterans The Korean War is often referred to as 'the forgotten war,' but we want to make sure that is never the case. That's why... Posted by Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, September 29, 2016 10. Kyle Busch makes a right turn
Нефтегазовая компания DEA, подконтрольная LetterOne миллиардера Михаила Фридмана, инвестирует совместно с тремя партнерами 10 млрд норвежских крон ($1,26 млрд) в развитие газового месторождения Двалин (Dvalin, ранее месторождение называлось Зидане) в ...