We hate ticket scalping, so we love it when an artist goes above and beyond to protect their fans from being preyed on by predatory scalpers. Recently, there’s been a push by several Senators to create anti-scalping legislation, and soon we could see federal punishments for the mega-scalpers that seem to tip the scales and make it so difficult to see your favorite artist.With that in mind, I would like to personally shout out Chance The Rapper for being such a champion against ticket scalping. When Chance announced his “Magnificent Coloring Day” event–to be held at in Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field–ticket prices were relatively low, with floor seats going for $75 and tickets in the upper level going for $35. The point was to provide world class talent in an affordable setting for Chance’s hometown fans, and he certainly provided amazing value when he announced that Skrillex, Lil’ Wayne, John Legend, Alicia Keys, 2 Chainz, and more would be joining him for the one-day event.However, tickets were immediately scooped up by ambitious scalpers who were looking to make a buck off of the reasonably priced tickets. What did Chance and his team do in response? According to Chance’s twitter account, they cancelled the tickets that were purchased by scalpers, and reissued them as hard tickets that can only be picked up by the person who purchases it. My hat goes off to Chance for fighting the good fight, and for making sure that every ticket purchased goes to a deserving fan. Chance seems to do everything his own way, from eschewing the music business model to release independent records and mixtapes, and now, bucking against the trend of price gouging and simply allowing for scalping to occur. Thanks, Chance, for being so awesome, and let’s hope that other artists soon follow your lead.(H/T JAA)
West Coast soul ensemble Orgone always brings a ton of energy when they perform, and they recently had the opportunity to capture that energy. Taken at the Killion Sound studio in Los Angeles, CA, the new Live From Killion Sound series will see the band performing one-take live versions straight to tape of unreleased tunes and songs from the back catalog. With the crisp quality of Killion Sound, this series is sure to showcase Orgone’s talents.The first video from the new series features the band’s newest single, “Do What You Came To Do.” Released as a standalone 45 with Colemine Records on Record Store Day (purchase via Colemine/iTunes), Orgone infuses a soulful energy into the new track that can’t be denied.We’re honored to premiere the new “Do What You Came To Do” video from the Live From Killion Sound series, which features visual treatment and direction by long time collaborator Matt Bardocz. Sit back and enjoy!Orgone has a number of tour dates coming up, including a big Phish after party in Las Vegas, NV tomorrow night! The band has been in the studio as of late recording a new 45 for Colemine Records that will be released early 2017. They will follow that up with additional digital singles, as well as a new full length album later in the year. Check out their tour schedule below, and head to their official website for details.Orgone Tour Dates10.28: San Diego, CA ~ Winstons10.29: Las Vegas, NV ~ Topgolf inside MGM Grand – Phish Afterparty10.31: Ashland, OR ~ Ashland Armory / Spookadelic12.29: Santa Cruz, CA ~ Moe’s Alley12.30: Oakland, CA ~ The New Parish12.31: Chico, CA ~ Lost on Main02.27: Cancun, Mexico ~ Panic en la Playa
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust delivers her address during the the Afternoon Exercises of Harvard’s 362nd Commencement on May 30, 2013.
Harvard scientists develop new techniques to track how cells develop While SNPs have been known to science for almost two decades, unlocking their utility as barcodes has proven extremely difficult. SNPs are distributed sparsely throughout the genome (approximately one SNP occurs in 1,000 base pairs), meaning that any one SNP can only distinguish between two individuals. Current, commonly used high-throughput sequencing technologies have sequencing read-lengths of less than 1,000 base pairs, making it nearly impossible to ascribe each of the sequencing reads to any particular person based on SNPs.To overcome this problem, the team’s new method combines genomic DNA extraction from a mixed pool of cells, whole-genome sequencing of the extracted DNA, and a computational algorithm that predicts the proportion of each individual within the pool based on the entire SNP allele profile of every known person’s cells. Many of the cell lines publicly available for research already have whole-genome SNP allele profiles associated with them, and a given individual’s profile can be determined with the use of genotyping arrays or low-coverage whole-genome sequencing.SNP allele profiles can be used to track cells’ identities across any number of different experiments in which the pool of multiple cell samples is subjected to two or more different conditions (usually a “control” condition and an “experimental” condition), and then analyzed. Yingleong Chan, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of George Church at the Wyss Institute and HMS, and his co-workers have developed an algorithm that predicts the proportions of each person’s cells in the pool before and after the experiment, and compares them to determine which cells are expressed differently when exposed to the condition tested. “The change in the proportion of the individuals’ cells in the experimental group when compared to the control group tells you what happened to those cells during the experiment, and whether cells from any particular person might have a genetic advantage,” said Chan. “Testing the effects of drugs on multiple cancer cell lines is one application that can be implemented immediately.” — George Church The researchers first tested their method by simulating a pool of cells and varying the number of samples, quantity of SNPs analyzed, and number of times that the pool was sequenced. They found that, over several iterations, the algorithm converged to a fixed estimated proportion for each SNP profile in the pool that closely matched the simulated proportions. The algorithm was able to accurately estimate the proportions of pools of up to 1,000 different individuals by analyzing 500,000 SNPs, and could handle samples of even more cell lines if either the number of SNPs analyzed or the depth of sequencing was increased.Next, the researchers tested their algorithm on actual human B-lymphocytes whose genomes had been sequenced as part of the Harvard Personal Genome Project and found that it accurately predicted the proportion of the individuals within a pool of 50 different cell lines. “There are numerous experiments that this technique could be applied to,” said Chan. “You can test a cancer drug against different cell lines from different people, see whether a particular patient’s cell line responded well to the drug, and then use that drug for a targeted approach to treatment. We’ve effectively built a discovery tool to enable personalized medicine.” Keeping the genetic code clean A CRISPR/Cas9 mutation prevention system could help prevent and fight disease in the future Each of us carries in our genome about 10 million genetic variations called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which represent a difference of just one letter in the genetic code. Every human’s pattern of SNPs is unique and quite stable, as they are inherited from our parents and are rarely mutated, making them a kind of “natural barcode” that can identify the cells from any individual.A group of researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (HMS) has developed a new genetic-analysis technique that harnesses these barcodes to create a faster, cheaper, and simpler way to track what happens to cells from different individuals when they are exposed to any kind of experimental condition, enabling large pools of cells from multiple people to be analyzed for personalized medicine. The research is reported in Genome Medicine.As the “Big Data” revolution in health care gallops apace, it is becoming possible and more attractive to perform experiments on cells from multiple people simultaneously, as differences in how the cells respond can indicate that genetic variances between the individuals confer some kind of effect. However, keeping track of which cells belong to which person throughout such a multiplexed experiment currently requires that a unique tag or barcode be added to each individual’s cells, a time-consuming and costly process that frequently involves integrating a barcode (e.g., a unique DNA sequence) into each cell line separately so that researchers can identify the cells during testing. By taking advantage of all humans’ unique SNP profiles, the Wyss/HMS team achieved the same cell tracking without the cumbersome labeling process. “We’ve effectively built a discovery tool to enable personalized medicine.” — Yingleong Chan New CRISPR technology takes cells to the movies Finding biological barcodes Related Genome engineering system transforms living cells into archival data storage devices The authors point out that their method will not work on samples where the different cell types come from the same person, because the SNP profiles would be identical, but it holds great promise for multiplexed testing of genetic variation among many human samples.“Testing the effects of drugs on multiple cancer cell lines is one application that can be implemented immediately,” said Church, a co-corresponding author and a founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute, professor of genetics at HMS, and professor of health sciences and technology at Harvard and MIT. “You can test a lot more people at once, which not only gives you more data, but translates into significant time and cost savings.”“This new technology harnesses the very core of what makes us who we are — the unique variations in our DNA — and crafts it into a tool that can accelerate discovery by obviating the need for analyzing individual responses in multiple parallel, time-consuming, and expensive experiments. It also opens up an entirely new approach to personalized medicine,” said Wyss Director Donald Ingber, the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at HMS and the Vascular Biology Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and professor of bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.Additional authors of the paper include Ying Kai Chan, research scientist at the Wyss Institute; Daniel Goodman, a former graduate student at the Wyss Institute and HMS who is currently a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco; Xiaoge Guo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute and HMS; Alejandro Chavez, a former clinical fellow in pathology at the Wyss Institute who is currently assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; and Elaine Lim, a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute and HMS.This research was supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says he won’t seek reelection and plans to end a career in federal government spanning more than three decades. The 65-year-old Portman cited a political climate that has made it “harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress.” Portman is among the Republican lawmakers who often backed President Donald Trump, though not vocally. After Trump called the presidential election rigged, citing no legitimate evidence, Portman said Trump had a right to a probe of any irregularities. But after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Portman said Trump needed to go on national TV to tell his supporters to refrain from violence.
PSB approves small CVPS rate increaseThe Vermont Public Service Board today approved a 2.3 percent increase in Central Vermont Public Service rates, to take effect with bills rendered Feb. 1.CVPS had initially filed for a 4.46 percent increase last May, but reached agreement with the Department of Public Service on a 2.3 percent increase in November. The PSB approved that increase in a decision today.”No one likes to increase rates, particularly with the economic pressures Vermonters are facing, but the small rate increase is needed for reliable customer service,” CVPS President Bob Young said. “For example, more than a third of the new revenues will pay for expanded tree-trimming and removal programs along power lines to reduce the risk of outages.”CVPS increased its capital spending, largely for reliability improvements, from $18 million in 2006 to $24 million in 2007, and expects to maintain the higher spending in 2008 and beyond. “The rate increase is critical to our ability to make those investments, which are extremely important to providing reliable service and top-notch storm responses,” Young said.Despite the increase, CVPSs rates will be just 5.9 percent higher than in 1999. The Consumer Price Index has risen 21 percent, while the CPI for energy has risen almost 85 percent in that time.According to data from the Edison Electric Institute, CVPS continues to provide the lowest rates of any major utility in New England. A CVPS residential customer using 500 kilowatt-hours per month will pay $73.11, while the same customer would pay far more elsewhere in New England, in some cases over $96.
76SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Melina Palmer Why do people say one thing and do another? What really drives behavior? How does the brain actually work – and how can we best communicate with it? What does that … Web: www.thebrainybusiness.com Details Do you wish you could make a change as simple as one word in an advertisement and have your conversions shoot up 38 percent? Well, the good news is this is not a pipe dream. Making simple changes to a message so it works with the brain’s natural buying tendencies can have a significant impact on sales (even when you are “selling” memberships, credit cards, and checking accounts). The field that does this work is called behavioral economics. I like to say it is what you would get if traditional economics and psychology had a baby – the best of both worlds. Concepts, Not WordsYou may be thinking, “What’s the word? I want to add it into all my credit union’s advertisements and social media immediately!” The truth is, it is more about the concept behind the word than the word itself. Let’s start with the research.In this particular study, Snickers bars were being advertised on grocery store end-cap displays. In one version, the sign said:“Snickers bars, buy them for your freezer” And the other:“Snickers bars, buy 18 for your freezer”I think we can all agree that 18 is not a normal number of Snickers bars to buy. And, as a marketer, we try and logic our way out of committing to such a big number on an ad. You might say, “Someone will ask me where that big number came from and I don’t want to justify it…plus, ‘them’ is unlimited! Someone could buy 100 Snickers if they wanted, so I’ll go with that.” As I’m sure you can guess…that would be a mistake. The study found a 38% increase in sales when the number 18 was used instead of the word “them.” Why?The Number Becomes An AnchorIf you were walking through the store and saw the ad saying “buy them for your freezer” you might not even notice it. If you did, you would likely end up getting 2 or 3 Snickers bars. But the large number of 18 would probably catch your attention. You’d instead think, “18? I’m way better than everyone else, I don’t need 18 Snickers bars! I’ll just get 6.” This is the same reason why people buy more cans of soup when they are listed as “10 for $10” than when they are listed at “$1 each” – a concept called anchoring and adjustment in behavioral economics. The human brain is lazy and it uses rules of thumb like this to make all its decisions. In anchoring and adjustment, it will latch onto the number (in this case 18) and move up or down from there. Without including this high anchor, the default anchor is zero because you did not intend to buy any Snickers bars. Without a high anchor, the advertiser is overcoming a hurdle of “buy or don’t buy.” With it, the question shifts and becomes “How many should I buy?” – a much better place for any business to be in. How Your Credit Union Can Use ThisIn my last post I talked about framing a checking account product for a credit union, where I recommended they switch from talking about rate to asking the question, “Did your checking account pay you $315 last year?” (In case you haven’t read it yet, the result was a 60% increase in checking account openings month over month.)While this shows framing in action, it is also using a high anchor by introducing the $315 amount. The member’s brain will lock in on this and shift down through potential benefits they can get. Your credit union is now associated with getting over $300 in benefit (while their old financial institution is shifted to a very low or zero dollar anchor). Combining framing with anchoring and adjustment can make a huge impact on conversions, so don’t be scared to throw around some big numbers in your credit union to set some high anchors. How will you implement this in your credit union? I look forward to hearing about it in the comments! And, if you have a question about incorporating behavioral economics into your credit union, come over and like The Brainy Business Facebook Page where I go live every week to answer your questions.
We have also learned that Trump has demanded political/personal loyalty from not one but three key individuals in the investigation — former FBI director James Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe (Trump asked whom he voted for and tried to fire him) and now, we learn, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.Trump reportedly asked Rosenstein whether he was part of Trump’s team — at the very time Rosenstein is overseeing the Russia investigation. Moreover, Trump had a meltdown when he learned Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russia probe. Trump demanded to know who would be his “Roy Cohn” at the Justice Department. He has never stopped searching for one.All of these attempts to extract promises to act as Trump’s political protector rather than to follow their oaths of office seem to be powerful evidence of Trump’s “corrupt intent.”Taking a step back, the Nunes lunacy concerning release of the memo may well do more harm to Republicans and implicate both the White House and Nunes himself.Constitutional lawyer Laurence H. Tribe says, “Both the President’s release of the memo despite the warning of FBI Director (Christopher) Wray and the actions of Nunes in concocting a phony smear of Rosenstein seem to me to be important parts of an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct justice.”Ethics guru Norm Eisen agrees. The New York Times reports that the former spokesman for the Trump legal team, Mark Corallo, plans to tell the special counsel about a conference call with Trump and Hope Hicks in which she promised the incriminating emails concerning the Trump Tower meeting with Russians in June 2016 would never get out.(Hicks has herself been interviewed and is in legal peril if she did not tell the truth.) Hicks’s counsel denies the claim. If she said this, her actions might evidence a plan to destroy evidence or impede the investigation.Moreover, she may have given Trump confidence to cook up a phony explanation for the meeting. Corallo seems to have been the only honest man in sight.According to the report, he cut short the conversation, informed the lawyers, wrote down notes and also told Stephen Bannon about the call. Then he quit.In other words, he seems to have everything humanly possible to leave investigators a brightly lit trail of possible evidence. Categories: Editorial, OpinionRepublican antics concerning the memo drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., threaten to damage our national security, the FBI and the entire congressional oversight process.Meanwhile, President Donald Trump faces a constant drip-drip-drip of new revelations giving heft to a possible obstruction-of-justice charge. “Dissemination of false information to target prosecutors and investigators (Rosenstein and others here) can be part of the mosaic of obstruction,” he says.“And while Nunes has speech and debate immunity, that may not extend to colluding far from the floor of Congress, at the White House, to help the president interfere with the Mueller investigation.”Eisen, together with Noah Bookbinder, Caroline Fredrickson and Kristin Amerling, has now released a handy guide to the entire scheme to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller III and the investigation.The authors find that a multitude of allegations thrown around by Trump and his lackeys — each easily debunked — do not show Mueller to be compromised.However, they write:“Collectively, they amount to one of the most sustained smear campaigns against honest government officials since Senator Joe McCarthy’s attacks of the 1950s.“We address them collectively in this report because a pattern has emerged of the President and/or his enablers making wild allegations, dominating a media cycle, then pivoting away as the falsity of the claims emerge. “Rather than defending the spurious attacks, after a short interval, a new and baseless charge is launched, and the vicious cycle is repeated.“We think the pattern is highly relevant to the credibility of each new charge relating to the (special counsel)-the latest coming in the form of the Nunes memo-and that it is important for a rebuttal of them all to be on the record.”Trump and Nunes can create a cloud of confusion and feed the Fox News state TV programming beast, but Trump has left himself wide open (with a slew of witnesses) to a charge of obstruction.Nunes is making Trump’s predicament worse in that regard; he’s inadvertently demonstrating the lengths to which Republicans, and not only Trump, will go to protect Trump from legal and political peril.This is unlikely to end well for Nunes, Trump or the GOP.Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census
“PCR tests show the best results within the first three days of the onset of symptoms – if patients show any symptoms at all – because that’s when the viral load is believed to be at the highest level,” said Maria Lucia Inge Lusida, a professor of clinical microbiology at Airlangga University (Unair).”The longer the period between symptom onset and the administration of the test, the lesser the viral load becomes and the higher the chances are for negative results,” added Inge, who leads the university’s Institute of Tropical Diseases.The PCR testing process also requires well-trained personnel, and the scarcity of such medical professionals has been cited as a reason for Indonesia’s low testing rate.Aryati, a clinical pathology professor from Unair who chairs the Indonesian Association of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Specialists (PDS PatKLIn), said the testing work required great attention to detail, from taking the samples properly to pipetting materials and processing the tests.”Without caution, there could be contamination,” she said.The machine settings and the reagents used can also affect test results. Different machines target different sets of genes that belong to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and some genes degrade more quickly than others, causing variations in detectability over time, Aryati said. She added that some genes were found in other strains of the virus as well.The BIN and experts have highlighted the cycle threshold, or CT value. PCR tests amplify samples’ genetic matter in cycles to bring indicators of the virus to a detectable threshold. A lower CT value means fewer cycles were required to identify the virus, suggesting a higher viral load.PCR machines in Indonesia set varying limits on the cycles, ranging between 31 and 45, but many in the country are set at a cutoff of 40 cycles, according to experts.If the virus is not identified within the specified number of cycles, the test result is negative. If the virus is found within the cycle limit, the result is positive.”The BIN has set the limit higher than other institutions, as seen through the CT value of its real-time PCR. The lower threshold is 35, but to avoid misdetection of asymptomatic cases, the BIN has increased the limit to 40,” Wawan of the BIN said.Aryati, however, said results from different PCR settings, including CT cutoffs, could not be compared so easily. She said that if the CT value was set at 31 in a device with a maximum of 31.5, then if the same sample were tested using a device with a maximum of 40 or 45, the CT value should be around 39 or 44 respectively, a similar proximity to the maximum threshold.A low CT value, which could indicate a high viral load, is associated with a person being more infectious and vice versa. Some studies of viral cultures have found that CT values higher than 34 or 35 were much less likely to be cultured, meaning they were no longer likely to be infectious.Read also: Use antigen tests for screening but with cautionNoting that the complexity of PCR tests could affect public trust in test results, experts have urged people to leave the interpretation to medical professionals and have emphasized that PCR tests remain the gold standard in detecting the virus despite the possibilities of false negatives and positives.Inge said that while they were not perfect, PCR tests were the best means of detecting the virus for now.”There needs to be routine quality control of labs […] There are many new labs, and without such control, we won’t know their performance,” she said.The head of the Health Ministry’s research and development body, Slamet, did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.Topics : “There are some factors that can affect differences in swab test [results]. They include the machine’s condition, the time of the test, the patient’s condition and testing kit quality,” the agency’s spokesperson Wawan Hari Purwanto said in a statement.Read also: No PCR tests: What you need to know about new discharge criteriaExperts told The Jakarta Post it would only be fair to compare test results if samples were taken at the same time and were sent to different labs that had the same PCR settings.Indonesia operates some 263 labs for COVID-19 testing, and they have a variety of machines and testing kits. But even before samples reach labs, certain variations can affect results, including when and how samples are taken, transported and stored. While recent reports have called the reliability of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests into question, experts agree that they remain the best tests for COVID-19 but acknowledge that various factors affect results.Recently, the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), whose significant involvement in the country’s pandemic response has raised questions and criticism from civil society organizations, rejected a report by Tempo magazine that its PCR tests were inaccurate.The BIN, which has received Rp 5.57 trillion of the COVID-19 response budget, said false positives and negatives were found in other countries as well and that several factors affected test results among different labs.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission told IPE that it took on board the outcome of the TTYPE project’s work in deciding to pursue the cross-border ETS.Although the commission is offering initial support to those wishing to set up an ETS, it is not taking responsibility for its implementation or running, according to the spokeswoman.The funding is to help stakeholders with implementing the pilot stage of the ETS only. The call for proposals is therefore aimed at stakeholders “who would take full ownership of the ETS and have a long-term strategy for its full roll-out”.Only one proposal will receive a financial grant from the EU. This is not allowed to exceed 80% of the total “eligible costs of the action”, with applicants needing to guarantee financing the remainder from other sources.The total budget earmarked for the EU’s contribution is estimated at €2.5m. Funding can be for activities such as “actions aiming at the creation and improving of networks”, digital infrastructure development, conferences and seminars, and/or analytical studies, according to the commission’s document.The TTYPE consortium had calculated that, after deducting membership fees of €3m, around €17m would be needed in the first five years to cover the costs of developing, connecting, and running the ETS.Case for ETS ‘reinforced’The European Commission proposed the establishment of an ETS for pensions in a white paper in 2012. In its call for proposals document it said that developments since then, such as the IORP II Directive, had “reinforced” the case for cross-border tracking services.According to the document, the pilot stage of the ETS should cover at least five EU member states or other countries deemed eligible, and “offer functionality that allows users to find their former supplementary pension funds in the participating countries”.It should be designed in a way that would allow it to be subsequently rolled out to more countries and with more functionality, and the strategy should focus on making the ETS financially self-sustainable after full roll-out.Where possible, the ETS should include information on statutory and/or personal pensions, although the main focus should be on occupational pensions, the commission said.Information provided by the ETS should be compatible with the pension information provisions of the Supplementary Pension Rights Directives and the IORP II Directive “and offer pension providers a cost-effective tool for fulfilling their information duties”.The call for proposals can be found here. The European Commission is taking applications for providers interested in setting up a European tracking service for pensions.Launched last month, the call for proposals delivers on a commitment made by the Commission last year to offer initial support to stakeholders looking to set up a European Tracking Service (ETS).Applications can be submitted until the end of May.In June last year a consortium of European pension providers presented a business plan for a cross-border ETS, called Track and Trace Your Pension in Europe (TTYPE). The providers said such a service would take six years to break even and so would initially be reliant on grants from the commission.