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Infographic – More Data Show a Warming Planet

Global earth temperatures

Click on image for full-size view (Statista)

19 Jan. 2020. In case daily reports of giant fires, floods, extreme storms, droughts, and shrinking polar ice caps aren’t enough evidence of the climate crisis, a chart posted on Friday by our friends at Statista provides yet another sign our planet is dangerously warmer. Data for the chart and our bonus infographic this weekend were compiled by NASA at its Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The chart plots average divergence from monthly temperatures of the earth’s surface over the course of a year beginning in 1880, then in 20-year increments up to 2000. After 2000, the chart reports on years 2016 and 2019. The data show 2019 was the second warmest year on record, after 2016. But the gap between 2000 and 2016 is striking.

Data are collected worldwide from weather stations worldwide as well as from ship, buoys and satellite measurements of the oceans. NASA crunches the numbers with the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2, or MEERA-2, model.

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Looking For Investing Advice? Consider These Quotes

– Contributed content 

Growing money

(Nattanan Kanchanaprat, Pixabay)

20 Jan. 2020. If you are looking for a new opportunity to make money and find financial security this year one great idea is to get into investment.

Investment is the act of putting your money to something you think will be profitable in the future such as a currency, property or even business. Finding the top places to invest can be difficult and it may take you some time to get comfortable with your own investment instincts.

That’s why today we have compiled some expert advice to help you find the best investment opportunities and ensure that you can make a living out of investment this year and beyond. Here are some of the world’s top investment professionals sharing their advice on investment to help you make the right decisions today.

Jim Cramer

“Every once in a while, the market does something so stupid it takes your breath away.”

Warren Buffett

“Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself,” the self-made billionaire said in an interview with Forbes. “Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.”

Kyle Taylor

” Fifty percent of the money goes straight to the bank — into your checking account, emergency fund or a long-term savings account — while 30 percent goes towards funding your lifestyle, and 20 percent goes towards fun. Having those percentages set up ahead of time will give you the freedom and the control to make sure you’re making a wise financial decision,”

Spike Lee

“I’ve got no problem asking people for money. Because I believe. I believe in my talents, my storytelling abilities, and also the people I surround myself with on the projects that I make.”

Peter Lynch

“You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets.”

Suze Orman

“The key to saving money is to find the same kind of pleasure you get from spending when you save. Saving money should never feel like “a downer,” It should be satisfying. You should even like doing it. The question shouldn’t be, “When can you start enjoying your money that you saved? My question back to you is, ‘When do you start enjoying the process of saving?’ If you did that, you’ll find you don’t care about spending money anymore.”

Mark Cuban

“It’s so hard to make a return on regular investments that … you’re better off buying two years’ worth of toothpaste when it’s on 50 percent discount,” the self-made billionaire said in a 2017 interview with Vanity Fair. “There’s an immediate return on your money.”

Warren Buffett

“Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.”

Grant Cardone

“You won’t get rich without multiple flows of income. That starts with the income you currently have. Increase that income and start adding multiple flows. You want what are called symbiotic flows. Do not just add disconnected flows. Instead, find other ways you can add income to the job you already have. My video guy does advertising for me — and after proving himself, he started making advertisements for those connected to me. He didn’t start a doughnut shop.”

Chris Reining

“I know there are some people out there that say you shouldn’t worry about the $5 latte, but the more I think about it, cutting out the $5 latte was a good place to start. Because if you try to downsize your house, get rid of all yours cars and make all of these drastic changes, it’s so overwhelming and you’re not going to do any of it. The small changes will lead you to be able to make the big changes.”

Dave Ramsey

“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.”

Grant Sabatier

“Money is not everything, and it’s not worth sacrificing your health, family, friends or other experiences for it. I have lost a few friends and strained other relationships because I’ve spent too much time staying late in the office or hustling on the weekends. Even though I truly believe that having money is freedom, money is really just a tool to make experiences in life possible. Making and saving more money is only useful if you have something in mind you want to use it for.”

Editor’s note: The opinions in this post are the contributor’s and not those of Science & Enterprise.

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Keeping a Step Ahead of Competitors

– Contributed content –

Runners

(Maxmann, Pixabay)

19 Jan. 2020. If there’s one thing that you can’t be accused of, it’s resting on your laurels. Your combination of technical prowess, people skills, tireless research and a whole lot of passion have seen you build your enterprise up from nothing. Your blood sweat and tears have gone into ensuring that your business stays afloat against overwhelming odds. You and your team pour your hearts and souls into ensuring that your operation is the best that it can be… every minute of every day.

But despite your valiant and sincere efforts, the stats are pointing in all the wrong directions. They point to declining sales, disengagement on social platforms and an overall lack of enthusiasm for your brand.

To rub salt into the wound, it seems like your competitors are doing better than ever. Their sales figures keep on climbing, their social feeds show a higher standard of social engagement than yours, and their customers keep coming back to them time and time again, despite your best efforts to engage them.

As dispiriting as this can be, this does not mean that you should throw in the towel just yet. When your competitors are getting the drop on you, it behooves you to identify the reasons why and strategize accordingly. Here are five ways your competitors may be gaining the upper hand, and what you can do to reclaim your advantage…

They’re keeping a closer eye on you than you are on them

Feel like you’re being watched? That’s because you probably are. Competitor analysis is an important part of delivering operational excellence through market research. And if your competitors seem to be thwarting you at every turn it may be because they’re keeping a closer eye on you than you are on them.

Of course, it’s important to keep your attention on your own operation. But as your attention is increasingly occupied by the operational necessities of the daily grind, it becomes more and more tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore your competitors. The more you do this, however, the more ground you surrender to them.

Invest your time and efforts in comprehensive competitor analysis. Identify things they’re doing well and how they might represent a better value proposition in the eyes of your target market. You should also look for the things they’re not doing as well as you. Each of these is a potential opportunity that should be reflected in your marketing endeavors.

They have an SEO advantage

Even if you’re operationally superior to your competitors in every way, they can still beat you to the punch if they appear higher up than you on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The simple reality is that consumers are getting more and more fickle in this digital age. They know that they have more choice than ever, and assume that the businesses that are higher up on SERPs are there because they deserve to be there. As such, they’re not likely to scroll too far down the results page to choose a brand or product. Search engines are a different kind of meritocracy, and if you don’t engage them on their own terms you could lose prospects to a competing business, even if they’re offering customers less.

As such, you’re going to have to play the game if you’re to beat out your competitors on this particular battlefield. Some ways to do this include;

  • Establishing a content marketing strategy that builds value in your brand while boosting your SEO (more on that later).
  • Carrying out a technical audit of your online content to identify unnoticed SEO red flags like duplicate content or broken links.
  • Build backlinks from trusted local sources.
  • Combine paid ads with organic lead generation strategies to boost conversions and encourage regular repeat traffic.

SEO is a complicated and multifaceted discipline which requires you to keep a lot of plates spinning at once. As such, many SMBs find that outsourcing is more viable (and cost-effective) than trying to keep it all in-house. Outsourcing a white label SEM company can give your business the upper hand on SERPs. They can identify a strategy that’s tailored to your needs and budget and identify how your competitors are getting ahead of you in SERPs to create a more level playing field.

They’re more attractive to top-tier candidates

One of the best ways to get ahead of the competition is by ensuring that you have the best staff. Great businesses are made by great employees as well as great entrepreneurs. And if your competitors are attracting a better class of candidate, they will have an inherent advantage, even if you offer a superior program of training and on-boarding.

The good news is that there are a number of ways in which you can make yourself more attractive to the kind of candidates who will take your business to the next level. The first, and most important, is to ensure that you’re doing right by your employees. Ask yourself honestly;

  • Are they paid a living wage?
  • Do you offer them the flexibility that they need to achieve work / life balance?
  • Do you have an employee recognition that helps them to feel that their achievements are valued and celebrated?
  • Have you invested properly in an ongoing course of training and development?
  • Are you invested in them as an individual, or are you just interested in the function they perform for your business?

Asking these hard questions can increase your value in the eyes of candidates when new team members are needed.

If you’re doing everything right and your employees are happy, motivated and engaged congratulations, your employees are doing better than 85% of the workforce. And they should make sure the world knows about it! Incentivize them to leave reviews for you on sites like Glassdoor. You may be surprised by how quickly word gets around.

They’re more active on social channels

Having a Facebook account doesn’t mean that you’re “doing” social media. If you’ve started to notice that your competitors’ social channels generate way more interest and engagement than yours, it’s vital that you ask yourself why.

For the better part of a decade now, social media has been the country’s number one online activity. And if you’re not engaging them effectively on social platforms you may risk falling at the first hurdle.

One of the biggest mistakes brands make on social media is going in for the hard sell with every post. Yes, social media offers opportunity for conversions, but it’s primary purpose is to engage with your target audience. Listen to what they say (even if it’s less than flattering). Respond to comments they make in a timely fashion. Address complaints in a way that’s sincere and conciliatory. Like and share their comments. Make yourself a part of the community.

Get social media right and you’ll see that fickle consumers start to perceive more value in your brand.

They’re giving people a reason to keep coming back… even if it’s not to buy

Finally, like your social media presence, your content marketing should give people in your target audience a reason to keep coming back to your website, even if it’s not to make a purchase.
If your competitors’ content resonates with the audience more strongly than yours, it may be because it is of greater value to them.

While content marketing should be a showcase for your abilities, expertise and insight it cannot be allowed to become self-congratulatory. Your strategy should always hinge upon what generates value for the reader. When your content addresses their needs, concerns and frustrations it builds value in your brand and generates more conversions in the long term.

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Infographic – Mediocre ClinicalTrials.gov Report Rates

Chart: Clinical trials report

Compliance with legal requirement to report clinical trial results on ClinicalTrials.gov: a cohort study. Nicholas J DeVito, Seb Bacon, Ben Goldacre. The Lancet. 17 Jan. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)33220-9. Click on image for full size view.

18 Jan. 2020. New data show most sponsors of clinical trials are not reporting their results on time to a U.S. government web site as required by law. A team from University of Oxford in the U.K. describe their findings in yesterday’s issue of the journal The Lancet (registration required), which provide the data for this weekend’s infographic.

The Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act requires clinical trial sponsors to report their results to the web site ClinicalTrials.gov, maintained by National Library of Medicine under National Institutes of Health, within one year of completion. But as Oxford’s Nicholas Devito, Seb Bacon, and Ben Goldacre discovered, meeting that requirement is more the exception than the rule.

From the period March 2018 to September 2019, say the authors, 4,209 clinical studies were required to report their findings. Only about 4 in 10 clinical trials, 1,722 or 41 percent, of that total filed their results within one year. And less than two in three, 2,686 or 64 percent, reported any results at all.

Industry-sponsored trials had the highest compliance rate, with half (50%) of its 1,837 clinical studies reported on time, compared to about one-third (34%) of non-industry sponsors — e.g., universities and research institutes — and three in 10 (31%) for U.S. government studies. While clinical trials sponsored by the U.S. government accounted for only about five percent of the total due to report, their rate for any reports, on time or not, reached 74 percent, compared to 65 percent for industry and 62 percent for non-industry sponsors.

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How Tall Can You Make A Building?

– Contributed content –

Glass-steel office building

(Unsplash)

18 Jan. 2020. In the past, high-rise tower blocks got a bad rap. Architects on the residential side of the equation got flack for creating buildings that piled thousands of people into a small space and expected them to all live together in harmony. And commercial builders were hated by environmentalists for the energy use of modern, multi-story office buildings.

Things, however, are changing. The need to avoid urban sprawl and protect the natural world now means that builders are going upwards to save on space, but how high can they actually go?

Over the last twenty years, we’ve seen numerous records shattered. For around 25 years, the Sears Tower in Chigaco was the tallest in the world, rising higher than even the Twin Towers in New York. Then a taller building went up in Kuala Lumpur, followed by Taipei.

Dubai then put itself on the map by smashing the previous record, building an 818 m behemoth called the Burj Khalifa, more than twice the height of the already-impressive Empire State.

The question for builders now is whether it is possible to go even higher using existing technology. Finding a crane for sale capable of such a feat isn’t the hard part. Neither is finding materials that are strong enough to support such massive structures above them and cheap enough to make them economical.

No – the challenge is something seemingly less monumental: creating the internal transportation system.

A building that is 1000m tall is a kilometer long. On the flat, that is a long way – several city blocks. In the air, it is even further because of the difficulties of going up and down.

Top structural engineers know that if they want to create usable, ultra-tall buildings, they need to upgrade the transportation system.

It isn’t just a matter of making lifts that travel faster – though that is a part of it. It is also about the space that lift shafts take up.

As a building grows taller, the demand for internal transportation rises. The number of lifts required increases at an exponential rate, making it difficult for engineers to cram all the transport services that they need into the core of the building. Eventually, you end up in a situation where you need more lifts that the physical footprint of the building allows, just to service all the floors.

Engineers think that they could go twice as high as the Burj Dubai using “buttressed core” technologies. Buildings as tall as 1,600 meters are technically feasible with current-generation construction technology. But servicing those buildings is a big problem. You could end up in a situation where nobody wanted to rent the higher floors, simply because getting to them is so difficult.

If there are no improvements in lift technologies, then supertalls may evolve in a different way to skyscrapers of the past. Builders might design them for the ultrarich, reducing the population density of the buildings and opening them up for residential space. We already see this happening in the environs of Central Park in New York, but it is a trend that could spread all over the world.

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Light-Activated Gel Breaks Down Implanted Devices

Bariatric balloon

Bariatric balloon with a seal made of light-activated hydrogel, used in tests with pigs (Ritu Raman, MIT)

17 Jan. 2020. A medical engineering team developed a light-sensitive polymer gel that activates compounds to break down implanted or ingested devices. Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology describe their material in today’s issue of the journal Science Advances.

The authors, from the biotechnology and engineering labs of Giovanni Traverso and Robert Langer at MIT, are seeking better methods for removing ingested or implanted medical devices, without resorting to invasive endoscopes. Traverso and Langer, as reported in Science & Enterprise, developed a number of ingested devices for diagnostics and long-term drug delivery, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. And while tests show the devices can break down on their own when finished with their tasks, circumstances may require removing then before the end of their lifetimes.

“We are developing a set of systems that can reside in the gastrointestinal tract,” says Traverso in an MIT statement, “and as part of that, we’re looking to develop different ways in which we can trigger the disassembly of devices in the GI tract without the requirement for a major procedure.”

Up to now, their ingestible devices react to changes in changes in temperature, pH (acidity), or the presence of certain compounds to start breaking down. In this project, lead by postdoctoral researcher Ritu Raman in Langer’s lab, the researchers created a light-activated method to break down an ingested or implanted device on demand, rather than wait for certain conditions to emerge, and without invasive techniques.

The MIT team devised their solution with hydrogel, or water-based polymers, that can be formed into various devices. They started with polyacrylamide (PAAM) and poly2-acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid (PAMPS), two bio-compatible, degradable — and importantly for this project, transparent — polymers used in implants such as artificial cartilage.

For these devices that operate inside the gastrointestinal system, the researchers needed materials both resilient and flexible, yet still break down when triggered. “You’re forming one polymer network and then forming another polymer network around it,” says Raman, “so it’s really entangled. That makes it very tough and stretchy.”

To provide the light-sensitive property, the researchers added in the compound ortho-nitrobenzyl, known to react to blue light for cleaving other bio-compatible polymers. Since the hydrogels would have to work inside the body, the system needed a simple light source, in this case a tiny, ingestible light-emitting diode, or LED. The researchers found they could alter the speed and extent of polymer degradation by adjusting amounts of ortho-nitrobenzyl, light wavelengths, and distance from the light source. Toxicity tests in the lab show no harmful effects from the materials on gastrointestinal cells.

The team created two applications to test their material, a seal on a bariatric balloon, a device implanted to treat obesity, and an esophageal stent used to open a blocked or narrowed esophagus, as occurs in esophageal cancer. The seal on the bariatric balloon opens a valve to deflate the balloon. In tests with pigs — animals with organs about the same size and functions as humans — the researchers found the light-activated hydrogel seal releases the valve, allowing the balloon to deflate. And the deflation speed can be adjusted, depending on the intensity of the light. The esophageal stent, also in tests with pigs, breaks down when activated by the LED and passes through the pigs’ gastrointestinal systems.

The team plans to test this approach with other implanted or ingested devices. “This study is a proof of concept that we can create this kind of material,” says Traverso, “and now we’re thinking about what are the best applications for it.” In 2015, Langer, Traverso, and entrepreneur Amy Schulman founded the company Lyndra Therpeutics Inc. in Watertown, Massachusetts to license and commercialize their extended release drug-delivery technology, where this light-activated material could be deployed.

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An Online Magazine For Your Business

– Contributed content –

Magazine production

(Drew Williams, Pexels)

17 Jan. 2020. There are a number of different free magazine solutions available today, helping businesses to create the perfect online magazine for your company. With that in mind, read on to discover everything you need to know.

What is a digital magazine?

So, what is a digital magazine anyway? A digital magazine is an online magazine that is delivered in an electronic form. It is usually formatted in an identical manner when compared with the digital version. This means it looks just like the printed mag, but it is interactive!

There are a number of benefits associated with using an online magazine maker to create a digital magazine, which is obviously why you want to create one! But, just so we are clear, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people decide to add magazines to their blog or website.

  • With digital magazines, you can go much further than word-based content and images. You can include flash, video, and much more to draw in readers.
  • But that’s not all… there is greater flexibility with content and amendments can easily be made. Have you ever had a magazine printed only to realise you have made a mistake or you don’t like something? Luckily, online magazines mean tweaks are easy.
  • You can reach a greater number of people with digital magazines.
  • You can incorporate great interactive elements. Investing in video production comes highly recommended, so you can incorporate videos into your magazine, from demos to customer testimonials.

How to create an online magazine?

To do this, you need an online magazine maker. There are so many different magazine makers available, yet every online magazine maker functions in the same way. They give you the tools that are needed to create and design professional digital magazines, which can be shared or published online with ease – so you don’t need to stress about how to publish an online magazine either. When choosing an online magazine maker, consider all of these tools and features to determine which online magazine maker you are ultimately going to go with in the end.

What is the best digital magazine software?

When looking for an online magazine maker, the sheer number of different options that are available will shock you. One of the first things you must decide is whether to pay for the software or not. Of course, it’s best to go for free whenever you can! Why should you spend your money when there are plenty of free versions available that allow you to create digital magazine free of charge? There’s no need! Below, I will take a look at seven of the best free online magazine maker programs that are available.

Flip PDF Professional – This is an easy-to-use PDF magazine creator, with not a single line of code required! It also comes in a number of different languages. With this free online magazine maker, you can turn static PDF magazines into interactive online versions with ease. Simply import PDF documents into the interface of the software. After this, add images, flash, and video. You can pretty much embed any type of rich media, whether it is a piece of audio or a video from YouTube. When publishing a digital magazine with this online magazine maker, it can automatically be published in HTML5 for tablet and mobile, as well as Flash for Mac and PC. There are no limits on the number of digital versions you can create for free, which is great news. This means you could make monthly or even weekly publications without worrying about payment being demanded in the future.

FlippingBook – This has been designed for average-size digital publishers. However, I need to get one major drawback out of the way first. This online magazine maker is not free forever! So, it’s probably a good idea to test it out and see if you think it is worth paying for in the future. Skipping software halfway through isn’t a great move, as you will lack some consistency. So, what are some of the features that may tempt you to pay for this program in the future? Well, firstly, you don’t have to have your own website to make and share magazines. You can either self-host or use the company’s cloud hosting solution. You then get a link so you can share the magazine with ease. There is also a content protection option, so you can prevent your magazine from being distributed in ways you don’t want it to be. The software is also really easy to use. You don’t need to be a pro, that’s for sure. Plus, help is always available if you need it.

Flipsnack – These magazine makers sure like the use of the word Flip, don’t they? With this online magazine maker, you are presented with two options. You can create and design a magazine from scratch online, or you can upload a PDF and do it that way. One of the best features is the real-time statistics and Google Analytics integration. This helps to make smart decisions and understand how your magazine was interacting with the audience. Some other notable features include privacy and sharing settings, website integration, page flip animation, easy sharing, eCommerce buttons, and HTML5 online magazine template options.

MagLoft – This is an online magazine maker for those who want to turn PDF files into digital versions. Set up an account within a few minutes and create as many digital versions of your magazine as you want for free. Social media sharing is easy with this online magazine maker too. It only takes a click of a button and your magazine can be published and then shared via the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Lucidpress – Another impressive free online magazine maker! Lucidpress gives all of the tools needed to create an online magazine. You can create print versions too! You are given a whole host of free magazine templates to choose from. It is also easy to transport from a whole host of sources. Sharing is really easy too. There is plenty of useful information on the Lucidpress website too about free digital magazines, which is great. It’s of no surprise that more than 5 million people use Lucidpress.

Yumpu – If you are looking for an online magazine maker that is easy to use and enables you to read magazines online free PDF versions, this is a good choice. With Yumpu, you only need to follow four easy steps to create a magazine. This starts with creating a PDF magazine. You then upload the online PDF magazine to the online magazine maker Yumpu. After this, set up your newly created online version. Finally, embed it into your website. Easy, right?

Canva – Finally, we have Canva, which is an online magazine maker to make the cover page only. It’s a great magazine cover creator. It is designed to help you create a magazine cover that no one can take his or her eyes off. It is also a really easy to use platform. Start by opening the digital magazine publishing software, and then select the design type for your cover. You can then choose from a huge range of frames, icons, banners, and more, as well as uploading your own images. Combining Canva with one of the other online magazine maker programs is definitely a good choice.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this digital publishing platform comparison, and now have a better understanding regarding the different free online magazine maker programs that are available. All of the online magazine software programs and magazine maker app options that have been mentioned were enjoyable in different ways.

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Protein Tags Devised to Stop Counterfeit Drugs

Drug dose tag

Capsule with unique identifier tag, illuminated with a green filter for greater visibility (Jung Woo Leem, Purdue University)

17 Jan. 2020. A bio-engineering lab developed a tiny edible tag from natural proteins that uniquely identifies individual doses of medicines to prevent counterfeiting. Researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana describe their system in yesterday’s issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The team from the Natural and Biological Photonics Lab of bio-engineering professor Young Kim is seeking reliable and feasible techniques for protecting patients and health care systems overall from counterfeit drugs. The problem, say the authors, is worldwide and growing, with at times deadly consequences. The Guardian newspaper in July 2019 reported that some 250,000 children die each year from counterfeit drugs for treating malaria and pneumonia. And a pharma industry paper in 2018 says cheap pill-making machines, available on the Internet, are turning out synthetic fentanyl and counterfeit drugs at an alarming rate, with deaths from their products reported in at least 30 states in the U.S.

Kim and colleagues at Purdue, with associates at institutions in Korea, aim to apply the concept of a physically unclonable function, or PUF proposed to secure Internet-of-things connected devices, with authentication applied to each pill or capsule given to patients. These PUF identifiers would be fabricated on tiny tags that need to be safe for patients, and not disrupt the chemical mechanisms of medications, while still be feasible for implementation by drug manufacturers.

The researchers developed the physical tag as a tiny 7 millimeter square transparent strip of film made from fibroin, a natural protein in silk that dissolves in water. To produce identifiers for the tags, the team genetically engineered silkworms to produce fluorescent fibroin in blue, green, yellow, and red colors. These colored silk proteins are then dried and crushed into micro-scale particles, and arrayed on the silk protein film in patterns to form of unique bar code for each tablet or capsule. The team says the process can be scaled up for large-scale manufacturing, and does not use organic solvents or synthetic polymers, making it safe for patients.

The colored fluorescent silk proteins are distributed on the clear film background in a random manner, which makes it possible to translate those patterns into unique cryptographic keys for authentication. The researchers validated the random pattern of these cryptographic keys against a test suite at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. While the colored silk particles would not be visible to the naked eye, the patterns can be illuminated and read with LED light. The team envisions a smartphone app to read the color pattern on the tag, translate the pattern into data, and verify the authenticity of the drug from an online database.

“Our concept is to use a smartphone to shine an LED light on the tag and take a picture of it,” says postdoctoral researcher and first author Jung Woo Leem in a university statement. “The app then identifies if the medicine is genuine or fake.”

Kim and Leem are listed as authors on provisional patents filed for the technology by Purdue University. In addition, Kim recently founded the company CryptoMED LLC, to develop the mobile components of the system. In this video, the researchers tell more about and demonstrate the tags.

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Taking Better Care Of Your Workforce

– Contributed content –

Open office

(Marc Mueller, Pexels.com)

17 Jan. 2020. It’s hard to deny that a business relies on its members of staff to run smoothly. Obviously, when people think of brands, they think of the products or the enigmatic entrepreneurs who run the businesses behind those big brand names. Still, those innovative ideas only reach the market because of the employees who work tirelessly to make that the case. So, if you want your company to do well, then you should make your team your primary focus. What could you do to take better care of your workforce?

Give them rewards and perks.

If you want to take better care of your workforce, then you should start by giving them rewards and perks. Hiring professionals with the right qualifications might seem like the recipe for a perfect team, but people need motivation. Even a highly-intelligent employee might become unproductive if they feel apathetic towards their job role or the company. Make sure you maintain a good atmosphere in the workplace. Offer rewards, such as bonuses, to hard workers. You could do this on a monthly basis or even a weekly basis if you really want to provide a form of encouragement for people.

Make some improvements to your office’s health and safety measures.

Making some improvements to your office’s health and safety measures is another important part of looking after your employees. If you want to make sure that your workers are healthy, then you should focus on the safety measures that your workplace has in place. You should have regular safety meetings to ensure that your members of staff know how to keep themselves safe. You might want to get help from experts who could get a fire curtain installed for your business. This could help to stop fires from spreading in your workplace.

Perhaps you could put up signs in bathrooms that remind people to wash their hands, too. That would help to stop the spread of germs. In turn, your employees would be able to work productively without catching colds. When you focus on the safety of your employees, you’ll be able to keep them happier and healthier. That will help your business to operate more effectively on a daily basis. It’s worth thinking of ways to improve your office’s safety if you want to increase productivity whilst also taking care of your staff members.

Have 1:1 meetings.

One of the best ways to take better care of your employees is to have 1:1 meetings with them. That’s how you’ll really get to know what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling. Plus, it’ll let them know that you care about their welfare. You should make appointments with each of your employees on a regular basis to check that everyone is happy and healthy. Simply talking to your workers can make such a big difference. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep your office door open. Let your workers know that you’re always ready to hear their concerns or suggestions. This will help you to address problems and take better care of your staff members in the future.

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Synthetic DNA Studied for Mass Data Storage

DNA illustration

(Nogas1974, Wikimedia Commons)

16 Jan. 2020. An industry-academic consortium received a U.S. government contract to develop coded synthetic polymer chemicals like DNA for reliably storing massive amounts of data. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa, awarded the four-year contract of up to $23 million to the Molecular Encoding Consortium, that includes the company DNA Script in Paris and labs at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, a genomics research center affiliated with Harvard and MIT.

Iarpa is seeking a stable, deployable technology for storing massive amounts of data expected from advances in informatics, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and autonomous vehicles. These rapid and parallel advances are stretching current data storage facilities, such as data centers, to their limits, requiring ever-larger physical plants, higher power consumption, and much higher costs. Building more of these large and expensive facilities is becoming increasingly unfeasible and not sustainable.

Iarpa, an office under the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, established its molecular information storage program to find out if synthetic chemicals such as sequence-controlled polymers can solve this growing problem. Polymers are common chains of molecules called monomers found throughout nature, but those monomer chains can also, under some conditions, be purposefully arranged to create synthetic polymers not found in nature. With sequence-controlled polymers, the order of these monomer chains can be controlled and arranged to represent predetermined codes for data storage.

The Molecular Encoding Consortium aims to explore if a new type of DNA synthesis process using enzymes, when combined with high-throughput sequencing, can meet Iarpa’s needs. DNA Script designs synthetic nucleic acids including DNA, which the company says uses efficient enzymes to produce synthetic nucleic acids faster, more reliably, and with fewer errors. DNA Script produces synthetic DNA and other nucleic acids for drug discovery, biofuels, biomaterials, engineered food crops, and data storage.

Robert Nicol, director of technology development at the Broad Institute and principal investigator on the project says in a DNA Script statement, “This project [is] at the intersection of molecular biology, physics, chemistry, information theory, and electrical engineering,” and adds, “The objectives set out by IARPA for this four-year program are ambitious and will require scientific innovations, as well as robust and scalable technologies.”

The consortium includes the lab of physicist and engineering professor Donhee Ham at Harvard University, that studies nanoscale tools for biology, including chip devices interacting with biological processes, and will provide that expertise for the project. The team also plans to add genetics technology company Illumina Inc. to the project. The company is offering its sequencing by synthesis technology that the company says makes possible base-by-base sequencing for accurate analysis.

Thomas Ybert, CEO of DNA Script notes that the project “will require us to push current technological limits to bring to life our cutting-edge technology, while also delivering an operational solution to one of the most important challenges of our time.”

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