Military buyers Homeshoppers on a mission

Military buyers Homeshoppers on a mission

A Screenplay by Mabry

In winter there's not much to take your attention away from the structure or colors of trees and shrubs. You can appreciate them for their branching habits and bark, not just because they supply the "canopy" or "spatial enclosure" of


© 2013 Mabry

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New York's Conrad Hotel (featured here in Interior Design’s January issue) welcomed 175 “design dreamers and doers” for the magazine’s 100 BIG Ideas Party, a celebration of the March issue. Georgetown coach John Thompson III usually measures his words carefully and avoids big-picture statements whenever possible.At the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California, the Solar Impulse company has engineered the HB-S1A solar-powered airplane. The Democratic-controlled House is poised to give the Pentagon dozens of new ships, planes, helicopters and armored vehicles that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says the military does not need to fund next year, acting in many cases in response to defense industry pressures and campaign... Parkwood, a neighborhood of 1940s and 1950s houses where Kensington meets Bethesda, has benefited greatly from what has been built around it over the decades. For more information, visit the MIT site for the project GREEN VALLEY, ARIZ. -- "Somos amigos," called Shura Wallin, ducking low into the shade beneath the highway overpass. "We're friends," she said again in Spanish, calling out to anyone who might be hiding. "Don't be afraid." Pregnant women who took daily supplements of DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, had longer gestations, bigger babies and fewer early preterm births, according to a new clinical trial. Rod Perry shot an even-par 72 in rainy conditions Monday at Sunriver Resort to take the second-round lead in the PGA Professional National Championship.     Iran is steadily stockpiling enriched uranium, even in the face of toughened international sanctions, according to a U.N. inspection report that raises new concerns about the ability to monitor parts of the Islamic nation's nuclear program that could be used to make a bomb. Scenes from the men’s fashion week photo diary of Kevin Tachman.     Enterprises need to adopt a startup approach to product development or risk losing out to more agile competitors, according to Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, with cloud computing fundamental to business flexibility. Enrollment in Medicaid helps lower-income Americans overcome depression, get proper treatment for diabetes, and avoid catastrophic medical bills, but does not appear to reduce the prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, according to a new study with a unique approach to analyzing one of America’s major health-insurance programs.The study, a randomized evaluation comparing health outcomes among more than 12,000 people in Oregon, employs the same research approach as a clinical trial, but applies it in a way that provides a window into the health outcomes of poor Americans who have been given the opportunity to get health insurance.“What we found was that Medicaid significantly increased the probability of being diagnosed with diabetes, and being on diabetes medication,” says Amy Finkelstein, the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT and, along with Katherine Baicker of Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the principal investigator for the study. “We find decreases in rates of depression, and we continue to find reduced financial hardship. However, we were unable to detect a decline in the incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.”A paper based on the study, “The Oregon Experiment — Medicaid’s Effects on Clinical Outcomes,” is being published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings bear on the expansion of the federal government’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), currently being phased in across the nation. The ACA provides funding for states to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income adults who are currently not part of the program.Winning the lotteryThe researchers analyzed the impact that Medicaid had on people over a two-year span. Among other things, they found about a 30 percent decline in the rate of depression among people on Medicaid; an increase in people being diagnosed with, and treated for, diabetes; and increases in doctor visits, use of preventative care, and prescription drugs. They also found that Medicaid reduced, by about 80 percent, the chance of a person having catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenses, defined as spending 30 percent of one’s annual income on health care. “That’s important, because from an economics point of view, the purpose of health insurance is to … protect you financially,” Finkelstein says. The researchers did not find any change in three other health measures: blood pressure, cholesterol, or a blood test for diabetes. But the data does provide important indicators about the ways newly-insured people are using medical services. “There was a big increase micro-niche-finder use of preventative medicine,” says Baicker, noting that Medicaid increased the use of services such as mammograms and cholesterol screening, as well as increasing doctor's office visits and prescription drugs.Other health researchers say these findings correspond with a developing picture of how increased medical care addresses different kinds of problems over different spans of time. “I would expect a more immediate impact when it comes to measures of mental health and emotional well-being, including depression,” says Thomas McDade, an anthropologist at Northwestern University and director of its Laboratory of Human Biology Research, who studies public-health issues. “Things like risk for cardiovascular disease, your lipid concentrations, your blood pressure, these are things that are really established over a lifetime of exposure to diet, physical activity, and psychosocial environment, so we don’t expect them to move as quickly.” The study uses data from a unique program the state of Oregon founded in 2008, after officials realized they had Medicaid funds for about 10,000 additional uninsured residents. The state created a lottery system to fill those 10,000 slots; about 90,000 residents applied.That lottery thus generated a group of residents gaining Medicaid coverage who were otherwise similar to the applicants still lacking coverage. Using this divide, the researchers compared to a control group of 6,387 people who signed up for the lottery and were selected to 5,842 people who applied for Medicaid but were not selected to enroll. “We recognized the lottery as a literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the rigors of a randomized controlled trial, which is the gold standard in medical and scientific research, to one of the most pressing social policy questions of our day, namely, the consequences of covering the uninsured,” Finkelstein says.Or as Baicker puts it, “We would never accept a medical trial that didn’t have a control group.” In particular, this kind of study, by matching two like groups of people, eliminates one longstanding problem in studying health insurance: that people in worse health may seek out health insurance more often than those in good health do, thus making it appear, at a glance, that having health insurance does not help improve medical outcomes. “The whole tension with studying the effects of insurance is, you have to wonder why some people have insurance and other people don’t, and whether those reasons could be related to the outcomes you’re studying,” Finkelstein explains, “like the possibility that people who are sicker seek out insurance more. So you can get perverse results [on the surface], indicating that health insurance makes you sicker, not because it actually does, but because of the kinds of people who are seeking it out.”As McDade also notes, “It’s a true experiment, and these kinds of opportunities do not come along very often.”Growing body of evidenceMedicaid is the program, administered jointly by the federal government and the states, that provides health insurance for (mostly) low-income U.S. citizens; it is not to be confused with Medicare, the federal health insurance program for senior citizens, although both were initiated in 1965. Eligibility for Medicaid varies slightly from state to state; in Oregon, adults below the federal poverty guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (in 2013, an annual income of $11,490 per person, and $23,550 for a family of four) while meeting other requirements were eligible to apply for the insurance lottery. In 2011, researchers released results from an initial related study, which found that after about one year of coverage, the lottery enrollees in Oregon’s Medicaid program did, in fact, use more medical care, suffer from less financial strain, and report themselves to be in better health. The current study augments that one by analyzing a longer time period and adding clinical health data to the self-reported information. Finkelstein says she hopes the current study will gain public attention and consideration by policymakers. “Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I believe that rigorous scientific evidence finds an important voice in our policy discussions,” Finkelstein says. In addition to Baicker and Finkelstein, co-authors of the paper are Heidi Allen of Columbia University; Mira Bernstein of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist specializing in health-care issues; Joseph P. Newhouse, a health-care economist at Harvard who helped pioneer the idea of randomized trials about health insurance; Eric C. Schneider of RAND; Sarah L. Taubman fat burning furnace download NBER; Bill J. Wright of the Providence Center for Outcomes Research on Education; and Alan Zaslavsky of Harvard. The research was also conducted with the Oregon Health Study Group, which includes Matt Carlson of Portland State University, Tina Edlund of the Oregon Health Authority, Charles Gallia of the Oregon Department of Human Services, and Jeanene Smith of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research.  The project received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the California HealthCare Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the U.S. Social Security Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Wladimir Klitschko stopped Francesco Pianeta in the sixth round in Mannheim, Germany, to retain the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation heavyweight titles.     Todd Palin was one of 13 people subpoenaed in the inquiry into whether Gov. Sarah Palin or members of her administration abused their power in the dismissal of a top state administrator. MEXICO CITY -- The car bomb that exploded near the U.S. border in Ciudad Juarez last week was a sophisticated device never before seen in Mexico, triggered by cellphone after police and medical workers were lured to the scene, according to Mexican and U.S. investigators. How has the burden of different diseases, injuries, and risk factors moved up or down over time - and how does it vary from country to country?Ami Sedghi Talk about mean girls. Two girls, ages 15 and 16, are charged with sending threats through Twitter to the West Virginia girl raped by two star football players last August. They are accused of sending the tweets Sunday after Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond were found "delinquent," or guilty, in juvenile court Sunday morning. Read full article >> The Broadway musical “Nice Work if You Can Get It” will close on June 15 after 27 preview performances and 478 regular performances.     Quantum dots — tiny particles that emit light in a dazzling array of glowing colors — have the potential for many applications, but have faced a series of hurdles to improved performance. But an MIT team says that it has succeeded in overcoming all these obstacles at once, while earlier efforts have only been able to tackle them one or a few at a time.Quantum dots — in this case, a specific type called colloidal quantum dots — are tiny particles of semiconductor material that are so small that their properties differ from those of the bulk material: They are governed in part by the laws of quantum mechanics that describe how atoms and subatomic particles behave. When illuminated with ultraviolet light, the dots fluoresce brightly in a range of colors, determined by the sizes of the particles.First discovered in the 1980s, these materials have been the focus of intense research because of their potential to provide significant advantages in a wide variety of optical applications, but their actual usage has been limited by several factors. Now, research published this week in the journal Nature Materials by MIT chemistry postdoc Ou Chen, Moungi Bawendi, the Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry, and several others raises the prospect that these limiting factors can all be overcome.The new process developed by the MIT team produces quantum dots with four important qualities: uniform sizes and shapes; bright emissions, producing close to 100 percent emission efficiency; a very narrow peak of emissions, meaning that the colors emitted by the particles can be precisely controlled; and an elimination of a tendency to blink on and off, which limited the usefulness of earlier quantum-dot applications.Multicolored biological dyesFor example, one potential application of great interest to researchers is as a substitute for conventional fluorescent dyes used in medical tests and research. Quantum dots could have several advantages over dyes — including the ability to label many kinds of cells and tissues in different colors because of their ability to produce such narrow, precise color variations. But the blinking effect has hindered their use: In fast-moving biological processes, you can sometimes lose track of a single molecule when its attached quantum dot blinks off.Previous attempts to address one quantum-dot problem tended to make others worse, Chen says. For example, in order to suppress the blinking effect, particles were made with thick google sniper this eliminated some of the advantages of their small size.The small size of these new dots is important for potential biological applications, Bawendi explains. “[Our] dots are roughly the size of a protein molecule,” he says. If you want to tag something in a biological system, he says, the tag has got to be small enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm the sample or interfere significantly with its behavior.Quantum dots are also seen as potentially useful in creating energy-efficient computer and television screens. While such displays have been produced with existing quantum-dot technology, their performance could be enhanced through the use of dots with precisely controlled colors and higher efficiency.Combining the advantagesSo recent research has focused on “the properties we really need to enhance [dots’] application as light emitters,” Bawendi says — which are the properties that the new results have successfully demonstrated. The new quantum dots, for the first time, he says, “combine all these attributes that people think are important, at the same time.”The new particles were made with a core of semiconductor material (cadmium selenide) and thin shells of a different semiconductor (cadmium sulfide). They demonstrated very high emission efficiency (97 percent) as well as small, uniform size and narrow emission peaks. Blinking was strongly suppressed, meaning the dots stay “on” 94 percent of the time.A key factor in getting these particles to achieve all the desired characteristics was growing them in solution slowly, so their properties could be more precisely controlled, Chen explains. “A very important thing is synthesis speed,” he says, “to give enough time to allow every atom to go to the right place.” The slow growth should make it easy to scale up to large production volumes, he says, because it makes it easier to use large containers without losing control over the ultimate sizes of the particles. Chen expects that the first useful applications of this technology could begin to appear within two years.Taeghwan Hyeon, director of the Center for Nanoparticle Research at Seoul National University in Korea, who was not involved in this research, says, “It is very impressive, because using a seemingly very simple approach — that is, maintaining a slow growth rate — they were able to precisely control shell thickness, enabling them to synthesize highly uniform and small-sized quantum dots.” This work, he says, solves one of the “key challenges” in this field, and “could find biomedical imaging applications, and can be also used for solid-state lighting and displays.”In addition to Chen and Bawendi, the team included seven other MIT students and postdocs and two researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Office through MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, and by the National Science Foundation through the Collaborative Research in Chemistry Program. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends screening all infants for hearing loss before six months of age to prevent permanent damage such as speech and language impairment, learning disabilities and much more. In Brazil, the government has gone so far as to mandate screenings for all infants, but despite these efforts many infants go without testing due to limited medical resources.A new telemedicine solution called Sana AudioPulse allows health care providers around the world to screen for hearing impairment through a simple mobile phone application. The Sana AudioPulse team, which is made up of students from MIT and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Harvard, Northeastern and the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) in Brazil, was recently honored as the winner of the GSMA Mobile Health Challenge. The team competed against students from universities around the world at the GSMA Health Alliance’s Mobile Health Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, this summer to win the competition.“The team’s victory is a tribute to the energy and intelligence of volunteers working on a challenging and important clinical problem motivated by the promise to improve health care through innovation,” said Sana program faculty advisor Peter Szolovits, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and health sciences and technology and a CSAIL principal investigator. Sana is a student organization at MIT that is dedicated to revolutionizing health care delivery for rural underserved populations through mobile platforms.The Sana AudioPulse technology, which is being developed as part of the Sana program, employs the Sana forex growth bot download platform to provide community health care providers the ability to test infants for hearing loss.“While hearing loss is a very serious issue around the globe, not every infant is screened because of resource limitations like limited access to screening equipment and prohibitive costs. Using the Sana telemedicine technology platform we are able to give access and care to those who couldn’t get it before,” said Dr. Kenneth Paik, a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and the Laboratory of Computer Science at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of operations for Sana. “Our focus is on putting the device, which requires a highly trained audiologist to administer, into the hands of community health workers or nurses and making it simpler and cheaper to use.”The idea for the project came from Dr. Ikaro Silva, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST), who became interested in applying the Sana platform to his research in audiology. A native of Brazil, Silva was well versed in the health care needs of the country and passionate about seeing what could be done to improve access to hearing screenings for infants across the nation. A student team was them assembled to devise a sustainable business plan for the project under the guidance of Paik, Dr. Ana Guerreiro (UFRN) and Silva. The multinational team consisted of MIT students Marzyeh Ghassemi (CSAIL) and Andrew Schwartz (HST), Northeastern University and MIT HST.S14 student Lauren Scanlon, and UFRN students Talis Barbalho and Anna Giselle Ribeiro.The Sana AudioPulse technology will remove the need for a trained audiologist to be on site for every screening by allowing users to employ the open-source Sana mobile platform. The test is simple to operate and utilizes a two-channel speaker and microphone that have been calibrated to perform a distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) test, a standard method for analyzing hearing. The device is hooked up to a mobile phone and a probe, which is inserted into the patient’s ear. The probe plays a stimulus into the patient’s ear and the response emitted back by the patient’s ear is recorded.From this recording, which is uploaded onto a remote server, a trained audiologist can analyze the results to see if there is any evidence of hearing loss. By using a cellphone to send test results to off-site audiologists, the Sana AudioPulse team will be able to significant lower the cost and expand the accessibility of hearing tests, according to Silva.Uploading tests to a remote server for validation by a trained professional not only removes the burden from rural health care providers, but also “allows audiologist to access thousands more patients than they would be able to see in a day or a week at a hospital,” according to Lauren Scanlon.Buoyed by their win at the GSMA Mobile Health Challenge, the team is now busy finalizing their prototype and testing how the system operates in a real hospital. A pilot will be conducted this year at a rural hospital in Brazil. A parallel test also is being planned under the clinical guidance of audiologist Cheryl Edwards at Children’s Hospital in Waltham to compare the effectiveness of the Sana AudioPulse system against state-of-the-art medical equipment. The team also hopes to extend their work beyond infant screenings in Brazil.“Sana AudioPulse is also scalable outside Brazil, we have people in Mexico who are interested, as well as people in Asia,” Silva said. “What’s important about this is if you don’t catch a baby that has hearing loss within six months and give the child a hearing aid, later on it’s already too late, the damage is already permanent. This is why it’s so important to be screening all infants for hearing loss so we can prevent permanent cognitive problems.”For more information on Sana AudioPulse, please visit: Today, in that back-to-school spirit, we have homework for you. Yeah, we know, everybody wants something this time of year, but we're the good guys, remember? The Bush administration is easing its demand for tough national standards for driver's licenses, acting at the behest of state officials who say the "Real ID" plan is unworkable and too costly, officials familiar with the new policy said. The State University of New York board will now resubmit its plan to shut down Long Island College Hospital to the State Health

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