Some people say they never forget a face, a claim now bolstered by psychologists at Harvard University who’ve discovered a group they call “super-recognizers”: those who can easily recognize someone they met in passing, even many years later.The new study suggests that skill in facial recognition might vary widely among humans. Previous research has identified as much as 2 percent of the population as having “face-blindness,” or prosopagnosia, a condition characterized by great difficulty in recognizing faces. For the first time, this new research shows that others excel in face recognition, indicating that the trait could be on a spectrum, with prosopagnosics on the low end and super-recognizers at the high end.The research is published in the current issue of Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and was led by Richard Russell, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at Harvard, with co-authors Ken Nakayama, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard, and Brad Duchaine of the University College London.The research involved administering standardized face-recognition tests. The super-recognizers scored far above average on these tests — higher than any of the normal control subjects.“There has been a default assumption that there is either normal face recognition, or there is disordered face recognition,” says Russell. “This [research] suggests that’s not the case, that there is actually a very wide range of ability. It suggests a different model — a different way of thinking about face-recognition ability, and possibly even other aspects of perception, in terms of a spectrum of abilities, rather than there being normal and disordered ability.”Super-recognizers report that they recognize other people far more often than they are recognized. For this reason, says Russell, they often compensate by pretending not to recognize someone they met in passing, so as to avoid appearing to attribute undue importance to a fleeting encounter.“Super-recognizers have these extreme stories of recognizing people,” says Russell. “They recognize a person who was shopping in the same store with them two months ago, for example, even if they didn’t speak to the person. It doesn’t have to be a significant interaction; they really stand out in terms of their ability to remember the people who were actually less significant.”One woman in the study said she had identified another woman on the street who served her as a waitress five years earlier in a different city. Critically, she was able to confirm that the other woman had in fact been a waitress in the different city. Often, super-recognizers are able to recognize another person despite significant changes in appearance, such as aging or a different hair color.If face-recognition abilities do vary, testing for this may be important for assessing eyewitness testimony, or for interviewing for some jobs, such as security or those checking identification.Russell theorizes that super-recognizers and those with face-blindness may only be distinguishable today because our communities differ from how they existed thousands of years ago.“Until recently, most humans lived in much smaller communities, with many fewer people interacting on a regular basis within a group,” says Russell. “It may be a fairly new phenomenon that there’s even a need to recognize large numbers of people.”
Lezyne teased their Smart Connect light concept earlier this year when they called out new connectivity functions in a revamped line-up of affordable GPS cycling computers. But while little detailed information had been available, we now had a chance to play with the Smart Connectivity to see how & why you might want to control a set of bike lights from either your GPS or a mobile phone.Plus, Lezyne’s original compact little Femto front & rear lights get a much needed USB-rechargeable update…Lezyne Smart Connect customizable LED bike lightsThe most obvious benefit of Smart Connect is customization. With six or more steady & flash modes available with most of Lezyne’s bike lights, it can just be nice to pare down to the three or so that you might actually want to regularly use.Smart Connect also lets you connect multiple lights together. The typical setup allows you to pair a front & rear light together, then you can actually operate both in sync by only using one set of controls. That means you can use the button on the front light to turn both front & rear on or off, and to cycle through their modes together. Or of course you can use the Lezyne Ally mobile app, or one of their latest cycling computers.More than just pairing & simplifying steady or flashing modes, the mobile app allows you to create up to four light pair modes, so you can mix & match for your ideal setup.For example, preconfigure: 1. a daytime riding mode with bright daytime flash (DTF), 2. a morning/evening commute mode with daytime flash up front & pulse in the rear for low light visibility, and 3. a night mode with full-power Blast up front & fast flash in the rear for optimal visibility riding in the dark. You can make whatever combination you think works best.Then you can quickly cycle through your custom preset modes via the buttons on your connected cycling computer or either of the lights themselves. (The mode control on the mobile phone app is mostly intended for easy customization, but you can cycle through modes there too.)Smart Connect availabilityLezyne Mega Drive 1800i & KTV Pro Smart Connect Rear comboSo far, we’ve seen four Smart Connect capable front lights – the Mega Drive 1800i, Super Drive 1600XXL, new Connect Smart 1000XL, & new KTV Pro Smart Connect Front.The 206g Mega Drive 1800i is the next generation of the Deca Drive, ratcheting up power output another 300 lumens to 1800 lumens max with additional cooling fins. The 3-LED light features a brighter spot in the center of the beam pattern, supported by wide angle lighting to the sides. the 1800i is the most advanced light that Lezyne sells, with auto Day/Night modes controlled by an ambient light sensor, remote switch & external extra battery pack compatible, and now with Smart Connect. It is available on its own, or in a Loaded Kit with the smart taillight, the extra Infinite Light power pack, extra direct/bar mounts & a storage case.The 193g SuperDrive 1600XXL is a similar update with a slightly higher power output than before up a hundred lumens to 1600 lumens max, and improved CNC alloy cooling fins. Like the Mega, it also gets Tri-Focus Optics, auto Day/Night control, the ability to run an external remote switch, and up to 148 hour burn time in the lowest power setting. It also is available on its own, or in a simpler Loaded Kit with the smart taillight.The 152g Connect Smart 1000XL is a connected update of the Lite Drive with a max 1000 lumen output in DTF and max 87 hour runtime in the low-power Femto mode. It will be available as a set, paired with the KTV Pro Smart Connect Rear taillight.Lezyne KTV Pro Smart PairThe new 47.5g KTV Pro Smart Connect Front is designed to be a compact, lightweight front light to pair with a KTV rear in the new KTV Pro Smart Pair combo kit. It puts out a max 200 lumen output in DTF, or a max 20 hour Flash runtime.For rear lights, there looks to be just one option – the new 45g KTV Pro Smart Connect Rear. It puts out a mac 75 lumens with a 19.5 hour Flash runtime, uses a wide angle lens for 270° visibility. Both KTV Pro lights are rechargeable with a built-in USB plug so no cables are needed, just stick it directly into a USB port for 3hr charge.New 2020 Smart Connect pricing & availability hasn’t been announced yet, but we expect to hear more in the next week or two.Lezyne Femto USB Drive, rechargeable mini blinkie light refreshTiny Femto LEDs have been in the Lezyne line-up almost from their first bike lights. The idea was always small & simple – a tiny, low-cost light that would strap around your bar or seatpost to make you more visible.Now, a refresh brings the Femto USB Drive – 15lumen front/5 lumen rear light output, five light modes, Wide Angle Optics for greater than 180° visibility, and long battery life (22hr front/15hr rear) with easy micro-USB cable recharging (2.5hr charge time.)The new Femto USB lights are IPX7 water resistant, easy to install with rubber strap mount, and use a lightweight (22g front/23g rear) cast alloy body. They are available in four colors (black, white, red & blue) and separately for 16€ each or 30€ for a pair.Ride.Lezyne.com
Cell study shows potential for broad-spectrum antibiotics for MERSA two-drug combination may be effective against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), according to the results of a cell-culture study published today in the Journal of Infection.Chinese and US researchers used small compound-based forward chemical genetics to screen known drugs against flu as well interferons, nelfinavir, lopinavir, and nitazoxanide because of their reported anti-coronavirus effects. They identified 10 as good possibilities against MERS-CoV on the basis of high-throughput screening.Of those, only mycophenolic acid exhibited high selectivity and low EC50, a common measure of a drug’s efficacy that means low doses may be effective. Ribavirin and interferons also exhibited in-vitro anti-MERS-CoV activity, but the antiviral effect of interferon-beta-1b was stronger than that of ribavirin.The authors conclude, “Interferon-beta-1b with mycophenolic acid should be considered in treatment trials of MERS.”In April a US and Canadian team using cell-culture techniques determined that ribavirin combined with interferon-alpha-2b might constitute a good MERS treatment approach.Oct 3 J Infect abstract Apr 18 Scientific Reports abstract Pills containing fecal bacteria may stop recurrent C diff boutsA small trial showed that taking pills containing fecal bacteria cured patients who had recurrent Clostridium difficile (C diff) infection by balancing intestinal bacteria, according to findings presented at the IDWeek 2013 infectious diseases meeting in San Francisco today.University of Calgary researchers reported that all 27 patients who took the pills had no recurrence of C diff, even though all of them had had at least four bouts of the infection before treatment, according to an IDWeek press release.The patients ingested from 24 to 34 capsules containing fecal bacteria, often donated by family members. To make the pills, the researchers processed the feces until they contained only bacteria, and then encapsulated the material in a three-layer gelatin capsule so that it would dissolve in the small intestine rather than the stomach.This process offers a potential advantage over current methods like fecal transplantation via enema or colonoscope, because it covers more of the intestinal tract, does not involve invasive and more costly procedures, and is more comfortable for patients, according to lead author Thomas Louie, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Calgary, Alberta.”The pills are a one-shot deal and seem to work. They are easier for patients and are well-tolerated,” Louie said in the press release. “It’s an exciting development in the field and could possibly even be used to maintain the balance of bacteria in the [gastrointestinal] system in patients at risk for C diff.”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a recent groundbreaking report on antibiotic resistance, named C diff one of the three most urgent US infectious disease threats. Lobby pushes for more reworking of FSMA rulesThe United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA) has joined an effort of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue revised proposals surrounding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) before the final rules are issued, says a story in today’s Food Safety News. The story is based on information in yesterday’s Hagstrom Report, a subscription-based agricultural news service.The president of UFPA, Tom Stenzel, was to present the plan to the FDA yesterday but was unable to because of the government shutdown, according to the story.The effort is aimed at the Produce Safety and Preventive Control rules now in draft form and open to public comment through Nov 15. The main concern is that domestic food producers not be jeopardized by the new rules in relation to importers.Stenzel claims that the new plan from NASDA and UFPA, rather than being a delaying tactic, is a way of addressing the extensive comments and complexity of the act and making sure it is effective, the story says.The FSMA, the first large-scale overhaul of food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law in January 2011, and the FDA has been working through the rules for implementation ever since, with controversy over delay of the final rules. Oct 3 Food Safety News story Aug 15 CIDRAP News scan item on FSMA rules postponement Jul 26 CIDRAP News story on FSMA import rules Imported malaria among London residents declines but remains highHalf the 1,378 imported malaria cases reported in the United Kingdom in 2012 occurred among London residents, with the large majority acquired during travel to Africa to visit family in their country of origin, says a report from Public Health England (PHE).A common belief among people born in malaria-endemic countries, says a PHE press release, may be that they assume they have natural immunity to the disease and so do not need prophylaxis when traveling there. In reality, immunity wears off quickly once a person leaves an endemic area, the release says.Estimates of the London population born abroad were nearly 37% for 2011, according to the PHE report. Imported malaria cases in the city numbered 676 in 2012, a rate of 8 per 100,000 residents. This represents a decline in incidence compared with 2011, which was reflected across the United Kingdom, but is still of concern since the disease is highly preventable, the PHE said.From 2000 to 2012, 88% of imported cases in London were acquired in sub-Saharan Africa, says the report. Nigeria was the most common destination, accounting for 45% of the imported London cases over that period. Fully 80% of infected persons for whom information was available had not taken any prophylaxis before travel. Summer travel was common, which is the high-transmission rainy season in West Africa.The largest portion of the 2012 London cases were in residents of southeast London, particularly Southward and Greenwich. It is likely, according to the release, that a large number of persons in those areas are of black African ethnicity so may be more likely to travel to Africa.Interventions, including pretravel education and chemoprophylaxis, can prevent the disease and should be encouraged among those traveling to malaria-endemic areas, particularly Nigeria, advises the report.Oct 2 PHE press release Oct 2 PHE full report
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Omar al-Bashir wins Sudan’s elections Sudan’s al-Bashir says protests won’t lead to regime change Civilians hold the national flag at a barricade as members of Sudanese pro-democracy group demonstrate on the anniversary of a major anti-military protest, as groups loyal to toppled leader Omar al-Bashir plan rival demonstrations, in Khartoum, Sudan June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin AbdallahProtests erupted across Sudan on Tuesday as citizens demand greater civilian rule in the transitional government tasked with leading the country towards democracy following last eyar’s ouster of long-serving president Omar al-Bashir.Waving flags, tens of thousands of demonstrators poured onto the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and other towns including Khartoum North, Omdurman and Kassala.Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok governs the country alongside the military which helped remove al-Bashir from power.The coalition was mandated to stay in power for a two-year transitional period after which Sudan should conduct democratic elections, but some parts if the deal have not been met, including appointing civilian state governors and establishing a parliament.Hamdok’s government has an uphill task of reviving the country’s economy which has been battered for years by sanctions and inflation.Reuters reports the country’s inflation to have surpassed 100 percent.Last week, foreign donor nations pledged $1.8 billion at a conference hosted by Germany to help Sudan overcome the economic crisis hampering its transition. But the pledges were well below the $8 billion in aid Hamdok has said is needed.The crisis has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic which has slowed down global economy as countries are forced to divert resources to health responses.Hamdok on Monday issues a national statement in a bid to appease the disgruntled citizens, saying he would in two weeks announce major decisions on the way forward.He gave no details, but added: “The transitional government …(is) aiming to achieve the highest levels of consensus and popular approval.”Related Sudan’s al-Bashir says social media-planned protests won’t lead to regime change
Share RelatedSPI taps former top cop as city managerBy PAMELA CODY Special to the PRESS The South Padre Island City Council appointed their interim choice to the official position as City Manager, as former SPI police chief Randy Smith officially accepted the job at Wednesday night’s regular meeting. Smith, who served as Police Chief for nine years,…June 21, 2019In “News”Laguna Vista names new city secretaryBy Martha McClain Special to the PRESS Laguna Vista officials have named Ana Hernandez to serve as permanent city secretary. Town Council members last month named her as an interim in the position, after Alma Deckard resigned. The actions are a part of a reorganizing of the town’s top level…March 21, 2020In “News”Laguna Vista Council approves pact with DavidBy MARTHA McCLAIN Special to the PRESS Laguna Vista Town Councilmembers on Tuesday approved a one-year employment contract with the new City Manager, Tony David. David served as chief of police for the Town for the past five years. He was the unanimous choice of the Town Council which reportedly…November 14, 2019In “News” By MARTHA McCLAINSpecial to the PRESSFormer Port Isabel City Manager Ed Meza was appointed Tuesday to serve as the Town of Laguna Vista’s city manager. The action was taken following an executive session in a specially called meeting where the Council deliberated the matter before returning to open session for a unanimous vote of support for Meza.He will report to work at the Town in three weeks, Mayor Susie Houston said. His salary was set at $80,000 per year, with benefits.Meza fills the vacancy created when Anthony “Tony” David, who had been appointed as interim city manager in October 2019 and permanent manager in January.David, who served as police chief here for five years previously, succeeded then City Manager Rolando Vela. The Council subsequently appointed James Harris III to replace David as police chief. Harris has since resigned that position and upon David’s request, the Council reappointed him to his former police chief position.Additionally, following the executive session, the Council unanimously voted to accept the resignation of longtime City Secretary Alma Deckard. She did not submit a letter of resignation citing her reasons, Houston said. Ana Hernandez, an employee of the Town was named to serve as interim city secretary.“It’s a new era. I feel good leaving the Town as it is,” Mayor Houston said.“Ed is the right fit for the Town. He brings a wealth of experienced to the table. I have complete confidence he will do a good job for us. He is familiar with our area,” she said. He was selected from a pool of applicants who had submitted resumes three to four months ago, Houston said.Prior to serving as Port Isabel city manager, Meza was the City’s museums’ director. He was terminated by the City of Port Isabel in 2015 and filed suit against the city over a breach contract dispute involving wrongful termination and political retaliation.
By Nick Broulis With the Cleveland Cavaliers season having gone the way it has, the Broulis Beat Report takes a look at what has been going on lately and an opinion on those former Cavaliers in Boston and Los Angeles.I talk with a lot of people that aren’t too sure about Cleveland rookie Collin Sexton. I think it’s really important to remember how young Sexton is and the learning curve that is going from college to the NBA.From day one, up to today, I’ve seen progression in Collin. Now, that doesn’t mean I think he’s the type of player you can build your franchise around.I’m looking more so towards how he plays next season. I would like to see Collin kick the ball out once he gets to the basket, and I think he’s getting better at doing that. I just don’t think people should already think he’s a waste of a draft pick. Let’s also remember that Sexton isn’t on the most talented of teams.Just comparing the first seasons of Kyrie Irving and Sexton, here are some key stats: Irving (46% from the field), Sexton (40% from the field). Irving (39% from 3-point range), Sexton (38% from 3-point range). Irving (assists 5.4 per game), Sexton (2.8 assists per game). So, as you can see, Sexton isn’t far behind Irving from an offensive standpoint. Now, a stat that Sexton needs to improve on is his assists total. Now, keep in mind, Cleveland doesn’t have great shooters and the overall talent level on this team isn’t good. That does factor in. Also, Sexton needs to do a better job of looking to pass more often once he drives to the rim. If he can improve on that, he would become a better overall player. And I think a lot of fans are tired of seeing him get blocked at the rim when he should pull up for an easy jump shot or pass it.Kevin Love has been great since coming back. You can see how much he effects the team. Defenses have to respect his outside shooting and his presence inside. This creates open shots for his teammates. I still think they’d be better off trading Love next season. I say that for one main reason. Love has never played a full season in his career. Since joining the Cavs, the most games Kevin has played in was the 2015-2016 season when he played in 77 of 82 games.When it comes to the “tanking” aspect of the game, this is something that is being done because all the great players are friends and want to play together for the most part. Out of the 30 teams in the NBA, I’d say maybe 5 teams are considered title contenders, but we all know that Golden State is still likely to win another championship. Once Kevin Durant leaves the Warriors, that will open up the door a little more for a few, not many, but a few more teams to be considered serious contenders. If you’re Cleveland, shooting for a lower seed sometime in the next two years, isn’t a bad idea, but then they must make the leap to a top three seed.Some of you may think I’m crazy for talking about the Cavs making a push for the playoffs within the next two years. I say this because the East is bad at the bottom and if the Cavs get the right players, it can happen. I would lean more so towards two years from this year. Plus, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert is a willing spender.Lebron James officially passed Michael Jordan on the scoring list, but the Lakers are done when it comes to the playoffs. I don’t know what Magic Johnson was thinking when he constructed this roster and thought James would take the Lakers far. Any team that has Lebron on their roster, MUST have shooters. Players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson aren’t going to cut it.I know a lot of people have criticized Dan Gilbert in the past, but when James returned to Cleveland, Gilbert made it a point to surround James with shooters and went well over the luxury tax in doing so. That’s how a Lebron James led team wins a title. Now, this is Lebron’s first year in Los Angeles, so things can change during the summer, but keep in mind, James isn’t getting any younger and will be 35 shortly after next year starts. The Lakers should’ve gone after a younger superstar that would fit the current roster better.When the Cavs and Celtics made the trade that sent Kyrie to Boston, Celtic fans thought that this almost all but guaranteed their team a trip to the NBA Finals. All of the sudden, Boston fans are witnessing that Irving isn’t the leader they thought he was. If Irving leaves Boston, does that mean that Cleveland won that trade?To me, both James and Irving played much better while they were in Cleveland. Irving seems to be regretting his decision to demand a trade and James looks like he’s regretting his choice to leave for L.A. for a chance to do more with his movie career. Related TopicsCavsCollin Sexton NEOSI Staff