Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC is being rocked by another high-level departure, as its vice president of industrial design and lead designer of its upcoming M9 model Jonah Becker has decided to call quits on the company. This comes after its previous chief designer Scott Croyle had left HTC in April last year, making it the second change at this level in less than an year.
Becker announced his departure from the company on his Twitter account, also hinting at the fact that he may follow this up with another project. He and Croyle had been longstanding employees of One & Co, a design studio which was purchased by HTC in 2008.
HTC confirmed the departure in a press release and thanked Becker for his work during his six-year tenure with the company, suggesting that him and the company parted ways in a calm manner. The Taiwanese giant announced that Becker’s position will be occupied by Daniel Hundt.
Becker’s departure is similar to Croyle’s one last April, who left the company immediately after the release of the HTC One M8. Now, the former One & Co exec is leaving the company on the eve of its release of the One M9, which garnered some criticism for being too similar to previous models.
This confirms a tumultuous period at the highest level of the Taiwanese company, as merely a week has passed since it announced that co-founder Cher Wang will replace Peter Chou in the CEO position, with Chou stated to take a higher role in the development of new projects.
HTC is trying to revitalize itself in the smartphone and gadget market, as its 2011 glory days of sharing the largest part of the American smartphone market are long gone. The Taiwanese giant has fallen way behind main competitors Apple and Google, even though it did manage to stabilize income in the last couple of financial quarters.
HTC are trying to further the scope of the company beyond the smartphone market and into the evolving gadget business, as recent announcements include a point and shoot camera, an e-wristband for fitness enthusiasts and a virtual reality headset co-developed with Valve.
Image Source: Android Authority
The Long Beach police has revealed details surrounding a sinister plot that a 47 year-old woman and an accomplice had devised, concerning the kidnapping of two infants, which ended with the death of a 3-week old baby girl and the shooting and beating of four other persons.
Gisangelique Rene D’Millian, from Ventura County Thousand Oaks, and 29-year old Anthony McCall from Vista were arrested for masterminding and executing a plan which aimed at the kidnapping of two infants earlier this year. Two other individuals were also arrested under accusation of being accessories to a crime.
The plot started when D’Millian falsely informed her married boyfriend that she had given birth to twins fathered by him while being abroad. After this, she planned to kidnap two infants so that she could present them to him as her own. She then resolved to falsely claim that she started a charity organization for mothers of newborn children, with the aim of identifying possible targets.
Through the alleged charity she then learned about three-week old Eliza Delacruz, following her and her mother as they boarded a Long Beach bus on January 3rd. She also trailed them on foot until they reached the woman’s house, where D’Millian engaged her in a normal conversation about her child.
Two hours later, McCall attacked Delacruz’s house with a gun, kidnapping her and wounding both her parents and uncle. Little Eliza was found shot dead next day in a dumpster in Imperial Beach, over 100 miles away from Long Beach. There is no information regarding the reason for which the infant was murdered.
The disturbing plot did not stop here, as only a month later the two planned to kidnap another infant they had learned about from the false charity, a 4-month old boy from the LA county city of El Segundo.
This time, McCall followed the mother to an El Segundo motel, where he viciously assaulted her with a baseball bat, but could not kidnap the infant as he was forced to flee when motel employees that heard the victim’s cries came to check up on her. The duo was caught after witnesses provided information about their appearance and D’Millian’s car.
“In my notes, I had the word ‘evil’ several times, and my staff told me to take it out but I can’t summarize it any other way,” commented Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna in a news conference.
D’Millian and McCall are accused of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy and assault, and they will appear before court on Friday. Two other persons, 44-year old Todd Boudreaux and 30-year old Charisse Shelton were also retained in connection to the case, being accused of facilitating either the crimes or attempted escape of suspects, but no details have been made public about their level of involvement in the plot.
Image Source: LA Times
A recent study published in the JAMA Dermatology journal shows that a significant percentage of patients following treatment for acne tend not to abide by them, especially if prescribed two or more different medications.
The study was done on 143 individuals that had various levels of medication prescribed for acne by dermatologists, with more than a quarter of them overall failing to acquire the prescribed medicine in full.
If those that had only one medication prescribed mostly acquired and took it as they were told, with only 9 percent failing to do so, the problem appeared in more serious cases where two or more different medications were prescribed. About 40 percent of those that were recommended two did not respect the dermatologist’s prescription, while in the case of those with three or more different medicines the treatment was not respected by 31 percent of acne sufferers.
“Non-adherence is a pervasive problem in all of medicine, particularly when treating chronic conditions such as acne. A previous study reported a 10 percent primary non-adherence rate for acne patients, so we were surprised that what we found was more than twice that” commented lead study author Dr. Steven Feldman, professor of dermatology at North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
The study also showed that patients that were recommended pill based prescriptions were more likely to adhere to it than those recommended other types of treatment, such as lotions or creams. The causes for non-adherence in those that were prescribed multiple medications are mostly backed by financial reasons, with some of the products not being covered by health insurance, as most companies consider it a cosmetic issue rather than a medical condition.
According to acne-resource.org, about 60 million American citizens suffer from active acne, with rates being 85 percent in case of teenagers and 20 percent of adults. About a third all acne sufferers in the U.S. present more severe cases that threaten to leave them with longtime scars. Despite this, only few over ten percent of all of them seek help from dermatologists, with most either not doing anything or buying over-the-counter medication on their own from drug stores.
Image Source: Master Herald
A 42-year old woman was stabbed to death on Sunday by her 44 year old companion inside a medical center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, while they were both apparently visiting a patient at the hospital.
The incident happened in the Alexian Brothers Medical Center situated in the municipality of Elk Grove Village in northeastern Illinois, about 20 miles from Chicago. The woman was suddenly attacked with a knife by the man – whose identity has not been disclosed – while they were both in the hospital’s hallway. The woman was rushed to the center’s emergency room, but doctors could not do anything to save her as she succumbed to the stab wounds a couple of hours after the incident.
The 44 year old suspect – apparently living in Elgin, Illinois – was immediately caught by the medical center’s security team and handed to police custody, which described him as being cooperative and questioned him late into the afternoon. No charges against the man were filed as of yet, but Elk Grove Village Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walsh declared that he will be brought in front of the Cook County Circuit Court on Monday.
The victim was identified as 42 year old Francesca Quintero, resident of Burlington, Wisconsin. According to the Daily Herald, the woman’s family revealed the fact that she had lived together with her assailant at one point, and that both were visiting a family member hospitalized in the Elk Grove Village center.
However, it is currently unknown if the victim and the suspect formed a couple or if they were relatives. Walsh said that he currently had no knowledge about the relation between the victim and the suspect when asked.
Elk Grove Village Police described the incident as being an isolated domestic dispute, with no staff member or patients of the Alexian Brothers Medical Center being harmed.
This incident might bolster the discussion of whether security in suburban hospitals might need to be cranked up, with violent scenes not being uncommon in such settings. Most recently, a 27-year old man was shot and killed by law enforcement officers inside an Illinois hospital last November, after threatening them with a gun while being under the influence of alcohol.
Image Source: Daily Herald
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Iranian counterpart, have met in Lausanne (Switzerland) today in order to prepare an agreement about nuclear non-proliferation. This official meeting will be followed by another one, which will take place later today in Brussels, gathering the representatives of France, Germany, and UK, as well as the EU Foreign Policy Chief, who are to discuss measures of preventing Iran’s nuclear arming with Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The US energy secretary Ernest Moniz and the Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi were also present at this Monday’s meeting. They had a previous encounter on Sunday to try to settle the technical aspects of disarmament. The US representatives tried to persuade the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister to change his plans about Tehran’s nuclear program, in exchange for the US and EU lifting economic sanctions. The deadline for reaching a final agreement is June 30, but there is an intermediary deadline for a political agreement on March 31.
Meanwhile, US Republicans are unwilling to suspend sanctions on Iran. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, forwarded a bill to remove President Obama’s right to suspend sanctions imposed by the Congress and to require the vote of the Congress for each deal with Iran. The White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, sent a letter to a Republican senior party member to plead for abandoning the law project that might slow down the administration’s work on solving the Iran issue. McDonough is convinced that legislation imposing the Congress’s vote for each deal would have a strong negative impact on the current negotiations. He urged Corker to at least postpone his bill until an agreement with Iran is reached.
A week ago, 47 Republican senators wrote an open letter to Iranian authorities, with the pretext of “explaining” the US constitutional system. The letter draws attention to the fact that the Congress is responsible for ratifying international agreements, although the president is the one to negotiate them. It also mentions the approach of the end of Obama’s term, in 2017, and flaunts the difference between the president’s limited time in office and the senators’ virtually unlimited time in the Congress (provided they are re-elected). The letter explicitly says that a future president could revoke the result of current negotiations. The internal tensions between US Republicans and Democrats could have a terrible impact on the international situation.
image source: The Guardian
The Indian National Institute of Virology has released a statement Thursday afternoon in which it denies claims brought by a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study, which states that the swine flu virus has acquired deadlier mutations in the Asian country.
The MIT study initially published on Wednesday suggests that the virus has mutated to become more virulent and immune to known vaccines since its worldwide outbreak in 2009. The study was done by analyzing genetic sequences of two Indian swine flu strains form 2014 accessible through a public database.
But the Indian government agency has responded Thursday night to this by declaring the results of the MIT study, done by two researchers of Indian origin, to be incorrect. They said the current form of the virus in India bears no difference when compared with the one that started a global pandemic five years ago, claiming more than 280.000 lives.
This hardly explains why the number of H1N1 related deaths in India during 2015’s first two and a half months are higher than in the past four years combined. Indian government officials have admitted towards the end of February that the current 21 laboratories country-wide that could analyze swine flu strains are too few to keep up with the pace of the rapidly spreading virus, while also promising efforts are underway to supply this number.
Over 1,500 Indian citizens have succumbed in 2015 to the H1N1 virus, which already represents six times the total number of deaths related to swine flu in 2014. This has also caused concern in several experts from neighboring Pakistan, who fear that the epidemic will cross the Indian-Pakistani border.
One of the paper’s authors, Dr. Ram Sasisekharan, responded to claims that his research was incorrect in an e-mail to Indian newspaper The Indian Express, by stating that the two virus strains analyzed were the only ones publicly available. He also asked Indian authorities to make available more information about the disease, including samples of the current strain affecting the country.
Whether the sharp increase in deaths is caused by poor prevention strategies and lack of vaccines to some areas or it can actually be attributed to the virus mutating into a deadlier form, Indian authorities still seem to keep the façade that everything is under control, even in the conditions of a death toll rising by the day in the nation.
Image Source: Indian Express
Scientists have finally solved one of the many puzzles about Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. The researchers from the University of Antwerp, the Netherlands, have figured out why the red lead paint in many of Van Gogh’s painting is turning white and fading.
The red paint isn’t the only paint in Van Gogh’s paintings that is acting peculiar, though. It appears that the color yellow is turning brown and that the red lead paint is turning light whenever it is exposed to bright lights.
In order to come up with an explanation, the scientists employed the help of X-rays. They took a minuscule piece of paint chip and while keeping it under a microscope they fired X-rays through the sample to see what minerals it had inside.
This helped them find that the red lead was covered in a thing called degradation product and also something called plumbonacrite. Plumbonacrite is causing chemical buildup inside the red lead paint particles when light is shined on it.
What was really stunning about this particular discovery is that plumbonacrite has never, until now, been reported in paintings dating from before the mid-20th century. Finding it in paint coming from paintings in this time period is challenging a lot of the information scientists have about the time and the paints used by artists from the mid-20th century.
While the scientists seem to have figured out the reason why Van Gogh’s paintings are turning white, the red paint at least, they are still stumped when it comes to Renoir’s Madame Leon Clapisson from 1883. Apparently, this famous painting is not fading due to the same reason. The red color used in there comes from a more natural source, which is still used in fabric and even food dyes today: the insect called cochineal.
When it comes to red paint made with cochineal, scientists speculate that when the color is exposed to light, the particles inside the paint separate into organic and inorganic compounds and that is why Renoir’s painting has its red colors turning into a mellow grey color. The researchers are trying to better understand this process and hope that one day they will be able to restore the color red in paintings.
Image Source: Wikipedia
In the aftermath of the February armistice signed at Minsk by Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President François Hollande, efforts are being made to restore a relative stability in the East of Ukraine. Both parts agreed at Minsk to withdraw heavy armament by the beginning of March. Despite the perpetuation of violent incidents, most of the rockets and heavy artillery systems have been pulled back by pro-Russian fighters, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Three days ago, Poroshenko had accused the rebels in Eastern Ukraine of hesitancy to take back the heavy war equipment in the region, in compliance to ceasefire regulations, but now he admitted that the “lion’s share” of artillery and rocket systems has been withdrawn. This is a significant turn in the history of local conflicts, whose intensity peaked in the past 12 months, since Putin’s annexation of Crimea on the 18th of March, 2014. The violence that erupted in April, 2014, in the eastern regions of Ukraine (around the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk), has killed around 6,000 people so far, while one million persons have abandoned their homes to flee that territory. 1,549 Ukrainian soldiers have died since the beginning of the rebellion, 64 of which were killed after the February 15 ceasefire. In this context, Poroshenko is still sceptical, despite witnessing the weapon withdrawal: “There is a ceasefire or there isn’t – it depends on how you look at it.” – the Ukrainian president said.
The goal of the truce-signers managing the conflict, according to the document, is to create a buffer-zone between the territories controlled by Ukrainian soldiers and by pro-Russian rebels, respectively. This zone is supposed to measure at least 50 km (30 miles) for artillery exceeding 100mm calibre, 70 km for systems including several rockets and 140 km for very heavy rockets and missiles. On Saturday, tanks with self-propelled guns were still parked in a hangar in Snizhne, about 90 km away from Donetsk, according to BBC news. One of BBC’s field reporters warned that the war seems far from its final throws, although we are witnessing a period of relative calm.
image source: BBC news
The Mobile World Congress 2015 that took place in Barcelona, Spain has just come to an end and the biggest launches and stories are still going viral.
Undoubtedly, the most important launches were the two new smartphones from Samsung: their brand-new flagship, Samsung Galaxy S6 and their curved edged handheld device, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a redesigned metal case, the first metal case for the Samsung Galaxy S series, an upgraded 577 pixels per inch QHD screen and it comes preloaded with the latest Android operating system, the Android 5.0 Lollipop. Cameras, the front and the back one, were improved in both models.
HTC also launched their new flagship smartphone, the HTC One M9. The new smartphone offers many improvements of the predecessor, the HTC One M8, such as a 20MP rear-facing camera perfect for selfies and an octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip.
Even though Sony also had some launches (the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Xperia M2 Aqua), it disappointed a lot of people by not launching their eagerly-awaited Sony Xperia Z4. When asked about why the company didn’t release their new flagship smartphone, Pierre Perron, the company’s vice president for Western Europe, said that they didn’t want to rush out a new smartphone just for the sake of it.
Microsoft also did not bring their A-game to the table, as they launched a mid-range Nokia Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL.
Smartphones weren’t the only devices that caught people’s attention at the Mobile World Congress 2015. Intel unveiled its new Atom X7 SoC for tablets and 2 in 1s, which is going to power devices that run full versions of Android and Windows.
Qualcomm revealed their new next-generation Snapdragon 820 chip, its ultrasonic Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint technology and LTE-U plans.
About the Fingerprint technology, Qualcomm says that it will outperform the scanners on iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 thanks to its sound-driven technology that can scan fingerprints through any metal (be it glass, metal or sapphire).
Huawei unveiled their Huawei Watch, the event’s biggest surprise and Fujitsu revealed the first smartphone iris scanner that will debut on devices at the end of 2015.
Image Source: Digital Trends
Archeologists have found a human jawbone they believe belongs to the earliest humans. The human jawbone was found in Ethiopia and it is 2.8 million years old, which means that human history is pushed back around 400,000 years. The research was published in the journal Science.
Lead author of the research and director of Arizona State University’s Institute of Human Origins, professor William Kimbel stated that until this discovery, the oldest fossil attributed to the Homo genus was an upper jaw bone found in Ethiopia which was 2.35 million years old.
Professor Brian Villmoare from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas said that the human jawbone could be linked to a human-like primate called a hominin that used to live around 3.2 million years ago. A specimen of the hominin exists today and it is quite famous, Lucy was discovered in the same area where the 2.8 million year old human jawbone was discovered. Villmoare stated that the piece of jawbone exhibits a mixture of both primitive and advanced features, which makes it a key piece in the transition from Lucy to later humans.
The human jawbone was found in the Ledi-Geraru area and it is the left portion of the lower jawbone with five teeth attached to it. The molar teeth are smaller compared to other hominins that roamed the area and they are also key when discerning between more modern humans and their primitive counterparts.
Scientists believe that this human jawbone is a key piece of the human evolution puzzle that is going to reveal precious information about human’s origins.
Richard Potts from the Human Origins program at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History believes that the human jawbone discovered in Ethiopia seems to confirm that by 2.3 million years ago, humans had a lineage branching off.
Andrew Sugden, the journal Science’s deputy editor stated that the findings were opening a massive new chapter in the story of human evolution on the African continent,
… which expands our understanding not only of human origins, but also of the environments in which our ancestors emerged.
Image Source: The Guardian