Studies provide new view on the mechanisms of how the brain works

first_img Source:https://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/article/new-view-on-the-mechanisms-of-how-the-brain-works Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Apr 29 2019After a series of studies, researchers at Lund University in Sweden, together with colleagues in Italy, have shown that not only one part, but most parts of the brain can be involved in processing the signals that arise from touch. The results open the way for a new approach to how the brain’s network of neurons processes information, and thereby the mechanisms by which the brain works.The researchers conducted in-depth analyses of how touch signals are transferred and processed in neurons of various parts of the brain and the latest studies have been published in Cell Reports and Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. The experiments were conducted on anesthetized rats.”We immediately realized that our findings deviated strongly from the accepted view that different parts of the brain are responsible for different specific functions”, says Henrik Jörntell, one of the researchers behind the study.The studies shed new light on how the brain processes signals about our experiences of the surrounding world.”According to a prevailing view of the brain, known as functional localization, the brain works like a set of switches: different parts of the brain are responsible for different functions. This theory is certainly easy to comprehend, but when we measure the activity levels in individual neurons, we get a different picture, which indicates that functions are in fact processed more globally by the whole brain”, says Henrik Jörntell.Knowledge of how the brain manages information down to the individual neuron level is important to understand how neurological diseases occur, as they often comprise a disruption in the transfer of information between neurons.The imprint of touch signals in the brainThe researchers used methods that enabled them to observe very precisely which touch signals were sent between various neurons in the brain’s network. Among other things, they generated touch signals through a finger prosthesis with synthetic skin sensitivity, a method which enabled them to send exactly the same signals in each experiment. Thanks to this new approach, the researchers were able to analyze how the touch signals were processed by individual neurons in various parts of the brain with a significantly higher resolution than was previously possible.Related StoriesWearing a hearing aid may mitigate dementia riskMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsResearchers measure EEG-based brain responses for non-speech and speech sounds in children”The experiments showed that all parts of the brain we investigated were involved and processed the signals generated by touch, and that the differences in information between different neurons mean that they complement one another to create a rich picture, or perception”, says Henrik Jörntell, brain researcher at Lund University.One neuron, several functions and a single networkThe researchers’ explanatory model is that all information processing is conducted as though through a single network and that the neurons in the brain, in practice, have partially different functions from one situation to another.”Each individual neuron is involved in a large number of different functions. As it is closely tied to a very large number of other neurons, the function that one neuron has in a specific situation will be determined by what the other neurons with which it is connected are doing at the time”, says Henrik Jörntell.He thinks this could explain the previously baffling observation that minor brain injuries or loss of neurons often go unnoticed.”The brain’s network learns to solve the same tasks by creating partly new collaborative groups of neurons, which enables it to bypass damaged neural tissue with no measurable loss of function. I believe that these findings could mean a new world of promising treatment potential for many different conditions. As there is often an extensive latent brain capacity left in cases of major brain injury, one can imagine that a greater recovery could be achieved if we could teach the brain to form new collaborative groups of neurons”, says Henrik Jörntell.last_img read more

Brazil fighting fake news in the classroom

first_img Around the world, debates proliferate about the problem of unfettered information flooding social media, uploaded by people with no consideration for journalist ethics, impartiality or even the truth.Of particular concern is the effect such misinformation can have on those most impressionable.”The aim is to teach students to identify fake news, and now it’s part of the national curriculum because the country has decided it’s necessary,” said Leandro Beguoci, editorial director at Brazilian education specialists Nova Escola.”The proliferation of social media networks have created an urgent situation in this respect,” Beguoci said.Media analysis studies became compulsory in December 2017, but have been offered alongside traditional subjects like mathematics and history for years in some Brazilian schools.Kayo Rodrigues, 14, said the Brazilian press is not perfect, but plays a vital role in combating fake news “because not everyone has the internet or the tools to check facts.”She enrolled in the “Young Press” program launched six years ago in the Casa Blanca public school in Sao Paulo.At Casa Blanca, teachers Lucilene Varandas and Hildenor Gomes do Santos ensure their students, aged eight to 14, know not to take everything they watch or read at face value.’Think about clicks'”When I receive a piece of information, I look for it on the internet and ask myself if it’s true,” said Helena Vital, 11, whose parents are teachers. She said the program has taught her to view the media from a different perspective.”Now I know that things aren’t so bad, the whole country isn’t going to collapse,” added Vital, who said that consuming news without questioning it “leaves people sad” and that “there are many negative things that aren’t true.”The children do not have the tools to systematically check everything, but “they look at the articles, who wrote them, who could be interested in them and where they’re published, which are all ways of questioning the information,” said Varandas, who is looking to create partnerships with fact-checking agencies to expand the children’s education. Citation: Brazil fighting fake news in the classroom (2018, July 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-brazil-fake-news-classroom.html The measures seem to be working despite the children’s young age.”All it takes is one click to share false news; this project teaches me to think about my clicks,” said Rodrigues, daughter of a shopkeeper and a manicurist.The students enrolled in “Young Press” have also been analyzing local media stories about the project, and even found inaccuracies.AFP was told its own coverage would be equally scrutinized.With a population of almost 208 million people, Brazil has a massive social media presence: 120 million WhatsApp users, more than 100 million people on Facebook and another 50 million signed up to Instagram.”In the past, kids were taught by their parents, but now that happens through a variety of means, something which alters the role of the school,” said Beguoci, a trained journalist.”What’s so interesting in Brazil is that media and technological literacy are considered as important as classical literacy.”‘Digital age natives’Beguoci denies that information analysis is an additional burden on the education system, saying it rather offers “a context that can improve education.””We’re talking about things that are part of the student’s world,” he said.For Veronica Martins Cannata, who coordinates technology and communication studies at the private Dante Alighieri school, children have their own responsibility when it comes to fake news.”Technology has facilitated communication, but the time has come to question its content,” she said.”As natives of the digital age, children and teenagers must take the responsibility to analyze that content before reproducing it.”Dante Alighieri has been analyzing media content for 11 years and has also brought the fight against fake news into the classroom.Children are born “with ingenuity,” but at school they acquire “a critical eye and no longer consume information in the same way,” said Martins Cannata.Such media analysis studies will not necessarily create a new generation of wannabe reporters, though.Vital, for one, is suspicious about the press that “is sometimes flawed in its credibility.”Asked if she would like to one day become a journalist, Vital said: “I prefer swimming!” Brazil has taken a stand against the explosion of “fake news” stories swamping the internet by making media analysis studies compulsory for schoolchildren. Explore further Most young Australians can’t identify fake news online This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP Students attend a lesson on “Fake News: access, security and veracity of information” in Sao Paulo, Brazillast_img read more

GM cuts jobs in response to present costs future innovation

first_img General Motors shuttering plants, cutting 15% of workforce The move to make GM get leaner before the next downturn likely will be followed by Ford Motor Co., which also has struggled to keep one foot in the present and another in an ambiguous future of new mobility. Ford has been slower to react, but says it will lay off an unspecified number of white-collar workers as it exits much of the car market in favor of trucks and SUVs, some of them powered by batteries. GM, the nation’s largest automaker, will stop producing cars and transmissions at the plants through 2019. In all, six car models were scrapped, leaving the company with nine remaining car models for its four brands, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.Among the cars that won’t be made after next year is the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable gas-electric hybrid. When introduced a decade ago, the Volt was meant to be a bridge to fully electric cars, the company said. It has a small battery that can take it about 50 miles, then it switches to a small gasoline engine.But since it was introduced, battery technology has improved dramatically, GM said. Now the full-electric Chevrolet Bolt can go up to 238 miles on a single charge.The United Auto Workers promised to fight any plant closures and criticized GM for cutting U.S. jobs while building full-size pickups in Mexico. It also recently announced that a new Chevrolet Blazer SUV will be built there. Also, GM imports the Buick Envision midsize SUV from China. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Jerry Dias, president of UNIFOR, the union representing the workers of Oshawa’s General Motors car assembly plant, speaks to the workers at the union headquarters, in Oshawa, Ont. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Tuesday, June 15, 2010, file photo, workers at General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, put the final touches on Chevy Cobalts. One of the last industrial anchors in what was once the heart of manufacturing in Ohio is now on life support after General Motors announced Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, it will stop small-car production at its Lordstown assembly plant and consider closing it for good. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File) Jerry Dias, president of UNIFOR, the union representing the workers of Oshawa’s General Motors car assembly plant, speaks to the workers at the union headquarters in Oshawa, Ont. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) After the morning announcement, Barra headed for Washington to speak with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow in what was described as a previously scheduled meeting.President Donald Trump, who has made bringing back auto jobs a big part of his appeal to Ohio and other Great Lakes states that are crucial to his re-election, said his administration and lawmakers are exerting “a lot of pressure” on GM.Trump said he was being tough on Barra, telling the company that the U.S. has done a lot for GM and that if its cars aren’t selling, the company needs to produce ones that will.At a rally near GM’s Lordstown, Ohio, plant last summer, Trump told people not to sell their homes because the jobs are “all coming back.”Most of the factories to be affected by GM’s restructuring build cars that will not be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. Their futures will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.The Detroit-based union has already condemned GM’s actions and threatened to fight them “through every legal, contractual and collective bargaining avenue open to our membership.” Workers of Oshawa’s General Motors car assembly plant, listen to Jerry Dias, president of UNIFOR, the union representing the workers, at the union headquarters in Oshawa, Ont. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) In this Dec. 11, 2017, file photo General Motors Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, is interviewed by Cox Automotive’s Michelle Krebs during an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit. GM announced Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, that it will lay off thousands of factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. GM doesn’t foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts “to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong,” Barra told reporters. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) Bobbi Marsh, who has worked assembling the Chevrolet Cruze compact car at the Ohio plant since 2008, said she can’t understand why the factory might close given the strong economy.”I can’t believe our president would allow this to happen,” she said Monday. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said the move will be disastrous for the region around Youngstown, Ohio, east of Cleveland, where GM is one of the area’s few remaining industrial anchors.”GM received record tax breaks as a result of the GOP’s tax bill last year, and has eliminated jobs instead of using that tax windfall to invest in American workers,” he said in a statement. Members of Unifor, the union representing the workers of Oshawa’s General Motors assembly plant, stand near the entrance to the plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. General Motors will lay off thousands of factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. General Motors is closing the Oshawa plant. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) Even though unemployment is low, the economy is growing and U.S. auto sales are near historic highs, General Motors is cutting thousands of jobs in a major restructuring aimed at generating cash to spend on innovation. The GM layoffs come amid the backdrop of a trade wars between the U.S., China and Europe that likely will lead to higher prices for imported vehicles and those exported from the U.S. Barra said the company faces challenges from tariffs but she did not directly link the layoffs to them.GM doesn’t foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts “to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong,” Barra told reporters.Factories that could be closed include assembly plants in Detroit and Oshawa, Ontario, and Lordstown, Ohio, as well as transmission plants in Warren, Michigan, and near Baltimore.The announcement worried GM workers who could lose their jobs.”I don’t know how I’m going to feed my family,” Matt Smith, a worker at the Ontario factory, said Monday outside the plant’s south gate, where workers blocked trucks from entering or leaving. “It’s hard. It’s horrible.” Smith’s wife also works at the plant. The couple has an 11-month-old at home.Workers at the Ontario plant walked off the job Monday but were expected to return Tuesday. In this July 27, 2011 photo, assembly worker Julaynne Trusel works on a Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich. GM announced Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, that it will lay off thousands of factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. Among the possibilities are the Detroit/Hamtramck assembly plant, which makes the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Impala and Volt, and the Cadillac CT6, all slow-selling cars. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) Members of Unifor, the union representing the workers of Oshawa’s General Motors assembly plant, stand near the entrance to the plant in Oshawa, Ontario, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. General Motors will lay off thousands of factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. General Motors is closing the Oshawa plant. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) Workers of Oshawa’s General Motors car assembly plant, listen to Jerry Dias, president of UNIFOR, the union representing the workers, at the union headquarters, in Oshawa, Ont. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) Workers of Oshawa’s General Motors car assembly plant, listen to Jerry Dias, president of UNIFOR, the union representing the workers, at the union headquarters, in Oshawa, Ont. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press via AP) Citation: GM cuts jobs in response to present costs, future innovation (2018, November 27) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-gm-jobs-response-future.html In this Dec. 11, 2017, file photo General Motors Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, is interviewed by Cox Automotive’s Michelle Krebs during an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit. GM announced Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, that it will lay off thousands of factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. GM doesn’t foresee an economic downturn and is making the cuts “to get in front of it while the company is strong and while the economy is strong,” Barra told reporters. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) GM is shedding cars largely because it doesn’t make money on them, Citi analyst Itay Michaeli wrote in a note to investors.”We estimate sedans operate at a significant loss, hence the need for classic restructuring,” he wrote.The reduction includes about 8,000 white-collar employees, or 15 percent of GM’s North American white-collar workforce. Some will take buyouts while others will be laid off.At the factories, around 3,300 blue-collar workers could lose jobs in the U.S. and another 2,600 in Canada, but some U.S. workers could transfer to truck or SUV factories that are increasing production. The cuts mark GM’s first major downsizing since shedding thousands of jobs in the Great Recession.The company also said it will stop operating two additional factories outside North America by the end of next year. Explore further In this July 27, 2011, file photo, assembly worker Julaynne Trusel works on a Chevrolet Volt at the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich. GM announced Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, that it will lay off thousands of factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. Among the possibilities are the Detroit/Hamtramck assembly plant, which makes the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Impala and Volt, and the Cadillac CT6, all slow-selling cars. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) It’s the new reality for automakers that are faced with the present cost of designing gas-powered cars and trucks that appeal to buyers now while at the same time preparing for a future world of electric and autonomous vehicles.GM announced Monday that it will cut as many as 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it abandons many of its car models and restructures to focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.CEO Mary Barra said as cars and trucks become more complex, GM will need more computer coders but fewer engineers who work on internal combustion engines.”The vehicle has become much more software-oriented” with millions of lines of code, she said. “We still need many technical resources in the company.”The reductions could amount to as much as 8 percent of GM’s global workforce of 180,000 employees.The restructuring also reflects changing North American auto markets as manufacturers continue to shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks. In October, almost 65 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. were trucks or SUVs. That figure was about 50 percent cars just five years ago.last_img read more

US gadget love forecast to grow despite trust issues

first_img Global tech show to celebrate innovation amid mounting concerns The trade group behind the Consumer Electronics Show set to start here Tuesday forecast that US gadget love will grow despite trust and privacy issues hammering the tech world. The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) predicted that US retail revenue in the sector would climb to a record high $398 billion this year.”There are so many cool things happening in the consumer electronics industry right now,” said CTA vice president of market research Steve Koenig.”We are fast approaching a new era of consumer technology.”Trends gaining momentum, and expected to be on display on the CES show floor, included super high resolution 8K televisions; blazingly-fast 5G wireless internet, and virtual aides such as Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa woven into devices of all kinds.The CTA forecast revenue growth in the US for smart phones, speakers, homes and watches along with televisions, drones, ‘in-vehicle tech,’ and streaming services.Amid trade wars, geopolitical tensions and a decline in public trust, the technology sector is seeking to put its problems aside with CES, the annual extravaganza showcasing futuristic innovations.The January 8-11 Las Vegas trade event offers a glimpse into new products and services designed to make people’s lives easier, fun and more productive, reaching across diverse sectors such as entertainment, health, transportation, agriculture and sports.But the celebration of innovation will be mixed with concerns about public trust in new technology and other factors that could cool the growth of a sizzling economic sector.”I think 2019 will be a year of trust-related challenges for the tech industry,” said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research.CES features 4,500 exhibitors across 2.75 million square feet (250,000 square meters) of exhibit space showcasing artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes, smart cities, sports gadgets and other cutting-edge devices. Some 182,000 trade professionals are expected. © 2019 AFP Explore furthercenter_img Citation: US gadget love forecast to grow despite trust issues (2019, January 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-gadget-issues.html Preparations are underway for the CES 2019 technology show in Las Vegas This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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"If you watch this as an audience member you probably get exposed to more warmth than I do as the pilot. accusations denied by the group and Tehran. All of that lead to an awful lot of stress, a Bar Mitzvah,Photo by Eric T. read more