Evolutionary Modeling – E JEMED http://e-jemed.org/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 16:01:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://e-jemed.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default1-150x150.png Evolutionary Modeling – E JEMED http://e-jemed.org/ 32 32 After surviving on Earth for more than 200 million years, researchers have determined the body masses of two extinct amphibians https://e-jemed.org/after-surviving-on-earth-for-more-than-200-million-years-researchers-have-determined-the-body-masses-of-two-extinct-amphibians/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 12:18:43 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/after-surviving-on-earth-for-more-than-200-million-years-researchers-have-determined-the-body-masses-of-two-extinct-amphibians/ After surviving on Earth for more than 200 million years, the last of the temnospondyls, amphibians that look more like crocodiles than amphibians, became extinct in the Cretaceous, about 120 million years ago. Now a group of researchers led by Lachlan Hart, a paleontologist and Ph.D. candidate in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental […]]]>

After surviving on Earth for more than 200 million years, the last of the temnospondyls, amphibians that look more like crocodiles than amphibians, became extinct in the Cretaceous, about 120 million years ago.

Now a group of researchers led by Lachlan Hart, a paleontologist and Ph.D. candidate in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UNSW Sydney, have looked at different approaches to calculating weight of these rare extinct animals. Paleontology published the team’s research.

Temnospondyls

(Photo: Etienne Assenheimer/Unsplash)


Some reached enormous lengths of six or seven meters. Like living amphibians, they have gone through a larval (tadpole) stage.

Some species, such as the Koolasuchus of Australia, which was recently designated as the fossil emblem of the state of Victoria, had very broad, rounded heads, while others, such as the temnospondyls we have used in this study, had more crocodilian-looking heads.

While the slightly longer Paracyclotosaurus davidi is known from the Triassic of Australia, the 1.8 meter long Eryops megacephalus lived during the Permian period in what is now the United States.

Eryops weighed in at a more manageable 160 kilograms, while the more aquatic Paracyclotosaurus tipped the scales at around 260 kilograms.

The science team had to build a collection of five contemporary “analogues” (such as the Chinese giant salamander and the saltwater crocodile) because temnospondyls have no close living relatives.

They tested a total of 19 different techniques for estimating body mass on these five modern “analogues” to see if they were suitable for use in temnospondyls.

According to Dr. Nicolas Campione of the University of New England, Armidale, an expert in body mass estimation who was also involved in the study,

“We found several methods that gave us consistently accurate body mass estimates in our five live animals, including the use of mathematical equations and three-dimensional digital models of the animals.

We hypothesized that because these methods are accurate for animals that live and resemble temnospondyls, they would also be accurate for temnospondyls,” according to ScienceDaily.

Read more: Salamander Strut sheds light on the evolution from marine to terrestrial habitat [VIDEO]

Temnospondyls

Temnospondyls were a successful and incredibly diverse group of “labyrinthodont” tetrapods, according to Paleos.

Reptilomorphs and lepospondyls, the other two main evolutionary lineages of labyrinthodonts, are represented by them.

Although some temnospondyls were fully aquatic as adults—some even had external gills—others likely evolved into creatures more akin to terrestrial reptiles, returning to water only to lay their eggs.

The Early Carboniferous corresponds to the evolution of the Temnospondyli. The majority of Paleozoic forms became extinct before or during the Lopingian (Upper Permian) period.

However, during the early Mesozoic, two aquatic clades from Gondwana – the stereospondyls and the dvinosaurs – survived and even flourished.

Koolasuchus, a mid-Cretaceous (Barremian) temnospondyl from Australia, is the most recent currently recognized.

The majority of temnospondyls had relatively large heads and flat, immobile skulls. The shape of the skull was quite variable and often recognizable.

Some had elongated mouths in the traditional “longirostrine” shape associated with reptiles that hunt small fish, such as Archegosaurus.

Some, like the jawless fish species Gerrothorax, had odd, broad, parabolic heads resembling those of galeaspids or other “horned” fish.

Some, like Laidleria, had extremely flat, triangular heads that could not easily be compared to any other vertebrate group, ancient or modern.

The temnospondyl postcranial body plan, on the other hand, was conservative and relatively unspecialized.

From one group to another, body proportions varied greatly. As a result, one might assume that some had a propensity to swim like an eel or to move on land with almost no legs.

Others likely used their limbs for land and water locomotion due to their relatively rigid and massive bodies.

However, unlike the reptilomorph lineage, no temnospondyl group has evolved limb specialization. The forefoot of temnospondyls had only four toes, while the hindfoot had five.

Similar to Early Devonian tetrapods and osteolepiform lobe-finned fishes, the vertebral structure was mostly of the primitive intercentra and pleurocentra type.

Related article: Fossil and Extinct Amphibians: Dominican Salamander in Amber

© 2022 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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Call for Papers! Introducing the New BMC Cancer Collection: Advances in Preclinical Cancer Models https://e-jemed.org/call-for-papers-introducing-the-new-bmc-cancer-collection-advances-in-preclinical-cancer-models/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 07:02:25 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/call-for-papers-introducing-the-new-bmc-cancer-collection-advances-in-preclinical-cancer-models/ CMB Cancer launches a call for submissions for our Collection on the novel in vitro and live cancer models, guest edited by Prof. Ryan C. Fields (Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA) and Dr Anna Golebiewska (Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg). Chiara Cilibrasi November 17, 2022 © Hyungkeun / stock.adobe.com Cancer models […]]]>

CMB Cancer launches a call for submissions for our Collection on the novel in vitro and live cancer models, guest edited by Prof. Ryan C. Fields (Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA) and Dr Anna Golebiewska (Luxembourg Institute of Health, Luxembourg).

Cancer models are essential research tools, as they make it possible to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the appearance and progression of tumors, leading to the development of new therapeutic treatments. While widely used conventional two-dimensional cell models have been the gold standard for many decades, some of their major limitations include lack of representation of the stromal population, absence of a three-dimensional structure, and poor representation of the stromal population. ‘inter-. tumor and intra-tumor heterogeneity. Consequently, a multitude of new cancer models are emerging, which may advance the understanding of tumor pathophysiology and behavior. This will ultimately help improve clinical outcomes for patients, through the introduction of more personalized and targeted treatments into the clinical setting.

Recognizing the growing field of research, CMB Cancer welcomes submissions to a recently launched “Advances in pre-clinical cancer models” collection. Topics of interest for this special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Scaffold-based in vitro models
  • 3D cell cultures
  • Co-culture parameters
  • Tumor organoids
  • Large and small animal models
  • Genetically modified cell lines and animal models
  • Models of chemically induced tumors
  • Xenotransplantation models (patient-derived xenografts, cell line-derived xenografts)
  • Allograft models

This collection is now open for submissions!

This collection welcomes the submission of research articles. Journal articles will be considered at the discretion of the journal editor. If you would like to submit a review article, please email Chiara Cilibrasi first – the co-editor-in-chief of CMB Cancer. Please note that unsolicited reviews will not be considered per our submission guidelines.

Datasets and descriptions relevant to the collection will be considered in BMC Research Notes in the form of data notes. You can read more about this type of article here. This type of content will be published in BMC Research Notes and included in the final collection.

Before submitting your manuscript, make sure you have read our submission guidelines. Articles in this collection must be submitted through our submission system, Snapp. During the submission process you will be asked if you are submitting to a collection, please select ‘Advanced in Preclinical Cancer Models’ from the drop down menu. Please be sure to highlight in your cover letter that you are submitting to a collection.

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer review process and are subject to all standard journal policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

If accepted for publication, article processing fees apply. Please click here to learn more about our standard waiver policy.

Submission deadline: April 30, 2023.

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How population growth and climate change are linked | New https://e-jemed.org/how-population-growth-and-climate-change-are-linked-new/ Sun, 13 Nov 2022 05:06:21 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/how-population-growth-and-climate-change-are-linked-new/ PA At first glance, the links between global population growth and climate change seem obvious. The more people we have on this planet, the greater their collective impact on the climate. However, closer examination with a longer time horizon reveals relationships between population size and climate change that may help us better understand humanity’s plight […]]]>

PA

At first glance, the links between global population growth and climate change seem obvious. The more people we have on this planet, the greater their collective impact on the climate.

However, closer examination with a longer time horizon reveals relationships between population size and climate change that may help us better understand humanity’s plight as the world’s population approaches eight billion people. – a milestone the United Nations expects the world to take this week, around November 15.

RETURN TO THE STONE AGE

For much of human evolution, our ancestors were exposed to large climatic fluctuations between ice ages and intermittent warmer periods. The last of these ice ages ended about 10,000 years ago.

Before the ice caps melted, sea levels were about 400 feet (120 meters) lower than they are today. This allowed humans to migrate across the world. Wherever they went, our ancestors reshaped the landscapes, first by clearing the forests, then by the first agricultural practices that emerged in a number of regions from the end of the last ice age.

Paleoclimatologist William Ruddiman has suggested that these early actions – cutting down trees and expanding agriculture – caused an initial small increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This has contributed to a stable climate over the past 10,000 years by thwarting downward trends in carbon dioxide levels that could have triggered another glaciation event.

By reshaping landscapes, our ancestors actively constructed the niches they inhabited. This process is an important aspect of evolutionary change, creating important feedback dynamics between evolving species and their environment, noted Manfred Laubichler, Global Futures Professor and President’s Professor of Theoretical Biology and History of Biology at Arizona State University.

As humans evolved, the demands of a growing population, associated knowledge creation, and energy consumption created a feedback cycle that my colleagues and I call the Anthropocene Engine. This engine has transformed the planet.

TURNING THE ANTHROPOCENE ENGINE

The engine of the Anthropocene has been running for at least 8,000 years. This led to the rise of modern civilizations and ultimately to the environmental challenges we face today, including climate change.

How does the Anthropocene engine work?

First, populations had to reach a critical number of people to succeed in creating enough knowledge about their environment to be able to begin to actively and deliberately transform the niches in which they lived.

Prosperous agriculture was the product of this knowledge. In turn, agriculture increased the amount of energy available to these early societies.

More energy supports more people. More people drove to early settlements and later to cities. This allowed the specialization of tasks and the division of labor, which in turn accelerated the creation of more knowledge, which increased the energy available and also allowed the size of the population to grow. And so on.

Although the details of this process differ across the world, they are all driven by the same Anthropocene engine.

THE EXPONENTIAL GROWTH PROBLEM

“As an evolutionary biologist and historian of science, I have studied the evolution of knowledge and complexity for over three decades and developed mathematical models with colleagues to help explain these processes. Using the universality of processes underlying the Anthropocene engine, we can capture these dynamics in the form of a growth equation, which includes the links between population growth and increased energy consumption. said Professor Laubichler.

“One of the consequences of positive feedback cycles in dynamical systems is that they lead to exponential growth.”

Exponential growth can start very slowly and be barely noticeable for a while. But in the long term, this will have dramatic consequences where resources are limited.

Driven by the engine of the Anthropocene, the human population has grown exponentially and individual societies have approached collapse several times over the past 8,000 years. The demise of the Easter Island civilization and the collapse of the Maya Empire, for example, have been linked to the depletion of environmental resources as populations grew. The dramatic decline in Europe’s population during the Black Death in the 1300s was a direct result of the overcrowded and unsanitary living conditions that facilitated the spread of Yersenia pestis, or plague.

Biologist Paul Ehrlich warned of uncontrolled growth in his 1968 book The population bombpredicting that the growing global demand for finite resources would lead to the collapse of society with no change in human consumption.

But overall, humanity has always found a way to avoid catastrophe. Knowledge-based innovations, such as the Green Revolution – whose large-scale effects Ehrlich had not foreseen – allowed people to set the record straight, leading to more cycles of innovation and (almost) of collapse.

An example is the sequence of energy regimes. It all started with wood and animal power. Then came coal, oil and gas.

Fossil fuels fueled the Industrial Revolution and, with it, greater wealth and health advancements. But the era of fossil fuels has had dramatic consequences. It nearly doubled the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in less than 300 years, causing the unprecedented rate of global warming humanity is experiencing today.

At the same time, inequalities have become endemic. Poorer nations that have contributed little to climate change suffer the most from global warming, while just 20 wealthier countries are responsible for around 80% of emissions.

The next energy transition to avoid collapse is underway with the rise of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. But studies – including a report released ahead of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference in November – show that humans are not changing their energy use fast enough to control climate change.

USING KNOWLEDGE TO RESET THE CYCLE

Every species, if left unchecked, would grow exponentially. But species are subject to constraints – or negative feedback mechanisms – such as predators and limited food supplies.

“The engine of the Anthropocene has allowed humans to emancipate themselves from many negative feedback mechanisms that would otherwise have controlled population growth. We have intensified food production, expanded trade between regions and discovered medicines to survive disease, Professor Laubichler said.

“Where does that leave humanity now? Are we approaching the inevitable collapse due to climate change of our own making, or can we make a new transition and discover innovations that reset the cycle? »

The introduction of negative feedbacks into our socio-economic and technical systems – not in the form of radical population control or war, but in the form of norms, values ​​and regulations on excessive greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse – can help control climate change.

Humanity can use knowledge to keep itself within its environmental limits.

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Volvo teases positioning of electric SUVs under EX90, to debut in 2023 https://e-jemed.org/volvo-teases-positioning-of-electric-suvs-under-ex90-to-debut-in-2023/ Wed, 09 Nov 2022 17:31:00 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/volvo-teases-positioning-of-electric-suvs-under-ex90-to-debut-in-2023/ The 2023 Volvo EX90 has arrived, becoming the brand’s new flagship vehicle on a dedicated EV platform. Volvo made a lengthy debut which was streamed online, detailing the large three-row SUV, but there was a surprise at the end of the event. A closing video showed the EX90 in silhouette with a second, slightly smaller […]]]>

The 2023 Volvo EX90 has arrived, becoming the brand’s new flagship vehicle on a dedicated EV platform. Volvo made a lengthy debut which was streamed online, detailing the large three-row SUV, but there was a surprise at the end of the event. A closing video showed the EX90 in silhouette with a second, slightly smaller SUV in front of it. Behind the two of them, the year 2023 flashed briefly on a screen.

Clearly, Volvo is teasing its second dedicated electric SUV. This was confirmed by Volvo CEO Jim Rowan at the end of the presentation, who advised people to watch the final EX90 video carefully to “maybe” see something else. He concluded by saying “that’s for another day”.

From the silhouette, we can see that the new model is significantly smaller than the EX90. It also features taillights similar to those of the EX90, and the outline suggests a high roofline similar to the company’s XC models versus a sleeker crossover shape. Sure, Volvo already has a smaller all-electric SUV in the XC40 Recharge, but this model looks bigger and has a completely different taillight design. Additionally, the XC40 Recharge shares its underpinnings with the combustion-powered XC40. New Volvo EVs in the future are expected to have their own electric platforms like the EX90.

This brings us to what is probably the EX60. There is additional evidence to support this, starting with a February 2022 report that Volvo is planning a dedicated electric SUV between the XC60 and XC90. Now that we know Volvo’s new EX nomenclature, an EX60 fits perfectly into this scenario. Volvo has also pledged to launch two new electric SUVs in the coming years, as part of the company’s plan to be fully electric by 2030.

If it looks like the EX90, expect all sorts of tech with evolutionary Volvo styling, all built on a dedicated EV platform. Volvo calls the EX90 “a highly advanced computer on wheels”, incorporating complex 3D software and a host of driving aids. Dual electric motors deliver up to 496 horsepower (370 kilowatts), with an estimated range of 300 miles.

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Champlain College inaugurates Alejandro Hernandez as 10th president https://e-jemed.org/champlain-college-inaugurates-alejandro-hernandez-as-10th-president/ Sun, 06 Nov 2022 22:45:46 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/champlain-college-inaugurates-alejandro-hernandez-as-10th-president/ Festive events culminate in an official ceremony, charting a “ready” path for the future Vermont Business Magazine Champlain College officially inaugurated its 10th president, Alejandro (“Alex”) Hernandez, on Saturday. Centered around the theme of “preparedness,” Hernandez outlined plans to “build a better future” for students, the college, and Vermont. “Education creates opportunity, and I’ve dedicated […]]]>

Festive events culminate in an official ceremony, charting a “ready” path for the future

Vermont Business Magazine Champlain College officially inaugurated its 10th president, Alejandro (“Alex”) Hernandez, on Saturday. Centered around the theme of “preparedness, Hernandez outlined plans to “build a better future” for students, the college, and Vermont.

“Education creates opportunity, and I’ve dedicated my life to the idea that we can build institutions that prepare students, not by luck or privilege, but by design,” Hernandez said, reflecting on the fact of not feeling prepared at the start of life. Champlain’s model of education is intentionally designed to have students “ready for work.” Ready for life. Ready to make a difference,” he explained.

The 90-minute ceremony began with a vibrant inaugural procession, followed by remarks that honored Champlain’s rich history and trumpeted aspirations for this new chapter.

Outlining his vision for building a better future, Hernandez highlighted four key initiatives he is undertaking in the next chapter of Champlain. These initiatives will reinforce Champlain’s long-standing reputation as a leader in career-focused learning and create additional opportunities within its unique and highly effective flipped curriculum model.

  1. Serve as an economic engine for Vermont. Hernandez announced a new innovation center in partnership with Hula to elevate entrepreneurship in Vermont. To kick off the partnership, Hernandez will co-teach a masterclass in entrepreneurship at Hula, featuring Vermont startup founders and executives. The collaboration will include education and development programs, internships, faculty collaborations, student projects through the college’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and shared spaces. Champlain College’s Lakeside campus will also be the epicenter of other iconic employer partnerships.

  2. Be the best place in the world for women in cybersecurity. Champlain College has one of the best cybersecurity and digital forensics programs in the country. Cybersecurity professionals and alumni Brianna Blanchard (BS ’11, MS ’16) and Jess Turner (BS ’22) will co-chair the Women in Cybersecurity Leadership Council to shape this important effort. The initiative will provide a plan to support more female-identifying students and other underrepresented groups in STEAM fields.

  3. Go full steam ahead. As part of its R/Evolutionary 2030 strategic plan, Champlain will launch new degrees in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields such as product design, as well as expansion into health sciences and bio-life. The college will build on its radically pragmatic, practical and interdisciplinary approach to learning and prepare students to be Champlain Ready in growing sectors like digital health and synthetic biology.

  4. Be more human in a digital world. In a world reshaped by technology, it’s those traits that make us most human that drive long-term student success: empathy, relationship building, working across differences, a of business. These skills are taught through the college core curriculum and global experiences in Dublin and Montreal. Champlain College will be a leader in weaving together human skills and digital skills – and is launching a Digital Humanities major in fall 2024 for students to develop the skills needed to meet social challenges.

Among the more than 180 attendees and distinguished guests at today’s ceremony were Mayor Weinberger, Vice President Dr. Monique Taylor, Council Chair Judy O’Connell, Alumni Representative Megg Daudelin, Chiefs of local businesses, state and local officials, university colleagues and Champlain College delegates. , administrators, alumni, professors and students.

About Champlain College: Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, private, not-for-profit college located in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and more than 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate programs and certificates. Champlain’s distinctive career-focused approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience combine to create knowledge. Champlain ranks in several U.S. News and World Report “Best Colleges” categories, including Best Worth Schools, Best Colleges in the North, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Best in Social Mobility. Champlain was also listed among The Princeton Review’s “388 Best Colleges” in 2023 and was recognized as a 2022 College of Distinction for its “Commitment, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.” For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.

Burlington, Vermont, November 5, 2022—Champlain College

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Central High’s closure is not a failure of Kansas City schools https://e-jemed.org/central-highs-closure-is-not-a-failure-of-kansas-city-schools/ Thu, 03 Nov 2022 11:30:00 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/central-highs-closure-is-not-a-failure-of-kansas-city-schools/ OPINION AND COMMENT Editorials and other opinion content provide viewpoints on issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters. It’s time for all of us to reinvent the way we teach to meet the needs of today’s students. Facebook/Central High School Like many urban school districts, schools in […]]]>

OPINION AND COMMENT

Editorials and other opinion content provide viewpoints on issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters.

It's time for all of us to reinvent the way we teach to meet the needs of today's students.

It’s time for all of us to reinvent the way we teach to meet the needs of today’s students.

Facebook/Central High School

Like many urban school districts, schools in Kansas City had a history of segregation. Facilities for white students were superior to those for black students. When the courts intervened through the desegregation orders of the late 1970s and 1980s, billions of dollars were spent to right these historic wrongs.

Today, some point to the impending closure of Central High School as a prime example of the costly failure of court-ordered desegregation in Kansas City. It is an incomplete point of view.

The failure was to invest billions in an outdated and insufficient model of education.

When I was Missouri’s deputy education commissioner, I visited Central several times. I was amazed by the impressive facilities of its campus. Everything was new, high end and expensive. Many other schools in Missouri had similar amenities, but Central High School was unique.

In retrospect, it seems clear that we invested too much in building school structures and not enough in the people who would ensure academic success. The court and attorneys in the Kansas City desegregation case seemed to believe that if you build it, they will come. They added new paint to an outdated education system to mask its flaws and ensure its failure. It was, at best, a very precarious system and it still is. Rather than attracting middle-class families into the system, it has resulted in a deep drop in enrollment from then until today.

The failure of this $2 billion investment to integrate Kansas City schools is proof that our traditional American education system does not meet the reality of today’s educational demands. There have always been tensions between the needs of our society and the diverse needs of children and families.

Our current system is not responding. It’s a wild ride to keep investing in a system that needs to be redesigned. As Abraham Lincoln declared a month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present.”

To build on our education system for the future, we all need to think and act anew. We need to break away from status quo politics and use this time to reinvent the current system. We need to agree on a new vision for educating all of our children to ensure equitable access and opportunity. All parties must be willing to see educational opportunities in a new light. All parents need better choices to match students’ strengths and interests for a successful educational experience.

We need to challenge vested interests in our current system. Our schools should be designed for the needs of our children. The future of American education hangs in the balance as our children continue to fall behind in international assessments. We need a national conversation about how federal and state education policies and agencies need to be restructured to provide more coherence and drive innovation. They also need to have interdisciplinary teams that understand the science behind how we learn.

We need a strong public-private partnership to fund a national competition to reinvent a new system of schools for all children. New models must be developed, tried and evaluated. It can be an evolutionary process and can help our nation resolve the culture wars plaguing our schools. The world is changing faster than our current system, and we have a moral responsibility to the next generation. Our children can’t wait, and neither can this great country.

I wondered if the court and the attorneys in the Kansas City desegregation case or the school administration had overlooked the people. Support from teachers, students and families is essential to academic success.

Susan Tave Zelman is a former Missouri Deputy Education Commissioner and the author of “The Buying and Selling of American Education: Reimagining a System of Schools for All Children.”

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What wins in Fintech: distribution or data? https://e-jemed.org/what-wins-in-fintech-distribution-or-data/ Mon, 31 Oct 2022 22:30:32 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/what-wins-in-fintech-distribution-or-data/ Is it the distribution or the data that matters more? Getty Coming out of two major fintech conferences this month (Insuretech Connect and Money 2020), it’s clear that fintech is evolving – but it’s unclear which evolutionary approach will dominate. Innovation in startups seems to bifurcate around a choice: to build either towards a distribution […]]]>

Coming out of two major fintech conferences this month (Insuretech Connect and Money 2020), it’s clear that fintech is evolving – but it’s unclear which evolutionary approach will dominate. Innovation in startups seems to bifurcate around a choice: to build either towards a distribution advantage or towards a data advantage in the insurance sector.

In 2020, I wrote about the unique attributes of a successful fintech business, or the “3 Ds”: – distribution, data and delivery. I’ve argued that successful startups have at least one of three, and in particular one of the first two: distribution or data. The best had more than one. Some even had a trifecta of the three.

But which of the D’s is the most important? What will lead to more consistent multi-billion dollar startup results?

Let’s start with some considerations. I promise, I will answer at the end of the article.

Is the customer hard to reach?

Some audiences are easy to reach through easily accessible channels like social media or online TV. Over 85% of millennials shop online, and influencers, reviews, and social endorsements are a huge factor in decisions. Others are easy to reach through easily built existing channels – think of the broker channel for car or automobile insurance.

Some audiences are harder to reach. Older people may not be on social media. Midsize companies face more esoteric risks like corporate weather insurance. You had the idea.

As a general simplification: when the customer base is easier to reach (and willing to change), a long-term distribution benefit matters less. When the customer is hard to reach, a distribution advantage is essential.

Is the product specialized or is it a commodity?

Some products have well-known parameters and dimensions. They are easily comparable between companies. Car insurance and bank accounts are clear examples. These of course also tend to be easier to distribute (e.g. online or through established channels).

A distribution advantage in commoditized products is more difficult to obtain. The rules of the game can be leveled in online acquisition (eg bank accounts) or brokerage channels (eg car insurance). This is why the brand matters a lot. No surprise, to make itself known, Geico spends 2 billion dollars in marketing each year.

In more commoditized products, a data advantage can be used to create an advantage. For example, companies like Root promised to underwrite based on differentiated data (driving behavior). But unless new data creates a massive underwriting advantage in commoditized categories, distribution still ultimately matters. This allows specialized players to better price the customers they seek and gain market share.

More specialized products will allow suppliers to exercise greater pricing power. Unsurprisingly, specialty lines of insurance have much lower loss ratios and higher profitability.

There are of course several nuances here. Is there a desire to experiment with new products? What are the switching costs like (e.g. switching bank account and credit card is difficult due to self-pay creating inflexibility)? How important is brand loyalty?

Is the market changing?

In a changing world, new risks and new needs evolve. Some are looming on the horizon today, notably cyber and the climate.

In insurance, new risks bring new questions: how will claims manifest themselves? How big will they be? Who will be affected? What behaviors today will displace losses in the future?

Unfortunately, these are massive black holes with no clear answers.

If the product were available at affordable prices, customers would often demand it to alleviate this uncertainty. But if priced incorrectly, they could create huge challenges for the insurer. This is why data in uncertain situations is more important.

This is one of the reasons parametric weather is on the rise. As Nick Cavanaugh, CEO of Sensible Weather, explains: “The availability and fidelity of remote sensing data – increasingly from satellites – combined with highly resolved computational models and scalable data processing architectures have made many parametric products realizable for the first time. Purely data-driven risk products can now provide accurate hedges while dramatically increasing cost and operational efficiency.” Parametric simplifies and controls the risk equation (e.g. Descartes in the corporate space and Sensible Weather in travel.) But ultimately, these companies are built on a data advantage.

Profit margin for the product

Some products have low margins. For example, average loss rates in car insurance are between 60 and 70% (and in some cases more than 100%). For ACA healthcare plans, it is mandatory to be 80%. Other categories like Extended Warranty Insurance are much more lucrative, with profit margins of 50-60% including loss and management fees!

When the margin is lower, so is the safety margin. As a result, data is more important in underwriting to ensure that profits can exist in low margins.

Conversely, when margins are high, there is room for error. There must be data, but through distribution, with a large enough margin of error, the data set can be built up over time.

The role of regulation

Some products are more or less regulated. For example, in the case of home insurance, there are restrictions on how much an insurer can raise prices from year to year. If you’re in an area with changing weather conditions (e.g. California fires or Florida floods) – or if you’ve misjudged your policy for some reason – it’s much more difficult and expensive to correct the problem. ‘mistake. In ACA plans, there is a minimum loss rate of 80%. If you don’t hit it, you are penalized.

Without diving into the pros and cons of regulation (generally speaking, I’m for consumer protection), the more limits there are to price regulation and price modification, the more important the data.

Integrated financial services

Embedded financial services – by selling a financial product as part of a larger offering – have an embedded distribution advantage. This is the core value proposition. Therefore, by nature, the distribution advantage of the original product or company is the most important.

Embedded fintech also has a twist. It can improve or enhance the original product. Spot insurance includes health insurance as part of a lift ticket. In the event of an injury, the care experience is more fluid and integrated (and free).

And if the integrated insurance offer helps improve sales conversion, the parent company can monetize in different ways (regardless of the profitability of the insurance product). For loans, this is one of the main incentives merchants have to implement buy-it-now-pay-later.

So which “D” matters the most?

The unsatisfactory answer is of course that it depends.

In my role as a venture capitalist, I revolve around companies with Distribution advantages, but where a Data moats can be built over time through experience and scale. This is one of the benefits of integrated financial services for example, as well as emerging risk classes with great potential for dislocations (and the creation of multi-billion dollar companies). These include new risk areas (eg cyber) or those that are evolving (eg climate).

However, your answer to the same question will depend on your strategy and business model.

Where are you landing?

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PRISM+ Malaysia expands its range of soundbars with two new models https://e-jemed.org/prism-malaysia-expands-its-range-of-soundbars-with-two-new-models/ Sat, 29 Oct 2022 06:53:09 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/prism-malaysia-expands-its-range-of-soundbars-with-two-new-models/ PRISM+ has announced the latest addition to its line of home entertainment systems with the launch of the PRISM+ Symphony and PRISM+ Flow soundbars. With this launch, the brand aims to deliver a holistic home theater experience, while bringing its premium value proposition to the audio space. The PRISM+ Symphony, which will feature best-in-class technologies […]]]>

PRISM+ has announced the latest addition to its line of home entertainment systems with the launch of the PRISM+ Symphony and PRISM+ Flow soundbars. With this launch, the brand aims to deliver a holistic home theater experience, while bringing its premium value proposition to the audio space. The PRISM+ Symphony, which will feature best-in-class technologies such as Dolby Atmos spatial audio, 11 speakers for better sound separation, an 8-inch wireless subwoofer and 3D surround sound, will cost RM1,999 .

Meanwhile, the PRISM+ Flow will retail at RM799 and be one of the few in its class to feature a wireless subwoofer. Both soundbars will be up for pre-order today on the PRISM+ website, Lazada store, Shopee store, and its retail store — and are expected to launch in mid-November.

PRISM+’s latest range of home cinema products have had extremely successful launches. After introducing its full range of Q Series Pro TVs to Malaysia earlier this year, as well as launching its first retail store in Malaysia, the brand has continued to show phenomenal growth in the market. This year, the brand has seen its turnover increase by more than 30% between the first quarter of 2022 (January – March) and the second quarter of 2022 (April – June).

Eric Kam, Country Director of PRISM+ Malaysia, said:

“We see Malaysia as a great market for us in terms of opportunity, and that has been reflected in the reception we have received in the market. The launch of the Symphony and Flow soundbar is a step forward in the evolution of the brand as we continue to make premium home theater experiences more accessible while supporting best-in-class immersive audio technologies. like Dolby Atmos.

The advent of the Flow and Symphony soundbars will mark an evolution in the history of the consumer technology brand, as it is PRISM+’s first journey into the audio space market. Targeting different audience segments, PRISM+ Symphony soundbars will include Dolby Atmos for a fully immersive home theater experience, while PRISM+ Flow soundbars will support Dolby Audio for a dynamic audio experience.

The standout feature of the PRISM+ Symphony is undoubtedly Dolby Atmos – allowing the premium soundbar to immerse users in their favorite entertainment with sound that moves all around with breathtaking realism. Priced at RM1,999, the PRISM+ Symphony is the most affordable high-end soundbar in its class. When paired with the upward-firing speakers, this 5.1.2 soundbar breaks new boundaries with an added dimension of height for sounds. Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD will also be supported by Symphony.

This will provide users with an optimal experience even on devices or platforms that do not support Dolby Atmos. Additionally, the Symphony features an HDMI-eARC port that will allow users to play back high-fidelity audio, as well as 760 watts of peak output power – allowing users to experience higher quality audio performance and deeper, fuller bass without distortion even at higher volumes.

Users looking for an entry-level audio setup need look no further than the PRISM+ Flow. Priced at RM799, the Flow is a 2.1 speaker with 240W peak output powered by Dolby Audio technology. The versatile soundbar measures 890mm x 82mm x 58mm, making it suitable for office setups as well as small bedrooms. Besides Dolby Audio, this soundbar also supports Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus.

Both soundbars will feature wireless subwoofers, allowing for a more versatile setup, meaning users can place the subwoofer in the optimal position in their home. Additionally, Flow and Symphony come with five preset modes for News, Music, Sports, Games and Movies, as well as adjustable LED brightness, and can be navigated via the TV remote to ensure a home experience. fluid cinema.

Eric adds:

“The launch of PRISM+ Symphony and PRISM+ Flow is a fulfillment of our goal to bring true cinematic immersion to our consumers’ living rooms. We’ve worked closely with trusted partners like Dolby to optimize our products for a seamless user experience.

The PRISM+ Flow and PRISM+ Symphony will be available for pre-order starting today (October 28, 2022) and are expected to ship by mid-November 2022. Pre-orders can be made on the PRISM+ website, official stores Lazada and Shopee, as well as its retail store at Sunway Pyramid. For more information on price, details and specs, head over to the official website here.

PRISM+ Symphony

PRISM+ Flux

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Is neuroscience the basis of future AGI systems? https://e-jemed.org/is-neuroscience-the-basis-of-future-agi-systems/ Wed, 26 Oct 2022 11:35:14 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/is-neuroscience-the-basis-of-future-agi-systems/ The article “Towards next-generation artificial intelligence: Catalyzing the NeuroAI Revolution,” co-authored by 27 leading AI researchers and neuroscientists, offers a roadmap for the path to building Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). An AGI system, unlike Narrow Intelligence (ANI) systems which are designed to perform specific tasks like playing chess or participating in a game show like […]]]>

The article “Towards next-generation artificial intelligence:

Catalyzing the NeuroAI Revolution, co-authored by 27 leading AI researchers and neuroscientists, offers a roadmap for the path to building Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). An AGI system, unlike Narrow Intelligence (ANI) systems which are designed to perform specific tasks like playing chess or participating in a game show like Danger!— will be exposed to unpredictable environments, on which the system is not particularly trained, and invited to navigate in them.

For the authors, such a human-like artificial intelligence system is feasible. They classify what is “human” as systems that excel in “vision, reward-based learning, interaction with the physical world, and language.”

Doubling research on NeuroAI

However, some of the current major advances in AI research, such as convolutional artificial neural networks (ANN) and reinforcement learning (RL), have been limited because they rely on decade-old discoveries in neuroscience. According to the authors, the latest developments in the field of neuroscience provide a broader scope for NeuroAI research on the AGI pathway.

The predictable step at present is to create systems that consist of a few basic ingredients of intelligence, namely “adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to make general inferences from rare observations “. These ingredients are already available in one form or another in most basic sensorimotor circuits. The paper argues that the neuroscience of embodied interaction with the world seen in all animals can be monumental in bringing the dream of a “human” AI much closer.

The idea is inspired by the evolutionary abilities of animals to adapt to different environments. If the circuits at the neural level of animals are broken down into their constituents, an AI system capable of the same can be emulated.

Neuroscience research in the development of AI: is it necessary?

Since its publication, the paper has renewed the discussion surrounding the role of neuroscience research in the development of AI systems. There are disagreements about whether neuroscience has had a tangible impact on AI modeling.

What are the critics saying?

In response to the journal’s assertion that neuroscience should continue to drive advances in AI, the DeepMind researcher David Pfau stated that neuroscience never drove AI in the first place, further adding that “there is a difference between taking high-level inspiration from classic work and taking direct inspiration from the latest research.”

Sam Gershman, a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University, also adds to the discussion by expressing doubts that neuroscience research can directly provide algorithms that can be plugged into the system. He writes that “new ideas in engineering come from thinking about the structure of problems, not from reading the tea leaves of biology“.

Gershman also poses an interesting question that pivots the debate in a specific direction: Consider the counterfactual world where engineers knew nothing about neuroscience. Do you think we wouldn’t have convolutional networks or reinforcement learning?

The question prompts us to ask whether the two fields driven by different levels of curiosity – conceptual and empirical – should merge.

Adding to the list of critics, Luigi AlcerbiAssistant Professor of Machine and Human Intelligence at the University of Helsinki, offers a fairly weighted take on the current discourse, saying, “The importance of neuroscience on the development of AI/ML in the past is hard to quantify, but it’s fairly uncontroversial to say that some of the inspiration and insights came from neuro-although far less than one might expect or like to admit. the present is close to zero.

Alcerbi agrees with Pfau’s comment, adding that neuroscience influences are all limited to high-level analogies used to model AI systems and not detailed biological implementation.

Along the same lines, Cambrian AI analyst Alberto Romero explains that artificial neurons are extremely simple and are based on the 80-year-old model of the neuron, compared to today’s sophisticated models of the human brain.

Experts on the potential of neuroscience for AI research

Against criticism, several other researchers have asserted how neuroscience has shaped, or may shape, developments in AI/ML systems.

Yann LeCun, Chief AI Scientist at Meta and one of the paper’s authors, writes this in response to such claims:

Similarly, doubts about the impact of neuroscience on the field of AI research were also addressed by Surya Ganguli, a research scientist at Meta and one of the article’s contributors. Ganguli draws readers’ attention to an article he wrote in 2018 in which concrete examples of productive collaboration between biological and artificial systems over the past 60 years were provided.

Gary Marcus, professor emeritus at NYU, also shared some key insights in neuroscience that have not yet been adopted by machine learning models to be included in the article:

Final Thoughts

Overall, there has yet to be a serious rebuttal by critics of the examples described above. Although Pfau did answer to LeCun’s comment suggesting that neuroscience studies of the detailed structures of a neuron or a cell do not directly correlate/address the problems that AI researchers are working on.

The discussion so far leads us to believe that it is not so much a question of whether neuroscience has been influential or not, but to what extent the latest research in neuroscience can help solve certain problems of engineering keys that today’s AI systems face in their quest for mainstream AI. .

However, what we do know for sure is that neuroscience and AI share the same foundation – since AGI is dreamed about the fascination with building “human” intelligent systems – until they reach a point of divergence, and this point of divergence is currently unknown. . As long as the hope for AGI is alive, neuroscience will be a lever on which AI research will rely to establish the foundations of future models.

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Everyone knows separation is unequal…except anti-trans activists like Donna Lopiano https://e-jemed.org/everyone-knows-separation-is-unequal-except-anti-trans-activists-like-donna-lopiano/ Sun, 23 Oct 2022 05:52:07 +0000 https://e-jemed.org/everyone-knows-separation-is-unequal-except-anti-trans-activists-like-donna-lopiano/ The following editorial was written by Blake Hereth, Sam Simpson, Alison McConwell, Christopher RM Philips, Anthony Szczesiul, Carol Hay, Christa Hodapp and an anonymous author: On September 8, UMass Lowell hosted an event billed as celebrating the 1972 creation of Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in education and school programs that receive federal funding. […]]]>

The following editorial was written by Blake Hereth, Sam Simpson, Alison McConwell, Christopher RM Philips, Anthony Szczesiul, Carol Hay, Christa Hodapp and an anonymous author:

On September 8, UMass Lowell hosted an event billed as celebrating the 1972 creation of Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination in education and school programs that receive federal funding.

The event featured Donna Lopiano, Ph.D., whose advocacy for women’s sports and Title IX is informed by her childhood encounter with gender discrimination in sports. Today, she is president of Sports Management Resources, a company she founded dedicated to equity in athletics.

Given Lopiano’s impressive pedigree, it’s even more shocking that she chose to use this opportunity and platform to advocate for the exclusion of certain women from women’s sport. Ironically, Lopiano opposes recent expansions of Title IX to include gender identity and expression, announced in June by US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

This isn’t Lopiano’s first foray into debates about trans equity in sports. She helped create the Women’s Sports Policy Task Force, whose explicit mission is to “protect girls” by restricting transgender athletes. Last month, in Forbes, she featured the band’s “modest proposal” in Swift:

“Our non-binary solution is called the Sports Umbrella for Women. Under this umbrella, anyone who identifies as female would be welcome to try out for women’s sports teams, with one caveat: Compete, Lopiano wrote with Mariah Burton Nelson.

For Lopiano, fairness requires both that trans women not be excluded from women’s sports and that trans women who possess a “post-puberty performance advantage” are not allowed to compete against cis women. To hear Lopiano say it, excluding trans women from competition is a minimal sacrifice — a claim that rings hollow after a moment’s thought. Competition is the beating heart of sport!

At UML, Lopiano expanded on his Forbes op-ed and repeatedly promoted the idea that there are “immutable biological differences” between men and women. According to her, post-pubescent biological males will always have natural athletic advantages over biological females. These “immutable” advantages imply that sports inequality is also immutable and therefore unfair. Or so said Lopiano.

Call it the “Immutability Argument.” Like most arguments against the inclusion of trans women in women’s sport, it is fatally flawed.

First, the argument assumes a long-debunked essentialist view of biological sex and sexual properties. Testosterone levels are highly changeable before and after puberty. For cis men, testosterone levels drop over time, sometimes requiring supplementation. In cis women, the onset of hyperandrogenism—the “excessive” presence of testosterone, androsterone, or androstenedione—effectively negates the competitive advantage that cis men enjoy. Indeed, a recent study (Handelsman, Hirschberg, and Bermon 2018) in Endocrinology Review advocating for a testosterone basis for sports equity recommends allowing cis women with hyperandrogenism to compete in women’s sports. Why not instead allow cis women with hyperandrogenism to compete with cis men?

Second, the average “testosterone gap” does not exist exclusively between cis women and cis men. This also exists between black men and white men. Researchers in a 2014 study concluded that “after adjusting for age, free testosterone levels were significantly higher in black men than in white men,” translating to “a difference race ranging from 2.5 to 4.9%”. If the immutability argument justifies the exclusion of trans women from women’s sports on the basis of higher testosterone levels, it also justifies racially segregated male athletics. Because this is an unfair extension of Lopiano’s argument, we should reject his argument.

Third, nothing in the immutability argument prohibits trans men from participating in cis men’s sports. This makes sense according to Lopiano’s reasoning: trans men have lower average testosterone and therefore lack an (unfair) competitive advantage over their cis peers. Yet it threatens to treat trans men differently from trans women solely on the basis of gender: trans women should be excluded from women’s sports, but trans men should not be excluded from men’s sports. This is precisely what Title IX prohibits of differential treatment based solely on sex!

Fourth and finally, Lopiano continued to use the phrase “immutable difference” as if it were based on scientific fact, but “immutable difference” is a phrase rooted in biological essentialism and biological determinism.

David Hull explained the negative effects of essentialism on taxonomy: Essentialism makes species natural species or categories with “essences”, but evolutionary change excludes species as static and immutable entities. Brown University biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling has argued for the existence of at least five sexes and detailed how scientists have historically politicized sex and gender, writing a New York Times op-ed detailing how those who Biology‘s search for an easily administered definition of sex and gender may derive little comfort. Variation is the rule, not the exception.

Stephen Jay Gould has argued that biological determinism is an envelope (container or form) of bad argument used to emphasize traits as the innate and “inferior” genetic endowments of the underprivileged. Gould explains how this has historically been recycled as a basis for “biologizing” social injustices. The same ingredients are at play in the argument from immutability, where the biological sciences are used to naturalize exclusion and discrimination.

For Lopiano, the natural lottery – that is, the set of natural abilities that a person possesses due to genetic factors and other factors beyond his control – favors post-pubescent men over women. post-pubescent. Lopiano asserts that proper differential athletic performance should be due exclusively to skill and training on an otherwise level playing field. Yet athletes generally vary when it comes to their natural gifts. They are athletes with natural athletic advantages, gifts they have neither earned nor cheated to acquire, who are nevertheless allowed to compete. How, then, is it fair that trans women are excluded for their supposed natural advantages?

We cannot end this answer without noting the language in which Lopiano’s ideas have been adopted. During his opening statement and question-and-answer period, Lopiano repeatedly misinterpreted transgender women as “men.” She said the “N” word twice, casually and unapologetically, mimicking (and condemning) a racist critic of racially integrated athletics. This may be why a key organizer refused our request to register the event, and why the event itself generated enough controversy to prompt a statement from the UML Chancellor and a newspaper editorial. university student.

Far from being a defender of Title IX, Lopiano proposes to limit its application in a way reminiscent of Plessy v. Ferguson, the disastrous 1896 United States Supreme Court decision that solidified “separate but equal” as the law of the land. Trans women must compete separately, just as black athletes were required to. As with the majority at Plessy, Lopiano’s argument appeals to junk science to imagine immutable differences between two groups to justify exclusion.

With trans people making up just 0.005% of the U.S. population and there are even fewer female athletes enrolled in women’s sports, it begs the question: why all the anti-trans fuss for so little? of trans people? Trans people in general (and trans youth in particular) “already face an alarming mental health crisis with high rates of depression, PTSD and suicidality”, with a 2016 study showing that trans students are 45 % more likely to attempt suicide when denied access to gender-friendly bathrooms. The stakes are therefore high for trans women. Exclude them from the catastrophe of women’s sports fields. If injustice is at issue, the injustice of excluding trans women certainly outweighs any alleged injustice towards cis women.

We should all reject Lopiano’s proposal. In its place, we should accept a model of sports equity that recognizes trans women as women of varying natural abilities. We should welcome them into women’s athletics and include them fully in competitions. We should disavow Plessy and her intellectual offspring and treat all women fairly.

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