At Google workers town hall employees pledge to protect each other from

first_imgGoogle workers staged a worldwide walkout last year. James Martin/CNET Google workers on Friday held a town hall meeting to discuss alleged retaliation from the search giant over employees’ activism and organizing efforts. The company’s employees booked rooms for viewing the town hall from Google offices all over the world, according to an employee who attended the meeting. At the gathering, Google workers pledged to protect each other from retaliation and brainstormed ideas to help. Some of that action could take place as soon as next week, that employee said.That employee also said it was the first big town hall meeting that Google’s temporary workers, vendors and contractors — known as TVCs in Google parlance — were able to attend, since the gathering was held by employees and not management.The meeting was called after two workers who helped to organize a massive employee walkout said management was unfairly targeting them. In November, roughly 20,000 Googlers walked out of the company’s offices worldwide to protest its handling of sexual assault allegations directed at key executives. The demonstration drew international attention. One organizer, Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research program, said earlier this week that she was asked to choose between Google and her outside work. Whittaker co-founded New York University’s AI Now Institute, a research center that examines the societal effects of artificial intelligence. Whittaker said Google asked her to give up that work after the company disbanded its own AI ethics board last month amid controversy over one of its members. Claire Stapleton, a marketing manager at Google-owned YouTube, said she was told after the walkout she’d be demoted and lose half of her reports. She said she was also told to go on medical leave even though she wasn’t sick. Google only walked back her demotion after she hired a lawyer, Stapleton said. “Meredith and Claire were bold and unwavering,” the employee who attended said. “The support was overwhelming and it looks like the company’s misguided gamble to cut off the ‘head’ of the organizing against harassment, discrimination and unethical decision-making won’t work.”Google employees have largely been the poster children for protest in the tech industry — a sector where rank and file workers have historically refrained from publicly criticizing management. Aside from the handling of sexual assault accusations, Google workers have also protested the company’s military contracts, its work in China, and its treatment of temporary workers and contractors. Outside of Google, other tech workers have also been speaking up. At Amazon, thousands of workers signed a letter earlier this month that urged the company to reduce its carbon footprint and take action against climate change.The town hall meeting comes a day after Google released its workplace policy guidelines, including its rules on retaliation. Retaliation means taking an adverse action against an employee or TVC as a consequence of reporting, for expressing an intent to report, for assisting another employee in an effort to report, for testifying or assisting in a proceeding involving sexual harassment under any federal, state or local anti-discrimination law, or for participating in the investigation of what they believe in good faith to be a possible violation of our Code of Conduct, Google policy or the law. The section concludes by warning employees that not all complaints may meet that definition.”If you report something that is not a policy violation and you believe you are being treated adversely as a result, you should feel free to report that and we will look into it, but it may not amount to retaliation under this policy,” the guidelines say.Google declined to comment on the town hall, but a spokeswoman said the company prohibits retaliation and has a “very clear policy.” “To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation,” the spokeswoman said.    Post a comment Google employees protest tech giant’s handling of sexual… Share your voice 0 Google Alphabet Inc.center_img 1:45 Tags Tech Industry Now playing: Watch this:last_img read more

Ola Becomes ThirdMost Valued Startup After Flipkart and Snapdeal

first_imgAfter raising funds worth ₹2,500 crore this month, online cab aggregator Ola is now the third-most valuable venture-backed company in India after Flipkart and Snapdeal.The Bengaluru-based company’s valuation rose to ₹15,600 crore with the latest round of funding which included investments by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global, Singapore’s state investment arm GIC and New York-based hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital invested along with its existing investors.Founded in 2011 and operations in more than 65 cities currently, the company plans to use the funds to expand its services to new cities and diversify its presence to other business areas, following the acquisition of rival TaxiForSure last month.”We will scale up rapidly and double our products and engineering team to about 1,000 in the next quarter,” Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of OlaCabs, told The Economic Times.The company is aiming to expand cab aggregation services to about 200 smaller towns and cities, investing about of quarter of latest funds to scale up business of TaxiForSure. Ola claims to have 80% of market share after merging TaxiForSure.”Our growth has been strong and we have a very strong market leadership position, which are key reasons for our investors being so supportive,” said Aggarwal.In the previous round of funding, Japan’s SoftBank invested $210 million in the company in October 2014, taking its valuations to about $650 million.With valuations next to only Flipkart and Snapdeal, the company is trying to compete with Uber, a US-based online cab aggregator.Uber is currently the second most valuable start-up in the world at $41 billion after Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. India is an important market to Uber, as it has only minor presence in the Chinese market.Flipkart is currently the most valued start-up backed by big venture capital firms, with its valuation skyrocketing to $15 billion from $1.5 billion in October 2013. In 2014 alone, the company raised a capital of around $2 billion.last_img read more

Coordination must for sustaining disaster risk management

first_imgDisaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya addresses the launching ceremony of National Resilience Programme (NRP) at a city hotel on Thursday. Photo: UNDPDisaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said Bangladesh always faces natural disaster due to the adverse impact of climate change.“We need to continue our efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods from natural disasters,” the minister told the launching ceremony of National Resilience Programme (NRP) at a city hotel on Thursday.The government and UN agencies have jointly initiated NRP at a cost of $12 million  to sustain the resilience of human and economic development in Bangladesh through inclusive and gender responsive disaster management and disaster risk informed development, says a UNDP press release.Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya hoped the newly launched programme would further build the capacity of the relevant ministries and increase resilience to natural disasters.He called upon all the line ministries and development partners to implement the programme effectively and efficiently for disaster risk reduction in line with the government commitment to implement the Sendai Framework.Disaster management and relief ministry secretary Shah Kamal said that 18 ministries are engaged with disaster management, so effective coordination is must for sustaining the disaster risk management initiatives.He said it is essential to have strong partnership for inclusive disaster risk reduction plan to sustain the economic and human development.The secretary hopes that NRP will enhance the strategic intervention and minimise the challenges of disaster management.“The government is following Whole of Society Approach in disaster management.”Shah Kamal underscored the need for construction of 3,000 cyclone centers in line with the 7th Five Year Plan for minimising the disaster risks of vulnerable people in cyclone prone areas.Disaster management and relief ministry additional secretary and also NRP national programme coordinator Md. Mohsin presented the overview and action plan of the programme.The programme is funded by the government, Department for International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).The disaster management and relief ministry, the programming division of the planning commission, the women and children affairs and the local government division will implement the 3-year programme. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) will provide technical support.The disaster management will focus on disability inclusive and gender-responsive capacities, the programming division will focus on the capacity for disaster and climate risk informed planning, the department of women will focus on the gender dimension of the programme and the LGED will focus on resilient infrastructure.UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo emphasised on inclusive development, resilient infrastructure, engagement of private sector in risk informed business continuity plan and integration of global commitment in national development planning.Swedish ambassador Charlotta Schlyter said Bangladesh needs the engagement of women to fight and adapt disaster and climate risks.She underscored the need for gender responsive disaster management planning for enhancing sustainable development efforts.Water resources ministry secretary Kabir Bin Anwar, local government division additional secretary Mahbub Hossain, women and children affairs ministry additional secretary Md Ainul Kabir, planning division additional secretary Kazal Islam and DFID humanitarian adviser Omar Farook, among others, addressed the event.last_img read more

Malaysia to build island near Singapore

first_imgMalaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. ReutersMalaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday he wants to develop an island on a cluster of rocks previously disputed with Singapore, a move that could anger its neighbour.The strategically located area has long been a flashpoint between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and they previously took a territorial dispute to the United Nations top court.The International Court of Justice in 2008 awarded two rock clusters, called Middle Rocks, to Malaysia while a nearby island was deemed to be Singaporean territory.Malaysia launched a challenge to that ruling last year but Singapore’s foreign ministry said Wednesday it had been withdrawn by Kuala Lumpur.However, at the same time Mahathir announced Malaysia wanted to develop an island on Middle Rocks, at the eastern entrance of the strategic Singapore Strait.The 100-kilometre (60-mile) strait is one of the world’s busiest commercial shipping routes, with vessels using it to access the city-state’s port.“It is our intention to enlarge Middle Rocks into a small island for us,” the 92-year-old-who started his second stint as premier this month after a surprise election win-told a press conference.He gave no more details about what the proposed island would look like or how long it would take to build.Mahathir added that Malaysia had already built a structure on Middle Rocks. Reports said Malaysia inaugurated a maritime base there last year.James Chin, a Malaysia expert from the University of Tasmania, told AFP that Singapore would see the move as “hostile”.“Among the Singapore elite, they will see it as part of Mahathir’s anti-Singapore stance,” he said.It came after Mahathir announced this week that he was scrapping a planned high-speed railway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as he seeks to improve the nation’s finances.Both developments are likely to alarm the Singapore government, already wary of Mahathir’s return as ties between the neighbours were famously stormy during his first stint as premier from 1981-2003.Still, Kuala Lumpur’s decision to drop its case at the ICJ could assuage fears.Malaysia had lodged its challenge in February 2017, calling for the court to overturn its earlier ruling granting its neighbour sovereignty over the disputed island.last_img read more

Scientists manipulate molecules inside living cells with temperature gradients

first_imgOne way that thermophoresis inside living cells can be used is to measure the binding affinities of molecules. As the scientists explain, the binding of a fluorescently marked molecule such as DNA or a protein leads to a change in the thermophoretic depletion strength. Binding affinities can reveal more detailed information about the interactions of these molecules.”The dream would be to record binding affinities in living cells, i.e., translating the award-winning microscale thermophoresis (MST) technique of our startup company Nanotemper into living cells,” Braun said. “However, the measurement protocol is not yet robust against the shape of the cell, so some more tricks to make it work will be necessary. But we are optimistic—experimental tricks are our specialty.” More information: Maren R. Reichl and Dieter Braun. “Thermophoretic Manipulation of Molecules inside Living Cells.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/ja506169b Now in a new paper, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that thermophoresis—the movement of molecules due to a temperature gradient rather than an electric field—can be used to measure the movement of DNA and other molecules inside living cells. The paper, by Maren R. Reichl and Dieter Braun at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, is published in a recent issue of The Journal of the American Chemical Society.”Our work shows that the measurement of thermophoresis in living cells is possible—moreover, in parallel across the cell and not at one single point,” Braun told Phys.org.In the new technique, a temperature gradient is applied across a cell by an infrared laser. Fluorescently marked molecules inside the cell move along this temperature gradient from hotter to colder regions. A camera can record this thermophoretic movement, with every camera pixel measuring thermophoresis simultaneously and independently. The technique can be performed in the natural environment of cells in vivo.The researchers demonstrated the use of thermophoresis measurements of DNA in the cytoplasm of living cells. Interestingly, the results revealed that DNA movement in the cytoplasm is slowed down, probably due to molecular crowding. In addition to measuring the movement of DNA, the thermophoresis technique could also measure the movement of proteins, pharmaceutical components, and other molecules in cells as long as they can move through the cytoplasm. Ribosomes, for example, are so large and bound to the endoplasmic reticulum that they cannot easily diffuse through the cytoplasm, making them poor candidates for thermophoresis. Journal information: Journal of the American Chemical Society Thermophoresis measurements of DNA and the dye molecule BCECF in the cytoplasm of living cells. Credit: Reichl and Braun. ©2014 American Chemical Society © 2014 Phys.org Researchers model how migration of DNA molecules is affected by charge, salt species, and salt concentrationcenter_img Citation: Scientists manipulate molecules inside living cells with temperature gradients (2014, September 30) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-09-scientists-molecules-cells-temperature-gradients.html (Phys.org) —The ability to make measurements of the biomolecular interactions that occur inside living cells is essential for understanding complex biological processes. But probing the inside of living cells without damaging them is a challenge. The cell membrane shields electrical fields, prohibiting the use of electrophoresis, a technique that is commonly used to analyze biological samples in a variety of areas outside living cells. Set-up of the thermophoresis technique. Heating is provided from below by an IR laser. The molecules move along the temperature gradient, indicated by arrows. Credit: Reichl and Braun. ©2014 American Chemical Society Explore further 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

Researchers build an array of light detectors on a photonic chip able

first_img Scientists have been hard at work trying to build a quantum computer for several years, and while the results have at times been promising, there is still clearly a long way to go. For such a computer to work, a quantum processor of some sort must be created. The current thinking is that such a processor will likely be photon based (because they are relatively easy to entangle and because they can be manipulated easier than other types of quantum bits) and it will have to be chip based. In this new effort, the researchers have created a process that allows for performing scalable integration of SNSPDs on several different kinds of photonic circuits.For a quantum computer based on photons to work, logic suggests, it will need to be able to detect and process single photons. SNSPDs are thought to be the most promising single photon detectors developed thus far, but, sadly, processes developed for building them have been plagued by a high numbers of defects. In this new effort, the researchers have developed a process that allows for building each detector separately, and putting only those that are defect-free onto an optical chip. The process also calls for building the optical chips separately using standard chip making fabrication techniques.The team reports that their process allows for building detector arrays that are larger and denser than those built before—and they are more sensitive as well. They proved their claims by building detectors capable of handling 20 percent of photons sent their way—ten times better than previous methods. Each was made on micron-sized membranes and those that passed testing, were transferred to a waveguide using an optical microscope.The team is continuing their research, now focusing on building larger on-chips systems with more capabilities. A large team of researchers with members from MIT, IBM, NASA’s JPL and Columbia University has developed a process that that enables scalable integration of superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) on a range of photonic circuits. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the team describes their new process and why they believe it may lead one day to a practical photonic quantum processor on a chip. Assembly of high-system-efficiency PIC with integrated detectors via membrane transfer. (a) Membrane transfer of an SNSPD onto a photonic waveguide. (b) Sketch of photonic chip with four waveguide-integrated detectors (A1, A2, B1 and B2). (c) Micrographs of sections I–VI labelled in b. Infrared light (red arrows) was coupled from a lensed fibre (I) with a spot diameter of 2.5 μm into a 2 × 3 μm polymer coupler (II). The coupler overlapped with a 50- to 500-nm-wide inverse-tapered section of a ​silicon waveguide (III). The input light travelled along the 500-nm-wide waveguide (IV) over a distance of 2 mm before reaching a 50:50 beam splitter (directional coupler in V) followed by the waveguide-integrated detectors (VI). The equivalent length of the scale bar (blue) is 3 μm. Credit: Nature Communications 6, Article number: 5873 doi:10.1038/ncomms6873 Explore further More information: On-chip detection of non-classical light by scalable integration of single-photon detectors, Nature Communications 6, Article number: 5873 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms6873AbstractPhotonic-integrated circuits have emerged as a scalable platform for complex quantum systems. A central goal is to integrate single-photon detectors to reduce optical losses, latency and wiring complexity associated with off-chip detectors. Superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs) are particularly attractive because of high detection efficiency, sub-50-ps jitter and nanosecond-scale reset time. However, while single detectors have been incorporated into individual waveguides, the system detection efficiency of multiple SNSPDs in one photonic circuit—required for scalable quantum photonic circuits—has been limited to <0.2%. Here we introduce a micrometer-scale flip-chip process that enables scalable integration of SNSPDs on a range of photonic circuits. Ten low-jitter detectors are integrated on one circuit with 100% device yield. With an average system detection efficiency beyond 10%, and estimated on-chip detection efficiency of 14–52% for four detectors operated simultaneously, we demonstrate, to the best of our knowledge, the first on-chip photon correlation measurements of non-classical light.via Nanotechweb Journal information: Nature Communicationscenter_img © 2015 Phys.org Packing single-photon detectors on an optical chip to create quantum-computational circuits 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. Citation: Researchers build an array of light detectors on a photonic chip able to record single photons (2015, January 19) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-array-detectors-photonic-chip-photons.htmllast_img read more

No social media for Kate Winslet her children

first_imgShe is starring in the upcoming film about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, but Oscar-winning actor Kate Winslet says she is not good with technology.The 40-year-old actor is mother to a 15-year-old daughter, an 11-year-old son and her youngest son will turn two in December, reported BBC online.“I’m terrible. I am the least techie person you will ever meet, I’m rubbish. “We’re not a big deviced-up household. We don’t have any social media, nothing like that,” she said.Asked if she is strict with her children about how much they can use technology, Winslet said, “Not strict. But you have to have rules I think and we certainly have those, yes.”last_img