Purdue team drives home winner of -scale tractor competition

Austin Bossaer, a 2017 Purdue University graduate, prepares to pilot his team’s entry in the 2017 ASABE ¼-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The Purdue team was named overall winner of the competition, held June 1-4 in Peoria, Illinois. (Photo provided by John Lumkes) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Teams from Purdue University have historically done very well at the prestigious American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers ¼-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, but the top prize has proved elusive.

Until this year.

The Purdue team was named overall winner of the competition, held June 1-4 in Peoria, Illinois, earning a $1,500 cash prize and $2,000 in scholarships.

The team consisted of seniors Austin Bossaer (Attica), Derek Franke (Monroeville), Austin Franz (Monroeville), Zach Hurd (West Lafayette) and James Marschand (Connersville); junior Joshua Nurrenbern (Haubstadt); and sophomores Julian Halicki (New Castle), Eric Kong (Spencer), William Malecki (LaCrosse), Mitchell Moore (Plymouth) and Brian Sipkema (Fair Oaks).

“We’ve had multiple top-five finishes over the years but it is nice to finally be champions,” said John Lumkes, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and team adviser.

The competition, held annually since 1998, is designed to offer engineering students with a practical design, manufacturing and sales experience. Each team is provided with a 31-horsepower engine and a set of tires then required to design and build their own frame, drivetrain, hitch, clutch, weight brackets and other parts.

The entire process takes about six months, with the students devoting as much as 10 hours per week to the project.

A panel of industry experts evaluates each entry on innovation, maneuverability, serviceability, safety, sound level and ergonomics. Teams must also submit a written design report. Finally, the students must “sell” their design in a formal presentation to industry experts.

There is growing concern that students are entering the job market without a lot of practical experience,” Lumkes said. “This competition is unique in that it gives students a chance to learn by doing.”

During the competition each vehicle is tested in three events designed to measure performance, durability and maneuverability. The Purdue team took first place in both performance and maneuverability and second in durability.

“It was an impressive performance across the board,” Lumkes said. “The students excelled in a number of areas, including communication, teamwork, research and development and time management, skills that are essential for success in the modern engineering job market.”

Lumkes said the competition was especially challenging this year, with 31 teams representing top engineering colleges from the United States, Canada and Israel.

“We’re honored to win this, given the quality of the competition and the quality of our competitors,” said team member James Marschand.

Gen. McMaster, U.S. National Security Advisor, Addresses AJC Global Forum

June 5, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Six-Day War, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, the U.S. National Security Advisor, addressed the AJC Global Forum on the lessons of that conflict for today.

General McMaster, who taught military history at the U.S. Military Academy, said that history teaches humility by showing that what appear to be unprecedented challenges can in fact present opportunities.

That was the case in 1967, he noted, when Israel faced “a desperate situation” as Egypt stationed all seven of its army divisions in the Sinai, and its Arab allies massed their troops to Israel’s east. The Israelis, however, seized the initiative and launched a preemptive attack that drove back the enemy and achieved a stunning victory, one that was incorporated into U.S. military planning under the name of the Air-Land Battle doctrine.

One lesson of the war and its aftermath, he continued, is that “threats to our security do not remain static. They evolve.” Israel today faces “sophisticated terrorist organizations—Hamas and Hezbollah—funded and aided by antagonistic nation states,” while ISIS strives to capture and hold territory, and Iran acts through “its terrorist proxy network,” ramps up its ballistic missile capability, and takes provocative action “in the Gulf, working to keep its Arab neighbors perpetually weak and engaged in sectarian conflict.” In the face of these new challenges, he said, “Israel has adapted and performed amazingly well” because it “consistently recognized and acted on opportunities when others may have seen only difficulties.”

“That creativity and ingenuity should be a model for us today, on and off the battlefields,” McMaster declared. “No matter how dire situations look, opportunities are present.” He specifically pointed to the emerging rapprochement between Israel and a number of Arab states in response to the jihadi threat in the region as an example of turning adversity into opportunity as “their interests are converging.”

He also summarized the accomplishments of President Trump’s recent visit to the Middle East and Europe. Its goals, he said, were “to reaffirm America’s role in global leadership,” “to continue building key relationships with leaders,” and “to promote a message of unity among the followers of three of the world’s great faiths.” Specifically, he noted that Mr. Trump got the more than 50 leaders of Muslim countries he met with in Riyadh to agree “to cut off the financing for extremists and prevent them from hijacking and perverting their religion,” a pledge he said the Administration intended to monitor.

McMaster acknowledged that there is “healthy skepticism, due to the failure of past promises and the fact that many of these countries have been sources of terrorist funding and the propagating of extremist Islamist ideology.” But he emphasized that “none of us, the President least of all, will be impressed by mere words.”

In Israel, said McMaster, the President “reaffirmed America’s rock-solid alliance with our closest military ally,” and emphasized to the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to counter terrorism.

And then in Rome, President Trump “affirmed America’s commitment to defend religious freedom, combat religious persecution, and cooperate with the Vatican on humanitarian missions.”

Arriving in Brussels, continued Gen. McMaster, President Trump “reaffirmed America’s unbreakable commitment to our NATO allies,” and finally in Sicily, he urged the G-7 to cooperate against terrorism and counter North Korean aggression.

This was the second consecutive year that the AJC Global Forum was addressed by the U.S. National Security Advisor. In 2016, Susan Rice, appointed to the post by President Obama, was a featured speaker.

The AJC Global Forum, taking place June 4-6 in Washington, D.C., is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together more than 2,500 participants from across the United States and 70 countries around the world.

USA Technologies and Setomatic Systems See Strong Growth in Cashless Payments for Self-Serve Laundry Locations

Setomatics SpyderWash Devices With Mobile Wallet Acceptance Now Searchable Online; Company Launches New SpyderWash App Showing Washer/Dryer Availability, Transaction History and Loyalty Card Balances

Company To Demonstrate Technology at Clean Show, Booth #1977

LAS VEGAS–( )– THE CLEAN SHOW — USA Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAT) („USAT”), a payment technology provider of cashless and mobile transactions in self-serve retail, and Setomatic Systems (owner of the SpyderWash laundry payment platform), a designer and manufacturer of cashless payment hardware and data services designed specifically for the laundry industry, today announced a new industry benchmark with regards to the growth of contactless payments in the self serve laundry business, the transaction value of which more than doubled over the past year. In 2013, Setomatic Systems and USAT entered into a strategic partnership to provide customers with comprehensive cashless payment services.

The self service laundry industry is estimated by the Coin Laundry Association to be a nearly $5 billion market, which in 2016 saw an average increase in business (gross dollar volume) of 11.2 percent, up from 9.6 percent in 20151, according to an online poll of subscribers of the American Coin-Op magazine who operate stores. Between April 2016 and April 2017, Setomatic saw a 150 percent increase in the amount of contactless payments for laundry services. The company connected its SpyderWash® technology to the ePort Connect service, allowing its customers to leverage one of the most comprehensive cashless payment services solutions in the unattended retail market. In turn, this gave consumers a choice of paying by credit card or using their mobile wallets.

We recognized early on that cashless, then subsequently contactless, payments would become mainstream as consumers gained a level of comfort opting to pay using their mobile phones or even a smartwatch, so we started developing our systems to accommodate back when the World Wide Web was just starting to get traction – and that is how we came up with SpyderWash,” said Michael Schantz, President, Setomatic Systems. „With vend prices on washers in the range of $2.00 to $14.00 per wash cycle, it has become more important than ever to offer consumers the convenience of paying at the point of sale in a fast, simple and convenient way whether it is with a simple swipe of their credit card or mobile phone using a Mobile Wallet like Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay. Our SpyderWash System combined with USA Technologies’ powerful ePort Connect platform gives our customers a soup to nuts service that enables credit/debit, contactless mobile payment processing, loyalty and more.”

Acknowledged by Coin Laundry Association’s magazine, Planet Laundry, as a company that is „changing the way people pay for their laundry,” Setomatic Systems was the first in the industry to offer hybrid payment systems, allowing machines to accept coin, credit or debit cards, RFID contactless credit cards, or NFC enabled mobile wallets, as well as customized loyalty programs, and currently, Setomatic Systems is the only provider in the market whose laundry payment devices accept NFC payments right at the point of sale.

Continuing the tradition of innovation, the company now makes it possible for consumers to manage their loyalty card balance, view transaction history, and check on which SpyderWash washers and dryers are available in their local laundry, via the newly launched SpyderWash App for both iOS and Android devices. In addition, customers who are iPhone users can now search for the nearest laundromats accepting Apple Pay via Apple Maps.

„Many new laundry facilities are utilizing „smart card” technology which requires the customers to put money on a card that they then swipe when they use a machine, but Setomatic Systems has bucked the trend by embracing a consumer first strategy that is reflected in what we believe to be the most advanced payment technology on the market,” said Maeve McKenna Duska, senior vice president of sales and marketing, USA Technologies. „The days of begging for quarters, and waiting for washers and dryers to become available are over. By offering consumers the ability to monitor the availability of a washer and dryer as well as enabling them to pay at the point of sale with whatever they keep top of wallet, creates convenience and fosters the adoption of technology, loyalty programs and much more, particularly useful amongst Millennials.”

Attendees of the Clean Show are invited to visit booth #1977 to learn more about cashless payment technologies for laundry operators, and get a demo of the new Apple and Android Apps for SpyderWash.

Useful Links:
USA Technologies: https://usatech.com/
Twitter:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/USATechnologies
Resource Center: https://usatech.com/resource-center/the-benefits

Sales and Partnership Inquiries:
Please contact USA Technologies, Inc. at +1 800.633.0340 or sales@usatech.com.

About Setomatic Systems/SpyderWash:
Setomatic Systems is a privately owned and operated developer and manufacturer of both open and closed loop card payment systems, drop coin meters and electronic timers for the commercial laundry industry with manufacturing and engineering facilities in California, Florida, New Hampshire, New York and in Israel. Setomatic introduced the first electronic drop coin meter to the commercial laundry market in the U.S. in the early 1980’s. Over the years, they have manufactured drop coin meters and electronic timers for major OEMs such as Whirlpool, General Electric, Wascomat and American Dryer. They introduced their first hybrid card system to the commercial laundry market in 1995, which allowed the operator to accept smart cards, credit/debit cards and coins on the same machine. Their follow-up product, SpyderWash® was developed to satisfy the consumers’ need to pay for their wash and dry with a simple swipe or tap of their credit/debit card or mobile wallet, while giving the operator all the advantages of full web-based reporting. To learn more, visit their website at www.setomaticsystems.com.

About ePort Connect®:
USAT’s ePort Connect service is a PCI-compliant suite of cashless payment and telemetry services specially tailored to fit the needs of self-serve retail industries. Designed to be a „one-stop shop,” services offered through ePort Connect include wireless and merchant account setup, simplified processing rates, settlement and reconciliation, 24 x 7 customer service and a host of value-added services including mobile payment, loyalty programs and integrated payment services for micro-markets and other POS devices.

About USA Technologies:
USA Technologies, Inc. is a premier payment technology service provider of integrated cashless and mobile transactions in the self-service retail market. The company also provides a broad line of cashless acceptance technologies including its NFC-ready ePort® G-series, ePort® Connect, ePort® Interactive, QuickConnect, an API Web service for developers, and MORE., a customizable loyalty program. USA Technologies has 77 United States and foreign patents in force; and has agreements with Verizon, Visa, Chase Paymentech and customers such as Compass, AMI Entertainment and others. For more information, please visit the website at www.usatech.com.

Forward-looking Statements:
„Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this release, including without limitation the business strategy and the plans and objectives of USAT’s management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. When used in this release, words such as „anticipate,” „believe,” „estimate,” „expect,” „intend,” and similar expressions, as they relate to USAT or its management, identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs of USAT’s management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to USAT’s management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including but not limited to, the ability of USAT to predict future market conditions and consumer behavior; the ability of USAT to rely on third party sources regarding increases in the size of the self-service laundry industry; the possibility that all of the expected benefits and efficiencies from the combined solution offered by USAT and Setomatic Systems will not be realized by all laundry operators and on all laundry machines or within the expected time period; whether, and the extent to which, USAT’s cashless services would increase sales for its customers; and the reliability and accuracy of the apps launched by Setomatic Systems. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this release speaks only as of the date of this release. Unless required by law, USAT does not undertake to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

AJC Ad Salutes Unanimous Support of U.S. Governors for Israel, Opposition to BDS

June 5, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – A full-page AJC ad in today’s Wall Street Journal salutes the nation’s 50 governors and the mayor of the District of Columbia for joining an AJC initiative to affirm their rejection of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel.

“Governors across our country know very well the enormous value of the U.S.-Israel partnership in every sphere imaginable, and many have been central to nurturing their own state’s beneficial ties to Israel,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “At the same time, our nation’s 50 governors, as well as the District of Columbia mayor, recognize the pernicious goals of the BDS movement, which singles out democratic Israel from among all of the nations of the world for relentless and undue criticism, and whose efforts undermine the prospects for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Included in the AJC ad are several important components of the Governors Against BDS statement and the full list of signatories. The full statement is available at www.ajc.org/governors.

In the full-page ad, the governors affirm:

  • “The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states.
  • “We support Israel as a vital U.S. ally, important economic partner and champion of freedom.”
  • “The BDS movement’s single-minded focus on the Jewish State raises serious questions about its motivations and intentions.”
  • “Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that do not exist in neighboring countries—or in much of the world. Yet, while fundamental rights are trampled and atrocities are committed routinely not far beyond its borders, BDS supporters focus only on Israel.”
  • The BDS movement would also undermine peacemaking by suggesting that economic and political pressure on Israel can replace real negotiation.
  • “Our commitment to the principle of two states for two peoples, existing side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, and achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D), are co-chairs of the national, bipartisan Governors United Against BDS initiative.

AJC Ad Salutes Unanimous Support of U.S. Governors for Israel, Opposition to BDS

June 5, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – A full-page AJC ad in today’s Wall Street Journal salutes the nation’s 50 governors and the mayor of the District of Columbia for joining an AJC initiative to affirm their rejection of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel.

“Governors across our country know very well the enormous value of the U.S.-Israel partnership in every sphere imaginable, and many have been central to nurturing their own state’s beneficial ties to Israel,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “At the same time, our nation’s 50 governors, as well as the District of Columbia mayor, recognize the pernicious goals of the BDS movement, which singles out democratic Israel from among all of the nations of the world for relentless and undue criticism, and whose efforts undermine the prospects for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Included in the AJC ad are several important components of the Governors Against BDS statement and the full list of signatories. The full statement is available at www.ajc.org/governors.

In the full-page ad, the governors affirm:

  • “The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states.
  • “We support Israel as a vital U.S. ally, important economic partner and champion of freedom.”
  • “The BDS movement’s single-minded focus on the Jewish State raises serious questions about its motivations and intentions.”
  • “Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that do not exist in neighboring countries—or in much of the world. Yet, while fundamental rights are trampled and atrocities are committed routinely not far beyond its borders, BDS supporters focus only on Israel.”
  • The BDS movement would also undermine peacemaking by suggesting that economic and political pressure on Israel can replace real negotiation.
  • “Our commitment to the principle of two states for two peoples, existing side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, and achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D), are co-chairs of the national, bipartisan Governors United Against BDS initiative.

AJC Ad Salutes Unanimous Support of U.S. Governors for Israel, Opposition to BDS

June 5, 2017 – Washington, D.C. – A full-page AJC ad in today’s Wall Street Journal salutes the nation’s 50 governors and the mayor of the District of Columbia for joining an AJC initiative to affirm their rejection of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel.

“Governors across our country know very well the enormous value of the U.S.-Israel partnership in every sphere imaginable, and many have been central to nurturing their own state’s beneficial ties to Israel,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “At the same time, our nation’s 50 governors, as well as the District of Columbia mayor, recognize the pernicious goals of the BDS movement, which singles out democratic Israel from among all of the nations of the world for relentless and undue criticism, and whose efforts undermine the prospects for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

Included in the AJC ad are several important components of the Governors Against BDS statement and the full list of signatories. The full statement is available at www.ajc.org/governors.

In the full-page ad, the governors affirm:

  • “The goals of the BDS movement are antithetical to our values and the values of our respective states.
  • “We support Israel as a vital U.S. ally, important economic partner and champion of freedom.”
  • “The BDS movement’s single-minded focus on the Jewish State raises serious questions about its motivations and intentions.”
  • “Israel is a robust democracy with many rights and freedoms that do not exist in neighboring countries—or in much of the world. Yet, while fundamental rights are trampled and atrocities are committed routinely not far beyond its borders, BDS supporters focus only on Israel.”
  • The BDS movement would also undermine peacemaking by suggesting that economic and political pressure on Israel can replace real negotiation.
  • “Our commitment to the principle of two states for two peoples, existing side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition, and achieved through direct, bilateral negotiations.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D), are co-chairs of the national, bipartisan Governors United Against BDS initiative.

Last UK government licensed 4.1 billion arms sales to Middle East, says CAAT

Using government figures,  Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), has calculated that the UK has licensed over £4.1 billion of arms sales to the Middle East since the last election in May 2015. Two-thirds of all UK arms exports go to the Middle East.

CAAT’s Andrew Smith  said, „For decades now the UK has poured arms into the Middle East. Whoever is elected next Thursday must think about the damage these arms can do, and the terrible regimes they are supporting.

By far the largest buyer of British weapons was Saudi Arabia, which purchased arms to the value of £3.3 billion. Other countries who purchased British weapons included Egypt, Bahrian, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait and Turkey.  Saudi Arabia has used UK fighter jets and bombs in its ongoing bombardment of Yemen, a conflict which has killed more than 10,000 people.

Andrew Smith said,”These arms sales do not make any of us any safer. They fuel war and conflict by providing political and military support for some of the most brutal and oppressive regimes in the world. If the UK is to be a force for good in the region then it must end its policy of military interventionism, which has seen the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and stop selling arms to brutal dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.”

The legality of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia is currently the subject of a Judicial Review, following an application by CAAT. The claim calls on the government to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with UK and EU legislation. The verdict is still pending.

Read more about the Judicial Review of arms sales to Saudi Arabia here

*Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk/

Ekklesia’s General Election theme for 2017 is #Vote4CommonGood. This will be explored by writers and researchers from different perspectives and backgrounds, as well as analysis of the different party manifestos in relation to the principles and policies we have advocated for many years.

Stressed Out from Birth: Mice Exposed to Prenatal Stress Are Predisposed to Eating Disorders Later in Life

Stress affects the body and can trigger illness – from psychiatric disorders to heart disease. Humans are exposed to stress at different intensities throughout life – as children, in adolescence, and in old age. But when is the impact of stress on our systems most powerful? Many researchers maintain that the critical effect occurs prenatally, inside the womb. This hypothesis was, until recently, based mainly on statistical data indicating a correlation between stress during pregnancy and susceptibility to disease. Now, a new study by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, establishes, for the first time, a clear causal link between prenatal stress and the onset of eating disorders. Furthermore, in a study in mice, researchers successfully prevented the onset of a compulsive eating disorder by the sole means of a unique diet.

Moderate exposure to stress during pregnancy is not necessarily negative. The effect of stress on the fetus makes evolutionary sense with regard to survival – by providing mothers with a way to communicate with her unborn offspring about the world into which they are about to emerge. For example, when the mother inhabits an area of poor food availability, she would want to prompt the embryo to develop its body in an efficient and frugal manner and slow down its metabolic rate. Such maternal messages transmitted to the embryo are also termed fetal “programming.” Problems arise when the “programming” does not match actual conditions and demands; for example, a child who is “programmed” to slow metabolism down but is actually born into a culture with an abundance of high calorie foods, may develop obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Eating disorders are currently more prevalent in the West than ever before, and are significantly higher among women than men. Binge eating disorder (BED), characterized by compulsive overeating of high calorie foods in short periods of time, is a very common eating disorder, affecting about 3% of the population. BED usually erupts in late adolescence and greatly increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease – and also involves depression, low self-esteem and anxiety disorders. A common tendency is to link eating disorders among girls to the advertising industry and body trends influenced by Western culture. However, the current study shows that the high incidence of eating disorders among women also characterizes a model that simulates eating disorders in mice. In other words, in mice, too, eating disorders are more common in females. But why do some girls face an increased risk of developing an eating disorder while others are protected, and how is this sensitivity influenced by processes that had taken place prenatally?

females born to mothers exposed to stress during pregnancy tended to develop a compulsive eating disorder following exposure to the environmental challenge

To investigate these questions and others, Prof. Alon Chen and his team in the Neurobiology Department used a genetic system they developed to simulate the biological stress mechanisms in mice. The researchers injected antibiotic-susceptible viruses into the brains of pregnant mice, and in the third and final week of pregnancy, they added antibiotics to their drinking water in order to activate the system and cause the release of the stress hormone CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor). The pregnancy ended a week later, with the pups born into a favorable environment. Only after they matured some 10 weeks later were they nutritionally challenged in order to put their sensitivity to developing compulsive eating to the test: The mice were fed a “Western” diet, high in caloric value, over very short periods, which could trigger an impulse to “binge eat.” The findings were clear: females born to mothers exposed to stress during pregnancy tended to develop a compulsive eating disorder following exposure to the environmental challenge. The study was led by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Mariana Schroeder, with the participation of Drs. Maya Sharon Lebow, Yonat Drori and Mira Jakovcevski; research students Tamar Polacheck and Mareen Engel; and Dr. Shifra Ben-Dor from the Department of Life Sciences Core Facilities.

Beyond identifying the link between stress during pregnancy and compulsive eating disorder, the research team sought to understand and uncover the mechanisms through which the brains of those females who tended to develop an eating disorder were programmed. They repeated the experiment, but instead of waiting for the offspring to reach adulthood, they examined the embryonic brain prenatally. Chen: “We discovered a very interesting thing: Looking at embryos’ brains, we saw large molecular differences between offspring whose mothers’ stress mechanism was activated and those in whose mothers it was not activated. However, in adulthood, the differences disappear. The differences will be expressed only when the mice are exposed to some form of challenge. This signifies that an epigenetic, rather than a genetic, marker was introduced at the embryonic stage as there was no change in the genes.”

Epigenetics (literally: on top of genetics) research addresses the molecular mechanisms that mediate environmental messages and how these messages influence and shape our genome’s expression – without changing the genes themselves or the DNA sequence. In this case, messages that originated in the mother caused changes in the brains of the female embryos. One of the most important epigenetic mechanisms is DNA methylation, a simple biochemical process in which a methyl group binds to a genetic segment, thereby determining the transcription level of a particular gene. In this research, scientists have shown, for the first time, that exposure to stress is expressed in sub-methylation in the hypothalamus, a brain region that regulates metabolic processes, hormone production, and stress reactions.

A methyl-balanced diet

But the most surprising part of the study lay ahead. The researchers found that by administering a diet of foods that affect the body’s methylation processes, such as folic acid, choline, methionine, and vitamins B12 and B6, they could prevent the ”predisposed” mice from developing a compulsive eating disorder. “Perhaps the most unexpected finding in the study,” says Chen, “is that we succeeded in preventing the disorder from emerging simply by providing a balanced diet of methyl sources. Does this mean that a balanced diet would also help cure eating disorders in humans? It is important to note that the research was conducted on a mouse model at this stage, but all the biological genes and pathways it described are shared by mice and humans.”

Prof. Alon Chen’s research is supported by the Carl and Micaela Einhorn-Dominic Center for Brain Research, which he heads; the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurosciences, which he heads; the Norman and Helen Asher Center for Brain Imaging, which he heads; the Perlman Family Foundation, Founded by Louis L. and Anita M. Perlman; the Irving Bieber,  M.D. and Toby Bieber, M.D. Memorial Research Fund; the Adelis Foundation; the Appleton Family Trust; Mr. and Mrs. Bruno Licht, Brazil; the European Research Council; and the Ruhman Family Laboratory for Research in the Neurobiology of Stress.

Jacada Chosen Winner of 2017 Digital Self-Service Innovation Award

UK National Innovation Awards recognizes Jacada Contact Hub solution for innovation and lateral thinking

ATLANTA, GA–( d – May 31, 2017) – Jacada, Ltd. (OTCQB: JCDAF), a leading global provider of customer service technology designed to simplify the interaction between businesses and their customers, announced that it has been selected as the winner in the Digital Self-Service Innovation category of the UK National Innovation Awards for 2017. Recognized for the Jacada Contact Hub, a suite of award winning solutions that support today’s digital consumer, Jacada is chosen as winner in the area of digital customer service solutions.

Senior customer-centric leaders from across the UK, representing a range of verticals and expertise areas including digital, customer service, customer contact, customer experience, and customer operations, came together online to judge the live final. Ten companies entered the first-round of this category competition and four were put through to the live online final.

“Jacada’s entry was a showcase of innovation and lateral thinking. The solution addressed two priority issues – reducing call center volumes and cost, while maximizing the use of knowledge and self-service assets to improve customer experience,” said Jon Snow, awards host and Directors’ Club founder. “The UK National Innovation Awards were established as an open competition to seek out truly useful inventions. Jacada’s digital self-service solution ticked all the boxes with the judging audience.”

We are honored to be selected as the Digital Self-Service Innovation winner from among several very worthy and respectable finalists,” says Guy Yair, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Jacada. “Improving customer interactions for our clients is what our technology is built for. Our long history of developing customer service technology has led to our ability to create leading digital customer innovations that empower companies to provide the best digital self-service options for their consumers.”

The UK National Innovation Awards (the Nationals) have been designed by the Directors’ Club United Kingdom to recognize business technology innovations and their impact on customer experience, employee engagement, operations performance, product creation, and profitable growth.

The Jacada Contact Hub offers digital engagement across multiple channels, personalizing the experience and offering seamless connectivity to assisted service when needed. The Jacada Contact Hub is committed to driving digital adoption and lowering inbound call volume by right channeling customers to the proper digital channel. The Jacada Hub features the award winning Visual IVR, an Artificial Intelligence powered Virtual Agent, and Interact – the powerful cross-channel interaction designer. With this cross-channel interaction platform, Jacada enables efficient customer engagement on the voice channel, the digital channel, the physical (IoT) channel, and on the outbound channel. Customer interactions are all designed on one convenient platform with a single designer, ensuring no more channel silos.

About Jacada
Jacada provides solutions that simplify and improve the effectiveness of customer interactions. Jacada’s mobile, customer, agent desktop and process optimization solutions help companies reduce the cost of their operations, drive customer satisfaction, and provide a complete return on investment within the first year after deployment. Founded in 1990, Jacada operates globally with offices in Atlanta, USA; London, England; Munich, Germany; and Herzliya, Israel. More information is available at www.Jacada.com.

About The National Innovation Awards
The UK National Innovation Awards (the Nationals) have been designed by the Directors’ Club United Kingdom to recognize business technology innovations and their impact on customer experience, employee engagement, operations performance, product creation, and profitable growth. Visit http://directorsclub.org.uk for more information.

Media information: Deutsche Telekoms convictions are key for future success

  • Tim Höttges: „We take the tried and true, and we improve it! We venture into new fields. We deliver on our promises. The result? We are growing.
  • Dividend to increase to 60 eurocents per share
  • Group continues growing in fiscal 2016, notching up successes in all its areas of operation

For Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, the convictions that drive the Group’s actions are the leitmotif of this year’s shareholders’ meeting. Speaking in the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Höttges stated that its convictions helped the company not only to improve the tried and true, but also to venture into new fields, thus ensuring that Deutsche Telekom would continue to grow going forward.

Höttges also said that Deutsche Telekom was already Europe’s highest-value company in the industry and that it was truly „the original”. According to him, Deutsche Telekom was making good on its claim of being Europe’s leading telecommunications company, boasting leadership in network quality in all its markets, for instance, as well as in customer service. Höttges also said that the success of T-Mobile US meant that there was already a „strong bridge over the Atlantic,” supported at either end by „sturdy pillars in Europe and the U.S.”

In view of the Group’s success in implementing its strategy in the 2016 financial year, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board proposed to shareholders a further increase in the dividend to 60 eurocents per dividend-bearing share. „Growth at Deutsche Telekom means that the dividend should also grow,” said Höttges, „in line with free cash flow. We propose to pay out 60 cents per share. 20 percent more than two years ago.”

Höttges described the company’s success in the past financial year, with revenue growth of 5.6 percent, an increase of 7.6 percent in adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow up 8.6 percent. He also confirmed both the full-year forecast for the current financial year and the medium-term financial targets.

Höttges added that digitization was not „an option for tomorrow,” but „a must for today.” Germany’s „title as world export champion” was at stake, he said, which was why Deutsche Telekom was helping the country’s strong SME sector to go digital and build „the global network for Industry 4.0.” Höttges also highlighted the expansion of the Group’s secure data center in Biere and the creation of its T-Sec unit: „Do you know any other company apart from Deutsche Telekom that is so obviously concerned with Internet security? We have a whole separate unit for this. With 1,200 colleagues. And, at our development center in Israel, we research into ever-better defense mechanisms.”

The Group’s convictions applied to more than just its business operations, as Höttges also noted. „Reliability is a virtue in itself, not just when it comes to figures,” he said, stressing the significance of digital responsibility. „We won’t benefit from the opportunities offered by digitization if we ignore the risks. For example, that people will lose their jobs. Because intelligent machines and computers will be handling more work in future. We are therefore making sure our people are fit for the digital future. We train them. We develop their skills.”

Höttges also emphasized the company’s convictions when it came to Europe, stating that Deutsche Telekom stood by, and for, Europe. „Europe is our foundation. Without the conviction that Europe will work, nothing will work in our company. Our brand promise ‘Life is for sharing’ stands for precisely this. It is consistent with the European idea. Your Deutsche Telekom does not stand for hatred and isolation. It stands for sharing and solidarity.”

In his speech, the CEO underscored the progress the Group had made in all its areas of operation. Referring to the strategic focus on integrated IP networks, he explained: „We are not cherry-picking. We establish high-speed networks in the cities as well as in the country. However, we do not invest indiscriminately. We work efficiently. That is why we use a mix of innovative technologies. Optical fiber. Vectoring. Mobile communications. Combined smartly.” He also added: „And that is why no-one invests as much as Deutsche Telekom. 11 billion euros in 2016. Around 5 billion euros of it in Germany alone. And this year, we will be investing 1 billion more worldwide. 12 billion all told.”

Höttges announced that the broadband build-out would continue. Within the next two years, 80 percent of all households would have access to a guaranteed 50 megabits per second, with the majority enjoying even higher speeds, up to a maximum of 250 megabits per second. And, of course, the number of households supplied directly with optical fiber would be increasing. Höttges also announced a fiber-optics initiative for business parks in Germany. „Eighty percent of all business enterprises in Germany are located in 3,000 business parks. We will be rolling the technology out to them by the year 2020. Plans are already underway for the first 100 and we have our sights on the next 200. Deutsche Telekom is digitizing Germany.”

Referring to the company’s goal of best customer experience, Höttges commented on customer service: „Our strategy is to get better step by step. Last year, I told you we would have more service appointments on Saturdays in future. Since then, 20 percent more service engineers work Saturdays. And they handle more service orders. An increase of 25 percent.” Höttges also made specific pledges for the future: „Customers are annoyed when appointments with our service engineers come to nothing. As of 2018, this should no longer happen. Our goal is to keep every appointment. Deutsche Telekom will be there!”

Höttges also talked about the growth in value of the company’s portfolio of shareholdings: „We are very successful at this in the United States. With T-Mobile US we are scooping up all the new customers in the market. Eight million in 2016. We invest boldly. First and foremost in networks and spectrum. We invest where it is worth our while. The conditions in the United States are right. The regulatory situation, too. And so the value of our shareholding, converted to euros, has increased fivefold since 2013. It is now worth 32 billion euros. So we have taken the right decisions. We have opted for return.”

In summing up, the CEO appealed to the company’s shareholders: „At the bottom line we can say: standing by our convictions pays off. They help us keep on track. They help us improve the tried and true. They help us venture into new fields. And so they ensure that your capital generates return.” He concluded by saying that Deutsche Telekom was constantly reinventing the telecommunications business, and that thus the company was truly „the original.”

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