18 Dec

Ernie Els enters World Golf Hall of Fame

first_img“I was so pleased to hear the news that Ernie has been selected to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” he said. “Ernie certainly deserves this recognition, as he epitomises a ‘world’ golfer. AutismApart from his excellence as a golfer and the opportunities he has created for youngsters through his foundation, Els is also striving to make a difference in the lives of people who have autism, or who are affected by it. “I spent several happy years at Ernie’s foundation and whenever I wanted help since I have been out on Tour, Ernie has happily given it. I could not have found a better role model.” Long before he turned professional, Els began making his mark and his name first sprung to prominence in 1984 when he won the 1984 Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego by beating home town golfer Phil Mickelson in the final. It has indeed been a long journey. ‘A great inspiration’Schwartzel said: “Ernie has been a great inspiration and friend to me for years. He is always happy to give his time and expertise, and I have been the grateful beneficiary of his generosity.” He topped the European Tour’s Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004. He has also won the World Matchplay Championship a record seven times. Gary Player is tied with Seve Ballesteros for the second most wins, with five. Els Center for ExcellenceEls, along with his wife Liezl, has established the Els Center for Excellence which, it is planned, will combine the Renaissance Learning Center with a research facility. It is a $30-million project and the couple has committed $6-million of their own money to it. 11 May 2011 Oosthuizen told Helen Ross on the PGA Tour website: “If it weren’t for Ernie Es, I would not be where I am today. It’s as simple as that. ImpactHis impact, however, extends beyond his achievements on the course. South African golf is going through a purple patch at present, with Charl Schwartzel the current Masters champion and Louis Oosthuizen the British Open champion. Both of them were members of Els’ junior golf foundation, now known as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation. To top things off, mention must be made of Els as a successful golf course designer, with top class layouts in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and southern Africa. It is not only the younger generation of South African golfers that appreciates what Els has done. Gary Player, too, was full of praise for him.center_img Success around the worldEls has won 15 times on the PGA Tour, 21 times on the European Tour, 18 times on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour, and recorded eight other wins besides. He has also played in the Presidents Cup six times, represented South Africa in the Dunhill Cup in nine consecutive years, and in the World Cup five times. “He is a credit to the game and an ambassador for the sport. Ernie has been a wonderful friend over the years and I am very fond of him and his family.” South African great Ernie Els was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday. He joins the legendary Gary Player, who entered the Hall in 1974. In 2009, he hosted the first annual Els for Autism charity golf event, which featured many PGA Tour and Champions Tour players. That year, he raised $725 000 for the Renaissance Learning Center, a non-profit school for autistic children, near his residence in West Palm Beach, Florida. They include, among others, the Savannah course at Mission Hills in China, the re-design of Wentworth in England, The Durrat al Bahrain in Bahrain, The Els Club in Dubai, Hoakalei in Hawaii, and Oubaai in South Africa. The other members of the 2011 Hall of Fame class were Jock Hutchison, Doug Ford, Jumbo Ozaki, Frank Chirkinian, and former US president George Bush. His son Ben is autistic and Els has used his profile to raise money for charities devoted to the condition, whilst also establishing the Els for Autism Foundation. The pace of fund raising at the charity golf event has been maintained, and after it was recently held for a third time the money raised by it had topped $2.2-million. Nicknamed “The Big Easy” because of his wonderful swing, Els was elected in his first year on the ballot. That’s not surprising as he has won 62 titles so far in his career, including two US Opens and one British Open title. Much like Player, he has enjoyed success around the world. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

18 Dec

Harvest just around the corner

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Jeff Duling, Putnam CountyWe’re at least two weeks away yet for harvesting anything unless it gets hot again.The tile lines are dry and in between the plants are stunted and green. There are some fields in the area that are pretty even that may come off this week. I know I do not have any ready yet.I checked some corn and the moisture is anywhere from 26% to 27% on the tile line. Then in between the plants are green and little and I don’t know what we are going to do. It will be interesting. I have hydraulic deck plates but we may have to run all of the tile lines first and readjust. There will be some different shenanigans going on to get ready for this harvest.We are finishing our last ditching job. We are done with tile until beans and corn are off and then we have another 140 acres to do this fall.We got nine-tenths to an inch with this last rain. The town of Delphos got 6 to 7.5 inches of rain and were flooded out again. Hancock County didn’t get too much.The rain had to help some of the beans.The cover crops are coming up. I have some rye to plant this week. With the manure I thought it might get too tall this winter so I wanted to wait a bit to plant that.I think harvest could go fast once it gets started because only half the trucks will be going up and down the road, but then we have all of these green plants still out there. I don’t know what to expect.For the rest of this week’s reports, click here.last_img read more

17 Dec

Tips for conserving the soil while boosting profits at CTC

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The currently grim corn and soybean economic situation, paired with increasing environmental scrutiny of farms, is putting many farms in a tight spot for maintaining profitability. The popular Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada kicked off today with the goal of providing tips for farms to bolster profitability while improving the land and water for the future.“There’s a preponderance of evidence that shows we’re in a time of extreme weather and every scientist that looks at this says we’re going to be here awhile,” said Barry Fisher, USDA-NRCS soil scientist, keynote speaker at Wednesday morning’s general session.Barry Fisher, soil scientist for USDA-NRCS, was the keynote speaker at the CTC opening session on Wednesday.Fisher defined soil health as the capacity of a soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans, and noted it as a way to challenge the change in weather situations down the road. Fisher focused on the importance of thinking of soil as a living thing outlining four major principles for soil health:Minimize disturbanceMaximize soil coverMaximize biodiversityProvide continuous living roots“You put all these things together and that’s how you’re going to begin maximizing soil health,” Fisher said. “Soil health is not a thing you order on amazon.com.“It’s a journey and a state of mind where you’re continually adapting your management.”Fisher continued to stress the importance of improving aggregate stability. A major point that affects many other areas, he said. He highlighted several steps in the downward spiral of soil degradation:Intensive tillage, insufficient added residues, low diversity, no surface cover results in soil organic matter decreases, erosion, and compacted subsoilAggregates break downSurface becomes compacted, crust formsInfiltration decreases, erosion increases, yield consistency declinesMore ponding and persistent wetness, but less water storageThe 2016 CTC hosted an impressive crowd.With regard to the eventual downward results, “If we take it far enough, hunger and starving sets in,” Fisher said.“We led farmers to believe that farmers with flat soil didn’t have erosion loss,” he said. “What is your tolerable soil loss? It better be zero.“When in doubt, we tend to plow. I would like to suggest that at some point we change our mindset and change to mimicking what Mother Nature would do. When in doubt, plant. You’re going to fix more of these situations with biological systems than anything you can do management wise.”Fisher identified the key aspects of putting a conservation management package together incorporating multiple areas of soil improvement. They include quality no-till, adapted nutrient management, prescribed cover crops (to best compliment the previous two points), diverse crop rotation, new technology and integrated weed and pest management.“This is not your father’s no-till system that we’re talking about,” he said. “When we put this sort of a system together, the value of the whole should far exceed the sum of its parts.Fisher also said farmers need to think of soil health as economic development. He highlighted the amount of nutrients just 1% of organic matter contains. Each 1% contains 10,000 pounds of C, 1,000 pounds of N, 100 pounds of P, and 100 pounds of S. He noted that as soil health regenerates, farmers will see increases in crop yield and a decrease in risk along the way.Matt VanTillburg of Mercer County was named the Ohio CCA of the Year. Ohio CCA Chair Cecilia Lokai-Minnich presented the award.Also at the opening session, Matt VanTillburg of Mercer County was recognized as the Ohio Certified Crop Advisor of the Year. VanTillburg is heavily involved in community organizations, multiple boards, and continued investment in the industry.As farmers prepare for spring planting, much of their planning will focus on where and how to cut costs for 2016 without cutting net income, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and an organizer of the annual Conservation Tillage Conference offered today and tomorrow by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.“Many growers are tightening their belts because of tight budgets, low prices and not much money in the bank,” he said. “For a few years grain farmers were making good money. But in 2015 grain prices fell sharply, with 2016 prices looking to stay low.”CTC offers numerous presentations designed to help growers learn where to tighten and where to cut back while ensuring they have healthy soils, healthy water, and, hopefully, a healthy bank account, Reeder said.The program includes a “Corn University” and “Soybean School” that will be offered during the annual conference, he said.Topics to be discussed during the Corn University today include:Corn Yield Forecasting.New Molecular Methods For Insect Control.Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium Management Highlights for Corn.Taking A Second Look At Hybrid Performance and Technology.Crop-Effective and Environment-Responsible Nutrient Placement in Strip-Till and No-Till Corn.Topics to be discussed during the Soybean School tomorrow include:Ohio Soybean Limitation Survey ResultsManaging Weeds in SoybeansFertility ManagementManaging Soybean InsectsThe Future of Soybean BreedingTop 10 ways to improve yield, without breaking the bank.The Corn University and Soybean School are just two of a total of eight concurrent sessions during the conference. More than 900 participants are expected to attend the event, organized by OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, with assistance from USDA and SWCDs.The conference offers the latest research, insight, tips and techniques on precision fertility, cover crops and manure, water management, technology and equipment, nutrient management, and advanced cover crops. It features some 60 presenters, including 25 CFAES researchers and Extension educators, as well as farmers and industry representatives.Certified Crop Adviser continuing education credits are available, with an emphasis on soil and water and nutrient management hours.Topics presented during the two cover crop sessions include:Understanding the Legal Aspects of Manure Application.On-farm Experiences with Cover Crops and Manure.Enhancing Soil Mycorrhizal Fungus to retain nutrients.Improving Soil Carbon for Healthier Soils.Sustainable Agriculture programs (from Campbell’s Soup Co.).The CTC conference is at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. The full schedule and registration information can be found at ctc.osu.edu. Walk-in registration is $80 for one day. Other conference sponsors include: Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Soybean Council, Farm Science Review, John Deere, Ag Credit, Seed Consultants, and the Ohio No-Till Council.last_img read more

5 Sep

Facebook Messenger gets this WhatsApp reply feature All you need to know

first_img Facebook and Cambridge Analytica suffer backlash following data breach claims Facebook, earlier in the month added much needed dark mode feature to its messenger app and while we wait for the same in the WhatsApp, the former has brought in a new value-added feature, which will definitely further enhance the chatting user-experience.In the recently released firmware update, Facebook Messenger has introduced the direct quote-reply feature in a group chat similar to what we do on the WhatsApp group chat.Here’s how the Facebook new reply feature works on group chat: For instance, if you are in group chat discussing a topic on Facebook Messenger and one of the members mentions something interesting and you want directly reply to him/her without breaking the ongoing discussion, you will find direct reply option, there you can either put reaction emoji or exchange texts directly. WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons are seen on an iPhone.REUTERS/Phil NobleThe new update also comes with a new feature that allows the user to see their friends’ Messenger Stories and vice-versa right inside the chat thread.These new additions will improve user-experience on Facebook Messenger and also suggests that the company is on its way to integrate all three of its services—WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. Though they will remain independent apps, users will be able cross-message or video chat on all three without any hassle.So, WhatsApp users can expect the much awaited dark mode on their favourite messaging app any time soon.In a related development, Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp have announced to delete poll campaign ads and any multimedia content that violates the code of conduct ahead of upcoming Lok Sabha 2019 election.Besides the aforementioned companies, Google, Twitter, ShareChat and ByteDance have also part of the social media companies’ delegation meet chaired by the Indian Election Commission (EC) and have pledged to follow voluntary code conduct. They have agreed to delete any objectionable content from their sites within three hours of notice from the EC during the 48-hour silent period before the polling starts. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will be deeply integrated for users to easily message friends on multiple apps without any hassle.KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty ImagesFurthermore, WhatsApp in collaboration in collaboration with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Foundation announced to work on improving digital literacy among youth in the country to curb the spread of the misinformation.Also, WhatsApp is testing reverse image testing on Google browser for users to see whether the forwarded message they received is genuine or fake.The general election will be conducted in seven phases, starting from April 11 and continue till May 19, whereas the counting of votes will be held on May 23. Closelast_img read more

3 Sep

UN expert calls for referring Myanmar situation to ICC

first_imgRohingya refugee. File PhotoThe UN’s human rights expert on Myanmar has said the international community must continue to work to ensure that individuals who have been alleged as being responsible for serious crimes and human rights violations are prosecuted by the International Criminal Court or by a credible judicial body, reports UNB.”The (UN) Security Council must come together and refer the situation of Myanmar to the ICC without any delay,” Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.She, however, said the establishment of independent mechanism was an interim step, and was insufficient to achieve justice for all victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Myanmar.Lee said the Myanmar government has shown that it is unable to fulfill its international obligations to impartially and effectively investigate the allegations.The UN expert said she was dismayed by the failure of the country’s leadership to take the path of democracy, and at their persistent denials and attempts to deflect attention concerning allegations of atrocities committed against the Rohingya.”What I see is a government that is increasingly demonstrating that it has no real interest and capacity in establishing a fully-functioning democracy where all its people equally enjoy all their rights and freedoms,” she said.Lee said it is not doing what is necessary to bring about true peace and reconciliation. It is not upholding justice and the rule of law. “And, despite the repeated refrain that if presented with evidence, the government will investigate the allegations of human rights violations, it is clear to me that that is not the case.”She acknowledged there was “a glimmer of hope on the horizon for justice for the people of Myanmar”, referring to the Human Rights Council’s recent resolution that establishes a new Independent Mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011.Lee noted reports of harassment and extortion, and of forced labour, and that the government was undertaking an unrelenting campaign to force all the Rohingyas to take National Verification Cards.She raised concerns about the situation in Kachin and Shan, and the government’s plan to close displacement camps around the country.”Disturbing information I have received about the government’s camp closure plan demonstrates that it is not in accordance with international standards,” Lee said.She urged Member States to provide the independent mechanism with adequate resources and to ensure it is fully operational as soon as possible.last_img read more

3 Sep

Florida shooting suspect twice hospitalized for mental illness

first_imgJacksonville police officers guard an area Monday, 27 August 2018, near the scene of a fatal shooting at The Jacksonville Landing on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. Photo: APThe suspect in a deadly shooting at a Florida video game tournament had previously been hospitalized for mental illness, according to court records in his home state of Maryland reviewed by The Associated Press.Divorce filings from the parents of 24-year-old David Katz of Baltimore say that as an adolescent he was twice hospitalized in psychiatric facilities and was prescribed antipsychotic and antidepressant medications.The records show Katz’s parents disagreed on how to care for their troubled son, with his father claiming his estranged wife was exaggerating symptoms of mental illness as part of their long and bitter custody battle. The couple divorced in 2007.Katz opened fire Sunday at a gaming bar inside a collection of restaurants and shops in Jacksonville. He killed two people and wounded 10 others before fatally shooting himself during the “Madden NFL 19″ tournament, authorities said.Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams has declined to comment on the gunman’s motive.The suspect’s father, Richard Katz of Baltimore, and his mother, Elizabeth Katz of Columbia, Maryland, did not respond to phone messages Sunday or Monday. Efforts by the AP to reach them at their homes were also unsuccessful.The Howard County, Maryland, divorce filings say that David Katz played video games obsessively as a young adolescent, often refusing to go to school or to bathe. Elizabeth Katz, a toxicologist at the Department of Agriculture, said she confiscated some of her son’s gaming equipment after finding him playing in the wee hours.”His hair would very often go unwashed for days. When I took his gaming equipment controllers away so he couldn’t play at 3 or 4 in the morning, I’d get up and find that he was just walking around the house in circles,” the mother said, according to a transcript in the court files.At one point, she put his gaming controllers in her bedroom behind a locked door and he punched a hole in the door, she said.Elizabeth Katz said her youngest son had increasing difficulty concentrating following his parents’ split. A judge awarded custody of the boy to his mother, with visitation rights to the father.At times David “curled up into a ball,” refused to attend school and sobbed, she said. She asserted that her ex-husband instructed David not to take Risperidal – an anti-psychotic medication prescribed to him. The father claimed in court filings that David was not “diagnosed as psychotic.”He missed large stretches of school while under his mother’s supervision. He was admitted to the nearby Sheppard Pratt mental health system for about 12 days in late 2007. Court documents say a psychiatrist at that time administered antidepressants. He later spent about 13 days at Potomac Ridge, a mental health services facility in Rockville.Richard Katz, a NASA engineer, said his ex-wife had “an obsession with using mental health professionals and in particular psychiatric drugs to perform the work that parents should naturally do.” He said she routinely gave false information to mental health care providers. He described one incident in which his son was handcuffed by police after locking himself in his mother’s car in an attempt to avoid going to a mental health appointment with her.Federal law requires gun buyers to disclose whether they have ever been involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Maryland state law also prohibits the sale or transfer of a gun to someone who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder or who has a history of violent behavior.In recent weeks, Katz legally purchased the two handguns he carried from a gun store in Baltimore, the sheriff said.The sheriff, who said Katz did not fire both weapons, did not say whether Katz disclosed his past hospitalizations on the form for the required federal background check.By the time Katz was 15, the divorce records show, the father asserted that Elizabeth Katz “routinely” called the police for “trivial matters.” In a transcript of a 2010 phone call, the mother phoned a 911 dispatcher, accusing David of “abusing” her by coming home late after a visitation with his father. She then insisted he was “assaulting” her by trying to gain control of the cable cord to the television. She complained to the dispatcher that he was rolling his eyes and laughing.”You’ll roll your eyes. Fine. You’ll pay. Where are you going to be tomorrow?” she said in the transcript, addressing her son. The dispatcher encouraged her not to say anything further until a police officer arrived. He was eventually sent to a wilderness therapy program in Utah called RedCliff Ascent for nearly 100 days.According to the father’s version of events, the relationship between mother and son got increasingly worse.Elizabeth Katz put David’s clothes in suitcases on at least two occasions and asked him to leave, including once on Mother’s Day in 2007. In court filings, the father asserted that David “routinely expresses his anger” toward her. He claimed that when David was staying with him, the boy showed no signs of behavioral problems and was “generally lively, communicative” and “playful.”In a 2010 letter, David Katz wrote a letter to a magistrate judge saying he wanted to live with his father and describing his mother as “pretty crazy.” He said she called the police to the family’s home about 20 times and “gets drunk.” He blamed her for his poor grades.Despite the problems, Katz graduated from Hammond High School in Columbia in 2011. He went on to attend the University of Maryland, though he did not earn a degree.Katz used the gamer tags “Bread” or “Sliced Bread” when competing. The game’s maker, EA Sports, lists a David Katz as a 2017 championship winner.On the Madden competition circuit, Katz was known to barely speak to fellow gamers and sometimes exhibited an erratic playing style, according to other competitors.”We’ve always known he was a little off and stuff just because he wasn’t social at all,” Shay Kivlen, 21, of Seattle, said Monday in an interview.last_img read more

31 Aug

Whatever Happened To The 101YearOld Cham

first_imgWhatever Happened To … The 101-Year-Old Champion Runner… by NPR News Chhavi Sachdev 8.28.19 12:10pm Man Kaur started running in 2009, when she was in her 90s — it was her son’s idea — and began racking up medals. We first wrote about her when she was 101. Is she still a track and field star?At 103, Man Kaur is not only going strong, she’s getting others to follow in her footsteps.India’s oldest female athlete is spending her summer coaching 30 young athletes.Kaur and her 81-year-old son and trainer, Gurdev Singh, were invited for two weeks to several universities in Baru Sahib in the mountains of India, but their methods made such an improvement in the students’ performance, they were asked to stay through September.Kaur famously follows a strict diet regimen designed by Singh including homemade soy milk and kefir, wheatgrass juice, nuts, lentils and chapatis made from sprouted wheat. That’s the kind of nutritional advice they’re sharing with the students.This invitation came on the heels of Kaur’s participation in the World Masters Athletics Championships in Poland earlier this year, where she won gold in all four events she competed in: shot put, javelin, 60-meter dash and 200-meter run.Though she was the only competitor in her age category for all four events, for the 60-meter dash, she had company from other categories: two sprightly 85-year-olds and three 90-year-olds. Though they weren’t competing for the prize in her age bracket, they ran alongside her (and eventually ahead of her).At last year’s World Masters event, the diminutive great-grandmother, who is just under 5 feet tall, clinched the gold in the javelin throw as well as the 200-meter race.In 2017, while participating in World Masters Games held at Auckland, she finished the 100-meter run in 74 seconds. “But in Poland she improved her speed and finished the 60-meter dash in 36 seconds and felt great. She thanked the Almighty who gave her enough courage to do this,” says Singh, who acts as an interpreter for his mother, who mostly speaks Punjabi.Ten years after she first started running, Kaur still loves it, according to her son. She isn’t thinking of retiring and Singh says she still thinks she can improve her performance.”She enjoys the company of her admirers,” her son adds. “Every time she participates, she feels proud that people around the world feel inspired.”The year has not been all fun and games, though. Kaur was in the hospital with gallstones this August and her osteoporosis has been causing her back pain, says her son. Still, she loves winning and is happiest on the track, where she says she forgets all her ailments.Next stop: Malaysia, where both mother and son will compete in their age brackets at the Asian Masters Athletics Championships in December.Editor’s note: Now you may be thinking … is Man Kaur really 103? She doesn’t have proof of her age but her oldest child does. When her firstborn’s birth certificate was issued 83 years ago, Kaur was 20, so you do the math. Chhavi Sachdev is a journalist based in Mumbai. Contact her @chhavi.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more

31 Aug

Provisional arrest of 3 Swiss officials sought

first_imgCBI on Wednesday told a Delhi court that the Indian Embassy at Berne has requested authorities there for provisional arrest of three officials of Switzerland-based Swiss Timing Limited, against whom summons were issued for their alleged roles in a 2010 CWG-related corruption case.The agency told the court that it had recently written a letter to MHA to apprise it about the progress of its request seeking provisional arrest of the three foreign nationals and the ministry’s reply was still awaited. The court had earlier issued summons to Swiss Timing’s GM Christophe Berthaud, Sales and Marketing Manager S Chianese and Multi Sports Events and Sales Manager J Spiri for their alleged involvement in the graft case.last_img read more

30 Aug

This Is What the Internet Will Look Like in 2025

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 4 min read Tomorrow, the World Wide Web turns 25. To mark the occasion, the Pew Research Center asked a range of entrepreneurs, researchers, writers and developers, among others, for their predictions about what the it will look like in 10 years.Their responses, unsurprisingly, run the gamut from hopeful and excited to darkly pessimistic. Depending on the person, the web will make the world a fairer, more connected and knowledgeable place or transform it into a fragmented cesspool of greed where terrorism is a daily reality.However, most experts do agree that as it ages, the World Wide Web will become more pervasive as well as seamlessly accessible. Emerging technologies, including wearable and embedded computing, will enable us to easily connect (or perhaps never disconnect) from a cloud of sophisticated, intelligent and cheap (maybe even free) processing power.Here are a range of predictions for what the web will look like at 35.Related: ‘Future of Now’: The Convergence of Social Media, Crowdfunding and TechMore integrated. “The Internet will shift from the place we find cat videos to a background capability that will be a seamless part of how we live our everyday lives. We won’t think about ‘going online’ or ‘looking on the Internet’ for something — we’ll just be online, and just look.” — Joe Touch, director at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences InstituteCheaper and more insightful. “When the cost of collecting information on virtually every interaction falls to zero, the insights that we gain from our activity, in the context of the activity of others, will fundamentally change the way we relate to one another, to institutions, and with the future itself. We will become far more knowledgeable about the consequences of our actions; we will edit our behavior more quickly and intelligently.” — Patrick Tucker, author of The Naked Future: What Happens In a World That Anticipates Your Every Move?“We will grow accustomed to seeing the world through multiple data layers. This will change a lot of social practices, such as dating, job interviewing and professional networking, and gaming, as well as policing and espionage.” — Daren C. Brabham, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern CaliforniaA more detailed recorder of daily life.“We’ll have a picture of how someone has spent their time, the depth of their commitment to their hobbies, causes, friends, and family. This will change how we think about people, how we establish trust, how we negotiate change, failure, and success.” — Judith Donath, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and SocietyRelated: The Internet of Things: New Threats Emerge in a Connected WorldFragmented. “The Internet will generate several new related networks. Some will require verified identification to access, while others will promise increased privacy.” — Sean Mead, senior director of strategy and analytics for Interbrand“The Internet will fragment. Global connectivity will continue to exist, but through a series of separate channels controlled by a series of separate protocols. Our use of separate channels for separate applications will be necessitated by security problems, cyber policy of nations and corporations, and our continued attempts to find better ways to do things.” — Ian Peter, pioneer Internet activist and Internet rights advocateDark and hierarchical. “Everything — every thing — will be available online with price tags attached. Cyber-terrorism will become commonplace. Privacy and confidentiality of any and all personal will become a thing of the past. Online ‘diseases’ — mental, physical, social, addictions (psycho-cyber drugs) — will affect families and communities and spread willy-nilly across borders. The digital divide will grow and worsen beyond the control of nations or global organizations such as the UN. This will increasingly polarize the planet between haves and have-nots. Global companies will exploit this polarization. Digital criminal networks will become realities of the new frontiers. Terrorism, both by organizations and individuals, will be daily realities. The world will become less and less safe, and only personal skills and insights will protect individuals.” — Llewellyn Kriel, CEO and editor in chief of TopEditor International Media Services“Yes, the information we want will increasingly find its way to us, as networks learn to accurately predict our interests and weaknesses. But that will also tempt us to stop seeking out knowledge, narrowing our horizons, even as we delve evermore deep. The privacy premium may also be a factor: only the relatively well-off (and well-educated) will know how to preserve their privacy in 2025.” — An anonymous respondentRelated: Passwords You Swallow, Sharks That Tweet and 90-MPH Cheeseburgers Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global March 11, 2014 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now »last_img read more

26 Aug

Microsofts new neural texttospeech service lets machines speak like people

first_imgMicrosoft has come out with a production system that performs text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis using deep neural networks. This new production system makes it hard for you to distinguish the voice of computers from human voice recordings. The Neural text-to-speech synthesis has significantly reduced the ‘listening fatigue’ when talking about interaction with AI systems. It enables the system with human-like, natural sounding voice, that makes the interaction with chatbots and virtual assistants more engaging. This neural-network powered text-to-speech system was demonstrated by the Microsoft team at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, this week. Additionally, Neural text-to-speech converts digital texts such as e-books into audiobooks. It also enhances in-car navigation systems. Deep Neural networks are great at overcoming the limits of traditional text-to-speech systems. Neural networks are very accurate in matching the patterns of stress and intonation in spoken language, called prosody. They’re also quite effective in synthesizing the units of speech into a computer voice. Neural TTS Traditional text-to-speech systems generally break down the prosody into separate linguistic analysis and acoustic prediction steps that get governed by independent models. This usually results in muffled, buzzy voice synthesis. Whereas, neural networks perform prosody prediction and voice synthesis simultaneously. This results in a more fluid and natural-sounding voice. Microsoft makes use of the computational power of Azure to offer real-time streaming. This makes it useful for situations such as interacting with a chatbot or virtual assistant. This TTS capability is served in the Azure Kubernetes Service to ensure high scalability and availability. Only the preview of the text-to-speech service is available currently. The preview comes with two pre-built neural text-to-speech voices in English – Jessa, and Guy.  Microsoft will be making more languages available soon. It will also be offering customization services in 49 languages for customers wanting to build branded voices optimized for their specific needs. For more information, check out the official Microsoft Blog post. Read Next Microsoft acquires AI startup Lobe, a no code visual interface tool to build deep learning models easily DoWhy: Microsoft’s new python library for causal inference Say hello to FASTER: a new key-value store for large state management by Microsoftlast_img read more