How Blockchain Can Put an End to Conflict Minerals

first_imgTrends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Tags:#Africa#Blockchain Tatsiana Levdikova Blockchain – Impending Revolution in Glob… Related Posts What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… Tatsiana Levdikova is a Content Marketer at OpenLedger ApS, a blockchain development company. She is passionate about blockchain, IoT, health IT, natural language processing, web and software design and development, and more. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of where their products are coming from. Ethically sourced materials have become a selling point for companies around the world. More and more companies are working on ditching conflict minerals and ensuring that their products are not associated with human rights abuses. Blockchain can put an end to conflict minerals globally.Note that conflict minerals remain a big problem today. Take the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for example. It is the second largest country in Africa, a land full of natural resources such as gold, diamonds, and oil. More than 64% of the Congolese population is extremely poor — living on less than $2.00 a day.Conflict Minerals in CongoThe country has been torn apart by political conflicts and corruption. In this war-torn nation, only in 2017 and 2018 alone, more than two million people have been displaced. More than five million people died in the region between 1998 and 2007. That is more than half a million people per year.What is worse is that armed groups present in the country exploit Congo’s natural resources to fund these conflicts. In 2008, they were able to raise over $180 million from mining there. Many of the mines in Congo function through the use of intimidation, slavery, and child labor.These children are forced to work in extreme conditions at all points of the supply chain, from mineral excavation and processing up until trading and transportation. Rather than going to school or playing with their friends, these children are being forced to spend days sorting through dirt to find precious minerals. The mines are their playground, and the soil is their toy.However, unlike conventional playgrounds, these are anything but safe. Mines are hazardous and are no place for a child. Children in mines are often injured or killed from mining accidents. Death and suffering from poisoning due to overexposure to mercury — which is used to process gold — is common.Watch an episode of the 2008 series of “House,” and watch an actor try to portray what metal poisoning feels like. Now picture these small children exposed to this torture. Both adults and children develop respiratory diseases from exposure to dust and other harmful substances present in mines.Illegal mines damage wildlife by destroying habitats in surrounding areas killing birds, animals, and other creatures living there. Hunting pressure and commercial bushmeat trafficking also have devastating effects on wildlife.Steps to Decrease Forced Labor and Human Right AbusesNations throughout the globe are finally beginning to realize that something needs to be done. Many of the materials these illegal mines produce are present in objects we use on a daily basis.The four most commonly mined conflict minerals are gold, coltan, wolframite which is used for tungsten, and cassiterite, which is used for tin. These items are found throughout items many of us use on a daily basis — including TVs, cellphones, cars, computers and many other electronics.Additionally, these minerals are also found on airplanes and larger devices that primarily function with the use of electronics. Considering many of these items are developed within the U.S., in 2010 a new set of regulations was introduced to help aid in the reduction of forced labor, human rights abuses, and wildlife losses.The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 and Other RegulationsSection 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires that businesses operating in the United States ensure that the resources they are using in their products are not being sourced from conflict mines. Again, this is in the mining for gold, coltan, wolframite which is used for tungsten, and cassiterite which is used for tin.The Dodd-Frank Act was made in 2010 in an era of responsibility — when all people are calling on global initiatives for protection for those who don’t have a voice. It calls on companies that require these resources to perform due diligence when sourcing materials.The 2010 act and other regulations require that businesses keep a better eye on their supply chains, which ultimately means increased transparency and gaining the ability to tell where their company materials come from. This legislation also requires visibility about the types of labor practices being conducted in those regions.Similar regulations are now being established within the EU as well. The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation will come into effect in January 2021. Like the Dodd-Frank Act, it requires businesses operating in the EU to do their due diligence when sourcing materials for their products.Companies will then have to provide a Conflict Minerals Report, which would need to be audited by an independent audit company, whose costs typically start from $25,000 per report for a small company, and from $100,000 for a larger one.All of this means a lot of expenses that small, medium-sized, and large businesses will have to account for down the road. It’s estimated these new regulations would affect between 600 to 1,000 EU businesses.A 2016 study by Amnesty International found that companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung possibly used cobalt in their products that had been collected from mines using child laborers. That means many of the iPhones being used daily and the Microsoft computers we are using — currently, operate on child labor.So although the Dodd-Frank Act went into law in 2010, the issues remain and are spreading on a massive scale. The advent of millennials becoming a more substantial purchasing power will help all of us. The millennial has their eyes cast upon saving the planet — and gaining civil rights for all persons globally. Companies will be forced to show accountability at some point.The Effects of New RegulationThe Dodd-Frank Act and the EU mineral regulations have brought up intense auditing systems that require companies to spend significant amounts of money to ensure their products are being developed ethically. Despite how expensive these audits are, they’re not genuinely effective — but they will be.Modern auditing is mainly performed through random sampling, meaning verification is only conducted from random information. This means a business might be able to luck out (as they suppose) for a while — but not forever.Blockchain can track everything, making random sampling audits using a method that can look into the past. These companies will do better in these coming future audits — if they will fix their lapses of judgment (and mining), now.How Blockchain Functions in AuditingBlockchain technology has the potential to ensure compliance, reduce audit costs, and protect human rights, eliminating forced and child labor in mineral mining. Although this technology is mainly used to increase supply chain efficiency, it can be adapted to make sourcing more ethical as well.With all points in a supply chain linked to the blockchain, all aspects of mines can be uploaded to the chain, such as details about the workforce, production, quality of minerals, the prevalence of minerals, and many others. With blockchain, every aspect of mineral products can be logged and looked back at when necessary.Blockchain requires a majority vote for previous information, or “blocks,” to be altered, which ultimately ensures there would be no chance of foul play. Each member of the chain will have the ability to see what has been added, and exactly when it is added.Does Blockchain Mean the End of Auditing?Auditing institutions can learn to adopt the technology to provide a more efficient and effective auditing service. Currently, auditing relies on methods that sometimes offer illegitimate results, and an audit conducted through random sampling can hardly be considered an audit at all, but more a “game of chances.”However, auditing companies could develop their own blockchain services. Plus, with blockchain auditors could provide more consistent testing. Not only auditors, but corporations themselves could be positive that they are not utilizing illegal or child labor practices.Current Blockchain Use Cases in Eliminating Conflict MineralsEliminating conflict materials has never been an easy task. Even with global companies performing their due diligence, there’s often no way for them to know or find out if conflict minerals got their way into the supply chain due to the number of intermediaries the mining industry traditionally has.Until recently, the $600 billion mineral industry did not have any real means actually to track itself. It all started changing just recently, with the help of blockchain.German company Minespider has introduced a blockchain-based solution that tracks the entire mineral cycle, from mining to shipment and payment. Their system works in three stages: certification, transfer, and report.During the first certification stage, Minespider gets certifications of mineral sources from their partner company, BetterChain. The confirmed, certified mines then receive electronic certification tokens, which are based on their production tonnage. These certifications are subject to annual audit and review.During the transfer stage, the purchaser gets a number of tokens equivalent to the ordered tonnage, transferred to their account via blockchain. In the third and final reporting stage, the report is generated, showing the percentage of documented material that moves through the supply chain. This makes the whole process as transparent and straightforward as possible, allowing mineral mining companies to ensure compliance and save on auditing costs as well instantly.Making Society Safer with BlockchainWhy do conflict minerals continue to exist? Why do workers continue to be injured or killed in mines? The answer is simple: our supply chains lack the necessary amount of transparency. Blockchain technology can sustain more transparent supply chains.Its ability to act as an immutable digital ledger is improving industries across the globe. It is making the medical industry more effective, decreasing shipping times with better and swifter communication, changing the way we bank, and increasing trust and accountability throughout business transactions.By using blockchain to increase transparency in the supply chain, we are taking the first step to ridding the world of conflict minerals altogether. Why is Bitcoin Soaring?last_img read more

Read More

What I Would Tell My Younger Self

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now My Teenage SelfYou know you really are an asshole sometimes. Your Mom is raising four kids by herself and you can really be a selfish, little bastard. Start helping her, damn it.Remember to thank the good people at the restaurant later on in life. They gave you a job and fed you. Working fulltime at the age of thirteen is going to do more to help you succeed than almost anything else. Yes, even just washing dishes is going to form your character.Identify and get close to people with a way bigger vision of themselves than anything you are comfortable with. Your vision is way too small. Stunted, really.Later on, you are going to love a really nice suit and a really great tie. No. Really. Stop laughing.Don’t listen to people who tell you street smarts trump book smarts. Don’t listen to people who tell you book smarts trump street smarts. These things aren’t mutually exclusive, and combined they are more powerful than either alone. Go to school.My Early 20’s SelfGet out of bed before the sun comes up and get busy. The fastest way to win is to hustle. Don’t hang out at night partying with your friends. Do the work that matters instead.Talent by itself isn’t enough. Confidence and marketing provide a surer, straighter path to success. Double down on the marketing and promotion.Did you ever do anything about that whole “school” thing we talked about?You are a leader when you decide to be, not when someone gives you permission. Just start leading.Uh, dude, you might want to get those headaches checked out at some point. It could be something serious. Just sayin.My Late 20’s SelfLife isn’t a race. Take your time. You can accomplish a lot AND enjoy the experience at the same time. You don’t get go back over this ground again.Write down everything, every story. You are going to wish you could recall all the places, the faces, the names, and the lessons later on.Damn, boy! That wife is yours is something special! Don’t botch it up!My 30’s SelfLook, people have been having babies for a three and half million years. You aren’t going to screw it up worse than anyone else has . . . I hope.Twins. Really? Well now isn’t that going to be interesting?Your work and your job aren’t the same thing. Don’t confuse them. Spend more time doing your work than doing your job. You don’t know what I am saying? Well, think about it until you figure it out.Don’t be so damn judgmental. Everybody is dealing with their own pain, their own fears, and their own life. Who made you their judge?You can’t pay people to not have to lead them or manage them. It doesn’t work that way.My Early 40’s SelfGet started. Don’t wait for permission. Share what you know with people who need it.More margin! More margin!You only have these little people in your house for a few more years. Love them and prepare them to be healthy, happy grown ups. Make your mark, man!Your TurnWhat would you tell your younger self?last_img read more

Read More

5 PH footballers begin camp, nurse dreams of trip to Munich

first_imgView comments The five were chosen after the National Youth Futsal Cup organized by Allianz PNB Life, PFF and Henry V. Moran Foundation last May.The four-day AJFC, now on its ninth edition but with the Philippines in the lineup just this year, is being held at Finns Recreation Club under the supervision of FC Bayern coaches led by Klaus Augenthaler and retired striker and AJFC ambassador Giovane Elber.“Have fun and enjoy,” Sollorin remembered the coaches telling them.Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore also sent their players aged 14 to 16. The final cast will fly to Munich on Aug. 17 to 22 to meet the FC Bayern players, train under the coaches of the German club and watch the Bundesliga 2017-2018 opening match at Allianz Arena.One participant will also get the Good Sportsmanship award which is equivalent to a one-week scholarship later this year at Aspire Academy, an internationally-renowned sports institution in Doha, Qatar.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo “They get shy around the other kids,” said Landagan. “At the same time, they’re still very playful.”“I told them to interact with the other kids and assert themselves on the field,” he added.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsKonrad Keim Sollorin of Ateneo de Iloilo, Aeron Tenollar of Baguio City, JM Mitra of De La Salle Zobel and Gawad Kalinga Football Program’s Jasper Beruan and Jeofrey Fresado arrived here Monday and began camp the following day.They were accompanied by Allianz PNB Life brand director Rei Abrazaldo. Mitra’s parents and Sollorin’s father are also here. Former FC Bayern Munich striker Giovane Elber (fourth from left) joins PH’s Konrad Keim Sollorin, JM Mitra, Jasper Beruan. Aeron Tenollar and Jeofrey Fresado at theAllianz Junior Football Camp at Finns Recreation Club in Bali, Indonesia.BALI, INDONESIA—More than skills training and the much-coveted trip to the FC Bayern junior camp in Munich, Germany, camp directors want the 49 teenage players participating in a football clinic here to learn teamwork and improve on their character.Coach Jess Landagan of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) said the five Filipino players, all aged 14, at the ongoing Allianz Junior Football Camp (AJFC) have yet to overcome their timidness and develop concentration.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’center_img Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Battle on top: SMB, Star collidelast_img read more

Read More

Study Brain cells involved in memory play key role in reducing future

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 18 2019Brain cells involved in memory play an important role after a meal in reducing future eating behavior, a finding that could be key in understanding and fighting obesity, according to a study led by Georgia State University.The study suggests neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region that is vital for personal memories, inhibit future eating behavior by consolidating the memory of the preceding meal. The findings are published in the journal eNeuro.Two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and overeating is a major cause of this epidemic.”Memories of recently eaten foods can serve as a powerful mechanism for controlling eating behavior because they provide you with a record of your recent intake that likely outlasts most of the hormonal and brain signals generated by your meal,” said Dr. Marise Parent, associate director of the Neuroscience Institute and professor of neuroscience and psychology at Georgia State. “But surprisingly, the brain regions that allow memory to control future eating behavior are largely unknown.”Related StoriesMercy Medical Center adds O-arm imaging system to improve spinal surgery resultsStudy provides new insight into longitudinal decline in brain network integrity associated with agingRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaHippocampal cells receive signals about hunger status and are connected to other brain areas that are important for starting and stopping eating. The researchers set out to determine if disrupting hippocampal function after a meal is eaten, when the memory of the meal is being stabilized, could promote eating later when these cells are functioning normally.They tested this prediction using an advanced method called optogenetics that uses light to control individual cells. Using this technique to inhibit hippocampal cells after rats ate a meal caused the animals to eat their next meal sooner and caused them to eat almost twice as much food during that next meal, even though the cells were no longer inhibited while the animals ate their next meal. This effect was observed regardless of whether the rats were offered rodent chow, a sugar solution or water sweetened with saccharin.The researchers found it interesting that rats would eat more saccharin after they interfered with their hippocampal function because this noncaloric sweetener produces very few gastrointestinal chemical signals generated by food. They concluded the effect they saw was most likely explained by an effect on memory consolidation, rather than by an impaired ability to process gastrointestinal messages.The findings have significant implications for understanding the causes of obesity and the ways to treat it. This research supports the idea that techniques that promote hippocampal-dependent memories of what, when and how much one eats could prove to be promising strategies for reducing eating and promoting weight loss. Source:https://news.gsu.edu/2019/01/17/researchers-identify-brain-cells-likely-involved-in-memories-of-eating-that-influence-next-meal/?utm_source=press-release&utm_medium=media&utm_campaign=eatinglast_img read more

Read More

Diabetes drug can halve the risk of late miscarriage preterm births for

first_imgIn pregnant women with PCOS, treatment with metformin from the end of the first trimester may reduce the risk of late miscarriages and preterm births.”  Professor Eszter Vanky Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 24 2019Metformin can halve the risk of late miscarriage and preterm births for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).PCOS occurs in 10 to 15 per cent of all women. The symptoms are irregular menstrual periods, increased levels of male sex hormones and small ovarian blisters. In addition, many women with PCOS are overweight. Women with PCOS also have an increased incidence of impaired fertility, miscarriages, gestational diabetes, premature births and pre-eclampsia. Professor Vanky leads the research group “Women’s Health – PCOS” at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)’s Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine. An article in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal presents the results of nearly two decades of research from NTNU and St. Olavs hospital. Consultant Tone S. Løvvik is the first author, and the study is part of her doctoral work. Professor Sven M. Carlsen is co-supervisor.Related StoriesAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyObese patients with Type 1 diabetes could safely receive robotic pancreas transplant’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesHowever, the research group surprisingly found no reduction of gestational diabetes among this cohort of women with PCOS.Examined 800 womenFrom 2000 to 2017, the research group carried out three controlled studies of nearly 800 pregnant women with PCOS. The studies were conducted at 15 hospitals in Norway, 4 hospitals in Sweden and one in Iceland. Half of the women were given metformin (2000 milligrams daily) from first trimester to delivery. The rest of the women were given a placebo.In addition to a lower risk of late miscarriage and preterm births, the researchers also found that the women who received metformin gained less weight during pregnancy.A higher level of male sex hormones is associated with several of the symptoms of PCOS. The causes of the condition are not known, but may be related to lifestyle, inheritance and intrauterine fetal life.The group found no effect on pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or to what extent newborns of women with PCOS needed intensive care.No effect on diabetes”Perhaps the most remarkable finding was that metformin had no effect whatsoever on either the incidence or severity of gestational diabetes,” Vanky notes.Metformin is a well-known drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and in some countries regarded as equivalent to insulin as a first-line drug therapy for gestational diabetes.The three studies that form the basis of the conclusion were carried out according to Good Clinical Practice principles and will have an impact on the follow-up and treatment of pregnant women with PCOS and likely also of other pregnant women.Another part of the study followed up children of mothers with PCOS who used metformin, and a control group that was given a placebo. Source:The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)Journal reference:Løvvik, T.S. et al. (2019) Use of metformin to treat pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PregMet2): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(19)30002-6.last_img read more

Read More

Detecting and blocking cyberbullying

first_img Provided by Inderscience Bullying is as old as humanity, but in today’s world of ubiquitous and always-connected devices, there is a whole realm of bullying that can take place out of sight but be just as devastating to its victims – cyberbullying. Detecting and so having the opportunity to prevent cyberbullying in open online forums and social networking sites, for instance, requires technology that can automatically detect trollish and thuggish behaviour. Once detected, the problems that victims face might be addressed but more importantly, the cyberbullies might be shut down or otherwise punished. Writing in the International Journal of Autonomic Computing, a team from India reveals their algorithm which detects and weighs the words in forums and calculates whether or not particular clusters of words are associated with cyberbullying behaviour.The team explains the problem and why it matters so much: “Cyberbullying has emerged as a major problem along with the recent development of online communication and social media. Cyberbullying has also been extensively recognised as a serious national health problem, in which victims demonstrate a significantly high risk of suicidal ideation,” they write. They add that “This proposed framework shows better results while the action is to stop the online users becoming the victims of cyberbully.” Citation: Detecting and blocking cyberbullying (2019, February 5) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-blocking-cyberbullying.html Two-thirds of young people victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying, study suggests More information: J.I. Sheeba et al. Improved cyberbully detection techniques using multiple correlation coefficient from forum corpus, International Journal of Autonomic Computing (2019). DOI: 10.1504/IJAC.2018.097620 Credit: CC0 Public Domain 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

Read More

Suedzucker CEO still sees no turnaround in tough market

first_imgFILE PHOTO: A company logo of Suedzucker Group is pictured at the headquarters in Mannheim, Germany March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph OrlowskiHAMBURG (Reuters) – The CEO of Suedzucker (SZUG.DE), Europe’s largest sugar refiner, said on Thursday that trading conditions remained intensely difficult with low sugar prices and no turnaround likely for the company’s current financial year. “Our group forecast for the current financial year still shows no visible turnaround,” CEO Wolfgang Heer told the annual meeting of Suedzucker shareholders. He added: “Sugar prices remain at a low level which does not cover costs.” He said in an advance release of his speech that the company’s restructuring plan in its sugar sector, which includes closures of sugar factories in Germany, France and Poland, is on schedule. But the first financial benefits will be seen in the second half of the company’s 2020/21 financial year. Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Michelle MartinOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more

Read More