How to Exercise for Brain Health

A man in blue sneakers about to lift a weight.

You have many good reasons to become more physically active: Doing so can boost mood, help maintain a healthy weight, and keep muscles strong. Now a growing body of evidence suggests that workouts may have brain benefits as well.

Much of the research on brain health and exercise is focused on aerobics. Yet a recent analysis from the University of Canberra in Australia found that certain nonaerobic activities can also help improve brain function in people over 50.

“Even when people did have some level of decline already, they were actually able to improve their cognitive function,” says the study’s author, Joseph Northey, a Ph.D. candidate in sport and exercise science.

We reviewed the most recent research to find tips on optimizing your exercise routine to help improve your brain health and keep your mind sharp.

Take a Brisk Walk

If you don’t exercise now, it’s easy to start. Just walk out your door and keep going.

It’s fine to start small. Build up from 10 minutes walking a day until you get to at least 30, says Elissa Burton, Ph.D., a research fellow in the school of physiotherapy and exercise science at Curtin University in Australia.

And if you can, pick up your pace. Getting your heart rate up will maximize the benefits to your brain, according to Helen Macpherson, Ph.D., a dementia research fellow at Deakin University in Australia. That means you should be exercising at an intensity where you start to find it difficult to have a conversation.

Do More Than the Minimum

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get 150 minutes of this sort of moderately intense aerobic exercise each week, which is five 30-minute workouts. But the biggest boost in brain health in the Canberra study was linked to exercise sessions of 45 to 60 minutes.

So try consolidating some workouts into a longer session. Or gradually work up to 45 to 60 minutes, five days per week.

Try Tai Chi

This Chinese martial art, which consists of slow, rhythmic movements, was one of several types of exercise tied to improved cognitive functioning in the recent Canberra study.

Plus it’s low-impact, which can be good for people who haven’t been active in awhile, Northey says. It’s also easy on your joints.

To learn the proper technique, it’s best to seek out a local class, Northey says. You can find instructors near you who are certified by the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association.

Resistance Training Can Help, Too

Resistance training, exercise that causes muscles to contract, is meant to strengthen, but it may also help protect against cognitive decline. And you don’t need weights or other equipment, Northey says. The CDC recommends resistance training at least twice per week. Here are three tips to get you started:

Stand up, sit down, repeat. As long as you’re steady on your feet, try standing up from a chair without using your hands. Do this in sets of five or more anytime you find yourself sitting around the house.

Make daily tasks harder. Choose stairs over elevators and escalators. You’ll get an aerobic workout and build muscle at the same time.

Join a class. Northey’s study found that group programs incorporating resistance and aerobic training were beneficial for the brain. Check out the offerings at your local YMCA or senior center, and remember to talk with your doctor before you start any new exercise program.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the September 2017 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.

[“Source-consumerreports”]

EXERCISE CAN BE PUNISHING – BUT HERE’S HOW TO STOP THINKING OF IT AS A PUNISHMENT

Image result for EXERCISE CAN BE PUNISHING – BUT HERE’S HOW TO STOP THINKING OF IT AS A PUNISHMENTThe fitness industry is said to be worth £4.4bn in the UK alone. But, despite medical research telling us that exercise will help us live longer, the majority of people do not engage with health and fitness. Could it be that exercise is still considered a punishment – as it was in Victorian prisons?

Or do we just need to increase the fun and social aspect to exercise to get more of us working up a sweat?

Medical research suggests exercise is good for our health and will help us all live longer. But a report by the British Heart Foundation says that 20 million people living in the UK are physically inactive.

To be considered active, the Department of Health recommends adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. So it begs the question: why do close to a third of the country’s population struggle to meet this recommended amount of exercise, when doing so could prolong their life?

A reason why inactive people may not engage in enough exercise is because it is not perceived to be a fulfilling or satisfying leisure pursuit. Other competing pastimes of a more sedentary nature, such as watching TV, reading and gaming, are seen by some as being more enjoyable.

Exercise as punishment

The treadmill was devised as a form of punishment for convicted criminals in the Victorian era. At this time, prisoners had to undertake long hours of hard labour by walking on treadmills to grind flour. This form of punishment was abolished in the late 19th century for being too cruel.

Exercise also has a long history of being used as a form of correctional behaviour in schools. Indeed in 2014 the then-Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, proposed to ban exercise being used in schools as a form of punishment for fear that it would put children off being active.

Given that exercise has a lengthy historical association with the use of discipline for the purpose of punishment and obedience, can 21st century society ever be truly accepting of exercise as a leisure pursuit that can have personal fulfilment?

At present, the high volume of inactivity levels in the UK suggests a large amount of people are not motivated to take exercise. Getting people to be more active, therefore, would require a shift in people exercising because they want to rather than having to.

Making it social

My research explores the role of social psychology for the development of interventions that make physical activity a fulfilling pursuit for long-term condition sufferers. This is because social psychological science has consistently demonstrated that people are motivated to seek social connections in order to fulfil their psychological needs as human beings. For example, “the belongingness hypothesis” states that people have a basic need to feel closely connected to others.

So it is important people have positive social exercise experiences that enrich their quality of life and, in doing so, make the pursuit of exercise a more satisfying and worthwhile activity. This can be achieved by creating exercise environments that provide individuals with a shared sense of social connectedness, creating opportunities for people to form friendships, meaningful attachments and mutually supportive relationships.

For example, the EuroFit programme takes a unique approach for improving men’s health and fitness by allowing fans to train in the environment of a professional football club they support. City Ride events are another example, where families and friends of all ages and abilities can enjoy cycling together through the streets of a vibrant traffic-free environment. Similarly, walking sports offer a social atmosphere of fun, laughter and camaraderie for those who may have difficulty participating in high impact activities.

Connecting people in dynamic and socially rewarding exercise environments has the potential to offset the drudgery often associated with exercise and make it a leisure pursuit worth doing.

[“Source-independent”]

How does a high-fat diet raise colorectal cancer risk?

Image result for How does a high-fat diet raise colorectal cancer risk?A new study suggests a molecular explanation for the link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer.
While the evidence of a link between an unhealthful diet and colorectal cancer is robust, the underlying mechanisms for this association have been unclear. A new study, however, may have uncovered an explanation.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have identified a cellular signaling pathway, called JAK2-STAT3, that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon in response to a high-fat diet.

What is more, the researchers found that blocking the JAK2-STAT3 pathway in mice fed a high-fat diet halted the growth of these stem cells, a finding that might fuel the development of new drugs to treat colorectal cancer.

Study co-author Dr. Matthew Kalady, co-director of the Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Program at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

After skin cancer, colorectal cancer – a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum – is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.

The American Cancer Society estimate that there will be 95,520 new cases of colon cancerdiagnosed in the U.S. this year, as well as 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer.

In recent years, a wealth of studies have suggested that a high-fat diet is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. However, the precise mechanisms behind this association have been ambiguous.

With the hope of shedding light on such mechanisms, Dr. Kalady and colleagues investigated how a high-fat diet influences JAK2-STAT3, a cellular signaling pathway known to promote tumorgrowth.

Findings may fuel new treatments

To reach their findings, the researchers used microrarray analysis to assess primary and metastasized tumors in mouse models of colorectal cancer.

When the mice were fed a high-fat diet, the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon increased. Studies have indicated that cancer stem cells are a key driver in the growth and metastasis of tumors.

On further investigation, the team found that blocking the JAK2-STAT3 cellular signaling pathway in the rodents reversed the increase in cancer stem cell growth triggered by a high-fat diet.

When analyzing the effects of a high-fat diet in colorectal cancer mouse models that were obesity-resistant, the researchers were able to replicate their findings.

Dr. Kalady says that this study is the first to demonstrate how a specific molecular pathway might mediate the link between a high-fat diet and colorectal cancer, a discovery that could yield new treatments for the disease.

We can now build upon this knowledge to develop new treatments aimed at blocking this pathway and reducing the negative impact of a high-fat diet on colon cancer risk.”

Dr. Matthew Kalady

“These findings also provide a new way in which cancer stem cells are regulated and provide insight into how environmental influences, such as diet, can alter cancer stem cell populations in advanced cancers,” adds study co-author Justin D. Lathia, Ph.D., of the Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

[“Source-medicalnewstoday”]

How to keep skin looking young? We asked the experts

Image result for How to keep skin looking young? We asked the experts

The beauty market is awash with anti-aging products, and the lists of ingredients in serums and creams that promise to slow down or reverse that process can be confounding.

Take a look at the fine print and you might encounter Vitamin C or green tea extract or alpha-hydroxy acids. Can anything make a difference?

We checked in with a handful of experts, including Dr. Gregory Henderson, a dermatologist and clinical instructor in dermatology at UCLA, in our search for answers.

By the way, cosmetics companies test their products extensively. The Food and Drug Administration does not test products, but can take action against a manufacturer if it has concerns over product safety.

Charcoal

Activated charcoal, which can absorb some toxins, has been used to treat alcohol and drug poisoning in emergency rooms for decades. But in the last few years, the beauty industry has embraced it, touting its ability to absorb dirt and oil. Can it be effective?

“When used as part of a mask or strip,” Henderson says, “the charcoal may help remove sebum and keratinous debris from skin pores.”

Clay and mud

Mud is sometimes used in masks that are used to hydrate the skin and is acknowledged by many in the medical community for its potential to help with skin issues. “Mud therapy,” says Henderson, “is an ancient tradition and historically has been used for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.”

Clay is one of the most common ingredients found in beauty products, and experts tend to agree that it can serve a useful purpose, if used according to directions. Clay masks, designed to remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells, can be used as a delivery mechanism for ingredients — oils and emollients, for example — to ease dry skin.

Sodium hyaluronate

Sodium hyaluronate, which is used in all sorts of wrinkle and skin-repair products, is a “cousin of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the skin which helps hang on to water and helps give the skin a younger appearance,” says UCLA dermatologist Dr. Hayley Goldbach.

“Dermatologists often inject hyaluronic acid fillers into skin, resulting in more volume and a reduction in fine lines.” Sodium hyaluronate, designed to be applied to the skin, “has not been shown to have the same anti-aging or collagen-boosting properties as injectable hyaluronic acid.” But it continues to be included in various medical studies and papers that are focused on the efficacy of various anti-aging products.

Alpha hydroxy acids

According to Medscape, an online reference source used by medical professionals, AHAs (including glycolic and citric acids) “improve skin texture and reduce the signs of aging by promoting cell shedding” in the outer layers of the skin. But “the mechanism of the action is not completely understood.”

Caffeine

Caffeine is used in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals to counter a number of skin conditions, including the appearance of cellulite. It works, in theory, “by stimulating lipolysis — the breaking down of fat — in the skin and by improving the microcirculation,” Henderson says.

Caffeine is also found in some eye creams, promoted by cosmetic lines for its ability to shrink blood vessels under the eyes, although “its role has not been well studied.”

Green tea extract

In the last few years, there’s been a surge in the use of green tea extract in beauty products. WebMD reports that “the ingredients in tea can reduce sun damage and may protect you from skin cancer when you put it on your skin.” Henderson says that “a study combining green tree extract, caffeine and resveratrol showed reduced facial redness.”

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most popular ingredients in anti-aging products, promoted as something that can protect cells from free radicals, which can damage cell DNA, increase signs of aging and lead to cancer.

Some experts say the antioxidants found in vitamin C can assist the body’s production of collagen. But Henderson cautions: “While limited studies have shown that topical vitamin C may limit photoaging, many current preparations … are not formulated to allow the vitamin C to effectively penetrate the skin. Also unless protected from the air, most preparation became inactive without hours of opening.”

Peptides

Peptides, formed from amino acids, are “cellular messengers” of sorts and are commonly used in beauty products. According to Henderson, signal peptides may stimulate collagen production. Carrier peptides “may aid in the delivery of copper to the skin and promote smoother skin.” (Copper is said to help develop collagen and elastin.)

Algae

Many of us associate algae with unpleasant encounters in the water (seaweed, pond scum, etc.), but algae have been used in traditional diets and folk medicine for centuries.

In the beauty world, you might read about ingredients such as blue marine algae or brown algae extract. You won’t find universal agreement on their effectiveness in cosmeceuticals, but an article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggests brown seaweed “could be used as a potential cosmetic ingredient to make skin firmer and smoother.”

The bottom line?

Some of the ingredients listed in the fine print on cosmetics and cosmeceuticals may actually help your skin. But what the experts really hope you’ll indulge in are rest, exercise, a healthy diet and sunscreen.

[“Source-latimes”]

HOW TO GET RID OF DARK CIRCLES UNDER THE EYES

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What is the best way to banish under-eye bags? / Getty/iStockphoto

A build-up of late nights, early mornings and constant use of smartphones has left many of us with burdened by the appearance of dark under-eye circles but just how do you get rid of them?

Something we all struggle with, you’ve no doubt Googled the best way to banish your bags but a regular routine of seven to eight hours sleep and not drinking any alcohol before bed just isn’t always feasible.

Alas, it’s time hit refresh on tired peepers with a little help from some well-versed beauty heroes.

Aside from getting more kip, staying hydrated is key because when the body is starved of water, it responds by retaining as much as it can, thus causing puffy under-eye circles. As such, opt for a hydrating, gentle cleanser or make-up remover so not to cause any trauma or irritation which could cause inflammation.

Alternatively, there are a slew of topical treatments that can help you on your way. The first of which is retinoids which help to stimulate the production of collagen, making the skin less thin while recovering volume and firmness.

A word of warning here though, this ingredient when used in its purest form is rather potent and as such, can irritate the sensitive skin around the eye area. Instead, opt for a cream that contains a lower dose of retinol and work from there.

When it comes to applying said eye creams, other key ingredients to look out for include hyaluronic acid and glycerin. For best results, apply at night so the skin around your eyes doesn’t become irritated or inflamed and again in the morning.

If you feel like your moisturiser could do with a boost, using an eye massager like Foreo’s IRIS will do the trick. Known to promote blood flow to the area, regular use of a beauty tool like this will prevent blood from pooling in the capillaries under the eyes and increase product absorption.

When all else fails, remember you’ve still got makeup and a hardworking concealer will work wonders while you’re attempting to improve your eye bags.

Here, look to the beauty world’s obsession with colour correcting and opt for a cover-up that will counteract dark circles. If yours err towards a bluish purple tone then a yellow concealer is best while any redness should be tackled with a green-tones product to help camouflage it.

[“Source-independent”]

How to prevent hair loss for men

How to prevent hair loss for men

Losing your hair to male pattern baldness can seriously knock your confidence and self-esteem. Thankfully, there are many solutions available today that can help you fight balding and keep your full head of hair. From surgical procedures to topical creams or oral medication, there are many methods for guys to choose from when it comes to beating hair loss and retaining their confidence. Here are some of the best methods of dealing with hair loss.

#1. Scar-Free Hair Transplants

Many guys want to do something about their receding hairline and get back to their normal head of hair, but they’re particularly worried about the prospect of getting a hair transplant since they don’t want to be left with a scar at the back of their head. Whilst longer hair can easily cover any scars left by a hair transplant, men who prefer to wear their hair shorter are understandably worried about the prospect of visible evidence of the procedure. In comparison to the traditional ‘strip method’ of hair transplants, this method, known as follicular unit extraction (FUE) involves harvesting grafts one at a time using tiny punches that will be virtually undetectable once healed. For more information on a hair transplant NYC, visit NY Metro Vein.

#2. Laser Light Therapy

Laser light therapy is well-known for its effectiveness when it comes to hair removal, but it can also be useful for encouraging your hair to grow and stopping the signs of male pattern baldness. Laser light can be used to encourage the protein synthesis needed for healthy hair growth and regeneration, along with stimulating more blood flow to the scalp, resulting in better growth. However, bear in mind that this treatment doesn’t always work for everybody. In general, it is the best option for guys who have noticed receding hair and want to maintain what they have left, along with encouraging some regrowth. If you’re considering laser light therapy then the research is solid; studies have shown that around 80% of people who use laser treatment for hair loss experience less shedding and around half even get thicker hair.

#3. Medications and Medicated Hair Products

When it comes to the various medications and other products that you can use to help prevent hair loss and encourage regrowth, there is a range of options to choose from. Amongst men, over-the-counter drugs such as Finasteride are very popular, since they can be easily obtained from your local pharmacy and offer a range of further health benefits on top of preventing hair loss, such as aiding in the prevention of prostate cancer. This drug is also known as Propecia. It works by blocking the production of a particular male hormone in the scalp, which contributes to hair loss. If you’re worried about side effects then you’ll be glad to hear that the risks are minimal when taking this medication; there’s a tiny 2% chance that you will experience sexual problems, but this should immediately disappear if you stop taking the pills.

[“Source-standardmedia”]

AYUSH Diets Claim to Heal All But How Easy Are They to Follow?

Image result for AYUSH Diets Claim to Heal All But How Easy Are They to Follow?

New York: On this International Day of Yoga (IDY), India’s 69.2 million diabetics might consider waking up to a spoonful of methi seeds soaked overnight on an empty stomach, followed by with meals of salads fresh fruits, multigrain rotis and brown rice gruels.

This is part of the ideal sattvic diet for diabetics, according to the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), a body of the Ministry of AYUSH, most recently in the news for advising pregnant women to “detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatredness [sic] and lust”.

The pamphlet on Mother and Child Care, distributed by AYUSH minister Shripad Yesso Naik, in the run up to the IDY, is scarcely the only document advising lifestyle and dietary practices. The aforementioned diet is part of a similar booklet on the benefits of yoga and naturopathy on diabetes, one of India’s most prevalent non-communicable disease (NCD). Dr. Ishwara Acharya, president of the CCRYN told News18 that these practices could rid India of NCDs.

Much of this advice, however, is treated warily by nutritionists.

“AYUSH diets endorse ‘sattvic’ philosophy, which is fine, but does not mean that people who have been consuming non-vegetarian foods are not eating healthy. In fact, several nutrients are only found in non-vegetarian foods like long chain omega 3 fats, vitamin B12 etc,” said Dr. Shweta Khandelwal, nutritionist and associate professor, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Nor is the humble egg, disdained by the sattvic diet, easily substituted. Khandelwal did the math. One egg has the biological value (BV) — the unit for measuring how much protein a food source provides the body — of 100. One whole egg makes available 6 gram of protein for the body. Thus eggs are an excellent source of protein. However, she explained, many of the vegetarian sources of protein have a low BV. Thus one has to consume about three to four bowls (200-250 ml each) of dal to get as much bioavailable protein.

Protein requirements are still easier to achieve with a vegetarian diet for an adult, said Purnima Menon, senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); the trouble would be with iron, zinc and calcium. In a country with widespread anemia among girls and women, which affects lifelong health and makes pregnancy more dangerous, iron is hard to ignore.

According to Acharya, naturopathic diets could correct menstrual cycles from puberty on, perhaps stopping the loss of iron from excess bleeding. He was careful to add that the CCRYN was not asking anyone to stop taking supplements, even though naturopathy is a drugless system.

However, iron has limited vegetarian sources — certain leafy vegetables or lentils — Menon said. These are either expensive or not readily available.

The latest antenatal guidelines by the World Health Organisation recommend “consumption of a variety of foods, including green and orange vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts, whole grains and fruit” for healthy pregnancies.

Even if an AYUSH prescribed diet fulfills one’s nutritional needs, it trips over accessibility and affordability, as pointed out by both Khandelwal and Menon.

Seasonal fruits, prescribed for diabetics, are often priced too highly for urban poor to afford, who have now become increasingly vulnerable to diabetes according to the ongoing diabetes survey of the Indian Council of Medical Research. As are the dry fruits to be consumed by pregnant women.

“Consuming a balanced and nutritious diet is a problem across all classes and sectors,” said Khandelwal, adding “With the rise in working populations and erratic lifestyles we all often fall prey to cheap, ready-to-eat options, which are mostly empty calories laden with trans fats.”

However, the minutely detailed AYUSH diets are more suited to those either leading a life of leisure or who have enough help at home with the amount of preparation required.

Menon, who works at the Health and Nutrition Division at IFPRI, said the prescribed diet, at least for pregnant and lactating women would take significant efforts in terms of time and resources. “It takes time to procure and process, things like alfalfa and sprouts,” said Menon, “and many pregnant women do not have the time, the access or the support.” For many women, it will be hard to adhere to fruits and sprouts at 7am, whole wheat rotis at 11am and juices at 3pm.

Recently having completed a study on nutrition and behavioural changes in pregnant women in Bangladesh, Menon called it impractical to expect women to make drastic changes in their diet at the moment of pregnancy. Acharya may call naturopathy a change of lifestyle. However, “changes, and recommendations on what changes to make, to add those extra 350 to 400 calories and other nutrients to a pregnant woman’s diet, have to be incremental and contextual,” said Menon. People form habits by eating multiple times a day, every day. One cannot expect women from coastal communities to suddenly stop eating fish, a ready source of protein. In India, diverse socio-agricultural diversity, a daily family diet in Kerala would be very different from Gujarat or from any other state, she said.

 

 

 

[“source-news18”]

How to join Microsoft’s Office Insider program on any platform

microsoft office logo feb 2015

Microsoft is all about showing its work these days. You probably know Microsoft shares preview builds of Windows 10 leading up to major releases, such as the upcoming Creators Update. But did you know Microsoft offers an Insider program for Microsoft Office as well?

If your heart starts racing at the thought of trying out new Excel power features, enhanced editing techniques in Word, or special rollouts like MacBook Pro Touch Bar support, then the Office Insider program is for you.

Microsoft offers two levels for Insiders. There’s the Fast level for those who want the earliest possible access to new features. The downside of this level is that it’s more prone to bugs and other issues that could make using Office a frustrating experience. Then there’s the Slow level, which offers substantially less risk. Both options are available for Windows PCs and Macs, while other platforms may offer just one of those options. Here’s a look at how to join the Office Insider program whether you’re on a PC, Mac, Windows 10 Mobile handset, an Android phone, or an iOS device.

Windows 10 PCs

officeinsiderwindows

Ian Paul/PCWorld

The Office Insider program on Windows 10.

Joining the Office Insider program for Windows requires an Office 365 subscription on either the Home, Personal, or University plan. Open a file in any Office 2016 program on your PC. Then go to File > Account. Then click the Office Insider tile, and from the drop down menu select Join Office Insider.

In the box that appears, click the checkbox labeled Sign me up for early access to new releases of Office. Then select your desired Insider level—Fast or Slow—and click OK. Windows 10 will then put up a User Account Control (UAC) window. Click Yes, and when you return to your program you should see confirmation that you’ve joined the Office Insider program.

There’s a second process for joining the Office Insider program if that one doesn’t work for you. Go to the Additional Install Options page of your Office account, signing in if necessary. Choose your download in the Fast or Slow version. You’ll also have to decide on 32- or 64-bit builds depending on which version of Windows you’re using.

Macs

Mac users don’t need to have an Office 365 subscription to join. All they have to do is open an Office application on their Mac. Then click on Help > Check for Updates. When the Microsoft AutoUpdate window opens, check the box labeled Join the Office Insider program. Choose the Fast or Slow ring, and you’re done.

Mobile

androidofficeinsider

Ian Paul/PCWorld

The Office Insider Community for Android.

On a Windows 10 phone, you first need to join the Insider Program for Windows 10 Mobile, and choose the ring you want. Once that’s done you’ll be automatically opted in to the corresponding version of Office, because these programs are built into the system.

Joining the Office Insider program on Android is like joining the beta community for any other large app. First, join the Office Insider for Android Community, then wait a few hours for Google to confirm that you’ve joined. Next, follow the links provided in the lefthand column of the Community page to get the pre-release apps.

On iOS, download the TestFlight app, then apply to join the Office Insider program for iPhone and iPad. Office Insider for iOS is available only at the Fast level. You’ll be notified once you’re approved. Microsoft says its iOS preview program has a limited capacity, so it may take some time before you get to join. Microsoft may also drop you from the preview program if you’re not actively testing the apps on iOS.

source”cnbc”

Google Maps now shows how hard it will be to park at your destination

google maps parking

Update 1/27/17: The feature is now available in the full version of the app. This article has been updated to reflect this news.

If you’ve ever taken longer to find a parking spot than you did driving somewhere, Google Maps might be able to help—or at least prepare you for a headache. Thanks to a new feature in the latest version of the app, you’ll now be able to tell how hard it will be to park once you arrive at your destination.

The new feature is easy to miss. The next time you pull up driving directions, you’ll see a small circular P icon to the right of your route overview, next to which will show three levels of parking difficulty: Easy, Medium, and Limited. (To make it easier to see at a glance, easy and medium are colored blue while limited is red.) While the feature doesn’t update to show the actual parking situation when you arrive (at least not yet), you can get a slightly longer description when you expand your directions.

The update is currently rolling out in the Google Play store, but if you’re not seeing it, you can sideload the Google-signed APK from APKMirror. Keep in mind that the feature is only available in 25 cities across the U.S: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and the Washington D.C. area.

Why this matters: Parking can be a major headache when driving somewhere new, so we’ll take any information we can get. And with the new Uber integration built right into the app, a red circle could mean the difference between driving or being driven somewhere.

source”cnbc”

How does China respond to US chip threats? With a $30 billion factory

SW26010 chip

For China, actions speak louder than words, especially in the escalating chip battle with the U.S., which has been hurling out verbal threats in recent months.

The Chinese chip infrastructure is getting a serious boost from Tsinghua Unigroup, which is investing US$30 billion in a new foundry to make chips. The state-owned Tsinghua Holdings is a majority shareholder in Tsinghua Unigroup.

This news comes just two weeks after U.S. accused China of rigging the chip market and artificially reducing the prices of semiconductors. The tough talk came from the administration of former President Barack Obama but will continue under Donald Trump, who was sworn in as president Friday.

The factory in Nanjing will primarily make 3D NAND flash and DRAM chips to bulk up the country’s semiconductor and storage markets. The first stage of investment will be $10 billion and produce 100,000 chips per month. The manufacturing facilities will stretch over 1,500 acres, or 2.34 square miles.

Beyond the investment in the chip factory, Tsinghua Unigroup will also invest about $4.3 billion to build a complimentary IC (integrated circuit) international city that will include a science technology park, a school, commercial facilities, and apartments.

China has a poor chip-manufacturing infrastructure, and this investment should fill a hole in the country’s long-term effort to be self-reliant with technology products.

Companies like Intel, Samsung, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) and GlobalFoundries, which invest billions in fabs, will feel the pinch. Intel and GlobalFoundries operate factories in the U.S., and those companies also spend billions to upgrade manufacturing facilities.

But the U.S. will certainly take notice. Earlier this month, a White House working group said China was not playing fair in the semiconductor market, by artificially reducing the prices of chips through government assistance. The working group, called the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology or PCAST, recommended the U.S. respond to the Chinese chip threat by investing more in innovation and education and creating new types of quantum and neuromorphic computers.

The U.S. and China have conflicting technology agendas. China has made it difficult for U.S. technology companies to do business in the country. Most hardware companies have turned to partnerships or joint ventures to operate, with the Chinese government having some level of ownership.

Security and intellectual property theft have also been major U.S. concerns. The U.S. has been placing more emphasis on China’s semiconductor market in recent months.

China today hosts the world’s fastest supercomputer called TaihuLight. Fast supercomputers are used in weapons development, economic forecasts, and scientific research, making them central to a country’s security and economic strategies. The U.S. in the past has banned the export of supercomputing chips to China, citing concerns that it could be against U.S. national interests.

In 2014, China said it would invest $150 billion to subsidize chip development over a 10-year period. That’s partly because China wants 70 percent of devices in the country to use homegrown chips by 2025. That investment helped spur the development of low-cost semiconductors, which are also shipping outside China.

But the U.S. charges that Chinese semiconductors are inferior and have affected the quality of devices. The flood of Chinese chips has slowed down demand for chips and hurt the bottom line of U.S. companies, giving them less money to spend on the research and development of new chip technologies.

Products like the iPhone and iPad are assembled in Chinese factories, helping to keep down the price of those devices. The cheap Chinese chips have also reduced the cost related to building electronics, appliances, and cars.

U.S. companies are also moving factories to China, which offers a cheaper way to make chips. Intel is making its memory chips at a factory in Dalian, China.

source”cnbc”