Tag Archives: family

How to improve kidney transplant exchanges

Kidney transplant exchanges are missing out on 25 to 55 percent of live donor matches that might otherwise be possible, according to a new study.

Nearly 100,000 people with failing kidneys are on waiting lists for a kidney transplant in the United States, with an average wait of three to five years. Organs come from one of two sources—from living donors, typically a friend or family member willing to spare one of their own kidneys, or from a transplant donor who has died.

“Small fixes to improve transplant exchanges make economic and medical sense…”

Platforms for kidney exchanges such as the National Kidney Registry and the Alliance for Paired Donation provide a lifeline for people on the waiting list by expanding the pool of potential donors by matching potential recipients with living donors they’ve never met.

Imagine a situation in which a husband is willing to donate to his wife but has a blood type that’s incompatible. An exchange platform, which receives pairs of donors and patients from many different hospitals, can match the husband to a different patient with the same blood type, while simultaneously matching his wife with another donor who has the same type as her.

By linking together many different patient-donor pairs, exchanges make it possible to greatly increase the number of people who can get transplants from living donors. But the new study shows that exchange platforms are not as effective as they could be.

Precious Type O

“Despite significant success, the kidney exchange market suffers from market failures that result in hundreds of lost transplants per year,” the researchers write in the new study.

The reason, they say, is that transplant hospitals are incentivized to match kidney exchanges internally and tend to use exchanges as a last resort. That might be fine, except the researchers found that the hospitals are not as efficient as the exchanges in matching the right donors with the right patients.

The problem begins with the fact that certain kinds of donors and patients are much easier to match than others. A donor with Type O blood can give an organ to people with many different blood types, whereas a Type O patient can only accept a transplant from another Type O. An efficient match, then, would mean connecting relatively scarce Type O donors with Type O patients who most need them.

But when the researchers analyzed the data from thousands of live-donor transplants, they found that with internal hospital swaps, only 77 percent of Type O kidney donations went to Type O patients. By contrast, nearly 94 percent of kidneys from Type O donors on the big exchange platforms went to Type O patients.

Put differently, hospitals that arranged their own matches were transplanting many precious Type O kidneys to patients who could have been matched with organs of other common blood types. Even large hospitals are not large enough to always find efficient matches internally. Exchange platforms, which provide wider pools of donors and recipients, are most effective for making the most difficult matches.

How to change things

Itai Ashlagi, assistant professor of management science and engineering at Stanford University, says increasing incentives for hospitals to use the exchange platforms more frequently could improve the system. They should be encouraged to enroll patient-donor pairs that help to generate more transplants.

The first things bodies do to reject a donor organ

Moreover, hospitals face most of the costs involved in participating in kidney exchanges while most of the benefit goes to insurance companies. Costs involve various platform fees, hiring full-time exchange coordinators, doing blood tests, etc. All of these expenses cut sharply into the profit on each surgery.

One potential solution, Ashlagi says, is a point system, a sort of frequent-flier program that gives hospitals extra rewards for supplying high-value donors. For instance, by offering a Type O donor to an exchange, a hospital might earn an extra claim when it tries to get a transplant for one of its patients. This will create a more liquid pool by removing the incentive from matching pairs internally.

Indeed, the National Kidney Exchange has already launched a point system along those lines, though it’s too early to say how much impact it has had.

A frequent-flier program alone will not solve everything. Beyond that, the researchers say, exchanges and perhaps government policymakers should look for ways to compensate hospitals for the exchange-related costs they currently have to absorb on their own. This would be especially important for smaller hospitals that may not participate in transplant exchanges because of the prohibitive costs.

Every additional kidney transplant pays a big health and financial dividend. Transplants generally give patients several years of additional life, compared to remaining on dialysis. Dialysis treatment alone accounts for a whopping 7 percent of Medicare spending, so reductions there would benefit the public purse.

If transplant centers submitted most of their patients and donors to the exchanges, the researchers estimate that an additional 200 to 400 more live-donor transplants would be possible each year. That would translate to an annual savings of $220 million to $440 million to the entire medical system—before accounting for the additional years of productive life for the patients so desperately in need.

Blocking key cells could protect organ transplants

“Small fixes to improve transplant exchanges make economic and medical sense,” Ashlagi says.

The study appears as a working paper on the National Bureau of Economics Research website. Researchers from MIT and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School also contributed to this work.

Source: Stanford University

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Make your Venmo transactions private. Seriously

A new data-driven project reveals just how much personal information is publicly available on the app.

When you think of companies that violate your privacy online, chances are Facebook is one of the first names that come to mind. But there’s another common app that should: Venmo, the PayPal-owned peer-to-peer payment app that lets people send money to friends, family, and anyone else you need to pay (including, for instance, drug dealers). The payments you make on the app, complete with a cute little emoji or note, are public by default, which means that many users don’t realize just how easy it is for the rest of the world to observe the $35 billion in transactions made on Venmo.

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Unsure how your career impacts your kids? Here’s some perspective

Nearly every parent who’s working to support a family feels constrained by their career choices: Providing financial security for your children usually takes precedence over fulfilling your own dreams and aspirations. If you’re especially fortunate, you don’t have to choose or compromise. But many of us do, even though most of us never start out thinking that way about our working lives. As kids, we aspire to be doctors or astronauts or pop stars, and only as adults–and particularly as parents–do we begin to adjust our career decisions, first to the realities of the workforce and later to the needs and demands of other people (partners, spouses, parents, children).

My dad is an accountant. When I was very young, he served as a comptroller and then started working in small accounting firms, eventually moving out on his own. The older I got, the clearer it became that accounting wasn’t my father’s passion, even though it paid the bills. When I got to college, it struck me that he spent an awful lot of time doing things he didn’t particularly like. And this observation motivated me to think differently, and pursue career paths I’d find more fulfilling than he seemed to find his.

There’s been a lot of debate in recent years about “passion careers” and “dream jobs,” including whether they’re reasonable things to pursue in the first place. But those conversations typically focus narrowly on individual (and implicitly unattached) job seekers, with seemingly little to say to working parents whose career choices are always influenced by concern for their kids. In reality, though, opting to find purpose and fulfillment in the work you do can benefit your children in unexpected ways. It just takes a shift in perspective to understand how.

Vocation versus calling

The past 25 years has witnessed a boom in positive psychology research, a field pioneered by psychologist Martin Seligman, who pointed out that researchers were mainly focusing on mental illness and neglecting to understand what good mental health consists of. A number of researchers, like Ed Diener, for example, have extended into the workplace the focus that Seligman argued for, and there’s now data to help us distinguish conceptually between “vocations” and “callings.” A calling is a motivation to engage in activities (at work) that serve a broader purpose, often to the benefit of other people or society at large. A vocation is a job that satisfies that calling.

Research suggests that people who have a calling and view their work as a vocation are both more dedicated to that work and happier at work than those who don’t. Crucially, it’s all a matter of mind-set; the ability to see your professional life this way is independent of the specific tasks your job entails. For example, people working at animal shelters and clean dirty kennels may still feel that their work benefits abandoned animals.

If you have children, chances are they’re sensitive to the ways you talk about work and react to its pressures. They can see when you truly love the things you do, and when you’re just punching the clock. And even if you never make your feelings toward your work explicit, you’re nonetheless teaching them a lot about how they should view their work lives as they get older.

There’s nothing wrong with simply using your job to pay the bills–your kids rely on you to do that. When there’s something else that you’d much rather be doing for a living, you might hesitate over how changing course might impact your household. But while that’s always a good instinct that’s worth considering carefully, it’s not a watertight rationale for playing things safe.

The eyes of beholders

Indeed, taking measured, purposeful risks can benefit your kids as well as you personally. Perhaps all that means for you is enrolling in an evening class toward an advanced degree. Many of the graduate students I teach are parents who tell me how wonderful it is to study alongside their children. Yes, that may mean pulling back on some family activities in order to make time, but you’re giving something back in the process: Your kids gain a model of lifelong learning in action, all in the interests of pursuing meaningful work.

Plus, building a work life that’s rich in desirable challenges can feed back into your home life in surprising and positive ways. Research on motivation suggests that our overall attitudes toward our own lives depends on what we choose to notice about them. When you’re pursuing positive outcomes at work, you’re more likely to take note of the good things elsewhere in your life. The reverse is true, too: When you spend your working hours grinding your teeth and weathering daily catastrophes, you’ll zero in on all the downsides to the rest of your life, too.

The point here isn’t that you should strike out and take careers risks unthinkingly or selfishly. It’s that you should think more intentionally about the risks you do and don’t take, because your children internalize all of that anyway. So start just by paying more attention to the ways (good, bad, and middling) that your professional life influences your family life. You may come to conclude that pursuing your calling is one of the best parenting decisions you can make.

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HBO’s “Succession” proves the mega rich are just as ridiculous as you

There’s a scene in episode two of HBO’s new show Succession that situates viewers in the world creator Jesse Armstrong set out to make.

Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is in the hospital after suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke, and the fate of his multibillion-dollar corporation is in limbo. His four children, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Connor (Alan Ruck) are oscillating between genuine concern for their father’s health, and genuine concern for where they’ll land in the pecking order of power. In the midst of alliances and high-stakes decision making, Roman and Shiv get into an argument and have a slap fight. Their father is on the brink of death with his global empire hanging in the balance, and his two very grown and very wealthy children devolve into an adolescent scrap.

That’s the tone of Succession: a dark comedy grafted onto the framework of a Greek tragedy.

Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox on Succession. [Photo: courtesy of Peter Kramer/HBO]

Succession follows the Roys, the family behind one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. As it often goes when power, money, and family are in the mix, things get personal as the Roy children attempt to wrest control of the company out of their father’s unwilling hands. Succession could have gone the way of a traditional drama, but the tone and how it’s shot take it to a level of storytelling that’s less soap opera and more authentic.

“The key note to me is trying to be true,” Armstrong says. “Especially if you’re writing about rich and powerful people, if you strip away comedy and anything ludicrous, then you give people too much [seriousness]. All powerful people make foolish decisions and end up in humiliating and embarrassing situations, as well as wielding their power. So I feel like you need to include that bit to be true.”

Sarah Snook and Hiam Abbass on Succession. [Photo: courtesy of Peter Kramer/HBO]

In 2010, a screenplay from Armstrong about media magnate Rupert Murdoch and his family wound up on The Black List, an annual industry survey of the most popular yet unproduced scripts circulating in Hollywood. That script became the inspiration for Succession. The concept of a family jockeying for control of a billion-dollar company could, in essence, fall to a number of industries including banking, tech, etc. However, Armstrong stayed true to Murdoch’s grip on media as the stage for the Roy family drama.

“It’s about the relationship with the media, and how a small number of people and families have such a disproportionate effect on the world we live in,” Armstrong says. “It’s absolutely crucial. I wouldn’t pitch this show about another industry or area.”

What Armstrong was also adamant about was not making a biopic. Even though the Roys are loosely based on the Murdochs, he says there was a newfound freedom in not being beholden to the facts of real people’s lives.

“When we did the show, I felt like it was tremendous liberation to cherry pick what we stole from the real world,” he says. “There are loads of great stories, and we were able to go wherever we wanted and give it a narrative shape.”

Jesse Armstrong and Kieran Culkin on the set of Succession. [Photo: courtesy of Peter Kramer/HBO]

Part of that narrative includes how the show is shot. The documentary-style camerawork on Succession is reminiscent of director and Succession co-executive producer Adam McKay’s Oscar-nominated film The Big Short, as well as previous projects Armstrong has written, including In the Loop and The Thick of It.

“I love it because for me, it feels like you’re inside the world a bit more. The feeling that you’re really in the room is what might give the drama and comedy more piquancy,” Armstrong says. “There’s one episode that is a big Thanksgiving meal, and another that is a charity ball, and being able to cover that in a documentary style gave it that roving sense, that you’re overhearing conversations rather than being presented with them. There’s a sense that you’re absorbing stuff that otherwise would be hidden.”

The run-and-gun approach to shooting helps to strip away the glamour one would expect from a show about a billionaire family. There are indeed the high-rise apartment buildings and luxe events of the super wealthy, but the tone of Succession and the way it’s filmed peel back those layers of opulence in order to dissect something more substantive.

“We talked a lot about family dynamics and birth order and psychology, so anything in that area was interesting to investigate. But we didn’t want it to become–it’s a pejorative term–just a soap opera,” Armstrong says. “If we were doing a story about family psychology, it had to be funny and dramatic and interesting, but also not unconnected to the world.”

projects • Lyricists

Artcell’s lyrics and intellectual themes have driven their popularity among the youths.

Rupok, a common friend of the band members, wrote hits of Artcell in their primary era. His premature death due to cerebral malaria left the band in a state of shock, and they dedicated their first album to Rupok’s memory.
Rumman Ahmed, another common friend of the band, took the responsibility of lyrics after Rupok’s departure. His lyrics gained popularity among the listeners and Rumman started counting among the most influential lyricists of the Bangla band arena. He settled in Sydney with his family later on, but continues his activity with the band.
Ishtiak Islam Khan, a junior friend of the members, is working on the lyrics of their upcoming third album. He wrote the lyrics of “Obimrrisshota” and was introduced as one of the most prominent writers of the generation by Ershad Zaman in the press conference for the music video release. Ishtiak is a doctor by profession and he plays a major role in determining the policy and management protocol of the band .
Band members have written lyrics for the band occasionally. Ershad wrote the lyrics of “Utshaber Utshahe”, “Tomake”, and “Ei bidaye”; Lincoln wrote “Dukkho Bilash” and “Rahur grash”; and Cezanne wrote “Kritrim Manush”.


Norton releases first official sketches of the upcoming Atlas 650

The 2019 Norton Atlas 650 is expected to be an affordable motorcycle targeted at a wide ...

It’s no secret that Norton has a brand new 650cc inline twin motor in the pipeline, destined to spearhead its comeback with a new family of affordable models. Scheduled to break cover in November, the Atlas 650 has been revealed for the first time in two digital renders that Norton has just released.

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A.I. recreates periodic table of elements from scratch

A new artificial intelligence (AI) program recreated the periodic table of elements in just a few hours.

It took nearly a century of trial and error for human scientists to organize the periodic table of elements, arguably one of the greatest scientific achievements in chemistry, into its current form.

“Instead of feeding in all of the words and sentences from a collection of texts, we fed Atom2Vec all the known chemical compounds…”

Called Atom2Vec, the program successfully learned to distinguish between different atoms after analyzing a list of chemical compound names from an online database. The unsupervised AI then used concepts borrowed from the field of natural language processing—in particular, the idea that the properties of words can be understood by looking at other words surrounding them—to cluster the elements according to their chemical properties.

“We wanted to know whether an AI can be smart enough to discover the periodic table on its own, and our team showed that it can,” says study leader Shoucheng Zhang, a professor of physics at Stanford University.

Zhang says the research, which will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is an important first step toward a more ambitious goal of his, which is designing a replacement to the Turing test—the current gold standard for gauging machine intelligence.

“Humans are the product of evolution and our minds are cluttered with all sorts of irrationalities.”

In order for an AI to pass the Turing test, it must be capable of responding to written questions in ways that are indistinguishable from a human. But Zhang thinks the test is flawed because it is subjective.

“Humans are the product of evolution and our minds are cluttered with all sorts of irrationalities. For an AI to pass the Turing test, it would need to reproduce all of our human irrationalities,” Zhang says. “That’s very difficult to do, and not a particularly good use of programmers’ time.”

Zhang would instead like to propose a new benchmark of machine intelligence. “We want to see if we can design an AI that can beat humans in discovering a new law of nature,” he says. “But in order to do that, we first have to test whether our AI can make some of the greatest discoveries already made by humans.”

By recreating the periodic table of elements, Atom2Vec has achieved this secondary goal, Zhang says.

Zhang and his group modeled Atom2Vec on an AI program that Google engineers created to parse natural language. Called Word2Vec, the language AI works by converting words into numerical codes, or vectors. By analyzing the vectors, the AI can estimate the probability of a word appearing in a text given the co-occurrence of other words.

For example, the word “king” is often accompanied by “queen,” and “man” by “woman.” Thus, the mathematical vector of “king” might be translated roughly as “king = a queen minus a woman plus a man.”

“We can apply the same idea to atoms,” Zhang says. “Instead of feeding in all of the words and sentences from a collection of texts, we fed Atom2Vec all the known chemical compounds, such as NaCl, KCl, H2O, and so on.”

How artificial intelligence can teach itself slang

From this sparse data, the AI program figured out, for example, that potassium (K) and sodium (Na) must have similar properties because both elements can bind with chlorine (Cl). “Just like king and queen are similar, potassium and sodium are similar,” Zhang says.

Zhang hopes that in the future, scientists can harness Atom2Vec’s knowledge to discover and design new materials.

“For this project, the AI program was unsupervised, but you could imagine giving it a goal and directing it to find, for example, a material that is highly efficient at converting sunlight to energy,” Zhang says.

His team is already at work on version 2.0 of their AI program, which will focus on cracking an intractable problem in medical research: designing just the right antibody to attack antigens—molecules capable of inducing an immune response—that are specific to cancer cells. Currently, one of the most promising approaches to curing cancer is cancer immunotherapy, which involves harnessing the antibodies that can attack antigens on cancer cells.

But the human body can produce more than 10 million unique antibodies, each of which is made up of a different combination of about 50 genes.

New A.I. application can write its own code

“If we can map these building block genes onto a mathematical vector, then we can organize all antibodies into something similar to a periodic table,” Zhang says. “Then, if you discover that one antibody is effective against an antigen but is toxic, you can look within the same family for another antibody that is just as effective but less toxic.”

Funding for the research came from the US Department of Energy.

Source: Stanford University

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Artists and illustrators respond to Trump’s immigration policies

In a week of head-spinning news, these images make clear the tragedies being wrought by the Trump administration.

Days after Trump signed an executive order to end family separation, in response to immense public backlash, thousands of children remain in custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with a cruel and increasingly uncertain future of if, and how, they’ll be reunited with their asylum-seeking parents. The parents are being detained and prosecuted as criminals for unauthorized immigration under the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy. As of yesterday, the Trump administration’s message, sprawled clear as day and quite literally against the back of Melania Trump, was that the Trump administration could not care less.

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design employment • Looking to relocate

I know we have a similar thread already, but I’d like to get more up-to-date suggestions folks have on places to relocate. I’m very open to working for a consultancy or in a corporate position. Arizona is far from a bustling hub of design and employment opportunities are scarce. I’ve spent the last few years since graduating from university working in marketing, animation, graphics etc with a few opportunities here and there to do contract ID work. I’d love to get involved in developing kids products, but I really am open to anything from housewares to consumer electronics, etc.

Like I said, I’ve got a family so really the only thing that restricts me from some locations is cost of living. Not opposed to dealing with winters (lived in Ukraine for a while so I know I can hack it). Feel free to take a look at my portfolio and post suggestions on where you think design opportunities are going to be plentiful. :) http://www.rjcluffdesign.com

Looking forward to hearing from you guys.


design employment • Re: Looking to relocate

Well you have a family so you can just get up and move somewhere without a job lined up, I assume. So doesn’t it just depend on what you see on the job board? What position are you looking for? Junior ID?

There’s some neat info here: https://www.citylab.com/design/2014/07/ … es/373146/

Portfolio is pretty good, a little light. A few short notes: I have no idea what problem the fish tank solves as I scanned over it. I don’t see any projects in your portfolio from jobs listed on your resume outside of college, which isn’t a great look. You mention CAD several times and 3D printing, not enough of it in your portfolio. Though with NDA’s it has made my portfolio seem barren in the past, not sure if this is the case here.

I should also mention that 95% of the jobs I have gotten have been through a friend of a friend or something. Networking with classmates has done wonders. I’ve only gotten one job from applying to job boards, it was through craigslist and I quit after a month because of how bad it was.