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U.S. Knowledge-Intensive Services Industries Employ 18 Million and Pay High Wages

October 21, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Knowledge-Intensive Services Industries Employ 18 Million and Pay High Wages
Source: National Science Foundation

The commercial knowledge and technology-intensive (KTI) industries play a big role in the U.S. economy. The larger component of KTI industries—the knowledge-intensive (KI) services industries—employed 18 million workers and produced 22% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012. The smaller component—the high technology (HT) manufacturing industries—employed 2 million workers and produced 2% of GDP in 2012. Although smaller than KI services industries, HT manufacturing industries have a greater concentration of workers in S&E occupations and perform a larger proportion of U.S. research and development. Both KI services industries and HT manufacturing industries pay substantially higher wages than the private-sector average.

Three KI services industries (business, finance, and information) and six HT manufacturing industries (aircraft; communications; computers and office machinery; pharmaceuticals; semiconductors; and testing, measuring, and control instruments) classified by the Organisation for Economic and Cooperation and Development are discussed in this report.[2] (Note: Because various data sources used in this report classify industries differently, different numbers may be reported for KI and HT industries.)

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Familiar Franchises Top Gamers’ Wish Lists for Holiday 2014

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Familiar Franchises Top Gamers’ Wish Lists for Holiday 2014
Source: Nielsen

Fall is here, and the falling temperatures remind us that the holidays are fast approaching! So what are topping people’s wish lists this year? For gamers, it depends on the device.

“Destiny” recently took the gaming world by storm when it was released last month, and now it tops the list of the most coveted games on the PS4. Meanwhile, perennial crowd-pleaser “Call of Duty” holds the top spot for Xbox One with “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” and “The Sims 4,” the new entry to one of the biggest franchises of PC gaming in recent years, tops the list for computer gamers. The two new versions of Nintendo’s popular fighting franchise “Super Smash Bros.” top the lists for Wii U and 3DS. Finally, the building block empire of “Minecraft” tops the list of titles for Vita.

The No. 1 coveted games illustrate a trend we see among the top 10 anticipated games across devices: People like what they know. Apart from “Destiny,” the only other new properties in the top 10 for any of the six platforms examined were “Watch Dogs,” the fifth most anticipated title on Wii U (the title released earlier this year for PCs and PS and Xbox platforms, but is releasing in November for Wii U), and “Freedom Wars,” the sixth most coveted title on Vita. Even “Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed” (the third most wanted Vita game) is technically a sequel, though the original title released only in Japan.

Healthy Savings: Medical Technology and the Economic Burden of Disease

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Healthy Savings: Medical Technology and the Economic Burden of Disease (PDF)
Source: Milken Institute

The debate continues within the health policy community on the proper balance between the costs and benefits of medical technology. At a time of unprecedented change in health delivery and incentive systems and persistent concern about the cost of care, this debate has significant implications for public policy. Even with medical inflation running at a four-decade low—a condition that might suggest pressures are dissipating—the controversy is only intensifying.

Assessments of the true cost and economic benefit of medical technology (in the form of devices and diagnostics) have been hampered by the fact that direct treatment expenditures associated with technology use can be readily measured, while indirect savings, for example avoiding emergency room care and reducing hospital stays, are more difficult to capture.

Equally important, the economic benefits of reducing the burden of disease through better diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and cures extend beyond the health system to GDP gains from increased labor force participation and productivity. These gains are generated not only by patients, but by the rising participation and productivity of their informal caregivers. Yet these dividends are rarely incorporated into the evaluation of medical technologies.

In this study, we take a systematic approach to documenting the full costs and broader economic benefits of investment in representative medical technologies used to address four prevalent causes of death and disability: diabetes, heart disease, musculoskeletal disease, and colorectal cancer.1

TeBIT 2014 Executive Report: Paving the Paths to New Revenue (telecom)

October 21, 2014 Comments off

TeBIT 2014 Executive Report: Paving the Paths to New Revenue
Source: Boston Consulting Group

The best strategies leverage both good ideas and good timing. While traditional telecom services are facing challenges (which by now are traditional, too), new offerings, in new areas, are showing promise. Keeping the momentum going (and growing) means investing in IT that can spur and support innovation—and doing it now.

Even if the idea and the timing look right, what are the specifics? Where should telcos focus their investments? Can they buck the usual trend of their IT operating expenses increasing along with their capital expenditures? Can increasingly popular levers—such as outsourcing and commercial off-the-shelf software—be leveraged more efficiently? Will moving to less complex solutions and operating models always bring cost advantages? These are some of the key questions addressed in TeBIT 2014, a telco IT benchmarking study jointly developed in 2010 and conducted annually by The Global IT Association for Telecommunications (ETIS) and The Boston Consulting Group.

The report that follows highlights the insights unveiled by this year’s TeBIT study. The idea is not only to identify the IT challenges telcos face, but how they can address them. Just as importantly, the report examines how IT can best be leveraged to help telcos seize the opportunities today’s market presents. As it did last year, the study analyzes how telcos are steering their top capital-expenditure initiatives, how levers like outsourcing and commercial off-the-shelf software are being implemented, and how, perhaps, those levers could be optimized still. New this year is a close look at the relationship between complexity and costs. While one might think less complexity means lower costs, the link is not always clear cut.

CRS — Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (October 14, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics:
• policy overview
• National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC)
• cloud computing and FedRAMP
• critical infrastructure
• cybercrime, data breaches, and data security
• national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet)
• international efforts
• education/training/workforce
• research and development (R&D)

In addition, the report lists selected cybersecurity-related websites for congressional and government agencies, news, international organizations, and organizations or institutions.

Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies

October 19, 2014 Comments off

Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies
Source: PLoS ONE

Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction). Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface. In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalographic (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues. Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.

UN — Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

The present report in the fourth annual report submitted to the General Assembly by the current Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freesoms while countering terrorism, Ben Emmerson.

The key activities undertaken by the Special Rapporteur between 17 December 2013 and 31 July 2014 are listed in section II of the report. In section III, the Special Rapporteur examines the use of mass digital surveillance for counter-terrorism purposes and considers the implications of bulk access technology for the right to privacy under article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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