Dhaka, June 23 (UNB) - As long as video games have been around, people have tried to complete them as quickly as possible.Known as speedrunning, gamers worldwide stream and upload videos in the hope of breaking the top records, with the most popular videos viewed tens of millions of times.
Over the past 10 years, speedrunning has become increasingly intertwined with donations as streamers often host charity streams as a way to give back to the community.
This is the idea behind Games Done Quick (GDQ), a gaming marathon which will hold its 20th biannual event from 23-30 June 2019.
The event offers viewers the chance to watch some of the best speedrunners in the world, and viewer donations have totalled $19.3m (£15.3m) since its inception in 2010.
For example, Pokemon speedrunner SheNanagans' GDQ run of Game Boy classic Pokemon Blue raised around $46,000 (£36,250) in 2015 and has since been viewed more than 2.8 million times on YouTube.
GDQ was originally organised to put a positive spotlight on gamers by supporting charity.
The charity speedrunning marathon has come a long way from the first event in 2010, which was held in GDQ founder Mike Uyama's basement, as it now sells out entire hotels with more than 2,500 attendees and millions watching online.
These online viewers are crucial as the event raises money for charity by encouraging its audience to donate as they watch the streams, with donations going to organisations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Matt Merkle, director of operations for GDQ, explained how it went from raising around $10,000 (£7,878) at its first event to hoping to raising more than $2.4m (£1.9m) nine years later.
"To motivate donations, we offer donation incentives, which can affect games played in various ways," he explained.
"Examples include requiring a runner to play on hard mode, showing off a particularly difficult trick, or even naming characters in games like Final Fantasy.
"The runners are often the record-holders in their particular runs and travel from all over the world to participate and help the charities raise money."
GDQ is not the only show in town, with other annual events such as Desert Bus for Hope raising millions of dollars for charity through gaming marathons.
But anyone who regularly watches videos on live streaming platform Twitch will tell you that charity streams have become heavily associated with the gaming community.
Part of the reason for this can be attributed to Extra Life, a charity regularly used by gamers to raise money for children's hospitals.
Some of the most popular streamers have worked with Extra Life, raising more than $50m (£39m), since the charity's inception in 2008.
Former participants include popular gaming critic TotalBiscuit, who died in May 2018, and prominent YouTuber Markiplier who has more than 23 million subscribers.
Thanks to the support from high-profile streamers, Extra Life has now become the charity that many gamers turn to when they host their own gaming marathons on Twitch or YouTube.
These content creators may be entirely different in their brands and personalities, but they come together for the common cause of raising money.
Extra Life drives donations through these gamers all year round, with Splatoon streamer That Bald Gamer raising more than $10,000 (£7,878) for the charity in June 2019.
The reason Extra Life focuses on working with Twitch streamers and YouTubers is simple.
"You don't see a viewer going online to Twitch or YouTube to search for a charity stream," said Michael Kinney, managing director of Extra Life. "But they do search for their favourite content creator.
"It's that meaningful connection with the broadcaster that leads people to donate, and actually, it's a more intimate connection than they would have had with a Hollywood celebrity asking to donate in a telethon.
"The interactivity online makes it a much more engaging conversation. When they say the cause means a lot to them, it's genuine. That's why people donate."
Erin Wayne, better known as Aureylian to her 153,000 Twitch followers, balances working closely with Extra Life as one of their ambassadors with working full-time as head of community marketing at Twitch.
Her role is to describe Extra Life to her audience while keeping them engaged by playing games such as Final Fantasy XIV and Garden Flipper.
She also raises around $250,000 (£196,493) annually for charity as part of Mindcrack.
"Extra Life was one of the first organisations to empower gamers to do something for good," she said. "And when you're creating content day in day out, you can feel the need for a sense of greater purpose.
"Fundraising is a great way to do that. If you have a following, you have the opportunity to bring people together to raise money for sick kids.
"Gamers are a mobile and powerful group of people, and they rally together to help when there are others in need. It helps people feel like they've done something for the greater good."
Dhaka, Jun 23 (UNB) - Apple has joined a growing chorus of firms urging the Trump administration to drop a plan for more US tariffs on Chinese goods, reports the BBC.
The US has said it may impose duties on $300bn (£236.1bn) worth of Chinese products if the two sides can't reach a trade deal.
In a letter, Apple "urged" the White House to drop the tariff plan.
The tech giant said the duties would "tilt the playing field" to its global rivals.
The company said the proposed tariffs would cover its major products including iPhone, iPads and Airpods, as well as parts used to repair devices in the US.
"We urge the US government not to impose tariffs on these products," Apple said in its filing to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is considering submissions on the proposed duties.
The company said more tariffs would hurt its "global competitiveness".
Apple said its Chinese competitors - which include top smartphone maker Huawei - do not have a "significant presence" in the US market and would not be impacted by US duties.
"A US tariff would, therefore, tilt the playing field in favour of our global competitors," the company wrote.
It follows reports that the Silicon Valley giant has asked suppliers to explore shifting some production out of China in response to the ongoing trade battle between Washington and Beijing.
Apple joins a string of other companies pushing the Trump administration to abandon plans for more tariffs on Chinese goods citing risks to their business and consumers.
In a joint submission filed this week, tech firms Microsoft, Dell and HP and Intel said the proposed tariffs would increase prices for laptops and tablets by at least 19%.
The US reignited the trade war last month by raising tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, prompting Beijing to retaliate.
The two countries have been in an escalating conflict over trade for the past year. The scope of the battle has expanded in recent months as Washington has tightened trade restrictions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
What Huawei battle tells us about US and China
Hopes for an imminent deal were shattered in May after the Trump administration more than doubled tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports and threatened additional duties.
Tariffs imposed by both countries over the past year have weighed on the global economy and hit financial markets.
Still, the prospect of a resolution was raised this week as US President Donald Trump said trade negotiations are set to resume shortly.
Hangzhou, June 23 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Traditional ways of sewing that rely on human hands or sewing machines may see a drastic change, as researchers in eastern China's Zhejiang Province have created a 3D sewing robotic arm.
The robotic arm, about the size of a human, can quickly scan pieces of cloth with a laser scanner, sew them together based on programmed patterns and cut threads. The whole process only takes a few minutes.
Jointly developed by Ningbo Cixing Co. Ltd. and a research institute of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, the 3D robotic arms are currently applied to the sewing of automotive interiors.
According to Fu Lei, general manager of Cixing Robotics, automobile manufacturing is a highly automatic industry, but this is not the case in making automotive interiors, which relies on many human workers. The 3D robotic arm could increase production efficiency without lowering the quality of products.
The 3D sewing robotic arms, installed with different heads, will be used in many more fields including aerospace.
San Francisco, June 23 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A company created by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan on Friday announced the awarding of 68 million U.S. dollars to fund a global project to map all cells in the human body.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a limited liability firm based in the Redwood City, California, said the fund will support the ongoing global project the Human Cell Atlas (HCA) and its selection of 38 collaborative science teams to map the human body cell by cell.
The three-year grant will be shared by the 38 teams from 20 countries and multiple disciplines that cover medicine, software engineering and computational biology.
The participants will focus on mapping specific tissues, such as the heart, eye, or liver, in the healthy human body, said the CZI.
"The global Human Cell Atlas effort is a beacon for what can be accomplished when experts across scientific fields and time zones work together towards a common goal," said CZI Head of Science Cori Bargmann.
The result of the research and tools created from it will be shared freely among other researchers and research institutes, said the CZI, which is also working with the European Bioinformatics Institute, the Broad Institute, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The CZI has previously funded 85 projects to create collaborative computational tools in support of building the HCA, as well as 38 pilot projects to help establish best practices and data analysis technologies for constructing the atlas.
The interdisciplinary collaborations will accelerate progress toward a first draft of the Human Cell Atlas, Bargmann said.
San Francisco, June 23 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria could be transmitted to humans through consumption of plant foods, which may pose health risks for the general public, according to a study unveiled on Saturday.
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) discovered how plant foods serve as vehicles for spreading antibiotic resistance to the gut microbiome, said a study presented to ASM Microbe 2019, an annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) being held here from June 20 to 24.
During a mouse experiment, the scientists observed antibiotic bacteria or "superbugs" successfully hid in the intestines of the mice fed with lettuce contaminated with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria of E. coli.
"We found differences in the ability of bacteria to silently colonize the gut after ingestion, depending on a variety of host and bacterial factors," said Marlene Maeusli, a USC researcher and lead author on the study.
Unlike the outbreaks of diarrheal illnesses caused immediately after humans eat contaminated vegetables, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria can hide in the human intestines for months or even years before they cause an illness such as a urinary infection, said the study.
"Our findings highlight the importance of tackling foodborne antibiotic-resistance from a complete food chain perspective that includes plant-foods in addition to meat," Maeusli said.
About 2 million cases of antibiotic-resistant infections occur every year in the United States and 20 percent of them are linked to agriculture, according to the estimates of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.