Canberra, Oct. 9 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Australia's national science agency has teamed up with a fast food restaurant to develop a plant-based alternative to beef hamburgers.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Hungry Jack's, a franchisee of U.S. chain Burger King, have joined forces make and market a legume-based burger patty under a joint venture named v2food.
The burger aims to mimic the taste and texture of beef with the added benefits of fiber and nutrients as well as being environmentally friendly.
According to research by the George Institute for Global Health the sales of meat-free burger products in Australia grew by 289 percent between 2010 and 2019.
The CSIRO projects that Australia's plant-based protein industry will be worth more than 6 billion Australian dollars (4 U.S. billion dollars) by 2030.
However, Hungry Jack's owner Jack Cowin said that the industry should not be considered an enemy of the beef industry.
"We sell 30,000 tonnes of meat and we hope to be able to continue to sell the same amount of beef as we always have," he said recently, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"We will attract a different audience that aren't currently buying products because of sustainability reasons."
Nick Hazell, the chief executive of v2food, said that the venture was born out of necessity because of the global increase in meat consumption.
"The population is growing towards 10 billion and meat consumption is also growing per capita. When you do the maths, it's actually impossible for us to feed the planet," he said.
However, the assumption that "fake meat" is healthier than the real thing, is warned against by Curtin University nutrition and public health researcher Christina Pollard.
"The problem is that often these products are not healthier than the meat-based original, because they are still heavily processed and high in fat and salt," Pollard said.
Seoul, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — Samsung provided the latest sign of the tough times afflicting computer chipmakers as it braced investors for a sharp drop in profit.
The sobering forecast Tuesday wasn't entirely unexpected, given an industrywide glut that has forced chipmakers to slash prices to clear out inventory.
Although Samsung also makes smartphones and an array of other devices, it also is among the world's largest chip suppliers.
Chipmakers are suffering the consequences from misreading industry demand for their products. The industry invested heavily in 2016 and 2017 to ramp up production in anticipation of being flooded with orders for chips used in smartphones, internet-connected cars and other products.
Instead, smartphone sales have been dwindling as a lack of innovation and rising prices have caused consumers to hold on to their existing devices for longer periods. Automakers also haven't been ordering as many chips as anticipated, and expected breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality haven't materialized as quickly as envisioned, IHS Markit analyst Les Jelinek said.
Supply and demand "just went in completely opposite directions, and the bottom kind of fell out," Jelinek said. "When you look at 2019, there wasn't a bright spot for the industry."
Worldwide chip revenue is projected to decrease 13% this year to $423 billion, down from $485 billion last year, according to IHS Markit.
President Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China also has caused market upheaval, but the fallout mostly has affected U.S. chipmakers that usually sell a lot of processors to Chinese companies, particularly Huawei — a major target of the administration's sanctions.
The adverse market conditions are the main reason Samsung expects its operating profit for the July-September quarter to fall 56% from the same time last year to $7.7 trillion won ($6.4 billion). The South Korean company says its third-quarter revenue likely rose 5% from last year to 62 trillion won ($52 billion).
Analysts say Samsung's sales during the third quarter should have been boosted by the launch of its Galaxy Note 10 smartphone and an improvement in display shipments driven by the release of new devices by Apple.
Samsung did not provide a detailed account of its performance by division. It will provide that breakdown when it releases its full third-quarter report later this month.
Conditions are expected to improve next year as the shift to the next generation of ultrafast wireless connections, known as 5G, rekindles demand for chips in networking equipment, compatible smartphones and other devices.
IHS Markit expects industrywide chip revenue to bounce back slightly next year, to $448 billion.
San Francisco, Oct 9 (AP/UNB) — Twitter says it mistakenly used the phone numbers and email addresses people provided for security purposes to show advertisements to its users.
The company said Tuesday that it "inadvertently" used the emails and phone numbers to let advertisers match people to their own marketing lists. Twitter is not saying how many users were affected.
The company also says that it did not share personal data with advertisers or other third parties. Twitter says it fixed the problem as of September 17.
Facebook settled with the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year over its privacy missteps. In addition to a $5 billion fine, the settlement included limits on how Facebook shares data with third parties.
Facebook also agreed not to use phone numbers given for security purposes to advertise to people.
Sacramento, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Dr. Anna Nguyen spoke with none of the five patients she treated on a recent weekday morning. She didn't even leave her dining room.
The emergency physician nevertheless helped a pregnant Ohio woman handle hip pain, examined a Michigan man's sore throat and texted a mom whose son became sick during a family trip to Mexico.
Welcome to the latest wrinkle in health care convenience: the chat diagnosis.
Nguyen's company, CirrusMD, can connect patients with a doctor in less than a minute. But such fast service comes with a catch: The patient probably won't see or talk to the doctor, because most communication takes place via secure messaging.
"We live in a consumer-driven world, and I think that consumers are becoming accustomed to being able to access all types of service with their thumbs," CirrusMD co-founder Dr. Blake McKinney said.
CirrusMD and rivals like 98point6 and K Health offer message-based treatment for injuries or minor illnesses normally handled by a doctor's office or clinic. They say they're even more convenient than the video telemedicine that many employers and insurers now offer, because patients accustomed to Uber-like convenience can text with a doctor while riding a bus or waiting in a grocery store line.
Millions of Americans have access to these services. The companies are growing thanks to a push to improve care access, keep patients healthy and limit expensive emergency room visits. Walmart's Sam's Club, for instance, recently announced that it would offer 98point6 visits as part of a customer care program it is testing.
But some doctors worry about the quality of care provided by physicians who won't see their patients and might have a limited medical history to read before deciding treatment.
"If the business opportunity is huge, there's a risk that that caution is pushed aside," said Dr. Thomas Bledsoe, a member of the American College of Physicians.
Message-based care providers say they take steps to ensure safety and recommend in-person doctor visits when necessary. Nguyen, for instance, once urged an 85-year-old woman who contacted CirrusMD about crushing chest pain to head to an emergency room.
These companies note that a thorough medical history is not crucial for every case. They also say doctors don't always need vital signs like temperature and blood pressure, but they can coach patients through taking them if necessary. Doctors also can opt for a video or phone conversation when needed.
Even so, the companies estimate they can resolve more than 80 percent of their cases through messaging.
About 3 million people nationwide have access to CirrusMD doctors, mostly through their insurance. The insurer or employer providing the coverage pays for the service, allowing patients to chat with doctors at no charge.
At first glance, a visitor to Nguyen's Sacramento home wouldn't be able to tell if she was the doctor or the patient during her recent shift. She sat at her dining room table and tapped her iPhone to bounce between patients.
The doctor's phone started dinging shortly after her five-hour shift began.
She gave physical therapy recommendations to the pregnant woman and helped a Colorado man who hurt his back moving boxes at work. A Michigan man checked in about his sore throat as that conversation wound down.
Then the mom messaged from Mexico. Her 6-year-old started vomiting and developed a fever and diarrhea after his brother and father became sick during a vacation. Nguyen wanted to know how the boy was acting, so she asked several questions and requested a picture.
The emergency physician could tell by his skin color that he wasn't dehydrated.
"The picture itself looks reassuring," she said. "If he had encephalitis, he'd be really confused and out of it."
The doctor said she thought the boy just had a stomach bug, and she told his mother to make sure he kept drinking fluids.
Nguyen said she enjoys this type of care because the format gives her more time with patients.
"I think patients will like it a lot because most really hate going to their doctor," she said referring to the hassle of setting an appointment, getting to the office and then waiting for the visit.
Some patients simply don't have time for all that.
Ohio Wesleyan University student Jasmine Spitzer contacted a 98point6 doctor in a panic earlier this year because her throat was sore, and the music education major had an opera recital coming up. She texted for help as she walked to class.
The doctor couldn't prescribe anything. But she sent pictures of common medications Spitzer could buy, including cough drops with lower levels of menthol, which dries out vocal chords.
"I wish that there is a way for me to ... tell her, 'Thank you so much, you kind of saved my life,'" Spitzer said. "I was able to give my recital and it was great."
98point6 customers first describe their symptoms to a chatbot that uses a computer program to figure out what to ask. That information is then passed to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
"There are many, many cases where the physician does not have to ask a single additional question," CEO Robbie Cape said.
The company launched its service in January 2018 with 600 customers and expects to have about 1 million people signed up by the end of this year.
K Health also started in 2018 with a business that offers personalized health information to patients who might otherwise Google their symptoms. Those patients then have an option to chat with a doctor.
These companies say their doctors often answer an array of quick questions as well provide care. Nguyen had a Louisiana woman send her a picture of her thumb, which she punctured cleaning out a chicken coop, just to see if the doctor thought it might need attention.
Patients and doctors have long emailed outside of office visits, usually about prescription refills or follow-up questions. These newer, message-based treatments often involve care by a physician who doesn't know the patient and who may have a limited view of that person's medical history.
That concerns Bledsoe, the American College of Physicians doctor. He noted, for instance, that a patient who wants a quick prescription for another bladder infection may actually need a cancer test.
"Sometimes what seems to be a limited problem to a patient is actually part of a bigger problem that requires some more evaluation and treatment," he said.
Virtual care like this also might lead to antibiotic overprescribing, said Dr. Ateev Mehrotra. The Harvard researcher said it's probably easier for a doctor who knows a patient to explain face to face why they don't need a medicine than it would be for a stranger to deliver that news by text and risk upsetting a customer.
CirrusMD and 98point6 executives say they closely monitor antibiotic prescription rates and take other precautions. Neither company prescribes highly addictive painkillers, and 98point6 sends doctors through six months of training.
Instead of hurting care, these chat-diagnosis companies say they help by improving access, especially if someone's regular doctor isn't available.
"We're meant to fit into your life," Cape said.
Oakland, Oct 8 (AP/UNB) — Facebook has agreed to pay $40 million to advertisers who said it inflated the amount of time its users watched videos.
The San Jose Mercury News says the California-based social media giant denied any wrongdoing in a lawsuit settlement. The settlement notice was filed Friday by the plaintiffs in Oakland federal court.
Advertisers sued Facebook in 2016 over user metrics that supposedly measured the average length of time consumers spent viewing posted video ads. The lawsuit said that the time was inflated by up to 900 percent and that helped convince advertisers to buy Facebook's video advertising services.
Facebook publicly acknowledged an error in the formula. The company denied allegations that its engineers knew about problems for more than a year and did nothing.