Say it slowly: ‘Audio dilation’ could enhance hearing comprehension

By Michael Epstein

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PhD candidate John Novak prepares to demonstrate his audio dilation software at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Lab in November. (Michael Epstein/MEDILL)

John Novak thinks that we all need to slow down and listen if we want to really hear a conversation or even your favorite song.

Novak, a P.h.D. candidate studying computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Lab, has spent the last four years developing software he calls “audio dilation,” which can reduce the speed of audio streaming through a smartphone or laptop — music or a phone call — in real time with little to no effect on its clarity. Continue reading “Say it slowly: ‘Audio dilation’ could enhance hearing comprehension”

Schakowsky’s win offers hope for environmentalists

by Grace Eleyae

Supporters of Governor Quinn gather at the Allegro Hotel to await the results
Democratic supporters including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s gathered at the Allegro Hotel to await gubernatorial results. The crowd turned somber with the victory of GOP opponent Bruce Rauner in the race against Gov. Pat Quinn. Schakowsky won early in the evening with 67 percent of the vote in the 9th district race.

Environmental and health care advocates can rejoice. Incumbent Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-9th district) was elected Tuesday for her ninth consecutive term to the U.S. House of Representatives, based on 66 percent of precincts reporting. The newly re-elected congresswoman defeated opponent Susanne Atanus with almost 67 percent of the vote.

Schakowsky’s 9th district straddles the North Side of Chicago and a swathe of northern and northwestern suburbs. But her environmental and consumer concerns blanket national consumer issues involving vehicle safety, removal of various chemicals from cosmetics and improved safety for children’s products and cosmetics.

“My political career began as a consumer advocate when I led the successful campaign in 1969 to put freshness dates on products sold in the supermarket,” Schakowsky notes on her website. Continue reading “Schakowsky’s win offers hope for environmentalists”

Chicago evaluates first two patients for Ebola

Nurses in an isolation ward assist each other with the putting on of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Courtesy: www.phil.cdc.gov
Nurses in an isolation ward assist each other with the putting on of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This effort was part of a CDC-sponsored training course in Alabama. Courtesy: http://www.phil.cdc.gov

By Grace Eleyae

An adult traveling from Liberia, under observation at Rush University Medical Center, will not undergo testing for Ebola after an initial evaluation,  the Centers for Disease Control and prevention determined Wednesday. The traveler was taken to Rush Tuesday after reporting nausea and diarrhea on a flight from Liberia to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Continue reading “Chicago evaluates first two patients for Ebola”

Sugar highs: Modified product labels may help reduce intake

www.fda.gov
Graphic from http://www.fda.gov

By Sara Freund

It’s hard to resist the smell of hot gooey cinnamon rolls and syrupy holiday coffee. It hits your taste buds and releases dopamine, lighting up the brain’s reward system.

“Food labels now don’t distinguish between added sugar and natural sugar. Milk might have 12 grams of sugar but that is different from the added sugar in a candy bar,” said Isabel Maples, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Including the amount of added sugars on nutrition facts labels is one change the FDA is assessing. The FDA is still reviewing whether they will make changes proposed in February, according to FDA representative Theresa Eisenman.

Continue reading “Sugar highs: Modified product labels may help reduce intake”

Five labs to blow your mind at Chicago Ideas Week

Click here to check out our interactive preview of Chicago Ideas Week. Map by Michael Epstein.
Click here to check out our interactive preview of Chicago Ideas Week.
Map by Michael Epstein.

By Michael Epstein

Chicago Ideas Week kicks off Monday with a deluge of more than 180 enlightening things to do, including tours and hands-on activities at some of the city’s most innovative businesses. Now celebrating its fourth year, Chicago Ideas Week brings together world-class minds for discussions, events and demos.

“You go the West Coast,” said Chicago Ideas Executive Director Jessica Malkin. “You go the East Coast. There tend to be a lot of ideas-style platforms that bring lots of thinkers together and people from a lot of different sectors come to one place to interact and learn. Despite the fact you have so many Fortune 500 companies here in the Midwest and a good deal of major educational institutions, we were in a desert.”

Here are a few upcoming highlights to get excited attendees out their seats and into these new ideas. If you’re looking for more, you can check out the complete schedule for Chicago Ideas Week 2014 on the Chicago Ideas Week website. Continue reading “Five labs to blow your mind at Chicago Ideas Week”

User data privacy fuels Ello’s continued growth surge

Ello is growing. Logos from Ello.
Ello is growing. Logos from Ello.

By Michael Epstein
Are you tired of getting chased by your browser profile on Facebook, Twitter and Google? They won’t be able to reach you on Ello, the site producers promise.

Proudly declaring that Ello will never run ads or track and sell user information, the new invite-only social network, continues to sign on thousands of new users every hour. Ello became a seemingly instant internet sensation in late September by rolling out the welcome mat for social network users frustrated by the business-minded data policies of Silicon Valley giants that sell profile information and browsing habits to advertisers. Continue reading “User data privacy fuels Ello’s continued growth surge”

Navigating beyond the fads for diets that can help fight disease

fruit
National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute at http://www.smokefree.gov

By Sara Freund

The raw food diet promotes fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds but rules out fish, a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Juicing helps the body absorb nutrients more efficiently but the fiber from fruit and vegetable skin, essential for a balanced diet, is lost.

There are conflicting claims that coffee may pose an increased risk of cancer and red wine may help prevent it. The amount of information can be overwhelming especially when many experts disagree on the advice.

Continue reading “Navigating beyond the fads for diets that can help fight disease”

Running with Chicago Running Coach Bob Horwitz: Marathon Race-Day Tips

Bob Horwitz
Bob Horwitz. Photo by Robert Meyers.

Bob Horwitz, a coach for the Clocktower Runners in Chicago, writes the group’s marathon training program and will log his 19th 26.2-miler at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 12. This year marks my first big-city marathon, though I ran in a more rustic marathon in Wisconsin in 2013. Horwitz dished out advice during and after a recent run along the lakefront after overseeing a recent early-morning speed workout near the North Avenue Beach House. Use these five tips to push toward success at your fall marathon. Continue reading “Running with Chicago Running Coach Bob Horwitz: Marathon Race-Day Tips”