Tag Archives: Analysis

Video: Here’s Digital Foundry’s Technical Analysis Of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD On Nintendo Switch

It’s been quite a while since Digital Foundry investigated a Nintendo Switch release, but now John Linneman is back to see how The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD holds up.

He describes it as “more than just a remaster” of the original 2011 Wii release thanks to not only the improved graphics but also the quality of life improvements. The game makes the jump from a 480p output on Wii to 1080p docked and 720p in handheld on the Switch. The framerate is 60fps in most cases, excluding some more heated moments.

In addition to this, there have been improvements to texture qualities, the Wii’s “colour dithering” has been completely eliminated – enhancing the overall image quality, and the loading is also highlighted as being drastically faster. We were equally as impressed. Nintendo also managed to maintain the original look of assets while at the same time providing a higher resolution look.

Video: Here's Digital Foundry's Technical Analysis Of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD On Nintendo Switch

Have you tried out Skyward Sword HD on the Nintendo Switch? What are your thoughts so far? Leave a comment down below.

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This post originally posted here Nintendo Life | Latest News

Eurozone warning: Delta variant and surging cases could spark crisis – stark analysis

Eurozone warning: Delta variant and surging cases could spark crisis - stark analysis

A new survey by Reuters showed nearly nine out of 10 economists polled warned new Covid variants are the biggest risk to the eurozone, which they currently believe will grow by 4.5 percent in 2021. In addition, the latest coronavirus tracker from Reuters has revealed infections, while in most cases remaining below their historic highs, are rising in all but a handful of European countries. Oxford Economics has also collected data that shows the Delta variant now accounts for most new Covid cases in Britain, Portugal and Austria, and over 40 percent of infections in Germany, Spain and Denmark.

The researchers said the impact on the respected economies is hard to predict at the moment.

However, those countries with higher vaccination rates can take some comfort from the muted rise in hospitalisations and death rates in Britain and Israel.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, the UK’s newly-appointed Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed all remaining restrictions in England will be lifted from next Monday, although he and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have urged the population to continue being cautious.

But in a huge warning from a research note from July 12, Oxford Economics said: “Nonetheless if economies reopen and allow cases to surge, the economic gains could prove illusory if Covid-related absences trigger major disruption to businesses and higher cases prompt greater voluntary social distancing.”

Governments throughout Europe are so far refusing a return to full lockdowns over fears of a repeat of the devastating economic impact and the possibility of denting the strong rebound in activity during the last quarter.

But in France, Emmanuel Macron has announced mandatory proof of vaccination or negative tests for some public spaces, coming days after Portugal, the Netherlands and some areas of Spain reintroduced restrictions.

The French President said all health workers in the country must get Covid jabs by September 15, adding vaccination would not be compulsory for the general public for now but stressed that restrictions would focus on those who are not vaccinated.

He said in a televised address to the nation: “We must go towards vaccination of all French people, it is the only way towards a normal life.”

READ MORE: You’re on your own, Emmanuel! Merkel breaks EU ranks with France

Officials in the country are adamant Covid measures should remain in place until more of the country has been vaccinated.

But German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said a new lockdown would be “absolutely the worst thing and to be avoided at all costs”.

The Netherlands has cited the rising Delta variant as the reason for reintroducing strict measures for nightclubs, festivals and restaurants on Friday.

In Spain, the northern Catalonia region has cut bar opening hours and towns in nearby Valencia have been authorised to bring back curfews.

The whole of Europe is keeping a close eye on developments in England when restrictions are lifted from next Monday, with many officials regarding Boris Johnson’s reopening plan as extremely risky.

Workers will still have to self-isolate when notified by an official app – but that has consistently led to significant labour shortages in hospitality and other sectors.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

Analysis: The pandemic may be better, but it’s not over

Analysis: The pandemic may be better, but it's not over
Time and again — as social distancing, families forced to stay apart and economic upheaval battered morale — the nation has shown it’s ready for the nightmare to end. But the virus doesn’t work on human or political timetables. Now there are warning signs that troubling days are ahead, threatening to escalate the political tensions of a period that has torn at bitter ideological divides.
It all adds up to a serious problem for the White House, which has touted its competence in managing the vaccine rollout and handling the Covid crisis it inherited.
On Thursday, Pfizer reported that protection from its vaccine appeared to be waning over time and that it was developing a booster that should be taken between six and 12 months after recipients got their second doses, in order to restore full effectiveness. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration followed up that announcement with one of their own, in an effort to assure Americans that they don’t need to get booster shots yet and that those agencies will make the decision on when or whether those shots are needed.
The good news is that the vaccine still has an extraordinarily high rate of preventing serious illness and death. So the miracle of Covid-19 vaccines remains intact, as there had long been expectations that boosters would be needed. But the latest development does suggest it will be imperative to extend a huge government inoculation effort into the future.
That will further complicate the task facing the White House at a moment when millions of skeptical Americans are balking at a first round of injections despite the success of the vaccine rollout.
“It is hard to imagine we are going to be able to immunize 200 to 300 million people every year to this,” Dr Zeke Emanuel, a former health policy adviser to President Barack Obama, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
“That would be a huge challenge. We are already having difficulty immunizing people in the States just for the first round; imagine having to do it every year.”
There is increasing data to show that vaccine holdouts are disproportionately in states that voted Republican in the last election, underscoring the difficulty the Democratic White House has in boosting vaccination rates. A cluster of hot spots, meanwhile, in the Southern and Southwestern US threaten to not only increase cases among unprotected people but also to act as breeding grounds for new variants that could compromise the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

Rising cases in nearly half of the states

In another sign of the pandemic’s enduring threat, the quick-fire spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has thrown a blanket decline in cases into reverse, with 24 states now suffering upward trends. The more transmissible properties of the variant mean that it is even more dangerous to the unvaccinated than previous incarnations of the virus.
Given rising cases in the summer, experts worry that the colder fall and winter months could see a further surge in cases, deaths and overloading of already exhausted hospital staff. While a new national crisis remains unlikely, severe regional outbreaks could revive the need for shutdowns, masking and social distancing — and bring all the political tensions that come with such measures.
“By the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall, some of those places with well-below-average vaccination rates are going to be in full surge mode,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN’s John King on “Inside Politics.” “Other parts of the United States are going to look like no more pandemic.”
The idea that political motivations could be dictating vaccine reluctance is all the more tragic because of the stellar effectiveness of the vaccines.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House Covid-19 briefing Thursday that “99.5% of deaths from Covid-19 in the United States were in unvaccinated people.”
“Those deaths were preventable with a simple, safe shot,” Walensky said.
Perceptions that millions of Republican voters are risking what West Virginia GOP Gov. Jim Justice calls a “death lottery” were given fresh credence by a new report released on Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which showed a widening discrepancy in vaccination rates between counties that voted for Biden and ones that voted for Republican then-President Donald Trump last November.
In April, Trump country had an average vaccination rate of 20.6%, compared with 22.8% in Biden territory. By July, corresponding rates stood at 35% and 46.7%, a 9.5 percentage point jump in the gap.
The message of such data is clear: The nation’s hopes of eradicating Covid-19 may increasingly rest on the willingness of Republicans to change their minds about the vaccines.
This group is the least likely to be convinced by Biden’s appeals to take the shot and has an ingrained distrust of government. It is also more likely to be influenced by misinformation about the vaccine program that proliferates on conservative media and social media networks.

Biden pleads with holdouts to get vaccinated

The White House has announced new approaches to reach those unwilling to get vaccinated, including a greater reliance on general practitioners and pediatricians to reach young people older than 12, who are eligible to be vaccinated. It has also sent rapid response teams into areas where the virus is particularly widespread and where vaccine reluctance is high.
In recent days, officials — including Biden and the government’s top infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci — have been on television pleading with people to get their shots.
“Please get vaccinated now. It works. It’s free. And it’s never been easier, and it’s never been more important,” Biden said on Tuesday.
“Do it now — for yourself and the people you care about; for your neighborhood; for your country. It sounds corny, but it’s a patriotic thing to do.”
But some public health experts now think a more coercive approach might be needed — even if the slightest suggestion of mandating vaccines would inflame conservative opinion. Right-wing pro-Trump Republicans like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado have already this week compared Biden’s vaccine teams to Nazis.
Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner, told CNN on Thursday that the administration should try changing its tone — and start to stress that collective vaccination in personal and professional settings represents the best route to staying healthy.
“The federal government should be clear that vaccines are not just about the individual right now. There seems to be this messaging coming from the Biden administration that if you are vaccinated you are protected,” she said, noting that such a line did not take into account people who remain immunocompromised or the possibility of breakthrough infections.
Such an adjustment might convince more businesses, schools and workplaces to put their own vaccine mandates in place and to encourage the wider effort to inoculate as many Americans as possible, Wen said.
Her argument gets to the most challenging aspect of this new phase of a crisis that, while far less severe than it once was, is also a long way from ending.
“Our problem at the moment is not, ‘Can Pfizer produce a vaccine?’ ” Emanuel said. “The problem is, ‘Will Americans take it?’ “

Author: Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
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Analysis: A very unlikely leader of the Covid-19 vaccine push

Analysis: A very unlikely leader of the Covid-19 vaccine push
Jim Justice, the Mountain State’s governor, switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party in August 2017 — announcing the move at a rally for Trump in the state.
“Today I will tell you as West Virginians, I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat governor,” Justice said at the rally. “So tomorrow, I will be changing my registration to Republican.”
None of that would have predicted this: Justice has been one of the leading voices pushing for vaccinations of his citizens.
“If you’re out there in West Virginia, and you’re not vaccinated today, what’s the downside?” Justice said during a televised coronavirus briefing earlier this week. “If all of us were vaccinated, do you not believe that less people would die? If you’re not vaccinated, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”
West Virginia, despite a very fast start to its vaccination efforts, has seen its numbers slow considerably. While more than 77% of those 65 and older in the state are fully vaccinated, only 54% of all West Virginians over 12 have received both shots, according to state Covid-19 data. All told, 39% of the West Virginians are fully vaccinated, which puts it on the lower end of states.
(Sidebar: While vaccinations need not be political, Trump’s skepticism about the virus’s severity and his doubts about mask-wearing have ensured that red states are, generally speaking, vaccinated at a much lower rate than blue states.)
This isn’t the first time that Justice has broken with his Party when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. 
Back in February, Justice spoke out — on CNN among other media outlets — about his belief that Congress needed to “go big” with its coronavirus stimulus package. (West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s vote to pass the $ 1.9 trillion measure via budget reconciliation shortly after the Justice public prodding.)
“We absolutely need to quit thinking first and foremost, ‘What is the right Republican or right Democrat thing to do,'” Justice explained to the New York Times of his support for a big stimulus package. “I have been a business guy all my life, and I know that when you have a real problem, you can’t cut your way out of the problem. Too often we try to skinny everything down and not fund it properly.”
What explains Justice’s blunt talk on vaccines? Well, he’s term limited out of his job in 2024. He’s also 70 years old, a party switcher and a billionaire. (He’s a coal magnate.)
The Point: Justice is way beyond political concerns at this point in his term — and his life. Which allows him, at least in regard Covid-19 vaccinations, to simply do the right thing.

Author: Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
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Analysis: Trump accidentally told the truth about his disinformation strategy

Analysis: Trump accidentally told the truth about his disinformation strategy
Witness this line from his July 3 speech in Sarasota, Florida: 
“If you say it enough and keep saying it, they’ll start to believe you.” 
Trump was talking about alleged disinformation directed at him and other Republicans. But WOW does that quote explain everything you need to know about his approach to the presidency and life.
(Sidebar: One can only hope that Trump was unaware that his quote was a near-replication of this infamous line from Nazi Joseph Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”)
Trump has spent a lifetime — in business and politics — repeating exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies to make himself look good.
The books he wrote prior to politics are littered with quotes extolling the virtues of making up a reality and then repeating it until people start to believe it.
“I play to people’s fantasies,” he wrote in “The Art of the Deal.” “People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole.”
“If you admit defeat, then you will be defeated,” Trump wrote in “Think Big.”
Once he came into the presidency, Trump, unsurprisingly, kept it up. 
“Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Trump told a VFW group in 2018. “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Unfortunately, Trump’s blueprint works.
Take the 2020 election. Despite zero evidence of any sort of widespread election fraud, a majority (53%) of Republicans said in a Reuters/Ipsos national poll in late May that President Joe Biden’s victory was “the result of illegal voting or election rigging.” More than 6 in 10 Republicans (61%) agreed with the statement that the election “was stolen from Donald Trump.”
Siloed in news bubbles and social groups that sync up entirely with their own views and “facts,” a large chunk of Republican voters have been convinced that the election was somehow stolen — largely because, well, Trump told them it was.
To take advantage of trust people put in you — as well as their narrow news diet — is, of course, deeply irresponsible. And the opposite of what it means to be a leader.
But for Trump, “winning” is the only goal — and the single measure by which he wants to be judged. Truth (and its consequences) be damned.
The Point: Trump’s willingness to mislead people solely for his own purposes may well be the most dangerous attribute of a man with lots and lots of them.

Author: Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
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New Analysis Puts US Psoriasis Prevalence at 3%

New Analysis Puts US Psoriasis Prevalence at 3%

Psoriasis affects over 7.5 million adults in the United States, with prevalence nearly twice as high among Whites as non-Whites, according to an analysis of national survey data from 2011 to 2014.

“The adult prevalence rate of 3.0% continues to place psoriasis as one of the most common immune-mediated diseases affecting adults” in the United States, April W. Armstrong, MD, MPH, and associates said in a report published in JAMA Dermatology. At that rate, approximately 7,560,000 Americans aged 20 years or older have psoriasis.

That overall rate among adults aged 20 years and older, based on data from the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), did not change significantly when compared with the 2003-2004 NHANES, when it was 3.15% among those aged 20-59, said Armstrong, professor of dermatology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and associates.

For the 2011-2014 period, psoriasis prevalence was similar between women (3.2%) and men (2.8%) but was significantly associated with older age and White/non-White status. Those aged 50-59 years had the highest prevalence of any age group at 4.3% and those aged 70 and older had a rate of 3.9%, while those aged 20-29 were the lowest at 1.6%, the investigators reported.

The prevalence in non-Hispanic Whites in the United States was 3.6% over the study period, and their odds ratio for having psoriasis was 1.92, compared with non-White individuals. Asian respondents had a prevalence of 2.5%, with the Hispanic population at 1.9%, non-Hispanic Black respondents at 1.5%, and those identifying as other (including multiracial persons) at 3.1%, they said.

The NHANES sample consisted of 12,638 people who had participated in the question that asked if they had ever been diagnosed with psoriasis by a physician or other health care professional, of whom 12,625 gave a definitive yes or no answer, the investigators noted.

A much smaller number, 329, also answered a question about the severity of their disease: Fifty-six percent had little or no psoriasis, almost 22% reported 1-2 palms of involvement, 16% had 3-10 palms of involvement, and 5.5% said the coverage was more than 10 palms. Since the survey did not distinguish between treated and untreated patients, however, some “of those reporting low body surface area involvement may be receiving treatments that are controlling their otherwise more extensive disease,” they wrote.

Armstrong and another investigator said that they have received grants, personal fees, and honoraria from a number of pharmaceutical companies; two other investigators are employees of the National Psoriasis Foundation.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

Author: Richard Franki
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Analysis: Crime is becoming one of America’s biggest political issues

Analysis: Crime is becoming one of America's biggest political issues
A version of this story appeared in CNN’s What Matters newsletter. To get it in your inbox, sign up for free here.
This new societal crisis is already turning political:
  • President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced new measures Wednesday to respond to this rising crime wave.
  • Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former New York Police Department captain, is leading the pack of New York mayoral primary candidates as counting entered the ranked-choice phase. He ran a law and order campaign far from the “defund the police” chants that echoed among liberals on Twitter last year.
  • Republicans are likely to carry the perception of the nation’s cities overrun by crime into the 2022 midterm elections.
  • The political divide on crime will grow as Biden and Democrats focus on guns, which are involved in most murders, as the root of the problem, and Republicans blame liberal mayors and governors and lax attitudes toward policing. “We will make sure you can’t sell death and mayhem on our streets,” Biden said on Wednesday. “It is an outrage. It has to end and we will end it.”
Violent crime is up. Violent crime and murder rates are certainly up around the country compared to recent years (crime, more generally, is often down). The FBI should release final data for 2020 in the fall, although this year it has changed the way it collects data on violent crime, so it will be difficult to compare year over year. Murder rates, already creeping up from a low of 4.4 murders per 100,000 people in 2014, certainly increased during and now after the pandemic.
The national murder rate of around five murders per 100,000 people in 2019 — is about half its all time recorded high in 1980, when more than 10 Americans for every 100,000 were murdered. Covid, by comparison, has killed more than 183 Americans per 100,000 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
We do know that murders rose dramatically in many places in 2020. Cities, which maintain their own data, have shown sharp increases.
In New York City, there was a 97% increase, from 777 shootings in 2019, to 1,531 in 2020, according to City data. This year is off to an even worse start. There have been 718 shootings and 212 murders in New York, as of June 27, according to the NYPD.
Still much lower than the ’90s in New York. These numbers, while horrifying, are still far below the more-than 2,000 annual murders New York saw in the early 1990s. Other types of violent crime are even more reduced.
The rise is everywhere. It’s not just US cities seeing a rise in murders.
“This is an American problem,” said Jeff Asher, a Louisiana-based data analyst for AH Datalytics. He tracks murder rates in 72 cities and has seen a rise almost everywhere.
“We have a tendency to see changes in murder rates through the eyes of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles just because those are big cities, they have lots of murders because they have lots of people and they tend to have relatively easily available data,” he said in a phone conversation.
“But as far as a tool for understanding why trends are happening, they’re limited in their usefulness because in this case, it was sort of historic and it was everywhere.”
One example. In South Carolina, for instance, which has a smaller population than New York City, murders were up 25% in 2020 to 571.
South Carolina had the fifth worst murder rate of any state in 2019, according to FBI data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 11 people per 100,000 dying by homicide.
Most of the states with the worst homicide rates were in the South, although New Mexico, Alaska and Maryland had murder rates over 10 people per 100,000.
Where are the most murders? The South. According to FBI reviews of homicide data, the South as a whole routinely has the more homicides than other regions — it had more than 48% of the country’s murders in 2019, despite having a bit less than 40% of the nation’s population, according to the Census Bureau.
The nation’s deadliest city is not in the South, however. In 2019 it was St. Louis, in the Midwest, although here’s an interesting New York Times analysis of the crime rate there, which is affected by the fact that other cities draw boundaries that include more suburban areas.
These numbers are all very antiseptic. There’s a human tragedy in every murder. No, Chicago is not the murder capital of the country. But more than 50 children have been shot there this year and ten have died from gun violence, according to the Sun-Times.
Why is this happening? CNN and other outlets have been charting the rise in violent crime. CNN correspondent Josh Campbell wrote last August about the rise and tried to get at what’s behind it. This is a good and thoughtful story and it’s hard to pull out just one thought from it in part because it does not identify a single cause, although it examines how debates over policing have led to mistrust of police compounded by the social anxiety brought on by Covid. That frustration works both ways.
This year, CNN’s Jim Sciutto spent days on patrol in the Bronx with NYPD and found a serious morale problem. The NYPD is shedding officers. Watch here.
What will Biden do? CNN’s Kevin Liptak and Jeff Zeleny note that Biden has a long history with criminal justice reform. He helped write the 1994 crime bill that addressed an even worse crime situation decades ago, but ultimately led to an unfair increase in incarceration for Black Americans.
Now, according to CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Biden has announced a comprehensive strategy on violent crime prevention — with a particular emphasis on gun crimes.
Biden, Vazquez reports, plans to sign executive actions with a particular focus on tamping down gun crimes, according to officials who spoke with reporters Tuesday night, and again called on Congress to take steps to enact new gun control laws. Senior administration officials also told reporters Tuesday evening that Biden’s plan will rely on using American Rescue Plan dollars for more flexible applications, including hiring law enforcement above pre-pandemic levels or using the funds toward community violence intervention programs.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly conflated data sets for shootings and murders.

Author: Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
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