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Posts made in February, 2016

Fraser Institute News Release: Fraser Institute Rankings Spotlight Fastest Improving Secondary Schools in Ontario

By on Feb 29, 2016 in Press Release |

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – February 28, 2016) – Across Ontario, 68 secondary schools showed significant improvement in academic performance over the past five years, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual school rankings released today. The Report Card on Ontario’s Secondary Schools 2016 ranks 676 public, Catholic, and independent secondary schools based on seven academic indicators using data from the annual province wide tests of literacy and math skills. “Parents value the ability to track the performance of their child’s school, compare it to other schools, and easily determine if the school is improving or worsening academically,” said Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute director of school performance studies.  Among the improvers are schools from every sector, located in rural towns and big cities, and serving students with various challenges.  For example, the fastest improving school in the province-based on results from the past five years-is Deslauriers, a French-language public school in Nepean, a suburb of Ottawa. The school’s overall rating has more than doubled to 6.6 (out of 10) in 2015 from 3.1 in 2011. Another school that showed marked improvement was Goderich District. Students with special needs account for one-third of the student body, yet the school posted an overall rating of 5.9 in 2015, up from 4.3 in 2011. “It doesn’t matter where a school is located or what obstacles its students face, the results consistently show that improvement is possible,” Cowley said. “Educators at the 68 improving schools should be applauded for their success. Conversely, parents at declining schools should ask the principal what’s being done to reverse the trend.” For detailed results of all 676 schools, go to www.compareschoolrankings.org. Visitors to the site can quickly and easily see how a school is doing over the last five years on any of the indicators of academic performance, as well as the overall rating. Comparisons among schools are also easily made. Report card author Peter Cowley will be in Toronto and available for media interviews on Sunday and Monday. Fastest improving schools in the report card: School   Affiliation   Location Deslauriers   Public   Nepean Jean-Vanier   Catholic   Welland Assumption   Catholic   Windsor St. Martin   Catholic   Mississauga St. Thomas Aquinas   Catholic   Lindsay Western...

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‘Squishiness’ can indicate embryo viability, Stanford researchers find

By on Feb 28, 2016 in Press Release |

February 24, 2016 A team of bioengineers and physicians has found that the squishiness of an hour-old fertilized egg can predict its viability, a metric that could lead to safer, more successful IVF pregnancies. By Bjorn Carey Selecting the right fertilized embryo for in vitro fertilization (IVF) might be as simple as choosing a ripe piece of fruit: Just give it a squeeze. If it’s too firm or too soft, it might not be good. The sweet spot in between is just right. A new study by Stanford bioengineers and physicians finds that measuring the rigidity of an hour-old fertilized egg can predict its viability more accurately than current methods at this early stage. The technique, published today in Nature Communications, could potentially vastly improve the success rate of single-egg IVF, which consequently could improve the prognosis for both mothers and babies. Current IVF embryo screening is a relatively qualitative procedure. Scientists fertilize an egg with sperm, and five or six days later, once the embryo has reached the 60-100-cell blastocyst stage, scientists evaluate the embryos’ morphology and the rate at which cells have been dividing. The best-looking embryos that have been dividing at the “best” rate are then selected for transfer. Plucking a few cells from the blastocyst for genetic testing can increase the odds of choosing a successful embryo, but this invasive procedure can stress the embryo, even though the sample is taken from cells that will eventually form the placenta. In either case, the results are still uncertain, and the roughly 70 percent failure rate means that doctors typically implant multiple embryos into a mother’s womb, in hope that one will take hold. This can often lead to complications. “A lot of twins are born because we don’t know which embryos are viable or not, so we transfer several at one time,” said lead-author Livia Yanez, a bioengineering PhD student in David Camarillo’s lab at Stanford. “This can increase the risk of neonatal mortality and cause complications for babies and the mothers. “We wanted to develop a mechanical test that could ascertain embryo viability well enough that doctors could implant just one embryo and have a very good feeling that it would be viable,” she said...

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Nintendo NX News: Release Date and Partnership with EA Hinted

By on Feb 27, 2016 in Press Release |

REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson A Nintendo video game logo is seen at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles, California, United States, June 17, 2015. With fans anticipating the release of the upcoming console from Nintendo, details about the new device were recently revealed. It was revealed that Nintendo will be making a big release in the upcoming year. It was stated that the company will put focus on the Nintendo NX, as well as the mobile gaming market. However, there has yet to be any official news coming from the company regarding its plans for the year. A user named Trevelayan999 revealed some information regarding the release of the new console on NeoGAF. The user stated, “My verified source from Nintendo has informed and shown proof of an internal US marketing budget and scheduling overview for 2016 focusing on Wii U and 3DS, with key parts highlighting The Legend of Zelda NX to be a holiday 2016 release either same day at Zelda Wii U or shortly after during the Nintendo NX holiday 2016 launch window.” He also stated that the Launch games for the Nintendo NX besides the Zelda NX have yet to be revealed. In addition, it was stated that the company has a large budget for the games and consoles released this year. Furthermore, there have been rumors regarding what the upcoming console can present for the company. It was stated that the company could reunite with EA, in order to move forward with their products. Rumors began circulating when it was reported that EA and Nintendo were holding several meetings together. With that, fans have been anticipating their partnership once again. The possibility of it was also hinted previously when the CEO of Nintendo John Riccitiello teased abou it. However, it has yet to be confirmed. While Nintendo has yet to release any information, it was stated that they will be giving out more details regarding their new product this...

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The five components of a winning press release

By on Feb 27, 2016 in Press Release |

While companies have more ways than ever to distribute important announcements at little or no cost, the formal press release is still alive and well. The reason? A good press release is still capable of driving earned media. Unfortunately, many companies fail to craft press releases that contain the components necessary for success. Here are five of them that every company should keep in mind. A compelling story If your press release fails to attract attention, the most likely reason will be that it doesn’t tell a compelling enough story. While the launch of an upgraded product, for example, might be big news within a company, it might be of limited interest to the outside world. On the other hand, press releases that provide value to readers, such as unique insight, are far more likely to resonate. That’s why it’s so important to reflect on the story you’re trying to tell before a single word is written. Is there enough to warrant attention from the media, your industry and the public at large? If the answer isn’t realistically “yes,” a press release might not be worth the investment. A good headline Steak is a must, but when it comes to press releases, a little sizzle helps a lot too. Because literally thousands of press releases hit the wires daily, it can be very difficult to cut through the clutter without an eye-catching and succinct headline. When it comes to coming up with the perfect headline, don’t just think clickbait. Instead, it can be helpful to apply the same process you might use when creating copy for AdWords ads. A few meaningful quotes While the journalists and bloggers most interested in your press release will likely reach out to you for additional information, there are times when your story will be covered without follow-up. Adding a few quotes from company leadership or key stakeholders to your press release can be very helpful in these situations because journalists and bloggers often want them and will use them. Responsive, empowered contacts It is crucial that the contacts listed in the press release are available and able to respond quickly to enquiries from journalists and bloggers. Because journalists and bloggers are often working on...

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