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Jun 29, 2013

News :: European R&D leader in travel and tourism calls hoteliers to embrace innovation with them

Amadeus has yet again ranked as the European Research & Development (R&D) leader in the travel and tourism industry, according to the 2012 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard – an annual European Commission report that ranks the largest 1,000 European companies by total investment in R&D. 

This award recognises Amadeus’ commitment to R&D and emphasis on innovation, which is one of the drivers behind Amadeus’ progress and growth. With a team of over 4,500 people split across sixteen centres around the world (Nice, London, Sydney, Antwerp, Aachen, Frankfurt, Munich, Boston, Miami, Toronto, Strasbourg, Tucson, Bangalore, Bogota, Warsaw and Bangkok), the desire for innovation spreads throughout all sectors in Amadeus.
Amadeus invested €347.5 million during 2011, an increase of 6.7% on 2010, to research and develop technologies for use in the travel sector. This investment represented 12.7% of revenues and helped the company maintain it number one position in Europe by total R&D investment in the area of travel and tourism.
Hervé Couturier, Executive Vice President, R&D, Amadeus IT Group, said: “Naturally we are very pleased to see that our investment in R&D has been highlighted again by this important European Commission study. Equally we are very proud to be ranked again as a leader in the travel and tourism area. This further emphasises our reputation for innovation”.

Innovation in hotels

In recent years, Amadeus’ R&D efforts have particularly focused on the hospitality industry.
In 2010, Amadeus launched the Amadeus Hotel Platform, an integrated and centralised hotel IT solution for hotel chains that is set to transform the way hotels do business. Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, it combines central reservation system, above-property management solution, call centre, distribution to any channel, e-commerce, m-commerce and business intelligence into one fully integrated platform.

This platform is designed to support hotels in the current era of globalisation and expansion, enabling them to respond to changing traveller demands. Amadeus Hotel Platform is not only a unique solution in the industry but is also an excellent example of a platform conceived from an Open Systems approach and developed with the proliferation of cloud computing in mind.

Innovation in the cloud

In January this year, Amadeus Hotels published Clearing the Cloud; Best of Open Systems and Cloud for hotel business optimisation, a report that makes the case for hoteliers to embrace the Open Source Software revolution in order to benefit from greater innovation.
Whether the hotelier is battling with unwieldy legacy systems, trying to reduce costs across IT systems or looking for that something extra to gain competitive advantage, the report examines the suitability of Open Source Software. The report also outlines the specific benefits to be gained from switching to Open Source software which include: innovation, cost-efficiency, security, scalability and responsiveness.

The future

Amadeus has not only pioneered the use of open systems within Amadeus Hotel Platform but also within Amadeus’ own business making them a clear example of the benefits from innovation. 

Hervé Couturier said, “Nonetheless, our desire for innovation has not yet been satisfied and R&D will continue to inspire our evolution as a large-scale technology pioneer in 2013 and beyond”.

Jun 28, 2013

News :: What are the five essentials global hoteliers should demand from IT providers?

Technology is changing – particularly in the hospitality sector. Guests demand greater online interaction and more tailored offers. Shareholders want greater cost savings to drive profitability following the sluggish performance of the hotel sector in the last two years. Hotel groups need to relentlessly search for new revenue opportunities, and need to act quickly to secure them. In this era of change, hoteliers face a crucial question: what to demand of IT providers?
With IT becoming an essential component of effective corporate strategy, it is important to get fundamentals right. Through discussions with industry analysts, commentators and hotel groups, analysing surveys, and considering recent research, five key themes have emerged on what global hoteliers should demand from IT providers:

The ability to cope with global expansion and business consolidation as the market demands – even when these shifts happen rapidly

Over the past decade, the technological demands of hotels have grown significantly. Such demands occur on two levels: the growing extent of information surrounding each guest; and the need for operational agility. Relating to the first, hoteliers have increasingly focused on developing specific customer relationship management programs to foster cradle-to-grave brand loyalty, requiring capturing and storing information on guest activities and preferences. Simultaneously, guests themselves have increasingly demanded more sophisticated technological facilities, mostly before and during their stay. Relating to the second, unpredictable markets and shifting economies require hotels to adjust accordingly. IT providers must be able to meet these adjustments in an agile, responsive manner. For instance, advertising sites and search engines are increasingly able to propose leads to hoteliers in real time, requiring hoteliers to accept or reject these leads in real time too. This requires not so much a large amount of data as it does the ability to process quickly the qualifications of a lead against an extensive amount of data – which in turn requires IT providers suited to the task. Such operational agility is particularly important for growing hotel chains.

A vision towards the future and a focus on innovation

While Hoteliers focus on their own business, they may not have the possibility to focus so much on technology. Hoteliers may struggle to transform and develop IT technologies themselves. Indeed, in the past, hoteliers tended to be almost reluctant to invest in IT, arriving late to technological change. Yet now the consumer is pressing for technological development, and the e-commerce/mobile trend in the market is becoming an increasing reality.

Given this, hoteliers must look for IT providers that both integrate new technology, and that possess a future-oriented vision to determine what technological actions should be taken. Integrating new technology refers to the ability of IT providers to work with new applications, keeping up with and driving change. Studies have shown that hoteliers should expect the next decade to demand enhanced websites, upgraded Central Reservation Systems and internet booking engines, new means of promotion, and an increased interaction with technology. Customisable website booking options is thought to be the number one emerging technology trend. Artificial Intelligence-based technologies used to forecast food and beverage demand more accurately will become more common. Mobile technology is increasingly being used by consumers to interact with hotels, leading to pressure for specialised websites and interfaces.

Can the IT provider handle these approaching demands? Indeed, can they not just meet these changes, but actually drive change forward, operating as a proactive rather than reactive force for the hoteliers? Understanding such trends and future developments require constant immersion in the IT world, combined with a serious focus on the omnipresent question of ‘what is next’. Hoteliers deserve IT providers that can both respond to, and lead, innovation.

Present a track record of success

IT providers should have demonstrated in the past that they have the delivery capabilities and know-how to take on major industry challenges. They need to be able to handle global, complex implementations and on-going support for clients. How many dedicated client-facing and research and development staff do they have? How many years of experience do they possess managing portfolios? What is their track record in dealing with heavy transaction processing? The absence of such a background could be dangerous for hoteliers. For instance, the web often has a high ‘look to book’ ratio. If IT providers have been unable to handle heavy transaction processing in the past, this suggests they will continue to do so in the future – meaning this ‘look to book’ ratio will struggle against bad technology, and the hotelier would lose business. Again, hoteliers require IT providers that are future-proof – and in this case with the background to prove it.

Possess robust, stable and secure systems

A hotelier needs to be able to rely on their IT provider. They must be able to trust that the IT provider’s system is at once stable, secure and robust. A recent study indicated that more than 55% of credit card fraud comes from the hospitality industry. Unpatched systems, storing prohibited data, using low-strength passwords, and operating via unsecured web applications have all been cited as leading to credit card fraud. Security is crucial to protecting the reputation of the hotel brand. What can the IT provider offer to ensure guests are protected? Likewise, what happens when complications arise that challenge the stability of an IT provider, such as a natural disaster or a power outing? Infrastructure, system strength and security must be at the top of any priority list, providing not simply stability but high level stability within a heavy transactional environment.

Thus IT providers should offer innovative, forward-looking solutions. Data monitoring and data surveillance are obvious steps. Increasingly important to security is the use of hybrid-cloud technology. The managed nature of certain cloud structures helps ensure that important data is stored within a secure, stable location outside the hotels. Should a natural disaster or power outage occur, stressing the infrastructure of the hotel or the IT provider, cloud computing helps ensure data is housed within a stable cloud environment. IT providers should also offer systems secure not only in the present, but in the future, considering projected security developments like ambient intelligence, knowledge mining, biometrics and predictive analytics.

Offer development that is conscious of expenditure

For hoteliers, budgets inevitably factor into cohesive business plans. IT providers should be conscious of this, operating in such a way that a hotelier’s investment is maximised. A recent study determined that not having the budget to make necessary improvements was the biggest challenge for IT departments, even as such developments and improvements were considered to be crucial. Likewise, projects supporting both cost-savings and revenue generating were ranked first (97%) as the main driver for technology initiatives. Thus hoteliers should ask: what is the IT provider doing to accommodate financial realities? How are they addressing expenditures without hindering development? For instance, some IT providers invest their own extensive funds into a centralised system, enabling hoteliers to access the benefits of these systems without having to likewise expend such capital upfront. Hoteliers should consider the capex versus the opex commitments required to modernise their systems.
Inevitably, this is only the start. There will be other things hoteliers should demand from IT providers – such as sector experience and an ability to quickly meet needs, to name only two. But the five demands listed above are crucial as hoteliers consider their IT needs. They allow hoteliers to work with IT providers towards future-proof, secure, client-focused, business-aware development. They encourage advancement with stability and affordability with innovation. In short, they are demands worth making.

Technology :: Genetic survey sheds light on Oceans' lean, mean microbial machines

Planktonic bacteria inhabiting the world's oceans have streamlined their genetic makeup to become lean, mean survival machines, according to new research by an international team of researchers, including microbiologists at the University of British Columbia.

The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first direct evidence of widespread genome reduction—organisms evolving to cast off superfluous genes and traits in favor of simpler, specialized genetic make-ups optimized for rapid growth.

"Microbes are the dominant form of life on the planet and comprise a huge proportion of the oceans' biomass, but we know next to nothing about how populations exist, evolve and interact outside of the lab," says UBC microbiologist Steven Hallam, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Genomics and author on the paper.

"This widespread, signal cell genome sequencing of marine bacteria in the surface ocean has uncovered a surprising amount of metabolic specialization. This tendency toward genome reduction has profound implications for how microbial communities develop metabolic interactions that couple nutrient and energy flow patterns in the ocean. It could be a matter of survival of the most connected."

Says Ramunas Stepanauskas, director of the Bigelow Single Cell Genomics Centre and the paper's lead author: "We found that natural bacterioplankton are devoid of 'genomic pork' such as gene duplications and noncoding nucleotides, and utilize more diverse energy sources than previously thought."

Samples of planktonic bacteria were targeted from the Gulf of Maine, the Mediterranean, the South Atlantic and other sites. Data from northeast subarctic Pacific samples—taken over a six year period from the waters between Saanich Inlet and Ocean Station Papa along the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Line P transect was provided by Hallam's team.

Jun 26, 2013

Nano :: Fast pollutant degradation by nanosheets

Waste from textile and paint industries often contains organic dyes such as methylene blue as pollutants. Photocatalysis is an efficient means of reducing such pollution, and molybdenum trioxide (MoO3) catalyzes this degradation. Researchers from Bangalore, India, led by C. N. R. Rao now report no less than four methods to produce nanosheets made of very few layers of MoO3. This material is more efficient as a photocatalyst than bulk MoO3, they write in Chemistry—An Asian Journal.

Read more at: n-type semiconductor molybdenum trioxide is used widely in heterogeneous catalysis. The Indian team prepared nanosheets of MoO3 by oxidation of MoS2 nanosheets, by using graphene oxide as a template, and by intercalation with LiBr into the bulk material or its ultrasonication. When used as a photocatalyst in the degradation of methylene blue, a heterocyclic aromatic dye, the researchers found few-layered MoO3 to afford nearly complete degradation of the dye in less than 10 minutes, whereas only about one-third of the dye was degraded during this period with the bulk compound.

"As MoO3 holds great potential in applications ranging from gas sensing to energy storage, our study will likely spur further research on few-layer MoO3," says Rao. Indeed, further results reported in their study suggest that a composite of this material with a borocarbonitride is promising as an electrode material for supercapacitors. It will be interesting to see what is coming next for this intriguing few-layer nanostructure.

Read more at:

Jun 25, 2013

Hotel Technology :: 8 Hotels for Geeks of All Ages

You know how much we love cool hotel technology here on HotelChatter but today we're spotlighting some hotels that go far beyond offering giant flat-screen TVs, bedside control panels, TVs in the bathroom mirrors and even gold iPads. While we've yet to find a hotel that allows guests to borrow a pair of Google Glasses during their stay, these hotels are truly forward-thinking in their amenities and their experiences,except for the one that offers a cassette tape player in the room. But we had to include that one. We had to!

Whatever sci-fi fantasy tickles your pickle—perhaps plugged into the grid like in "The Matrix," abducted and organ-farmed by aliens—the 9hours Hotel in Kyoto, Japan is about as close to it in real life as you can get. The property is a simple, nearly windowless building in an alley near Kyoto's Kawaramachi Station and, like other Japanese capsule hotels, it specializes in giving the weary worker or traveler one solid night of bare-bones rest in a sparkling clean, sex-segregated environment.
Unlike other Japanese capsule hotels, however, it's prime focus is on good living through good design. Alarms are soundless; ambient lighting gradually awakens the sleeper without disturbing other capsules. Pajamas and basic toiletries are provided, and the WiFi is free (but kept out of sleeping quarters). We paid 4,900 JPY ($48) just a few days ago and would do it again, sci-fi fantasies or no.

Speaking of capsule hotels, Japan has actually expanded upon the concept to create a small chain of sleeping pod rooms called The First Cabin. Modeled after the semi-private quarters of airplane first-class suites, each guest is assigned one room identical to the rest. Inside is a large Sony flatscreen TV (only watchable by using the provided noise-cancelling headphones so as not to disturb others), pajamas, basic toiletries, a lockable storage drawer and several power outlets and free WiFi.
Since it's a chain, we chose the Osaka location as the geekiest owing to its libraries of manga novels and its location near Dotonbori, a mecca for foodies. Even better is they're growing; First Cabin currently has branches in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo's Haneda Airport, but this June they'll debut in central Tokyo's Akihabara district, a name synonymous with "otaku" or geek culture. Rates start at 3,300 JPY ($32) in Osaka and only 2,800 ($27) in Kyoto.

Technology : America's 10 highest-tech hotels

Whether you're on business or vacation, if you're sleeping in anything more sophisticated than a zippered sack, staying connected is a necessary part of travel.

For years, a crusty USB jack and some intermittent Wi-Fi were enough to constitute a full suite of technological hotel amenities.

How 2.0.

Today's future-forward lodge has to offer in-room nightclub lighting and 3D television just to keep up with the Skywalkers.

The new breed of techie lodging is no less a hotel than a Best Buy with blankets.

These 10 wired hotels are tops among the gadget set.

Hotel 1000, Seattle

Don't be fooled by the design-intensive vibe of this downtown Seattle hotel. Behind the chic décor and furnishings it's a fully networked technolodge.

Highlights include a silent infrared doorbell with sensors that detect body heat (so housekeeping knows when not to interrupt), smart climate control settings, a digital do-not-disturb button and a 40-inch LCD HDTV that doubles as a digital art gallery, displaying works that you can personally select.

There's video-on-demand, surround sound, satellite radio, high-speed Wi-Fi (included with room) and a slew of media hubs for every gadget imaginable.

What's more, innovative plumbing enables the bathtub to fill from the ceiling, an intelligent mini-bar notifies the front desk when it needs stocking, Cisco video phones float around the hotel and a virtual reality Golf Club is swing-ready with more than 50 courses from around the world.

1000 First Ave., Seattle; rooms from $219 per night; 206-357-1000;

Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas

This 4,000-plus-room mega-resort lets you customize everything about your stay but the hangovers.

Guestrooms greet you as you enter -- literally addressing you by name -- while the lights and TV turn on and curtains open to reveal spectacular views.

From a single control panel, you can personalize every aspect of your space, including a "good night" button that cuts the lights, shuts the drapes and activates the do-not-disturb sign.

You can customize the lighting, temperature and tunes to wake you in the morning.

The hotel also has wireless Internet (included in room charge) it says is eight times faster than the average U.S. guestroom, along with a 42-inch LCD with a "smart panel" for connecting laptops, game consoles, cameras, MP3 players and more.

Replacing the conventional keycard, RFID (radio frequency identification data) cards sense when you're near your room and unlock the door as you approach.

3730 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; rooms from $138 per night; 702-590-7111;

Hotel Zetta, San Francisco

How many gigabytes is a zettabyte? Ask the technorati flooding this new San Francisco residence that lives up to its data-inspired name.

Each guestroom features integrated technology that allows music, movies, emails and more to stream wirelessly from your mobile device to an Internet-enabled, 46-inch flatscreen TV. This, additionally, comes with a library of apps, web browsing capabilities and loads of high-def channels.

A sort of physical "social network," the Playroom is a 1,500-square-foot adult space equipped with the latest gaming consoles, as well as old school classics like Atari and Nintendo. An antique red telephone booth is rigged so you can video chat, snap a profile pic or order drinks and food from the bar.

In case you weren't getting the whole retro-tech vibe, décor includes old floppy-disks-turned-artwork, interactive wall hangings and an art installation made from obsolete hardware like cell phones, computer chips and game cartridges.

55 Fifth St., San Francisco; rooms from $265 per night; 415-543-8555;

Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles

After a two-year, multi-million-dollar overhaul, this Hollywood Hills icon is wired with the latest tech to keep up with a demanding clientele that has ranged from Marilyn Monroe to Oprah.

Upon arrival, in-room check-in includes a tutorial by the bellman on the use of all guestroom gadgetry -- ensuring you don't freak out later about how to operate the smart toilet.

As you approach said throne -- aka the Neorest 600 -- its motion-activated lid opens automatically and features a control panel for flushing and other functions, like a seat heater and deodorizer. The bathroom also has heated floors and an in-mirror LED television.

Guests book massages or dinner reservations from in-room iPads -- pretty much the luxury hotel norm nowadays -- and there are Bang and Olufsen HD flatscreen TVs, smart lighting with mood settings and a touch-screen phone that lets you control everything from room temperature, lights and media to curtain height.

701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles; rooms from $530 per night; 310-472-1211;

Yotel New York, New York

An homage to luxury airline travel, this Times Square hotel is unapologetically futuristic. White walls backlit in purple create an ultramodern atmosphere as you check in at touch-screen kiosks similar to those found at airports, only cooler.

Guestrooms (or "cabins") are decked out with purple mood lighting, near-silent heating and cooling systems, a Techno Wall fitted with a flat-screen LCD TV, lots of power points for laptops and other devices, Wi-Fi (included in room charge), an iPod or MP3 connection for playing music through the TV speakers and a motorized bed that expands to full size at the push of a button.

The hotel's tech de resistance is the world's first-ever robotic luggage handler. A 15-foot robotic arm towering in the lobby behind a glass window, the Yobot picks up your luggage and safely stores it in a wall of drawers before or after check-in.

No tip necessary.

570 10th Ave., New York; rooms from $149 per night; 646-449-7700;

Scarp Ridge Lodge, Crested Butte, Colorado

Staying at Scarp Ridge Lodge is like renting an entire boutique hotel for yourself and your 10 best buds.

This seven-bedroom luxury ski property comes with a private chef, indoor saltwater pool, game room, cinema ... and piped-in oxygen?

Yep, at an elevation of 9,000 feet, altitude headaches can be an issue. So all guestrooms are tricked out with on-demand oxygen systems, complete with touch panels that let you create the exact altitude you'd like the rooms to simulate.

Address undisclosed; rooms from $12,500 per night; 970-349-7761;

Omni Dallas Hotel, Dallas

This 23-story, 1,001-room hotel may be connected to the Omni Dallas Convention Center, but it's a long way from conventional.

Having broken ground just a year and half ago, the place is decked with tech.

Interactive reader boards with touch-screens fill the lobby and let you check everything from flight info to area attractions, news, weather, meetings and events.

Gadgetary highlights in the rooms include all of the usual bells and whistles, plus a 42-inch LCD high-definition television, another TV hidden in the bathroom mirror and motion-sensor LED nightlights underneath the bed.

Outside, 4.3 miles of LED building lights surround the LEED Gold-certified hotel's exterior, allowing it to project brilliant light shows and convention logos.

555 S. Lamar St., Dallas; rooms from $113 per night; 214-744-6664;

Epic Hotel, Miami

Forget that this 52-story hotel sits on prime Miami waterfront with rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading to private balconies, it's the geeky gadgets that draw all the attention.

The experience begins before you enter your room.

Outside each guestroom door is an INNtouch notification device. Press the privacy button from inside the room to illuminate the LED do-not-disturb indicator, or let housekeeping know to make up your room with the push of a button.

For those annoying times when you have to mix business with pleasure, all 411 rooms have desktop PCs with high-speed Internet, Microsoft Office and a connection to the printer in the lobby.

There's also an Apple gadget docking station to charge your iDevice.

In the 29th-floor Club Lounge, a touch-screen Surface Station map akin to a ginormous smartphone lets you surf the 'Net, listen to music, watch videos and scout local hotspots.

270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami; rooms from $389 per night; 305-424-5226;

theWit Hotel, Chicago

This trendy hotel features jaw-dropping city and lake views, a vibrant urban setting and an IP-based infrastructure networking everything from the elevators to room sensors to the basement boiler room.

Within guest rooms, sensor-activated climate controls detect your location and adjust to your body heat. A VoIP touch-screen phone lets you call housekeeping, valet and more without speaking a word; with staff members all connected to the system via iPhone or iPod Touch, they're alerted to your needs ASAP.

In common areas, expect to hear birds chirping during the day and crickets at night, powered by the hotel's digital audio system.

There's also a private movie theater boasting an oversized HD screen.

Notching up the nightlife, the hotel just installed a 3D digital wall inside ROOF, its 27th-floor lounge. Typically reserved for large-scale concerts, this image-mapping system delivers resplendent visuals as you rock out to world class DJs and performers.

201 N. State St., Chicago; rooms from $189 per night; 312-467-0200;

citizenM Times Square, New York

Opening in October 2013, this Times Square hotel is set to follow in the footsteps of its affordable high-tech, high-design European counterparts.

Bringing to life the hotel's namesake "M" for mobile, as in "mobile citizen of the world," you're greeted by self check-in computers.

By the time the machine has programmed your personal RFID keycard, your room is waiting for you to enter.

Tech addicts will geek out over the handheld, electronic mood pad that lets you design your entire space. From colored lighting and ambient music to digital art (on your TV), temperature, window blinds and specially designed mood-enhanced wake-up calls (like "wake me gently" or "wake me wildly"), you can direct the room's whole look and feel, all without having to get out of bed.

Bonus: iMacs dot the hotel and there's Wi-Fi throughout.

citizenM Times Square, 216-218 W. 50th St., New York; room rates and phone to be announced;

Technology :: Researchers use nanoparticles to speed up or slow down angiogenesis

Researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. have devised a means for using nanoparticles to cause angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels) to speed up or slow down. In their paper published in ACS Nano, the researchers describe how they coated gold nanoparticles with peptides to allow for altering the speed at which new blood vessels develop in specific locations in the body.

The development of new blood vessels is critical while wounds are healing. It's also important in helping people recover from accidents or who have tissue damaged by disease. Speeding up angiogenesis can help to speed up recovery times. Sometimes however, angiogenesis can progress incorrectly resulting in the growth of tumors. In these instances, doctors would like to slow or stop the angiogenesis process. In this new effort, the research team has found a new way to accomplish both goals with one new treatment option.

The new technique revolves around the use of nanoparticles—very small objects generally not found in nature. In this case, the particles created were made of gold. Because nanoparticles can so easily move around inside the body, the thinking was that nanoparticles could be used to deliver drugs to specific areas of the body where they are needed. In this case, the drugs were peptides that have been shown to speed up angiogenesis when appropriate and to slow the process when tumors have developed. The ability to deliver the drug only to areas where they are needed reduces side-effects.

In order for angiogenesis to occur, endothelial cells must be activated by the presence of certain molecules engaging with receptor cells. Over time, researchers have developed various drugs to either stimulate or repress angiogenesis by activating the receptor cells or block them. Such drugs have only been useful for a short duration, however, and most often come with unwanted side effects. In this new effort, the team used nanoparticles to carry and deliver such drugs only to the parts of the body that needed them. They found they could target specific receptor cells that allow for focusing on different diseases. Specifically, they developed three types of peptides for delivery via nanoparticles: those that bind and promote cascade growth of blood vessels, those that block receptors cells from receiving signals, and those that serve as a control and do nothing. They report that they were successful in delivering all three types to target areas and that doing so caused the expected changes in angiogenesis rates.

Explore further: Cholesterol sets off chaotic blood vessel growth

More information: Manipulation of in Vitro Angiogenesis Using Peptide-Coated Gold Nanoparticles, Dorota Bartczak, Otto L. Muskens, Tilman Sanchez-Elsner, Antonios G. Kanaras, and Timothy M. Millar, ACS Nano Article ASAP.

We demonstrate the deliberate activation or inhibition of invitro angiogenesis using functional peptide coated gold nanoparticles. The peptides, anchored to oligo-ethylene glycol capped gold nanospheres, were designed to selectively interact with cell receptors responsible for activation or inhibition of angiogenesis. The functional particles are shown to influence significantly the extent and morphology of vascular structures, without causing toxicity. Mechanistic studies show that the nanoparticles have the ability to alter the balance between naturally secreted pro- and anti-angiogenic factors, under various biological conditions. Nanoparticle-induced control over angiogenesis opens up new directions in targeted drug delivery and therapy.

Technology :: The Future of Hotels: How technology can move us forward

Amadeus interviewed Anton Hell about how technology can help hotels drive their business objectives better. Hospitality technology expert Anton Hell has a thorough understanding of the hospitality industry having spent more than 20 years of his career in the hospitality and travel sector. Born and raised in Austria, he has lived and travelled extensively in Europe, America and Asia and held executive positions with major international hotel companies and cruise operators such as Marriott, Penta and Cunard Line.

Given his extensive background in the industry, he carries within him a passion to develop new business solutions that result in more efficient and cost-contained hotel operations. For him, technology exists to serve a greater purpose in fulfilling business objectives. Currently, he is the Managing Director of Berlin-based hit-CONSULT GmbH. The company aims to help its clients to strengthen their competitive edge in the industry by optimising processes in the areas of operations, controlling as well as marketing and distribution.

What are the key drivers that make hotel companies consider adopting new technologies?
The first key driver is reducing complexity within our technology. A full service hotel operation has easily three or four operational systems for specific functions, i.e. Property Management System (PMS), Sales and Marketing, Catering, Point of Sale (POS), with mostly proprietary interface technologies connecting them. Since these on-property systems generate both vital business intelligence data as well as customer relationship relevant information, they in turn are connected to above-property systems (Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, Business intelligence tools, finance, etc.). 

The questions that hotel companies need to answer are: how can we reduce complexity, how can we increase system availability and how do we obtain business relevant data to market and run our hotels effectively? The concepts of cloud computing is a great way of putting critical systems “above property”, hence eliminating proprietary interfaces and increasing data security. Another important initiative that is developed by European Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) - an organisation aiming at standardising interface specifications and thus simplifying system to system integration.

Another key driver is the rapid evolution and change of the distribution landscape. Can our existing technology infrastructure and operational processes easily adapt to both emerging distribution channel and/or changed customer shopping behaviors? Among other things, the market penetration of internet-enabled mobile devices will have a huge impact on how we distribute, how we engage with our guest and how we enhance guest service.

Last but not the least, product differentiation. I believe that a well-defined and understood target customer group(s) (who are our guests), a product definition serving key needs of the target group (what is important to our guests) along with a defined business strategy and objectives (how are we going to deliver it and measure our success) are key to success. We see this happening as more and more hotel companies create sub brands to that effect. In that respect, CRM will continue to play an important role to help hoteliers better understand their customer needs and to effectively engage with their customers in pre-stay, during their stay and post-stay.

Since changing technology is also a means to achieve strategic business objectives, how should hotel companies get prepared for that?
Systems and technology alone do not solve issues, they provide a framework to support vital business processes. Thus technology needs to be adapted to your business needs and not vice versa.
I believe that first of all companies should clearly define their business objectives with regards to new technology or change of systems. Based on our experience, implementing a new technology usually affects various departments, if not the entire company. We very often see that individual key players within the organisation have different understanding/opinion of what exactly the objectives are and what these new technologies should enable.
Secondly, make sure all key players support the agreed objectives and understand their individual responsibilities.

Thirdly, establish and agree on a realistic cost/benefit and return-on-investment (ROI) calculations. Going through the process ensures that the new technology and its functionality are tailored around your business needs, that systems are not under- or over-engineered, and that technology positively contributes to your business success.
Finally, measure and monitor your success. Based on the business objectives and the ROI, derive appropriate key performance indicators (KPI’s), and monitor them regularly. This allows hoteliers to adjust implementation strategies if the KPI’s show underperformance and/or to determine early in the process when to abandon the project.

How can hotel companies bridge the gap between technology, operations and controlling?
When we help customer, we always first go back to the fundamental questions: Who is the customer, what are his needs, and why is he buying my product/service? Once these questions are answered, operational requirements are clear, as well as what kind of technology is required to best support the operation, and what financial and operational controls must be implemented.
Focusing on the customer greatly benefits the company in making sure that they do not over-engineer certain processes and that the key processes that are important to the customer are optimally supported by technology.

How can hotel companies define new business and IT processes, and align them with their organisation’s overall business goals?
Again, I believe customer focus is crucial when answering most of these questions. How does my customer buy the product? How does he experience it? How do I make him return? These questions should be at the center of every technology re-engineering process or any IT project to stay focused on the real value of what any new technology should deliver.

What key industry trends will be the most impactful for the next 3 years?

The whole mobile computing trend will continue to have a major impact on distribution channels, more precisely on how customers shop and buy travel products, and will consequently change customer booking behavior. Most of our customers see 80%+ of all bookings made from a mobile device being made on the day of arrival. Time window of booking will shorten. For example, there will be instances when larger companies will abandon global contracting and will give more freedom of booking back to individual travelers as long as they stay in a certain price range. This is a key change of how the industry will distribute and this will impact technology greatly in terms of how product information and prices are presented.
Providing solid and good internet connectivity in every property will be a MUST. The role of in-room entertainment will diminish and may even go away eventually since people will bring in their own entertainment with them.
The whole energy theme will become an issue in itself too. Energy and energy saving technology will come increasingly into play. Within the next three years, management companies will start adding energy saving-related requirements into their management contracts because of operational cost concerns. Before, it was not as an issue but now it will be.
CRM is going to be more and more prominent especially for products that do not necessarily compete over price like niche products. More and more hotels will refocus their distribution strategies, defining better their customer segmentation and how to take care of them, for example by setting up smart loyalty strategies. Adoption of CRM systems is still in its infancy in the hotel industry simply because of system complexity. It will require superior guest recognition improvements to meet the needs of hoteliers in their guest strategies.
Pressure to consolidate will increase. Focusing on brand and brand value will also be a major trend.

NEWS :: International Hotel Technology Forum 2014

1-3 April 2014, Spain

Welcome to the Eleventh International Hotel Technology Forum (IHTF) 2014, the leading face- to-face event for the hotel technology industry. All delegates will be offered the exclusive opportunity to engage in pre-arranged, private business meetings with selected organisations of their choice. All IHTF registrants will be individually matched according to their business needs and immediate and future priorities. A Meetings Manager will be specifically assigned to co-ordinate this. 2014: the exclusive IHTF meetings model will now run in parallel to a fully comprehensive conference programme, featuring presentations on the latest strategic thinking, business model evaluation and technological advances such as CRM, PMS and RMS, TV & Audio, which in turn will enhance their competitiveness and profitability in the marketplace.

Technology :: Teens and Technology 2013

Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the internet is pervasive. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.
These are among the new findings from a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey that explored technology use among 802 youth ages 12-17 and their parents. Key findings include:
  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the internet.
  • 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family members.
“The nature of teens’ internet use has transformed dramatically — from stationary connections tied to shared desktops in the home to always-on connections that move with them throughout the day,” said Mary Madden, Senior Researcher for the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and co-author of the report. “In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population.”

About the Survey

These findings are based on a nationally representative phone survey of 802 parents and their 802 teens ages 12-17. It was conducted between July 26 and September 30, 2012. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. The margin of error for the full sample is ± 4.5 percentage points. This report is the second in a series of reports issued in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard. The first release, “Teens, Parents and Online Privacy,” was published in November 2012 and is available at:

May 24, 2013

Think About This. PKS - Partai Keadilan Sejahtera - Cadres degrading the Prophet Joseph Story

The impact of imports of crispy bacon bribery case in the Ministry of Agriculture goatee was remarkable, Vortex black bearded meat continues to roll like a snowball getting bigger and eventually cause tremendous panic panic especially officials and their PKS cadres at the grass roots.

The bribery case came from the hands of the Commission of the fishing operation fathanah Ahmad was alone in the room with a beautiful woman at the hotel Le Meridien Jakarta. As a result of the incident, not just Ahmad fathanah are a convict, former PKS president Lutfi Hasan Isaaq and two directors of Main Indoguna also been named suspects by the KPK.

Publication relentless preaching always color the bribery case, let alone a lot of unexpected things black vortex behind the bearded meat, for example unfolding conversation after conversation started recording through the Commission which played the leads in bribery trial of crispy meat imports and the fact many bearded butterfly Ahmad dilingkaran pretty fathanah and other unexpected events that make the public wonder that anyone thinks the party that has brought clean and care jargon, but behind clean and empty jargon cares it turns out that far from the truth.

Given this reality, many PKS cadres at the grass roots of anger especially as many of them are bearded truth, they are so panicked, because it is like a ship, PKS is like a ship that is facing the seconds hit by a storm and sank due to big waves, so it is certainly a lot of ways this is done so that the ship does not sink kedasar oceans.

So to save this sinking ship, many PKS cadres or sympathizers who pose as PKS, do everything possible to save this ship, ship captains command always pursued simultaneously, ranging from the existence of the Zionist Conspiracy, Conspiracy America, there is even one song ship captain who said that the storm that hit the PKS like the story of Prophet Yusuf.

As usual, ship captains song always run with the best, then without command again, PKS cadres blind taqlid, writing stories vying virtual world, affecting even the bribery case of former president's rather like the story of Prophet Yusuf.

Analogize bribery case crispy beef imports that hit Ustaz Lutfi Hasan bearded Isaaq with the story of Prophet Yusuf, the analogy of this story, of course, beyond our common sense, how can the Prophet Joseph could be equated with the figure Lutfi Hasan Isaaq.

Joseph was a man of God, Man of God who became the leader of the people and events that happened to the Prophet Joseph was a test from God, then how could the man of God may be likened to Lutfi Hasan Isaaq who caught bribery beef, if you want to talk honestly, the case of PKS and Ustaz Lutfi Hasan Isaaq is actually a punishment from God, as the word of God, which reads:

Except ye thankful we definitely will add favor to you and if you deny the favor to azabku very painful indeed. (Q.s. Ibrahim: 7)

Why could PKS storms bribery and Lutfi Hasan Isaaq made prisoner by the Commission, all of which have originated from the pleasure they can but they are grateful for the enjoyment of it, because they are not grateful for the favors God has given them, then according to the promise of God, which occurred azablah on them.

They claim to be the party's propaganda, they claim to be a clean and caring party, but behind the ignorance of their true behavior, only the almighty Allah who knows anything we do not know.

The disclosure of the bribery case crispy beef imports hit bearded PKS and make Lutfi Hasan Isaaq as a prisoner, not a Zionist conspiracy, not the American conspiracy. This is the unfolding bribery case intervention Allah almighty knows that behind jargon clean and care it turns out there is hypocrisy there.

Imagery associated with the storm that hit the PKS and Ustaz Lutfi Hasan Isaaq like the story of Prophet Yusuf, obviously this parable is a form of humiliation or degrading the PKS cadres Story of Prophet Yusuf, PKS hide behind this story, and as if the storm that hit the PKS and Ustaz Lutfi Hasan Isaaq about events it has also been experienced by the Prophet Joseph.

Though the events of the story of Prophet Yusuf until such severe ordeal was a test from Allah, and contrary events of the PKS and Ustaz Lutfi Hasan Isaaq, the events that took place was actually a punishment from Allah SWT and not the result of a Zionist conspiracy and American conspiracy that can not be proven to this day by the originators PKS President Anis Matta.

May 22, 2013

In Indonesia. How do you Think about This? Lawyers Uztaz Lutfi Not Know about 'Pustun'.

Pustun words mean in the chat between the former President of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS – Partai Keadilan Sejahtera), Ustaz Lutfi Hasan Ishaaq, and those close to him, Ahmad fathanah, yet to be revealed. When asked about this pustun said, Ustaz Lutfi lawyer, M Assegaf, said he did not know.

"We do not know. I do not know. Said it was a trending topic," said Assegaf when accompanying his client examined in Building Commission, Kuningan, Jakarta, Monday (20/05/2013).

Assegaf claims he never heard from his client about the explanation for the recorded conversations with fathanah Rogan played at the Corruption Court on Friday (05/17/2013) is. "I do not ever. Suddenly in the trial that actually broadcast is not relevant," said Assegaf.

In the trial of the alleged bribery beef import quota which took place in Jakarta Corruption Court on Friday last week, a team of prosecutors Corruption Eradication Commission plays a recording of an alleged conversation between Ustaz Lutfi and fathanah chat. Besides revealing about the plan administration fee of USD 40 billion, a record showing intimacy between Ustaz Lutfi and fathanah. Chat about wife, among others.

"The wives of yourselves (Ustaz Lutfi) has been waiting for all," said fathanah to Ustaz Lutfi with a chuckle.

Ustaz Lutfi also replied with a laugh fathanah greeting and said, "Which is it?"

"There's everything," said fathanah.

Ustaz Lutfi asked again, "What pustun-pustun what sarkia Java?"

"Pustun," said fathanah followed by laughter from both men.

Not yet known what words mean and Java pustun sarkia in recording the conversation. If traced, the Pashtun pustun or designation could mean for the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, or ethnic origin in Iran. The term can be seen as a Java sarkia two words put together. Java refers to the Javanese, while sarkia in Arabic means sarkiyah which means east. If combined, could mean sarkiah Java East Java.

 Ustaz Lutfi (Talking with Microphone)
Ustaz Fatanah (Friend of Ustaz Lutfi)

In Indonesia :: Corruption has been an Ustaz. Ustaz, Who is Darin.

Asked about Darin Mumtazah, Lutfi Just Glance

Former President of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS - Partai Keadilan Sejahtera) Lutfi Hasan Ishaaq declined to comment when asked about Darin Mumtazah, students examined the KPK as a witness in his case. KPK set Lutfi as suspects in the alleged corruption and money laundering beef import quota recommendations it just glanced at reporters when asked the name of Darin, Tuesday (21/05/2013).

Lutfi out of the Building Commission, Kuningan, Jakarta, at around 20:50 after the examination. As usual, the former number one in the MCC just smiled as he raised his hands when mowed reporters' questions. Lutfi got into the car ready to bring prisoners back to the House of Detention Guntur, South Jakarta.

When Rogan was sitting in the car detainees, a journalist with a loud voice asked again about Darin. "Ustaz, Darin's who?" said one reporter. The question was as loud journalist Lutfi surprising. He briefly glanced at the reporters. Then he raised his hand back as if to say "enough" when re-mowed questions other journalists.KPK twice summoned for questioning as a witness Darin Lutfi. However, Darin has never meet KPK summons. In the first call, Darin did not come because KPK summons was not until her examination. Then on the second call, Darin was absent without explanation alias defaulters.

Based on the record, Darin was first called the Commission on 12 April 2013. When Darin was called as a witness along with two wives Lutfi, Sutiana Astika and Lusi Tiarani Agustine. They examined as a witness who knows about the flow of assets considered Lutfi.

Because it is not present, the Commission had to reschedule the call Darin on May 17, 2013. However, one of the students in vocational high schools that do not meet the re-examination of the KPK summons. Not yet known exactly how far Darin relationship with Lutfi.

Based on the search in KPK, Darin allegedly has close ties with Lutfi. When confirmed, KPK spokesman Johan Budi said in a letter that Darin status vocation is a student.

"I do not know the relationship between Darin and LHI (Rogan), an investigator who knows, in a written summons as a student," he said.Johan also claimed to have not received information on whether there are assets that diatasnamakan Lutfi Darin or the flow of funds to the students of SMK's (High School) Rogan.

May 2, 2013

Development of new theories about Stonehenge

A new research revealed, the hunters lived only about 1.6 miles from Stonehenge, 5,000 years before the first stone is upheld. Evidence reinforces the conclusion obtained from a site near Stonehenge.
The site, which has been inhabited for 3,000 years, contains evidence of burning, ancient cattle bones and stone tools. Possibly, the area near Stonehenge was an ancient migration paths cow has become a party sites antiquity - that people arriving from different directions.
As stated by David Jacques from the Open University in the UK in an email. "We may just have to know the reason the construction of Stonehenge, and why its location there."
These new findings may help identify those who first establish the structure of Stonehenge. Some large stones, perhaps the totem pole, enforced at Stonehenge between 8500 and 10 thousand years ago. The new research says, may be the ancient structure was erected to honor the sacred hunting grounds.
Over the decades, people have wondered about the big rocks in Wiltshire, England. No one knew the reason ancient building was erected. Some say, it is a place of worship. Some are saying, it is a symbol of unity. Some even say Stonehenge inspired sound illusion.
David Jacques was looking through old pictures of the area surrounding Stonehenge when he saw a site (Vespasian's Camp), which is only 1.6 km. She began investigating the area, which has a freshwater spring.
Because animals like to stop by in the spring, perhaps curious Jacques area was also inhabited by humans. His team found, there are about 350 animal bones and stone tools 12,500, and evidence of arson. Expected, the area was inhabited by humans at 7,500 BC to 4,700 BC - about 5,000 years before the alias Stonehenge stone enforced.
"The spring may initially attract the attention of the animal, which eventually triggers the hunting and guiding us to the possibility that the area is a sacred hunting ground," wrote Jacques.
The discovery could help scientists figure out why the ancient people who now choose the location of Stonehenge, said Jackques.

May 1, 2013


The acquisition of assertiveness behavior is not specific to any discrete stage of childhood development but instead is a function of instruction, modeling, and rehearsal. Assertive behavior is acquired, practiced and refined as the individual develops. Problems with assertiveness can occur early in development in the form of overly shy or aggressive behavior, and later as social anxiety disorder and avoidant personality disorder. In outlining the facts about assertiveness, we have chosen to outline problem sets that can be conceptualized as due at least in part, to a deficit in assertiveness.

Prevalence. Low levels of assertive behavior, as evidenced by the presence of social anxiety disorder, is a highly prevalent problem. It is estimated that nearly 13.3% of all people in the US suffer from social anxiety at some point in their lives (Kessler et al., 1994). Social phobia is most prevalent amount people who are young (18–29 years of age), undereducated, single, and of lower socioeconomic status; social phobia is slightly less prevalent among the elderly (Magee, Eaton, Wittchen, Duckworth, M. P. & Mercer, V. (2006). McConagle, & Kessler, 1996). Avoidant personality disorder occurs in less than 1% of the general population (Reich, Yates, & Nduaguba, 1989; Zimmerman, & Coryell, 1990). Displays of aggressive behavior may be relatively common, yet the prevalence of extreme aggression as evidenced by the presence of antisocial personality disorder is relatively rare, occurring in only about 1–3% of the general population (Sutker, Bugg, & West, 1993).

Age at onset. Extreme shyness is known to be present in a large percentage of children. The mean age at onset for social phobia is 16 years old. The age at onset for social phobia occurs later than the onset for simple phobias but earlier than the onset for agoraphobia (Ost, 1987). Studies have found that the number of children with social phobia is increasing (Magee, et al., 1996). Aggression also appears to be expressed in early adolescence. In a study of African-American and Hispanic adolescent males it was found that children who had high levels of externalized behavio problems also tended to assert themselves in a hostile manner (Florsheim, Tolan & Gorman-Smith, 1996).

Gender. Although a larger percentage of men evidence assertive behavior than women men are also more likely to engage in aggressive behavior (Eagly & Steffen, 1986). Extreme aggression, as sometimes captured by antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy, is significantly more common in men (Dulit, Marin, & Frances, 1993; Sutker et al., 1993). Although women are represented more frequently among populations of persons experiencing anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorder occurs with relatively equal frequency across women and men. The gender ratio for social anxiety disorder is 1.4 to 1.0, females to males. Avoidant personality disorder also occurs equally across women and men. Taken together, these findings suggest that assertiveness may be an appropriate technique for men and women who engage in overly passive or overly aggressive behaviors.

Course. Extreme passivity, as captured by social phobia, begins in adolescence increases into the late 20s, and then declines in later life (Magee et al., 1996). Extreme aggression, as captured by antisocial personality disorder, begins in adolescence in the form of conduct disorder, increases through the 20s, and then decreases across the 40s (Hare, McPherson, & Forth, 1988).

Impairment and other demographic characteristics. Level of impairment is indicated by the problems experienced by people who are represented at the extremes of the assertiveness continuum. Problems associated with extreme passivity, can range from being bullied to experiencing repeat victimization by partners. Problems associated with aggression can range from suspension of privileges in childhood to serious negative legal consequences in adulthood.

There are differential finding for the impact of assertive behavior among ethnic groups, the impact seems entangled with socioeconomic status and culturally specific styles of communication (Malagady, Rogler, & Cortes, 1996; Zane, Sue, Hu, & Kwon, 1991). Social phobia is found to be equally prevalent among ethnic groups (Magee et al., 1996).

Given that assertive behavior occurs as a part of a broader interaction complex, the likelihood that an individual will engage in assertive behavior is a function of skill and performance competencies, reinforcement contingencies, motivational-affective and cognitive-evaluative factors. Behavioral explanations for the use of passive or aggressive strategies rather than assertive strategies emphasize opportunities for skills acquisition and mastery and reinforcement contingencies that have supported the use of passive or aggressive behaviors over time. Behavioral conceptualizations for passivity often emphasize early learning environments in which passive responding may have been modeled (e.g., care givers who were themselves anxious, shy, or in some other way less than assertive) or more assertive behavior punished (e.g., overly protective or dominating care givers). In the absence of opportunities for acquisition and reinforcement of other interaction strategies, passive behavior persists. Important to any complete behavioral conceptualization of passive behavior would be an evaluation of the reinforcement that is associated with current displays of passive behavior, that is, how is passivity currently “working” for the individual? Behaviors that are reinforced are repeated. Repeated engagement in passive behavior suggests repeated reinforcement of such behavior. Passive responding may be reinforced through the avoidance of responsibility and decision-making. With what amount of attention, positive or negative, are passive responses met? The individual employing passive strategies may need to reconcile his or her “active” influence on situations with the alleged passivity.

Aggressive behaviors can be learned through the observation of aggressive models and reinforced through their instrumental effects. Even in the absence of overt goal attainment, aggressive behaviors may be experienced as intrinsically reinforcing by virtue of the autonomic discharge associated with such behaviors. Aggressive behavior may serve as a socially sanctioned interaction style (Tedeschi & Felson, 1994). Aggressive behavior may also be a consequence of the absence of opportunities to acquire alternative social interaction strategies. Motivational-affective factors are important to patterned displays of passive and aggressive behavior. Although the affective experience of anger is not sufficien to explain aggressive behavior, feelings of anger do increase the likelihood that the actions of others will be experienced as aggressive and, thereby, elicit aggressive behavior.

Cognitive explanations for passive and aggressive responding would posit that outcome expectations are primary in determining the passive or aggressive response. The passive individual may look to the history of failures in making and/or refusing requests in deciding whether to attempt the ecommended assertive behavior. Outcome expectations may interfere with adoption of the “new” assertiveness. Such outcome expectations must be managed if the likelihood of assertive responding is to increase. The passive individual needs to be cautioned regarding the imperfect relationship between assertive responding and desired outcomes.

Initially, assertive responses may not meet with desired outcomes. It is the persistence of the assertive response that will ensure that the probability of the desired outcome increases over time. In the short run, then, the measure of successful assertion may not be the occurrence of a desired outcome but the mere assertive communication of one’s opinions, needs and/or limits.

Communication :: Assertive Training :: ASSESSMENT

What should be Ruled Out?
Assertiveness appears to be of differential utility in the context of domestic violence. Some research suggests that battered women are potentially at increased risk as a result of assertive behavior in the context of ongoing domestic violence (O’Leary, Curley, Rosenbaum & Clarke, 1985). On the other hand, assertiveness training has been found to contribute to a woman’s decision to leave a violent relationship (Meyers-Abell, & Jansen, 1980). Research addressing male batterers suggests that batterers have assertiveness deficits that may contribute to there use of aggression and violence to express their needs and manage the needs of their domestic partner (Maiuro, Cahn, & Vitiliano, 1986). In the context of female sexual victimization, assertiveness training appears to empower women and reduce their exposure to violence (Mac Greene & Navarro, 1998).

What is Involved in Effective Assessment?
Assessment of assertiveness skills and performance abilities should be broad enough to capture and distinguish among various explanations for performance failure. Traditionally, a hierarchical task analysis is used to determine the causal variable that accounts for the skill/performance deficit (Dow, 1994). Initially assertiveness skills are evaluated in a nonthreatening (or less threatening) environment. Given that the client demonstrates adequate assertiveness skill in the nonthreatening environment, assertiveness skills are evaluated in the context of more clinically relevant social situations. Given that skills are adequately performed in clinically relevant social situations, other contributions to response failure are evaluated including affective and cognitive variables that might mediate the skill–performance relation. 
Behavioral models of depression suggest that the pursuit of social interaction (and, thus, experience of reinforcement) may be limited by negative affective experiences that are present throughout the interaction (Lewinsohn, 1974). For example, anxiety that is experienced during an assertive interaction may be insufficient to impair performance but may be sufficient to render the interaction a punishing rather than reinforcing event. Assertive behaviors presuppose the existence of adequate social skills. An assertive communication is measured not only by the content of the verbalization but also by the accompanying nonverbal behaviors. Appropriate posture and eyecontact are essential in executing an appropriately assertive response. An appropriately assertive posture would convey relaxed but focused attention, this posture contrasted with an overly rigid posture that might convey either anxiety or obstinacy. 

Other important nonverbal behaviors include facial expression and body movements and gestures. Affective displays should be congruent with the content of the assertive communication, not suggesting anxiety, false gaiety, or anger. Body movements that indicate nervousness and uncertainty (e.g. hand-wringing) should be avoided. Movements that convey anger or dominance (e.g., invasion of the other’s personal space) should also be avoided. These nonverbal behaviors are included among behaviors identified by Dow (1985) as relevant to socially skilled behaving.

The content of the assertive communication is important in its clarity and form. The tone and fluidity of the request, command or refusal are also important. Generally, the assertive request is characterized by its reasonableness, its specificity regarding actions required to fulfill the request, and its inclusion of statements that convey the potential impact(s) of request fulfillment for both the individual making the request and the request recipient. The tone in which the request is delivered should convey the importance of the request; however, the tone should not imply some obligation on the part of the request recipient to comply with the request. The content and tone of assertive refusals share the quality of being evenhanded and unwavering.
Assessment of skill sets and performance competencies is necessary prior to skills training and throughout the skills acquisition/practice process. Skills for assertive behaving are evaluated through the use of self-report instruments as well as behavioral observation in contrived and natural settings.

Clinician-administered measures. Generally evaluations of assertive behavior involve observations of skill displays (e.g., communication, social interactions) in clinical, analogue, and natural settings, rather than using clinically administere measures of assertiveness. 

Observational ratings of skill assets, deficits, and mastery made by the treating clinician can be formalized by systematically targeting all nonverbal and verbal behaviors considered relevant to assertive behaving. There are structured clinical interviews that assess diagnostic features of anxiety, the reader is referred to the social anxiety disorder chapter in this text for that information.

Self-report measures. Assertiveness skill evaluation and training often occurs in the broader context of social skill and social competence. The self-report instruments that purport to measure assertiveness range from actual measures of assertive behaviors to instruments that assess related constructs such as social avoidance, self-esteem, and locus of control. The most commonly used measur of assertiveness skills is the Rathus Assertiveness Scale (Rathus, 1973). 

Self-monitoring of social behaviors performed in the client’s natural environment is essential to both assessment and treatment of potential skills and performance deficits. Monitoring instructions usually require that the client describe their social interactions with others along a number of dimensions. The client may be instructed to briefly describe interactions with males versus females, acquaintances versus intimate others, peers versus persons in authority, and in structured versus unstructured interactions.

Although real world evaluation of skills is preferable, the office is the most common arena for skills evaluation and practice. Therefore it is essential that the client provide detailed accounts of problem interactions and that the content and cues of the experimental arena be as consistent with that real world as possible.

Behavioral assessment. Behavioral observation is considered the preferred strategy for evaluating assertiveness skills and performance competencies. Usually observations/evaluations of assertive performances are made in clinical or research settings rather than real world settings. Clinic and laboratory settings provide contexts for informal observation (waiting room behaviors and behaviors engaged in by the client during the clinical interview) and formal observation (social interactiontasks and role-plays) of an individual’s behavior.
Clinical interview. In the clinical setting, the client’s waiting room behavior (i.e., his/her interactions with other persons in the waiting room and with clinic staff) is available for observation. Exchanges had during initial assessment sessions also serve as data to be used in establishing the presence or absence of verbal and nonverbal communication skills considered essential to assertive displays as well as contextual/situational/interpersonal factors that may influence the likelihood of assertive behaving and the mastery with which assertive behaviors are performed.
Social interaction tasks in analog settings. In evaluating a client’s social skill and comfort, the therapist may enlist confederates to engage the client in interactions that test the client’s ability to initiate and participate in casual exchanges. These tasks are considered low demand tasks. Usually, these tasks do not contain any of the elements of identified problematic interactions.
Social interaction tasks in real-world settings. Of course, the optimal arena for evaluating assertive behavior is the client’s natural environment. As often as possible, the real world context should be captured. 

For example, a male client reporting difficulty initiating social interactions with female peers might be observed in real world settings that are familiar to him and that present opportunities for contact with female peers (e.g., the college library, an undergraduate seminar, a scheduled, on-campus extracurricular event). Other local contact arenas are also acceptable for evaluation of skills including coffee houses, dance clubs, etc.

Role-plays. In the clinical context, a “true” observation of assertive behaviors is made through the use of role-playing. Based on the client’s report of difficult interpersonal interactions/exchanges, interaction opportunities that mimic these difficult interpersonal interactions (to a lesser or greater degree) are engineered and the client’s use of assertive behaviors observed. Typically, the therapist serves as the “relevant other” in such role play situations. Research participants or clients are asked to display their skills repertoire in the context of contrived interactions with the researcher/therapist or some confederate. 

In structuring the role play, the therapist aims to lessen the artificial quality of the role play and to strengthen the correlation/correspondence/reliability between the client’s performance in artificial and natural settings. This is best achieved through the use of dialogue and contextual cues that most closely approximate the naturally occurring problematic interactions. Role-play confederates and scenarios are often selected with relevant contextual factors in mind.


Assertive behavior usually centers on making requests of others and refusing requests made by others that have been judged to be unreasonable. Assertive behavior also captures the communication of strong opinions and feelings. Assertive communication of personal opinions, needs and boundaries has been defined as communication that diminishes none of the individuals involved in the interaction, with emphasis placed on communication accuracy and respect for all persons engaged in the exchange.

Assertiveness is conceptualized as the behavioral middle ground, lying between ineffective passive and aggressive responses. Passiveness is characterized by an over attention to the opinions and needs of others and the masking or restraining of personal opinions and needs. This over-attention to and compliance with the opinions and needs of others may serve as a strategy for conflict avoidance and/or maintenance of particular sources of social “reinforcement.” Aggressiveness often involves the imposition of one’s opinions and requirements on another individual. Implicit in the discussion of assertiveness is the suggestion that assertive behavior is the universally preferred behavioral alternative, and that assertive behavior necessarily leads to preferred outcomes. 

The degree to which assertive behaviors are to be considered superior to either a passive or an aggressive stance is determined by the situational context. The success of assertiveness does not always lie in tangible outcomes (e.g., request fulfillment). The success of assertiveness sometimes lies in the degree of personal control and personal respect that is achieved and maintained throughout the assertive exchange.

Pameran :: Kafan Turin Dipamerkan di Tengah Riset Baru

Pada hari Sabtu, Kafan Turin (The Shroud of Turin) dipamerkan dalam pertunjukan spesial di televisi di Vatikan, di tengah beredarnya hasil riset baru yang membantah klaim bahwa kain itu palsu. Riset baru itu juga mengatakan, kain itu berasal dari masa yang sama dengan kematian Yesus.

Paus Fransiskus mengirim pesan video khusus ke acara di katedral Turin, tetapi tidak berkomentar mengenai apakah gambar pria di Kain Kafan Turin itu benar-benar Yesus. Paus menyebut kain itu sebuah “ikon”, bukan relik alias peninggalan sejarah. Ini perbedaan kecil tapi penting.

“Gambar ini, yang tertera di kain, berbicara kepada hati kita dan menggerakkan kita untuk mendaki bukit Golgota … serta menenggelamkan diri kita dalam keheningan cinta yang agung,” katanya.

“Wajah rusak ini adalah wajah para pria dan wanita yang tersakiti oleh kehidupan yang tidak menghargai kehormatan mereka, oleh perang dan kekerasan yang menyengsarakan kaum lemah,” katanya. “Dan pada saat yang sama, wajah di Kafan menyampaikan kedamaian; tubuh yang tersiksa ini mengekspresikan keagungan.”

Banyak ahli meyakini hasil pengukuran karbon (carbon-dating) terhadap kain itu, yang mengatakan bahwa kain itu berasal dari abad ke-13 atau ke-14. Meski demikian, beberapa pihak mengatakan mungkin saja kain itu telah tercemar dan perlu ada sampel analisis lebih besar.

Selama ini, pihak Vatikan telah berhati-hati dalam menyikapi kain itu. Mereka menyebutnya lambang penderitaan Yesus, tetapi tidak berkomentar mengenai keaslian kain itu.

Kain dengan panjang 4,3 meter dan lebar 1 meter itu disimpan dalam kotak khusus yang tahan peluru di katedral Turin, tetapi jarang ditampilkan ke publik. Terakhir kali Kafan Turin diperlihatkan pada tahun 2010.

Penampilan Kafan Turin pada hari Sabtu bertepatan dengan peluncuran buku “The Mystery of the Shroud” yang mengatakan, kain itu berasal dari abad pertama. Hasil riset itu diambil berdasarkan tes mekanis dan kimiawi terhadap serat material kain.

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