Category: sezyqwun

Using remote sensing to detect whale strandings in remote areas: the case of sei whales mass mortality in Chilean Patagonia

first_imgWe test the ability of Very High Resolution satellite (VHR) imagery to detect stranded whales using both manual and automated methods. We use the 2015 mass mortality event in the Gulf of Penas locality, central Patagonia, Chile, as an initial case study. This event was the largest known mass mortality of baleen whales, with at least 343 whales, mainly sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis), documented as stranding. However, even with such a large number of whales, due to the remote location of the gulf the strandings went unrecorded for several weeks. Aerial and boat surveys of the area were conducted two to four months after the mortality event. In this study we use 50cm resolution WorldView2 imagery to identify and count strandings from two archival images acquired just after the stranding event and two months before the aerial and ground surveys, and to test manual and automated methods of detecting stranded whales. Our findings show that whales are easily detected manually in the images but due to the heterogeneous colouration of decomposing whales, spectral indices are unsuitable for automatic detection. Our satellite counts suggest that, at the time the satellite images were taken, more whales were stranded than recorded in the aerial survey, possibly due to the non-comprehensive coverage of the aerial survey or movement of the carcases between survey acquisition. With even higher resolution imagery now available, satellite imagery may be a cost effective alternative to aerial surveys for future assessment of the extent of mass whale stranding events, especially in remote and inaccessible areas.last_img read more

University of Utah Athletics Mourns the Passing of Bill Marcroft

first_imgNovember 15, 2020 /Sports News – Local University of Utah Athletics Mourns the Passing of Bill Marcroft Brad James FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailSALT LAKE CITY-Sunday, longtime University of Utah radio announcer Bill Marcroft passed away.Marcroft, who began working on Utes men’s basketball sportscasts in December 1966, retired from sportscasting following Utah’s 2005 Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh.From 1968-2005, Marcroft called Utah football games.Following his graduation from the University of Utah in 1952, Marcroft called 440 Utes football games and 1,088 men’s basketball games.This included Utah’s 1998 NCAA Tournament men’s basketball championship game loss to Kentucky.The home radio broadcast booth at Rice-Eccles Stadium is known as the Bill Marcroft Radio Booth in his honor.Marcroft was also a graduate of East High School in Salt Lake City and joined the Air Force after graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in theater.While stationed in Tripoli, Libya, Marcroft called his first sporting event with Armed Forces radio and television, a football game played by military athletes.Following his military service, Marcroft commenced his career in local media as a sportscaster at KTVX in Salt Lake City, reporting on news, weather and sports.He then moved to KUTV in Salt Lake City, working as the station’s first weatherman and did delayed play-by-play broadcasts for local high school football and basketball games during the mid-1960’s.He started with Utah Athletics, first as a color analyst and then to play-by-play responsibilities.His first game as a play-by-play announcer for Utah men’s basketball was December 1, 1969, a 96-94 win for the Utes over Stanford.This was also the Utes’ first game at what is now known as the Huntsman Center.Marcroft received the University of Utah’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005 at the University’s Founder’s Day and the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Sports Hall of Fame Foundation. Tags: Bill Marcroft Written bylast_img read more

University unveils Paris program

first_imgStudents will have the opportunity to make the City of Lights shine a littler brighter next year when Notre Dame institutes its second study abroad program in Paris. The College of Arts and Letters will offer the program to complement the social sciences program at the Parisian Institut d’Etudes Politique also known as “Sciences Po,” and the abroad program Université Catholique de l’Ouest in the French city of Angers. French professor Julia Douthwaite, academic liaison program for the Paris program, is excited about the University’s expansion into France. “We were seeking a partnership with a strong university where we could send our advanced students,” Douthwaite said. “We wanted something that would be exciting and challenging for our junior students.” Students will take courses at Université Paris Diderot, a school of about 26,000 founded in 2007. The campus is situated by the Seine River in southeastern Paris in a diverse neighborhood populated primarily by ethnic Chinese refugees from the former French colony of French Indochina. Locals speak Cantonese, Vietnamese and Khmer in addition to French. Douthwaite said the program is designed as a yearlong immersion, but students can take a semester program beginning in spring 2014. She said the Paris program offers an opportunity for students to take more challenging language courses on location. “What’s different about this program from Angers is that students can take lower-level requirements for their French major or supplementary major on campus, and then they can take up to 40 percent of their requirements in France,” Douthwaite said. Students can take a variety of classes in the fields of film studies, French literature, comparative literature, French language and linguistics, literary history and theory and literary methods. “They will get credit for any kind of French culture, linguistic, grammar, literature, film studies classes and we are working on art history,” Douthwaite said. “It’s a huge university, so there are many other disciplines represented, and our students are our ambassadors and will help future generations.” “The broad variety of humanities course offerings makes Université Paris Diderot a ‘must’ for advanced level French majors,” Douthwaite stated in a press release. “They will be able to attend a well-regarded French university and take classes with native speakers, all the while doing upper-level coursework that is recognized for the major and supplementary major in French.” Douthwaite said students would have a variety of options for living arrangements in Paris. “Notre Dame International will negotiate with the association that provides host families in Paris,” Douthwaite said. “Another option will be a room in a dormitory with other students, similar to the situation of the students who go to the Sciences Po program, or they may find a small apartment on their own.” Douthwaite said the new program also excites her as a faculty member, author and researcher. “The faculty over there are people like us,” she said. “They are active and publishing scholars and are exciting to talk to … It will be good for our students to have faculty similar to us in France.” In all, the Paris program diversifies the study abroad options and provides students with an opportunity to study and live in a world-class city, Douthwaite said. “This is a fabulous opportunity for students, and if I were 20 years old, I would jump at the chance to be a part of this program,” she said. “It will give students a time of independence and gives them time in Paris, my favorite city in the world.”last_img read more

Lessons of the Week! Darren Criss, Elisabeth Moss & More

first_imgGuys, we never thought this day would come. It’s finally Friday! To celebrate, we’re bringing you the weirdest, craziest and silliest things that happened on Broadway this week, from Brandon Uranowitz’s celebrity steam regime to the elusive “weird dancing” of Idina Menzel. Get ready, get set…for the Lessons of the Week!Ramin Karimloo Is Going JapaneseKonnichiwa, 24601! The Les Miz star is heading to Japan to headline The Prince of Broadway this fall alongside Shuler Hensley, Nancy Opel and more. We’re absolutely thrilled for you, Ramin, but we have one question: Do you think Hal Prince will mind if you do this a few times in the show? Like, 14 or 15 times?Elisabeth Moss Has a Curious CrushWhen we asked The Heidi Chronicles star to reveal the fellow Tony nominee she had a crush on, she briefly pretended it was Bradley Cooper…before confessing it was actually recent Juilliard grad Alex Sharp, star of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. We know your dream role is Mama Rose, but are you sure you wouldn’t want to play Mrs. Robinson one day?Amanda Seyfried’s Five-Year Plan Is PinkNow that starring in The Way We Get By has helped her overcome stage fright, Amanda Seyfried is aiming to tackle another life goal: Playing Glinda in the Wicked movie, which she calls “my number-one plan for my future.” Wow—our number-one plan for the future is trying to resist eating that leftover pizza in the fridge.Brandon Uranowitz Steams Like CelineEver wonder how An American in Paris star Brandon Uranowitz keeps his vocal cords so supple and moist? Yeah, we never did either. But he’s giving us the scoop in Max von Essen’s vlog “‘S Wonderful,” where he shares his Celine (Dion?) inspired steaming process. Thank you, Brandon. This steam strategy is safe in our hearts, and our hearts will go on and on.Sydney Lucas Doesn’t Have an AllowanceWhen we asked all three actresses who play Alison Bechdel in Fun Home to fill out our crazy questionnaire, we learned that the stars really like coffee ice cream and Ellen DeGeneres. But we also learned 10-year-old Sydney Lucas is the only one who doesn’t get an allowance. But don’t worry—she gets a salary. And it’s probably bigger than yours.Ivy Lynn & the Whole Gang Are BackDo you spend your days weeping, shoving peanut butter cups down your throat and mourning the loss of Smash? Yeah, us too. But get off the couch, put on something that isn’t sweatpants and get over to the Minskoff Theatre, where the entire cast of Bombshell is reuniting! (Plus, Jeremy Jordan, because obviously!) Oh wait, you can’t go. Tickets sold out in 45 seconds. Sorry. Back to the couch.Get Ready For Idina’s Weird DancingWhen Idina Menzel embarks on a concert tour, we know what to look forward to—“Defying Gravity,” “Let It Go,” maybe a little “Take Me or Leave Me” with a hyperventilating audience member…all of our favorites. But the blazing supernova is promising another bonus: weird dancing! We can’t wait to see her bust out this, this and this.Darwig Has Arrived on the InternetThis week on “The Total Package,” unofficial mascot Darren Criss unveiled his new persona “Darwig,” a glittery, wig-less hybrid of Darren and Hedwig. Video footage of Darwig has officially graced the internet for the very first time, and you know what that means, folks. GIF early and GIF often. We’re waiting.Andy Karl Bruises For His ArtAn honorary Audience Choice Award (bestowed after tons of complaining) isn’t the only perk Andy Karl gets for starring in On the Twentieth Century—he’s also covered in prestigious “comedy bruises,” a badge of honor that even impressed Carol Burnett. That’s great, Andy, but didn’t you get punched enough in Rocky? What about a show with lots of cushy padding next season, like SpongeBob Squarepants?Brandy Is a StalkerWhen we invited Brandy Norwood to our headquarters to film her “Ask a Star” segment, we had no idea she was such a superfan! “I love,” the Chicago star told us. “I stalk” We love you too, Brandy, but if you keep showing up in a cape and demanding we take voice lessons with you, we might be forced to stick you in another show a few blocks down. Star Files Darren Crisscenter_img View Commentslast_img read more

General José Elito is the new Brazilian Chief Minister of the Cabinet of Institutional Security

first_img Brazil’s President-elect Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday, December 22, announced five more ministers. Among them is Army General José Elito Carvalho Siqueira, who will be the new Chief Minister of the Cabinet of Institutional Security (GSI). By Dialogo December 22, 2010 During the South American Defense Chiefs Conference, co-hosted by the Armed Forces of Peru and the U.S. Southern Command, which took place in August in Lima, Peru, Diálogo spoke with General Elito, who was then the Chief of Defense Staff and is the former Force Commander for MINUSTAH, the United Nations stabilization force in Haiti. Diálogo: What is the situation regarding the Brazilian armed forces and the fight against illicit trafficking? General Elito: Congress passed a law in 2004/2005 that gave the Brazilian Army more of a police power, especially along the borders. Therefore, the armed forces – more particularly the army – are spread out in the far reaches of the country and many times represent the only state presence in those areas. It was a natural consequence of years and years of our presence there, which makes it a very logical law. It gives the Brazilian Army the authority to perform authorized police activities or actions within a 150-kilometer strip along the border. So, this was very good. And now this law is being updated; the supplementary law, which should be approved by Congress soon, extends this police power to the Navy and Air Force. Because the Navy also has some areas near rivers that need this, let’s say, special attention; and the Air Force had authority in its airspace, but whenever a clandestine aircraft would land, the Air Force would lose this authority. In other words, this is great, because it’s a matter of national security or national defense. Its great advantage, aside from its content, is the fact that it is a state document. It’s not a military document, or in other words, defense is no longer simply a military matter. Today, defense is a national matter. Every citizen is responsible for defense. The armed forces are the arm that will execute the defense, but the citizen is also responsible for it. Therefore, the fact of this integration or extension of the power of defense only helps the nation. It’s a great accomplishment, and I think that Brazil has made a large step forward in strategy. This strategy gives Brazil today, its inhabitants, its population a broader sense of defense, which is very important for us military professionals, that is, that everyone is involved with the problem. Diálogo: Can you give us a panorama of what the situation is now in Haiti as compared to when you were the Force Commander, in 2006? General Elito: I was in command there before the earthquake, and I went back now six months after the tragedy. What we can say on the positive side is that you notice that there is movement in Port-au-Prince, which is really good. That complicated traffic all the time, people in the streets doing informal trading, which sometimes seems to be a chaotic situation, but which from my perspective, is very positive. In other words, people are wanting to have a way of life after the earthquake. Before, the same was also true; whenever the population or the country were doing better, the streets were crowded. The streets are clean; there is still a lot of debris in the areas of the houses, but the streets are clean, which is very good, because shortly afterward, there was a very complicated period on the roadways. On the other hand, we have information, for example, that the international resources did not really arrive as promised, and there are over one million people living in tents today, which is a permanent concern. However, these people are being taken care of and they have food and water. MINUSTAH is doing very interesting work with the police on their presence and intelligence, to avoid greater complications in the future in these areas. It’s really unfortunate that the earthquake struck after a year and a half of stability in Haiti. Everything was improving in Haiti when the earthquake happened. I think that Haiti deserves, and its people deserve, something positive; let’s hope it happens. Diálogo: Why do we see Brazilian troops in other countries, but not other countries’ troops in Brazil? General Elito: Brazil is a country, I would say, blessed by God. In other words, our problems are minimal compared to other problems we see in other areas of the world. We’re really in a position to handle our problems. It’s that the need was never there. We’re not a country that has earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. Brazil would be open, should an extreme situation occur, to receive humanitarian aid from any other country.last_img read more

Leader of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel Sentenced to 35 Years

first_img Aureliano Cano Flores, one of Mexico’s notorious Gulf Cartel leaders, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for smuggling marijuana and cocaine into the United States, the Public Prosecutor reported on May 13. Cano Flores, aka ‘Yankee’ and ‘Yeyo,’ was given the prison term by U.S. federal judge Barbara Rothstein in Washington, D.C. for conspiracy to smuggle several tons of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico across the U.S. border, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. The judge also ordered him to forfeit $15 billion obtained through drug trafficking. Federal authorities also allege that 1,400 tons of cocaine and 8,000 tons of marijuana were smuggled into the United States by the Gulf Cartel between 2000 and 2010. In 2011 Cano Flores, 40, was extradited from Mexico and was tried in February, where he was found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle at least five kilograms of cocaine and one ton of marihuana, the statement said. During the trial, the Department of Justice was able to submit phone taps and the testimony of other members of the cartel, considered as one of the most powerful and violent Mexican drug organizations. “For over a decade, Cano Flores worked with some of the most dangerous criminals in the world in order to smuggle enormous amounts of cocaine and marijuana into the United States,” prosecutor Mythili Raman said in the statement. According to evidence submitted in the trial, Cano Flores started in the Gulf Cartel when he was a police officer in 2001, and then he became top boss in Los Guerra, a border town in the state of Tamaulipas, where he was in charge of the main influx of drugs smuggled by the criminal organization into the United States. “As a leader” of the Gulf Cartel, he “put the lives of innocent people from both sides of the border in jeopardy,” Raman added. The Gulf Cartel started to operate in 2000 as a 100-member organization which controlled three border towns, and after a decade it was ruling the drug trafficking routes over fifty percent of the Mexican territory, hiring about 25,000 people and resorting to murder, kidnapping, intimidation, and corruption. By Dialogo May 15, 2013last_img read more

Delaware County man charged for stealing $4000 using checks

first_imgGrand larceny in the 3rd degree, a felony18 counts of criminal possession of stolen property in the 5th degree18 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the 3rd degree18 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the 2nd degree According to a news release, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office arrested 21-year-old Sean R. Gillespie of Bovina, N.Y. and charged him with the following: The sheriff’s office says Gillespie is accused of stealing the $4000 as a result of presenting 18 stolen and forged checks to the Pindars Corners and Margaretville branch offices of the Delaware National Bank of Delhi. The checks were made out between mid-August and Sept. 1. BOVINA, N.Y. (WBNG) — Authorities in Delaware arrested one person on a felony charge for stealing nearly $4000. He was arrested on Sept. 15 following a Sept. 4 complaint involving a reported theft and forgery of checks from a Bovina residence.last_img read more

For now, don’t count on much vaccine: Time to step up your efforts to protect your employees

first_img(CIDRAP Business Source Osterholm Briefing) – It’s a race right now! And it’s between the H1N1 virus and our long-awaited vaccine. Unfortunately, as I write this column, the virus is winning. So will your employees’ best defense against the fast-moving virus ultimately win out? Possibly. But don’t count on it.What does that mean for your organization? In short, plan on functioning without the benefit of much vaccine—and brace for more illness and rising absenteeism. And as I have discussed before, if the virus undergoes any substantial genetic change, the situation could change at any moment. Remember to keep your response proportional to the severity of disease; it’s your best strategy.The current lay of the landI’ll save a thorough analysis of the H1N1 vaccine production and distribution dilemma for another column. For now, suffice it to say the vaccine supply has been overpromised and underdelivered. But we’ve always known that a plentiful supply of effective vaccine was a big variable. No surprise there. And with the severe cutbacks in public health, school systems, and the healthcare system over the past decade, the gaps in our ability to effectively distribute the vaccine should have been apparent as well.Meanwhile, we’re seeing evidence of illness on the rise throughout most parts of the country and the Northern Hemisphere. Will the trend continue? Is this a pandemic wave about to crest? Or is this pandemic like the one in 1957 which had both fall and winter peaks? I wish I could give you an answer. I can’t, and neither can anyone else. But I can suggest that you take steps now to protect your employees to the best of your ability and with the understanding that, outside the workplace, much is outside your control.I realize that some of these steps may seem like no-brainers, others may challenge very fundamental policies, practices, and customs in your organization, and some may seem out of the realm of financial possibility. But I urge you to give each of them serious consideration if you truly want to protect your most precious asset—your employees. And I’ll offer some ideas gleaned from some savvy business leaders who attended the 2009 CIDRAP Summit.1. Insist that sick employees stay home until they are not infectiousI’m sure we’ve all been guilty at one time or another of showing up at work a little sick. Few of us would be where we are if we hadn’t pushed past a little nasal congestion or an annoying cough to meet important deadlines. But this is different.True, thus far the H1N1 pandemic for most people causes illness that is like seasonal influenza. But for some people, including some of your workforce and even essential employees, H1N1 illness can be extremely dangerous. We don’t fully understand why yet. But anyone with an influenza-like illness should not be exposing colleagues to what may be an unpredictable pandemic influenza virus, no matter how mild the symptoms may be.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100º Fahrenheit or 38º Celsius) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, a flushed appearance, or sweating) without the use of fever-reducing medicines.You’re going to have to model this behavior yourself if you don’t want to give the impression that employees should do what they see rather than what you say.If you decide not to take this step, be sure to let everyone know that your company will not be following CDC guidance so there is no confusion, prepare for employee-relations issues, and know that a consequence may well be greater absenteeism than you expected.2. Ensure sick workers can stay home without fear of being penalizedThis is probably the hardest of the recommendations. But trust me, organizations who have adopted step 1 are figuring out how to make step 2 possible. As one human resources (HR) executive said during the summit, policies are designed to be big and broad and hard to change; however, protocols based on those policies can be flexible.Here are some of the ways organizations are tackling this step:Allowing employees to exhaust paid time off (PTO) hours and go into negative balancesAdvancing sick time up to a year of accrual (if, for example, the employee normally accrues 5 days of sick time per year and has used all 5 days, then you may want to consider advancing another 5 days)Suspending point attendance policies during the H1N1 influenza pandemicProviding a special time-off allotment for H1N1 Allowing employees to donate leave to othersFor more information on this step, please check out the 2009 CIDRAP Summit page, especially the human resources breakout presentations.If you decide not to take this step, be prepared for a form of “presenteeism” that will surely affect productivity and morale, and know that a consequence may well be greater absenteeism than you expected.3. Send sick employees home—consistentlyThe symptoms of influenza hit fast. So an employee can leave home feeling fine and arrive at work in terrible shape. And they’ll be extremely contagious at that point. I doubt they’ll be able to hide how sick they are or even want to hide it (unless they are worried about financial security). But they may not be able to get home easily. So they need to be separated from healthy employees immediately. All your supervisors need to know they are legally within their rights to send workers home and should apply the protocol consistently.By the way, this step also applies to you. Don’t try to gut it out. As someone with pandemic planning and response knowledge, you are vital to your organization, especially now. So don’t risk your own health, or anyone else’s.If you decide not to take this step, prepare for lower productivity and disruption from disgruntled employees, and know that a consequence may well be greater absenteeism than you expected.Bottom line for organizationsNo one knows if your employees will be able to get vaccinated in time to prevent becoming sick from the H1N1. No one knows if the current rise in illness is peaking or will continue to climb. So look closely at how best to protect your employees, even if the steps I’ve outlined push your organization past its comfort zone. Run a cost-benefit analysis if you need an objective measure. I think you’ll find the benefits are likely to far outweigh the risks.last_img read more

New clothes of Brijuni – the largest project by value in the history of the Public Institution NP Brijuni

first_imgLast week, representatives of the Public Institution Brijuni National Park signed a grant agreement with the Government of the Republic of Croatia for the project “New attire of Brijuni”.The allocated funds of the European Regional Development Fund amount to HRK 27.285.453,83 and make up 85 percent of the total costs, while the total value of the project is HRK 33.662.108,06 + VAT. The importance of the project was also recognized by the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency with 10 percent of approved co-financing in the amount of HRK 3.201.953,39, and the project is implemented within the Operational Program Competitiveness and Cohesion within the call “Promoting sustainable use of natural heritage of nature ”.This is the largest project in the history of Brijuni, which by the summer of 2020 will regulate the visitor infrastructure, modernize tourist facilities, diversify the excursion offer, enrich the educational and presentation offer and improve the visitor management system.On Veliki Brijun, it is planned to equip and arrange a summer cinema; modernization of a natural history exhibition; arrangement of the ‘Živa voda’ well and compressor station for the purpose of presenting the hydrogeological features of the archipelago, such as water phenomena, wells, pumping station and geological column; arranging a promenade under the Straža hill with the aim of presenting the forest ecosystem and establishing an additional information point for better direct informing visitors about all the contents of the NP.The renovation of seven facilities in the port of Mali Brijun will expand not only the excursion, but primarily the educational offer of the Park, with accommodation, catering services and multi-day educational programs for kindergartens, schools and universities and artists, scientists and researchers who want to work there.This is the largest project in value in the history of the Public Institution NP Brijuni, and is crucial for the reconstruction and future development of the park, which will use these funds to improve and modernize the tourist offer and show the general public the enormous development potential of the Brijuni Islands.. “Pointed out the director of JU NP Brijuni, dr. Sc. Marno Milotić.For greater comfort of visitors and better connection of attractions, a hybrid boat with a capacity of 150 passengers and two trains, with a capacity of 80 passengers each, will be purchased. New tools for the modern interpretation of Brijuni heritage will be developed and about a hundred employees will be trained with the aim of improving communication, presentation and sales skills.last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: How to make European venture capital grow

first_imgFor European VC to truly flourish, private sector funding must increase, argues Joseph MariathasanWhether European venture capital is falling behind the US or Asia is of importance for more than just venture capital investors. New companies at the forefront of innovation can act as catalysts for stimulating economies way beyond the immediate returns for the investors – the rise of the internet economy is testament to that.There is an opinion that Europe is falling behind in one key area – investing in big ideas, the breakthrough innovations and highly disruptive companies most talked about in the media. I wrote about this a few months ago. Joe Schorge, founder and managing partner of Isomer Capital, has come back to me rebutting this view, and his arguments certainly deserve a hearing.Schorge says much of the analysis and negative perceptions of European venture are based on outdated data. He argues that the way innovative companies are built and financed has changed since the financial crisis, driven largely by the rise of smart phones, app stores and cloud-based computing, yet it takes years for such results to be reflected in backward-looking performance indices. Meanwhile, he sees a great investment opportunity in funding the future, today. More recent analysis by the likes of the Boston Consulting Group in a 2015 report suggests VC performance is trending upwards, driven by high US investments in Europe. What is a worry, though, is that the average fund size of the more than 800 VCs is small, and small, nationally focused funds have often underperformed. What is very positive is the development of venture hubs in Europe, with Schorge seeing London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm leading, and a range of other cities following closely.Where Schorge differs from others is in the view that Europe is falling behind in ground-breaking innovation. As he rightly points out, in recent years, European companies have led the way in areas such as gaming, music streaming, blockchain and smart cities, among others. A good example is the British artificial intelligence company Google Deepmind, which is at the forefront of artificial intelligence. It made global headlines earlier this year when its programme beat a human professional at the game Go, which has never been done before.But perhaps the flip-side of that is that the company was acquired by Google in 2014, its biggest acquisition in Europe to date. How effective can European innovation be at the creation of unicorns (private companies valued at more than $1bn) if any potential contenders are rapidly acquired by the US mega companies? There may be some hope in that BCG does estimate that, as of August last year, 13 of the 129 global unicorns were based in Europe, including global names such as Shazam and Spotify.Other reports claim even larger numbers, with GP Bullhound identifying 40 in Europe. The UK is by far the leading creator, with Germany some distance behind. What is interesting, they find that the vast majority of new additions are consumer-focused, with all new unicorns in Germany being consumer-orientated. The mix in the UK, they find, is more diversified, with software companies dominating the new additions. The strongest sectors are e-commerce, software and marketplace, with each representing 20% of the total number of European unicorns. The fintech share is growing the fastest, with seven companies, and more than half of the fintech companies are UK-based. As GP Bullhound points out, London’s unique position in global finance is driving this growth. Schorge sees London as being on track to earn the title Fintech Capital of the World, given its strong growth as a start-up hub, wide talent pool of finance industry executives and the presence of all the large global financial intuitions. A key issue, of course, will be the potential impact of a Brexit. Proponents of Brexit will argue there will be no detrimental impact, but, the truth is, no one knows.So, should we be complacent about the strength of European venture? GP Bullhound reports that the new generation of European unicorns has raised significantly more capital than in the past but adds that now it is more important than ever to keep momentum in “winner takes all” sectors. Yet, despite the glowing reports that they, Schorge and others are reporting on European venture, the fact remains that it is difficult to get private sector funding from large institutions such as European pension funds. There are many reasons for that, including the fact small fund sizes preclude many large institutional investors from taking stakes, given the amount of due diligence required for relatively small investments. Not surprisingly, as BCG reports, the absence of private investors has led to governments becoming the largest LPs in Europe, with 35% of the market. For European venture to truly flourish, that figure has to be reduced through increased private sector funding, rather than reduced government investment. And in the UK, a possible Brexit may very well become the more important issue.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more