News for nerds

Mother’s weight before pregnancy, not weight gained during pregnancy, has impact on development of allergic diseases

A University of Ottawa-led study of nearly 250,000 children in Ontario over seven years—the largest of its kind—found a mother’s weight before pregnancy may impact their newborn’s risk of developing allergic diseases in early childhood, whereas weight gain during pregnancy did not seem to have the same effect.

Here are the key points from the study, led by Sebastian Srugo, who was a graduate student in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine:

No link found between a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and childhood allergic disease.

Children born to obese mothers in pregnancy were more likely to develop asthma, but slightly less likely to develop dermatitis and anaphylaxis. Specifically, children born to obese mothers before pregnancy had an 8 percent higher risk of developing asthma.

Approximately half of the infants were born to overweight or obese mothers and a third to mothers who gained excess weight during pregnancy.

Mothers are entering pregnancy overweight/obese, gaining excess weight during pregnancy, and many children are developing allergic disease in early childhood.

In Canada, approximately 30% of the population suffers from at least one allergic disease, with an even greater prevalence among children.

Globally, trends in allergic diseases have reached epidemic proportions, becoming the most common and earliest-onset group of chronic disease.

SoftBank mulls options for Fortress, including sale

SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) is considering a sale of Fortress Investment Group as it explores options for the asset manager, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The Japanese conglomerate bought Fortress for more than $3 billion in 2017.

However, SoftBank was not able to mesh Fortress’s operations with its own, leading to its decision to explore other options, the report said, adding that discussions were at an early stage.

SoftBank and Fortress did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Founded in 1998, New York-based Fortress manages assets on behalf of about 1,800 institutional clients and private investors worldwide, according to its website.

You can now build your own USB-C iPhone thanks to this open source mod

If you’ve been waiting for an iPhone with a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector, it’s unlikely that you’ll get one from Apple. However, what you can do is mod an existing iPhone using detailed instructions from a passionate engineering student that spent several months developing the process.

Last month, we learned that an engineering student from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL, had successfully modded an iPhone X to change the charging port from Lightning to USB-C. This was a great accomplishment, since the USB-C port was fully functional for both charging and data transfers.

Ken Pillonel, who developed the mod, promised to come up with a more in-depth video about his project, and now we have one. Not only does Pillonel explain in great detail what it took to make the world’s first USB-C iPhone a reality, but he’s also created a GitHub repository containing all the instructions needed to machine the iPhone chassis and build the custom PCB for the USB-C port.

In the 14-minute video, Pillonel explains the mod required some reverse engineering and creative thinking to mimic a proper USB-C port. Specifically, he had to figure out how to map the power and data lines between the Lightning connection on the iPhone motherboard and the USB-C port, as well as reverse engineer Apple’s C94 chip. Then he had to figure out how to produce a flexible PCB that fits inside the iPhone X and a support structure that would hold the USB-C port in place.

Suffice to say, not many people possess the skills and the tools required to make this mod, but at least you don’t have to go through the same difficult journey as Pillonel thanks to his decision to open-source the documentation behind the final version he worked so hard to create.

If you’re interested in purchasing this unique USB-C iPhone X, Pillonel is auctioning it on eBay where the bidding has already reached $4,950 at the time of writing. However, keep in mind that this won’t be useful as a daily driver, and Pillonel notes you shouldn’t restore, update, or erase it either.

Which lottery is the easiest to win? Tips and tricks on how to win big

The lottery will continue to inspire the dreams of so many, as millions sign up every year in the hope of winning big. Here is a breakdown of the easiest lotteries to win, alongside some advice on how to win a prize

We all know the temptations of the lottery, but by definition the grand prize is nearly impossible to win.

The EuroMillions for example, has a one in 139,838,160 chance of winning.

Unlikely to say the least — but it isn’t all about the grand prize.

Taking home any of the big prizes is extremely unlikely and sometimes its better to focus on the smaller prizes.

Some are easier to win than others.

So which lotteries are the easiest to win? We breakdown the best chances and odds…

Believe it or not, the easiest to win is the Polish Mini Lotto.

The odds of winning the jackpot prize is a cool 850,668 to one.

But these are far and away the best odds.

Next up is the Swedish Lotto, which you’ll have a one in 6,724,520 chance of winning.

The Polish Mini Lotto’s grand prize has a maximum total cap of £72,000, so it isn’t going to buy you the countryside estate you would like, but might just help pay off the mortgage.

Lottoland offered their opinion on which was is the best to play: “If you’re looking for a great all-rounder lottery our pick has to be the Swedish Lotto. Why? Because it’s got our second-lowest jackpot odds and it’s therefore your best chance to win a multimillion pound jackpot,” they said.

“A basic game costs just 50p. Add the bonus from as little as £1.50 extra plus the Lotto 2 draw for another 50p. Now you’ve got 16 different ways to win for only £2.”

The top five is as follows:

Polish Mini Lotto – maximum prize of £72,000, played every day with 1 : 850,668 odds
Swedish Lotto – maximum prize of £18 million, played Wednesday and Saturday with 1 : 6,724,520 odds
Austrian Lotto – maximum prize of £6.8 million, played Wednesday and Sunday with 1 : 8,145,060 odds
OZ Lotto – maximum prize of £545,000, played Monday and Wednesday with 1 : 8,145,060 odds
Irish Lotto – maximum prize of £13 million, played Wednesday and Saturday with 1 : 10,737,573 odds

Lottery top tips

The best chance of winning a small prize lies with the French lottery, with a one in six chance.

Next is the UK Lotto’s odds of around one in nine, while Spain’s El Gordo De La Primitiva has odds of one in 10. Austrian Lotto, meanwhile, has odds of one in 12.

Generally speaking, lottery numbers with the best chance of winning are the ones that are spread apart.

Popular numbers, like five, seven and 10 are picked more commonly. This means there is a higher likelihood of, if you are lucky enough to win, of splitting your prize with another person.