Panel faults NIH risk assessment for Boston biodefense lab

first_img Klare Allen, a community organizer who has led opposition to the lab’s construction, told the Washington Post that she was pleased with the NRC’s findings. “The NRC pretty much confirmed everything we’ve been saying for the last 5 years,” she said. Dec 5, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Amid controversy around the construction of a biodefense laboratory in Boston, a project risk assessment from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is funding the lab, has been condemned as unsound by the National Research Council (NRC). An NRC committee was named to look into the NIH’s risk assessment of the biosafety level 4 lab, which will be located at Boston University, in response to a request from the state of Massachusetts, according to the NRC report. The state made the request after a court challenge invalidated the state’s finding that the NIH’s draft environmental impact report was adequate. See also: The NRC report will be among other public comments the NIH will review as it finalizes its risk analysis, according to a Nov 30 Washington Post report. The Post story, published Nov 30, said the lab is 70% complete. Federal officials have said that if they lose court battles over the lab, it will be used to study less dangerous pathogens, according to the story. Nov 29 NRC press release “Environmental justice communities are often faced with environmental stressors that wealthier communities do not face,” the committee wrote, adding that the South End neighborhood where the new lab is located could face extra health challenges if residents’ health is poor, public health services are lacking, or insects or rodents are common in the area. Besides voicing several detailed concerns about the NIH’s risk assessment methodology, the advisory committee said the agency’s report glossed over “environmental justice” issues related to the lab’s inner-city setting. Also, the committee faulted the NIH report for focusing mainly on a single individual or a small number of lab workers in analyzing the probability of a release of a lethal agent. The NIH should have included other possibilities, such as equipment failure, security breaches, and malevolent action, the report states.center_img “The NIH draft report has serious weaknesses, in particular regarding selection of pathogens and lack of transparency of the modeling, leading the committee to conclude that the draft is not sound and credible,” said NRC committee chairman John Ahearne, executive director emeritus of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, in the NRC press release. One of the advisory committee’s criticisms centers on the pathogens the NIH selected in the scenarios modeled and described in the risk assessment: Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus, monkeypox virus, Sabia hemorrhagic fever virus, and Rift Valley fever virus. The findings from the NRC, an arm of the National Academies, were released on Nov 29 in a 28-page report posted on the NRC’s Web site. The National Academies consist of four private, nonprofit, congressionally chartered institutions that advise the US government on science, technology, and health policy issues. After it lost the court challenge, the state asked the NIH to produce a risk assessment addressing additional worst-case scenarios, alternative sites for the lab, and mitigation issues in the event of a pathogen release from the lab. NRC report on NIH risk analysis of Boston BSL 4 laboratory “The committee acknowledges the need for biocontainment laboratories in the United States, including BSL 4 laboratories, and recognizes that BSL 4 laboratories are being operated in other major urban areas,” he wrote. In a letter to Massachusetts officials that accompanies the report, Ahearne emphasized that the report focuses only on the quality of the NIH risk assessment and shouldn’t be viewed as a statement about the risk of a biocontainment facility in Boston or any other city. The committee said that worst-case scenario planning should have involved agents, such as those that spread by aerosol droplets, that have higher person-to-person transmission rates than most of the agents the NIH included.last_img read more


first_imgAN upcoming GAA star from Co Derry has confirmed that he has signed for Rangers.Catholic Aaron McGregor, 17, is a regular with Limavady Wolfhounds GAA club and has just signed a two-year professional contract.And it seems Rangers are going after more players from Ireland with a GAA background. For Aaron won’t be the only player with a GAA background in the Rangers reserve and Under-19 squads he’ll initially be joining.“Rangers is full of lads who have played Gaelic: there are five in the squad that Aaron’s joining, three Dublin fellas and one from Omagh, and three or four of the Rangers scouts had Celtic tattoos on them,” said his dad Michael.“At this level it’s all about professionalism.“The reaction locally has been brilliant, from all sides of the community. We have had so many phone calls wishing him well. “We had a going away party for Aaron at the weekend and the turnout was mixed right down the middle. Everybody is very proud of him,” he said.Said Aaron: ”“I was delighted when Rangers made an approach, it’s an opportunity to make a career as a full-time professional footballer,” he said.“When you see Rangers’ facilities and their coaches, it’s a fantastic set-up. I’d been on trial with a few other teams — Bradford, Burnley and Aberdeen — but the Rangers set-up was the best.“Bradford actually put a deal on the table, they offered a contract straight away. I was over three times with Burnley and they were in the process of bringing me over again when Rangers moved in between times. They moved very quickly once they had made their decision.” So the prospect of a GAA-playing Co Derry man scoring against Celtic for Rangers has moved a step closer.Times have changed.SHOCK FOR HOOPS FANS AS GAA STAR SIGNS FOR RANGERS! was last modified: June 23rd, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:aaron mcgregorCelticRangerslast_img read more

Thrower, Conde Shine as Jacks Top Broncos

first_imgTremendous performances from Alexia Thrower and Isamar Conde guided the Humboldt State women’s basketball team to a 73-65 victory over Cal Poly Pomona, Thursday night in Lumberjack Arena.The Green and Gold improved to 14-6 overall and 12-5 in California Collegiate Athletic Association action with the win.“I’m very proud of our team’s performance tonight. We played with great energy for 40 minutes,” said HSU head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. “We had a defensive gameplan heading into the night …last_img

Senhor da Pedra — Geocache of the Week

first_img SharePrint RelatedDie weltbesten Geocaches verstecken und finden.January 17, 2017In “Deutsch”The Cave — Geocache of the WeekOctober 10, 2018In “Community”Night Caching in Portugal – A Lackey’s Mega-Event ExperienceMay 20, 2012In “Community” GOTW Senhora da Pedra, Madeira PortugalOff the southwest coast of Portugal and northwest coast of Africa lies the beautiful archipelago of Madeira. It is the outermost region of the European Union and an autonomous region of Portugal. Known for its idyllic climate, flowing wine, romantic beaches, and sheer cliffs, Madeira is also home to close to 1,200 active geocaches.You must be thinking, “Geocaching in gloriously warm climate with stunning landscapes and flowing wine—where’s the grit and the character-building adventure of that?!” Luckily, this traditional cache provides a mildly challenging hike with a big pay off in a phenomenal location. Perfect!You’ll start your journey at the São Jorge (St. George) lighthouse, a sweet little spot to prepare for your trek and take in the ocean views. The lighthouse was, “…designed in 1948 and started to function in 1959. Its structure is a cylindrical tower 14-meters high, and the focus is at an altitude of 271 meters. Its light has a range of 16 miles, and its operation is automated in 1986 after being electrified in 1962.”São Jorge (St. George) lighthouseThe next step is to find the path to the geocache. Once you are on the path, you will see why this geocache earned its 3.5 terrain rating. There are many paths—will you take the correct one? Will your path be full of mud with no alternate route? Will you slip and fall in the mud? Will this actually be worth it? Stay strong, intrepid geocachers, because yes, the payoff will be worth it.Path to the geocacheAt the end of the path on the very edge of a cliff, you will find a very large rock. Many years ago it broke free from the hills above, rolled down the rugged terrain, then suddenly stopped right on this precipice. This was so amazing and odd that the locals built a small shrine in honor of the “Lady of the Stone” and placed it underneath the boulder. This “monument’ is full of religious statues, candles, flowers, stones, and other knickknacks. It is also a wonderful place for quiet reflection and to sign a logbook.Path to the geocacheIf this amazing rock and little shrine weren’t enough, check out that view! On the left you can see Porto Moniz very far away, while on the right you can look down and see the old pier of São Jorge. Can it get any better than this?View from above the rockRecent logs:Siggi72This is my second time visiting Madeira but the first time with Geocaching. Without geocaching I wouldn’t have seen this “balancing” rock with the small shrine and the great views. Thanks for showing!Amazing location for a geocacheComètesOn our way, we could not miss this cache, that we already bookmarked in France when preparing our trip. Its D/T ratio is the only one missing in on matrix. We first discovered the lighthouse, then went down to GZ. 148 steps later, we were at the right place. A special place, as many ones that we can discover since we are practising geocaching. We found the box with the help of the spoiler. While we were signing the logbook, a rainbow appeared above the Ocean. To celebrate our fully filled matrix? Thank you for this great cache!At the shrine under the rockED77First we had problems to find the right access and had almost given up. Fortunately we found the right way otherwise we have missed a great adventure and a total crazy place! The path down was a real adventure but at the end worth every step How curious to place a shrine under this huge stone! We enjoyed the mystic and peaceful place, stayed some time staring at the sea This place is worth a favorite pointJust before the geocacheGreat view and a great experienceThe shrineGorgeous viewsView to the rightEven pooches love this geocacheContinue to explore some of the mostamazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More Difficulty:4Terrain:3.5 TraditionalGC2ZWP5by luisftas Location:Arquipélago da Madeira, PortugalN 32° 50.110 W 016° 54.419last_img read more

Oracle Databases and Storage

first_img“Storage is growing much faster than the revenues and profits of companies” said Ari Kaplan, president of the Independent Oracle User’s Group (IOUG).  Storage demand is being driven by regulatory compliance, increased business transactions, and buisiness intelligence, and the bulk of the increased data is unstructured, in the form of graphics. audio, video and emails.The IOUG conducted a survey in September 2006 of 366 respondents in Oracle shops with more than 5000 employees, 57% of which were database or systems administrators.  31% of those reporting have databases larger than one terabyte.92% expect that their database storage needs will increase in 2007 and 20% says the increase will be more than 50%60% report that database performance has been impacted because of lack of available storage20% had great uncertainty in estimating future storage requirements for ‘non-traditional’ unstructured data.  Many of those interviewed buffered their estimated storage needs by 10-25% to account for any unexpected storage need ‘surges’.Database administrators usually have a better sense of estimating storage requirements and they have become more involved in making decisions about storage that in the past may have been handled by different groups within IT.  This is another example of how traditional IT responsibilities are being shared with other business organizations.As storage grows and terabyte-plus databases become commonplace, one problem noted is that disk drives are having a hard time keeping up with application processing requirements.  Balancing capacity and performance requirements has become a major challenge for many organizations.On a related topic, this month Oracle is backing away from any storage vendor-specific support.  Oracle announced that they are dropping certifications specific to specialized storage products.  In the past, the Oracle Storage Compatibility Program (OSCP) certified compatibility of storage products with Oracle software.  Oracle’s comment is that storage technologies are mature and well understood and certifications are no longer needed.Simultaneously, Oracle has also dropped their “Resilient Low-cost Storage Initiative“.  Although the exact reason for why they discontinued this program is not clear.last_img read more

Augmented ID: Augmented Reality Facial Recognition for Mobile

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement sarah perez What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces As mobile phones continue to develop, the improvements to geolocation features, video capabilities, and processor speed combined with APIs from various web services are helping to make augmented reality the next big thing in mobile applications. On open platforms like Android, we’ve already seen amazing developments, including things like Layar, an augmented reality app that describes the world around you, and TwittARound, an app which shows you nearby tweets. But one of the items on our Augmented Reality wishlist – AU facial recognition – isn’t something we’ve seen come about just yet. It almost seems too futuristic to be real. And yet…here it is. Swedish software and design company The Astonishing Tribe is developing an AU concept called Augmented ID that “sees” people and tells you who they are. How Augmented ID WorksAugmentedID uses facial recognition and tracking technology from a company called Polar Rose, a photo tagging startup. A few months ago, Polar Rose made the news when they released a tool that lets you tag your friends on flickr and then alert them that they were tagged via Facebook Connect integration. Although hyped as “facial recognition for flickr,” the technology isn’t a part of the photo-sharing site at all (although if Flickr was smart, they’d soon find a way to make that happen). Instead, Polar Rose, at its very core, is simply a facial recognition algorithm which pulls in photos from flickr to its site for tagging. It can also be integrated into any web site you own via a javascript widget. Apparently, it can now be integrated into mobile devices, too. center_img Polar Rose performs facial recognition by matching 3D models of faces, one of the three methodologies for performing this task. This technique captures the shape of the face and other distinctive features like the contour of the eyes, the nose, and the chin. The advantage of using this technique is that it’s not affected by low lighting scenarios – a useful feature when used in real-world mobile interfaces like that of Augmented ID.Current Limitations and Future PossibilitiesUnfortunately, in order for Augmented ID to know a person’s face to begin with, it appears you first have to set up an Augmented ID account. Once that’s done, you can maintain different profiles for your public persona versus your private one, switching between them as desired. Each profile has associated with it your contact information, web links, and information about your social networking profiles. Another Augmented ID user could then aim their phone at you and Augmented ID would recognize who you were and show them the appropriate profile – which is actually the video stream of you in real life with the various links sort of hovering around your head. This isn’t exactly the ideal mobile facial recognition solution just yet since it requires both participants to use Augmented ID in order for it to work. But it is one step closer than anything else we’ve seen before. In a perfect world, however, anyone could use the app to identify anyone else – regardless of whether or not that person had created an Augmented ID profile. Of course, implementing that type of feature would be difficult, but not impossible. Given the numerous public photos on the web, an app could, in theory, use its facial recognition technology to compare the 3D model of the face in the live video feed to those out there on the web as opposed to ones in its own database. A good place to start this matching process would be Facebook. Despite the millions upon millions of photos on that social networking site, facial recognition already exists there courtesy of the new app Photo Finder. Perhaps the two companies could even work together so the mobile app could query against the photos Photo Finder has already turned into 3D models for matching purposes. (Is that technically possible? If that’s your area of expertise, let us know). That’s getting a little ahead of what Augmented ID actually does, but possibilities like this are exciting. But For Now…At the moment, Augmented ID is more of a mobile “concept” than it is a working application ready for download. Still, it’s only a matter of time before technology like this is adopted and put into use in the real world. In fact, that’s why TAT developed it in the first place. The Swedish company designs and builds products and services that “enhance the user experience of portable devices.” They work with OEMs including SonyEricsson, Motorola, S60, Samsung, Vodafone, and Orange as well as partners like Texas Instruments, Freescale, Teleca, Macnica Networks, Montavista, Nvidia, and Symbian. In other words, you may one day see this technology come built into your mobile device. But we’d settle for the Augmented ID mobile app -wouldn’t you? Image credit: engadget Tags:#mobile#Product Reviews#Trends#web Related Posts last_img read more

Child of homeless couple stolen, sold for adoption

first_imgA childless couple’s desire to adopt a male child without going through the legal process led to the kidnapping and sale of a two-year-old son of a homeless couple for ₹30,000 in Odisha’s Berhampur.Six persons were arrested on Monday in connection with the theft and sale of the child, who was rescued and handed over to his parents on Sunday night.The arrested persons included the childless couple, Brundaban Rana (52) and his wife Baijayanti; Prafulla Nayak and his wife Mamata, who prepared a false adoption document claiming they were the parents of the kidnapped child; Santosh Rana, the brother-in-law of Brundaban, and another man named Siba Nayak.The parents of the child are from the Gajapati district. They, along with their four-year-old daughter and two year-old-son, had reached Berhampur a few weeks ago to make and sell idols made of plaster of paris and clay. At night they used to sleep under an overbridge in the Gosaninagaon police station area. On September 19 night their son was kidnapped, following which they complained to the police the next day.Police Inspector Sunit Soren said Brundaban, a bank attendant, had asked Santosh to arrange a child for adoption. Santosh contacted his friend Prafulla, who , with the help of Siba, stole the son of the homeless couple. Santosh paid ₹30,000 to Prafulla for the stolen child. “Later Prafulla and his wife prepared a false legal agreement in which they claimed they were handing over their child to Brundaban for adoption by consent,” said Mr. Soren.However, some locals had seen Siba moving around with the child on September 20. On September 22, Siba was arrested and his interrogation revealed the whole racket.last_img read more