This is the last weekly headlines for the month of January. Next week I'm on a sabbatical so you won't be seeing any new blog postings but I'll be back in the saddle on Monday, February 4, 2013. Hope you can visit then.
The headlines I decided to share with you this week include:
- Panda Antibodies May Lead to New Drugs for Fighting Superbugs;
- Injectable Foam Stops Internal Bleeding and Saves Lives;
- Quebec Farmers Working to Create Eco-friendly Cows;
- New MindMeld App a Step Beyond Siri;
- For $69 You can Drive Home in an Electric Car.
Pandas Move Beyond the Face of Conservation to Become an Environmental Asset
It appears that the icon of the World Wildlife Fund has been given new purpose by a discovery in China at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University. Giant Pandas harbor an antibody that displays strong antimicrobial activity against drug-resistant strains of bacteria and fungi. The substance is cathelicidin-AM, an antiimicrobial peptide, a protein produced within the immune system of Pandas. Bacteria exposed to the protein died in less than one hour. The same bacteria when exposed to more commonly used antibiotic agents survived more than six hours. The researchers led by Dr. Xiuwen Yan hope this discovery leads to the production of new medicines and cleaning agents for tackling superbugs.
New Battlefield Medical Aid May Prove a Lifesaver in Emergencies
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA for short, funds all kinds of military projects. One of the latest is a medical technology that consists of two liquid components that when injected into a wound site form a solid foam to slow internal bleeding. The developer of the technology is Arsenal Medical in Watertown, Massachusetts. Early clinical trials have demonstrated the foam's ability to stop severe hemorrhaging for up to three hours, increasing post-injury survival from 8% to 72% in battlefield conditions.
The Arsenal Foam system clinical trial results were recently presented at the 2012 American Association for the Surgery of Trauma Annual Meeting. Application of the foam goes well beyond battlefield trauma usage. We should see it applied in emergency medical response and fire and rescue in the near future.
Cow Burps are not Eco-Friendly
When President Ronald Reagan called cattle and trees a greater threat to greenhouse gas production than fossil fuels he was exaggerating but there is no doubt that cows emit tons of methane. And methane is even more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. That's one of the reasons for the Cow2 pilot project in Quebec where researchers hope to use crushed flaxseed mixed into cattle feed to reduce greenhouse gases. Laval University in Quebec City is the location of the pilot project which is being conducted at 30 dairy farm sites throughout the province. Quebec is home to the largest number of dairy herds in Canada and produces 3 billion liters of milk annually. The pilot project will examine fat samples taken from cows to determine how much methane gas they are emitting. An unintended benefit from added flaxseed - the milk produced will contain more Omega-3, believed to boost cardiovascular health. Similar studies are being conducted in Europe, the U.S. and Brazil.
New Smartphone App Anticipates What You Need and Delivers
A step beyond Siri, Apple Computers' voice-activated assistant, MindMeld is a product of Expect Labs, located in San Francisco. The app, named after the Vulcan practice of mind melding as seen on the sci-fi adventure, Star Trek, works on iPads currently with plans to roll it out to Android devices and smartphones in the near future. MindMeld listens and analyzes phone conversations between two or more people. It then displays information about the subjects being discussed. Unlike Siri or current search engine technology, MindMeld uses multiple sensory awareness with speech recognition, natural language processing, image processing, semantic analysis and relationship detection in its arsenal of tools, helping it to find meaningful patterns within conversations. Over ten minutes it, therefore, can analyze a discussion and produce and display what it believes is relevant to enhance the interaction. Described by Timothy Tuttle, CEO of Expect Labs, as "contextual, continuous, predictive search," it is a step up from Siri and a direct competitor to Google Now, which takes voice search commands and anticipates future web searches as it learns smartphone user habits.
Mitsubishi Car Dealer Introduces i-MiEV Deal That's Hard to Resist
The i-MiEV is an all-electric vehicle (EV). It's a city car with a driving range of about 100 kilometers (62 miles). It's top speed is 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour. And for $2,100 down to cover taxes, title and license, it can be leased for two years at $69 per month from a Mitsubishi dealership in Normal, Illinois. The battery is lithium-ion and comes with an eight-year, 160,000 kilometer (100,000 mile) guarantee. To recharge the i-MiEV choose from a Level 2, 240 volt charger (costs extra), which takes 7 hours to fully recharge, or a Level 1, 120 volt cable (costs a lot less) which plugs into a regular electrical power outlet and takes 22 hours to fully recharge, or the DC quick charge which takes advantage of the i-MiEV's CHAdeMO connector port producing 80% recharge in 30 minutes. CHAdeMO sites are the beginning of a universal standard infrastructure to support EVs. So if you are near Normal, that's Normal, Illinois, and you have a hankering to try an EV, it's hard to beat this deal.
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- Len Rosen
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This is my last posting for the next few days. I will be taking my office apart so that we can move to our new apartment downtown next Tuesday. I will be unplugged and disconnected except by tablet. Expect me to be back in the saddle before the end of next week probably in time to provide you with some more headlines. In the interim these are the stories I share with you this week:
Today, literally thousands of alternative transportation vehicles are coming out of the woodwork and they nearly all have the same problem – no place to drive them. Most are banned from biking and hiking trails, and they are neither licensed, nor licensable, for use on the streets. I’d like to discuss some new possible solutions and why Colorado is poised to take the lead in the alternative transportation marketplace.
In a recent conference promoting not only their latest gizmos but their company's animating vision as well, Google executives declared they were working toward a future in which technology "disappears," "fades into the background," becomes more "intuitive and anticipatory." Commenting on this apparently "bizarre mission for a tech company," Bianca Bosker warns that their genial and enthusiastic promotional language masks Google's aspiration to omnipresence via invisibility, an effort to render us dependent and uncritical of their prevalence through its marketing as easy, intuitive, companionable.
Occasionally during meetings one of my staff – an avid birder – will elbow me and I’ll look up and glimpse a bald eagle. Each time, I am in awe. I live in Washington State, which is home to a plethora of eagles, where pods of Orca ply the waters near the San Juan Islands, and where roads are sometimes blocked by herds of elk.
In this month's Report on Business Magazine, a supplement that comes with The Globe and Mail, one of Canada's national newspapers, Stanford University's Mark Jacobson provides a best case scenario
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrity tech CEO Peter Thiel is upset that movies like The Matrix and Avatar make technological innovation seem "destructive and dysfunctional."
A team of researchers are asking the public to help them locate and count all the sources of CO2 coming from power plants on the planet.