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#Paris: The power, the horror, and the distortions - November 14th, 2015 - Dave Lee

As the true extent of the Paris attacks becomes clear, we are reminded yet again how the internet - or more specifically, social media - is changing what it means to cope with disasters affecting people on a global scale.

It may seem trivial to even care about social media during moments like this - in happier moments it can seem like a place for selfies, holiday photos and banal arguments in 140 characters.

But during a crisis social media becomes the single most significant platform for news to be spread, eyewitness experiences to be shared and official statements to be made.


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How Technology Can Help Reboot Ebola-Free Sierra Leone

submitted by George Hurlburt  


The new Sensi Technology Innovation Hub hopes to help the country rebuild after its Ebola crisis - by Peter Guest - November 7, 2015

(CNN) - Morris Marah was working in the Sierra Leonean High Commission in London when the devastating Ebola outbreak struck his country last year.

Desperate to help, he went home; first to volunteer in a community health center, then by applying his technology skills to build an SMS-based platform that disseminated weekly information and advice on how to avoid contracting the disease to more than 500,000 people.

"I felt, sitting in London there wasn't much I could do from that far away. I wanted desperately to come out here and see how I could be useful," he says over the phone from the capital, Freetown.

Working on that platform, called Sensi, and on other public health initiatives demonstrated how successfully technology could be leveraged for social good, and inspired him to look for ways to bring the country's small, but talented, tech community together to help restart the country's stalled economy.


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100% renewables by 2045 is now the law in Hawaii

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Hawaii law sets target of 100pc renewables by 2045


9 Jun 2015, 2.15 pm GMT

Washington, 9 June (Argus) — Hawaii's governor David Ige (D) signed legislation making the island state the first in the US to set a mandate for all electricity to come from renewable resources.

The governor signed HB 623, which requires electric utilities to supply 100pc of their sales with renewables by 2045. The new renewable portfolio standard includes interim targets of 30pc by 2020, 40pc by 2030 and 70pc by 2040. HB 623 replaces a previous standard that called for 15pc by 2015, 25pc by 2020 and 40pc by 3030. The bill takes effect on 1 July.

Ige said the move to local sources of energy will help the state's economy, which relies on about $5bn/yr in oil imports. Fuel oil provides about 70pc of the state's electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Video - Humanity From Space - July 22, 2015

From the global perspective of space, this 2-hour special reveals the breathtaking extent of our influence, revealing how we’ve transformed our planet and produced an interconnected world of extraordinary complexity.

A journey through 12,000 years, Humanity from Space shows how seemingly small flashes of innovation have changed the course of civilization; innovations that touch all of us today in ways unimaginable to our ancestors. And we’ll gaze into the future at the new challenges we’ll face in order to survive as our global population soars because of our success. In every case we’ll look at our progression in a unique and surprising way, revealing unforgettable facts and "who knew?" connections.

To visualize these stories cutting-edge technology is used to turn raw data into authentic moving images, building on expertise from a previous (and highly-praised) project; "Earth From Space." Using this technique, we can map humanity’s behavior in stunning, never seen before detail, revealing how our civilization grew, how it works today and what the future might hold.

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Ebola outbreak help extends from space

Telemedicine and innovative devices could help reduce unnecessary exposures to virus

(Two items, scroll down.)

CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORP.                                                                                 July 19, 2015

Space technology such as satellite images and telemedicine could play a bigger role in helping to control the Ebola outbreak that's killed more than 11,250 people, a Canadian doctor says.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield holds the Microflow experiment to test how the instrument counts blood cells in orbit. Such space spinoffs have the potential to be applied to outbreaks of infectious diseases on Earth. (NASA)

This week's issue of the medical journal Lancet Infectious Disease includes a commentary titled "Help from Above — outer space and the fight against Ebola."

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Bethlehem's Orasure gets government contract to develop quick Ebola test

LEIGH VALLEYLIVE  by Tony Rodin                             June 12, 2015

BETHLAHEM, PENNSYLVANIA  --OraSure Technologies Inc., a Bethlehem company that pioneered a quick test for determining HIV infection, has received a more than $10 million multiphase government contract to do the same for Ebola diagnosis, the company said Friday morning.

The company has developed a prototype device "that appears to deliver analytical performance similar to laboratory PCR tests when evaluated on stored samples from infected patients," the company said.

The three-year contract begins with a $1.8 million commitment and can add $8.6 million for clinical and regulatory activities, the company said.

The Ebola test will utilize the same OraQuick technology used in the company's rapid HIV and hepatitis C test kits, the company said.

Read complete story.

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How Computer Modelers Took On the Ebola Outbreak

submitted by Sarah Slaughter         


At The Epidemic’s Epicenter: A Liberian child sits in an Ebola isolation ward housing people who might have contracted the contagious disease.  Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Did real-time epidemic modeling save lives in West Africa? - by David Brown - May 28, 2015

. . . “agent-based” models will give a more nuanced picture of how pathogens affect and sicken a population. “This is the wave of the future,” says Stephen Eubank, deputy director of the Virginia Tech lab. “It’s going to take a concerted effort to gather the data and the expertise. But it’s going to happen.”

And so, too, will another Ebola outbreak.


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Phone and Web Companies Race to Reconnect Quake-Hit Nepal


"Beach ball" mobile antenna being inflated in Chautara, Nepal, image provided by the World Food Programme, 12 May 2015. - - by Joseph D'Urso - May 12, 2015

LONDON, May 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Buildings wrecked by Tuesday's earthquake in Nepal, already weakened by last month's huge quake which killed over 8,000, will take years to rebuild. But another type of infrastructure will bounce back much sooner: communication networks.

Enabling aid workers and civilians to access the internet, make a phone call or send a text is now seen as a vital part of any humanitarian response. The World Food Programme (WFP) has deployed some innovative kit to make this possible in Nepal.




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DHS Successfully Transitions Search and Rescue Tool That Pinpoints Buried Victims - May 7, 2015

Washington, D.C.– The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced today the transition of the final prototype of the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) technology to the commercial market.  FINDER is a radar technology designed to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Two commercial partners have been licensed to manufacture the device: R4 Inc. of Eatontown, N.J. and SpecOps Group Inc. of Sarasota, Fla.

Earlier today, S&T and NASA demonstrated its newest capabilities at the Virginia Task Force One  (VA-TF1) Training Facility in Lorton, Va., finding “survivors” in a simulated disaster. This is thanks to the new locator feature, which can help pinpoint the location of the victim to within about five feet – depending on the type of rubble. This key change saves rescuers time, increasing chances for locating survivors.

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How Israeli Life-Saving Tech Is Leading Rescue Efforts In Nepal


Bringing new life into the world in Kathmandu - by Maya Yarowsky - April 30, 2015

Five days after one of history’s most devastating earthquakes hit Nepal, countries near and far are pouring in funds and personnel to address the state of emergency. Leading the pack in terms of medical and rescue personnel on the ground is Israel, with an aid convoy of 260 personnel, including about forty doctors. . . . the Israeli team is using innovative and ingenious technology to rescue more people from the areas of destruction and to provide first-class medical care to those who need it most.


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