OsmoPure, from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, is developing a low-cost water purification device for developing countries based on simple membrane filtration technology. The team showcased the invention at NCIIA’s student innovation showcase in San Francisco earlier this year.
Access the entire collection anytime for $50.00. Or purchase seminars individually for $19.95.
Thanks to Cryptome.org
Program Director, Meatless Monday
Posted: October 25, 2010 10:13 AM
Livestock today consume 5 times as much grain as the entire American population, the average meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to fork, and seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them.
But it doesn’t have to be all doom-and-gloom. We as consumers still have options, which, over time, can change our economy. It’s this idea that drives INFORM — the educational and advocacy nonprofit that raises environmental consciousness for the general public through visual media. Its “Secret Life” film series, seen by over 2 million viewers in 80 countries, examines the lifecycle environmental impact of everyday objects we all consume.
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In so many fields, owing to the Internet-driven democratization of knowledge, we learn that that the power associated with hoarded knowledge has been abused, and the position of leadership – the priesthood – associated with the acquisition of knowledge has been leveraged to manipulate and deceive. “Everything you know is wrong!”
David Freedman has a great article in the Atlantic about medical deception, called “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science,” which focuses on Dr. John Ioanniddis’ dedication to exposing bad science in medicine.
He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences. Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else’s work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive. Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.
At e-Patients.net, Peter Frishauf writes a response to the Atlantic article, called “Fixing those Damn Lies.” How do we fix them? The Atlantic piece discusses Ioannidis’ suggestions to change the culture of medical research, and reset expectations. It’s okay to be wrong in science – in fact, it’s almost a requirement. The scientific method is about testing and proving hypotheses – proving can be “proving wrong” as well as “proving right.” Either way, you’re learning, and extending science.
Frishauf also mentions how medicine and science should embrace the Internet “and figure out a way to better incorporate patient self-reported and retrospective data in trials,” which is one goal of participatory medicine. He also suggests “giving up on tenure-tied-to-the-peer-reviewed-literature, and embracing a moderated form of pre and post-publication peer review,” something that came up in discussion when I spoke at the Central Texas World Future Society Tuesday evening. (More about this in an earlier e-Patients.net post by Frishauf.)
Knowledge is not a citadel or ivory tower, but a network that we could all be working, challenging, and improving.
Your iPhone and iPad Make Me Sick!
Your iPhone or iPad can get me sick around this time of year. That’s because it’s flu season, and every time you sneeze into your hands and wipe it all over your touch screen device, you could be passing on a virus when you decide to share it with someone else. So unless you’re immunized for the season and you keep a small bottle of Purell with you at all times, I’ll be checking out your gaming high scores from afar, thank you very much. I don’t need your Angry Birds to give me swine or bird flu.
Phi Beta Iota: The full story is a very professional concise account with integrated quotes from solid sources. We have read elsewhere that the hotel telephone is the single greatest disease vector when traveling. Tip of the Hat to Marc.
Published online 21 July 2010 | Nature 466, 432-434 (2010)
Eradicating any organism would have serious consequences for ecosystems — wouldn’t it? Not when it comes to mosquitoes, finds Janet Fang.
(download pdf version)
Every day, Jittawadee Murphy unlocks a hot, padlocked room at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, to a swarm of malaria-carrying mosquitoes (Anopheles stephensi). She gives millions of larvae a diet of ground-up fish food, and offers the gravid females blood to suck from the bellies of unconscious mice — they drain 24 of the rodents a month. Murphy has been studying mosquitoes for 20 years, working on ways to limit the spread of the parasites they carry. Still, she says, she would rather they were wiped off the Earth.
That sentiment is widely shared. Malaria infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and kills nearly one million. Mosquitoes cause a huge further medical and financial burden by spreading yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus and West Nile virus. Then there’s the pest factor: they form swarms thick enough to asphyxiate caribou in Alaska and now, as their numbers reach a seasonal peak, their proboscises are plunged into human flesh across the Northern Hemisphere.
So what would happen if there were none? Would anyone or anything miss them? Nature put this question to scientists who explore aspects of mosquito biology and ecology, and unearthed some surprising answers.
Enhancing Access to Modern Technology
Clean Technology and Smart Energy: Deploying the Green Economy
Democracy and Voice: Technology For Citizen Empowerment and Human Rights
Mobile Revolution: Transforming Access, Markets, and Development
Engineering for Change is an online environment bringing together engineers and other problem solvers with NGOs and local communities to address basic quality of life issues such as access to clean water, electricity and proper sanitation. Also see their Twitter feed
+ Engineers Without Borders
+ Open Architecture Network
+ Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability
+ D-Lab @ MIT
+ Wisdom from Paul Polak on How to Design for the Market
UN Summit Aims to Reduce Poverty, Hunger and Disease
U.N. members resolved a decade ago to reduce extreme poverty, ensure every child finishes primary school and stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic. They also vowed to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and reduce the number of people worldwide who do not have access to clean water and basic sanitation.
But a U.N. report earlier this year said several of the Millennium Development Goals are lagging and could fail without additional efforts.
Phi Beta Iota: The UN is an Industrial-Era government-centric organization, and is not making–or even recognizing the need to make–any adjustment to the Information-Era. In the absence of public intelligence that enables all publics to see the fraud, waste, and abuse in their respective government’s spending, and the relative return on investment of spending to achieve the Millenium Goals, the UN is severely handicapped and unlikely to be successful, especially in the midst of a global economic depression.
Unorthodox thinking is essential to overcoming the most persistent challenges in global health. Vaccines were first developed over 200 years ago because revolutionary thinkers took an entirely new approach to preventing disease. Grand Challenges Explorations fosters innovation in global health research.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $100 million to encourage scientists worldwide to expand the pipeline of ideas to fight our greatest health challenges.Launched in 2008, Grand Challenge Explorations grants have already been awarded to 340 researchers from 34 countries.
Open to All Disciplines: Anyone Can Apply
The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline, from student to tenured professor, and from any organization – colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies.
Agile, Accelerated Grant-Making
The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page applications and no preliminary data required.
Applications are submitted online, and winning grants are chosen approximately 4 months from the submission deadline.Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to $1 million.
De-compartmentalizing science through Grandchallenges.org
Phi Beta Iota: The problem with this well-intentioned initiative is that it throws money as items in isolation. All well and good. It would be much more impressive if it had a strategic analytic model that emphasized healthy lifestyle, healthy environment, and natural/alternative cures; and if it demanded some form of intelligence coordination in relation to all the other policies that impact on health far more negatively that we can solve–the bottom line is that we are killing our species faster than any amount of innovation can help it survive. In our humble opinion.
Project Masiluleke is a South African project that aims to find solutions for the country’s growing AIDS pandemic. The project is unique in that it enjoys the collaboration of a group of leading South African and international partners in the clinical, technical, philanthropic, development and design arena’s. The project was unveiled globally at the annual Pop!Tech Conference in Camden, USA in October 2008 and will be officially launched in South Africa in 2009.
In a country where less than 5% of the adult population knows their HIV-status and more than 24% is HIV positive (close to 40% in provinces like Kwazulu Natal), Project Masiluleke has the potential to:
- Bring large numbers of people into testing without spending millions on expensive and often unsuccessful awareness campaigns,
- Empower people to know their HIV status by testing privately and accurate for the disease, in the privacy of their own homes,
- Involve adherent ARV patients as role-models and mobile support agents, through the virtual call centres,
- Keep patients on treatment and increase treatment effectiveness, through regular doctor’s visits and clinical support.
Other links on the same project:
Public website bringing together disparate data sources to achieve a unified view of the current global state of infectious diseases.
Comment: Idea = add mobile alerts based on location, making the alerts more relevant to those closer to the outbreaks.
+ Biosurveillance (and the twitter feed)
+ Praecipio International | An Institute for Warning Analysis
This is a good idea/resource that needs a great deal of additional information and mobile SMS access.
Thanks to those posting at the Ushahidi Twitter feed
+ Epidemic advisory situation report
+ Crisis Commons Wiki on Pakistan Floods
+ Sahana Foundation Flood Response Resources
+ Crisis mappers
+ Praecipio International | An Institute for Warning Analysis
+ Biosurveillance (and the twitter feed)
+ 3.5 million Pakistan kids at risk of fatal diseases
+ Map of Pakistan flooding
+ Mismanagement of rivers, farms contributed to large flooding
+ UN Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan August 2010
Below are interesting links/stories from our Twitter feed that were not posted to Phi Beta Iota due to time constraints, etc:
- ISP Owner Who Fought FBI Spying Freed From Gag Order
- America discards 40% of the food it makes (2% composted) while a billion go hungry
- Afghan War Interactive Timeline
- Scientists developing cancer breath test
- (video) Crime on the Southwest Border: The FBI partners with Mexican law enforcement and many federal, state, and local
- Mapping Haitian History: An interactive map of Haiti
- Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center Overview
- President Obama signs into law ban on cell phones in federal prisons
- Latest from Russia: Russian-Fires.ru, the First Ushahidi Experience
- Ramadan goes hi-tech with phone apps to remind the devout to pray
- Social Networks Can Warn of Disease After Disasters
- How Freedom Fone Helped Create Participatory Radio in Africa