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Raiders’ most recent signing boosts offensive line depth

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceThe Raiders announced Thursday they signed free-agent offensive lineman Jordan Devey, who spent the last three seasons with the Chiefs.Devey fills the void created when Jon Feliciano signed with the Bills. Feliciano served as the Raiders’ backup center and guard last season, filling in at left guard when starter Kelechi Osemele was sidelined with various injuries. Devey played center and right guard in seven …last_img read more

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SA, US join to fight tuberculosis

first_imgNine-year-old Sammy and four-year-old Msizi are tuberculosis patients at Lifecare Knights hospital in Germiston. The Southern African region has the highest incidence of the disease in the world. (Image: World Lung Foundation)Janine ErasmusKwaZulu-Natal University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have joined to establish the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV, a research centre of international standard that will focus on contributing meaningfully to the global fight against tuberculosis (TB) and HIV.The two diseases often go hand in hand, as TB is increasingly seen as an opportunistic disease that takes advantage of HIV sufferers’ weakened immune system to entrench itself. While an opportunistic disease usually only appears when the immune system is compromised, TB is now seen as such a disease in those infected with the Aids virus.According to the World Health Organisation the disease is the leading infectious killer of people living with HIV and in fact, the two are so closely connected that the term “co-epidemic” or “dual epidemic” is often used to describe their relationship.In South Africa the dual epidemic is especially virulent, as the country has the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world. Many sufferers contract the extreme drug-resistant strain of TB, which was first noticed in Tugela Ferry in 2005. In the rural KwaZulu-Natal town, 44 people contracted the deadly TB strain – all were found to be HIV positive, and all but one of them died.International centre of research excellenceHowever, there is now fresh cause for hope. The KwaZulu-Natal research institute, which has been two years in the planning, was announced simultaneously in Washington, DC, and Durban on 19 March 2009.As part of its goal of becoming an international centre of research excellence, the institute will also concentrate its efforts on producing a new generation of research scientists that, with training in the field, will be able to competently tackle African issues.The facility will be housed in a brand-new six-floor state-of-the-art BSL-3 laboratory on the campus of the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban. A BSL-x classification refers to the biosafety level of a facility, and level three applies to those facilities, whether they are of a diagnostic, teaching, research, or production nature, that work with indigenous pathogens capable of causing serious or potentially lethal disease after inhalation.Construction of the building is expected to begin in September 2009.Supporting medical researchThe non-profit Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), established in the 1953 by the late aviation magnate Howard Hughes, is one of the largest private funding organisations for biological and medical research in the US.After the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the institute is the second-wealthiest philanthropic organisation in the US with an endowment of a staggering R180.7-billion (US$18.6-billion). It is also the second-best endowed medical research foundation in the world, coming in behind the UK’s Wellcome Trust.The HHMI will invest committed R583-million ($60-million) into the KwaZulu-Natal initiative over the next decade, providing R29-million ($3-million) in grant funding and for the construction of temporary laboratory facilities in 2009.Outgoing president of the HHMI, Thomas Cech, said that it was the joint view of the HHMI and the university that substantial investment into research in the heart of the pandemics of HIV and TB will yield major discoveries, and do much to alleviate the suffering caused by these diseases.“There is no better place on the continent to conduct research into TB,” said Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, vice-chancellor of KwaZulu-Natal University. “The partnership is addressing a real problem that affects real people.”According to Robert Tjian, the incoming president of the HHMI, the project will have global benefits. “This initiative is one of the most challenging we have embarked upon in our international programme,” he said. “I look forward to seeing how the facility realises the potential for developing new strategies to combat the dual scourge of HIV and tuberculosis – both for South Africa and the entire world.”The South African institute will focus initially on four core research areas – development of rapid and more effective tests for TB, research into the characteristics of drug resistant strains of TB, analysis of the complex immune response to TB, specifically among those already infected with HIV, and a study of recurrent TB in HIV-positive patients to assess the nature of the recurrence.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at [email protected] articlesIncentive scheme for the poorMobile HIV testing in KZN TB diagnosis breakthroughBig medicine from a little plant Alive & Kicking up a storm Useful linksHoward Hughes Medical InstituteKwaZulu-Natal UniversityHIV statistics – South AfricaWorld Health Organisation – TB and HIVWorld Health Organisation – South Africalast_img read more

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An end to malaria?

first_imgProf Kelly Chibale (centre front) and his team have brought the world closer than ever before towards finding a cure for malaria.(Image: H3-D) The female Anopheles mosquito picks up the disease when she drinks the blood of an infected person and transmits it when she moves to the next person..(Image: Centres for Disease Control)MEDIA CONTACTS • Elaine Rutherfoord-JonesAdministrator, H3-D Drug Discovery andDevelopment Centre+27 21 650 5495Lorraine KearneyA malaria-free world: this is a tantalising possibility that may be now within our grasp. And it’s a proudly South African project, says Prof Kelly Chibale, the director and executive committee member of the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).Last week, flanked by the professor, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced the discovery at the centre of a potential single oral dose cure for malaria, the holy grail in lightening the world’s disease burden.Chibale, who is the lead researcher of the collaborative research project, explains: “This is a potential cure for malaria. It is now entering the clinical trial phase – clinical trials should begin at the end of 2013. If the trials are successful, then not only will we have a cure for malaria, but it will also have the potential to stop person-to-person transmission of the parasite.”The breakthrough is huge: at stake is the possibility of eradicating malaria at some stage in the future, he stresses.“With this molecule, we have a potential drug that works at all life cycle stages of the parasite, including at the blood stage, and at the stage where transmission back to the mosquito occurs.”Essentially, this means that it would stop the parasite from infecting mosquitoes when they bite people who have malaria.Work started on the discovery back in early 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr Tim Wells, the chief scientific officer at the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) was about to start a campaign to test chemical samples to find new compounds that would act against the human malaria caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. He was working with Prof Vicky Avery at the Eskitis Institute at Griffiths University in Brisbane, Australia.The H3-D was set up in April 2010 through the joint efforts of MMV, UCT and other international stakeholders, as well as the South African government. They included Cape Biotech Trust, which is now part of the Technology Innovation Agency.The project that led to the discovery of MMV390048 in September 2010 began on 1 April 2009, and became a purely South African venture in January 2012.Professor Chibale explains that the discovery, which happened at UCT, was particularly significant because it was the first-ever clinical molecule discovered by Africans. It will be the first clinical candidate researched in Africa.How malaria worksOnce a person is bitten by a carrier mosquito and is infected, the parasite attacks the person’s liver. Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus, and in Africa the culprit is the A. gambiae complex of seven indistinguishable insects.At this stage, there are no symptoms of the disease. It multiplies rapidly in the liver and invades the blood, causing red blood cells to explode. Debilitating sickness sets in, often leading to death, particularly among children. But the MMV390048 molecule could also potentially work as a prophylaxis, Chibale points out.Taken before you entered a malaria area, it could prevent the parasite from multiplying if you were bitten. And for those people who lived in malaria areas, who can have several episodes of the disease a year, it could protect them from reinfection.The potential cure can make other claims: it works on all strains of the disease, including that found in Africa, which is mostly from P. falciparum, the most deadly, and that found in Asia, mostly from P. vivax, which is responsible for relapse. And it works on drug-resistant strains of malaria. But perhaps most importantly, it is a potential cure.“Our definition of a cure is that after 30 days there is not a single parasite in a sample from a live animal. Chloroquine, one of the drugs used now to treat malaria, does not cure in the same animal model; there are still some parasites in the blood of animals treated with chloroquine 30 days after treatment,” the professor explains.“This is very exciting. It is a single dose, while other drugs need high multiple doses in the same animal model. This has huge cost and compliance [medicine adherence] implications. People often take a drug, feel better and stop taking the medication. But they still have the parasite in their systems. This leads to drug-resistance. This molecule could stop this.”Cost is a big issue. “We want it to be a single oral dose costing less than a dollar per treatment. This was one of the issues we identified in the lead optimisation phase of development.”The molecule is synthetic, from the aminopyridine class, helping to keep costs down. It is made in the laboratory from readily available resources. Supply issues are very important in drug manufacture, and this molecule can be made in a few steps, which makes it cheaper, Chibale stresses.“During the crucial lead optimisation phase, we tested for cardiotoxicity and drug-drug interaction risks. Then, the penultimate phase was the candidate profiling stage, when we gathered data, mostly on safety – because the safety of future patients is the most important thing. Once we had a dossier, we presented it to Medicines for Malaria Venture’s expert scientific advisory committee in July. They approved the molecule for clinical development.”MMV’s funders include BHP Billiton and Exxon Mobile.Clinical trials nextThe next step, now being taken, is preparing for clinical trials: patients and volunteers need to be recruited and permission needs to be granted by the authorities. A commercial venture also needs to be found to manufacture the drug at scale.“This is being discussed now. The idea is to do as much as possible in South Africa.”Developing the molecule has been a steep but worthwhile learning curve for the scientists at UCT.“We have no guarantee on the clinical trials,” Chibale says. “But we have so many positive spin-offs so far. We’ve been able to develop skills and expertise. Lessons have been learned. And the skills are now being used for other illnesses. Now we know how to discover drugs – it is not only a gift to Africa, but a gift to the world.“It also provides employment, such as in manufacturing. And we now have back-ups. We have a healthy pipeline to keep discovering and making useful drugs. Because it is a continuous war against the organisms. They want to live, and they are very clever, so we need to keep finding new ways to beat them, because we want to live too.”Funding for the project came from the Department of Science and Technology, which invested R25-million (US$3-million). Chibale also has a research chair from the department. MMV invested about R15-million ($1.8-million), and UCT provided the infrastructure and some funding. A partnership has also been set up between MMV and the department’s Technology Innovation Agency, and the project is now being funded by the two entities on a one for one basis. It has been scaled up with this new funding, and the team has been able to expand from four to 10 scientists.If MMV390048 indeed proves to be a cure, the implications will be far-reaching. Malaria plays a big role in the cycle of poverty, Chibale points out. It debilitates its victims; they cannot work and take weeks to recover. Without proper nutrition and the ever-present possibility of reinfection, the disease’s toll is massive in human terms and on productivity.A child dies every 46 seconds from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, and 90% of malaria deaths take place in sub-Saharan Africa, Dr Tom Ellman, head of Medecins Sans Frontieres South African Medical Unit, was quoted as saying in the Daily Maverick. It was estimated that African economies lost up to R100.5-billion ($12-billion) a year directly related to malaria and its impact on productivity.Malaria fact sheetThe World Malaria Report 2011 issued by the World Health Organisation in December 2011 reported:There were 216 million cases of malaria in 2010; 81% of these were in the WHO African Region.An estimated 3.3 billion people were at risk of malaria in 2010.An estimated 655 000 people died of malaria in 2010; 86% of the victims were children under 5 and 91% of malaria deaths occurred in the WHO African Region.In 2010, there were 46 malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa; 43 of these belong to the WHO African Region, and three (Sudan, Somalia and Djibouti) were in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region.45 countries around the world have identified resistance to at least one of the four classes of insecticides used for malaria vector control; 27 of these are in sub-Saharan Africa.Estimated malaria cases and deaths by WHO Region, 2010Region                                           Estimated cases        Estimated deathsAfrican Region                                 174-million                   596 000Americas Region                              1-million                       1 000Eastern Mediterranean Region           10-million                     15 000European Region                              20                              0South-East Asia Region                     28-million                     38 000Western Pacific Region                      2-million                       5 000last_img read more

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Google’s New Ad Server Goes After the Little Guy

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… mike melanson Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#advertising#Google#news#web center_img Related Posts Google knows you. It knows what type of car you drive from that time, last year, when you looked up the where you could find a cheap set of tires. It knows that you like Mexican food from all the times you’ve looked on Google Maps. And Google knows how to leverage this type of information with services like Google AdWords, AdSense, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange but now it’s moving into what it’s calling “the next generation of ad serving” – a simplified, streamlined ad server.While Google currently has the upper hand in the battle, it’s starting to look more and more like Google and Facebook are about to duke it out in the advertising arena. And who will they be battling over? The little guy.Google’s latest move in the advertising sphere replaces DoubleClick DART and Google Ad Manager with DoubleClick for Publishers, an ad management system meant to simplify the more complex aspects of managing ad space.According to an article on PaidContent, this latest move by Google “involves the promise of greater simplicity as it aims for smaller publishers”. DoubleClick for Publishers offers a simple, free version of DFP for small businesses and another (not free) for larger websites – likely customers of DoubleClick DART.The new service offers a redesigned interface, more detailed reporting, algorithms to automatically improve ad performance and a public API to allow for third-party apps to use the DFP system. DFP will allow its users to perform a number of functions, from running different ads at different times, according to when they best perform, to mixing and matching different priced ads to various page locations. We think that the increased focus on small businesses is a growing trend in online advertising, as we just saw with Facebook announcing last week that it would begin accepting PayPal for advertising. It seems that many of these big companies are realizing that they may be missing out on innumerable revenue streams from small businesses by making the task of advertising daunting and complicated. A dollar is a dollar, after all, and increasing accessibility while reducing confusion should only increase the number of dollars coming in. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Google Shows Off Its Latest “Baby Steps” Toward Becoming the Star Trek Computer

first_imgThere are 500 million things mapped in the knowledge graph, and 3.5 billion relationships between those things. But Singhal admits, “This is still a baby step towards understanding this world like you or I do.”“Truly universal search will have information available on the Web and information that’s your information,” Singhal said. Building on Google’s Universal Search, the idea that images, maps, videos and Web pages can all results of the same kinds of searches, it’s time for Google to start bringing users’ own information into the results as well.The updates announced on Wednesday bring that knowledge to bear in new interfaces designed to make searching Google faster, more natural, and more comprehensive, all while remaining considerate of users’ privacy and devices of choice.Lead image via Wikipedia.  Google submitted the app about a week ago. It’s obviously a touchy subject, since Apple’s AI assistant, Siri, is supposed to be the onboard robot that answers people’s questions, and she goes out of her way to avoid using Google to do so. But since Google’s voice search can’t hook in to iOS contacts, phone, messages, reminders, clock or other system-level functions, Siri still has enough advantages that Apple will let Google ship this update.It’s better than Siri at the Web, though. Let’s get that out of the way. While Siri may improve over time, it just can’t match Google at Web search right now. It can also provide answers any way the Knowledge Graph can, which includes doing math. Siri uses Wolfram Alpha for math and science questions, and the race between Google and Wolfram Alpha will be interesting to watch. But for the casual math and science queries we might ask of our phones, Google is on the ball.Voice search isn’t the same as Google Now. The predictive suggestions showed off at Google I/O, which send users scheduling reminders from their Google Calendars when searching for a place to eat, for example, are exclusive to Android.The Destiny of Search“The destiny of search is to become the Star Trek computer, that perfect, loyal assistant,” SVP of engineering Amit Singhal told the audience in his introduction. We ask questions in natural language, and she answers us.There are 30 trillion URLs on the Web, Singhal said, and Google crawls 20 billion on the average day. It performs 100 billion searches per month. That represents a staggering amount of information, but it’s a big leap from indexing those Web addresses to actually understanding them. “The next scientific challenge that we face,” Singhal said, “is that we need to understand what’s in that knowledge.”It’s about more than just organizing the information. If it wants to build the Star Trek computer, Google has to tackle some of the hardest computer science problems there are. It has to master speech recognition, natural language, and, as Singhal said, “We will have to build artificial intelligence. We are clearly not there yet, but we are taking baby steps toward that future.”The most important change to Google search so far this year was the launch of the Knowledge Graph in May. Google is moving away from simple keyword matching and toward a natural-language understanding of terms and concepts.By creating a huge database of the things in the world and mapping their relationships, Google is building a way to relate the queries we ask of it to the actual concepts we’re talking about, modeling our language much like we do when speaking to one another. As Knowledge Graph lead PM Emily Moxley put it to ReadWriteWeb in July, “It’s about mapping the real world into something that computers can understand.” Only if you explicitly tell Google that you’re looking for something of yours, such as by searching for “my flights,” will it show email contents instantly in main search results. It’s all done over SSL, so no one can intercept the information, just like on Gmail itself. Knowledge Graph boxes are displayed on the right side of search results and have a two-fold purpose: helping the you (and Google) quickly clarify the query by suggesting related objects and concepts, and helping you explore the relationships between concepts.Not only does this visual representation of the things in your query help you find what you’re looking for, it helps Google better understand how these things are related.Carousel: A Touchable List of Answers from Knowledge GraphThere’s also a new carousel view for Knowledge Graph search results. The right sidebar box for Knowledge Graph only shows five related concepts at a time, but now a search for a list of things, like “famous jazz composers,” will produce an illustrated, side-scrolling list of possible answers, which can all be expanded with one tap. It’s a faster and more enjoyable way to dive into search results on the desktop, but it’s also an ideal interface for a tablet. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Gmail in search results is a field trial, so you only get it if you want it and sign up for it. You can sign up for the field trial at and see if you like it. It’s not yet available for Google Apps users who have Gmail on their own domains.Voice Q&A Search In the Google iOS App: What’s A Siri?The new version of the Google search app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch brings to Apple customers the kind of Knowledge Graph-powered, natural language, question-and-answer search Google showed off in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at Google I/O in June.This is the most Star Trek of all the announcements; mobile engineering director Scott Huffman bombarded the iPhone with casual questions, and it always instantly nailed the answer, presenting it in a visually attractive and informative format. On Wednesday, Google announced new natural-language voice search on iOS, new, touch-friendly Web interfaces for its answers, and an ambitious, voluntary experiment to bring your Gmail messages into search results. Google wants to be like the Star Trek computer when it grows up, letting us ask questions naturally about anything and get a compelling answer right back. These new features show that Google’s much further along than you might realize.English-Language Knowledge Graph EverywhereStarting Thursday, users searching Google in English anywhere in the world will get Knowledge Graph results. Knowledge Graph, which launched in May, is Google’s effort to move away from simple keyword matching and toward a natural-language understanding of terms and concepts. This week U.S. users will also start seeing Knowledge Graph people, place and thing suggestions in auto-suggest and auto-complete while typing their queries. Tags:#Google#web That view of flight info is pretty neat, too. It’s not just about pulling up email messages as search results. Google is actually pulling out the information that’s relevant to you from Gmail and presenting it like a Knowledge Graph answer. Related Posts jon mitchell Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Gmail Messages in Search Results – A Field TrialOn Wednesday, Google launched a limited field trial of a bold new idea: displaying your Gmail messages in appropriate search results.That might sound scary, but it’s implemented in a conservative way. It pulls up Gmail messages on the right sidebar if they’re relevant, but the email itself is collapsed. A person over your shoulder won’t be able to read your email unless you click to expand it.In a publicity event on Wednesday, Sagar Kamdar, director of product management for Universal Search, told reporters, “Gmail is almost the same size as our Web corpus.” Email is a huge store of information that is valuable to users. But for Google to pull email into search results like it does Web results, “Now we need to make it private and secure.”Collapsing email message views by default is part of that. It’s also controlled by the same toggle switch between personal and global search results as Google+ Search Plus Your World results. Clicking the globe button takes all personal info out of search, and you can permanently disable all personalized search in your Google account settings. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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Dr. Wheatley to Receive Award in New York

first_img President of JCOBA, New York chapter, Carl Bennett, told JIS News that the Award will be presented to Dr. Wheatley to recognise him for his stellar work in driving Jamaica’s transition into a world-class society through innovation in science, energy and technology. Story Highlights Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, will be honoured with the Jamaica College Old Boys’ Association of New York (JCOBA-NY) inaugural Technology Leadership Award this month. The presentation will be made at the Association’s Annual Griffin Awards and Fundraiser at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan, New York, on Saturday, June 9. Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, will be honoured with the Jamaica College Old Boys’ Association of New York (JCOBA-NY) inaugural Technology Leadership Award this month.The presentation will be made at the Association’s Annual Griffin Awards and Fundraiser at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan, New York, on Saturday, June 9.President of JCOBA, New York chapter, Carl Bennett, told JIS News that the Award will be presented to Dr. Wheatley to recognise him for his stellar work in driving Jamaica’s transition into a world-class society through innovation in science, energy and technology.“This is perfectly aligned with the Association’s mission to enable innovation and technology competence through national workforce development to fuel Jamaica’s future growth,” he said.Dr. Wheatley will deliver the keynote address at the event, which is being held under the patronage of Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks. The Ambassador will address the gathering, as will Consul General to New York, Trudy Deans.The Association will also recognise and present awards to several persons, namely Dr. Robynne Chutkan and Vanessa Noel, who will receive the Woman of Distinction Award, while Clifton Patrick Simpson will receive the Jamaica Brand Ambassador Award; and four past students – Gary ‘Butch’ Hendrickson, Drs. William Foster, Paul Lindo and Dwight Williams – will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award.Mr. Bennett pointed out that the Griffin Award celebrates the achievements of Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica in the arts, sciences, business, politics and community service. He said it is a very special event for his Association, as it provides an opportunity to honour some of the most deserving members of the community for their tireless contributions in enhancing the lives of the citizens.Proceeds from the fundraiser will help to support the science, technology, Engineering and mathematics (STEM) applications and spark innovation to advance workforce development in Jamaica.The President added that the event gives them an opportunity to support the robotics project, which was introduced at Jamaica College in 2009.The screening of Trevor Rhone’s iconic film, ‘Smile Orange’, will headline the entertainment package. Members of Mr. Rhone’s family will be in attendance to present the film.last_img read more

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