If Ebola Hammers The Economy, People Rather Die At Home

I usually don’t like to rant on something I have zero clue about.  Nonetheless, Ebola scare is something that I don’t know about but I want to rant on.  I think Ebola scare is real, whether Ebola will become something of the past as new treatments will be made available or not.  Even now, I don’t know how you could catch Ebola or how you would die from it.  In fact, I heard how fatal Ebola could be, and that’s pretty much all the facts I need to know.  Sure, I’m uneducated about Ebola, but I do know one thing is that it’s not a joke to be around an infectious disease such as Ebola.  Ebola could spread!  This is why we’re seeing experts and medical personnels are being told to be super careful around Ebola such as wearing proper medical, protective gears.

With Ebola scare is real, we should know that if this Ebola scare gets even more serious, we may see the real economy gets destroyed, quickly.  One example, I’d read “Patients avoiding Dallas hospital where Ebola hit” article, and I knew right away that if Ebola spreads any further and be any more infectious and be any more scarier — hospitals around the country can see their revenues dwindling fast.  How about Ebola could scare people from travel?  That would dwindle the revenues of the travel agencies, airlines, and other relevant sectors easily!

I think Ebola is no joke unless someone has a cure that demotes Ebola into a common flu.  Ebola could be spread and so any entity which has the power to put resources into preventing the spread of this disease must do all it can to stop Ebola from spreading.  As I’d said, Ebola can kill not only people, but it can also kill the economy.  If the economy of a system is getting killed, the people within the system will not fair any better.  What’s worse is that the sick ones will be killed off by Ebola and the healthy ones will become poorer for Ebola is killing the economy!  If a hospital isn’t well funded for it lacks of revenues since Ebola is stopping people from going to such hospital, then the healthy people — who may get sick and live near the hospital — may need to go out of their way and waste extra gas just to go to a farther hospital.  If too many hospitals are getting hammered by Ebola, people may rather die at home!


Lightroom 4 Photo Fun – Rabbit Meat

Just another trip to an Asian supermarket, Hong Kong 2, and I was surprised to see they sold rabbit meat.  When I saw this, I thought of the cute rabbits that I often found in my back or front yard.

The images above were taken and created by Vinh Nguyen.  You can reuse the images for all purposes, but you have to credit Vinh Nguyen for the images.  The images above contain the traditional copyright license which credits to Vinh Nguyen only, therefore you cannot redistribute the images above under creative common licenses.

Practically, Healthtap Is An App That Might Prove To Be Extremely Practical For Internet Users Who Seek For Valid Health Advices From The Internet!

Most apps on mobile devices such as a smart phone are pretty much useless in my earnest opinion, but some of those apps are actually practical.  Practical apps are hard to find these days not for the reasons such as lack thereof, but it’s about how hard it’s for us to look for not so obvious practical apps among hundred thousands of similar useless apps.  Plus, there is this saying, one individual’s trash is another individual’s treasure.  Some apps are purely for pleasure and aesthetic means, then I guess it’s up to the eyes of the beholder to judge the beauty and merit of the apps.  So, when I first set my eyes on Healthtap, I felt immediately that the app is unique and practical.  For an example, an app in which had been rolled out by a bank to help facilitate banking transactions would be an obvious useful and practical app.  Healthtap is definitely fitting into an obvious useful and practical app category since it helps its users to seek for answers to their health-related questions with real doctors for free.  Nonetheless, if a user feels that she or he doesn’t need to reveal health-related questions in public forums, she or he can basically pay for private questions.  Initial private health-related questions cost around $10 each, and subsequent health-related questions in relation to the initial ones will cost $5 each.  Nonetheless, users who don’t want to pay or ask health-related questions in fear of losing privacy can just browse for the answers from Healthtap public forums.  In a nutshell, Healthtap provides the means for reputable doctors to help just about anyone who uses Healthtap easily, and everybody can access these doctors for some quick advices affordably.

Obviously, to truly treat one person’s illness, one probably has had to visit a doctor in person for a complete treatment, but Healthtap might help a person to clear up some major curious health-related questions before making a face to face visit with a doctor.  Even if Healthtap app is hard to use and ugly, the value behind the means of this app is still tremendous.  Luckily, I had browsed Healthtap app through a browser from a laptop and noticed that it was pretty sleek and easy to use.  I also had downloaded Healthtap onto my iPhone, but I had not yet launched it to see how friendly it would be on a mobile device.  Furthermore, Healthtap app is also available for iPad and Android mobile devices.  Besides the obvious means of asking health-related questions such as sending texts and photos to a doctor, Healthtap provides means to allow all doctors to rate the health-related answers — providing even more confidence to such health-related answers.  According to TechCrunch’s “With New Mobile Apps, Eric Schmidt-Backed HealthTap Brings The House Call Back To Healthcare” article, Healthtap provides doctor-to-doctor ratings known as DocScore.  I’m not sure how DocScore works out, but it seems that it’s a peer review kind of thing.  Perhaps, peer review can be biased (i.e., people who knew each other may give each other great score on something), but it does put pressure on doctors to have great Healthtap reputation for them to be effective health providers in the eyes of Healthtap users.  Obviously, I had left out many features that Healthtap is providing, because I’m still learning how this app works exactly.  Nonetheless, it’s clear that the purpose of this app is sound and practical.  Whether people will find Healthtap as the only app to go for health-related advices is remained to be seen though.

In summary, Healthtap is a health advising platform — with the potential of allowing patients to meet up with reputable doctors for real treatments — which so far has been successfully connecting thousands of highly regarded doctors of various medical fields to just about anyone who has the will to use Healthtap.  This feat alone is excellent and practical.  Icing on the cake features are features such as allowing Healthtap users to ask each private question for minimum fee of $10 or less, encouraging people who may not have the wish to visit a doctor yet to find out what is going on with their health affordably and virtually.  Meanwhile, Healthtap users feel reassuring that Healthtap’s medical advices are merit since the advices come from licensed doctors.  Simply put, I think there will be plenty of people that find Healthtap to be practical and useful.  After all, humans with failing healths are plenty in number, because they are humans!

Afterthought:  Prophetically, people have had envision that one day patients don’t really have to meet up with their doctors physically to get a health exam or something similar since Internet technology might advance in a way that allows such possibility to be possible.  I think ISPs need to provide more affordable and much much faster broadband services in order for people to regularly stream videos and possibly 3D digital contents before the idea of having doctors to visit your home virtually be feasible.  Plus, ISPs need to get rid of bandwidth limit and favor the flat rate, unlimited bandwidth applications before innovation such as having doctors to visit someone virtually be practical.  For now, Healthtap is only a stepping stone for the next best innovation that will bring doctors to someone virtually!

Source:  With New Mobile Apps, Eric Schmidt-Backed HealthTap Brings The House Call Back To Healthcare

Cory Doctorow Speaks Out About The Coming War On General Purpose Computation

Cory Doctorow, a Canadian blogger/author, at a...

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I don’t know by now if SOPA has already become a household word yet or not, but I think it should have been so.  Nonetheless, not everyone cares what is SOPA since the Internet has always been huge and the word SOPA has yet to deal real damages against their frequent Internet activities.  Of course, SOPA is subtle and so it’s obvious that not everyone would make a big deal out of stomping SOPA at its inception.  Nonetheless, SOPA is a word which ties to a bill which might be passed and affected the Internet as a whole on many levels when not enough bodies scrutinize what will go into the bill.  So, it’s for certain that SOPA is not a word to be jokingly threw around, but it will be threw around nonetheless for whatever purposes there will be.

With SOPA makes headlines as often as it has been, perhaps enough eyeballs and brains are coming to an understanding that it’s something important enough to be addressed and publicized.  Publicizing it enough so even people who have no idea how SOPA would affect them might come to a small degree of understanding that SOPA may create unintentional negative consequences for the general population who regularly visit the Internet for whatever purposes.  Furthermore, some people may come to understand once SOPA becomes law, SOPA will have a high potential in encouraging even more new rules and regulations that have nothing to do with common sense, relatively speaking in regarding to the Internet.  Instead, such rules and regulations might exist so someone would be able to quickly plug each loophole there is one at a time, in regarding to their specific bottom line.

I have an analogy to why SOPA can create a chain reaction of negative consequences, and eventually the chain reaction gets so bad that it might break the Internet altogether.  This analogy would be someone found a leak on a boat made out of wood, and this boat found itself in the middle of the vast ocean.  He or she thought it was a good idea just to have someone quickly stomped on the leaky hole for now.  Eventually, such a measure would not help and so more able bodies had to scoop the rising water out of the boat.  Finally, it was obvious to the captain of the boat that one action which supposed to solve the problem was not really the solution, but it had created a chain reaction of negative consequences which led to an eventual, unsolvable problem at the end.  The boat would sink to the bottom of the deep blue ocean.  The ocean was nice, but the passengers on a sinking boat had not such a notion since they were on the way down to their deaths.

Without enough voices that would speak out against something as SOPA, I think the Internet might not be able to thrive for the small people.  Remember this, the small people are the majority of the Internet users.  Understandably, no matter how noble the purposes that justify the naive existence of a thriving Internet, the Internet will always be a commodity.  Then again, who to say the Internet should only be a commodity but not some other meaningful means that could be really useful and convenient for the small people (i.e., the majority users of the Internet).  After all, without these small people who have been eagerly found themselves to be attracted to the Internet as bees to honey, there won’t be much of the Internet anyway.  Without the worker bees, there won’t be much of a beehive anyway, and the queen bee would not be able to matter much since the population of the bees is basically about to be wiped.  I think a smaller, less interesting, heavy regulated, and insensitive toward small people Internet might not be a hot commodity in the end.

Some people might argue that it’s fine to go back to the old ways of doing things. Unfortunately, once you let the genie out of the bottle, it would be almost impossible to have the genie back inside the bottle.  Majority of people might just go on creating their new little pockets of Internets and circumventing the heavy censored Internet anyway.  Little pockets of new Internets would spring into existences, but none would be better than the original Internet.  Perhaps, things would move forward, but things pertain to the Internets would go on to be scattered, and nothing good would come about to have many disconnected Internets.  Or I could be wrong and good things might come about to have many disconnected Internets for the small people, but the big people might have the worst time in trying to regulate many more disconnected Internets.  Things get expensive for the regulators, and nothing would have stopped the small people from enjoying getting together through the means of Internets.  I can be very wrong though, because such Internets have yet to exist, and I’m just speculating.

Cory Doctorow is one of those people who think SOPA and other insensitive DRMs might not address the problems but might bring about even bigger problems in the end.  It could be that I misunderstood him, but I thought he insinuated the idea of having DRMs for contents would have similar eventual consequence to how the authorities went about the war on drugs, it would go on unending.  Nonetheless, he also pointed out the future of general purpose computer and the free as now Internet might not be viewed in the same category as war on drugs, because these things we care about aren’t the fixes for getting the next bigger, better high; instead, these things are excellent at bringing people together for whatever purposes, and nothing which came before now was able to do the same.  Therefore, we might not want to view waging wars against insensitive Internet censorships that have had many gripes against small people (i.e., the majority users of the Internet) as to how we have viewed the war on drugs.  Check out Cory Doctorow’s speech right after the break.

Source:  http://boingboing.net/2011/12/27/the-coming-war-on-general-purp.html

This Year Wackiest Thing To Do! Some Scientists Created Avian Flu Which Could Spread From Mammal To Mammal!


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This year wackiest thing to do!  According to Arstechnica‘s article “US Government tries to restrict publication of details on avian flu virus that spreads among mammals,” some scientists under the authority of whichever government had created a strain of dangerous virus, Avian flu, which could be spread through air from mammal to mammal.  As from what I had read and understood, it seemed that these scientists wanted to be more prepare in combatting against a futuristic pandemic flu (i.e., might kill billions of people) by creating something like it in the first place so they would be able to learn how such a killer virus would happen in nature.  United States government specifically thinks it’s too dangerous to release such information into the public in fearing someone out there would intend to terrorize the world by putting such knowledge into practice.  I have to say duh!  Duh as in why creating something this dangerous and releasing the knowledge of its existence to the world?

Now, I’m fearing that some bad guys will try to gain the knowhow of creating something similar to Avian flu at all costs.  Perhaps, they just need enough information to reverse engineer such knowledge and might come up with something much worse?  After all, now these bad guys know it’s achievable in creating something this dangerous.  The whole mess so reminds me of a documentary, Apocalypse How, directed by Ted Poole.  Apocalypse How warns us that humankind might destroy itself or at least might kill billions of people by having create a dangerous virus in a lab somewhere which could spread to billions of people so fast that there would be little time to come up with a vacine to stop it.  Apparently, Apocalypse How isn’t too farfetched on its prophetic warning, and this only fuels the belief of 2012 and have more people scare.  Of course, documentary Apocalypse How isn’t mentioning such virus would occur in 2012, but I’m just saying…  This knowledge gotta be locked away forever from the bad guys!  Let hope it will be so!  Also, let hope the bad guys aren’t smart enough to come up with their own version!  I so do wish that these scientists also know how to create a cure for their dangerous mammal spreading strain of Avian flu.

{Which humankind ultimate weapon is wackier, nuclear or a pandemic virus?}

Source:  http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2011/12/us-government-tries-to-restrict-publication-of-details-on-avian-flu-virus-that-spreads-among-mammals.ars?comments=1#comments-bar

What About E-Waste?

Every year, many of us have to have the greatest and latest gadgets or else sadness will ensue.  It’s like an addiction.  Certain addictions can be harmless, but many are harmful.  How about the addiction of having more electronic gadgets?  It’s harmful in a very subtle way which in the long run will affect many people in many ways.  It’s all boiling down to electronic waste which also can be called as e-waste.

E-waste is multiplying everyday as we continue to abandon a year or two year old electronic products so we can gobble up new ones that come out yesterday or so.  Before most e-waste end up in the landfills, these abandon electronic things tend to collect dust in closets and garages.  Eventually, to free up the space of closets and garages, people have to discard their e-waste in landfills.

So what is the problem with throwing e-waste in landfills?  As I read, I notice the complaints of health risks that are associating with having e-waste to be leached away in landfills and having e-waste to be recycled in unsafe manners.  Many toxic elements (e.g., lead, cadmium, mercury, americium, sulphur, BFRs, beryllium oxide) come from e-waste that are not appropriately contained can be health hazardous to humans.

Let see how health hazardous it is for lead to be leaked into our environment through possible routes such as air, soil, water, food, and consumer products.  Quoting directly from Wikipedia, lead can be dangerous to human health as how it’s described below:

Lead poisoning (also known as plumbism, colica Pictonum, saturnism, Devon colic, or painter’s colic) is a medical condition caused by increased levels of theheavy metal lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system and is therefore particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders. Symptoms include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death.  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning

Quoting directly from Wikipedia, Cadmium poisoning can be dangerous to human health as how it’s described below:

Acute exposure to cadmium fumes may cause flu like symptoms including chills, fever, and muscle ache sometimes referred to as “the cadmium blues.” Symptoms may resolve after a week if there is no respiratory damage. More severe exposures can cause tracheo-bronchitis, pneumonitis, and pulmonary edema. Symptoms of inflammation may start hours after the exposure and include cough, dryness and irritation of the nose and throat, headache, dizziness, weakness, fever, chills, and chest pain.

Inhaling cadmium-laden dust quickly leads to respiratory tract and kidney problems which can be fatal (often from renal failure). Ingestion of any significant amount of cadmium causes immediate poisoning and damage to the liver and the kidneys. Compounds containing cadmium are also carcinogenic[citation needed].

The bones become soft (osteomalacia), lose bone mineral density (osteoporosis) and become weaker. This causes the pain in the joints and the back, and also increases the risk of fractures. In extreme cases of cadmium poisoning, mere body weight causes a fracture.

The kidneys lose their function to remove acids from the blood in proximal renal tubular dysfunction. The kidney damage inflicted by cadmium poisoning is irreversible. The proximal renal tubular dysfunction creates low phosphate levels in the blood (hypophosphatemia), causing muscle weakness and sometimes coma. The dysfunction also causes gout, a form of arthritis due to the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints because of high acidity of the blood (hyperuricemia). Another side effect is increased levels of chloride in the blood (hyperchloremia). The kidneys can also shrink up to 30%.

Other patients lose their sense of smell (anosmia). Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium_poisoning

Quoting directly from Wikipedia, Mercury poisoning can be dangerous to human health as how it’s described below:

Toxic effects include damage to the brain, kidney, and lungs.[1] Mercury poisoning can result in several diseases, including acrodynia (pink disease)[2], Hunter-Russell syndrome, and Minamata disease.[3]  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_poisoning

Mercury: found in fluorescent tubes (numerous applications), tilt switches (mechanical doorbells, thermostats),[38] and flat screen monitors. Health effects include sensory impairment, dermatitis, memory loss, and muscle weakness. Environmental effects in animals include death, reduced fertility, slower growth and development.  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste

Americium is known to be carcinogenic.  To put this in another way, Americium can cause cancers.

Quoting directly from Wikipedia, Sulphur can be dangerous to human health as how it’s described below:

Sulphur: found in lead-acid batteries. Health effects include liver damage, kidney damage, heart damage, eye and throat irritation. When released in to the environment, it can create sulphuric acid.  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste

Quoting directly from Wikipedia, BFRs can be dangerous to human health as how it’s described below:

BFRs: Used as flame retardants in plastics in most electronics. Includes PBBs, PBDE, DecaBDE, OctaBDE, PentaBDE. Health effects include impaired development of the nervous system, thyroid problems, liver problems. Environmental effects: similar effects as in animals as humans. PBBs were banned from 1973-1977 on. PCBs were banned during the 1980’s.  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste

Quoting directly from Wikipedia, Beryllium Oxide can be dangerous to human health as how it’s described below:

Beryllium oxide: filler in some thermal interface materials such as thermal grease used on heatsinks for CPUs and power transistors,[41] magnetrons, X-ray-transparent ceramic windows, heat transfer fins in vacuum tubes, and gas lasers.  Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste

Many developed countries acknowledge the health issues that are associating with e-waste, and so these countries have laws that restrict or ban the importation of e-waste from abroad.  Although many developing countries know the health issues that are associating with e-waste, these countries somewhat lack in regulations to prevent the importation of e-waste.  China passed law to prevent the importation of e-waste, but the law was and is ineffective from stopping the massive illegal importation of e-waste.  A YouTube video below shows desperate Chinese who work for very little money in recycling e-waste factory of sort — these folks confront with health issues and problems that are responsible by the unsafe handling of e-waste.

Europe has proposed a law that requires big electronic retailers (including online retailers) to accept e-waste from consumers.  To know more about this law, check out the article “New EU Proposals on E-waste to Help Consumers Recycle.”

In conclusion, e-waste is health hazardous when recycling or disposing e-waste improperly.  E-waste can grow faster, because electronic market has become ever more competitive.  More electronic products come out at faster pace, and prices for these products have become very affordable.  These changes encourage consumers to acquire more of newer electronic products at faster pace, giving way to filling up the landfills faster with abandoned e-waste.  Without wanting to accumulate e-waste, developed countries tend to illegally ship e-waste to developing countries for unsafe e-waste recycling and handling.  To solve the e-waste problem, we need to promote the use of greener electronic products (i.e., friendlier to the environments).  Perhaps, even that will not be able to cut back the disposable of e-waste, but at least greener e-waste (i.e., less toxic) will be somewhat safer to humans.

Sources:  http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/electronics/the-e-waste-problem/where-does-e-waste-end-up/http://www.pcworld.com/article/241060/new_eu_proposals_on_ewaste_