How can you serve your people if you never get into office?

UNITED NATIONS: UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Monday he will visit Myanmar to support democratic reforms and called for a “harmonious” deal allowing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to take an oath as a deputy.
Ban said he will leave for Myanmar at the end of the week and meet with Suu Kyi, for the first time, and President Thein Sein. He is expected to arrive in Yangon on Sunday.
Ban told reporters Myanmar’s transition has reached “a critical moment.”
“Now is the time for the international community to stand together at Myanmar’s side,” he added, hailing “landmark” by-elections that saw Suu Kyi win a parliamentary seat.
“But this fresh start is fragile.”
The UN secretary-general welcomed moves by the European Union and United States to suspend sanctions and said he would discuss ways the United Nations could help the country. “They deserve our full support,” he said.
Asked about a dispute between Suu Kyi and the president over taking the oath of office, Ban said: “I sincerely hope they are able to find a mutually harmonious way to have smooth proceedings of the parliament.”
Suu Kyi’s party has refused to swear to “safeguard” an army-created constitution in the first sign of tension with the government since the democracy icon’s electoral victory.

– AFP/fa

"Live" indexing via Google Search

By Mikaela Conley
@mikaelaconley

Apr 23, 2012 3:52pm

With a teeny waist, disproportionately large breasts and wide, icy-blue eyes, 21-year-old Valeria Lukyanova says she is the real natural deal. A real-life Barbie, that is.
That’s what she claims anyway. Many are crying foul to her claims of her au natural Mattel-branded looks. Whether she underwent plastic surgery or uses photoshop to carve out that waist remains unclear. On her blog, the model notes that she is the most famous woman on the Russian Internet because of her doll-like appeal.
Hundreds of photos on her Facebook page show a wide-eyed, nearly fake-looking Lukyanova posing in a variety of scanty outfits. But with  nearly 8,000 subscribers to her Facebook page, it’s unclear whether Lukyanova exists at all, or whether it’s all a hoax thanks to the world of photo editing.
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“Live” Indexing via Google Search 


Ya, I know you have achieve “Live” indexing via Google search, I can find the above info on Facebook, the rest are just repetition of the news, I really wonder if she really has her own blogsite, or is this another publicity stunt?
– Contributed by Oogle.

Researchers create brain-computer interface

 

By Sebastian Anthony on April 20, 2012 at 11:45 am. Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, have successfully bypassed the spinal cord and restored fine motor control to paralyzed limbs using a brain-computer interface. The researchers have created a neuroprosthesis that combines a brain-computer interface (BCI) that’s wired directly into 100 neurons in the motor cortex of the subject, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device that’s wired into the muscles of the subject’s arm. When the subject tries to move his arm or hand, that cluster of around 100 neurons activates, creating a stream of data which can then be read and analyzed by the BCI to predict what muscles the subject is trying to move, and with what level of force. This interpreted data is passed to the FES, which then triggers the right muscles to perform the desired movement. The end result is a computer network that effectively replaces the nervous system and restores remarkably accurate fine motor control to a paralyzed arm — watch the video below and be amazed. You will notice that, as always with bleeding edge science, the subject of this study is a rhesus monkey rather than a human — but our anatomy is very, very similar to that of our primate cousins. The novel element of Northwestern’s neuroprosthesis is the introduction of a brain-computer interface. At the moment, state-of-the-art solutions use FES devices with pre-programmed basic movements (arm lift, hand open, etc.) that are triggered by small muscle movements in non-paralyzed muscles. With the BCI, rather than listening for second-hand signals, around 100 neurons from the specific region of the motor cortex that handles arm and hand movements are used. As you can see from the video, not only is this approach responsive, it seemingly allows for a whole range of grasping movements. Now, it’s important to bear in mind that we’re a long way away from human trials — these monkeys had a multi-electrode array directly implanted into their brains — but, even so, we should still be very excited. This is a hugely important step towards bionic implants that make paralysis a thing of the past. It might even be the answer to other neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s. The research paper (paywalled) notes that, worldwide, 130,000 people per year sustain spinal cord injury — with half of those becoming paralyzed from the neck down. Even healthy humans — especially those of transhumanist stock — might want to replace or augment their nervous system with a computer network. Due to slow clockspeed and neuron-neuron signal propagation, human reaction time is fairly lackluster — but what if we had a computer coprocessor and electrical wiring that kicked in, when needed? Like modern cars that have complex timing and power control systems, what if humans could run faster or stay awake longer if we had a computer system to help out? You’d be able to connect to your on-board (on-brain?) computer via your smartphone, of course, and tweak various settings…

CBR vs RBR

Rule Based Reaoning (RBR) requires us to elicit an explicit model of the domain. As we all know and have experienced, knowledge acquisition has a set of associated problems. In contrast, Case Based Reasoning (CBR) does not require an explicit model. Cases that identify the significant features are gathered and added to the case base during development and after deployment. This is easier than creating an explicit model, as it is possible to develop case bases without passing through the knowledge-acquisition bottleneck.
Domain experts would have accumulated knowledge over the years through experience. It would be a blunder mistake if we do not use them to our advantage. But the difficulty lies in getting the experts to list down the decision rules which they use. It is a Herculean task to comprehensively recall all the tacit rules which they have come to adopt. However, they usually have little difficulty in recalling concrete cases, which they have encountered in practice. Thus, their mental set appears to be oriented towards a Case Based Reasoning approach.
Developing a CBR system is much faster and easier than constructing a rule-based equivalent. Case bases do not have to be complete when they are deployed for use, as even non-computer experts can add cases to the existing structure.
Maintenance with a Rule Based System may be a nightmare. If the rules are not written clearly, it would lead to many sleepless nights of debugging. Maintenance with Case Based Systems are much easier and straightforward.
When rules are added or deleted from a rule-based system, the system has to be checked for conflicting rules and redundant rules. An addition or deletion of a case from the case base does not any further checking or debugging. But it have to be noted that while it does not affect the system’s functioning, it may have an impact on the outcome of the system.

Foot-and-mouth disease

HANOI – Vietnam has asked international health experts to help investigate a mystery illness that has killed 19 people and sickened 171 others in an impoverished district in central Vietnam, an official said today.
The infection has mostly affected children and young people. It begins with a high fever, loss of appetite and a rash that covers the hands and feet. Patients who are not treated early can develop liver problems and eventually face multi-organ failure, said Mr Le Han Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee in Ba To District in Quang Ngai province.
Nearly 100 people remain hospitalised, including 10 in critical condition. Patients with milder symptoms are being treated at home. The illness responds well to treatment if detected early, but 29 patients have been reinfected, Mr Phong said.
The Ministry of Health sent a team of health officials to the area earlier this month, but they were unable to determine the cause of the illness. The ministry has since asked the World Health Organisation and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help investigate.
A WHO spokesman said the Geneva-based body had not yet received the request from Vietnam.
“We can’t investigate without an official request,” said Mr Tarik Jasarevic.
The ailment was first detected last April, but the number of cases had died down by October. A fresh spate of infections started last month, with 68 cases and eight deaths reported between March 27 and April 5, Mr Phong said.
Most of the patients are from Ba Dien village in Ba To. It is one of the poorest districts in the province and home to many from the Hre ethnic minority. AP

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Foot-and-mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease (Aphtae epizooticae) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a severe plague for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.[1] Its containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions and quarantines, and occasionally the elimination of millions of animals.
Susceptible animals include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, antelope, deer, and bison. It has also been known to infect hedgehogs, elephants,[1][2] llama, and alpaca may develop mild symptoms, but are resistant to the disease and do not pass it on to others of the same species.[1] In laboratory experiments, mice and rats and chickens have been successfully infected by artificial means, but it is not believed that they would contract the disease under natural conditions.[1] Humans are very rarely affected.
The virus responsible for the disease is a picornavirus, the prototypic member of the genus Aphthovirus. Infection occurs when the virus particle is taken into a cell of the host. The cell is then forced to manufacture thousands of copies of the virus, and eventually bursts, releasing the new particles in the blood. The virus is highly variable,[3] which limits the effectiveness of vaccination.

Developing software prototypes

Software prototyping, refers to the activity of creating prototypes of software applications, i.e., incomplete versions of the software program being developed. It is an activity that can occur in software development and is comparable to prototyping as known from other fields, such as mechanical engineering or manufacturing.
A prototype typically simulates only a few aspects of, and may be completely different from, the final product.
Prototyping has several benefits: The software designer and implementer can get valuable feedback from the users early in the project. The client and the contractor can compare if the software made matches the software specification, according to which the software program is built. It also allows the software engineer some insight into the accuracy of initial project estimates and whether the deadlines and milestones proposed can be successfully met. The degree of completeness and the techniques used in the prototyping have been in development and debate since its proposal in the early 1970s.[6]

In computer science, a formal specification is a mathematical description of software or hardware that may be used to develop an implementation. It describes what the system should do, not (necessarily) how the system should do it. Given such a specification, it is possible to use formal verification techniques to demonstrate that a candidate system design is correct with respect to the specification. This has the advantage that incorrect candidate system designs can be revised before a major investment has been made in actually implementing the design. An alternative approach is to use provably correct refinement steps to transform a specification into a design, and ultimately into an actual implementation, that is correct by construction.
A design (or implementation) cannot ever be declared “correct” in isolation, but only “correct with respect to a given specification”. Whether the formal specification correctly describes the problem to be solved is a separate issue. It is also a difficult issue to address, since it ultimately concerns the problem constructing abstracted formal representations of an informal concrete problem domain, and such an abstraction step is not amenable to formal proof. However, it is possible to validate a specification by proving “challenge” theorems concerning properties that the specification is expected to exhibit. If correct, these theorems reinforce the specifier’s understanding of the specification and its relationship with the underlying problem domain. If not, the specification probably needs to be changed to better reflect the domain understanding of those involved with producing (and implementing) the specification.
The Z notation is an example of a leading formal specification language. Others include the Specification Language(VDM-SL) of the Vienna Development Method and the Abstract Machine Notation (AMN) of the B-Method. In the Web services area, formal specification is often used to describe non-functional properties [1] (Web services Quality of Service).