Posts tagged technology
I wake up at four to some old-timey dubstep spewing from my pillows. The lights are flashing. My alarm clock is blasting Skrillex or Deadmau5 or something, I don’t know. I never listened to dubstep, and in fact the entire genre is on my banned list. You see, my house has a virus again. Technically it’s malware. But there’s no patch yet, and pretty much everyone’s got it. Homes up and down the block are lit up, even at this early hour. Thankfully this one is fairly benign. It sets off the alarm with music I blacklisted decades ago on Pandora. It takes a picture of me as I get out of the shower every morning and uploads it to Facebook. No big deal. I don’t sleep well anyway, and already had my Dropcam Total Home Immersion account hacked, so I’m basically embarrassment-proof. And anyway, who doesn’t have nudes online? Now, Wat3ryWorm, that was nasty. That was the one with the 0-day that set off everyone’s sprinkler systems on Christmas morning back in ’22. It did billions of dollars in damage.
Africa’s Tech Edge

How the continent’s many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age 

Africa’s Tech Edge

Africa’s Tech Edge

How the continent’s many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age

Africa’s Tech Edge

A new, fast-acting antidepressant that works like the infamous club drug ketamine could elevate mood in just 24 hours, researchers say.
Though the drug is still in the early stages of development (to this point it has only been tested on animals), it shows promise for the treatment of a mental health disorder experienced by least 10 percent of American adults. It also solves a significant problem with antidepressants currently on the market: all approved depression drugs can take up to a month to work, meaning patients must wait before feeling any significant relief. In addition, there is no one-size-fits all antidepressant; finding the right drug for the right patient can sometimes be an issue of trial and error, and this weeks-long lag time for pharmaceutical benefit further prolongs this process. So an antidepressant that does not take so long to work could help people more quickly and streamline drug selection.
While depression is often a long-term illness, there are also shorter-term cases for which a month-long wait just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes doctors prescribe these patients a medication from a class of anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, but this is far from ideal as they only treat some symptoms—such as constant worrying—and are highly addictive.
Also, there hasn’t been a “fundamentally different antidepressant medication for decades, perhaps even 30 years,” Jefferey Talbot, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Roseman University of Health Sciences who is researching this new drug, tells Newsweek.  “They’re good drugs and they’re relatively safe and well tolerated, but they’re surprisingly ineffective in a large number of patients.”
A new medication, Talbot explains, might be able to help those resistant to current therapies.
Talbot, who is collaborating with researchers at Duquesne University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says scientists worldwide have become increasingly interested in the idea of a fast-acting antidepressant. Some teams even tried treating some depression patients with ketamine—a veterinary anesthetic that became a prominent recreational drug during the 1990s rave scene (street name: “Special K”) because of its hallucinogenic properties.
“[Ketamine] provides anti-depressant relief in about 24 hours,” Talbot says, but “it has abuse potential and from a therapeutic standpoint, it doesn’t work well orally.” Talbot says this ketamine research ultimately tipped off researchers to the idea that drugs “that act like it from a mechanistic standpoint” could have a similar therapeutic effect.
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A new, fast-acting antidepressant that works like the infamous club drug ketamine could elevate mood in just 24 hours, researchers say.

Though the drug is still in the early stages of development (to this point it has only been tested on animals), it shows promise for the treatment of a mental health disorder experienced by least 10 percent of American adults. It also solves a significant problem with antidepressants currently on the market: all approved depression drugs can take up to a month to work, meaning patients must wait before feeling any significant relief. In addition, there is no one-size-fits all antidepressant; finding the right drug for the right patient can sometimes be an issue of trial and error, and this weeks-long lag time for pharmaceutical benefit further prolongs this process. So an antidepressant that does not take so long to work could help people more quickly and streamline drug selection.

While depression is often a long-term illness, there are also shorter-term cases for which a month-long wait just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes doctors prescribe these patients a medication from a class of anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, but this is far from ideal as they only treat some symptoms—such as constant worrying—and are highly addictive.

Also, there hasn’t been a “fundamentally different antidepressant medication for decades, perhaps even 30 years,” Jefferey Talbot, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Roseman University of Health Sciences who is researching this new drug, tells Newsweek.  “They’re good drugs and they’re relatively safe and well tolerated, but they’re surprisingly ineffective in a large number of patients.”

A new medication, Talbot explains, might be able to help those resistant to current therapies.

Talbot, who is collaborating with researchers at Duquesne University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says scientists worldwide have become increasingly interested in the idea of a fast-acting antidepressant. Some teams even tried treating some depression patients with ketamine—a veterinary anesthetic that became a prominent recreational drug during the 1990s rave scene (street name: “Special K”) because of its hallucinogenic properties.

“[Ketamine] provides anti-depressant relief in about 24 hours,” Talbot says, but “it has abuse potential and from a therapeutic standpoint, it doesn’t work well orally.” Talbot says this ketamine research ultimately tipped off researchers to the idea that drugs “that act like it from a mechanistic standpoint” could have a similar therapeutic effect.

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Janette Simon has four chicken legs and five kids to feed. Her freezer is bare. 

And her latest trip to the food pantry yielded little else for dinner this night: a bag of day-old croissants, a box of Corn Flakes, and some canned goods. 

She slathers barbecue sauce on the chicken, slides the pan in the oven, and begins her nightly ritual of distracting her five children from hunger. The 44-year-old single mother often skips dinner herself. She hides Ramen noodle packets in her closet to ration food. 

She tells her two youngest kids to play outside “so they ain’t thinking about eating.” “That’s what I have to worry about,” she says. “I gotta look at these kids with their sad faces and no food.” 

On the 13th of every month, she has counted on seeing a $600 payment on her food-stamp debit card. But now, that payment is a month late. Simon and thousands like her in North Carolina had enough to worry about before a computer glitch began to fray this basic part of the social safety net. Last July, government computers across the state repeatedly crashed, preventing caseworkers from processing food stamp applications and recertifications for weeks. 

Eight months later, North Carolina officials are still scrambling to clear the resulting backlog. 

How A Government Computer Glitch Forced Thousands Of Families To Go Hungry

WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Janette Simon has four chicken legs and five kids to feed. Her freezer is bare.

And her latest trip to the food pantry yielded little else for dinner this night: a bag of day-old croissants, a box of Corn Flakes, and some canned goods.

She slathers barbecue sauce on the chicken, slides the pan in the oven, and begins her nightly ritual of distracting her five children from hunger. The 44-year-old single mother often skips dinner herself. She hides Ramen noodle packets in her closet to ration food.

She tells her two youngest kids to play outside “so they ain’t thinking about eating.” “That’s what I have to worry about,” she says. “I gotta look at these kids with their sad faces and no food.”

On the 13th of every month, she has counted on seeing a $600 payment on her food-stamp debit card. But now, that payment is a month late. Simon and thousands like her in North Carolina had enough to worry about before a computer glitch began to fray this basic part of the social safety net. Last July, government computers across the state repeatedly crashed, preventing caseworkers from processing food stamp applications and recertifications for weeks.

Eight months later, North Carolina officials are still scrambling to clear the resulting backlog.

How A Government Computer Glitch Forced Thousands Of Families To Go Hungry

The next Edward Snowden may be a geneticist on a personal mission to protect the public from new violations of privacy.
Imagine a future when Big Data has access not only to your shopping habits, but also to your DNA and other deeply personal data collected about our bodies and behavior - and about the inner workings of our proteins and cells. What will the government and others do with that data? And will we be unaware of how it’s being used - or abused - until a future Edward Snowden emerges to tell us?

The next Edward Snowden may be a geneticist on a personal mission to protect the public from new violations of privacy.

Imagine a future when Big Data has access not only to your shopping habits, but also to your DNA and other deeply personal data collected about our bodies and behavior - and about the inner workings of our proteins and cells. What will the government and others do with that data? And will we be unaware of how it’s being used - or abused - until a future Edward Snowden emerges to tell us?

The Price of Killing Off Animal Testing
Each year, more than 25 million animals are used for scientific research in the U.S. More than 90 percent of those are mice - sort of. These lab-raised animals don’t burrow or gather like their wild peers. They are more like abstractions of human ills, mouse models of disease, genetically engineered to die in a very particular way.
"This is the central contradiction of animal experimentation: Mice are like us in all the ways that matter, so they’re used as stand-ins for humans - but the moral significance of those similarities is ignored," says Justin Goodman, who has been an animal rights activist since he saw scientists drill holes in the heads of monkeys as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut.
Since the 1980s, the rise of transgenesis - the science of genetic engineering - has brought with it a seemingly endless series of biomedical breakthroughs. It has also opened up a field of inquiry about the unnerving price of all this. “The use of primates in research has increased, and the use of mice has exploded,” Goodman tells Newsweek.

The Price of Killing Off Animal Testing

Each year, more than 25 million animals are used for scientific research in the U.S. More than 90 percent of those are mice - sort of. These lab-raised animals don’t burrow or gather like their wild peers. They are more like abstractions of human ills, mouse models of disease, genetically engineered to die in a very particular way.

"This is the central contradiction of animal experimentation: Mice are like us in all the ways that matter, so they’re used as stand-ins for humans - but the moral significance of those similarities is ignored," says Justin Goodman, who has been an animal rights activist since he saw scientists drill holes in the heads of monkeys as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut.

Since the 1980s, the rise of transgenesis - the science of genetic engineering - has brought with it a seemingly endless series of biomedical breakthroughs. It has also opened up a field of inquiry about the unnerving price of all this. “The use of primates in research has increased, and the use of mice has exploded,” Goodman tells Newsweek.