Posts tagged technology
zoeschlanger:

The Earth is Moving, And It’s Our Fault
Oklahoma has had more earthquakes this year than California. States are rumbling that barely did before. It’s becoming clear that humans are causing quakes through fracking-related injection wells, but plenty of people aren’t convinced.
The Earth, and the science of how everything works, is so big. We are so minute,” one Oklahoma state representative tells me. “For us to think that we have so much to do with these things is almost ludicrous.
And yet, injection-induced quakes are real. Why are we—at the level of our politics and at the level of our individual imaginations—unable to face this? 
As one USGS scientist puts it, “We’re kind of doing an experiment that we’ve never done before.”

zoeschlanger:

The Earth is Moving, And It’s Our Fault

Oklahoma has had more earthquakes this year than California. States are rumbling that barely did before. It’s becoming clear that humans are causing quakes through fracking-related injection wells, but plenty of people aren’t convinced.

The Earth, and the science of how everything works, is so big. We are so minute,” one Oklahoma state representative tells me. “For us to think that we have so much to do with these things is almost ludicrous.

And yet, injection-induced quakes are real. Why are we—at the level of our politics and at the level of our individual imaginations—unable to face this? 

As one USGS scientist puts it, “We’re kind of doing an experiment that we’ve never done before.”

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?