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Archive for the ‘government’ category

Jun 15, 2018

Russia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is getting worse, not better

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health

Almost anywhere in the world, an HIV-infected woman who has an uninfected partner and wants to have a baby would be first in line to receive ARVs. The challenges Katia faced in getting treatment amid Russia’s epidemic highlight the country’s faltering response, which critics have blasted as misguided, lackadaisical, and downright dismissive. Some federal health officials even question the term epidemic. “This is a very large and very serious epidemic, and certainly one of the few epidemics in the world that continues to get worse rather than get better,” says Vinay Saldanha, the Moscow-based regional director for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “This is a public health crisis.”


The government has begun to confront its shortcomings, but critics want more aggressive change.

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Jun 13, 2018

If the Robots Come for Our Jobs, What Should the Government Do?

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, government, robotics/AI

But there’s a recent lesson worth learning from. Globalization and automation caused upheaval in the manufacturing industry from the 1980s through the early 2000s, and millions of factory workers lost their jobs. The disruption to communities is still being felt, and is arguably at the root of a lot of the biggest social and economic problems of this era.


Some big ideas are starting to percolate. But less dramatic ones might work, too.

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Jun 11, 2018

In-orbit services poised to become big business

Posted by in categories: business, government, robotics/AI, satellites

A transition is happening in the satellite business. Fast-moving technology and evolving customer demands are driving operators to rethink major investments in new satellites and consider other options such as squeezing a few more years of service out of their current platforms.

Which makes this an opportune moment for the arrival of in-orbit servicing.

Sometime in early 2019, the first commercial servicing spacecraft is scheduled to launch. The Mission Extension Vehicle built by Orbital ATK on behalf of subsidiary SpaceLogistics, will the first of several such robotic craft that are poised to compete for a share of about $3 billion worth of in-orbit services that satellite operators and government agencies are projected to buy over the coming decade.

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Jun 10, 2018

US suicide rates increased more than 25% since 1999, CDC says

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, neuroscience

“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Schuchat said. The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses, she noted.


Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.

More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.

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Jun 9, 2018

Taboos make it hard to discuss mortality in China

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government

Cultural inhibitions also impede the development of end-of-life care. Talking about death has long been taboo. People often feel that it is their filial duty to ensure that sick parents receive curative treatment, even when doctors advise that there is no chance of recovery and the treatment will be painful. Applications to build hospices are sometimes challenged by local residents who resent the presence of death on their doorsteps. Mr Li says neighbours’ objections have forced Songtang Hospice to move six times.


WHEN Li Songtang was 17, officials overseeing Mao’s chaotic Cultural Revolution sent him from Beijing to Inner Mongolia, a northern province where he became a “barefoot doctor”—a medical worker with rudimentary training. His patients included an academic whom the government had expelled in disgrace from the capital, and who had become terminally ill. The patient grew sicker and increasingly troubled by his political black mark. Unable to console him, Mr Li eventually lied that he had persuaded authorities to wipe the slate clean. The patient grabbed his arm with relief and gratitude, recalls Mr Li. “I can still feel it today.”

Mr Li’s experience of caring for the dying man eventually resulted in the hospice he runs in a three-storey building in Beijing’s outskirts. The facility is home to about 300 people, most of them elderly and with late-stage cancer (a patient there is pictured with a nurse). On a weekend the bright corridors are busy with volunteers who have come to chat with patients. Zhang Zhen’e, a smiley 76-year-old who shares her room with six other women, says she tries to stay cheerful because days spent worrying are “days lost”. A nearby ward for dying babies, painted green and decorated with mobiles, is less easy to visit. Eight children snooze there, asleep in mismatched wooden cots.

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Jun 8, 2018

Two Quantum Computing Bills Are Coming to Congress

Posted by in categories: computing, government, quantum physics

Quantum computing has made it to the United States Congress. If this field of quantum information is the new space race, the US doesn’t want to fall behind.

After all, China has funded a National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences, set to open in 2020, and has launched a satellite meant to test long-distance quantum secure information. Two new bills, one of which is still a draft, are meant to establish the US as a leader in the field.

“Quantum computing is the next technological frontier that will change the world, and we cannot afford to fall behind,” said Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) in a statement passed to Gizmodo. “We must act now to address the challenges we face in the development of this technology—our future depends on it.”

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Jun 4, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) In China: The Amazing Ways Tencent Is Driving It’s Adoption

Posted by in categories: government, robotics/AI

Chinese company Tencent is driving (AI) development in the country to help the Chinese government achieve its goal of being the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. Tencent invests in research and development, other tech companies and personnel to help it achieve its AI ambitions.

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May 27, 2018

Former Google Lunar X Prize teams focused on new commercial and government opportunities

Posted by in category: government

Companies that one vied for the Google Lunar X Prize now expect to fly their first lunar landers in the next two years for government and commercial users.

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May 25, 2018

Here’s how China is challenging the U.S. and European brain initiatives

Posted by in categories: government, neuroscience

The nascent China Brain Project took another step toward reality last week with the launch of the Shanghai Research Center for Brain Science and Brain-Inspired Intelligence. The new center and its Beijing counterpart, launched 2 months ago, are expected to become part of an ambitious national effort to bring China to the forefront of neuroscience. But details of that 15-year project—expected to rival similar U.S. and EU efforts in scale and ambition—are still being worked out, 2 years after the government made it a priority.


New research centers move 15-year project closer to reality.

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May 23, 2018

The Marshall Islands replaces the US dollar with its own cryptocurrency

Posted by in categories: cryptocurrencies, finance, government, law

The Marshall Islands made its own cryptocurrency, doing away with the US dollar. The government has signed the change into law, making the “sovereign” its new official cryptocurrency, as spotted by CNBC Africa cryptocurrency trader host Ran Neuner on Twitter yesterday.

The bill was signed into effect on March 1st, but the news is making waves again this week. The Marshall Islands’ population is 53,066, so the change doesn’t affect many, but it is significant for citizens of the islands because banks and credit card companies will need to begin accepting it. With the recent change, US dollars are still likely to be accepted on the Marshall Islands — the sovereign will just be considered the nation’s official legal tender.

In February, top officials from the Marshall Islands confirmed that the Pacific republic would issue its own cryptocurrency to be circulated as legal tender. The digital coin also received approval from the country’s parliament. “As a country, we reserve the right to issue a currency in whatever form it is, whether in digital or fiat form,” said David Paul, minister-in-assistance to the president of the Marshall Islands, to Reuters at the time.

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