Thursday, March 27, 2014

Does Facebook Oculus VR acquisition doom real reality?

Future history books will note that March 25, 2014, was a bad day for human legs. It was a bad day for the outdoors, a bad day for bicycles and an utterly abysmal day for cafes, bars and other places where people meet in person.

It was the day Facebook — the social media giant that has already digitized a good part of our social interaction — acquired Oculus VR, which sounds like a malevolent, world-destroying Transformer but is actually considerably more frightening.

The "VR" in the company's name stands for "virtual reality." Oculus has been busy working on a gaming device called the Oculus Rift headset, which, according to a blog post by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, puts the user in "a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Boko Haram: 500 killed, 100 killed, so what?

Priests pray for corpse of Boko Haram victims before burial
Does it really matter how many die daily from Boko Haram attacks? Who cares who the targets are? Who is interested in the body count? What difference does it make if 500 die today or 100 the next day?
Have the gruesome details of victims being burnt, slaughtered, or buried alive made any impact on us? Are we even able to count how many have been killed?
Nigeria has descended to the dreaded lethargy prolonged exposure to gory lawlessness creates. There was a time when loss of a few lives drew those magnificent comments about the sanctity of lives and measures that must ensure that we never went through the fatal paths again.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

South Africa software industry to ‘balloon’ in 2014

South Africa’s software industry will balloon this year as spending is forecast to increase 10.5% to $518m, according to the latest International Data Corporation (IDC) market analysis report.

The South Africa Enterprise Application Software Market 2013–2017 Forecast predicts that overall enterprise applications software spending in the country will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 11.6% across the five-year forecast period to total $787.19m in 2017.

South Africans not sold on in-car tech

A survey by Accenture indicates high interest in next-generation in-car technologies among drivers in emerging economies, which could help shape future demand for sales and provide the automotive industry with a sustained revenue stream.

However, across five major emerging markets, South Africans were the least likely car buyers to let their decision be influenced by in-car technology.

Accenture surveyed over 14 000 drivers in 12 countries, including South Africa, on their current use of in-vehicle technologies and expectations for future use.

Microsoft new CEO, Satya Nadella, shares vision for the company

Satya Nadella, an Indian national, was yesterday announced as the new CEO of tech giant, Microsoft.  Nadella has worked with Microsoft since 1992 and comes from a rich professional background in cloud computing.
Nadella joins the growing list of Indian-born executives heading major global corporations. They already include PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Deutsche Bank co-CEO Anshu Jain.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bloomberg launches $10m Africa media initiative

Michael Bloomberg
The immediate past mayor of New York, and founder of the Bloomberg Media group, Michael Bloomberg, is committing $10m towards building the capacity of African journalists.  The initiative is aimed at advancing
transparency, accountability and governance on the continent.
The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, a three-year pan-African programme to build media capacity, convene international leaders and improve access to information on the continent, will initially focus on Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, financial news agency Bloomberg said on Monday.
"Timely and accurate reporting of business and financial matters play a critical role in advancing efficient markets and is a key driver in supporting economic and social growth," the agency said in a statement. "Strengthening business and economic news coverage, expanding training programmes for journalists and providing greater access to reliable data about Africa are frequently cited as important enablers to the continent's continued development."

Friday, January 31, 2014

Your Yahoo account may have been compromised

If you use yahoo email, you may consider changing your password.
Latest information from Yahoo indicate that some of its customers' email accounts were compromised in a recent cyber-attack.
According to, Yahoo has the world’s second-largest email service after Google, the Associated Press reports, with 273 million users worldwide and 81 million in the United States. The company said affected users have been prompted to reset their passwords by email notification or text message.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ed Snowden nominated for Nobel Prize

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden spent the last year revealing some of the government's most tightly held secrets, kicking off a massive debate about the proper role of America's intelligence services. Now, a pair of Norwegian politicians have nominated the NSA leaker for a Nobel Peace Prize.

In their nomination letter, Baard Vegar Solhjell and Snorre Valen, who hail from the Socialist Left party, said Snowden's revelations "contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order."
Nominations — which are generally secret but sometimes announced by those submitting the paperwork — must be filed by Feb. 1.

Obama: The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact

A big science take from President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address yesterday is an affirmation that climate change is a fact not some cooked up fiction as some climate deniers have often claimed.

"The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did," Obama told a joint session of Congress.

Thanks Obama for rising boldly when it matters most.  I don't agree with many of your policies, but this is a remarkable scientific step that ought to be lauded.

Since the unusual cold weather that hit much of America's west and east coast, popular critics like Donald Trumph has pointed to the record cold weather as evidence that the globe isn't warming.

Video source:

Hi-tech help to stop human-lion conflict in Kenya

Kenyan wildlife authorities are fitting livestock-raiding lions with a collar that alerts rangers when the predators venture out of Nairobi National Park.

Livestock farmers, especially Maasai herdsmen, track and kill lions to avenge the loss of animals, threatening the existence of 35 to 40 lions at the park on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital.

Spokesman Paul Muya of the Kenya Wildlife Service, said Monday rangers will be able to move to areas where the lion have encroached using coordinates sent by the collars and return the animals to the park. The collars send GPS coordinates by text messages to a rangers' cell phones.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Suicide: The warning signs most people miss

Two top bankers - Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old JP Morgan bank executive and 58-year-old former Deutsche Bank senior manager, Bill Broeksmit, killed themselves today in separate suicide incidence in London.
If you are like me, you are probably wondering - what could have made these men take their lives?  They look apparently successful in their careers and should rank among top earners in their field. After reading the story of these bankers, I tried searching for answers to that question and here are some thought by Jed Diamond (an expert on the topic) I ran into. Enjoy reading:

Wearable tech allows you to feel the book while you read

Reading a nice book could be very exciting; feeling a nice book could be even more exciting.
A team at MIT Media Lab is working to make this happen; i.e - help you feel the emotions of the characters you are reading.
Dubbed 'Sensory Fiction' the technology is a wearable book that enables you physically feel the characters' feelings in a work of fiction.
As the reading progresses, the book produces physical sensations to mimic the characters' emotions of joy, sadness, fear, and a host of others.  If the protagonist is scared, for example, air pressure bags in the wearable vest will constrict to make the reader’s chest feel tighter.
The technology is still being developed. ‘While the project explores new ways of reading with digital augmentations, this is not a product idea but rather an exploration in the context of science fiction stories,’ said researcher Felix Heibeck.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Check how much time you've 'wasted' on Facebook

Time magazine has come up with something very interesting.  Now you can check how much time you spend on Facebook.  The app uses the term 'waste'. Some may not agree that the time they spend on Facebook is a waste.  That's a debate for another day.  However, the Time app "runs through the timestamps on every post in your feed until it reaches the earliest one, which it uses as the estimated date that you created your profile."
If you belong to this virtual country that boasts of about 1.1 billion citizens, you might just be curious to know how much of your life time you've consciously or unconsciously invested into it.  I'm curious to do same.
Want to use the Time Calculator?  Check it out HERE

Why Google Glass sex apps leave the web feeling dirty

As if Google Glass wearers didn't love themselves enough already, news broke this week of a forthcoming app for Glass that lets owners of the wearable tech watch themselves having sex (or doing non-sex tasks) from alternative angles.
The Sex with Google Glass app relays imagery from other perspectives to Google Glass, letting sex-doing pairs of owners of the posh specs watch themselves as if they were the stars of their own reality TV show. Or, if they're using it in the bedroom, it could give the wearer a terrifying look at the grim faces and expressions a partner sees while they're fiddling and grinding away.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Boko Haram's threat to the world

Rescuers remove the body of a victim of the 2011 bombing
of UN office in Abuja by Boko Haram
Residents of the northeastern Nigerian city of Alau report that 19 people were brutally murdered and hundreds of homes torched there on Sunday. Last week, a car bomb tore through a heavily populated market in nearby Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, severely injuring or killing at least 20 people.

Borno is no stranger to carnage. Nigerians ironically dub the state the "Home of Peace." Recent events in the region have received little media coverage, and most observers deem it par for the course when the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram claims credit.

Since 2009, when these organized assaults began, the Nigerian federal government has attempted to respond with proficiency. Abuja has variously offered amnesty to Boko fighters; retaliated with (sometimes overly assertive) force; and, when left with no other choice, installed martial law on an emergency basis.

As the world globalizes, jihadist factions such as Boko Haram align in-kind and gain both the intelligence and the capacity to strike in increasingly urban centers and beyond national borders. We must make no mistake: This destabilizing network is a global problem, larger in scope and indeed in mission than the international community may presume. It is not just going to go away.

Facebook will lose 80% of users by 2017, say Princeton researchers

Facebook has spread like an infectious disease but we are slowly becoming immune to its attractions, and the platform will be largely abandoned by 2017, say researchers at Princeton University.

The forecast of Facebook's impending doom was made by comparing the growth curve of epidemics to those of online social networks. Scientists argue that, like bubonic plague, Facebook will eventually die out.

The social network, which celebrates its 10th birthday on 4 February, has survived longer than rivals such as Myspace and Bebo, but the Princeton forecast says it will lose 80% of its peak user base within the next three years.

Pope Francis: Internet is a "gift from God"

Pope Francis
The Internet is a "gift from God" that facilitates communication, Pope Francis said in a statement released Thursday, but he warns that the obsessive desire to stay connected can actually isolate people from their friends and family.

Francis made the observations in a message about Catholic Church communications, meditating on the marvels and perils of the digital era and what that means for the faithful going out into the world and interacting with people of different faiths and backgrounds.

In comments that will likely rile the more conservative wing of the church, Francis suggested that in engaging in that dialogue, Catholics shouldn't be arrogant in insisting that they alone possess the truth.

Home birth as risky as not putting on child's seat belt, researchers warn

While not calling for an outright ban on home births, two experts are urging parents who “wish to return to the past” by choosing to skip the hospital labor room to consider the potential harm to the baby.

“Having a home birth may be like not putting your child’s car seat belt on,” the researchers write in a paper published Wednesday in the Journal of Medical Ethics

“Most children will be unharmed. Some trips are very safe. And wearing a seat belt will not remove all risk of injury or death… But on balance it is much safer with a seat belt.”

Friday, January 17, 2014

Regent University joins the MOOCs wagon

Almost two years after Harvard University and MIT ventured into online education partnership called edX, more universities continue to embrace free online learning initiatives.  Does this mean the death of paid learning?  Certainly not.  Paid education will continue to be with us.  But online learning is helping democratize learning in a way that we've never seen before.
The latest school to join the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) wagon is Regent University, the Virginia-based Christian university.    Regent has launched a program known as Luxvera, which means light and truth.  The Christian online classes will feature lectures and teaching material provided by Regent and the American Center for Law and Justice.
How will these universities continue to earn and sustain while giving out their lectures free online?  That's certainly where innovation comes in.  Just like the mainstream media world - i.e newspapers, magazines, radio and television - the education sector across the world is being massively disrupted.  How often do you go to a physical library these days for research?  Many people now research via google, youtube and other online platforms.  This is our reality today and the old school days are gone for ever.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Diabetes at a crisis point in Africa

Obesity is a major cause of diabetes

Diabetes is at a crisis point in Africa, but because of the lack of proper medical statistics, policy makers and health managers don't really accord it the urgent attention it needs.
A study published in the World Diabetes Atlas says that more than 80 percent of people living with diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa do not know that they suffer from the disease. Sub-Saharan Africa has more than 15 million of the 371 million people living with diabetes in the world.
Can you imagine, the damage?  80% of sufferers ain't even aware they have the disease.
The World Diabetes Atlas study adds that the greatest number of people with diabetes are between the ages of 40 and 59.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cisna's cheap PR for MacDonalds

Have you seen the report about an Ohio science teacher who ate MacDonalds for three months and lost 37 pounds? Sounds interesting! This is how an Ontario-based medical doctor reacted to the report and I agree with him.
Cisna's experiment seems to me a cheap PR for MacDonalds.

Yes, you can lose weight eating nothing but McDonald's, but that's not the point.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Kenyan grandpa, 90, brings global family together via Skype

At 90, John Mbugua debates Kenya’s politics, art and culture as expertly as any scholar. The old man has lived through the colonial era as well as Kenya’s four post-independence regimes.
He has seen the country undergo tremendous changes in the field of technology.
John Mbugua skyping family     (c)
"I don’t know why people do not keep in touch with each other despite all the advantages of mobile phones and the internet"
Over Christmas and the New Year celebrations Mr Mbugua used Skype, an application which allows one to converse with another over the Internet through video link, to talk to his grandchildren who are pursuing education overseas.
“I don’t know why people do not keep in touch with each other despite all the advantages of mobile phones and the internet. I am disappointed by those who have my phone number and never call or text to say ‘hallo’ when I make all efforts to keep in touch with those I care about”.
At his age, Mr Mbugua has taken his time to learn how to use the computer and watches documentaries about farming — learning the latest technologies to apply to his fish farming hobby.

Rare, alarmingly deforming yet non-cancerous tumor

Slamet                                             (c)
 The man in the picture, known only as Slamet is 59 and lives in Indonesia.  His condition is a neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition which causes uncontrollable growths along the nerves.
There are a lot of things we look unto medical sciences for solution and this is certainly one of them.
Slamet                                                    (c)
According to Daily Mail, "although many people who have the condition inherit it from one of their parents, up to 50 per cent develop it randomly from a gene mutation before they are born."
Despite the alarming appearance, the growths and swellings are not cancerous or contagious.
A wikipedia explanation for this rare condition notes that it
"is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means only one copy of the affected gene is needed for the disorder to develop. Therefore, if only one parent has neurofibromatosis, his or her children have a 50% chance of developing the condition as well.

Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns

 A new feature in Google's Gmail will result in some users receiving messages from people with whom they have not shared their email addresses, raising concerns among some privacy advocates.

The change, which Google announced on Thursday, broadens the list of contacts available to Gmail users so it includes both the email addresses of their existing contacts, as well as the names of people on the Google+ social network. As a result, a person can send an email directly to friends, and strangers, who use Google+.

Google is increasingly trying to integrate its Google+, a two-and-a-half-year old social network that has 540 million active users, with its other services. When consumers sign up for Gmail, the company's web-based email service, they are now automatically given a Google+ account.

She's labelled 'World's Ugliest', but she's the World's Most Beautiful Soul

I have never been as inspired as in recent times I was an hour ago when I listened to her talk.  It's one of the most inspiring talk I'll ever hear.  Trust me I'm not kidding.  Every woman needs to hear Lizzie Velasquez.  I mean it.
She is labelled "The World's Ugliest Women" but she is the most beautiful soul I've encountered. I bet you, you'll jump of from your depression and slumber the moment you listen to Lizzie.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The science of mending injured body parts

Xiao Wei at the hospital
2013 had notable stories that showed how medical science is helping restore hope to people with severe body injuries.  Before, when a person's body part is severed in an accident, it is taken as condemned and irreparable.  Not any more. Science is helping restore hope in such cases of serious injuries.  There were some examples in 2013.
Xiaolian, 22, lost his nose to complications following a traffic accident, but doctors were able to grow a new one that will be transplanted soon
Xiao Wei's hand fix to his leg
The three below are particularly remarkable:

1.  Doctors in China save man’s severed hand by attaching it to his ankle 
Xiao Wei of Changde in China's Hunan province lost his hand in a workplace accident. Doctors attached it to his ankle in order to save it while they attended to the rest of his injuries.

2.  Chinese man grows nose on his forehead 
Jamie Hilton
Xiaolian, 22, lost his nose to complications following a traffic accident, but doctors were able to grow a new one that will be transplanted soon.

3.  I blogged about Jamie Hilton's skull restoration surgery in 2012. The beauty queen's broken skull was removed, stored in her body for six weeks and restored in a major surgery.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Does polar vortex prove global warming a hoax?

Today's weather report                       (c)
Today has been unusually cold in much of the United States.  Colder than it's been in decades.  So cold that the mountains are freezing in Florida.  Montana feels as low as -62°F, reports Daily Mail; and in New York City, Central Park was 5F on Tuesday, the coldest January 7 since 1896.
Cold is normal during the winter but many say it's a pretty long time they felt it this cold.

Is this a proof that global warming is a hoax.  Many climate change doubters have already taken to the twitter and other media platforms to say so.  Finally they now have 'an evidence' to justify their doubts. One of those doubters, of course, is billionaire businessman Donald Trump.  Here are two of his tweets during the week:

FoxNews has dubbed the present weather condition 'global cooling', insisting we should "forget global this warming." But does the present cold prove that the science of global warming is flawed?  Not so. If anything researchers say the deep freeze could represent how global warming is changing dynamics in the Arctic.

Monday, January 6, 2014

North Korean: How NYTimes, Daily Mail, Fox News, NBC News, others, fell to an imposter

When the going was good. Kim Jong-Un and Jang   (c) AFP
The gap between bloggers and traditional news reporters has shrunk over the years, thanks to the internet and the 24 hour news circle, but the main elements of cross-checking facts before putting it out still holds true for journalism today as it did before the advent of the internet.
The widely reported story that Kim Jong-Un, the hardheaded North Korea leader executed his uncle Jang Song-Thaek by throwing him to a den of hungry dogs that devoured him in an hour, might not be true.
Latest findings indicate that the report which caused international frenzy and was picked by all major news organisations including New York Times, Daily Mail, Fox News, and NBC News, was triggered by a posting by an imposter who had put out as a satire.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

When'll African govts commit just 1% of their GDP to science and tech?

I ran into this report on CNN website:
In 1996, the South African government, under the leadership of the late Nelson Mandela, identified astronomy as a key area for investment.
In a white paper, lawmakers recognized that if South Africa failed to invest in "flagship sciences" then the country would be viewed as a "second-class" nation "chained forever" to the need for food and clothing.
Last year, the government, led by President Jacob Zuma, announced it would invest 200 million rand (around $20 million) in astronomy training over the next five years.
Govender added: "The target that we have is to spend 1% of GDP on science and technology. We haven't reached that yet."  
It's just disturbing that most African countries, South Africa inclusive, find it difficult to fund what truly engineers growth and development.  Importing everything we need from Taiwan, China, India and every other country in the world, only makes us consumers, and poor miserable consumers at that.

Isaac Asimov's Predictions For 2014 From 50 Years Ago

Isaac Asimov                         (c)

Fifty years ago, American scientist and author Isaac Asimov published a story in The New York Times that listed his predictions for what the world would be like in 2014.

Asimov wrote more than 500 books in his lifetime, including science fiction novels and nonfiction scientific books, so he was well-versed in thinking about the future.

In his article, called "Visit to the World's Fair of 2014," Asimov got a whole bunch of his guesses right -- and his other predictions are making us a little envious of his imagined future.

Correct Predictions

"By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use."

You may not realize what electroluminescent panels are, but these thin, bright panels are used in retail displays, signs, lighting and flat panel TVs.

"Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs."


"Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone."

Skype, Google Hangout, FaceTime and more have made video chatting common.

"The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books."

With computers, tablets and smartphones, all of this is true.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 a year Kenya wishes never happened

2013 is arguably Kenya's worst year with terrorism.  It never had it so bad.  There were pockets of attacks by the Somalia-based Al Shabab during the year, but the worst, no doubt, was the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The destruction was massive, the loss unquantifiable.  It was not only Kenya that suffered loss of its citizens but Britain, US, Ghana, India, South Africa, and a host of other countries.
The destruction was massive, the loss unquantifiable.  It was not only Kenya that suffered loss of its citizens but Britain, US, Ghana, India, South Africa, and a host of other countries.
As Kenya and the world celebrate the arrival of a new year, Kenyans hope the terrorist group will rethink its wicked ideology.  All religions claim to offer mankind salvation not destruction.  In the new year, I hope those who claim to be representing God will think more of salvation and not destruction.

Born twins, yet in two separate years

Mom and Lorraine (left)  and Brandon (right) 
                   (c) Washington Hospital Center

They are twins, born less than four minutes apart.  But amazingly they share different birthdays.  They were born in two separate days, two separate months and two separate years.  One was born in December, and the other in January.  One was born in 2013 and the other in 2014.
Do we still call them twins when one can claim to be older than the other by a year, after all she was born the year before her sibling was born.
That's the amazing story of Lorraine Yaleni Begazo and Brandon Ferdinando Begazo born in Washington D.C.  Lorraine was born December 31, 2013 at 11.58pm while Brandon was born January 1, 2014 at 12.01am.
The babies were born at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C. Lorraine weighed 6 pounds, 4.9 ounces, and Brandon was 5 pounds, 10.4 ounces.