Miramar Police Department Get Body Cameras

first_imgMIRAMAR, FL – The Miramar Police department will become the 103rd police department in Florida to equip its officers with body cameras. The move announcement comes six months after Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis made the motion to implement the program in the department.On March 27, 2019, Davis posed the implementation of a body-worn camera program for the Miramar Police Department. The motioned was seconded and a majority vote led to the long-awaited body camera program becoming law in the City of Miramar. The body camera program was first proposed by Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis back in 2014, with petitions being signed subsequent to this, but though a study was conducted the program never came to fruition.Days later, a pilot program was established that began with twelve officers to develop operational processes and policy for a full camera program.Last month, a workshop was convened with the Commission to present the proposal of a full program for consideration and approval. The proposal consisted of outfitting 147 first-line officers and sergeants with body-worn cameras for a five-year period with a cost of $2,501,746.52, with none of the initial funds coming out of taxpayer dollars but from the Police Trust Fund.The Commission approved the proposed program and funding sources for the five-year period. The Department has already procured the camera equipment and infrastructure items.“I am happy that our City has joined the other cities around the country in the utilization of body camera technology. This technology will further assist in providing transparency in our law enforcement efforts within our community,” said Vice Mayor, Alexander P. Davis.“Just recently during the pilot phase of the program, we were able to see the value of the body-worn camera by one of our officers. A situation that could have been made much worse had it not been for the quick actions of our officer and the fact that he was wearing the camera. In this instance, there was no loss of life and the suspect was identified and apprehended,” Vice Mayor goes on to say.The City Administration feels it is a win-win for the Department and the residents of the City.Chief Dexter Williams stated that he will be making a Public Service Announcement video regarding the implementation of body-worn cameras by officers, with the full implementation expected to be completed and underway by the end of September 2019 . The video will be posted on the Department’s website and will be pushed out through the Department’s social media platforms. Community Resource Officers will discuss the implementation of the program at HOA meetings over the course of the next few months.Additionally, Vice Mayor Alexandra P. Davis will be hosting a ‘CommUnity and Cops’ forum on October 22nd which will include discussions on many topics of Law Enforcement to include the use of body cameras.last_img read more

Tornado damages apartment building, farms in eastern Iowa

first_imgOELWEIN, Iowa (AP) – Severe storms damaged an apartment building and several farm buildings and homes in northeast Iowa Saturday night.A tornado that was spotted in Oelwein tore off part of the wall of a 12-unit apartment building and damaged the siding of a second building in the complex. Oelwein police said no serious injuries were reported.Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher said the storm knocked down branches and some power lines elsewhere in Oelwein and in rural parts of the county.Residents of the apartment complex whose homes were damaged sought shelter in a nearby hotel. Emergency crews wore surgical masks as they responded to the storm damage because of the virus.Dubuque County Emergency Management Director Tom Berger said at least six farms were damaged by a tornado near Sherrill.last_img read more

Silver: NBA will review domestic violence policies

first_imgNBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the league, in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK (AP) – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Monday his league will “take a fresh look” at its domestic violence procedures in the wake of the NFL’s rash of incidents.Silver said during a community service event in Staten Island that the league has been discussing with the NBA Players Association ways to further educate players and provide programs to them and their families.“We learn from other leagues’ experiences,” Silver said. “We’re studying everything that’s been happening in the NFL. We’re working with our players’ association. We’ve been talking for several weeks and we’re going to take a fresh look at everything we do.”The NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell have been criticized for punishments that were too slow or lenient for Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Goodell said last week the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl.The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement calls for a minimum 10-game suspension for a first offense of a player convicted of a violent felony.“We have in place the appropriate mechanisms for discipline, although we’ll take a fresh look at those as well,” Silver said. “But most importantly, it’s education, and it’s not just the players, but it’s the players’ families. That’s what we’re learning, too.“We have to take these programs directly to the players’ spouses, directly to their partners so that they’re aware of places they can go to express concerns, whether they’re anonymous hotlines, team executives, league executives. And we’re consulting experts. There’s a lot to be learned here. It’s a societal problem; it’s not one that’s unique to sports.”Silver spoke at the opening of a refurbished Staten Island playground and basketball court in an area damaged by Hurricane Sandy. He was joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Knicks and Nets officials in announcing community efforts throughout New York, which will host the 2015 All-Star weekend. Silver said the goal of the programs is to directly reach 500,000 children.New union executive director Michele Roberts also took part in what was her first official day in her new position. However, Silver said discussions with her started before Monday.“We do have in place, unlike the NFL, a penalty scale, and to the extent it needs any tweaking, then we’ll talk about tweaking it,” Roberts said. “What I hope we’re going to do as well is figure out ways to prevent any occurrence like that on our side. It’s one thing to know how to react in the event it happens; it’s a lot smarter to try to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first instance.”Silver noted that the NBA has had its own difficulties with issues off the court, saying the aftermath of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks means “everyone understands the high standard that we are living under now in the NBA.” The NFL’s issues just accelerated the need to look for improvements.“It’s been going on, but the whole world is focused right now on what’s happening around the NFL,” Silver said, “so it’d be foolish for us not to try to learn from everything that’s happening with that league as well.”last_img read more

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

first_imgFacebook1Tweet0Pin0 Published for Friday, November 15Those holiday bazaars are starting to pop up with some frequency now.  I’m feeling that shift is focus as we move further away from Halloween.  I’m excited to share some outstanding holiday stories with you over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here is what is going on around Olympia this weekend.  Check out our full event calendar for even more activities.Get ready for the Hunger Games release with teen activities at the Olympia Timberland Library on Friday night.“American Roulette” continues its production throughout the weekend.  Read a review by one of our teen writers here.Enjoy a film through the Olympia Film Festival at the historic Capitol Theater.  Showtimes can be found here.Walk in nature at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail or the McLane Nature Trail.  See salmon spawning just a few minutes from downtown Olympia.Dig clams along Washington beaches.  Razor clam tide information can be found here.Tap your foot to some live music.  A complete live music listing for this weekend can be found here.Catch a performance of Olympia High School’s “Midsummer Jersey.”Grab an authentic Mexican meal through Mijas and support domestic violence survivors.Pick up a rare find at the Olympia Record Show on Saturday from 3 – 7 p.m.Chuckle along with comedians at the Lucky Eagle Casino on Saturday night.  The comedy festival is sure to cure any rainy day doldrums.Submit an event for our calendar here.ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at [email protected]  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.last_img read more

Half-time: Brighton 1 QPR 0

first_imgAnthony Knockaert’s free-kick on the stroke of half-time put Brighton ahead at the Amex Stadium.The visitors were on top for much of the first half and Conor Washington, restored to the starting line-up and looking for his first QPR goal, had a chance to put them ahead.Massimo Luongo’s ball into the box fell to the striker, who turned and fired over the bar.Rangers created other first-half openings, with Alejandro Faurlin firing over and delivering a corner that was headed straight at keeper David Stockdale by Clint Hill.Stockdale was also called into action to keep out a shot from Matt Phillips after the QPR wide-man had closed down Bruno.Promotion-chasing Brighton, who could move back into the top two if they win, barely troubled the R’s before James Wilson blasted narrowly wide 10 minutes before the break.Rangers, who have played well so far, responded strongly and Phillips sent a shot just over.Albion finished the half strongly, though, and Alex Smithies was well positioned to keep out Lewis Dunk’s header from Knockaert’s corner.But Smithies was unable to rescue his team after Nedum Onuoha was adjudged to have fouled Jiri Skalak. Knockaert beautifully curled the resulting free-kick into the top corner.QPR: Smithies; Onuoha, Hall, Hill, Perch: Henry, Faurlin; Luongo, Hoilett, Phillips; Washington.Subs: Ingram, Kpekawa, Gladwin, El Khayati, Petrasso, Chery, Polter.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Abiogenesis: The Origin of Lie

first_imgTo get life from mindless molecules, fib a little. Ignore chance. Make it sound easy. Turn out the lights. Tell a story. Imagine.Above a giant picture of a cell, the BBC News promises its readers a secret: “The Secret of How Life on Earth Began.” Michael Marshall dims the lights and speaks in hushed voice. “Today life has conquered every square inch of Earth, but when the planet formed it was a dead rock. How did life get started?”Illustra Media interrupts the seance and turns the lights on. Getting one short protein by chance, its new film Origin shows, has one chance in 10 to the 164th power. It’s not going to happen, on Earth, anywhere in the universe, in the entire history of the universe. Not by a long shot.But the propagandists don’t want the lights on. They pretend nothing happened, and put on their blindfolds. Marshall continues weaving his story about precocious molecules, imaginary intermediates, witchy cauldrons in the deep sea cooking up molecules, and sketchy ideas about what “might” have happened. His favorite word is “might,” used 26 times, not in the sense of having a mighty argument. Instead, he uses the power of suggestion. This or that step “might have happened.” But “might” is a probability word, and Illustra has ruled out chance as an option. It’s not going to happen. How many show-stoppers does it take to stop a show?But the show goes on anyway. Marshall props the story up with the parade of origin-of-life heroes: Darwin, Oparin, Miller. On their shoulders, newcomers like Sutherland, Russell and Szostak take up the storytelling mantle, conjuring up alien worlds he calls the RNA World, the Lipid World, and (believe it or not) the Hodge-Podge World. Theories contradict each other and each has numerous problems, Marshall admits. But anything is better than the alternative.How did life begin? There can hardly be a bigger question. For much of human history, almost everyone believed some version of “the gods did it”. Any other explanation was inconceivable.That is no longer true. Over the last century, a few scientists have tried to figure out how the first life might have sprung up. They have even tried to recreate this Genesis moment in their labs: to create brand-new life from scratch.So far nobody has managed it, but we have come a long way. Today, many of the scientists studying the origin of life are confident that they are on the right track – and they have the experiments to back up their confidence.Don’t you feel better now? Confidence! Too bad the “experiments” have nothing to do with the problem. What intelligent designers do in a lab cannot speak to the powers of unguided natural laws operating blindly by chance. But with modern atheism, he advertises, the idea life “sprung up” is no longer “inconceivable.” True, nobody has “managed it,” but we can imagine it.Marshall opens his visualization screen to Stanley Miller’s iconic spark-discharge experiment (see 5/02/03). He admits that the facts of chemistry don’t support it, but so what? It had propaganda value.The details turned out to be wrong, since later studies showed that the early Earth’s atmosphere had a different mix of gases. But that is almost beside the point.“It was massively iconic, stimulated the public’s imagination and continues to be cited extensively,” says Sutherland.In the wake of Miller’s experiment, other scientists began finding ways to make simple biological molecules from scratch. A solution to the mystery of the origin of life seemed close.But then it became clear that life was more complicated than anyone had thought. Living cells, it turned out, were not just bags of chemicals: they were intricate little machines. Suddenly, making one from scratch began to look like a much bigger challenge than scientists had anticipated.The tension is up! Marshall has just conceded what Paul Nelson says in the Illustra film. After rehearsing the legacy of Darwin, Oparin and Miller, Nelson says, “Life requires molecular machines, and lots of them.” How will Marshall escape the trap that modern biochemistry has put him in?Marshall’s solution is to ignore the problem. He never mentions chance. He never mentions probability. Instead, he goes off onto irrelevant side tracks about the discovery of DNA, as if that would help. He admits proteins are coded by DNA, and that the genome is like a library of information. He describes the “enormously elaborate” ribosome that translates messenger RNA into proteins. Is he not digging his hole deeper?Suddenly, Oparin and Haldane’s ideas looked naively simple, while Miller’s experiment, which only produced a few of the amino acids used to build proteins, looked amateurish. Far from taking us most of the way to creating life, his seminal study was clearly just the first step on a long road.A first step on a long road can be meaningless, if you don’t know how long the road is. What if the road is millions of times the diameter of the entire observable universe? Origin also shows the folly of that kind of hope.The rest of the BBC article describes the various “worlds” of RNA, lipids, hydrothermal vents and their champions. Marshall introduces mythical precursors for DNA, like TNA and PNA. He portrays imaginary replicators that “might have” begun to evolve by natural selection. But he never addresses the central problem: where did the information to build the complicated machinery of life come from? If your toolkit is restricted to atoms, natural laws, and chance, how did complex specified information emerge? Even the most primitive life forms we know have over 300 different kinds of proteins, plus metabolic networks, genomes that can replicate themselves accurately, and membranes that can selectively allow materials in and out. These requirements are “diagnostic of what it means to be alive,” Nelson explains.In Origin, Ann Gauger points out the folly of expecting lifeless chemicals to come together into a living cell. “If I put it amino acids in a test tube in my lab, even if I added heat and shook it up real well, and kept doing that for 100 years, or a thousand years, or 10,000 years, or a million years, nothing would happen.” All the secular origin-of-life literature, however, gets pumped if amino acids or lipids or some other “building blocks of life” are discovered somewhere, in meteorites or stellar dust clouds. Paul Nelson offers a reality check:Amino acids, nucleotides, lipids – by themselves, they do not represent life. They’re inert. They’re not reproducing. They’re not storing information. In a sense, they’re dumb. They didn’t wake up one morning and say, ‘Hey, let’s all get together and build a cell that can replicate itself.’ Didn’t happen. Chemistry is indifferent to whether or not anything is alive or dead.Illustra’s film also shows how self-organization and natural selection are out of bounds at the origin of life. Natural selection requires accurate replication. Self-organization, like crystallization, is the wrong kind of process to build information-rich structures like proteins and genes. What’s left? It comes down to chance alone. But chance is absolutely hopeless for getting even one simple protein to emerge one time in the whole history of the earth or the universe.The film shows that getting a single smaller-than-average protein is far, far beyond the reach of chance. Dr. Timothy Standish takes it from there, rubbing it in with more considerations about the hopelessness of chance.If we can appreciate exactly how hard it is to produce one molecular machine using nothing except atoms and energy, we can see there is a profound problem.Because once you have one molecular machine, you don’t have a living thing. These molecular machines need other molecular machines.  And even if nature was capable of producing all the molecular machines necessary, that still wouldn’t be enough.  They have to all be together, all in this tiny little membrane-bound space that we call, a cell.The probability that you would get them in the same space at the same time becomes beyond unimaginable.  And the probability that you would get them within a membrane enclosure (like a cell) is the next best thing to impossible.If sunlight is the best disinfectant, darkness is the best place for infectious lies. In the dark, a guru can promise low-information readers that secular science is making progress. Here’s how they lure the uninformed: ‘Those people clamoring to turn the lights on? Ignore them. They don’t know anything. They’re just religious nuts. Close your eyes. Don’t you see? A picture of the origin of life is coming into view!’That means we are approaching one of the great divides in human history: the divide between those who know the story of life’s beginning, and those who never could.Every single person who died before Darwin published Origin of Species in 1859 was ignorant of humanity’s origins, because they knew nothing of evolution. But everyone alive now, barring isolated groups, can know the truth about our kinship with other animals.In the dark, you can feel good. Feel the wisdom sweeping over you. Turn out the lights, and imagine yourself traveling through space. Imagine wisdom.These facts change our worldview in subtle ways. Arguably, they make us wiser. Evolution teaches us to treasure every other living thing, for they are our cousins. Space travel allows us to see our world from a distance, revealing how unique and fragile it is.Some of the people alive today will become the first in history who can honestly say they know where they came from. They will know what their ultimate ancestor was like and where it lived.This knowledge will change us. On a purely scientific level, it will tell us about how likely life is to form in the Universe, and where to look for it. And it will tell us something about life’s essential nature. But beyond that, we cannot yet know the wisdom the origin of life will reveal.The ideas promoted by Michael Marshall and the BBC News constitute the creation myth of our modern secular culture. The storytellers get millions of dollars to promote the myth. NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine regularly touts this or that molecule as a “building block of life” (for example, the latest RNA concoction from Jack Szostak). Life’s building blocks come from starlight, another Astrobiology Magazine article proposes. And artwork of Primordial Soup accompanies many a story, even if the only empirical data concerns some form of tarry gunk some researchers cooked up under lab conditions (see ETH-Zurich press release). And once again, Astrobiology Magazine uses the suggestive phrase “building blocks of life,” only this time, it’s about the “building blocks of life’s building blocks” – i.e., ionized carbon. Why stop there? Why not call protons “building blocks of life”? or quarks? One thing should be clear: we never see building blocks forming a complex, functional building by themselves, without the guiding hands of intelligence and mind.To scientific materialists, the facts don’t matter. Feel the wisdom growing as your imagination expands. It’s like being on drugs. Cool.I’ve read many a piece on origin of life, but Marshall’s almost made me puke. He knows full well the complexity of life. He even shows a video clip of ATP synthase! Yet he attacks Darwin skeptics, and promotes DODO storytellers as the wise ones who have overcome the superstition of past ages. The opposite is true.This is why Illustra Media produced Origin. The whole Darwinist, materialist enterprise falls at that tipping point. This BBC News propaganda piece shows that Illustra’s message needs to be heard. You can buy copies in quantity at reduced prices to give out to the victims of propaganda coming from the scientific materialists. Let’s turn the lights on! (Visited 205 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Hiking across SA to find ubuntu

first_imgSonja Kruse hiked across South Africa to find the spirit of ubuntu in her compatriots. (Image: Ray Maota) To find out exactly what it is that unites South Africans, Sonja Kruse decided to hitchhike across the country for a year – starting out with only R100 (U$14.42) in her back pocket. The 35-year-old Kruse, originally from Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal, began her 350-day life-changing journey with one thing in mind: to unlock the meaning of ubuntu – a humanist philosophy of fellowship and community, which is an integral part of South African society and one the country is known across the world for.“Ubuntu – in its isiZulu essence – means you are who you are through the people you encounter,” Kruse said.“As people, we have a connection and if you tap into that connection, you will realise that nothing in society is random as we all are intertwined.”Kruse said the hitchhiking idea came to her five years ago: “I had a dream in 2005 where I saw the open road, a backpack, R100 and, in the end, books flying off the shelves. It persisted in my mind, so last year I decided to do something about it.”Before she set off from East London on 31 October 2009, Kruse resigned from her job as manager of a game farm and sold her car.Her backpack was crammed with 28 items of clothing, two notepads, headgear and a poncho for the rain, a first aid kit, toiletries, a camera and R100.Kruse said: “I decided to adopt an open mind and heart in order for me to thoroughly explore the concept of ubuntu. My first stop was Chilumna in the Eastern Cape, where I arrived in a taxi.”In total, she travelled through 114 towns and stayed with 150 different families from 16 different cultures.“In that process I took 13 000 photos, far more than what I had taken in my lifetime.” Apart from taxis, Kruse also got lifts from tractors, trucks and cars.Different, but the sameKruse lived in shacks, tiny houses, mega mansions and middle-class homes during her trip. She saw the good and the bad side of reality in South Africa, but one thing that remained the same was the lengths her hosts would go to, to make their guest feel at home.“I would just walk up to people and tell them who I was and what I was doing – and they gladly welcomed me into their homes. The families I left behind would even suggest where I should go next if I need a place to stay.“I was in the Western Cape and this millionaire had offered me a penthouse overlooking the beach to sleep in. It had all the amenities to make a person stray from their desired intentions, but he was gobsmacked when the next morning I woke up and told him I’m moving on to a government-housing settlement nearby,” she said.Kruse explained that the trip was not about herself, but about the people of South Africa and how – despite their financial, social, religious and political differences – they could all be hospitable in different ways within their socio-economic standing.“I could have a shower in a decent home the one day and have a bath in a makeshift basin the next, but I would never leave a home without eating or even being given money – which I never asked for,” she said.Kruse’s route took her through the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and Mpumalanga – ending in KwaZulu-Natal, her hometown.The most memorable part of the trip was arriving at a township in Ventersdorp less than a month after Eugene Terreblanche was murdered there. “I was welcomed with open arms in a township that was described as volatile, and treated like part of the family.”Although Kruse felt safe throughout her trip, there was a point after six months on the road when she wanted leave everything and go back home.“Six months down the line I was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted, but then I got a lift from this guy. We had clashing political points of view, but the mere fact that we displayed tolerance to one another, made me see I had to go on with my exploration of ubuntu, as tolerance was part of it. We as South Africans are a model country, whose tolerance is shown with our 11 official languages,” said Kruse.Kruse spoke of how, in South Africa, a meeting with someone doesn’t just end there – there is continuation. “I would be in Gauteng and people I met in the Western Cape would ask me whether I had a raincoat.”Another example is a text message Kruse received from Phumza, who she met in Scenery Park, a township in East London, six months previously.“Good morning Sonja, it is good to hear that the ubuntu girl is doing fine. I can see from the map that you have travelled a lot, have a nice day,” wrote Phumza.Kruse had decided to text message everyone she had met every two weeks to tell them where she was and how she was doing, because most of them would call her and ask how she was and say how worried they were.During her trip Kruse made R10 856 ($1 565) from people who gave her money, and she spent this along the way. The biggest amount of R6 000 ($855) came from Old Mutual Insurance after it heard about her trip.Ubuntu is no myth“Old Mutual invited me to come and give a motivational talk at one of their events in Sandton while I was in Gauteng. The money I got from them was used to book myself into bed and breakfast establishments when I got to a town late and could not find anyone to house me.”Kruse also used the money to buy food for the homes in which she stayed. In one instance she stayed in a shack and her hosts couldn’t afford to take their baby to the clinic, so she gave them money for that.When Kruse reached the end of her 350-day trip on 15 October 2010, she had R142 50 ($20,42), which is R42 50 ($6) more than she had when she left home. She had also filled five notepads with a record of her encounters along the way. Three of the five notebooks were bought by people she met along the way.“I now have 150 families in 114 towns and they’re from 16 different cultures. One thing I have found is that ubuntu is not a myth – it definitely does exist.”With no tertiary education, Kruse now wants to write a book about her trip through the country, and do what she can to preserve the spirit of ubuntu, which is uniquely South African.last_img read more

South Africa’s second health train rolls out

first_imgWith the introduction of Phelophepa II, Transnet will more than double the number of people who benefit from the facility, taking the total to an estimated 370 000 people every year. The staff can only see so many patients every day, but people are willing to wait in queues and even sleep outside the train as they wait to be treated. Every year the Phelophepa eye clinic dispenses thousands of pairs of spectacles to adults and children. (Images: thys dullaart photography) MEDIA CONTACTS • Thandi Mlangeni  Transnet  +27 11 308 3000 RELATED ARTICLES • SA harbour chief makes world history • Apple Express to pick up steam • SA, Cuba to train more doctors • Boost for trucking wellness drive Wilma den HartighSouth Africa’s second state-of-the art clinic on wheels, Phelophepa II, has hit the tracks, taking much-needed primary health care services to the country’s poorest rural communities.The new train comes equipped with the latest technology, which means it can provide even better health care services to those who need it most.In February 2010, South African rail, port and pipeline company Transnet announced that it had set aside more than R80-million (US$10-million) for a vital corporate social investment project, to boost accessibility to primary health care in rural areas of South Africa.That project was Transnet’s second health care train, known as the Phelophepa II, the latest addition to the company’s Phelophepa fleet.Phelophepa, which means ‘good clean health’ in Setswana, is a flagship project of the Transnet Foundation – Transnet’s specialist unit for corporate social responsibility (CSR).Its predecessor, the Phelophepa I, is known worldwide as a forerunner in primary health care provision.The train made history when it became the first sustainable South African CSR initiative to receive the prestigious UN Public Service Award for its excellence in public service delivery.The second train, which will operate simultaneously with the Phelophepa I that started in 1994, is to follow in its predecessor’s groundbreaking footsteps.With the introduction of Phelophepa II, Transnet will more than double the number of people who benefit from the facility, taking the total to an estimated 370 000 people every year.The train travels 36 weeks a year, visiting regions with inadequate access to medical services. The healthcare staff consists of 20 core employees and close to 30 student interns preparing for careers in a variety of health-related fields.Both health trains are part of Transnet’s commitment to help South Africa achieve the UN Millennium Development goals, which include reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases.A symbol of hopeAt every village and town on its route, the clinic on wheels is changing lives.Phelophepa has become a symbol of hope for many people, bringing life-saving health care to thousands of underprivileged rural communities who cannot afford even the most basic health care services.One patient at a time, the Phelophepa II’s on-board primary healthcare, dental, optometry and psychology services are giving more people an opportunity to live a healthy, quality life.Transnet has published a glossy coffee table book on Phelophepa’s journey, filled with many stories of how the health trains are helping to make South Africa a better place.Onke Mazibuko, manager of the Phelophepa train, says that when the news gets out that the mobile clinic is in town, people come in their numbers, often travelling long distances to be treated.The staff can only see so many patients every day, but people are willing to wait in queues and even sleep outside the train as they wait to be treated.Mazibuko and his team live on the train, staying for a week or two at each of the train’s various stops. In some communities they visit, there is just one doctor for every 5 000 people.“Every place we go there are different stories,” he says.At one of the stations, a farmer complaining of toothache left the train so grateful to the dental team, that he returned later carrying bags of potatoes, tomatoes and oranges.Dr Lynette Coetzee, manager of the health portfolio at the Transnet Foundation, remembers when an 87-year-old grandmother from KwaZulu-Natal visited the mobile clinic.She was hoping to receive a pair of glasses so she could see the letters in her Bible, even though she was unable to read. Her eyes were tested, the glasses were made, and a young optometry student fitted them carefully on her face.“You look beautiful in these,” he told the old lady. She sat in silence for a while, and then she started crying. The student was worried that there was something wrong with the glasses, but the woman was only crying because she was happy – she never thought that a young white boy would tell her she looked beautiful.She was able to see the world clearly for the first time in years.Every year the Phelophepa eye clinic dispenses thousands of pairs of spectacles to adults and children, and adults pay a nominal cost of R30 a pair.Dr Terence Giles, manager of the Phelophepa eye clinic, recalls a visit to a school for the blind in a township just outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The screenings showed that as many as half of the children in the school were not actually blind – they just needed glasses.“It was a wonderful feeling to make the blind see,” Giles says.In the book, the train’s previous manager Sister Magdeline Ntikinca, who passed away in 2010, said Phelophepa gives a voice to people’s health and wellbeing.“A lot of people say to us that the train listens to them,” said Sister Maggie, as she was fondly known. “It hears their concerns and it makes them feel that they matter.”Modern facilities on boardThe Phelophepa II will offer the same health care services as Phelophepa I – it is just more technologically advanced.The 18 Phelophepa coaches are old donor passenger coaches, refurbished – they were completely rebuilt according to new designs and specifications.Phelophepa II is fitted with enhanced communication, ablution and air conditioning systems, wheelchair platform lifts for disabled people and new advanced medical equipment technology.Pharmaceutical company Roche has also expanded its Phelophepa sponsorship. It now includes funding of the primary healthcare clinic, with a diabetes care programme and oncology clinic; a medicine dispensary; school health services and education programs for health workers and staff for both the original and the new train.Roche chairman Franz Humer said that the company is proud to have continuously grown its support for the Phelophepa trains.“It has such a remarkable impact on the lives of thousands of people every year,” Humer said.Some of the other new technological developments on the second train include a vacuum toilet system, the first for passenger type coaches in South Africa.The toilets are connected to a retention tank that prevents sewerage spillage onto the rail tracks. The vacuum toilets also save water and for each flush half a litre of water is used, compared to the conventional system that uses four to five litres.The communication and data system installed in Phelophepa II is the most advanced system yet installed in a train in the country. It is also the first time that optic fibre has been used as a network medium on trains.The air conditioners fitted to the new coaches are much more power efficient, while still providing the best cooling and heating capability. Certain air conditioning units, such as those in the health and dental coaches, have been modified to eliminate the possible spread of germs into the corridors by altering the airflow.The train’s special needs facilities make it possible for disabled people to receive medical attention with greater ease. Wheel chair lifts are fitted at strategic positions on the train, making it possible for people with special needs to access dental, optometry and health care facilities.The wheel chair elevator can lift 300kg, which means that a person in a wheel chair as well as the caretaker can use it at the same time.Cosmetic upgrades to the new coaches are improving patients’ experience of the train. The cubicles on Phelophepa II’s psychology clinic have each been painted a different colour. This was done to make clients feel more relaxed and comfortable during the sessions.In the dentistry coach, the dental cubicles are more spacious, compared to the previous arrangement, and now have ultraviolet devices to help destroy any airborne germs.Lessons in humilityFor the clinic staff, spending time on the train provides ample opportunities for many lessons in humility.“Not everyone in South Africa can take good, clean health for granted,” said Sister Maggie. “More than anything else Phelophepa can teach us why we should never abandon hope.”last_img read more

The Real-Time Web: A Primer, Part 3

first_imgThis is part 3 of a three-part series on the fundamental characteristics of the real-time Web.In part 1 and part 2, we looked at how the real-time Web is a new form of communication, creates a new body of content, is real time, is public, and has an explicit social graph associated with it. A final characteristic of the real-time Web is that it carries with it an implicit model of federation.A number of sources both generate and consume real-time streams. As a result, many of these new companies are becoming communication carriers, passing their users’ real-time threads through their networks to other networks. This is more than simply being open (i.e. more than allowing data to be imported and exported). Just as in shipping and transportation and other communication industries before it (telephone, Internet packets, and email, to name a few), the real-time Web is developing a federated model of transmission whereby companies formally or tacitly agree to facilitate transmission and perform actions on behalf of end-users within the eco-system.It’s hard to say whether this model has arisen because of a conscious strategic effort to build a new industry, or because building a fully closed world would have required just too many resources, or because of a collective effort among business friends and acquaintances to develop open products and open interactions so that cool new things could be created. It’s probably a combination of all three, but considering the history of the people at Twitter and FriendFeed (Paul Buchheit, one of FriendFeed’s founders, is credited with coining Google’s unofficial “Don’t be evil” slogan), the open and cool factors are probably a big part of the equation.At this point, there seems to be a general willingness to accept and transmit messages from outside sources (carrying costs are not significant, and transmission is automated via APIs, and so overhead is minimal). That said, infrastructure costs are bound to increase, competition will heat up, illegitimate companies will spot opportunities, and monetization strategies will be devised, which will all put strain on this truly open exchange.As in the past, formal carrier agreements could be set down, governments could decide to regulate markets, or other forces could come into play that would transform what is now essentially a free-for-all bazaar into a marketplace with hierarchy. All the same, the expectation of openness and transparent transmission will be difficult to counteract or stop. So, new companies that enter the space, even bigger and better funded ones, will have to adhere to the same model of federation that these pioneering companies have established.SummaryWhether Twitter will remain the focal point of the real-time Web or be supplanted by another or several companies (as happened in the social network space, first with Friendster, then MySpace, and now LinkedIn and Facebook) is unclear. The underlying characteristics of the real-time Web, however, are defining the next major stage of the Internet and will spread throughout its infrastructure in years to come.Broader trends on the Web point to users having discrete data and services follow them as they move around the Web. Fred Wilson, a principal of Union Square Ventures, has called this the “de-portalization of the Web,” and John Borthwick, CEO of betaworks, has co-opted Chris Anderson’s phrase “smallpieces, loosely joined” to describe the fast-moving risk-taking small companies that work in the space. Both individuals are leading investors in Twitter and other real-time Web companies.The Internet is shifting from discrete units of websites and Web pages to discrete units of information (e.g. people, organizations, articles and videos, product offerings, store listings, and blog posts) and associated meta data (e.g. images, addresses, reviews, ratings) that move seamlessly around the Web, being slotted where appropriate. These units of information can be organized in ways that are relevant and personal to each individual, using data gleaned from social graphs as well as recommendation and personalization services that allow users to set their preferences.In some cases, locations are integrated into these units as supplementary information. For example, Google and Yahoo now include map locations and reviews as part of their search listings. Their search engine algorithms read markup formats in the form of microformats and RDFa that are embedded on Web pages. These formats contain tags denoting names of people and organizations, geo-locations, and ratings and reviews. Both companies report great results from the inclusion of this data, both in increased click-through rates and reduced bounce rates. Support for other structured data is almost sure to follow. Reading tags on a page and doing something useful with them in a search result is not a novel concept, but the rapidly growing support of these tags across the Web is a clear sign that data is becoming much more identifiable and actionable.This trend towards open and accessible data is even more obvious when you consider the real-time stream for all of the reasons mentioned above: atomic real-time messages, public accessibility, attached social graphs. In a sense, this is similar to the vision of the semantic Web. Tim Berners-Lee said at the TED conference in the fall of 2008, “Twenty years ago, I asked everyone to put their documents on this Web thing… Now I want you to put your data on the Web.” The difference is that the effort to make data accessible and more actionable on the real-time Web is being made through methods and interactions not necessarily prescribed by the W3C.Tim Berners-Lee and the W3C use the term “linked data” to refer to the latter’s initiative to expose data and make it accessible. “Actionable data” might be a better term to use for the real-time Web because it doesn’t imply a particular approach but merely refers to the concept of making data more identifiable and independent. Linked data refers specifically to using RDF and other W3C protocols to link important concepts, a prescription that is overly complex and not likely to address many of the usage cases on the Web.The real-time stream is a massive body of continously created and authentic content that by itself would be significant. But when it is added to and integrated with other information on other sites, and when derivatives can be created in a number of dimensions, this concept of actionable data reaches the tipping point. In non-Silicon Valley business circles, Twitter is criticized for not having a solid revenue model. Those on the inside (investors and advisers), however, believe the criticism is short-sighted. As with most communication platforms, the value of the network increases exponentially as the size of the network increases.By having a low barrier to adoption, the network is able to grow quickly. Only after a critical mass has been reached, and after other companies and communities of interest have helped shape how the platform is used, will it become clear what people are willing to pay for. While they may not have a solid grasp yet of exactly how to make money, those who are building companies and investing in the space do know there will be opportunities. In their minds, the real-time stream is at an early stage in its cycle, one that will likely last 5 to 7 years.If the real-time Web and its fundamental characteristics are widely understood, its benefits and opportunities can extend throughout the Internet and across all industries.Read part 1 and part 2 of this series.Guest author: Ken Fromm is a serial entrepreneur who has been active during both the Internet and Web 2.0 innovation cycles. He co-founded two companies, Vivid Studios, one of the first interactive agencies, and Loomia, one of the top recommendation, discovery, and personalization companies. He has worked at the leading edge of recommendations and personalization, interactive development, e-commerce and online advertising, semantic technologies and information interoperability, digital publishing, and digital telephony. He is currently advising a number of startups and looking at the next big thing in Web 3.0. He can be found on Twitter at @frommww. Related Posts guest author 1 Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Features#Real-Time Web#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more