Pennsylvania Prepares To Launch Virus-Tracing App Next Month

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) MGN ImageHARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania plans to launch a coronavirus exposure-notification app in early September in an effort to more quickly break chains of transmission by using the new technology to notify people who may have been exposed, officials said Monday.The state has a $1.9 million contract, using federal grant dollars, to deploy and maintain the app with software developer NearForm Ltd, the Ireland-based company whose app there has been downloaded by more than one-fourth of that country’s residents.The app is based on smartphone technology developed by Apple and Google, and will undergo a pilot project next week, using state government employees and public health students, staff and faculty, officials told The Associated Press in an interview.The app will be interoperable with the state of Delaware’s app, and it also is expected to be interoperable with those of two other states, although Pennsylvania state officials declined to name those states because they are still in discussions with the app developer. “The app is about Pennsylvanians helping Pennsylvanians, it’s about as a community being able to let each other know and track each other’s exposure so we can keep each other safe,” said Health Department spokesperson April Hutcheson.It’s use will be limited to people 18 and over.It is similar to the app rolled out by Virginia earlier this month, when it became the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google.North Dakota and Wyoming have also launched an app using the Apple-Google technology in recent days, and a number of other states are interested in it, Google has said. Delaware will launch its NearForm-developed app next month, said Jill Fredel, a spokesperson for the state’s Health and Social Services Department.It is designed to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, and state officials say the app does not store location information, personal information or the identify of anyone who is in close enough range to possibly be exposed.It relies on Bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus.As a threshold, the app uses the Centers for Disease Control guideline of being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, said Meghna Patel, deputy secretary for health innovation at the Department of Health.The identity of app users will be protected by encryption and anonymous identifier beacons that change frequently, the companies have said.Patel said Ireland and Germany are good examples for where apps like this have been successful. More than 25% or 30% of those countries’ populations have downloaded the app and it has issued notifications that helped break chains of transmission, Patel said.Someone who tests positive in Pennsylvania is reported to either the Department of Health or a municipal health department agency and contacted by a case investigator. That case investigator will ask the infected person if they have the app and if they are willing to use it to notify any mobile-phone users who have been in close contact with them in the past 14 days, state officials said.If they are willing to use it, they are given a six-digit code to enter to then issue a notification, state officials said. A person who receives a notification will get something like an alert to check the app, with instructions from the Department of Health on how to protect themselves and others, including information about staying at home, quarantining and seeking medical help.The identify of the person who was infected is shielded from people receiving a notification, and vice versa, they said.In addition to exposure notification, the Pennsylvania app will have a data feature that allows the user to see up-to-date information on case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths by county, as well a feature that helps the user to monitor their symptoms even if they have not tested positive, Patel said.last_img read more

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NORTH WEST WORDS TO HOST ITS ANNUAL WEEKEND IN LETTERKENNY AND RAMELTON

first_imgPopular reading series North West Words hosts its third Writing Weekend in Letterkenny and Ramelton from this Friday, 24th to Sunday, 26th July. The weekend features inspiring readings and a variety of workshops to suit all writers from those beginning to those writing for some time. This year there is also a drawing workshop suitable for anyone curious about drawing and looking for some approaches and ideas to get started.The event begins this Friday with a launch reading at Café Blend in Letterkenny at 8.00pm featuring poet, author and memoir writer John MacKenna and crime writer Brian McGilloway with music by Eilis Farren and Niamh Cuffe. There will be an Open Mic at this event. On Saturday the 25th there is a choice of workshops including ‘Avenues to Memory’, a memoir workshop with Sunday Miscellany regular John MacKenna; ‘Place and Tone in Crime Writing’ with Brian McGilloway; ‘Making your Mark’, a drawing workshop with artist Aifric Dennison; and ‘Lines in the Landscape’, a creative writing workshop with Winifred McNulty.Celebrated poet Moya Cannon and award-winning author Niamh Boyce will read in the beautiful surroundings of Carn Lodge in Ramelton at 8.00pm. This is a free event but please book your place.On Sunday the 26th, writers can choose from a ‘Word paths and Clearings’, a poetry workshop with Moya Cannon or ‘Zooming In’, a fiction workshop with Niamh Boyce.The readings are free events but fees apply to the workshops. Full descriptors for each workshop and the biographical details for the facilitators can be found on www.northwestwords.com or on North West Words’ Facebook page. To book or with a query please contact [email protected] NORTH WEST WORDS TO HOST ITS ANNUAL WEEKEND IN LETTERKENNY AND RAMELTON was last modified: July 20th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalletterkennyNorth West Words weekendRameltonlast_img read more

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Big Mean Bird Was Vegan

first_img(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Diatryma, a giant flightless bird often portrayed as a wicked carnivore, may have gently dined on plants.Michael Warwicker reported on the BBC News, “Giant Eocene bird was ‘gentle herbivore’, study finds.” Here’s how it had been portrayed by artists: “Previous investigations have suggested the giant bird was a carnivorous predator or scavenger.… commonly portrayed as a fierce predator in both scientific works and popular media.”  The article includes a typical artist conception of Diatryma snatching up a terrified mammal (see also Encyclopedia Britannica).Researchers from Washington took another look at its beak, claws and legs and decided it didn’t have the features of a predator.  Said one, “A more likely scenario [than being a carnivore] would be a gentle Diatryma that used its beak to harvest foliage, fruits, and seeds from the subtropical forests that it inhabited.”Why, then, was it assumed to be a big, mean ol’ meat-eater?  “Let’s be honest: scary, fierce meat-eaters attract a lot more attention than gentle herbivores.”  That may be why it has frequently been thought of as “the bird that replaced dinosaurs as the top predator,” the researcher said.There were other extinct species called “terror birds” that are still thought to have been predators or scavengers (10/26/2006, 5/19/2007 #6).  “The common belief that Diatryma… was likewise a carnivore is more a result of guilt by association than actual anatomical evidence.”Notice that it was not just artists who got it wrong, but writers of “scientific works.”  This is a case study in how scientists see what they expect to see.  Instead of a 7-foot tall bird that would have scared human hunters out of their wits, this gentle, overgrown chicken might have made a nice Thanksgiving meal, feeding an extended family of 30 (if you could find an oven big enough).You can’t tell a lifestyle from just bones.  Think of what paleontologists would conclude if they only found the bones of a skunk or porcupine without ever seeing one alive.  And even though Diatryma had been thought of as “the bird that replaced dinosaurs as the top predator,” it had nothing to do with dinosaurs.  It was more likely a secondarily flightless bird in evolutionary scenarios, or created for its habitat in creationary scenarios.  Loss of function is something natural selection is good at.  it’s not so great at evolving new complex structures from scratch.last_img read more

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Mandela: the name that will live on

first_imgFrom fossils to flowers, money to museums, and statues to streets, Nelson Mandela’s name lives on in various ways throughout the world. Nelson Mandela’s statue in Nelson Mandela Square, in the northern Johannesburg suburb of Sandton, is the central focus of the plaza. (Image: Pixabay) Priya PitamberThe name of Nelson Mandela evokes many emotions; words such as inspirational, motivational and iconic spring to mind. There is no doubt his name and legacy will live on in many ways.Statues and monuments have been erected in his honour, his face etched on to the South African currency and his name has been revered in discoveries in science, nature and palaeontology.But how did the name come about?On 18 July 1918, Rolihlahla Mandela was born in Transkei, South Africa, into the Madiba clan. “He attended primary school where his teacher gave him the name Nelson, in accordance with the custom to give all school children ‘Christian’ names,” reads the biography on the Nelson Mandela Foundation site.And so he received the name that would become recognisable to the hearts and on the tongues of people across the globe.In scienceDuring the 1970s, a team of scientists discovered a new sub-nuclear particle, which they named the Mandela Particle.“I was also interested in politics and so when it appeared that data I had found indicated that we might have found a new sub-nuclear particle from Cosmic Ray interactions, I suggested that it might be called Mandela after Nelson and Winnie Mandela,” said Dr John Baruch in his profile on the Bradford University website.In later years, however, the finding was found to be an error, caused by defective equipment. “But it’s the thought that counts,” stated the British newspaper, The Telegraph.Roads, streets, highways and moreThere are more than 85 roads around the world that bear the Mandela name, says the foundation. Countries where roads have been named for the leader include Tunisia, England, Senegal and Mauritius. In Glasgow, Scotland, the street on which the South African Consulate is located has been renamed after Mandela. There are many streets across the world that are named after Nelson Mandela. (Image: Kidbrooke Kite)In South Africa, every one of the nine provinces has multiple street names that proudly bear the Mandela name. It is testament to the reverence South Africans have for him.His name bloomsIn 1994, when Mandela was elected the first democratic president, the National Botanical Institute at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town introduced the Strelitzia reginae, given the common name Mandela’s Gold, to horticulture. As the name suggests, its flowers are yellow. Mandela’s Gold is the common name for the Strelitzia reginae. (Image: Neelix, Wikipedia)Another flower, the Protea cyneroides, a deep red king protea, is fondly known as the Madiba protea.Across the world, in Singapore, an orchid was named the Paravanda Nelson Mandela after he paid a visit to the National Botanical Garden.RandelaIn November 2012, the South African Reserve Bank issued new bank notes featuring Mandela’s face on the front. The currency was quickly and colloquially renamed the “randela” after the rand. The South African Reserve Bank revealed new bank notes in 2012, with a smiling Mandela on them. (Image: AFP, Saudi Gazette)At the time, the bank governor, Gill Marcus, said Mandela was delighted with the designs. “This is our way to pay tribute to him. Madiba does represent something special, not only in South Africa. He is really an extraordinary human being,” she said.Statues and sculpturesStand in Sandton Square, in the largest business district in Johannesburg; a 6m-high bronze statue of Mandela stares down at you. The square was renamed Nelson Mandela Square after the unveiling. There is a statue of Madiba in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, Johannesburg. (Image: Pixabay)At the other end of the world, in Dublin, Ireland, there is a sculpture by Elisabeth Frink of the late leader in a city park. In London’s Parliament Square in Westminster a Mandela statue stands alongside monuments dedicated to Winston Churchill, Sir Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli, and Field Marshal Jan Smuts, another South African.There is also a bust of Mandela, sculpted by Ian Walters, placed outside the Royal Festival Hall in the UK capital in 1985.Places of learningIn Canada’s largest city, Toronto, Park Public School was renamed Nelson Mandela Park Public School in 2001.“We were here in 1998; it was one of the most of unforgettable occasions, because we met thousands of children who inspired us a great deal,” Mandela said when he attended the renaming ceremony.“We now know there are children all over the world as young as you are, that these children in other countries are very poor and need help, and we are pleased to know that the children of this school have identified themselves with the children of South Africa and have raised funds and continue to raise funds in order to help our children.”He added: “Now we are here today to launch your new school name, and it is a great privilege for me and my wife to do so.”After Mandela visited Gabon in 1999, the then president, Omar Bongo Ondimba, renamed a school in Libreville Nelson Mandela High School.And an amalgamation of three tertiary institutions in the coastal town of Port Elizabeth, South Africa resulted in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2005.And a fossil tooOn 18 July 2012, the palaeontology world added another tribute to Mandela: a prehistoric woodpecker fossil was named after the former president: Australopicus nelsonmandelai. French and German scientists named the fossil of a woodpecker after Nelson Mandela. (Image: Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)It was discovered by French and German scientists at the Langebaanweg fossil site on South Africa’s southwest coast. It was the oldest type of woodpecker ever found on the African continent, they said.“We have named the new species after Nelson Mandela – a sort of scientific present for his 94th birthday,” Albrecht Manegold, from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, told media at the time.His noble name“The invisible thing called a Good Name is made up of the breath of numbers that speak well of you,” said British politician, Edward F Halifax. And through these many honorary namings, the Mandela name will continue to inspire and motivate.last_img read more

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