Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

Contents

  • 1 India team
  • 2 Khairat
    • 2.1 The town school
  • 3 The workplace
  • 4 Marathi
  • 5 The teacher
  • 6 Older children, teenagers, and villagers
  • 7 The students
  • 8 Teacher session
  • 9 Parents’ meetings
  • 10 Grounding the server
  • 11 Every child at school
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 External links

Record number of bicycles sold in Australia in 2006

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Bicycle sales in Australia have recorded record sales of 1,273,781 units for 2006, exceeding car sales by 32 percent. It is the fifth year in a row that the bicycle industry has sold more than one million units, a figure yet to be realised by car manufacturers.

The Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) spokesman Ian Christie said Australians were increasingly using bicycles as an alternative to cars. Sales rose nine percent in 2006 while the car market stalled. Mr Christie said people were looking to cut their fuel costs and improve their fitness.

Mr Christie said organisations were beginning to supply bicycles as a company vehicle. “There is an emerging trend towards people using bikes as their official company-supplied vehicle in place of the traditional company car,” he said.

“Some of Australia’s biggest corporations now have bicycle fleets, and when you add in government organisations, we now know of at least 50 organisations which operate fleets of bikes.”

“Although the company bicycle is a long way from taking over from the company car, it’s an important trend when you consider that nearly half of all cars sold are to company fleets.”

The CPF claims most commutes to work are less than 5 kilometres (3 miles) making bicycle travel a viable alternative.

Rugby Union: Queensland’s Ballymore Cup quarter finals

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Ballymore Cup Quarter Finals were played Wednesday. The Ballymore Cup is a state wide Rugby Union competition in the Australian state of Queensland. Schools participating in the Greater Public Schools (GPS) competition do not compete in the Ballymore Cup.

The North Queensland quarter finals are played as a round robin competition between four teams in Makay while the three other quarter finals are played at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane.

Below are reports off each match in division 1.

Siena Catholic College 11 – 5 Marsden State High School

Siena Catholic College from the Sunshine Coast managed to slip past Marsden State High School 11 points to 5. Both sides crossed the oppositions line but penalties committed by Marsden gifted Siena the victory.

Siena defeated reigning champions Mountain Creek State High School in the Sunshine Coast division 1 competition final. They will play the winner of this weekends North Queensland Carnival in the semis.

Corinda State High School 0 – 44 All Saints Anglican School

Brisbane West’s Corinda State High School never seemed to be in the match as All Saints Anglican School from the Gold Coast eased pass them 44 point to zero. All Saints ran rings around the Corinda defence.

All Saints will play John Paul College in the semi final.

North Side Christian College 0 – 47 John Paul College

John Paul college will meet All Saints Anglican School in the semis after they defeated North Side Christian College forty-seven points to zero.

Rockhampton Grammar School, Whitsundays Anglican School (Mackay), Townsville Grammar School and St Augustine’s College (Cairns) will play the North Queensland Carnival as part of the Ballymore Cup quarter finals this weekend.

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Phone dating personals seem ideal for single persons who are on the look out for dating partners, romance partners, and in some cases, even sexual partners. People who are single or suddenly single, who are tired of the usual dating scene and those who have been caught up in an extremely hectic professional life are the ones who generally opt for phone dating. It is the best alternative to meet people at clubs, bars or through friends.

People looking out for phone dating personals can place their personal advertisement in a local newspaper or a magazine, as they are generally able to attract the interest of people who have some thing or other in common between them.

Imagine yourself hearing your future lovers voice over the phone for the first time. Phone dating personals are able to provide you with this experience more quickly than anything else. The services of these personals make a possibility of you hearing someones voice over the phone that may make you fall for the person. You can feel a type of magic when you listen to someone on the phone.

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The best thing about phone dating personals is that this kind of direct conversation mysteriously eliminates any type of insecurities that are likely to happen during a live date. During such a conversation when you do not need to face the questioning eyes of the other person, it becomes easy to express your feelings and interests to the other person.

Through these phone dating personals, you will be able to find out someone who has like attitude and interests as yourself. In addition to that, this facility is less monotonous than any other dating option. These phone dating personals allow you to speak with someone special in your own unique way, and you do not have to create appealing profiles, as in Internet dating.

In contrast, through phone, you can talk to the person, know his or her interests and freely decide whether he or she is compatible for you or not. There is no better way than direct communication to know each other completely, and for this, phone dating personals are the best options available.

If you know what you are looking for and what are your preferences and choices, you stand a greater chance of finding your ideal partner via phone dating personals. There are a large number of people who consider phone dating as a better alternative for other options of finding partners. For more mature people, it is important to look into the interior of a personality, rather than going over the looks. Therefore, phone dating gives you a better chance to know the other persons attitude and outlook about the world.

Some people are hard to understand at some times. With regard to being reliable and authenticating people in terms of actual identity, phone dating personals are more feasible to ensure that you are contacting with real people. You will not want to be played around with people over the Internet, whom you will never get to meet. When you call a person and really talk to him or her, there is very less possibility of being misled.

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Benefits And Drawbacks Associated With Winning A National Lottery

By Simon Volkov

Winning the national lottery would certainly be an exciting event for nearly anyone. Every year, millions of dollars are amassed through the sale of lottery tickets purchased by people that dream of striking it rich.

In the U.S., the national lottery refers to games like Mega Millions and Powerball. Part of the ticket sales in each state is used to improve education while the rest accumulates until someone selects the winning lotto numbers.

Along with national lotto games, most states also offer lottery tickets through their state system. National lotteries have significantly higher jackpots than state games, but the odds of winning are also much higher with the average odds of 1 in 18 million.

To date, the biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever paid out was $380 million, while the biggest Powerball jackpot was $340 million.

There is little question that amount of cash would forever change a person’s life. Winning a multi-million dollar lotto jackpot would provide financial freedom that most people can’t even imagine. Nonetheless, there are drawbacks associated with suddenly acquiring large amounts of money.

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One of the more significant problems is managing undesirable fame. There have been many reports of lottery winners being inundated with uninvited guests and long-lost relatives arriving on doorsteps. One ways to keep newfound wealth private is to hire a personal representative, such as a lawyer or financial consultant, to claim lottery winnings.

Another consideration is the amount of taxes due on lotto winnings. Winners are responsible for paying federal and state income taxes, which often amount to about half of total winnings. One of the best approaches is to hire a financial planner. Professionals can help winners engage in methods to lessen taxes, along with strategies to increase earnings through investing.

Winners can elect to receive their money as lump sum cash or annual installments. People that win millions of dollars are placed into a different tax bracket and may be subjected to higher tax rates. Accepting installments typically provides more money in the long run and can also lessen payable taxes.

Financial planners can help winners develop investment plans that reduce taxes and expand winnings. These could include transferring funds to tax-sheltered retirement accounts like a Roth IRA or placing money into an irrevocable life insurance trust.

In addition to national lotteries, state games also provide large cash prizes and valuable items such as cars and vacations. All prizes obtained from legal gambling are subject to state and federal income taxation. Cash and prize values have to be reported on personal income tax returns. These include money and prizes won through contests, sweepstakes, dog and horse racing, raffles, lotteries, and casinos.

To offset lotto winnings, taxpayers are allowed to deduct gambling losses from tax returns as long as adequate documentation is provided. Anyone that gambles regularly needs to setup accounting practices to track losses and winnings.

Lotto jackpot winners should think about hiring an estate planner to protect money for future generations. Estate planners can make use of different methods that reduce estate and inheritance taxes and broaden financial investments.

Sadly, more than one person has invested their life savings in hopes of winning the national lottery. Gambling can quickly turn into an addiction that drains bank accounts and ruins relationships. It is crucial to retain control over personal finances and never spend more cash than you can afford to lose.

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50,000 people refuse evacuation after flooding in India caused by river changing course

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Kosi River changed course one week ago to a path which it has not taken for over 100 years. While 900,000 people were evacuated by rescue workers, new data has revealed that 50,000 people, from the town of Saharsa, have refused to leave their homes.

Advertisements in local newspapers have been used to encourage the people who are still remaining in the area to leave soon. People are encouraged to go to one of many camps, which are funded by the government, to seek refuge from the continued flooding.

People have also started to return to their homes, due to the fact that they have seen the water level drop by over half of a metre in some areas. This is despite statements by officials emphasizing that people may need to stay in the camps for up to six months.

Approximately 1.2 million people are estimated to have had their homes flooded by the disaster. 42 people have been confirmed dead, although The Australian has reported that the actual death toll is likely to be much higher.

The incident started when gushing waters quickly overflowed the channel boundaries on both sides at a rate of about 200 meters per day, flooding vast tracts in Supaul, Araria, Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnia, Katihar, parts of Khagaria and northern parts of Bhagalpur, as well as adjoining regions of Nepal. About 2.7 million people are affected by this flood disaster of massive dimensions, with about 900,000 people in the affected areas having moved to 285 relief camps and 249 health centers. An estimated 100,000 are still trapped in various villages without food or drinking water since several days ago when the crisis began.

During the last 250 years, the Kosi has moved its path up to 150km westward on multiple occasions, leaving behind a series of paleochannels. The river is a tributary of the Ganges, with catchment areas in the Nepal Himalayas, one of the fastest rising mountain chains, flowing through a 150-kilometer wide and 180-kilometer long alluvial fan. Fast silting of the channels by the tons of annuvium brought down by the river makes it drift off so often that it is often cited as one of the text book examples of a dynamic river system to geologists.

Ferry MV Suilven sinks in Suva, Fiji

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

MV Suilven, a ferry in service in Fiji, capsized and sank in Suva Harbour today.

Around thirty people, all crewmembers, were on board. Local media report all were rescued. The 41-year-old vessel previously saw service in Scotland and New Zealand.

The ship capsized early this afternoon and sank within an hour. It had been converted from passenger to cargo use following its most recent sale, to Venu Shipping in 2012 or 2011. Local reports indicated police, the Navy, local tug boats, and volunteer rescuers all attended the accident.

The converted ferry reportedly began to list on entering the harbour. It was working a route carrying cargo between Suva and the Northern Division.

Built in Norway, in service from 1974, the ship served with Scottish ferry firm Caledonian MacBrayne until 1995, connecting the mainland town of Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. It was ultimately replaced by a larger, faster vessel and was sold to Strait Shipping who used it until 2004 to ply New Zealand’s seas, connecting Wellington to Picton and to Nelson.

The name MV Suilven is in reference to the Suilven mountain in Scotland’s Sutherland region.

Thousands evacuated after chemical truck overturns in Pennsylvania

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A tractor-trailer carrying 32,000 pounds of hydrofluoric acid overturned on a northeastern Pennsylvania highway early Saturday morning, prompting the evacuation of about 5,000 people. The truck, registered to the Honeywell company, flipped over at about 2:40 a.m. after the driver swerved to avoid a deer.

The pressurized acid began to leak after the vehicle flipped over onto its side on Route 33 in Plainfield Township, but Northampton County authorities said Saturday the nobody was injured and the leak was contained by noon.

Residents were evacuated as Hazmat officials were brought in to clean up the site. Inhalation of hydrofluoric acid can be fatal, and low doses can irritate the eyes, nose and respiratory tract.

But Northampton County Administration Director John Conklin said the leak was slow-moving, and not enough of the chemical leaked to create a toxic cloud.

“This will be over real quick,” Conklin told CNN International.

Hundreds of evacuees were taken to the Pen Argyl Area High School in nearby Pen Argyl, but Conklin anticipated they would be able to return to their homes by the end of the day.

Hydrogen fluoride is a hazardous and highly corrosive chemical compound used mostly for industrial purposes. It is also an ingredient in high-octane gasoline, refrigerants and light bulbs.

The driver of the truck, Raymond Leblanc, 54, of Harrow, Ontario, was treated at Pocono Medical Center in East Stroudsburg for minor injuries and released Saturday. A passenger, Joseph Dault, 51, of Ontario, was not hurt.

Are You Considering Plastic Surgery ?}

Are You Considering Plastic Surgery ?

by

Michael Selvon

What is the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery? The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) explains that plastic or reconstructive surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body, normally caused by developmental problems, trauma, birth defects, injuries, infections or tumors. Aesthetic or cosmetic surgery is done to reshape or restore normal body structures to improve self-esteem and appearance.

You may be surprised to learn that many men are now opting for this type of elective surgery. One of the more popular procedures for men is neck liposuction, which removes areas of fat around the neck and sculpts the area for an improved look.

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More often than not, this is combined with a face lift or other type of facial operation, such as chin liposuction. When asked why they want the operation in the first place, many state it is for work related reasons and view it as an investment in themselves.

Ultrasonic liposuction is the number one cosmetic/plastic surgical procedure being performed. The method behind the ultrasonic procedure is that the fat is “shaken or loosened” and this enables it to be sucked out of the body more efficiently.

Many people feel that we live in a beauty and youth fixated culture and that this type of procedure is almost necessary in order to succeed in both work and relationships. Is plastic surgery a viable option or alternative for you? Each of us has a self-image, a perception of how we believe we look to others.

It has been shown that people who are happy with their self-image are more likely to be self-confident, as well as more successful in both work and social situations. Those who are not satisfied tend to be self-conscious, inhibited and less adept at holding their own in social situations.

With any specialized or general operation you will need time to recover after surgery, and the time varies from person to person as well as according to the procedure. You will also need to allow time for both physical and emotional issues. Many physicians say that the emotional recovery is usually something the patient has not counted on and as such, they try to make sure to discuss this issue before all surgeries.

Naturally, there are numerous reasons why someone may elect to have plastic surgery. There are things to consider and keep in mind before having a procedure. Surgeons can only work with what basics are there, meaning that they cannot mold someone’s appearance as if they were made of clay.

There are certain considerations, such as a persons overall health, their age and skin texture. Physicians tell us another important consideration is the person’s state of mind prior to the operation. If they assume this is going to make them beautiful and fix all of their problems, then they are very likely not a good candidate for this type of procedure.

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.