Archive for March, 2011

Scientists have created the world’s first practical artificial leaf that can turn sunlight and water into energy, which they claim could pave the way for a cheaper source of power in developing countries.

A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that the artificial leaf from silicon, electronics and various catalysts which spur chemical reactions within the device, can use sunlight to break water into hydrogen and oxygen which can then be used to create electricity in a separate fuel cell.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades. We believe we have done it. And placed in a gallon of water and left in sun, these artificial leaves could provide a home in the developing world with basic electricity for a day,” Daniel Nocera, who led the team, said.

He added: “Our goal is to make each home its own power station. One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.”

For their research, the scientists identified a set of inexpensive, common catalysts including nickel and cobalt that get the job done with far less expense. And, in the laboratory their playing-card-sized leaves have worked continuously for 45 straight hours without a drop in output.

Though in laboratory, an artificial leaf prototype could operate continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity, the scientists say that they will next try to boost both efficiency and lifespan of their photosynthetic material.

The findings were presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

This will be good news for THC consumers as MIT is also working on artificial weeds with high levels of THC and marijuana that is far more potent than pot of the past.

Look, even the Indons are laughing at us. We have become so “teruk” now. Thanks to UMNO and the sex videos. See below the latest editorial from The Jakarata Post

A new low for Malaysian politics

The Jakarta Post | Mon, 03/28/2011 9:13 PM | Editorial

Malaysia’s dirty politics reached a nadir last week when the local media reported on a new video featuring a man who looked like former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a prostitute in a hotel room.

Coming at a time when Anwar is battling sodomy charges in court, it makes you wonder just really how low can it go.

The video was shown to a few journalists from the mainstream media who were selected and screened in a fashion worthy of a cloak-and-dagger novel.

The government-controlled media, which have played a key role in previous campaigns to discredit Anwar, violated every known ethical practice of journalism by providing graphic reports of the alleged “sex sojourn” without verifying the identities of the video’s subjects.

Typically, the source of the video was not disclosed, evoking the popular Indonesian (and Malay) saying lempar batu sembunyi tangan, which means “throw the rock, hide your hand”. No one took responsibility for screening the video, but the mainstream media played along and reported what their journalists saw.

Ever willing accomplices, the media broke one of the credos of journalism: Identify your sources, especially when making allegations as serious as this.

The Malaysian media did not bother to identify the man in the video. The mere suggestion that man looked like Anwar Ibrahim was enough to cast doubt on Anwar’s credibility and integrity in the supposedly puritan yet hypocritical society. Truth and verification go out window when you are part of a propaganda machine.

The media placed the onus on Anwar to disprove the claim, something which would likely keep him busy for the next several months or even years, certainly until the next general election.

We have seen this before when Anwar was first sentenced to prison for sodomy, only to have the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction in 2004.

Subsequently, new sodomy charges appeared and Anwar has been busy going to and from the courtroom.

Sex, media and video conspiracies define Malaysian politics today. It gets dirtier all the time

My friend a private medical practitioner in Kota Kinabalu, who was one time before, Head of a government hospital in the interiors of Sabah, has been diagnosed for Tuberculosis (TB) and is undergoing treatment now.

I feel so sorry for him, he is so thin and half the size he use to be.

I ask him, how come you are doctor and you of all persons has got TB? His reply, bulk of his patients are illegals from Philippines and most of them got TB and he probably picked it up from them when they came for treatment in his clinic.

Wah!, so frightening!

So, I decided to do some homework on Tuberculosis (TB) and wanted to write a little about it. Not to put fear but to highlight to Premier Najib that there is serious diseases being brought into our shores in Sabah by illegals which numbers in millions.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the biggest threats to public health according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It seems that South-East Asia Region has one death a minute because of TB. WHO says that although the total number of people affected by the disease has steadily declined in the last decade, there are five million people living with TB in the region — a third of the global burden — and more than 3 million are affected every year.

This Thursday is World Tuberculosis Day. World Health Organisation, has emphasised the need for greater innovation for strategy, diagnostics and new drugs, and universal access to health services to successfully fight tuberculosis. With resistance to current drugs being a persistent threat, new and effective drugs for TB are urgently needed as there are large numbers of transient population moving from one country to another without proper medical checks.

“There have been significant achievements in the past decade, according to WHO. However they say, globally we have a limited number of options to seriously tackle TB. Our best available strategy, and one that must be strengthened further if we are to have a chance of achieving our goals, is basic directly observed treatment, short course (DOTS),” said Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

Expansion and strengthening of DOTS in the South East Asia region has resulted in over two million people with TB being successfully treated every year. As a result, the proportion of the region’s population becoming affected with TB has been declining each year and is now a quarter less than the 1990 levels, while the number of deaths has reduced by 44 per cent.

Good performance of DOTS in the region has lowered multi-drug resistance (MDR-TB) among newly detected cases of TB. However, given the large number of TB cases in the Region, this translates to 1,30,000 people MDR-TB, accounting for a third of all the world’s MDR-TB cases. Costs of treating MDR-TB are high — nearly 100 times a normal case of TB, requiring high resource inputs and mobilisation by the governments, which would mean approximately $ 400 million each year for emerging cases in the Region.

In Malaysia, health care services in TB must be expanded to include providers outside the purview of the Ministry of Health, such as town councils, Rela, police, immigration, military and prison health services and private providers.

There are many such institutions across Malaysia, such as medical colleges, private practitioners, large public and private hospitals, corporate institutions, non-governmental organisations, faith-based Christian organisations including my church Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), who are now working with national TB programmes. In addition, an increasing number of private laboratories have been included in national diagnostic networks, and this is good and need to praise our Director of Health Services Malaysia, as, he is putting serious initiatives and have contributed to the improved detection and treatment of the disease in Malaysia, nevertheless.

Harvard University

Harvard has been ranked as the top university in the world for the sixth consecutive year, while none of the Malaysian universities figure in the latest edition of The Times Higher Education, world reputation ranking report. The United States dominates the rankings of 200 world class universities.

National University of Singapore is 27 in the world ranking. Even Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University made it in the top 100.

It is no surprise Malaysia is sliding real fast as it is not able to cling on to a placing in the world list and it looks like it has disappeared into competitive oblivion. What happen to the Primier Najib’s call for an “education revolution”? What happen to the call for higher education in Malaysia to achieve world class status and establish the country as a regional centre of excellence in education? Is it just “cakap ta serupa bikin”? As long as UMNO government does not liberate our universities from the culture of mediocrity and our students are not given academic freedom and student idealism, we are not going to see any improvement in the rankings. Maybe we are just “jaguh kampong” and we are pretty satisified with that.

Between 2004 and 2009, Universiti of Malaya figured in the global list of 200 institutes but have slipped out in the new scoring system.

However, University of Malaya (UM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia do figure in the top 100 Asian Universities. But our Apex University, University Sains Malaysia (USM) is no where in the list. Shame on you USM, so much money has been spent and nothing out of it.

Now I know why even our own Minister of Education and also many other Ministers sent their children to foreign universities, obviously, they themselves don’t have confidence in our education system.

Anyway, Cambridge has been named as the most highly regarded universities in the world, while Oxford among the United Kingdom’s came third in a table that ranked universities exclusively on the basis of “academics” worldwide.

Seven of the United States universities figured in the top 10, followed by the United Kingdom making Japan the only country whose university found a place in the rankings as Tokyo University was placed eighth.

Overall, the U.S. had 45 universities in the top 100, while the U.K. had 12 and Japan had five. These three nations were the best represented in the rankings. Canada, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands had four universities each in the top 100.

According to Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011, Harvard University ranking at the top had an overall score of 96.1, California Institute of Technology that occupied the second slot had 96 points followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Stanford University was adjudged the fourth best institution and Princeton University, the fifth.

Although this is the seventh year that the global rankings have been announced, but the exercise undertaken for 2010-2011 adopted a methodology which included 13 criteria for judging. This was done to avoid the criticism that the ranking was primarily based on perception.

The ranking was done based on the points scored for teaching, research, citation, innovation and international mix of students and teachers.

The Malaysian Government including our great Minster of Home Affairs, Hishammuddin son of Hussein Onn, said that the Sunday’s 27th February protest march the “Solidarity Against Umno’s Racism” organised by HINDRAF (Hindu Rights Action Force) and Human Rights Party was a failure and loss of popularity among the Indian community. Maybe they should take a good look at this video below.

Anyway, it is time the UMNO Government wake up and treat the Indian community with respect. 53 years of suppression is too much! It is no exaggeration to say that the plight of the Indian community has long been ignored in this country.

It’s not wrong to say, the UMNO government has miserably failed to unite this nation. The prerequisite for this precious unity is fairness, equality and social-justice and this is not available here. Very sad!

Premier Najib brags about his 1Malaysia concept. But truly in Malaysia there is 2Malaysia. One for the UMNO Malays and one for the rest of the communities.