"Le Million" Piece Unique is the world's most expensive cell phone.
This diamond-encrusted phone is worth one million Euros and is listed in Guinness Book of World Records.
The Time cover: Aisha had her nose and ears cut off for running away from her husband
A shocking picture of an 18-year-old Afghan woman whose nose was hacked off after she fled an abusive husband has stirred up the long-running controversy over whether Nato forces should negotiate with the Taliban.
The girl in the picture, which appears on the front of Time magazine this week, also had her ears cut off in the horrifying attack. She is only named in the magazine as Aisha. Tracked to a house where she had taken refuge, she was brought before a judge, who was also a Taliban commander, and rejected her explanation of why she had run away. She was held down by her brother-in-law while her husband used a knife to cut off her ears and nose. Aisha has since taken refuge in a secret women's shelter in Kabul where she expresses terror that the government is seeking a deal with the Taliban.
The use of the picture, next to the headline "What happens if we leave Afghanistan", has already drawn strong praise and criticism alike in the US. Writing on the Slate website, the columnist Tom Scocca called the picture "gut-wrenching" but suggested that "a correct and accurate caption would be 'What is still happening, even though we are in Afghanistan'".
By Patrick Cockburn
(During Taliban rule in 1996-2001 women were reduced to a condition close to slavery. As the Taliban have grown in strength since 2006 they have attacked girls' schools and teachers. Several women have been killed and many have had to give up their jobs.)
One hundred days ago Thursday, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. As profoundly as the leak of millions of barrels of oil is injuring the Gulf ecosystem, it is only one of many threats to the Earth's oceans that, many experts say, could change the makeup of the oceans as we know them and wipe out a large portion of marine life.
The waters of the Gulf were already heavily fished, and the Gulf has been home to an oxygen-depleted dead zone generated by agricultural runoff rich in nutrients.
The Gulf and the rest of the world's waters also face the uncertain and potentially devastating effects of climate change. Warming ocean temperatures reduce the water's oxygen content, and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is altering the basic chemistry of the ocean, making it more acidic. There is no shortage of evidence that both of these effects have begun to wreak havoc on certain important creatures.
Human beings created these problems, largely in the two centuries since the Industrial Revolution, but for some researchers, they bring to mind the ancient past. The Earth has seen several mass extinctions, including five that annihilated more than half the planet's species. Experts now believe Earth is in the midst of a sixth event, the first one caused by humans.
"Today the synergistic effects of human impacts are laying the groundwork for a comparably great Anthropocene mass extinction in the oceans, with unknown ecological and evolutionary consequences," Jeremy Jackson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, wrote in a 2008 article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
When it comes to the oceans, research shows a parallel to the Permian-Triassic extinction - also known as the Great Dying - which eradicated 95 percent of marine species when the oceans lost their oxygen about 250 million years ago.
The same phenomenon is taking place in many areas of today's oceans. The entry of fertilizers into rivers and subsequently oceans is eating up the oceans' oxygen - that runoff is the primary source of the Gulf of Mexico's 3,000-square-mile (7,770-square-kilometer) dead zone. Around the world, the number of dead zones, some of which are naturally occurring, increased from 149 in 2003 to more than 200 in 2006, according to a 2008 report by the United Nations Environmental Program.
What's more, the ocean surface is warming, driven by the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This keeps the deeper waters, which are rich in nutrients but low in oxygen, from mixing with the oxygenated surface. According to a 2007 report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global surface temperatures increased by 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) throughout the 21st century, and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this decade is the warmest since record-keeping began in 1880.
At the time of the third of the Big Five extinctions, the Permian-Triassic, there was only one massive continent and one massive ocean, conditions that disrupted ocean circulation and inhibited oxygen circulation in an already warm world, according to Lee Kump, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University. That set the stage for the ultimate trigger, a series of massive volcanic eruptions in Siberia.
The eruptions pumped massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This warmed the ocean further, exacerbating its oxygen problem. Meanwhile, more storms on land washed more oxygen-eating nutrients into the ocean. Bacteria began producing hydrogen sulfide, which was ultimately expelled into an atmosphere already toxic with carbon dioxide, according to Kump.
A comparison of carbon dioxide release then versus now is telling, Kump said. Siberian volcanoes emitted tens of thousands of gigatons of carbon dioxide into the air over what was probably thousands of years. Humans currently are producing 9 gigatons per year from fossil fuel reservoirs that contain up to 4,000 gigatons.
The rate of carbon dioxide release matters, Kump said, because life has to have time to adapt.
"It's: Would you rather be squeezed or punched?" Kump said. "The Permian extinction was a squeeze that gradually got tighter and tighter ... It may ultimately have been more fatal than the punch we are going to get, but the punch is going to hurt more."
Crumbling at the base
The parallel in ocean chemistry between the past and present isn't limited to oxygen depletion. The Permian ocean became more acidic as the climate changed, just as the modern ocean is doing.
The ocean has absorbed about 30 percent of human-produced carbon dioxide to date, and as a result, its waters have experienced a 30 percent increase in acidity, according to Richard Feely, a senior scientist with NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. If trends continue, ocean acidity will increase by up to 150 percent by the end of this century, he said.
Increased carbon dioxide and ocean acidity played a role in all of the Big Five mass extinctions, but in those cases the change in acidity was tens to hundreds of times slower than what's happening now. When changes happen quickly, "the ocean system itself doesn't have time to adapt," Feely said.
Increasingly acidic waters affect a number of species that are key parts of the ocean's ecosystems.
Acidification interferes with the ability of oysters, marine snails and other creatures to build shells or skeletons from calcium carbonate. In oyster hatcheries on the West Coast of the United States, more-acidic waters prevent oyster larvae from forming shells, and have been shown to dissolve the shells of pteropods - small marine snails that feed salmon and other commercially caught fish - from around the living creatures, Feely said.
Not least among the victims of acidification are corals, whose growth is inhibited in affected waters. But climate change poses another problem for coral reefs: Sunlight and small increases in water temperature cause corals to expel the symbiotic algae that provide them with energy, which causes them to turn white, an effect called bleaching that can be short-lived or fatal. Mass bleaching was first observed in the late 1970s. By 2008, an estimated 19 percent of the world's coral reefs had been lost and 35 percent seriously threatened.
Coral bleaching has an impact on not just the corals. Reefs are key habitats for many marine species.
"Perhaps 25 percent of ocean species spend at least part of their life cycle on coral reefs," said Ken Caldeira with the Carnegie Institution for Science. "When we lose corals, we are likely to lose many of these species."
A recently published paper in the journal Nature documented what may be another domino in the decline of the oceans, this one at the very base of the marine food chain. Over the past century, the authors found, threatened with extinction due to overfishing.
In addition to removing seafood, some fishing practices kill other creatures incidentally, a phenomenon known as bycatch. Sea turtles are among the victims of this problem; a study published in April estimated that millions of sea turtles have been inadvertently caught as part of commercial fishing over the past 20 years.
Bottom trawling - in which a large, heavy net is dragged over the sea floor - is another problem, as it destroys habitat, according to the Pew Environmental report "Protecting Life in the Sea." This report cites studies suggesting 90 percent of the world's large fish have disappeared and that nearly one third of the world supply of commercially caught fish has collapsed.
Not everyone believes that fisheries are in immediate peril though.
"The big picture is, if you're looking in places for which we have good data" - Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia and the high seas - "fish populations are generally stable and in some cases improving, especially in the U.S.," said Ray Hilborn, a population ecologist at the University of Washington. Hilborn is co-author of a 2009 article published in the journal Science that found reason for hope in certain ecosystems, where management practices have prevented or, more frequently, reduced overfishing.
But given the lack of international oversight on fisheries, "I'm not terribly optimistic about their future," Hilborn said.
Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and the lead author of the 2009 fisheries study, was less optimistic about the current health of fisheries. "Even in the best places it's very mixed," he said.
Humanity has solutions
Tony Haymet, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, describes the oceans, like the atmosphere, as victims of "the tragedy of the commons: everybody owns them, and nobody owns them."
"But on the positive side, there are three things that I think that at least we have the prospect of addressing," he said. These include signs of international movement to address overfishing, the creation of marine reserves, and the prospect that the U.S. Senate might finally ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which establishes international rules governing the use of the oceans.
Although there are hurdles, aquaculture also has the potential to become a safe, sustainable source of protein, he said.
Others aren't so optimistic. Humans have the technology and the knowledge to stop the ecological havoc we are wreaking, but we lack the wisdom to use it responsibly, Caldiera told LiveScience in an e-mail.
"If current trends continue, the extinctions of the coming decades will be clearly visible to future geologists comparable in scale to the great extinction events in Earth's history," he wrote. "I think it will be an enigmatic extinction. Future geologists will try to figure out why we apparently tried to kill off so many species, but they will find it hard to believe that simple reason is stupidity."
NEW YORK – One of every 15 New Yorkers battled bedbugs last year, officials said Wednesday as they announced a plan to fight the spreading infestation, including a public-awareness campaign and a top entomologist to head the effort.
The bloodsucking pests, which are not known to spread disease but can cause great mental anguish with their persistent and fast-growing infestations, have rapidly multiplied throughout New York and many other U.S. cities in recent years.
Health officials and pest control specialists nationwide report surges in sightings, bites and complaints. The Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first-ever bedbug summit last year.
In New York City, the pests have been discovered in theaters, clothing stores, office buildings, housing projects and posh apartments.
The stigma of having bedbugs — whose bites leave itchy red welts — and the elusive nature of the pests make it impossible to fully understand the problem, experts say.
But in 2009, for the first time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration included a question about bedbugs on its community health survey, and it revealed the finding to The Associated Press on Wednesday: More than 6 percent of New Yorkers who responded said they had battled the pests in the last year.
The figure would equal roughly 400,000 adults in the city, the health department said.
Data previously has been limited to government statistics on complaints and surveys of private pest-control companies, which also have reported nationwide spikes.
The Bloomberg administration fielded 537 complaints about the bugs in fiscal 2004. In fiscal 2009, there were nearly 11,000.
"This is happening globally, and I don't think anybody has figured out exactly why," said Daniel Kass, the city's deputy commissioner for environmental health. "So what we're left with is managing them and keeping them from spreading. They're going to be with us for some time."
Bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed and burrow into many more places than beds. They can slip into floor cracks, wall outlets, picture frames, lamps — any tiny space.
People who have bedbugs often never see them. The most obvious signs are bites, blood on bedsheets and their waste, which looks like black pepper. They are known for being extremely difficult to eradicate and can go a year without feeding.
Bedbugs were nearly dormant for decades, and the recent comeback has experts scratching their heads. Some attribute the resurgence to an increase in global travel and the prohibition of potent pesticides like DDT.
New York convened a government advisory board last year to study the problem and make recommendations.
The report said one major roadblock to stopping the bedbug spread is lack of knowledge about prevention and the patchy and sometimes erroneous information about treatment.
"If you have termites, you know how to deal with it. If you see a rat, you know who to call. This is confusing," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "The biggest issue is lack of clarity and not having any actual sense of what the next step is and where you go to get that."
Carol Gittens said she discovered bedbugs in her Brooklyn apartment two years ago and estimates she has spent at least $3,000 replacing her things.
"We had to throw everything out — mattresses, clothes," she said.
The apartment was thoroughly cleaned and she thought she had eliminated them. But a neighbor recently reported she has bedbugs, and Gittens said she might have them in her apartment again.
The high cost of throwing out infested belongings and hiring exterminators contributes to bedbugs' spread, officials said. Many people, particularly those with low incomes or in public housing, cannot afford to do what it takes.
Acting on the report's recommendations, New York City said Wednesday it was re-appropriating $500,000 of health department money to begin the first phase of a bedbug battle plan, which is mostly concentrated on information, outreach and the creation of an entomologist-led bedbug team.
Some of the money will go toward creating an online bedbug portal where New Yorkers can find information about avoiding the pests as well as how to treat their homes. The city already has a rat-information portal.
Many people are unaware they have the bugs, officials said, and end up spreading them by carrying them on their clothing or discarding personal items that have the bugs.
Travelers also need to be more vigilant, the city says.
"Everyone has got to get used to the idea that they have got to check for them periodically," Kass said. "People who travel should look at the rooms they're staying in. They should check their clothing. There are good preventive measures."
Experts recommend looking for bugs with a bright flashlight, and using a hot hair dryer to flush them out of hiding places and cracks.
Bedding, linens, curtains, rugs and clothes from infested homes must be washed in hot water. Mattresses, furniture and floors must be vacuumed, and vacuum bags should be immediately disposed in sealed plastic bags. Hiring a certified exterminator to apply pesticides is also recommended.
Officials also said the city would adopt the report's recommendation of working to establish protocol for disposing of infested furniture and other personal items.
The report also suggested more work should be done by agencies that serve lower-income New Yorkers, and public housing infestations should be addressed more quickly. But at a time when the city is cutting services and shrinking its job force to save money, those goals are likely not immediately achievable
By SARA KUGLER FRAZIER, Associated Press Writer
Stick to a schedule. Erratic bedtimes do not allow for your body to align to the proper circadian rhythms. Mum was right when she set a time we always had to go to sleep as kids. Also, make sure you try to keep the same schedule on weekends too, otherwise the next morning, you’d wake later and feel overly tired.
Sleep only at night. Avoid daytime sleep if possible. Daytime naps steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime sleep to 20-minute, power naps.
Exercise. It’s actually known to help you sleep better. Your body uses the sleep period to recover its muscles and joints that have been exercised. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates the body and aerobic activity before bedtime may make falling asleep more difficult.
Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep because they can relax tense muscles.
Avoid eating just before bed. Avoid eat large meals or spicy foods before bedtime. Give yourself at least 2 hours from when you eat to when you sleep. This allows for digestion to happen (or at least start) well before you go to sleep so your body can rest well during the night, rather than churning away your food.
Avoid caffeine. It keeps you awake and that’s now what you want for a good nights sleep. We all know that.
Read a fiction book. It takes you to a whole new world if you really get into it. And then take some time to ponder over the book as you fall asleep. I find as I read more and more, regardless of the book, I get more tired at night and so find it easier to fall asleep. Different for others?
Have the room slightly cooler. I prefer this to a hot room. I prefer to turn off the heat and allow the coolness to circulate in and out of the windows. If I get cold, I wear warmer clothes. It also saves on the bills as you’re not going to require the heat all night long.
Sleep in silence. I find sleeping with no music or TV on more easy and restful. I guess others are different, but sleep with no distractions is best for a clearer mind.
Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It’s a depressant; although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night. As alcohol is digested your body goes into withdrawal from the alcohol, causing nighttime awakenings and often nightmares for some people.
From : Abdul Basit
They said it couldn't be done. When we first wrote about the almost invisible tree house to be built in Sweden by Tham & Videgard, 899 commenters thought it was computer-generated eye candy, impossible to build, and death for birds.
But the architects built it, one of six units in a "Treehotel," which recently opened 40 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.
The four-meter glass cube looks as spectacular in reality as it did in the rendering. Kent Lindvall, co-owner of the TreeHotel, has been quoted as saying:
Everything will reflect in this -- the trees, the birds, the clouds, the sun, everything. So it should be invisible nearly in the forest.
And what about the birds? According to Designboom, Lindvall says that a special film that is visible to birds will be applied to the glass.
The units are constructed from sustainably harvested wood and have electric radiant floor heating and "a state-of-the-art, eco-friendly, incineration toilet"
(Although I've owned an incinerating toilet, and it wasn't that eco-friendly. It used a lot of electricity and created noise and some smells. But perhaps they've improved.)
But other than that minor quibble, this appears to be a truly "eco" resort. The owners say in Designboom:
"This is untouched forest, and we want to maintain it the same way. We decided, for example, to not offer snowmobile safari which is very common up here," says Selberg. Instead, wilderness walks will be offered.
By Lloyd Alter, TreeHugger
KAPOLEI, Hawaii – More than 80 years after Mickey Mouse piloted "Steamboat Willie" and whistled his way into the hearts of children across the world, he has finally reached the shores of Hawaii.
The Walt Disney Co. on Friday gave a peek of its sprawling, beachside Hawaiian resort that is under construction and scheduled to open next year.
"Aulani" is Disney's first major standalone resort away from a theme park and could serve as a model for future projects as the company diversifies and expands its vacation offerings.
"This is a very special project for us," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "It's unlike anything that Disney has done before; at the same time, it's very like many of the things we do."
Aulani will have 359 hotel rooms, 481 time-share units, restaurants, a convention center, a 15,000-square-foot spa and a massive water play area that includes a volcano tube slide and snorkel lagoon.
It sits on 21 acres on Oahu's Leeward Coast in the Ko Olina development, known for its white sand lagoons, scenic golf course and colorful sunsets. Ko Olina is about an hour west of Waikiki, where most of the hotels and tourists are.
Jim Lewis, president of Disney's time-share component, said Hawaii makes "perfect sense" with its rich culture, traditions, warm greetings, family values, friendships and storytelling.
"Those are also terms synonymous with Disney," he said. "And by the way, Hawaii also happens to be one of the most popular vacation destinations on the planet, and that's the business that we're in."
Most of the resort is currently a jungle of concrete, steel, wires and pipes with no Mickey and Minnie in sight. Aulani is scheduled to open Aug. 29, 2011, with hotel reservations to begin next month. Time-share sales started three weeks ago.
With the construction phase alone costing more than $600 million, Aulani represents a huge investment for Disney amid a sharp tourism downturn.
Staggs, who previously served as Disney's chief financial officer, wouldn't comment on the final cost.
"Are we nervous about this investment right now given this economy? The answer is we really aren't," he said. "We really do have a fundamental belief in this location and Hawaii in general."
Staggs called the project "a tremendous opportunity," giving Disney a permanent presence in the islands. He wouldn't say what other areas Disney was considering because "right now, our focus is right here and making sure we get this right."
According to an economic impact study commissioned by Disney, Aulani is expected to generate 4,800 jobs during construction. When completed, 2,400 jobs will be created, with about half working at the resort. More than $271 million annually in economic activity will be generated.
The largest units at Aulani are 3-bedroom "Grand Villas" — 2,300-square-foot timeshare units that are larger than most Hawaii homes, sleep 12 and have sweeping views of the Pacific.
All the hotel and timeshare units have more of a traditional Hawaiian flair with touches of Disney that generally are subtle — other than the surfer Mickey lamp in each room.
David Uchiyama, of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said Disney's arrrival is a "validator" of the Aloha state as a family destination. He was impressed by Disney's efforts in trying to connect with Hawaiian culture.
"(Others) usually lay out a structure, put pictures up and put a canoe here. These guys went way beyond that," Uchiyama said. "The extent that they took to connect with the host culture should be commended."
While this may be Disney's first big push into Hawaii, the company has had a long and growing relationship with Hawaii. One of the most notable is the animated film "Lilo & Stitch," the centerpiece of a $1.7 million marketing deal between Hawaii and Disney.
Other projects have included the 2001 film "Pearl Harbor" and ABC's castaway drama "Lost," which filmed here for six seasons. ABC is owned by Disney. In addition, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" began shooting here this summer.
"We couldn't find a more perfect place in putting a resort like this," Staggs said.
By JAYMES SONG, Associated Press Writer
The magnolia tree is a fixture in the southern states of the U.S. and when it blooms it is a harbinger that spring has finally arrived. The magnolia flower is beautiful and has been given special meaning over the years. The magnolia flower represents "splendid beauty and dignity" and it is a welcome sight throughout the countryside. The magnolia tree was named after a French botanist from the 1600s named Pierre Magnol, and is a tree that has 90 different species in the U.S. alone.
The magnolia flower has been associated with beauty and perseverance, as well as dignity and nobility. The symbolic meaning of flower species has been passed down from generation to generation and arose from fables and legends connected to the flower. Unfortunately many of the origins of these meanings have been lost over time and such is the case with the magnolia. The magnolia has also been said to symbolize sweetness and a love for nature.
The most famous magnolia is a species known as Magnolia grandiflora. It has the trademark large flowers and leaves that are best described as leathery in texture. This species of magnolia begins to bud as early as the end of March in regions of the Deep South and has flowers by the middle of April. The flowers bloom later in the spring the farther north you go in the U.S. The flowers in the south are long gone by time July arrives. Their flowers are so popular that it is easy to see how they are associated with a love of nature. Known as one of the prettiest of all flowers, the magnolia symbolizing "splendid beauty" is a perfect match. While other flowers have a meaning denoting such facets of beauty as "intellectual beauty" and "pensive beauty" the magnolia alone is singled out for its "splendid" beauty, so vibrant in its appearance.
Magnolia flower The Magnolia grandiflora flower starts out as a small bud at the tip of a branch, which often becomes a meal for squirrels, who love the taste of them. It is enveloped in a brownish sheath which will fall away and reveal a blossom with as many as 14 petals. The magnolia petals will open in layers, shaped like a cup, and they are white with a yellow stamen in the center. As they age they slowly turn brown before falling away.
The magnolia tree is a native to the southeastern United States and Asia as well. It has been utilized for some time in the U.S. as an ornamental shade tree but it also is a good source of lumber. It can grow to heights of 90 feet and has some of the largest leaves of any tree, with some species having leaves that are 10 inches long. The magnolia flower can be 8 to 10 inches across.
The magnolia tree is the official state tree of Mississippi, where it is found in great numbers. The flower is also the official state flower of Mississippi and Louisiana as well. Magnolias have had their range expanded because of their appeal and beauty, with various species now found all over the United States. In 1900 the Mississippi legislature held an election among school children to pick a state flower, with the magnolia winning in a landslide victory. Impressed with what the magnolia stood for, the state eventually designated it the official state flower.
MUMBAI, India – It looks like an iPad, only it's 1/14th the cost: India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touchscreen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011.
If the government can find a manufacturer, the Linux operating system-based computer would be the latest in a string of "world's cheapest" innovations to hit the market out of India, which is home to the 100,000 rupee ($2,127) compact Nano car, the 749 rupees ($16) water purifier and the $2,000 open-heart surgery.
The tablet can be used for functions like word processing, web browsing and video-conferencing. It has a solar power option too — important for India's energy-starved hinterlands — though that add-on costs extra.
"This is our answer to MIT's $100 computer," human resource development minister Kapil Sibal told the Economic Times when he unveiled the device Thursday.
In 2005, Nicholas Negroponte — co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab — unveiled a prototype of a $100 laptop for children in the developing world. India rejected that as too expensive and embarked on a multiyear effort to develop a cheaper option of its own.
Negroponte's laptop ended up costing about $200, but in May his nonprofit association, One Laptop Per Child, said it plans to launch a basic tablet computer for $99.
Sibal turned to students and professors at India's elite technical universities to develop the $35 tablet after receiving a "lukewarm" response from private sector players. He hopes to get the cost down to $10 eventually.
Mamta Varma, a ministry spokeswoman, said falling hardware costs and intelligent design make the price tag plausible. The tablet doesn't have a hard disk, but instead uses a memory card, much like a mobile phone. The tablet design cuts hardware costs, and the use of open-source software also adds to savings, she said.
Varma said several global manufacturers, including at least one from Taiwan, have shown interest in making the low-cost device, but no manufacturing or distribution deals have been finalized. She declined to name any of the companies.
India plans to subsidize the cost of the tablet for its students, bringing the purchase price down to around $20.
"Depending on the quality of material they are using, certainly it's plausible," said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research. "The question is, is it good enough for students?"
Profitability is also a question for the $35 machine.
Epps said government subsidies or dual marketing — where higher-priced sales in the developed world are used to subside low-cost sales in markets like India — could convince a manufacturer to come on board.
This and similar efforts — like the Kakai Kno and the Entourage Edge tablets — show that there is global demand for an affordable device to trim high textbook costs, she said.
If it works, Epps predicts the device could send a shiver of cost-consciousness through the industry.
"It puts pressure on all device manufacturers to keep costs down and innovate," she said.
The project is part of an ambitious education technology initiative by the Indian government, which also aims to bring broadband connectivity to India's 25,000 colleges and 504 universities and make study materials available online.
So far nearly 8,500 colleges have been connected and nearly 500 web and video-based courses have been uploaded on YouTube and other portals, the Ministry said.
By ERIKA KINETZ, AP Business Writer
Saint Martin is an island with around 87 Km2 of area, located in the Caribbean’s. In spite of its small size, it is shared by two nations, the Northern part belonging to France and the southern section belonging to the Netherlands. It is therefore called Sint Maarten, in Dutch. But these geographical peculiarities are not what makes this island special, but rather its famous Princess Juliana International Airport, known as SXM, on its Dutch side. This airport, aside from being used by large-scale airplanes, also has... a beach
Landings at this airport are unforgettable and frightening, especially if you happen to be on the beach. Out of the blue, beach-goers are likely to be surprised by a deafening sound and by powerful winds that shake the waters. At the same time, a colossal silhouette blocks the sun and passes through at only a few meters from the ground. Immediately after, a huge plane, such as a Boeing 747 Jumbo or an Airbus A340-300 touches the runway. Those who had been previously warned may have captured it all on a movie or a photograph. In only a few seconds it will all be over.
WASHINGTON – One day your annual flu shot could come in the mail.
At least that's the hope of researchers developing a new method of vaccine delivery that people could even use at home: a patch with microneedles.
That's right, tiny little needles so small you don't even feel them. Attached to a patch like a Band-Aid, the little needles barely penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release their vaccine.
Researchers led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology reported their research on microneedles in Sunday's edition of Nature Medicine.
The business side of the patch feels like fine sandpaper, he said. In tests of microneedles without vaccine, people rated the discomfort at one-tenth to one-twentieth that of getting a standard injection, he said. Nearly everyone said it was painless.
Some medications are already delivered by patches, such as nicotine patches for people trying to quit smoking. That's simply absorbed through the skin. But attempts to develop patches with the flu vaccine absorbed through the skin have not been successful so far.
In the Georgia Tech work, the vaccine is still injected. But the needles are so small that they don't hurt and it doesn't take any special training to use this kind of patch.
So two problems are solved right away — fear of needles, and disposal of leftover hypodermic needles.
"The goal has been a means to administer the vaccine that is patient friendly," Mark R. Prausnitz of Georgia Tech said in a telephone interview.
That means "not only not hurting or looking scary, but that patients could self-administer," he said, and people would be more likely to get the flu vaccine.
By developing needles that dissolve, there are no leftover sharp needles, especially important for people who might give themselves the vaccine at home, he said.
The patch, which has been tested on mice, was developed in collaboration by researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Prausnitz said. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers are now seeking funds to begin tests in people and, if all goes well, the patch could be in use in five years, he said.
Flu vaccination is recommended for nearly everyone, every year, and that's a big burden on the public health network, Prausnitz noted. Many people don't get the shot because it's inconvenient, but if they could get in mail or at the pharmacy they might do so, he said.
The patch is placed on the skin and left for 5 minutes to 15 minutes, he said. It can remain longer without doing any damage, he said. In tests on mice, the miocroneedles delivered a correct dose of the flu vaccine.
The little needles are 650 microns (three-hundredths of an inch) in length and there are 100 on the patch used in the mouse study.
Asked if the term "microneedle" might still frighten some folks averse to shots, Prausnitz said he was confident that marketers would come up with a better term before any sales began.
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer