Jan. 7th, 2009
Regulator will force cellphone companies to upgrade 911 system
In February, the CRTC proposes to make a decision to require cellphone companies to upgrade equipment so that the geographical location of each 911 call can be determined. Bell, Telus and Rogers are currently facing a class-action lawsuit claiming that the companies misrepresented what the customers are charged for when they pay their 911 fee, given that 911 service is not provided in all areas of Canada. The move is hoped to save lives, given reports of people who called 911 and died because they could not be located. For example, a man in Alberta called 911 after being beaten and left in a field. His body was found 3 days later because they couldn't determine from his message where he was located.
See also: Globe and Mail: Cellphone firms ordered to fix 911 system to save lives
Books of The Times - ‘Appetite for Self-Destruction,’ by Steve Knopper - When Labels Fought the Digital, and the Digital Won - Review - NYTimes.com
An interesting article summarizing a book that covers the battle between music labels and digital music, starting in the early 1980s.
Ten extinct beasts that could walk the Earth again - life - 07 January 2009 - New Scientist
New Scientist presents ten extinct animals which they believe it could be feasible to clone, given a modest advance in current technology and completion of present or future gene sequencing projects.
ABC News: Brain Pacemaker Helps Parkinson's, but With Risks
A major study has determined that deep-brain stimulation is more effective for controlling muscle tremors and rigidity than taking only medication for muscle control. The study also revealed a hidden risk associated with deep-brain stimulation: patients feel so good that they put themselves into situations that result in injury. In short, they forget they have the disease until they are reminded in unpleasant ways that they still have the disorder.
Implants for babies could help deaf learn to speak - health - 04 January 2009 - New Scientist
A study shows young deaf cats with and without cochlear implants shows that those with implants display cortical activity similar to cats that are born able to hear and much different than deaf cats with implants. The study lends evidence to the assertion that human cochlear implants work best if implanted as early in life as possible. Currently there is a significant debate as to whether it is ethical to implant cochlear devices in babies.
Finally, after various software gymnastics, I was able to back up my LJ account and the now-defunct fact2fiction community. I opted for using ljArchive on my windows laptop rather than try to get something to work on the Mac. The software uses Microsoft .NET so it is unportable to non-microsoft systems. Also, the version on SourceForge doesn't appear to work, but someone on the ljArchive community fixed the problem and is hosting the working version of the software. All-in-all, the software appears to work pretty well, and has a synch function to allow me to update the archive periodically.