India – An overview of Indian internal conditions, issues and problems are highlighted by three panelists in a 1.5 hour event at the Brookings Institute. The video at this link is only for two minutes, but the audio that can be downloaded is the full program. India gets far less attention than China and understanding the culture improves our ability to interpret Indian activities. India itself has difficulty understanding internal operations. India’s intelligence organization is only aware of 10% of what’s going on in the country. More Indians are in Canada than the U.S., but they are better organized in the U.S. (Sound volume is low for many audience questions and several speaker segments in this event, but still acceptable. The sound problem can be corrected with a free program like MP3Direct Cut by selecting the entire file, opening the Edit menu and using either/both the Normalize and Gain functions.)
South Asia Energy – South Asia includes India, Pakistan and several smaller countries adjacent to China. It’s a region that faces a looming energy crisis. Energy demand is growing at an astounding rate within India, and China is a major competitor for resources that exist in countries sandwiched between the two. The energy supply lags demand because of institutional—government and regulatory—shortcomings, subsidized energy prices, and a lack of investment in energy infrastructure. One illustration of the problem concerns 40% of a train-load of coal reaching its destination. Train speed is limited to 5MPH so children board and throw off coal along the entire route. Existing energy supplies are also wasted by inefficient transmission and further degraded by improper application: air conditioners installed in walls with large air gaps around reducing effectiveness and requiring more run time. Meanwhile, nearly 600 million people in the region lack access to electricity. Three panelists discuss the situation in an hour-long program. They point out China is often more effective at capturing resources because it isn’t limited by the democratic process. Overlying all problems is a lack of accurate information, both on which to plan and to judge progress.
China Economic Policy - Brookings and The Asia Foundation hosted a discussion amongst five experts about China’s efforts to develop a green economy. Cheng Siwei, former vice chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress presented his views on China’s economic goals and the new five year plan. Cheng, currently the Chang-Lin Tien distinguished visiting fellow of The Asia Foundation, has played an important role in the economic transformations that have occurred within China over the last twenty years. Following his remarks, Barry Naughton, professor of the Chinese economy and So Kwanlok chair of Chinese international affairs at the University of California, San Diego, offered commentary. Senior Fellow Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. One area of concern is privatization that was tried with some coal mines and failed due to poor management. Farmland versus “construction land” is another topic of interest. The discussion lasts an hour and a half and is followed by a second part that lasts two hours to discuss past developments.
Bank of China - Planet Money next talks for about fifteen minutes about how much money China has: “Today on the show, we visit a giant pool of money — worth trillions of U.S. dollars! — at the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.To understand how the money got there, we talk to Jacky Jiang and Rosalia Yang, a pair of very friendly reporters who show us around a factory where they make fake-wood flooring.They tell us about the changes China is going through, and explain why that pool of money might soon start flowing back to the U.S.” Go to website and find #350: China’s Giant Pool Of Money Friday, March 02, 2012.
China Health - The Lancet: 02 March also discussed China in a seven minute segment that concerned medicine. Ninety-six percent of China’s population now has universal health care, a major improvement. Listen on-line at the link or right click and “Save Link As…” to download.
Mobile Learning - With smart phones now outnumbering personal computers, there has been a sea change in the way people access and share information. Powerful mobile devices and sophisticated digital applications enable users to build businesses, access financial and health care records, expand educational opportunities, conduct research and complete transactions anytime, anywhere. Three specialists offer their views about this in a 1.5 hour discussion that includes such things as augmented reality, mobile learning, one-mobile-per-child, learning that is changing to learning by doing rather than by listening, and the EcoMobile Project that’s a team enabler. One-mobile-device-per-school is mentioned in which a jump rope is used by students to generate and store its power.
Viruses - In a ninety-two minute round table session of TWIV 171 four bio scientists discuss the controversial H5N1 flu virus, virus production in single cells, single virion genomics, multiple displacement amplification, and ranavirus that’s killing tadpoles and turtles in Maryland. This episode is more easily understood by the average bloke. Virus production in single cells is an example and useful in understanding just how many are made in one cell and why. Multiple displacement amplification is a newer way to work with tiny amounts of DNA, such as found in a fingerprint. The session is longer than most, but interesting the entire time.
City Budgets – This American Life presented a four segment episode lasting just over an hour that deals with budget cuts in different U.S. cities. Most interesting was a large hotel owner in Colorado Springs with a hotel organization that equaled that of the city, but with a hotel budget payout for personnel at 30% versus 70% for the city. No solutions here, but a better understanding of the problem that may move us closer more acceptable operation of our cities.
Regulations - This podcast about online consultation and democratic information flow lasts an hour and twelve minutes and should be important, but the most important fact seemed to be a website called www.regulations.gov where you can enter any word or phrase and find out everything the U.S. Government is doing on the topic. The talk is about the use of new media by governments around the world to engage the general public more directly in actual policy making raises significant questions of democratic theory and practice. To download click “MP3″ at the site. When using the regulations site be sure to check “New Search” or it automatically searches with results of your last search.
Uneven Future - In his closing keynote presentation to the recent NFAIS 2012 Conference, Joseph Esposito echoed science fiction author William Gibson, who said, “The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” In other words, the raw materials of our future scenarios are lying all around us.In his address, Esposito touched on various futuristic aspects of present-day publishing, including the implications of mobile computing; the encroachment on the academic and professional publishing spaces by consumer technology companies; and the future of the academic library as a purchasing point, as he wrote about for Society for Scholarly Publishing “Scholarly Kitchen” blog.
School Wikis – Justin Reich tells us in Wikis, Teaching, and the Digital Divide, a 15:30 minute talk about data gathered on the usage of some 180,000 publicly accessible wikis used for collaboration and education in school settings for his report The State of Wiki Usage in U.S. K-12 Schools: Leveraging Web 2.0 Data Warehouses to Assess Quality and Equity in Online Learning Environments. He found that only 1% of wikis have been successful and they were generally less helpful to poor schools than conventional wisdom might have us believe. PBworks and wikispaces are two commonly used sites for schools to create wikis online through team collaboration. Both are only free in the basic version and to students and teachers. The PBworks site has about thirty case studies that illustrate applications.
Fukushima -In a February 28 twenty minute interview Steve Rima, Vice President of Radiological Services and Engineering at AMEC, in Grand junction, Colorado, describes radiation cleanup work near Fukushima that’s necessary before residents can move back. Rima has been there several times in the last few months as part of that work and describes what the work entails. He notes that most of the contamination is caesium-137 with a half life of thirty years, so the radiation hazard is shrinking much faster than other elements with half lives of thousands of year.
Counterfeit Drugs/Journal Boycott – Dr. Moira Gunn presents two topics in a twenty-seven minute session, starting with the war on counterfeit pharmaceuticals described by the Head of Quality at Amgen, Martin VanTreste. A key factor in the continuing effort by pharmaceutical companies to stop organized crime production of dangerous counterfeit materials the industry is the creation of Rx-360 created in 2009 where information is collected, studied and shared. Sale of fake heparin that caused many deaths is given as an example of the danger and how it can be avoided. The last part of session concerns a discussion about growing opposition in the scientific community to for-profit journals, a topic covered in blog post 15, which shows the degree of interest in it.