Podcast Gems 9 – Jan 13, 2012: H5N1 Bird Flu Research Debate, Haiti NGO Faults, Women in Egypt, Community Power, and Bookshare

Debate persists over publishing bird flu research in a “Science Friday” episode, a  thirty minute segment that can be downloaded, or heard on-line at http://bit.ly/birdFLU. Microbiologist Vincent Racaniello discusses why the move sets a bad precedent while bio security expert D.A. Henderson talks about the risks of publishing the research.  Printed discussion continues with other experts at http://www.virology.ws/ which includes reference to a “NY Times” editorial from 8 January entitled ‘An Engineered Doomsday’.  The debate concerns recent avian influenza H5N1 research in which scientists in the Netherlands and at the University of Wisconsin found that by infecting a serious of ferrets the virus can acquire aerosol transmissibility: http://nyti.ms/yldL5D. Later a two-hour debate was presented by the New York  Academy of Sciences that can be seen here, but not downloaded. Additional discussion amongst other professionals appear at the 49:30 minute mark in TWIP 168.

NGO work in Haiti is not coordinated leading to complaints that this makes them inefficient.  “The Truth about NGOs-Haiti” is a twenty-minute report on the problem, at http://bbc.in/ywawkr to listen, or download from http://bbc.in/yfyE9b. Three other podcasts, all regular NPR Planet Money sessions and set in Haiti, help describe why dealing with poverty is difficult. The first concerns the need to build a school: http://n.pr/zQbRs9. The second deals with problems presented in the first: http://n.pr/xuvCny. The third focuses on a book with a new approach to combating poverty, called “Poor Economics”, but has just a short comment about Haiti at the end: http://n.pr/zuQXsS. Then in Jan 2011 a panel, including Sean Penn, at the Brookings Institute spent 1.5 hours discussing progress one year after the earthquake at this link with recognition of multitude hardships, massive displacement, devastated infrastructure and a recent cholera outbreak. This was followed in Oct 2011 by a two hour panel dealing with lessons learned from this and similar disasters, “Rebuilding a City:The Dos and Don’ts in Post-Disaster Urban Recovery”.

The status and role of Egyptian women typifies the difficulties of women in this part of the world, a twenty-four minute segment called “The Women of Tahrir Square” at http://bbc.in/yfyE9b.

Community produced power is a national effort by citizens to help address the need to reduce carbon production.  One of the examples, the University Park Solar Project in Columbia, Maryland (http://bit.ly/w8zBA5), is discussed in the last five minutes of the Jan 6, 2012  Marketplace Money episode: http://bit.ly/wSZ5n2. Makes you wonder how much power could be produced if the roof of every church in the United States was covered with solar cells while bumping up the church treasuries and returning a percentage of investment to parishioners who fund the ventures.

The Bookshare.org provides materials for people with learning disabilities.  Founder, Jim Fruchterman, in–I’m sorry to say–a rather slow speech at http://bit.ly/xAYxBW, towards the end describes a useful iPad app called Read2Go (http://read2go.org/).  I’m uncertain about the usefulness of the http://www.bookshare.org.  It looks like more chaff than wheat and I prefer lots of wheat. You judge.


About virginiajim

Retired knowledge nut.
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