Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

BT Global Services to double US revenues and cut costs

Friday, September 15, 2006

BT Global Services this week laid out its vision for the next three years: its revenues to double in the USA, Japan, India and China, and £400m of annual savings, achieved through offshoring and slashing its procurement costs. £200m of this will come from a reduction in what it spends on technology from vendors on large systems integration projects.

CEO Andy Green admitted that BT had been slower than rivals such as IBM and Accenture to ramp up its offshore headcount. But he claimed that BT Global Services is thriving as the fastest-growing division within BT. He said that the division was outperforming its closest rivals, T-Systems, Orange Enterprise and AT&T Enterprise, which had all posted revenue declines for the most recent quarter. He said BT was fast becoming a familiar brand to businessmen in New York, Tokyo, Mumbai and Shanghai.

He disclosed a few revenue figures not revealed before. For the financial year ending March 2006, UK revenues rose just 2% to £5.5bn, while overseas revenues shot up 48% to £3.3bn. And of the £8.8bn total revenue, £1.6bn was captive work for its parent, while of the remaining £7.2bn, 18% came from the UK government sector and 17% from financial services. BT said it still harbours ambitions to conquer America, despite the failure of the ‘Concert‘ partnership with V in the 1990s.

In a separate story, BT announced it has chosen Chinese vendor ZTE to develop a dual-mode handset — 3G and DAB-IP — for launch by its BT Movio subsidiary next year. DAB-IP (in other words, IP over the DAB digital radio network) will enable BT Movio to broadcast four TV channels at acceptable quality to the handset.3G will enable video-on-demand, so that the users can specify what video clips or programmes they wish to watch. UK legislation specifies that no more than 30% of the DAB spectrum can be used for non-radio purposes, so BT is lobbying for more DAB spectrum to be released, to enable higher quality video and/or more TV channels.

Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005File:Turing1.jpg

More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.File:ALICE Birthday Cake.jpg

Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots.Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”

How To Use Teeth Whitening Kits Safely In Home?}

Submitted by: Junita Lawson

Cosmetic dental procedure is second biggest cosmetic industry after hair care, and tooth whitening is a part of it. People are now concerned about their teeth because a healthy smile reflects a better psychological sensitivity towards others. This is the reason many people are now more and more taking treatment on their teeth staining, teeth disfiguration and other problems.

There are many ways of doing a whitening treatment and the most popular and effective is in-office whitening where a qualified professional will look after your teeth and take appropriate treatment in according to the condition. It may be slightly expensive but it is more effective than home kits. There are people who do not want to take the hassle of going to professionals, or they hesitate to share their personal cosmetic problems with anyone can also go for teeth whitening kits in Australia, generally consists of strip, tray, toothpaste and others.

How tooth whitening products work

Mostly tooth whitening products contain peroxide or peroxide-generating compounds that act as whitening agent. Most common ingredients are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide or urea peroxide. In the professional office treatment, generally hydrogen peroxide is being used, which is more potent than carbamide. Home whitening products generally contain carbamide peroxide.

YouTube Preview Image

The formulation of peroxide in the products depends on many factors. Generally a high level of peroxide can eradicate the yellowish stain more easily. Depending on the strength of the peroxide, the product works on the surface of your teeth and also next layers below the dentin. Peroxide is relatively harmless because it cant penetrate below the dentin and enter the pulp, still there are considerable safety measures need to be taken care of.

Tooth whiteners can only work on natural teeth and ineffective on caps, crowns, veneers, dentures and other artificial ad-ons. Generally home teeth whitener kits contain products that have less concentration of peroxide so it will take a long-term procedure to gain noticeable amount of whitening. The maximum range of time you can use the products is six months.

What are risks of home teeth whitening products

Clinical studies have proved that home tooth whitening products are not harmful when used in moderate or suggested direction. Based on the available clinical reports, there are no adverse potential threats on tooth structure, enamel or general teeth health.

However, it is to remember that teeth whitening products are meant for teeth and not gum, so it should be applied carefully on teeth. Also, it is recommended to use the product as instructed on the product and follow the precaution whatever written. Teeth whitening products should not be used more than 14 days without any professional experts or qualified dentist.

Tips to minimize the risk of tooth whitening products

Always read the instructions carefully on the label of the product.

Always consult your dentist before you start using teeth whitening system. It is recommended not to use the product more than 14 days at a stretch.

Tooth whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity. If you are vulnerable to sensitivity, ask your doctor for safety measures.

If you have any infectious problems or dental problems, ask your dentist first.

Tooth whitening products are not for lactation mother and pregnant women.

About the Author: Junita Lawson is a professional consultant on oral healthcare. She has been working for last 15 years and now consulting on dental cosmetic procedures also including teeth whitening kits in Australia. She is also a writer and put his thoughts in different medical journals. Junita suggests to vsiti this link for more information related Teeth Whitening Kits in Australia :

lovemysmile.com.au/teeth-whitening-kits/

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1940640&ca=Wellness%2C+Fitness+and+Diet}

Wikinews Shorts: August 11, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, August 11, 2008.

Contents

  • 1 Ohioville creek bones are not human
  • 2 Etna motorcyclist killed when hit by tree
  • 3 Police dog found in Pasadena, California
  • 4 Somalian police chief dies
  • 5 Cassini probe passes Saturn moon Enceladus
 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Businessman Rocky De La Fuente took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old De La Fuente resides in San Diego, California, grew up in Tijuana, and owns multiple businesses and properties throughout the world. Since getting his start in the automobile industry, De La Fuente has branched out into the banking and real estate markets. Despite not having held or sought political office previously, he has been involved in politics, serving as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

De La Fuente entered the 2016 presidential race last October largely due to his dissatisfaction with Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He argues he is a more accomplished businessman than Trump, and attacks Trump as “a clown,” “a joke,” “dangerous,” and “in the same category as Hitler.” Nevertheless, De La Fuente’s business background begets comparisons with Trump. The Alaskan Midnight Sun blog described him as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.”

While receiving only minimal media coverage, he has campaigned actively, and according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, loaned almost US$ 4 million of his own money to the campaign. He has qualified for 48 primary and caucus ballots, but has not yet obtained any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Thus far, according to the count at The Green Papers, De La Fuente has received 35,406 votes, or 0.23% of the total votes cast. He leads among the many lesser-known candidates but trails both Senator Bernie Sanders who has received nearly 6.5 million votes and front-runner Hillary Clinton who has just shy of 9 million votes.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, De La Fuente discusses his personal background, his positions on political issues, his current campaign for president, and his political future.

Contents

  • 1 Interview
    • 1.1 Background
    • 1.2 Campaign
    • 1.3 Issues
    • 1.4 Future
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External link

England’s elderly face human rights breaches in home care system

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A report published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) finds that, in many cases, England’s home care system breaches the human rights of the elderly it is supposed to serve. The Close to home: older people and human rights in home care report is the result of a twelve-month investigation into care generally provided by local authorities.

Approximately half of those receiving home care, plus friends and family, providing evidence to the inquiry were satisfied with the quality of care provided. However, the report stresses that there are “systemic problems” arising from “a failure to apply a human rights approach to home care provision”. The report asserts that it is generally not the fault of individuals providing care, but serious problems exist as local authorities seem unaware of their obligations under the Human Rights Act and fail to commission, procure, and monitor care accordingly.

The report says articles two, three and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights are frequently being breached. These, respectively, cover an individual’s right to life, protection from inhumane and degrading treatment, and respect for dignity and personal independence. Criticisms include that care is not provided in a common-sense manner, and funding of care for the elderly is at lower levels than for younger people with similar problems and needs.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Do you have elderly relatives receiving care at home? Is the support provided adequate?
Add or view comments

The EHRC’s investigation highlights a range of recurring complaints and attempts to identify the underlying causes; cost is repeatedly mentioned, with use of the private-sector leading to some local authorities offering a “one size fits all” service leaving many elderly feeling they are “a task to be undertaken” and have “little or no choice” as to help received, or when care workers visit. A failure to invest in care workers is noted, with significant responsibility and the wide range of skills required being rewarded with low pay and status; this, the report states, adversely impacts staff retention and, a high turnover of care workers can put the security of care recipients at-risk.

Within the wider investigation, a commissioned independent social report by The Arndale Centre conducted in-depth interviews with a cross-section of 40 elderly individuals receiving home care. As-stressed in the report, those selected were not on the basis of good, or bad, experiences with their – mainly local authority-provided – care. It highlights a widespread feeling amongst those interviewed that they are treated “like a number”, and that aspects of the care provided lead to, or fail to resolve, feelings of social isolation.

The Manchester-based Arndale Centre report concludes that, “[t]he general picture is of a wider home care system in which older people are noteffectively involved: which they do not understand, and which does not often make the extra effort required to involve them in ways tailored to their state of health and other needs”.

nobody to talk [to] face to face. Nobody will knock on that door,[…] a life of isolation.

A recurring theme in the responses of those interviewed is the social isolation that their home care is not adequately addressing. One male interviewee in his seventies who previously used a scooter to get about said in his interview, “I haven’t been out of the house now for about four weeks. I daren’t. The last time I went out on the scooter I hit the kerb and it frightened the living daylights out of me.” Another, an 85-year-old woman who lives alone, expressed sadness at her inability to do normal things, “I would love to go to town to do some shopping. I haven’t been to town for about two years… Wander round the town and have a cup of tea… I’d love that.”

The social isolation many elderly experience was summed up neatly by another woman in her eighties in her interview: “When you go now, I will maybe not talk to anybody till tomorrow; maybe the whole of tomorrow nobody to talk [to]… face to face. Nobody will knock on that door, that is it, a life of isolation.”

The EHRC, having commissioned this report in the face of funding changes and reform of the care system, intends to press for legislative changes to ensure those receiving care at home are given the same protections under the Human Rights Act as those in residential care. In the conclusions of their report they offer to work with, and support, local authorities in understanding and delivering care that respects peoples’ rights and dignity; and, recommend better guidance as to the choices available to the elderly, and their families, be made available.

Entrepreneur’s RFID chip implant to open doors, start car

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A technology entrepreneur in northeastern Washington asked a doctor to implant an RFID chip into his hand in order to experiment with the technology. Amal Graafstra, who runs a technology company in Bellingham, WA, asked a doctor to place the chip under the skin of his left hand, and posted pictures of the procedure to the photo-sharing site, Flickr. Graafstra plans to use the chip for keyless entry to his car, home, or as a login for computer systems.

Implanting RFID chips is a relatively old technology. Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading, UK implanted a 23mm RFID chip into his left arm in August 1998. It allowed him to open doors and turn on the lights in a room as he entered. Further European research in the area was recently dealt a blow when the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies made a presentation to the European Union raising privacy concerns over the potential for such chips to be used to track members of the public.

In mid-2004, about 160 Mexican officials received RFID implants for security purposes, and scientists in the past have implanted themselves with such chips for research purposes. In October 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the implantation of Verichip technology for medical purposes.

An implantable RFID chip is a minuscule capsule containing a microchip and an antenna, all enclosed in glass. The chip that Mr. Graafstra had implanted was 12mm long and 2mm in diameter — about the size of a grain of rice. RFID chips work by storing a unique identification number in the microchip. This number can be retrieved by a special RFID reader that is held within close proximity. Graafstra notes that his chip can be read from a distance of about 2 inches (5cm), and only provides the single identifying number.

Describing himself as a long-time tinkerer, Graafstra’s comments do not show much of a hesitation to perform this process. “I like to mod things, and I guess it was only natural that it extended to my own body,” he wrote in an email to Wikinews.

Graafstra appears to have been impressed by the process, too. “It was odd feeling it [the chip] being pushed under the surface of my skin… without feeling pain, I was able to really get a feel for just how utilitarian our bodies actually are and how… separate the skin layer really is from the muscle layer under it,” he told Wikinews. He was able to use his hand to perform technical computer maintenance just an hour after the procedure.

RFID is a controversial technology. Privacy advocates fear that the technology might be abused by governments and used to track people. Microchip implants have been used for years for tracking lost pets.

The pictures that Graafstra posted spurred commentary in the blogosphere, with some assuming that the pictures — or the process — were faked. Graafstra denies this, and posted a short video of himself triggering the RFID reader with a swipe of his hand.

Derailments close Australian rail routes

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Two train derailments in two days have closed railway lines in Australia.

A Rio Tinto iron ore train derailled at Pilbara, on a spur of the Tom Price to Dampier line on Thursday 29. The following day, a freight train with 40 wagons derailed east of Kalgoorlie, injuring three people.

The second derailment has closed the line used by the long distance Sydney to Perth Indian Pacific passenger train. Operators Great Southern Railway expect to lose A$500,000 revenues as the line remains closed until at least Thursday. Police say heavy rain has affected the area, and the federal Australian Rail Track Corporation say that a new access road needs to be built in order to clear the wreckage and repair the track.

Rio Tinto have sufficient stocks of iron ore already in place to keep working. However, the freight train was carrying consumer products, which may run short in the south of Western Australia in the next few days. The Kalgoorie crash is to be investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, while maintenance company Transfield Services will also be examining the incident.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.